August 21, 2017
Archbishop Henryk Hoser, who was sent to Medjugorje by Pope Francis in March to investigate the spiritual welfare of the community, has said that he expects the Holy See to approve the reported apparitions there.
Archbishop Hoser said that there is “every indication” that the Vatican will recognize at least the first reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary, dating back to 1981, as authentic. He said “it is difficult to reach any other verdict.”
The Polish archbishop told the KAI news agency that he was not asked to make his own judgment on the validity of the apparitions. His mission, he explained, was “to evaluate whether the pastoral ministry was proper and consistent with the doctrine and teaching of the Church.” He answered that question affirmatively, saying that “from a pastoral point of view, there is a very positive result.”
A separate Vatican commission, chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, looked into questions about the authenticity of the Marian apparitions, and delivered its findings in 2014. Although the commission’s report has never been made public, Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli reported in May of this year that the commission had concluded that the first seven reported apparitions were authentic. According to Tornielli, the commission was more skeptical about claims that the apparitions continue to this day.
Pope Francis essentially confirmed that report in an exchange with reporters who accompanied him on his visit to Fatima in May. He was that the commission had made a distinction between the earliest apparitions and more recent claims, and that the commission “has its doubts” about the latter.
In those comments to reporters, Pope Francis called attention to the spiritual benefits many pilgrims have enjoyed upon visiting Medjugorje. “People go there and convert,” he said. “And this spiritual and pastoral fact can’t be ignored.”
Archbishop Hoser made a similar point. “It is one of the most alive places of prayer and conversion in Europe,” he said of Medjugorje; “and has a healthy spirituality.” He indicated that a final verdict could come from the Vatican before the end of this year.”