Sunday, April 16, 2006

Bishop Ratko Peric on Medjugorje

John Allen also reports on the skepticism of Medjugorje within the Church, including an excerpt from an interview with Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno to his diocesan newspaper, Crkva na kamenu:
Some newspapers have written that this Pope visited Medjugorje incognito while he was a cardinal and that he is preparing to recognize Medjugorje as a shrine, etc. Did you touch upon this topic?

[Bishop Ratko Peric responds:]
We did, and I wrote to and spoke with the Holy Father on it. He only laughed surprisingly. Regarding the events of Medjugorje our position is well known: not a single proof exists that these events concern supernatural apparitions and revelations. Therefore from the church's perspective no pilgrimages are allowed which would attribute any authenticity to these alleged apparitions.

The Holy Father told me: "We at the Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] always asked ourselves, how can any believer accept as authentic apparitions that occur every day and for so many years? Are they still occurring every day?"

I responded: "Every day, Holy Father, to one of the [visionaries] in Boston, to another near Milan and still another in Krehin Gradac (Herzegovina), and everything is done under the protocol of 'apparitions of Medjugorje'. Up till now there have been about 35,000 'apparitions' and there is no end in sight!"

... The numerous absurd messages, insincerities, falsehoods and disobedience associated with the events and "apparitions" of Medjugorje from the very outset, all disprove any claims of authenticity. Much pressure has been made to force the recognition of the authenticity of private revelations, yet not through convincing arguments based upon the truth, but through the self-praise of personal conversions and by statements such as one "feels good". How can this ever be taken as proof of the authenticity of apparitions?

... Finally the Holy Father said: "We at the congregation felt that priests should be of service to those faithful who seek Confession and Holy Communion, leaving out the question of the authenticity of the apparitions."
While I don't doubt that people can experience renewed faith and even miracles in their journeys to Medjugorje and other places around the world, I have been quite skeptical about the veracity of the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje. In 2004, Bishop Ratko Peric also published a full report of the history and recent goings-on at Medjugorje, reaffirming his opposition to the movement there:
The Church, from the local to supreme level, from the beginning to this very day, has clearly and constantly repeated: Non constat de supernaturalitate! No to pilgrimages that would ascribe a supernatural nature to the apparitions, no shrine of the Madonna, no authentic messages nor revelations, no true visions!
When one compares in greater detail Medjugorje to other approved apparitions, such as those that occurred at Fatima and Lourdes, many inconsistencies and problems arise.

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