In February 2017, Pope Francis appointed Msgr. Henryk Hoser, Bishop of Warszawa-Praga (Poland) who holds the personal title (ad personam) of Archbishop, as the Special Envoy of the Holy See with the mission of acquiring a deeper knowledge of the pastoral situation in Medjugorje. The Archbishop’s task was to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future and, as stated in the Communiqué of the Holy See of 11 February, he was expected to finish his mandate as Special Envoy by the summer of this year.
Although his mandate as Special Envoy ended this summer, at the beginning of December Msgr. Hoser gave an exclusive interview on Medjugorje, to the religious website Aleteia.org, which was published on 7 December 2017. The day after the interview was published, it was announced that Pope Francis accepted Msgr. Hoser’s resignation (he reached 75 years of age a few days earlier on 27 November), while on 10 December another interview with the Archbishop on the same topic was published, in the Italian daily paper Il Giornale.
Comparing the two interviews, they would appear as follows:
Aleteia, 7 December: Medjugorje cult Officially Approved! Pope’s Envoy Speaks (title).
Il Giornale, 10 December: Medjugorje, Yes to Pilgrimages. But not for Apparitions (title).
Aleteia, 7 December: “The devotion of Medjugorje is allowed. It’s not prohibited, and need not be done in secret. […] Today, dioceses and other institutions can organize official pilgrimages. It’s no longer a problem.”
Il Giornale, 10 December: “It is necessary to distinguish between the cult and the apparitions. If a bishop wants to organize a prayer pilgrimage to Medjugorje, in order to pray to Our Lady, he can do it without any problem. But if it is about pilgrimages organized to go there for apparitions, that cannot be done, there is no permission for that.”
Aleteia, 7 December: “[W]hat confirms the authenticity of the place is the large amount of charitable institutions that exist around the sanctuary [sic]. And another aspect as well: the great effort that is being made at the level of Christian formation. Each year, they organize conferences at different levels, for various audiences (priests, doctors, parents, young people, couples …).”
Il Giornale, 10 December: “I can say that the Marian cult in Medjugorje is absolutely not forbidden, on the contrary! It is always accessible, because it is universal. In brief, no permission is needed to pray to Our Lady!”
Aleteia, 7 December: “What I find touching is that all the seers have turned to family life. In our day and age, the family is of enormous importance. All of them have a family. Those who were teenagers at the time, are already grandmothers; 37 years have passed!”
Il Giornale, 10 December: “The problem of visionaries has not been resolved.”
Aleteia, 7 December: “The decree of the former episcopal conference of what used to be Yugoslavia, which, before the Balkan war, advised against pilgrimages in Medjugorje organized by bishops, is no longer relevant.”
Il Giornale, 10 December: “The Vatican is working on it. The document is in the Secretariat of State, and we need to wait for it. And obviously, it will take the Pope’s decision as well, who had a chance to study the report of the Committee presided over by Cardinal Ruini.”
Briefly, interviews are given by the Envoy, but it is unknown if he still holds that position after submitting his report to the Holy See.
Official pilgrimages are allowed, but they are not allowed.
The cult of Medjugorje is allowed, but it needs to be separated from the “apparitions”.
The place is authentic however, no permission is needed anyway to pray to the Blessed Virgin.
There are no more problems, but the problem of the “visionaries” has not been resolved yet.
The Decree of the Episcopal Conference of Yugoslavia that advises against pilgrimages is no longer in force, but it is not known who annulled it or when.
It is therefore impossible not to raise several questions:
1. If the mandate of the Pope’s Special Envoy finished last summer, as was officially announced by the Holy See Bulletin, in what capacity has Msgr. Hoser given the aforementioned statements? If he was not authorized for the first interview, was he authorized for the second one?
2. How is it possible to separate the “cult” from the “apparitions”, which are the basis of the very same cult? Did not the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith say last Spring that the “pastoral question cannot be separated from the question of the authenticity of the apparitions”?
3. Since when does the number of charitable institutions and formative gatherings been a measure and indicator of the “authenticity of the place”?
4. How can that what the Archbishop calls the “problem of the visionaries” be resolved, if the alleged “visions” or “apparitions” are still taking place on a daily basis?
5. If there exists a document allowing official pilgrimages, why would this be hidden from the faithful and the public?
6. Has not the Church always announced her decisions through clear and unambiguous documents and not by uncertain verbal statements?
7. In what way do these inconsistent statements, only 72 hours apart, serve the “Medjugorje phenomenon”?
Prepared by M.G.
Izvor: Crkva na kamenu