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If reportage and translations are correct, the Pope and Vatican are ready to "just" issue "some guidelines" soon on Medjugorje, said the Holy Father, during his trip last weekend (6/6/15) to Bosnia.

If he used the term "guidelines" (and this was the most commonly reported word, though at least one agency used the term "restrictions"), it in all probability means a formalization and standardizing of a policy that the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Ludwig Müller, already has begun to institute, limiting the visibility and appearances of seers while maintaining Medjugorje as the major shrine it has become, a place where literally tens of millions have been deeply touched and converted.

Initial translations offered what sounded like a benevolent view of the situation from Pope Francis, whose own views on apparitions are not known but who is famously pastoral in approach. But another translation, issued by Zenit News Service in Rome, had the Holy Father saying, "We are there to take decisions. Then they will be told. For the moment only some guidelines are given to Bishops, but along the lines that will be decided. Thank you!" Still another translation said, "We are close to coming to a decision. And then the results will be communicated. For the moment, all that is being done is to give guidelines to the bishops, but along the lines that will be taken. Thank you!"

The Pope looked very serious while answering the question and used the word "probleme," which can mean something that needs to be resolved or an item put before one. It is a heavy burden.

A blogsite, Crown of Stars, reports that the initial translations have been removed from the Vatican website, replaced by a more concise one saying, "although the definitive final meeting has not yet taken place, it is expected that the results will be communicated shortly."

It thus remains uncertain how the Holy Father will approach it, though closer control of seers seems to be a certainty.

Oversight of Medjugorje itself -- the church, chapels, amphitheatre, and confessionals (it has more booths than possibly any other place) -- may also be expected.

Guidelines have been long in coming, and such direction is always welcome.

In the opinion of the blogger, what will occur is that: "While the Medjugorje phenomenon continues, the Church will not deem the apparitions 'worthy of belief.' And unless it has found evidence to say that the apparitions are 'NOT worthy of belief' then nothing will change and the Church will keeps its investigation open. Some extra guidelines will be announced, pertaining to Medjugorje itself, probably relating to pilgrimages and priests, and bishops will again be reminded about restrictions on witnessing to the phenomenon in their dioceses, particularly in Churches. What’s been puzzling me is that with the very public directives coming from the CDF the past year, why the Mostar bishop hasn’t applied the directives in his own diocese. Is Medjugorje a special case? Could this be what the Vatican is attempting to construct – a formula that restricts the Medjugorje phenomenon to the place itself? Then there is the question of removing all references to the phenomenon (including images of the visionaries) featured in the stained-glass windows of St James church."

Another word reportedly used by the media was "orientation" for bishops.

But the Pope said decisions are still being made, with meetings at the Congregation on the subject (it was first reported that the Pope said such meetings are ready to conclude, while the Vatican spokesman clarified that they have not yet started), after which Francis and the Congregation will decide on exact details of directives for what has become a shrine close to the magnitude of Lourdes and Fatima.

The Vatican is also likely to issue a statement similar to the last formal Church statement on the apparitions themselves, which (issued by the bishops of former Yugoslavia, in 1991, before that nation was disbanded) stated simply that thus far there was no definitive proof that the Blessed Mother and supernatural events were occurring. This time, it would be based on a far more extensive study by a Vatican commission headed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini.

It is rare for the Church to rule in a final way before apparitions come to an end, and at Medjugorje they are still reportedly occurring. It is the longest-running apparition since Laus, in France, which spanned 54 years, from 1664 and 1718, and was not approved by Rome until 2008.

While there is always the possibility that the apparitions could be rejected, or -- less likely -- fully and formally approved, it would be surprising if Rome ruled in either of those two ways. Surprise, however, is always a possibility.

The way such matters are handled there -- especially sacraments -- will likely be part of guidelines.

It was on October 31, 2013, that the papal nuncio in Washington penned a note to U.S. bishops, saying that the faithful are not to attend events centered on the assumption that the credibility of the apparitions are "taken for granted." It is why we have long used the word "alleged."

The nuncio's note, first reported on this website, came in response to appearances by seer Ivan Dragiĉević, but Cardinal Müller has since limited the appearances of other visionaries as well.

For many years, various priests, bishops and cardinals around the world have had varied views on the apparitions, some openly welcoming them (having traveled there themselves) while others were more circumspect or even skeptical, prohibiting Medjugorje events.

The same has been true of Pontiffs, with Saint John Paul II an enthusiastic if discrete supporter while his more theologically-oriented successor, Benedict XVI, who appointed Cardinal Müller, remained aloof from the apparitions. Francis once had a famous priest from Medjugorje pray over him, and Ivan appeared in his archdiocese in Argentina, but no one knows his personal feelings. Once Pope, he made a remark indicating skepticism about those who receive messages "every day," saying that the Blessed Mother is not "a post office."

