From Mr Bernard Ellis SIR – Donal Anthony Foley (Letter, October 14) states that “when Pope Benedict instituted the commission [the international commission investigating Medjugorje] the idea was that a decision should be reached during his pontificate”. Where on earth does he get this idea from?
The Church’s first concern is always that the correct verdict is reached, not with fitting things into any time frame. The Vatican has said the work of the commission will be slow and painstaking. In Vatican speak this certainly means many, many years of thorough investigation. The commission has hardly begun its work yet. Indeed, it may well extend to more than the 40 or 50 years which Mr Foley says that the Holy See would not tolerate. Why would the Holy See not tolerate this? In May 2008 the Holy See approved the apparitions in Laus in France. The Church had been investigating the apparitions there for over 300 years.
Mr Foley says that Medjugorje supporters should prepare for a negative verdict. There is not one iota of evidence to suggest that a negative verdict will be arrived at. Au contraire, the likelihood of a negative verdict seems to recede all the time. For example, one of the worst-kept secrets in Rome at the moment is how extremely impressed members of the international commission were with the testimony of Ivanka Ivankovic, the first Medjugorje visionary to be interviewed by the commission. The commission interviewed Ivanka in June 2011. (There are unconfirmed reports that this month the commission interviewed a second Medjugorje visionary, Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic.) Mr Foley has raised absolutely nothing new on the subject and, in fact, neither my position nor Mr Foley’s position on Medjugorje is of any real consequence. The Church will decide. Let’s give the Church the breathing space to do so.
Yours faithfully, BERNARD ELLIS Bletchingley, Surrey From Mr John Hanrahan SIR – It is very distasteful to read again Donal Anthony Foley (Comment, September 30) disparag ing the spiritual fruits of Medjugorje, fruits which have been received by millions of pilgrims travelling with open hearts to Medjugorje for over 30 years to receive the grace needed, keep God in the centre of their lives, and for many to find God again.
It is also perplexing to try and understand why Mr Foley continues to make his unsubstantiated claims when he concludes cautiously that the commission appointed by the Vatican is “likely” to be negative. This is in contrast to the supporters of Medjugorje who wait patiently for further pastoral directions from the Church.
It is important to remember that the discernment of apparitions is a lengthy process, and invariably will continue until the last visionary has died and even beyond. Now that the world is perceived as a global village, phenomena such as Medjugorje present a broader challenge for the Church in terms of discernment in order to provide appropriate pastoral guidance. Countless pilgrims who go to Medjugorje also travel to Fatima and other Marian shrines.
Yours faithfully, JOHN HANRAHAN Surbiton, Surrey