Home » Posts tagged 'Bosnia-Herzegovina'

Bosnian bishop says again: Mary has not appeared in Medjugorje

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — “The Virgin Mary has not appeared in Medjugorje,” said Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, the diocese in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which includes Medjugorje.

A statue of Mary is seen outside St. James Church in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this file photo.  (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

A statue of Mary is seen outside St. James Church in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this file photo. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Two weeks after the Vatican announced Pope Francis was sending a Polish archbishop to study the pastoral needs of the townspeople and the thousands of pilgrims who flock to Medjugorje each year, Bishop Peric posted his statement Feb. 26 on his diocesan website.

Three of the six young people who originally claimed to have seen Mary in Medjugorje in June 1981 say she continues to appear to them each day; the other three say Mary appears to them once a year now.

Bishop Peric noted that a diocesan commission studied the alleged apparitions in 1982-1984 and again in 1984-1986 with more members; and the then-Yugoslavian bishops’ conference studied them from 1987 to 1990. All three commissions concluded that it could not be affirmed that a supernatural event was occurring in the town.

The six young people continued to claim to see Mary and receive messages from her and tens of thousands of pilgrims visited the town, and the alleged visionaries, each year. Pope Benedict XVI established a commission that worked from 2010 to 2014; and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith began looking at that commission’s report in 2014.

Many observers believe Pope Francis appointed his envoy in February to study the pastoral needs of the town and the pilgrims in preparation for releasing a judgment on the alleged apparitions.

The position of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno “for this entire period has been clear and resolute: these are not real apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary,” Bishop Peric wrote in his statement, which was posted in Croatian and Italian.

Some people, he said, believe the apparitions were real at least at the beginning, perhaps for the first week, but that the young people continued to claim to see and hear Mary “for other reasons, most of which are not religious.”

Bishop Peric said a study of the transcripts of interviews with the six alleged visionaries from that first week give several motives for suspicion if not total doubt about the supernatural nature of events.

First, he said, the Mary of Medjugorje usually speaks only when spoken to, “she laughs in a strange way, in response to certain questions she disappears and then returns, and she obeyed the ‘seers’ and the pastor who made her come down from the hill into the church even against her will. She does not know with certainty how long she will appear, she allows some of those present to step on her veil lying on the ground, to touch her clothes and her body. This is not the Gospel Mary.”

The seventh time Mary allegedly appeared, June 30, 1981, five of the youngsters were in a nearby town called Cerno and claimed to have seen Mary there. Bishop Peric said that in the recorded interviews all five reported that the apparitions would continue only three more days, July 1-3, 1981.

“Then she changed her mind and still ‘appears,’” the bishop wrote.

“Taking into account all that was examined and studied by this diocesan curia, including the study of the first seven days of the presumed apparitions, one calmly can affirm: The Virgin Mary has not appeared in Medjugorje. This is the truth that we uphold, and we believe in the word of Jesus who said the truth will set you free.”

Comments Off on Bosnian bishop says again: Mary has not appeared in Medjugorje

Pope sends envoy to study pastoral care of faithful in Medjugorje

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Without commenting on the authenticity of alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pope Francis has appointed a Polish archbishop to study the pastoral needs of the townspeople and the thousands of pilgrims who flock to the town each year.

A statue of Mary is seen outside St. James Church in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this file photo. Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga, Poland, as his special envoy to Medjugorje, the site of alleged Marian apparitions. A Vatican statement said his role would be to study the pastoral situation in Medjugorje. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

A statue of Mary is seen outside St. James Church in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in this file photo. Pope Francis has appointed Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga, Poland, as his special envoy to Medjugorje, the site of alleged Marian apparitions. A Vatican statement said his role would be to study the pastoral situation in Medjugorje. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The pope chose Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga as his special envoy to Medjugorje, the Vatican announced Feb. 11.

“The mission has the aim of acquiring a deeper knowledge of the pastoral situation there and, above all, of the needs of the faithful who go there in pilgrimage, and on the basis of this, to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future,” the Vatican announcement said.

Archbishop Hoser’s assignment has “an exclusively pastoral character,” the Vatican said, making it clear his task is separate from the work of a commission set up in 2010 by now-retired Pope Benedict XVI to investigate the claims of six young people who said Mary had appeared to them daily beginning in 1981. Some of the six say Mary still appears to them and gives them messages each day, while others say they see her only once a year now.

