On his flight back from celebrating the 100th anniversary of the first apparition in Fatima, Pope Francis took questions from the press. One such question was about Medjugorje.
Small excerpts of the Holy Father’s answer have been quoted in various news articles, but here we post the question and answer in its entirety, as translated by CNA, for the sake of clarity.
Mimmo Muolo (Avvenire): Good evening Holiness. I’m asking you a question in the name of the Italian group. Yesterday and today at Fatima, we saw a great witness of popular faith together with you. The same that is found, for example, also in other Marian shrines like Medjugorje. What do you think of those apparitions, if they were apparition, and of the religious fervor they have aroused seeing that you have decided to appoint a bishop delegate for the pastoral aspects? And if I can permit myself a second question I know is very close to your heart besides that of us italians… I would like to know, the NGOs were accused of collusion with the boat traffickers of men. What do you think of this? Thanks.
Pope Francis: I’ll start with the first. I read in the papers that I peruse in the morning that there was this problem, but I still don’t know how the details are and because of this I can’t give an opinion. I know there is an issue and the investigations are moving ahead. I hope that they continue ahead and that the whole truth comes out. Medjugorje, all the apparitions, or the presumed apparitions, belong to the private sphere, they aren’t part of the public, ordinary magisterium of the Church. Medjugorje. Medjugorje. A commission was formed, headed by Cardinal Ruini. Benedict XVI made it. I, at the end of 2013 the beginning of 2014, I received the result from Cardinal Ruini. It was commission good theologians, bishops, cardinals, but good. Very good. And the commission. The Ruini report was very, very good. Then there were some doubts in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the Congregation judged it opportune to send each one of the members of this Feria quarta (CNA Editor’s note: “Feria Quarta” is a once-a-month meeting in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during which current cases are examined) all the documentation, even those that seemed to be against the Ruini report. I received a notification – I remember it was a Saturday evening, late evening… and it didn’t seem right. It was like putting up for auction – excuse me the word – the Ruini report which was very well done. And Sunday morning the prefect received a letter from me that said that instead of sending them to the Feria Quarta, they they would send the opinions to me personally.
These opinions were studied and all of them underscore the density of the Ruini report. Principally, three things must be distinguished: the first apparitions, that they were kids. The report more or less says that it must continue being studied. The apparitions, the presumed current apparitions: the report has its doubts. I personally am more nasty, I prefer the Madonna as Mother, our Mother, and not a woman who’s the head of a telegraphic office, who everyday sends a message at such hour. This is not the Mother of Jesus. And these presumed apparitions don’t have a lot of value. This I say as a personal opinion. But, it’s clear. Who thinks that the Madonna says, ‘come tomorrow at this time, and at such time I will say a message to that seer?’ No. The two apparitions are distinguished. The third, the core of the Ruini report, the spiritual fact, the pastoral fact. People go there and convert. People who encounter God, change their lives…but this…there is no magic wand there. And this spiritual and pastoral fact can’t be ignored. Now, to see things with all this information, with the answers that the theologians sent me, this good, good bishop was appointed because he has experience, to see the pastoral part, how it’s going. And at the end he’ll say some words.
The “good bishop” mentioned by Pope Francis is Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Poland, who has been in Medjugorje at the pope’s request. At a recent press conference there, Archbishop Hoser spoke highly of Medjugorje’s fruits and compared the apparition site to Lourdes.
Obviously we at MedjugorjeLive believe that the apparitions, both current and past, are genuine and represent the greatest miracle of our time. For believers who may be concerned about the pope expressing his “personal opinion” on the matter, we invite you to remember the first words Our Lady said to the children in both Fatima and Medjugorje: Be Not Afraid.
Pope John Paul II, who believed strongly in Medjugorje, addressed the crowd in the same way when he first stepped out as pope. He was urging us to put our trust fully in God. On this special day of May 13th, remember Our Lady’s promise made in both Fatima and Medjugorje. Her immaculate heart will triumph.
How will Pope Francis and the Vatican proceed with the Medjugorje? Only time will tell, but perhaps Archbishop Hoser’s opinion will be taken into account once his duties as the papal envoy to Medjugorje conclude.