Monsignor Gilbert Aubry, Bishop of Saint-Denis de la Reunion, France wrote to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on January 1, 1998, with several questions pertaining to the Holy See’s position on Medjugorje. Secretary Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone responded on May 26, 1998. The response was received by Bishop Aubry on June 24, 1998. Bishop Aubry, on the 25th, sent the Vatican Communication to the priests and communities of his diocese so that they could have the latest statement from Rome and, if necessary, inform the faithful with full knowledge of the facts that they were free to go to Medjugorje and remain in the good graces of the Church. The letter from Archbishop Bertone follows:
â€œExcellency, 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 thereâ€¦As for the credibility of the â€˜apparitions’ in question, this Dicastery respects what was decided by the bishops of the former Yugoslavia in their Declaration dated April 10, 1991: â€˜On the basis of the investigations so far, it cannot 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. The opinion expressed by Bishop Peric said in his letter to the Secretary General of â€˜Famille Chretienne,’ declaring he believes Medjugorje is a case of â€˜constat de non supernaturalitate’ should be considered the expression of his personal conviction which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place; but which is and remains his personal opinion. Finally, this Congregation points out that private pilgrimages to Medjugorje are permitted on condition that they are not regarded as authentification of events still taking place and which still call for examination by the Church. Msgr. Tarcisio Bertone (Secretary to the Congregation)â€
This latest statement from Rome continued to keep Medjugorje in a neutral zone, which is what the April 1991 Zadar Declaration had stated years earlier. Nothing had changed in regard to Medjugorje’s status. Pilgrims were still allowed to go to Medjugorje, and from the seat of Peter, Pope John Paul II continued to encourage this whenever the bishops of the world came to him with questions regarding Medjugorje.