Sunday, June 07, 2015

The Holy Father in Bosnia: Medjugorje

Pope Francis enthusiastically received.

He came calling for peace, proclaiming "No more war!"
The Pope also met members of the Muslim, Orthodox Christian and Jewish communities during his one-day trip.
Bosnia remains divided along religious and ethnic lines, 20 years after the fighting. 
"War means children, women and the elderly in refugee camps; it means forced displacement, destroyed houses, streets and factories. Above all countless shattered lives," the Pope Francis said in his homily at Sarajevo's Kosevo stadium. 
"You know this well having experienced it here," he added in reference to the 1992-95 conflict, which left some 100,000 dead and two million displaced. - BBC

I recall seeing "Mir" on the front of a supermarket tabloid years ago, as I stood in the check out line at the grocery store.  The story explained "Mir" - which means "peace" - was seen written in the sky above Medjugorje - that was in 1981.  It was the first time I had heard that Our Lady was supposed to have appeared in Medjugorje.  I soon learned more about the apparitions and the messages - especially the call to prayer and fasting.  Over the years a great deal of controversy surrounded the site, and so I decided to await the judgement of the Church on the authenticity of the events.

Turns out, a journalist asked Pope Francis about the apparitions and the status of the investigation, or study made by the Holy See, on this weekend's trip to Sarajevo.

Question: There is a big interest surrounding the phenomenon of the Medjugorje apparitions. What can you tell us about this?
“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.” - Source
Group apparitions in the 1930's.

In the 1930's there were similar events in the Basque, at Ezkioga in the diocese of San Sebastian - near Garabandal - and amazingly similar in content to both Garabandal and Medjugorje.  Interestingly in the case of Ezkioga, on 15 September, 1933, Bishop Múgica denied the supernatural character of the visions and forbade seers to go to site.  Months later, the Holy Office issued a decree against the visions of Ezkioga dated 18 June 1934.  The cult then went underground.

The month of June is significant in the history of Medjugorje as well.

I mention Ezkioga because the phenomena there was so similar to claims of contemporary apparitions and seers, such as at Medjugorje and Garabandal.  If the decision by the Holy See on Medjugorje is in the negative, the events at Ezkioga demonstrate the Church comes through these things with the faith intact.  Today most people have never heard of Ezkioga, nor do they know about the flury of apparitions which took place in the region at that time.

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