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Skeptical Vatican cardinal joins debate on Medjugorje

January 13, 2010

The former prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has weighed into a revived debate on the reported Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, expressing skepticism about their authenticity. Speaking in careful language, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins told the Italian web site Petrus that he would await the official verdict of the Church regarding the apparitions. However, he said that it was a mistake to assume that displays of piety at Medjugorje are a sign of authenticity. “Just because people convert in this place, it is not given that the Madonna is appearing,” he said, observing that conversions take place regularly in ordinary parish churches.

The cardinal also voiced misgivings about the alleged messages from the Virgin Mary instructing the Medjugorje “seers” to disregard orders from their bishop. “The Madonna could not, in any case at all, be anti-hierarchical and incite disobedience, even if the Bishop of Mostar were wrong,” he said. In questioning the claims about Medjugorje, he said, “This is another element on which to reflect."

Questioned about the recent visit to Medjugorje by Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn—which drew criticism from Bishop Ratko Peric of the local Mostar diocese-- Cardinal Saraiva Martins again chose his words carefully, but made his meaning clear:

Far be it from me to think of judging the conduct of Cardinal Schönborn, but I, considering the morbid attention which is concentrated on Medjugorje, and as I always do every time I go out from Rome, would have spoken beforehand with Monsignor Peric: when we Cardinals enter into a Diocese, we are entering into the "house" of the Bishop of the place and we must have the good manners and good sense to announce ourselves.


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  • Posted by: raymondfrice9926 - Jan. 13, 2010 5:20 PM ET USA

    If you recall, one of the greatest seers of apparitions was Bernadette Soubirous. She relayed the message and then disappeared!!! We have always had problems with seers who relayed the message and then would not disappear or shut up (ie La Salette); thus adding to the confusion often found in supernatural phenomenon. Do the current seers work at a job, lead a humble life thus letting the messages get the attention and not the conduit??