How to Interpret the Words of Pope Francis before his flight from Lisbon to Rome,
May 13, 2017?
Before you re-read the words of the Pope, here are 2 quotes from Jesus that we must always keep in mind:
“A good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree is known by its fruit. People cannot pick figs from thorn bushes, nor gathergrapesfrom briars.” (Luke 6: 43-49)
Also: “By their fruits you shall know them. Do people pick grapes from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16)
Another quote from Jesus to Saint Faustina Kowalska reads:
“Listen, my daughter, all the works that come into being by my will contain the risk of great suffering! Consider if any of them have been subject to greater difficulties than that work which is directly mine – the work of Redemption. You should not worry too much about difficulties.” (Diary §1642)
After watching the interview of the Holy Father on the evening of May 13, many of those who love Medjugorje and who have found a renewal of their spiritual lives there were greatly hurt at first, and struck by disappointment and sadness. Indeed, seeing the Pope shaking his head in a negative way while comparing the Blessed “Virgin” of Medjugorje to a post office clerk, could create disillusionment in many, including me. But thanks be to God, we took time to carefully consider each point brought up by the Pope, and we have found several good reasons to rejoice!
1 -The Ruini Commission. The essential point to focus on is that the Pope labeled as “very good” the document of the Ruini Commission instituted in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI on Medjugorje. The purpose of this Commission was to come to know and to explain the phenomenon. In this interview, Pope Francis used the word “good” 6 times and reinforced it twice by saying “very, very good.” This amounts to very emphatic approval. He basically gave high praise to the good work carried out by the good theologians, priests and cardinals. He publically opposed sending the report to another Congress for inspection. He said, “It doesn’t seem right to me; it’s like putting the Ruini report up for auction”. Now, according to the votes of the experts who participated in this Ruini Commission, 13 among them are in favor of the recognition of the supernatural character of the first seven apparitions in Medjugorje, a single person voted against this, and one member reserved judgment until later. In other words, an overwhelming majority voted in favor of the supernatural character of the first apparitions.
2 – That’s an enormous step in the history of Medjugorje! If we consider the last official statement from Zadar in 1991: “Non constat de supernaturalitate,” it cannot be affirmed that this is supernatural (and not “We affirm that this phenomenon is not supernatural”), the question remains open. Therefore today, Medjugorje can become a place of verifiable Marian apparitions! Of course, we would prefer that this recognition be extended to a little more than those 7 days. However there was no question of denying the following apparitions! It’s about maintaining doubt, and therefore, leaving a question mark. Let’s not forget that these apparitions still occur, and that it is difficult to canonize a saint who is still alive. (Our Lady told the visionaries that she would appear to them once a year during their lifetimes.) Let’s not forget as well that the apparitions at the Rue de Bac (Paris) in 1830 and the Miraculous Medal have never been officially recognized, yet there is an authorized Sanctuary there that thousands of people from every country endlessly flow through every day.
3 – Freedom to Adherence. The Pope made it clear that he was expressing hispersonal opinion, which means, in the language of the Church, that we are free to adhere to it or not, according to our own consciences. Even John Paul II expressed his personal opinion when he declared Medjugorje “a center of spirituality” and repeated his desire to go there. He wrote letters in which he made known his recognition of Medjugorje as a place visited by the Mother of God. (In my book “The Hidden Child of Medjugorje,” I attached photos of these letters.) He wrote, for example, to his friends, Marek and Zofia, in Krakow: “Madame Zofia, I thank you for everything you said about Medjugorje. I, also, travel to Medjugorje each day in pilgrimage through prayer; I join spiritually to all those who pray there, or who feel a call to pray there.” However, he didn’t express his personal opinion except in private to a number of reliable witnesses, among others, the President of Croatia, Franjo Tudjman, and to Monsignor Paolo Hnilica. He didn’t speak out in a Press Conference, no doubt so as to respect the opinions of his fellow Priests and Bishops, opinions that were different from his own. He could have used the influence of his position as Sovereign Pontiff, but he chose patience.
