Rome restricts Medjugorje in the States
Visionary Ivan Dragicevic’s scheduled public apparations in late October were cancelled upon instructions from the head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. American Bishops have been asked not to permit arrangements that take the apparitions for granted.
Arrangements that take the credibility of the apparitions in Medjugorje for granted are not to be accepted in Catholic churches in the United States.
The restriction further extends to conferences, meetings and other public celebrations, and for the first time imposes restrictions upon Catholic laity, not only the clergy.
From the head of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, via the papal nuncio to the United States, on October 21 this message was sent to the General Secretary of the United States Conference for Catholic Bishops, for distribution among the Bishops throughout the country.
The instruction got the immediate effect that visionary Ivan Dragicevic’s scheduled appearances on October 26 in Danvers, MA, and on October 27 in Greenville, RI, were cancelled shortly before they were to take place.
In his letter of instructions, US papal nuncio (‘ambassador’) Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano tells the organization of Catholic Bishops that he is acting at the request of Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), called “His Excellency” in the following:
“His Excellency wishes to inform the Bishops that one of the so-called visionaries of Medjugorje, Mr. Ivan Dragicevic, is scheduled to appear at certain parishes around the country, during which time he will make presentations regarding the phenomenon of Medjugorje. It is anticipated, moreover, that Mr. Dragicevic will be receiving “apparitions” during these scheduled appearances” the papal nuncio opens his letter to the US Bishops that has been obtained by the Catholic news portal Spirit Daily.
CDF is also the body to which the current Vatican Commission for investigation of the events of Medjugorje is going to report, the fact next addressed by the papal nuncio:
“As you are well aware, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is in the process of investigating certain doctrinal and disciplinary aspects of the phenomenon of Medjugorje. For this reason, the Congregation has affirmed that, with regard to the credibility of the “apparitions” in question, all should accept the declaration, dated 10 April 1991, from the Bishops of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, which asserts: “On the basis of the research that has been done, it is not possible to state that there were apparitions or supernatural revelations.”
“It follows, therefore, that 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.”
“In order, therefore, to avoid scandal and confusion, Archbishop Müller asks that the Bishops be informed of this matter as soon as possible” papal nuncio Carlo Maria Vigano ends his letter.
By Medjugorje critics, the declaration of April 10th 1991 referred to by the nuncio has often been understood to mean that the claim of apparitions in Medjugorje had been proven untruthful by the Yugoslav Bishops. However, high ranking clerics and others with insight into the Vatican’s procedures for judging apparitions have always agreed that the declaration from April 1991 leaves the matter undecided.
A well-placed source at one of the parishes where Ivan Dragicevic was scheduled to talk tells Spirit Daily that the cancellation came upon receipt of a letter from the bishop citing the directive from the papal nuncio.
A priest at St. Richard, Fr. Bruce G. Flannagan, declined comment except to tell Spirit Daily that the appearance had been canceled “for whatever reason” and that “it is out of our hands.”
Ivan’s US tour coordinator Ana Shawl did not reply when informed by Medjugorje Today that her comments would be appreciated.
Spokesmen for both the Archdiocese of Boston and the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island, have declined to offer answers to questions from Spirit Daily; the same has been true of the papal nuncio, whose assistant said it was doubtful he would make any remarks, though Spirit Daily’s request for information has been placed on his desk.
It is unclear if a similar letter of instructions has been sent to the Conference of Catholic Bishops in Italy where both Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti and (to a lesser degree) Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic and Mirjana Dragicevic-Soldo have given talks and had public apparitions in recent years. Medjugorje Today has taken steps to clarify this matter. For the moment, no scheduled arrangement includes their participation.
Marija’s most recent public appearance took place in Cerea near Verona on October 26, the same day when the first of Ivan’s scheduled arrangements was cancelled.