CENTRAL to Fr Foley's article on Medjugorje, December 21, and to Bishop Lindsay's criticism of it, is the meaning of the text issued by the Episcopal Conference of Jugoslavia, October 12.
"Therefore, official pilgrimages to Medjugorje must not he organised; the verdict of those who have responsibility for the life of the Church must not be prejudged."
Clearly this constitutes some sort of official ban and, from the text, what is banned is the organisation of official pilgrimages the interpretation of the meaning of official pilgrimages by Archbishop of Spalato-Makarska, H E Frane Franie was given in the Herald on December 28.
It is hard to see Fr Foley's article as damaging the claim that several young people have seen and heard Our Lady at Medjugorje, when essentially what he said is consistent with what the Archbishop wrote.
Likewise it seems that there is little reason for a horrified reaction to something thought to be surreptitious or evasive, when all that was proposed is on line with what Archbishop Franie wrote excluding the official organisation of pilgrimages, but leaving the pilgrimages of devotion.
It is, further, unfair to present
• ON BEHALF of the devotees to Our Lady of Medjugorje, I thank you and the Catholic Herald for your unbiased reporting on the extraordinary events at Medjugorje.
One has to notice with sadness that all the other Catholic papers and magazines appear to impose a "news blackout" on Medjugorje, so uncharacteristic of Catholic journalism in the free world.
I appeal to those who accept the supernatural character of the Medjugorje events, recognising the tree by its fruits, to adopt the devotions recommended by Our Lady.
These are Friday fasting on bread and water, praying Seven Our Father's etc with the Creed
• IT WAS encouraging to read some of His Grace, Bishop Lindsay's remarks about Medjugorje, particularly "the evident devotion of the local people inclines me to believe that Our Lady does appear there."
Bearing in mind that Our Lady is not only the Mother of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, but also the Mother of the Church, the validity of very many of the messages from her at Medjugorje would in no way be affected by any decisions which might or might not emanate from the local Church Commission, because they are very much in line with the tradition and teaching of the Church.
To quote a few: "you will not succeed if you do not love" I want you to love your close one at home, your family, your neighbour, your parish • . then you will be able to love all men without exception."
"Say every day at least one Rosary: joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries" . . "you have been praying too little and working too much."
"If you only know how great my love is for you, you would cry for joy."
Those of us who have been to Medjugorje see the stark contrast between the deep devotion, the intense faith and the tireless prayers, day after day, week after week, month after month and year after year of those people and the pale, tepid and languid attitude that can often be seen around us. Why is this so?
When we think of our evening prayers which are said at home, we must first ask how many of us have the strength in an index finger to switch off the emptiness and vapidity of Dallas or Dynasty and then the backbone to kneel down and say a short prayer for peace or the conversion of sinners — let alone the Rosary!
W II Peachey 3 Chichester Close, Bowerdene Road, High Wycombe, Bucks. as operative disobedience what is clearly well within the limits of what has been permitted, and to suggest that such conduct produces reservations in the prudent but simple Catholic: if it were disobedience it would have that effect: but to presume that it is, begs the question.
It is clear that the immediate history is found within a context and the context is complex: but there are historical records of things done and actions taken which are not the outcome of imagination, and these in their turn fail under the judgment of the Church.
It seems beyond doubt that the meaning of what the Episcopal Conference of Jugoslavia said on October 12 is what Archbishop Franie declared on 12 November 1984.
It is not surprising that the Episcopal Conference should make utterance in a matter of such importance: it is, after all, in a slightly extended sense, the local Church and must be presumed to have conducted itself as such: the Conference presumably would know more about the background, the context and the timing of events than even the Osservatore Romano.
Lachlan M Hughes, SJ 114 Mount Street, London W1Y 6AH daily in honour of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady for the following intentions: That the Bishop of Mostar and his Commission may be guided by the Holy Spirit to reach speedily a decision about the authenticity of Our Lady's apparitions in Medjugorje.
That in this, International Youth Year, the young people an d the visionaries of Medjugorje may become an inspiration to young people worldwide in accepting Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, and Our Lady as Queen of Peace.
Fr George Tlitt6 St Patrick's, Leys Lane, Leicester