Pope Benedict had named retired Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini to chair the group studying the apparitions. In June 2015, Pope Francis told reporters that Cardinal Ruini had given him the group’s report and that it would be studied by the cardinals and bishops who are members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. At the time, Pope Francis said, “We’re close to making decisions,” although nothing was announced until the appointment of Archbishop Hoser about 20 months later.

Thousands of pilgrims travel to the small town each month to meet the alleged seers and to pray. Because the apparitions have not been approved, the Vatican has said dioceses should not organize official pilgrimages to Medjugorje. However, it also has said Catholics are free to visit the town and pray there, and that the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno and the Franciscans who minister in the town should organize pastoral care for them.

The Vatican’s February announcement said that Archbishop Hoser “is expected to finish his mandate as special envoy by summer of this year.”

Comments Off on Pope sends envoy to study pastoral care of faithful in Medjugorje

Peace demands hard work amid world’s atmosphere of war, pope tells Balkan nation

By

Catholic News Service

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — To overcome fear, discrimination and conflict, people must have a deep desire to open themselves up to God and his mercy, and work actively for peace every day, Pope Francis said.

Pope Francis arrives for a meeting with priests, men and women religious and seminarians in Sacred Heart Cathedral in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, June 6. Also pictured in the popemobile is Bosnian Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo. The pope was making a one-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina to encourage a minority Catholic community in the faith, and to foster dialogue and peace in a nation still largely divided along ethnic lines. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis arrives for a meeting with priests, men and women religious and seminarians in Sacred Heart Cathedral in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, June 6. Also pictured in the popemobile is Bosnian Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo. The pope was making a one-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina to encourage a minority Catholic community in the faith, and to foster dialogue and peace in a nation still largely divided along ethnic lines. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

God’s plan for creation is peace, “which always meets opposition from humanity and the devil,” he said during a one-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina June 6.

The cold reality today is that the world is facing “a kind of Third World War being fought in piecemeal” amidst “an atmosphere of war” worldwide, he said on the 71st anniversary of “D-Day,” the World War II anniversary of Allied forces landing in Normandy marking the liberation of Europe.

But the “ray of sunshine piercing the clouds” is Christ’s appeal to work for peace, the pope said during an outdoor Mass in the capital’s Kosevo sports stadium, where more than 60,000 people gathered from different parts of the Balkan region under a hot, hazy sky.

Signs of peace emerging from a war-torn nation stood out throughout the city, whose residents are mostly Muslim.

Small groups of well-wishers and cheering families lined the main avenues from the airport as armed military helicopters circled the sky.

Sleek modern glass and steel commercial buildings were scattered among rows of towering communist-era apartment buildings whose gray cement walls were riddled with bullet holes and gouged by shrapnel. The holes left behind are marked with large dark grey splotches where the newer cement was troweled on and left unpainted. Flowers adorned some gravestones in a makeshift cemetery on a grassy plot between a snarl of highway bypasses. During the years of urban warfare, it was difficult to bury the dead in established cemeteries on the outskirts of town, so parks and roadsides became burial grounds.

More than 100,000 people died and millions more were displaced during the 1992-1995 conflict, which saw a Serb campaign of ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims after the mostly Muslim nation declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1992.

“War means children, women and the elderly in refugee camps; it means forced displacement of peoples; it means destroyed homes, streets and factories; it means above all, countless shattered lives,” the pope said in his homily.

While there are those who foment war and profit from it by selling weapons, he said, there are those who hear Jesus’ words, “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

“He does not say, ‘Blessed are the preachers of peace,’ since everyone is capable of proclaiming peace, even in a hypocritical or indeed, duplicitous manner,” the pope said. “No. He says, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers,’ that is, those who make peace.”

Peacemaking requires putting justice into practice, and it takes patience, passion, experience and the tenacity to never give up, every day, “step by step,” he said.

A vital step, one that cannot be skipped, he said, is personal conversion since nothing in the world can change without a change in the human heart, one that makes room for God, his love and mercy.

Only with such change can a person see that former enemies “really have the same face as I have, the same heart, the same soul,” he said.

Signs of unity were seen throughout the Mass. An ecumenical choir of 1,600 people from Catholic and Serbian Orthodox churches and the country’s national choir were accompanied by the nation’s military band. Behind the altar was an intricately detailed chair for the pope, hand carved from dark walnut wood by a Muslim father and son. A large cross placed near the altar still bore the punctures of ammunition from the three-year long conflict.

In just the first hours of his visit, the pope said he saw signs of hope in the joy and smiles of the Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox and Catholic children who greeted him at the airport.

