The Vatican restrictions upon Medjugorje arrangements far from equal a formal condemnation, and those who give this impression in fact disobey Church authority by usurping the role of Pope Francis, says Professor Mark Miravalle who advises Medjugorje’s supporters to pray and obey.
Pilgrimages are still permitted, Medjugorje has not been condemned, and the restrictions the Vatican has recently imposed upon public arrangements do not change anything in this regard. Indeed, anyone who pictures the restrictions as a formal condemnation is disobeying rightful Church authority by preempting a decision that has not yet been taken.
These are the main points of an article by Professor Mark Miravalle after an October 21 directive has restricted Medjugorje arrangements in the United States if arrangers take the credibility of the apparitions for granted. Miravalle, a University of Steubenville Professor of Theology and Mariology and an expert on Church evaluation of acclaimed apparitions, has written several books on Medjugorje.
“To the larger public, I would say: be clear and beware not to take the new restriction for what it is not: a definitive Church statement against Medjugorje’s authenticity. The CDF has a right, for whatever reason, to implement further restrictions while the ongoing Vatican Commission completes its study, which will ultimately go before Pope Francis for final judgment” Mark Miravalle writes.
“But the fact remains, the Church process is not over. Medjugorje has not been declared “constat de non” (not authentic, ed.) by the U.S. Nuncio letter, and any conclusion or promulgation at this time that Medjugorje has been officially condemned would be its own form of disobedience to proper Church authority. To do so would be to usurp the role of the CDF and ultimately of Pope Francis himself to make the final discernment of the authenticity of Medjugorje—a critical and historic discernment which belongs to the Church’s Magisterium alone” the Professor continues.
In his statement, Mark Miravalle also addresses Medjugorje’s millions of followers worldwide whom he asks to “pray and obey”:
“This new restriction (which is nothing like a formal prohibition) can, in fact, become a providential opportunity to show the world that the great majority of Medjugorje followers live and breathe at the heart of the Church, in full obedience to the Church, and are not “fringe fanatics” whose faith hinges only on an alleged apparition, as some critics may at times assert. The proof is obedience” he writes.