With his Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera published last weekend it is clear that Pope Francis has nixed any doubts about the legitimacy of pilgrimages to Medjugorje and priests travelling there to assist with administering the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Medjugorje has long been referred to as the “Confessional of the World” because of its renown as a “place of prayer and reconciliation”.
In his new Apostolic Letter issued at the end of the Extaordinary Jubilee Year, Pope Francis said:
“The Sacrament of Reconciliation must regain its central place in the Christian life. This requires priests capable of putting their lives at the service of the “ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5:18), in such a way that, while no sincerely repentant sinner is prevented from drawing near to the love of the Father who awaits his return, everyone is afforded the opportunity of experiencing the liberating power of forgiveness.”
Seven years ago, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, a member of the nine-man Council of Cardinals that serves to advise Pope Francis, said about Medjugorje:
“There are certainly strongholds of Confession today. I think particularly of Medjugorje. I dare speak of that because for 28 years it has become one of the greatest strongholds of Confession. Thousands and thousands of people go to Confession!”