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No. 6643


POPE FRANCIS will issue the “final word” on alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary at Medjugorje before the end of the year, a Bosnian cardinal has said.

Cardinal Vinko Puljić of Sarajevo made the prediction after the Vatican announced that an international commission had completed its four-year investigation into events at the town in Bosnia and Herze- govina.

He said the commission had sent its findings to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). “These results the Congregation will consider and make a proposal to the Pope, and then the Pope will decide how to handle it,” he said. “This year we can expect the final word from the Holy Father.”

The CDF created the international commission in 2010. The body, led by the 82-year-old Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini, held its last meeting on January 17. Pope Francis met Cardinal Puljić the da y before for a private audience

” In a statement the Vatican said: “Th e director of the Holy See Press Office, F r Federico Lombardi, confirmed on Satur - day that the international commissio n investigating the events in Medjugorj e held its last meeting on January 17

’.” “The commission, created by the C DF, is presided by Cardinal Camillo Rui ni. The commission has reporte dly completed its work and will submit the outcomes of its study to the congregatio n.” The local Church first began to inv es- tigate Medjugorje months after six ch il- dren first claimed they had seen the Vir gin Mary June 24 1981. The inqu iry concluded that events in Medjugorje w ere most likely not of a supernatural natu ns. The alleged seers continued to rep ort almost daily apparitions and so the Yugoslavian bishops launched a natio nal inquiry. In 1991 the bishops issued the Zadar Declaration, which ruled that “on the basis of the investigations so far it cannot be affirmed that one is deal ing with supernatural apparitions and re ve- lation d”. As Medjugorje continued to rece ive millions of visitors and alleged appa ri- tions continued to occur, the CDF deci ded to establish an international commiss ion to review the situati on. Donal Foley, author of Medjugo rje Revisited: 30 Years of Visions or Re li- gious Fraud?, said that it was very dif fi- cult to predict what Pope Francis wo uld decide. He said there were three possi ble outcomes following the internatio


Medjugorje verdict ‘this year’

January 24 2014 £1.50 (Republic of Ireland €1.80)


commission’s report. The first is that Pope Francis will reject the authenticity of the apparitions. The second is that he will propose a “compromise” arrange- ment that will allow devotees to continue visiting the site of the alleged appari- tions without endorsing them. The third is that he will acknowledge the super- natural character of the Medjugorje visions.

Mr Foley said he believed the third option was unlikely.

He said: “There are signs that Pope Francis is not taking Medjugorje as some- thing genuine. For example, he gave a sermon in November in which he said: ‘The Virgin Mary is not a postmistress, who sends messages every day.’ There were other remarks where he said that people were too taken up with appari- tions.

. “It is quite possible that there coul d be a compromise which effectively mean s allowing the status quo to continue. Bu t the problem with that is that Benedic t XVI, while he was pope, said that h e wanted a definite decision and Vatica n press secretary Fr Lombardi’s comment s give the same impression.

. Mr Foley continued: “The prefect fo r the Congregation of Faith Archbisho p Gerhard Müller’s tone about the appar i- tions has also been cynical. If you look at his letter last year to the US papal nunc io about Medjugorje, Archbishop Mül ler referred to the apparitions in inver ted commas and concluded that while the CDF’s investigation was ongoing ‘ all should accept the declaration, dated Ap ril 10 1991, from the bishops of the for mer Republic of Yugoslavia re. Mr Foley said it was his understand ing that the international commission’s m ain focus was the authenticity of the appa ri- tio s”. Reflecting on possible “compromi se” arrangements, he said that Medjugo rje was “unique” and in a “category of its own because of its worldwide impac t”. But he said it would be possible for the Pope to recognise Medjugorje as a cen tre for Marian devotion without acknowl ed- ing the visions’ supernatural charact er. He offered the example of Heroldsbach in Germany, where a young girl claimed to see Our Lady between 1949 and 19 52. Following an investigation, the Chu rch denied the authenticity of the Heroldsb ach visions. But in 1988 the site was rec og- nised as a “centre of prayer for the ven er- ation of the Mother of Go

13 The sun sets behind a statue of the Virgin Mary on Apparition Hill in Medjugorje, where six children first claimed to have seen Our Lady in June 1

nal Cardinal who leads Francis’s G8 tells head of CDF to ‘loosen


up’ Vatican Notebook: Pag e 4 Editorial Comment: Page ge’   



THE CARDINAL in charge of Pope Francis’s group of ei ght cardinals has criticised the prefect of the Congregat ion for the Doctrine of the Fai

05. Cardinal Óscar Rodr íguez Maradiaga said that Car dinal- designate Gerhard M üller, who is opposed to c hanging the Church’s approach to the re-married, was be ing too

TER CDF prefect “will arrive at understanding other positi ons too”, even if at the mom ent “he listens only to his gr oup of adviser th. Archbishop Müller was ap- pointed as head of the CD F in 2012 by Benedict XVI, who ran the Congregation fo r 24 years before becoming pope in 2

rigid. In an article in L’O sserva- tore Romano last O ctober, Cardinal-designate Mü


ller re- jected demands for divorced and remarried Catholi cs to be admitted to Holy Comm un- ion. In an interview w ith Ger- man newspaper Köln er Stadt- Anzeiger the arch bishop of the Honduran capita l Teguci- galpa said: “I think I under- stand it. He’s a Ge rman, one has to say, and above all he’s a German theology p rofessor, so in his mentalit y there’s only truth and false hood. But Cardinal-designate Müller and Cardinal Mar adiaga CNS Cardinal Rodr íguez Mara- diaga was app ointed last April to the gro up of eight cardinals who advise Pope Francis on Ch urch go v er- nance. I say, my brother, the world not just listeni ng and then isn’t like this, and you should saying no.” be a little flexible when you Cardinal Rodr íguez Mara- hear other voices. That means diaga said he

s”. Carey: ARCIC like Cardinal Pell: As hes talking on the m oon win is ‘sweet reven was sure the   


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 BY SI MON CALDWELL cause no one is listening to them, a for mer Anglican lead er has said. CATHOLICS and A nglicans in- volved in forma l ecumenical dialogue migh t as well be “talking on t he moon” be- Lord Carey of Clifton said the work of t he Anglican- Roman Catholic I nternational Commission (ARCIC) was “irrelevant” to most Chris- tians, who were motivated by relations at grass roots level. He suggested that

   AN AUSTRALIAN cardinal has said that “reven ge is sweet” following Austr alia’s Ashes victory o financial... BY MADE LEINE TEAHAN the England-Aust ralia battle for the Ashes. Ever y Australian feels entitled to re joice in our five-nil victory, against the odds and against all expecta- tions, including mi ne. The fact that Ian Botham predicted a five-nil whitewash for England is a spe g


        Cartoon:Page 12 Continu ed on Page 2 Writing in the Catholic Weekly, Cardinal George Pell said: “Revenge is sweet. So runs the 16th-cent ury proverb. We all know that Ch rist prohib- ited revenge, urgin g us to turn the other cheek. .. But these commandments don ’t quite fit The cardinal als o said that, with match-fixing scandals, it was now impossibl e to believe “that Test cricket w as played in a world without Or i gi

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