Archbishop Hoser Speaks on Medjugorje

Hi Everyone! The Pope’s special envoy to Medjugorje, Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warszawa-Praga (Poland), has given an interview on Medjugorje. His remarks are lighting up the Catholic blogosphere and I think it important to make some observations.

The remarks were apparently made in Polish and have seen some excerpts into English but the entirety of the interview is not yet available in English. Thus, let me stress that this is a growing news story. I provide for you here a skeletal outline of some points of interest. It is submitted with the utmost respect for His Excellency and only for the purpose of providing discussion on a topic of interest to many people.

The interview opens with a question on the broad arc of the Archbishop’s mandate of “gaining a profound knowledge of the situation in Medjugorje.”[1] The Archbishop responds with a general statement expressing his personal opinion that it is impossible to have an in-depth knowledge on the events of Medjugorje. He explains that Medjugorje involves the mystery of God and man and in that dynamic are secrets (no pun intended) that cannot be seen.[2]

The Archbishop admits that he did not research the theological content of Medjugorje.[3] He then proceeds to give his personal opinion that there are “basically no doctrinal errors in their content.”[4] The Archbishop does not discuss some difficult matters that can be found in my response to Fr. Lovrić. See also my commentary to Pope Francis’ remarks back in May.

The Archbishop makes a comparison between the later visions to Sr. Lúcia with the continued “apparitions” in Medjugorje.[5] Here, the Archbishop unfortunately does not qualify his discussion. Later visions were afforded to Sr. Lúcia, but they were not a daily occurrence at a specified time and date on the dot. This phenomenon is associated with Medjugorje.

Immediately following this point, the Archbishop then discusses another objection various people have on Medjugorje—that the alleged “seers” did not become priests or religious.[6] This argument is not about this fact alone. To my recollection, it is about how the “Gospa” of Medjugorje spoke with the “seers” about their vocations, telling them that she’d “like to see” them as such. That aspect of the story is not discussed by Archbishop Hoser.

Hoser was, a little further down in the interview, asked about how the criticism that the “Gospa” of Medjugorje is a bit talkative.[7] Hoser responds that St. Faustina of the Divine Mercy devotion, spoke to Jesus every day for several years.[8] His claim is new to me and I cannot help but wonder if he made a factual error. I have no recollection of this aspect of her life. If anyone else has a better understanding, please contact me with more information.

Hoser acknowledges the fact of Pope Francis’ remarks from May later in the interview.[9] He reiterated what the purpose of his mission was in Medjugorje earlier this year and concluded that pastoral activities in Medjugorje are consistent with the teaching and practice of the Church.[10] Here, I do not believe Hoser to be commenting about the doctrinal content of the alleged apparitions themselves. Rather, he is speaking about the various activities taking place in Medjugorje.

At the end of the interview, the Archbishop is asked whether or not his report will contribute to the recognition of Medjugorje.[11] Hoser responds that he does not think his report will have a direct effect because his mission was of another nature, and then proceeds to opine that Medjugorje may be recognized this year.[12] He does, however, qualify his opinion on approval by discussing the first seven “apparitions” distinction.[13]

At the same time, the Archbishop also states that he finds it hard to believe the “seers” would lie for 36 years and that they have been “consistent” in their stories.[14] He further states that the powerful argument in favor of Medjugorje is its faithfulness to the doctrine of the Church.[15] He does not, unfortunately, reconcile this statement with some aspects of Medjugorje’s history.

In the end, a good portion of this interview concerns the private opinions of Archbishop Hoser. One cannot accept it as being expressive of the entirety of the investigations into the authenticity of the alleged apparitions.


Notes:

[1] “Zyskanie dogłębnej wiedzy na temat sytuacji w Medjugorju….”

[2] “Sądzę, że dogłębna wiedza o wydarzeniach w Medjugorju nie jest możliwa, dlatego, że wnikamy w tajemnicę Boga i tajemnicę człowieka. A to są tajemnice, których dna nie widać.”

[3] “Natomiast nie zajmowałem się badaniem treści objawień, bo nie jest to moja rola.”

[4] “…że w zasadzie nie ma błędów doktrynalnych w ich treści.”

[5] “Mogła publikować, i podobnie jak ci z Medjugorja, miała objawienia przez całe życie. Widzący z Medjugorja też mają do dziś objawienia, obliczono, że dotychczas było ich w sumie 40 tysięcy. Moim zdaniem nie jest to jakaś istotna przeszkoda.”

[6] “Niektórzy zarzucają widzącym, że nie zostali księżmi czy zakonnicami, jak np. Łucja Santos. Ale świat zmienił się od tego czasu a zakon nie jest jedyną drogą do realizacji chrześcijańskiego powołania. Ludzie ci żyją w świecie i poszli drogą sakramentu małżeństwa. Bardzo dobrze, gdyż mogą pokazać piękno życia rodzinnego, które w dzisiejszym świecie jest bardzo zagrożone.”

[7] “Padały zarzuty, że objawienia w Medjugorje są zbyt liczne, że Matka Boża jest zbyt gadatliwa?”

[8] “Można przywołać św. Faustynę, która codziennie rozmawiała z Panem Jezusem przez wiele lat. Nie powinna to być istotna przeszkoda.”

