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By Peter Novecosky, OSB
Abbot Peter Novokosky

The Medjugorje verdict

Pope Francis told a reporter on the the papal flight from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Rome June 6 that the Vatican will soon make an announcement about the alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met recently to discuss the issue and “we’ve reached the point of making a decision and then they will say,” he told journalists.

An international commission of cardinals, bishops, theologians and other experts, was set up in 2010 to investigate the claims of six young people who said Mary had appeared to them daily beginning in 1981. The apparitions purportedly continue and thousands travel to the small town each month to meet the alleged seers and to pray.

For years the local bishop, Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, has said he believes nothing supernatural is happening in Medjugorje.

The pope made an interesting comment about apparitions in his morning homily June 9, though he didn’t make an explicit connection to Medjugorje. He said being Christian is not looking for those who always have something new to reveal, saying, “’Where are the seers who will tell us today about the letter that Our Lady will send at four o’clock in the afternoon?’ for example.”

“This is not Christian identity. God’s final word is called ‘Jesus’ and nothing more,” the pope emphasized. Being Christian is looking for, following and imitating Jesus Christ — nothing more. Christian identity is seen in a living witness to Christ, the Beatitudes and the “Judgment of the Nations,” which refers to feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and the other actions mentioned in Matthew 25:31 - 46.

The danger of losing the proper focus of Christian identity can be seen with “those who always need some novelty” and don’t realize it all begins and ends with Jesus.

While the papal encyclical on the environment was eagerly anticipated (and released a day after we go to print), perhaps the statement on Medjugorje will draw the same amount of interest.

Response to the TRC

The Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has released an Initial Response to the Summary Report and Calls to Action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Because of its importance for understanding the past and for opening the door to the future, we are printing the text below in its entirety.