The old bridge Stari Most is the landmark of Mostar. Two possible Vatican scenarios of the future of Medjugorje will place the parish outside of the diocese of Mostar, a major Croatian daily has learned from un-named sources
Recognition or condemnation of the claims of apparitions is not the main focus of the Vatican Commission appointed to investigate the events of Medjugorje. The more pressing issue is the future administration of the place.
Among four possible recommendations of the Commission, two will lead to Medjugorje no longer being under the jurisdiction of Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar. In one of these options, the Vatican will assume control of Medjugorje itself. In the other, the diocese of Mostar will be split in two, the Croatian newspaper Vecernji List writes without naming sources.
“Unofficially we have been informed that the game has four options. First, status quo remains, and Medjugorje will still be under the jurisdiction of Bishop Peric of Mostar who usually argues that there has never been any apparitions in the parish” the paper sums up the first option.
“But considering that millions of pilgrims are coming to Medjugorje, this option would also acknowledge the reality: It would acquire the status of at least a place of prayer and would be required to adopt ‘rules of the game’” journalist Zarko Ivkovic further reports in Vecernji List.
One year ago, Ivkovic was the main author of the book “Misterij Medjugorja” in which unclassified documents from the Yugoslavian secret police shed new light on the early days and years of Medjugorje.
Two scenarios of new governance
Though two of the four possible recommendations involve a new ecclesiastical governance of Medjugorje, the Croatian newspaper only uses the term “very radical” about one of them:
The Commission headed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini (right) will submit its findings and recommendations to Pope Benedict XVI through the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before the end of 2012, Commission member Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo informed in February
“In the second option, the Pope would appoint his own delegates to Medjugorje, who would be responsible for the parish, and the Vatican’s decisions would be implemented on the ground through its Franciscan Commissioner. In this case, an official statute to determine the rules of action in this area would be given. The Bishop of Mostar would no longer have jurisdiction over Medjugorje.”
Today, the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno-Trebinje-Mrkan is the official name of the diocese usually referred to as Mostar. The third option changes this, to place Medjugorje in a new-established diocese, splitting in effect the diocese of Mostar in two:
“The third option is a very radical. It envisages the establishment of the Diocese of Trebinje-Mrkan with the parish of Medjugorje as a part of it. This means that the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno will be territorially reduced, and the Pope would then appoint new bishops to Mostar, and assume jurisdiction over Medjugorje” writes Vecernji List.
“According to the fourth option, the Medjugorje phenomenon would be declared a fraud which would then imply a ban on pilgrimages. This option is still the least likely.”
Other informations given to Vecernji List confirm previous reports that the Vatican Commission gives priority to studying the early days of the apparitions, and that Vatican officials have visited Medjugorje incognito, the latter most likely a fact since long before the Commission was formed in March 2010. Other aspects are new:
“The Commission extensively examines various documents, especially considering the events in the early days of the apparitions, and we unofficially learned that teams of experts are investigating miraculous healings. It is also interesting that the parish of Medjugorje has had incognito visits of people from the Vatican in order to determine the authenticity of the pastoral work of the Franciscans” the major Croatian newspaper writes.
Headed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, the Vatican Commission will submit its report and recommendations to The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which will take the report to Pope Benedict XVI who makes the final decision. The report is expected later this year.