Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pope appoints special envoy to Medjugorje

Pope Francis has appointed his “special envoy” to Medjugorje, but not to make any further investigations into the Marian apparitions that some sections of the Italian media is reporting.

A statement from the Vatican press office advises that the Holy Father has mandated Henryk Hoser (pictured), Archbishop of Warsaw-Prague (Poland) “to go to Medjugorje as a special envoy of the Holy See”.

“The mission aims to acquire more in-depth knowledge of the pastoral situation of that reality and, above all, the needs of the faithful who go there on a pilgrimage... The mission will, therefore, be of a purely pastoral character.”

Writing for Vatican Insider, Andreas Tornielli commented: “With the appointment today confirms the attitude of Pope Francis towards these phenomena. Although he has repeatedly warned against morbid attention to the ‘messages’ and the ‘secrets’ attributed to Our Lady, which in some cases ends up diverting some of the faithful from the heart of the Gospel message, Bergoglio shows great respect for what goes on in these places.”

This from Vatican Radio:

On Saturday, Pope Francis named Archbishop Henryk Hoser, S.A.C., the Bishop of Warszawa-Praga, as a Special Envoy of the Holy See to Medjugorje, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The scope of his mission, according to the press release announcing the appointment, is “to acquire a profound understanding of the pastoral situation” in Medjugorje, with special concern for the “needs of the faithful who come on pilgrimage;” and on the basis of that understanding “to suggest possible pastoral initiatives for the future.” His mission, therefore, “will have an exclusively pastoral character.”

Responding to questions from journalists, the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Greg Burke said, “The Special Envoy of the Holy See will not enter into the question of the Marian apparitions, which are the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” Archbishop Hoser’s mission, he said, “is a sign of Holy Father’s concern for the pilgrims. It’s purpose is not inquisitive, but strictly pastoral.”

Burke said, “The Special Envoy of the Holy See will be in contact with the diocesan Bishop; the Franciscans, to whom the parish of Medjugorje is entrusted; and with the faithful” of Medjugorje. Archbishop Hoser, who will continue to exercise the office of Bishop of Warszawa-Praga, is expected to complete his mission by summer.