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If a report by Catholic World News is accurate [see account], it could spell difficulty for the famous apparition site of Medjugorje. According to the report, Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, speaking at the Synod of Bishops last week, complained that the reported apparitions of Medjugorje are becoming a source of division in the Church. "The cardinal said that the unity of the Church is threatened by the disobedience of the Franciscan monks serving at Medjurgorje, who 'impose their own points of view' with the aid of 'pseudo-charisms,'" reported CW News.
This was alarming because the last anyone has heard the fate of Medjugorje was in the hands of the national conference of bishops in Bosnia-Hercegovina -- of which Cardinal Puljic is president.
According to the U.S. papal nunciature's office, the other members of the conference are the bishops from Banja Luka and Mostar. There are actually four bishops on the new commission, including an auxiliary bishop from Sarajevo.
The use of the term "pseudo-charisms" by the cardinal to describe the happenings at Medjugorje indicates at best skepticism over the legitimacy of the apparitions and if the report is accurate appears to align him with Bishop Ratko Peric from Mostar -- who has long been an outspoken critic of Medjugorje as he has dueled with the Franciscans. That means at least two of the four members appear to be against or strongly leaning against the apparitions. Thus, as strong supporters of Medjugorje, we urge prayer.
The dispute between secular bishops and Franciscans in the region is an age-old one. Franciscans operate the parish at Medjugorje, and so the apparition site has found itself caught in the middle of an acrimonious dispute that just last July saw the Mostar bishop discipline 40 Franciscans in the diocese. However, a source at the cardinal's office said the disobedience does not pertain to current priest at St. James Church at Medjugorje, but rather to those in surrounding areas.
At Medjugorje itself there have been attempts to patch up differences with the bishop, whose predecessor, Bishop Pavao Zanic, also sought to reject Medjugorje in 1986 but was halted from doing so by the Vatican.
That cardinal Puljic would make his remarks at such a gathering was important not only because of his role on the commission, but also because it could influence the opinions of other bishops -- gathered from around the world -- as pertains to Medjugorje.
It has long been known that issues concerning the Church, as well as Medjugorje itself, are in at least some of the seers' secrets, and a ruling on its authenticity could thus be tied to future events.
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