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Papal envoy backtracks on Medjugorje comments

Thousands are converted at Medjugorje – but the local diocese is highly sceptical (CNS)

Pope Francis’s envoy in Medjugorje has backtracked on his recent comments on official visits to the shrine, saying they were “a little exaggerated”.

Speaking to Aleteia last week, Archbishop Henryk Hoser said: “Today dioceses and other institutions can organize official pilgrimages. It is no longer a problem.”

He also said: “The devotion of Medjugorje is allowed. It’s not prohibited, and need not be done in secret.”

However, in an interview with Il Giornale Archbishop Hoser now says the situation is slightly more complex.

“It is true what I said, although perhaps it was a little exaggerated in tone,” the archbishop said. “But it is absolutely authentic that pilgrimages of prayer can be organized in Medjugorje without any problem, provided they are spiritual and do not concern the apparitions of Our Lady to the seers.”

He also clarified that while bishops are free to organise pilgrimages to the site simply to pray to Our Lady, there is no authorisation to pray for the apparitions.

“The problem of the visionaries is not yet solved,” he said.

“They are working at the Vatican. The document is in the Secretariat of State and must be expected. And of course we need a pronouncement from the Pope who was able to study the report of the commission presided over by Cardinal Ruini.”