Pope Francis’s envoy in Medjugorje has said that official pilgrimages to the shrine are permitted – but only as long as they are focused on Our Lady rather than particular apparitions.
Archbishop Henryk Hoser of Warsaw-Praga, appointed to study the needs of pilgrims at the shrine, had told Aleteia.org that there was “no problem” with official pilgrimages, before backtracking in a separate interview.
Speaking to Aleteia last week, Archbishop Hoser had said: “Today dioceses and other institutions can organise 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 newspaper, Archbishop Hoser said his earlier comments were a “little exaggerated”.
“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 organised 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 were free to organise pilgrimages to the site simply to pray to Our Lady, there was no authorisation relating to the apparitions.
“The problem of the visionaries is not yet solved,” he said.
“They are working [on it] 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.”
The official commission into apparitions at Medjugorje, chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, reportedly voted in favour of recognising the first seven apparitions.
However, the commission’s role was to make recommendations and the Pope has not yet made any definitive statements on the subject.
Poland may face EU sanctions over pro-life law
A Polish Church spokesman has dismissed a threat of European Union sanctions if his country’s parliament goes ahead with legislation to curb abortions of disabled babies.
Fr Pawel Rytel-Andrianik, conference spokesman, said: “The Polish bishops’ conference underlines that the right to life is fundamental to every human being, so we should all protect this right for defenceless children.
Nobody can take this right away, nor can external or internal pressures change the scientifically proved fact that human life begins at the moment of conception.”
The European Parliament said it would demand EU action if legislators went ahead with new restrictions, which were backed by a petition signed by 830,000 Poles.
The news came as Poland’s new prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said his dream was to “re-Christianise” the EU. He made the remark in an interview with the Catholic channel TV Trwam.
Fr Rytel-Andrianik said it would be difficult to “judge in advance” the impact of EU threats, which have been criticised as interference by some Polish politicians.
The EU resolution said members of the European Parliament would invoke Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty to demand Poland’s suspension from the European Council if it went ahead with controversial judicial and media reforms as well as with banning abortions owing to foetal impairment.
The resolution said the measures represented a “serious breach of European values” and urged Poland to “take a firm stand on women’s rights, by providing free and accessible contraception without discrimination”.
Fr Rytel-Andrianik said Poland’s bishops would continue backing the new legislation, which will be introduced in early 2018. “Our present law doesn’t protect human life sufficiently.
It allows the abortion of unborn children when they’re supposed to be damaged or somehow imperfect, and in 90 per cent of cases this refers to children with Down’s syndrome.”
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