(ASCA): Rome, 14 Feb: The commission appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to evaluate the authenticity of the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, led by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, is expected to present its concluding report before the end of 2012.
“Within the year we want to finish our work and give our opinion to the Pope so that he may express his judgment,” said Cardinal Vinko Puljic, archbishop of Sarajevo and member of the commission, during the press conference announcing the Sant’Egidio community’s “Meeting for peace” which is to take place next September. “We cannot talk about what the commission is doing, because we are bound to secrecy”, the cardinal explained: “Our work is continuing. But we need to finish it this year.” (asp/mpd) (Translated by Richard Chonak)
Cardinal Puljic’s last announcement may be as puzzling now, as a few others have been in the past decade. However, there is certainly one declaration that has been unequivocally important and factual.
The first puzzling announcement:
CNS – 2006-07-25 : Cardinal says commission to review alleged apparitions at Medjugorje
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, announced a commission would be formed to review the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje and pastoral provisions for the thousands of pilgrims who visit the town each year.
“The commission members have not been named yet,” Cardinal Puljic told Catholic News Service in a July 24 telephone interview. “I am awaiting suggestions from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” on theologians to appoint.
“But this commission will be under the (Bosnian) bishops’ conference” as is the usual practice with alleged apparitions, he said.
The cardinal said he did not expect the commission to be established until sometime in September because of the summer holidays.
He said the primary task of the commission would be to review a 1991 report from the region’s bishops that concluded, “It cannot be affirmed that these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelations.”
In addition, he said, the commission would be asked to review pastoral provisions that forbid official diocesan and parish pilgrimages to Medjugorje, while at the same time allowing priests to accompany groups of Catholics in order to provide the sacraments and spiritual guidance.
When asked if the new commission was the idea of the doctrinal congregation or of the bishops’ conference, Cardinal Puljic said, “I would rather not answer that question.”
Cardinal Puljic announced the future formation of the commission during the bishops’ July 12-14 meeting in Banja Luka.
On June 25, thousands of pilgrims converged on Medjugorje to mark the 25th anniversary of the first alleged apparition to six young people.
The Vatican continues to monitor events at Medjugorje, where the apparitions allegedly continue, but it has not taken a formal position other than to support the bishops’ ban on official pilgrimages.
An official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith confirmed July 25 that the commission would operate under the auspices of the Bosnian bishops’ conference, although the congregation would suggest the names of some commission members.
END [underlined by LB]
Apparently, the CDF put a stop on that “initiative”, first presented at the BiH Bishops’ Conference in Banja Luka, that delayed for almost four years the creation of a new commission. Why?
The second “hope”, three years later:
Reuters – 2009-10-07 – Vatican ruling on disputed Medjugorje shrine expected soon
By Adam Tanner – 2009-10-07
[…] After observing events sceptically for many years, the Vatican may soon issue firmer guidance for Catholics on the claim that the mother of Jesus has been visiting the Balkans, Cardinal Vinko Puljic, head of the bishops’ conference in Bosnia, told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday. That guidance, if it clearly expresses the scepticism the official Church has long shown towards the Medjugorje phenomenon, could deal a serious blow to a site some Catholics see as a “new Lourdes.”
“We are now awaiting a new directive on this issue,” said Puljic, the Sarajevo archbishop who survived the city’s long wartime siege in the 1990s. “I don’t think we must wait for a long time, I think it will be this year, but that is not clear… I am going to Rome in November and we must discuss this.” […]
The third puzzling announcement – six weeks later:
CNA – 2009-11-20 – Bosnian Cardinal denies claims of Vatican commission for Medjugorje
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nov 20, 2009 / 11:45 am (CNA).
Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Sarajevo and President of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina denied press reports yesterday which claim that the Vatican is creating a commission to investigate the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje.
The cardinal, who is visiting Rome to attend the plenary session of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, of which he is a member, said that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is neither preparing a document nor establishing a special commission to study the Medjugorje apparitions.
Cardinal Puljic said that the official position of the bishops of Bosnia and Herzegovina is the one expressed by the then Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia in April 1991.
That statement not only expressed the episcopate’s support to then-Bishop Pavao Zanic of Mostar – where the town of Medjugorje is located – but explicitly said that, “based on previous research, it cannot be affirmed that these events concerning apparitions and revelations are of supernatural nature.”
“The doctrinal issue of the Medjugorje phenomenon is resolved, but its pastoral significance must still be taken into account,” the cardinal continued.
