March 1996: CDF letter to Bp. Taverdet

Most Rev. Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
23 March 1996
letter to Most Rev. Leon Taverdet, bishop of Langres
This English translation of the letter appears on several web sites, but it has some obvious mistakes, so any readers with a copy of the French original are invited to send me a copy. Thanks to the maintainers of the web site for making the e-text available.


Vatican City, March 23, 1996, Prot. No. 154/81-01985

Your Excellency,In your letter of February 14, 1996 you inquired what is the present position of the Church regarding the alleged “apparitions in Medjugorje” and whether it is permitted to the Catholic faith to go there for pilgrimage.

In reference to that it is my honor to make known to you that, regarding the authenticity of the apparitions in question, the Bishops of the former Yugoslavia confirmed in their Declaration of April 10, 1991 published in Zadar:

“. . .On the basis of investigation up till now it cannot be established that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations. However, the numerous gatherings of the faithful from different parts of the world, who are coming to Medjugorje prompted both by motives of belief and certain other motives, require the attention and pastoral care in the first place of the bishop of the diocese and of the other bishops with him so that in Medjugorje and everything related to it a healthy devotion toward the Blessed Virgin Mary would be promoted in conformity with the teaching of the Church.

For that purpose the bishops shall issue separate appropriate liturgical-pastoral directives. Likewise by means of their Commission they shall further follow and investigate the total event in Medjugorje.

“The result from this in what is precisely said is that official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, understood as a place of authentic Marian apparitions, are not permitted to be organized either on the parish or on the diocesan level, because that would be in contradiction to what the Bishops of former Yugoslavia affirmed in their forementioned Declaration.

Kindly accept, your Excellency, an expression of my profoundly devoted affection!

+ Tarcisio Bertone