[9] “Zresztą Ojciec Święty już w samolocie, wracając z Fatimy, wypowiedział się na temat Medjugorja….”

[10] “Sądzę, że wszystko zmierza w dobrym kierunku. Zresztą moja misja nie miała na celu zamknięcia Medjugorja, ale ocenę, czy prowadzone tam duszpasterstwo jest właściwe, zgodne z doktryną i nauczaniem Kościoła, skuteczne i dobrze zorganizowane. We wnioskach stwierdzam, że tak jest. Od strony duszpasterskiej moja ocena jest bardzo pozytywna. Zatem prowadzone obecnie działania duszpasterskie, porządek liturgiczny oraz konferencje, powinny być kontynuowane.”

[11] “Czy raport Księdza Arcybiskupa może przyczynić się do uznania objawień?”

[12] “Bezpośrednio nie, gdyż dotyczy czegoś innego. Wszystko wskazuje na to, że objawienia będą uznane, być może jeszcze w tym roku.”

[13] “Konkretnie rzecz biorąc, sądzę, że możliwe jest uznanie autentyczności pierwszych objawień, tak jak to zaproponowała komisja kard. Ruiniego.”

[14] “Zresztą trudno o inny wyrok, gdyż trudno wierzyć, aby sześcioro widzących kłamało przez 36 lat.”

[15] “Potężnym argumentem za autentycznością objawień jest wierność doktrynie Kościoła.”

Humanae Vitae and Medjugorje

Over a decade ago, when I was still at University studying Theology, I remember learning about Pope Paul VI’s last Encyclical Humanae Vitae. The document was rather interesting between its history, teachings, and reception.

Concerning the history of this document, I learned that there was quite the lead-up to its publication. Pope John XXIII had established a study group to look at the question of Catholic doctrine on artificial contraception. John died, Paul VI succeeded him, and retained the study group. Meanwhile, there was a lot of buzz within the Catholic world that the Church was going to change its doctrine on artificial contraception. I was even told that priests were telling people in Confession to expect a change in the doctrine (with the obvious logical consequence that it was no longer a sin to use artificial contraception).

The findings from this group were to be drawn up in a dossier and sent to the Holy Father. In short, the study group recommended that the Church allow the use of artificial contraception. Unfortunately, we know that this was the recommendation from the study group because the dossier was leaked to the press (which greatly angered Paul VI, I recently read). The genie, as it were, was out of its bottle and people’s belief that the Church was going to change its doctrine on artificial contraception was reinforced.

Then came the publication of Humanae Vitae wherein Paul VI essentially rejected the study group’s recommendation and upheld the Church’s perennial teaching. Massive revolt ensued which, I was told, was the reason why Humanae Vitae was the last Encyclical written by Paul VI. The Church had a serious pastoral problem on its hand, the effects from which, arguably, we are still reeling.

What, you may be wondering, does the above have to do with Medjugorje?

The news has been all abuzz recently with Pope Francis’ recent revealing of the “guts” of the Ruini Commission’s findings. It was reported at the time that the Commission believed the first 7 apparitions were authentic, but not the later ones.

This morning, I read a news article dated July 23 (to which I shall not link lest I give any credibility to the site) that focused upon the Commission’s alleged recommendation that pilgrimages to Medjugorje be permitted. The July 23 article argued that if the Vatican had concerns about the later apparitions, then it would have to exercise caution about travel to Medjugorje.

The parallel lesson that I wish to make with Humanae Vitae is simple: don’t jump the gun. Consider the following:

  1. The Holy Father has issued no official judgment on Medjugorje,
  2. The 1991 Zadar Declaration is still in effect,
  3. Pilgrimages that presume a supernatural origin to the Medjugorje phenomenon are still not allowed.

We are Catholics, bound to obedience. If we violate that obedience then we sin and could very well imperil our eternal salvation. At the very least, we displease Our Lord Jesus Christ who we claim to serve.

Let us remember what Our Lady said at Fátima:
Do not offend our Lord God any more, for He is already much offended.”

-Kevin J. Symonds

Pope Francis Speaks on Medjugorje

During the return journey to Rome from Portugal, Pope Francis was asked about Medjugorje by the journalist Mimmo Muolo from Avvenire.

The Vatican’s web site has a transcription of the press conference. At this time, there is no official English translation (which will appear here when it is available), though Catholic News Agency has issued an unofficial one. Between these two texts, I would like to offer my thoughts in order to help people understand what has happened.

Here is a video of the press conference:


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Fr. Amorth and Medjugorje

Originally published at Catholic Lane on February 11, 2013.

Bishop Ratko Peric has accused renowned exorcist Fr. Gabriele Amorth and his former assistant of censoring damaging information concerning the Medjugorje phenomenon.

In an article dated January, 2010 and entitled, “Questionable Games Surrounding the Great Sign”, Peric discusses the history of statements made by the alleged visionaries concerning the sign to be left in Medjugorje.  During this history, Peric states Fr. Amorth, along with fellow exorcist Fr. Smiljan Dragan Kožul, “censored” a remark by alleged visionary Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic to author Fr. Janko Bubalo.

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