MEDJUGORJE, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNS) — While he said he had
no authority or expertise to discuss the authenticity of the alleged
apparitions of Mary at Medjugorje,
Pope Francis’ envoy to the town said it was clear “there is a special
spiritual climate here.”
Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga, named by Pope Francis in February to study
the pastoral situation in the small town and the needs of pilgrims, held a news
conference April 5 after a week in Medjugorje.
The archbishop repeatedly told reporters he could not
respond to questions about the authenticity of 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.
“It is not my task to discuss whether these phenomena
are true or not, because the church has not yet defined them. This is the work
of the commission,” which now-retired Pope Benedict XVI established in
Archbishop Hoser told reporters he hoped “the ultimate
decision of the commission and of Pope Francis” would be published soon.
However, he did tell reporters, “the biggest miracle of
Medjugorje are the confessions” of hundreds of people each day.
Evangelization obviously is occurring in Medjugorje, the
archbishop said, and that is clear from the packed celebrations of the Mass,
eucharistic adoration, conversion stories and the reports of hundreds of
Catholics who cite an experience in Medjugorje as key in their following a
vocation to the priesthood
or religious life.
The archbishop confirmed that he had met with the six so-called
seers, as part of his look at the pastoral needs of the townspeople and
pilgrims, but not to discuss the authenticity of the apparitions.
According to the six, he said, “the phenomena still
persist, which present
difficulties in making a final judgment.”
Archbishop Hoser also met with Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, whose diocese
includes Medjugorje. In a statement released two weeks after the archbishop’s
appointment, Bishop Peric affirmed his belief that nothing supernatural
occurred or was occurring in Medjugorje.
“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,” he said.
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