4 – A Comedy of Deception? We know that at Mostar, the Bishop had a personal opinion different from that of John Paul II. He actually denied the authenticity of the apparitions, characterizing them as some kind of deceitful comedy played from the very beginning by both the Franciscans and the visionaries. But now we have a Pope who is open to the authenticity of the first apparitions and who recognizes the good fruits over time – 36 years.
The Pope also referred to the position of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, presided over by Cardinal Mueller, a man who has actively opposed Medjugorje for many years. Now, Pope Francis has openly dismissed the Cardinal’s overly negative declarations. According to the “habits and customs” of the Church, such a public dismissal of those negative comments carries weight, even if the Pope doesn’t personally recognize all of the apparitions at Medjugorje.
5 – A Postmistress Virgin? The Pope cannot believe that this “post office employee,” could be the Blessed Virgin Mary. He seems troubled by two facts:
1 – That she speaks every day,
2 – That she gives precise appointments to the visionaries.
Now, at Medjugorje, Our Lady doesn’t speak every day, far from it. Yes, she does come every day to pray with the visionaries, just as she has already done at Notre Dame du Laus (France) for 54 years with the Venerable Benoite Rancurel. That said, we know that Pope Francis is bombarded with so-called messages from the “Virgin”, which must certainly exasperate him! But those messages have nothing to do with the Queen of Peace in Medjugorje.
As for setting up a time and date with the visionaries, she has often done that in the recognized apparitions of Lourdes, Fatima, Kibeho, etc. It is part of her maternal care, to make sure no one will be in the dark about her next apparitions. By doing so, she enables her children to gather together, to be with her and to pray with her. That’s her joy as a mother. The miracle of the sun at Fatima was witnessed by 70,000 people on October 13, 1917. Our Lady had announced that apparition to the 3 shepherds, and, therefore, permitted that great historic gathering. (See PS 1)
We could then conclude this: since the 2 major concerns brought up by the Pope against this “post office employee” are precisely those two hurdles, we can be reassured! When it comes right down to it, it is not impossible that the Pope might take these points into account when he ultimately expresses his thoughts.
6 – A Positive Point: The Pope has not rejected the messages. We can, therefore, continue to listen to them attentively, to share them, and to live them in all security according to the intense desire of the Queen of Peace.
7 – A Paradox? Let’s remember the words of Christ: “People don’t pick figs from thorn bushes. . . A tree is recognized by its own fruits.” Pope Francis and the whole Ruini Commission recognize the good fruit of Medjugorje. The evidence is incontrovertible! So, how can this good fruit continue to grow on a bad tree?
The special envoy of the Pope, Monsignor Henryk Hoser, came to Medjugorje, as you know. The Holy Father praised him during this interview as a “good bishop whom he chose.” Monsignor Hoser conducted a very serious investigation on site (“Come and see,” says Jesus). He met key people, the Franciscans and the visionaries, visited several local communities and has seen various charitable works born from the messages etc. He will submit his report to Pope Francis by the end of June. In view of the encouragement and the comfort he anxious to give to the entire parish as the “special envoy of the Pope,” it is probable that the next words of the Holy Father on Medjugorje will be more favorable. Monsignor Hoser is an expert in matters of apparitions. He was an active member of the commission which studied the apparitions of Kibeho in Rwanda, and these ended up being recognized. Let us wait in prayer! (See PS2)
8 – Chase Away Sadness! In any case, even if this personal opinion is that of a Pope, it remains an unofficial opinion and doesn’t have the authority of the Church (See PS 3 on ex cathedra declarations). Everyone remains free then to believe in good conscience that it is the Mother of God who is still appearing today or not to believe it. Free, also, to go to Medjugorje, to pray there, to read the messages and to live them out. In spite of the sadness that this interview has brought to some people, when we look at it all closely, we find a lot of important and positive points.
The Pope concluded his interview by saying, “In the end, we will say something!” Let us wait in fervent prayer and trust, as Mary always did in her life. Let us cling to her as never before!
9 – Watch Out for Snares! Given the anti-Christian waves and the persecutions the entire world is facing at the moment, I believe that we should prepare ourselves to experience great spiritual battles. The confusion that reigns should drive us to be more vigilant than ever.