Ivan and other seers often have apparitions while the faithful are gathered, and do so in churches. Ivan has appeared in hundreds if not thousands of churches, including such places as the cathedral in Chicago under Cardinal Francis George.

It is a very interesting circumstance because there are indications that Pope Francis and Cardinal Müller, reportedly, have found themselves at odds on occasion, or so it was hinted at just last month by a close papal adviser, Archbishop Victor Fernández of Argentina. Currently the matter is in Cardinal Müller's hands.

We will adhere to whatever the Pope announces. We have said this for fifteen years now.

Stay tuned.

[Question: There is a big interest surrounding the phenomenon of the Medjugorje apparitions. What can you tells us about this? 

Pope Francis: “When Benedict XVI was Pope, he set up a commission on Medjugorje that was headed by Cardinal Ruini and composed of other cardinals and theologians. They prepared a study and Ruini delivered it to me after a few years of work. They did a good job. Cardinal Müller (Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ed.) told me that he was going to hold a dicastery meeting on this; I think it was held on the last Wednesday of the month. We are about to take some decisions and these will then be communicated. For now, bishops are just being given some guidelines.”

Another translation: Silvije Tomasevic: Good evening, Holiness, naturally many Croats have come here on pilgrimage, who ask if Your Holiness will come to Croatia ... However, as we are in Bosnia and Herzegovina there is much interest in your judgment on the phenomenon of Medjugorje.

Pope Francis: On the issue of Medjugorje, in his time Pope Benedict XVI established a Commission headed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini; there were also other Cardinals, theologians and specialists there. They carried out the study and Cardinal Ruini came to me and gave me the study, after so many years – I don’t know, 3-4 years more or less. They did a good job, a good job. Cardinal Muller [Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] told me that he had had a “feria quarta” [an apposite meeting] during those times. I believe it was held the last Wednesday of the month, but I’m not sure ... [Note of Father Lombardi: in fact, there has not yet been a feria quarta dedicated to this subject]. We are there to take decisions. Then they will be told. For the moment only some guidelines are given to Bishops, but along the lines that will be decided. Thank you!

The latest translation, after initial one on Vatican website was replaced: "With regard to Medjugorje, which is located in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Francis recalled that Benedict XVI had instituted a commission of theologians and specialists, chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, which had studied the matter in depth and, although the definitive final meeting has not yet taken place, it is expected that the results will be communicated shortly.]

[resources: The Hidden Child of Medjugorje and What You Take To Heaven]

[See also: Michael Brown retreat, Raleigh, North Carolina area, June 20: prophecy, spiritual warfare ]



"Just wondering why there isn't any mention any longer about the site (or shrine) of Medjugorje having its own Bishop installed. Someone I know with some assumed info made mention that there is already in the plans a house somewhere behind the Church for such a bishop over just the "shrine" itself.  And with the sudden many directives being ordered by CDF/Mueller people have thought that these "orders" were related to some decision being made by that congregation and yet now it appears that Mueller had not even begun to make such a study of the Commission's work.  I was also told by this particular "informer" with contacts that Francis wanted to do something positive during May but due to the protocol of the Vatican/hierarchy these days papal authority is held to such matters passing through the "proper" channels on the way to him!  Perhaps this is why the Pope was prepared to answer expected questions from reporters on the plane so that maybe Mueller has now been put on notice that he is expected to act and by a certain date....and that date pertaining itself, it seems, to the history of Medj's beginnings esp. since the Pope mentioned that he was presented the Commission's work himself that he described as very good work.  Like with other matters of interest involving the hierarchy it would be expected that Francis in this matter as well wants no more "game playing"....esp. behind the scenes.  Hmmmm!" -- Chris Kelly

"Just a brief note. I just finished watching your posted video of the comments of the holy father concerning Medjugorje. The holy father used the Italian word "probleme" which is in the plural form. In other words, "there are problems."

Due to the long controversial history of the reported apparitions and recent restrictions,  there can only be one or two decisions: 1. Medjugorje is worthy of belief  and contains nothing contrary to the faith, and the church will promote it. 2. Or the reported events cannot be substantiated, and will not be promoted by the church in any official capacity. I really doubt, at this particular point, that the church would say, "We don't know," and allow things continue as they are. After all, some decision has to be made.

If it cannot be substantiated, the church will indeed impose restrictions in order to safeguard the faith and the piety of the people. Possible restrictions could include that the cult and the messages be restricted to Medjugorje. The Messages of the "visionaries " would be interpreted as private and personal reflections.  God Bless you. Fr David G. Taurasi]

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