He told government and religious leaders during a morning meeting at the presidential palace, that “I saw hope today in those children. … That is hope. Let’s bet on that.”

“In order to successfully oppose the barbarity of those who would make of every difference the occasion and pretext for further unspeakable violence, we need to recognize the fundamental values of human communities,” values that help people communicate, forgive, build and grow, Pope Francis said.

“This will allow different voices to unite in creating a melody of sublime nobility and beauty, instead of fanatical cries of hatred,” he said.

 

Comments Off on Peace demands hard work amid world’s atmosphere of war, pope tells Balkan nation

Vatican to announce guidelines on Medjugorje, pope says

By

Catholic News Service

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Pope Francis said the Vatican was ready to make an announcement concerning the alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

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 on the flight back to Rome June 6.

Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard his flight from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Rome June 6. At left is Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman. The pope announced on the return flight that a decision soon will be announced concerning alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

Pope Francis speaks to journalists aboard his flight from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, to Rome June 6. At left is Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman. The pope announced on the return flight that a decision soon will be announced concerning alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

The expected announcement will include “just some guidelines (the congregation) will give to the bishops,” he said in response to a reporter’s question.

An international commission of cardinals, bishops, theologians and other experts, working under the auspices of the doctrinal congregation, 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.

After a few years, the commission completed its study in which the members “did a beautiful job, a beautiful job,” Pope Francis said at the end of his one-day visit to Sarajevo.

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

While the Vatican has said dioceses should not organize official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, it has said Catholics are free to visit the town and pray there, and that the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno and the Franciscans should organize pastoral care for them.

Pope Benedict XVI had reaffirmed that the church never requires the faithful to believe in apparitions, not even those recognized by the church.

 

Comments Off on Vatican to announce guidelines on Medjugorje, pope says

Pope heads to Bosnia June 6 as ‘brother messenger of peace’

June 5th, 2015 Posted in Vatican News Tags: , , ,

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis said he will dedicate his one-day visit to Bosnia-Herzegovina to encouraging a minority Catholic community in the faith, fostering ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, and calling for peace and harmony after the devastations of war.

Souvenirs with images of Pope Francis are seen June 5 at a vendor's stand in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the pope will visit June 6. (CNS photo/Fehim Demir, EPA)

Souvenirs with images of Pope Francis are seen June 5 at a vendor’s stand in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the pope will visit June 6. (CNS photo/Fehim Demir, EPA)

He said he would be coming “as a brother messenger of peace to express to everyone, everyone, my esteem and friendship. I would like to proclaim to each person, each family, each community, God’s mercy, tenderness and love.”

The pope made his comments in a brief recorded video message sent to the Balkan nation ahead of his trip to the capital of Sarajevo June 6.

Twenty years after the end of a three-year conflict of war and ethnic cleansing, Bosnia-Herzegovina is still largely divided along ethnic lines. Bosnians make up 48 percent of the country’s nearly 4 million people, while Serbs make up 37 percent and Croats 14 percent. About 40 percent of all citizens are Muslim, 31 percent Orthodox and 15 percent Catholic.

In his video message, released June 2, Pope Francis said the aim of the trip was to confirm the nation’s Catholics in the faith, “support ecumenical and interreligious dialogue and above all to encourage the peaceful coexistence in your country.”

He said he hoped his visit would have a positive impact on society and on the Catholic community, which has seen the loss of about half of its members since the war because of mass immigration due to the conflict and lingering economic difficulties, as well as because of declining birthrates.

While expressing his “affection and my strong spiritual closeness” to all the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the pope encourage its Catholics “to be at the side of your fellow citizens as witnesses of faith and God’s love, working for a society that journeys toward peace in harmony and mutual collaboration.”

It will be Pope Francis’ eighth trip abroad and the 11th country he has visited outside of Italy since his election in 2013.

 

Comments Off on Pope heads to Bosnia June 6 as ‘brother messenger of peace’

Periphery pope: Bosnia trip aims to build bridges in divided nation

By

Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis’ concern for those suffering on the margins and for small Catholic communities that have kept the faith alive through war or repression will take him to Bosnia-Herzegovina in early June.

By making a one-day trip June 6 to Sarajevo, he said he hoped he could “be an encouragement for the Catholic faithful, give rise to the development of the good and contribute to strengthening fraternity, peace, interreligious dialogue and friendship.” Read more »

Comments Off on Periphery pope: Bosnia trip aims to build bridges in divided nation
Marquee Powered By Know How Media.