The traps that Satan could lead us into on the occasion of this interview are obvious, and falling into them would be a disaster. Moreover, that would be a great disservice to the plans our Heavenly Mother has. I see 2 important traps worth highlighting here:
– On the one hand, if we tell ourselves that the Pope does not look very favorably on Medjugorje, we might no longer go on pilgrimages there. That would work against thousands of poor and humble souls (who otherwise claim the attention of the Pope, paradoxically!) Think of all those faithful of Medjugorje who found peace and hope again, who came back to life by embracing the sacraments, and who were finally able to find new courage in the face of very difficult situations! They could feel wounded and discouraged. Not to mention those who have never been to Medjugorje but whom Our Lady is inviting . . . May they not deprive themselves of this providential source of grace!
– On the other hand, some might be tempted to reject the Pope and perhaps even the Church in view of these contradictions within the institution. God forbid! It is out of the question to oppose the Pope/Gospa as if we had to choose between the two! Let’s continue to pray for the Holy Father with all our hearts and for the Church of Christ.
“Your shepherds do not need your judgments nor your criticisms. They need your prayers, your love, and your help” (Message transmitted by Mirjana). “My Son is with you. He is everywhere. He is invisible, but you can see Him if you live Him. He is the light which illuminates your soul and gives you peace. He is the Church that you must love, for which you must pray and always fight for.” (Message of August 2, 2015).
We love our shepherds and we pray for them. It’s quite simple: We love them because they are our shepherds! Jesus chose them for us. Didn’t the Gospa say: “Only through your shepherds will my Heart triumph. Don’t allow the Evil One to separate you from your shepherds!” (Sept. 2, 2013)
Let us trust our dear Mother, because all of this is inscribed on a providential path that she is managing with the heart of a Queen. As Queen and Sovereign, she will make everything work out for our good. As Vicka often says, “The Gospa will fulfill her plan.” And, also, “The Gospa will defend herself.” Could she have been more clear at Fatima when she declared, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph”?
Sister Emmanuel +
(Translated from French)
PS 1 – On May 13, 1917, at about noon, a light appeared in the sky, then a lady radiating light, dressed in white, holding a rosary in her right hand. She alerted everyone as to her peaceful intentions. (Don’t be afraid; I don’t want to harm you”). She revealed that she came from Heaven and asked the children to return to that place six more times, every 13th of the month. She made a precise appointment for the miracle of October 13.
PS 2 – Words of Monsignor Hoser at Medjugorje, at the end of March, 2017. “This worship, which is so intense here, is extremely important and necessary for the entire world . . . Let us pray for peace, because today the forces of destruction are immense. . . We need an intervention from Heaven, and the presence of the Blessed Virgin is an intervention! It’s an initiative from God. Therefore, I would like to encourage and comfort you in my office as the special envoy of the Pope!” This sentence unleashed thunderous applause.
To the journalists, he declared: “Tell the whole world that at Medjugorje one finds light again! I wish I could enroll you in a seminar here, so you could discover that you are no longer suspicious.”
PS 3 – When a Pope speaks “ex cathedra,” as Universal Pastor of the Church, he is infallible; his words become an object of faith, and every Catholic is required to believe them. Pope Pius XII did this for the dogma of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary in 1950, and it has not happened since. When a Pope writes an “encyclical”, his words are to be taken very seriously; they are part of the ordinary Magisterium of the Church. They are neither dogma nor revelations of faith, but inspired direction and adapted to the times; for example, that of Paul VI, Humanae Vitae. John Paul II wrote 7 of them, Benedict XVI 3, Francis one. When a Pope writes an “Apostolic Letter,” it is also direction offered by the Pope to the faithful, but not imposed on them. Amoris Laetitia is a “post synod” “evangelical exhortation,” as is Evangelii Gaudium.
(When the Pope shares a personal opinion in private, it is NEVER officially recognized by the Church. For example, the words of John Paul II to certain prelates during private audiences were systematically denied, according to the uses and customs of the Vatican. For security sake.)