“The Medjugorje phenomenon is not only gathering faithful from Bosnia, but from all over the world, and in places where people gather to pray, God gives his blessing. Therefore, we should carefully examine all sides of this phenomenon,” he added.
Nevertheless, he reiterated, “for the moment, everything is under the jurisdiction of the local bishops.”
“Still, at any given moment, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith could establish an International Commission in order to study the case of Medjugorje,” the cardinal remarked. […] [underlined by LB]
According to Cardinal Vinko Puljic, still President of the BiH Bishops’ Conference in 2009, the CDF is “neither preparing a document nor establishing a special commission to study the Medjugorje apparitions,” as he seemed to hope six weeks earlier.
Is it not puzzling that the head of the Bishop’s Conference concerned by the Medjugorje case does not “appear to know” in advance that the establishment of a special commission will be announced four months later? Why?
It seemed, at that time, that the CDF wanted to proceed “its own way”, without having the “local bishops” in control of, at least, the “communiqués”.
For now, we don’t know yet if Cardinal Vinko Puljic’s last announcement is the projection of “hasty hope” or “need” as he formulated it, or the expression of an “informal spokesperson” of the Commission…
However, some other declarations from Sarajevo’s Archbishop have proven factual and are giving cause for concern, such as this one:
2001-10-09 – Synodus Episcoporum Bulletin of the Commission for information of the X ordinary general assembly of the synod of bishops 30 September-27 October 2001 – H. Em. Card. Vinko PULJIC, Archbishop of Vrhbosna, President of the Episcopal Conference (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
As pertains to the Church in Bosnia-Herzegovina, its Shepherds commit themselves, together with their priests, consecrated persons and faithful laity, to make their witness become the leaven of society and to make it possible to transmit the light of the Gospel into the economic, social and political realities of their Nation. While most of the consecrated persons operating on the territory of the local ecclesial districts remain faithful to the charism of their Institutes and commit themselves without reservation to the promotion of apostolic works, for the good of the Church and civic society;
unfortunately, certain members of the Order of Franciscan Friars Minor and those expelled try to impose their own points of view in the individual Dioceses, substituting the authentic charisms of their Institute with pseudo-charisms, a serious threat for the Church and for her organizational and doctrinal unity. […] [underlined by LB]
A concrete example of “pseudo-charism” would be the illustration given by the former Bishop of Mostar, Mgr Pavao Zanic, in his 1990 published The Truth About Medjugorje. At Nr. 17, one can read an edifying message from the Lady of Medjugorje given to the visionary Ivan, as Fr. Tomislav Vlasic was the visionaries’ spiritual leader:
17. “Tell the bishop that I seek a quick conversion from him towards the happenings in Medjugorje before it’s too late. May he accept these events with plenty of love, understanding and great responsibility.
I want him to avoid creating conflicts between priests and to stop publicizing their negative behaviors. The Holy Father has given all bishops the duty to fulfill certain tasks in their respective dioceses. Among these, bishops are to solve problems and arguments. The bishop is the spiritual father of all the parishes in Herzegovina.
For this reason I seek his conversion towards these events. I am sending my second-last warning. If what I seek does not come about, my judgment and the judgment of my Son await the bishop. This means that he has not found the way to my Son Jesus.”
Our Lady told me to give you this message.
Bijakovici With greetings,
June 21, 1983. Ivan Dragicevic
Rev. Tomislav Vlasic brought this document to me, which he more than likely wrote himself in a moment of exaltation.
Contrary to what Medjugorje propagandists want the faithful to believe, Fr. Tomislav Vlasic had an important and deep influence on the visionaries and on the “spiritual destiny” of the parish during the indoctrination period between 1981 and 1985. Frs. Laurentin, Pelletier and O’Carroll acknowledged those facts: “trainer and spiritual leader”, “he fulfilled the major roles of spiritual director and of unofficial mouth piece of the seers”, “he has been the discerning, intuitive, spiritual guide of the visionaries through the first three years; he was also their interpreter and protector.”
The said leader has been the éminence grise of the Lady of Medjugorje and the visionaries’ inspirer, the main protagonist of a “serious threat for the Church and for her organizational and doctrinal unity”.
Let us guess that that particular state of things did not and does not escape the vigilance and discernment of the Archbishop Cardinal of Sarajevo and of the experts of the Commission.
[Special thanks to Richard Chonak for the translation of the ASCA communiqué and to Diane Korzeniewski, Marco Corvaglia and Donal Foley for their presentation and referencing of recent articles defending the integrity of the late Bishop of Mostar, Mgr Pavao Zanic.]