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Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia

Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia

The Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia issues nine directives of what one should do regarding Medjugorje.
The Session of the Croatian speaking section of the Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia (BCY) discussed the subject of Medjugorje in Zagreb for three hours on September 16, 1987. From that discussion, the following conclusions may be drawn:

1. In Medjugorje distinction must be made between the alleged apparitions of Our Lady, the comprehension and dissemination of Our Lady’s messages and the pilgrimages themselves, which have become a world-wide phenomenon because pilgrims are coming from all five continents in ever-increasing numbers.

2. Such numerous pilgrimages can be ignored no longer and the faithful left on their own; rather, it is necessary that priests assist the pilgrims spiritually and be at their service for Confessions, preaching of the Word of God and Holy Mass in their own languages.

3. Regarding the scientific investigations of various domestic and foreign experts, especially the official New Commission named by the Bishop’s Conference of Yugoslavia according to the directive of the Holy See, we must be patient and allow the investigations full freedom.

So long as the New Commission, responsible to the BCY, has not brought forth its own official opinion about the supernatural character through the formula: Constat de supernaturalitate (the supernatural character is established) or Constat de no supernaturalite (the non-supernatural character is established) of the aforementioned apparitions and messages, NO INDIVIDUAL BISHOP of the BCY can pass his own official sentence about those events, because that judgement would have neither official nor binding validity.

Only when the New Commission passes its sentence and that judgement is affirmed by the BCY and by the Holy See, and only then, will that judgement, whether positive or negative, have official validity and obligate each Catholic in his conscience.

4. I repeat my own interpretation that the BCY, at its proper time, forbade only ‘offical’ pilgrimages, and not private or privately organized pilgrimages.

5. In the meantime, I think it cannot be said that one ‘believes’ by an act of faith in those events until the Church has expressed its own final judgement about the events at Medjugorje, and therefore, all we who go to Medjugorje must go there with the firm decision that we shall be obedient to the final judgement of the Church. Up to that point, we may have our own ‘opinion’, but not ‘belief’, in those events.

Therefore, it is not proper to speak in favor of the validity of the messages of Medjugorje from the altar, nor is it proper to attack these events, in the name of God and the Church, as mendacious and diabolical.

6. Accordingly, I maintain that the Faithful may freely make pilgrimage to Medjugorje individually or privately organized pilgrimages, meaning, thereby, in pilgrimages which are not officially organized by the Church, i.e., by bishops, pastors, monasteries or similar officially Church institutions.

7. Priests may take pilgrimages to Medjugorje if they go there not as organizers of pilgrimages, but rather for the sake of spiritual assistance to the faithful, again with the firm decision that they shall obey the final judgement of the Church.
If anyone should ask a priest if he believes in the supernatural character of the Medjugorje events, he may freely say ‘I cannot believe’ in those events until the Church has officially made a declaration about them.

8. It is not possible to ‘believe’ either in the truths contained in Sacred Scripture or Divine Tradition, until the Church guarantees me those truths are revealed by God.

That (guarantee) is also given for private revelations. The distinction is that the truths contained in public revelation obligate every Christian in conscience to accept them if he wishes to be saved, whereas, even after the final judgement of the Church, no one is obligated to accept private revelations, because they are not necessary for salvation. Only prudence can counsel us to at least accept them if the Church declares that they are in accordance with public revelation.

9. I ordain that all this is valid as a directive for my faithful, for my priests, religious men and religious women.

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