Thursday, May 31, 2012

Vatican decision expected on Medjugorje

Richtlinien zu „Erscheinungen“ und „Botschaften“ veröffentlicht – Entscheidung zu Medjugorje erwartet › 

Guidelines for "appearances" and "messages" published 
The CDF published on 29 May Norms regarding the manner of proceeding in the discernment of presumed apparitions or revelations. They have formed since 1978 the standard by which the Church examines alleged apparitions. In Normae de modo procedendi in diiudicandis praesumptis apparitionibus ac reveationibus, it is noted that for "private revelations" that is "alleged apparitions, visions and messages to which supernatural origins are attributed" to be authentic, they must be focused on Jesus. They can "introduce new dimensions, bringing to light new forms of piety or deepening old," but they cannot in any way, "correct" Divine revelation or contradict this.

Guidelines date from 1978 - publication linked with Medjugorje?
The newly published guidelines were already on 25 February 1978 adopted by the CDF, as William Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation points out in his introduction. At that time, they were brought to the attention of the bishops, but not made known. The reason was that they concerned "primarily the pastors of the Church" said the Prefect. Why have they now been published? Is the disclosure in connection with the decision still-awaited in 2012 on Medjugorje?

The question of experiences that are linked to supernatural phenomena, have been in the life and mission of the church always been  topical, as it was during the 12th Ordinary Synod of Bishops of 2008.

Pope Benedict XVI. saw the need, in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Verbum Domini to respond.

Pope Benedict XVI about private revelations
In all of this, the Church gives voice to her awareness that with Jesus Christ she stands before the definitive word of God: he is “the first and the last” (Rev 1:17). He has given creation and history their definitive meaning; and hence we are called to live in time and in God’s creation within this eschatological rhythm of the word; “thus the Christian dispensation, since it is the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Tim 6:14 and Tit 2:13)

So said Benedict XVI

Consequently, the Synod pointed to the need to “help the faithful to distinguish the word of God from private revelations”  [Proposition 47]

Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church
[Catechism of the Catholic Church, 67]
(Cathcon- I quote the whole paragraph)

The value of private revelations is essentially different from that of a public revelation: These support our faith, as through human words and through the mediation of the living community of the church , God himself speaks to us. The standard for the truth of a private revelation is its orientation to Christ himself. If they are leading us away from Him, then they certainly do not come from the Holy Spirit who guides us more deeply into the Gospel and not away from it. Private revelation is a help to this faith, and is proven credible by refering to a public revelation.

The Church's approval of a private revelation is therefore indicative of, essentially, that the corresponding message contains nothing contrary to faith or morals, it is permissible to publish them, and it is allowed for the faithful to give their wise consent .

A private revelation can deepen or give new dimensions that highlight new ways of piety or old.  They can have a certain prophetic character (cf. 1 Thes 5:19-21) and be a valuable tool to better understand and to live the Gospel in a particular moment , so they should not be disregarded. It is a help that is offered, but one which one is not obliged to use.But in all of this there must be a nurturing of faith, hope and love, which are the unchanging path to salvation for everyone. The Message of Fatima (26 June 2000) : Ench. Vat 19, Nos. 974-1021]

Lourdes and Fatima were officially recognized by the Church
Worldwide, there are several current phenomena of alleged apparitions and messages which were explained by those affected as supernatural influence. The Church saw in its history no reason to comment on any vision, but does so when a special need exists, particularly the danger that believers might be misled. Few visions have been officially recognized by the Church. These include those of Lourdes and Fatima.

Commission of Inquiry on Medjugorje established in 2010
Currently, a decision is expected on Medjugorje. To test the alleged apparitions in the mountain village of Herzegovina, Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 set up a commission of inquiry whose final report is expected in 2012.

The competent bishops' conference said in 1991 that "non constat de supernaturalitate ", which means "the supernatural nature is not certain". The final judgment for what the Vatican's commission of inquiry established by Pope Benedict XVI is not yet known.

"Non constat de supernaturalitate " means a negative decision, according to guidelines
The newly published guidelines from 1978 are the basis for the work of Medjugorje Commission of Inquiry. The church has, according to ecclesiastical practice, two choices available: "constat de supernaturalitate " in which she recognises the supernatural nature and therefore recognizes a vision (positive decision) and "non constat de supernaturalitate" by which the Church rules that the supernatural nature is not certain (negative decision).

Until the 1970s, the negative decision read "constat de non supernaturalitate"- it is cetain that it is not of supernatural nature. This formulation was replaced in the canonically binding 1978 Normae de modo procedendi in diiudicandis praesumptis apparitionibus ac reveationibus with the new formulation. A non constat de supernaturalitate means a negative judgement about the alleged visionary phenomenon, since the all-important authenticity remains doubtful.

The various meanings of constat.
One dictionary
it is agreed/evident/understood/correct/well known (everyone knows/agrees)
Another dictionary

it is certain
As a noun it can mean cerfied report
The Church in 1978 moved the negative non and thereby moved from deciding on the truth of a revelation to interpreting it. That said, the local Bishop's Conference have over the years been very hostile to Medjugorje and her Franciscan promoters.

One of the visionaries, Mirjana

The place has its supporters and detractors. Among the supporters is found, Cardinal Schönborn who is also a key supporter in Rome.

Among the detractors, the traditionalist author Michael Davies who wrote a critical book and who told me on the second of his two visits he received threats by telephone on the last day that he would be murdered if he ever visited again.

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