Bishop Peric's comments on Medjugorje.
Bishop Ratko Peric's doubts about Mary's appearances in Medjugorje are not new. In a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) dated May 26, 1998, the then Secretary of the Congregation, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, replied to a bishop, who had made enquiries, as follows:
Citta del Vaticano, Palazzo del S. Uffizio May 26, 1998
To His Excellency Mons. Gilbert Aubry, Bishop of Saint-Denis de la Reunion
In your letter of January 1, 1998, you submitted to this Dicastery several questions about the position of the Holy See and of the Bishop of Mostar in regard to the so-called apparitions of Medjugorje, private pilgrimages and the pastoral care of the faithful who go there.
In regard to this matter, I think it is impossible to reply to each of the questions posed by Your Excellency. The main thing I would like to point out is that the Holy See does not ordinarily take a position of its own regarding supposed supernatural phenomena as a court of first instance.
As for the credibility of the "apparitions" in question, this Dicastery respects what was decided by the bishops of the former Yugoslavia in the Declaration of Zadar, April 10, 1991: "On the basis of the investigations so far, it can not be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations." Since the division of Yugoslavia into different independent nations it would now pertain to the members of the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Hercegovina to eventually reopen the examination of this case, and to make any new pronouncements that might be called for.
What Bishop Peric declared in his letter to the Secretary General of Famille Chretienne, declaring: "My conviction and my position is not only 'non constat de supernaturalitate,' but likewise, 'constat de non supernaturalitate' of the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje," should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place, but which is and remains his personal opinion [emphasis mine].
Finally, as regards pilgrimages to Medjugorje, which are conducted privately, this Congregation points out that they are permitted on condition that they are not regarded as an authentification of events still taking place and which still call for an examination by the Church.
I hope that I have replied satisfactorily at least to the principal questions that you have presented to this Dicastery and I beg Your Excellency to accept the expression of my devoted sentiments.
Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone
The president of the Episcopal Conference of France, Bishop Bille, sent a copy of Archbishop Bertone's May 26th letter to all the bishops of his country pointing out that the Church's position had been made clear on the matter and all false reports should cease.
During the summer of 2006, over one thousand priests and bishops helped celebrate the 25th anniversary of the beginning of the appearances, 332 priests on the altar and over 600 in front of it. The priests and bishops arrived with pilgrimages arranged by the laity (200,000), in conformity with the instruction of the CDF above.
I would also like to point out that important spiritual persons have mentioned Medjugorje in a favourable way (such as the now deceased Sister Lucia of Fatima) (Sister Emmanuel, Medjugorje, 1997, p. 71); Ft. Gobbi, Our Lady speaks to her priests, no. 357; and Mother Teresa in a letter to Mr. Dennis Nolan, April 8, 1992 ("We are praying one Hail Mary before Holy Mass to Our Lady of Medjugorje").
It's Time newspaper regularly reports on bishops from all over the world visiting Medjugorje.