Those familiar with Medjugorje have surely heard about the recent letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the alleged apparitions in Medjugorje that states in part: “clerics and the faithful are not permitted to participate in meetings, conferences or public celebrations during which the credibility of such ‘apparitions’ would be taken for granted“. This letter was delivered by the Papal Nuncio to the U.S. and sent to all U.S. Bishops.
Such talks by visionaries from Medjugorje are something that has been going on in the U.S. and other countries for many years. Most notable among the visionaries who travel giving talks is Ivan Dragicevic. Ivan lives in Medjugore during the summer but lives in the U.S. during the winter months and normally has a full speaking schedule at various parishes and locations during that time. During most of those talks he also allegedly has apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
To those who oppose the reported apparitions in Medjugorje, this seems a great victory. To those who believe in the apparitions in Medjugorje, this seems like a severe defeat.
Actually, it is neither, in our opinion. It is a prudent move on the part of Holy Mother Church to avoid scandal by appearing to approve an apparition that is still under investigation.
This brings up the often-asked question: can individuals still travel to Medjugorje and be loyal to the Magisterium of The Church? The answer is yes! The latest directive does not deal with this issue at all.
As has been the case for many years, pilgrimages are not allowed to be organized at the Parish or Diocesan level, but priests are encouraged to accompany such groups to provide spiritual guidance so long as they do not assume official approval. And, of course, individuals can travel their on their own.
To add to the confusion is the fact that many Priests, Bishops and Archbishops continue to visit Medjugorje and concelebrate Mass in the church.
Since so many priests have reportedly found their vocations in Medjugorje and the fruits seem widespread, we encourage you to find out for yourself, if you feel called to travel there.
The Church will probably put out some kind of ruling in 2014, but what that will be is anyone’s guess. It will possibly not be outright approval of the appartions, since they are still on-going, but rather might be approval of Medjugorje as a place of pilgrimage.