To the editor:
The recent CNS article on Medjugorje is clearly misleading on a number of levels. As Pope Francis recently appointed an envoy to study Medjugorje’s pastoral needs, Bishop Ratko Peric posted yet another negative statement. Sadly, the news falsely reported his judgements as if they were the church’s position. Had they done their homework, they would know that Bishop Peric and his predecessor, Bishop Pavao Zanic, were both stripped of their authority on Medjugorje, and overruled on their judgement of the apparitions.
Bishop Zanic initially supported the testimony of the six visionaries. Following a meeting with communist officials, he suddenly changed his mind. As local bishop, he submitted a negative judgement to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 1986, Prefect for the Congregation of for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Cardinal Ratzinger rejected the conclusions and threw out his judgement.
Bishop Peric replaced Bishop Zanic in 1993, and following his predecessor’s opinions, wrote a letter stating nothing supernatural was happening in Medjugorje. In response, the CDF issued a directive in 1998 stating that Bishop Peric’s judgement on Medjugorje “is and remains his personal opinion.” This declaration has not changed.
His descriptions of the apparitions are false: Mary does not only speak when spoken to, she does not obey the “seers,” and the pastor did not make her come down the hill against her will. The visionaries were forced off the hill by the communist government. This current bishop has never met or spoken with any of the visionaries.
The church’s current position on Medjugorje is this: the apparitions have been neither approved nor condemned. It is accepted as a holy place and a place of prayer. Private pilgrimages are accepted and encouraged. The Vatican has taken over the investigation, so the decision of the outcome of the apparitions is in the hands of the church.