May 1998: CDF letter to Bp. Aubry

Abp. Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
May 26, 1998
Letter to Bp. Gilbert Aubry, Bishop of Saint-Denis on Reunion Island
This translation is my own. For an image of the original French text, see here.

26 May 1998


By letter of 1 January 1998, you submitted to this Dicastery various questions concerning the position of the Holy See and of the Bishop of Mostar on the subject of the alleged “apparitions” of Medjugorje, private pilgrimages, and the pastoral care of the faithful who go to that place.

On that account – whereas I consider it impossible to respond to all of the questions put by your Excellency – I am anxious above all to make clear that it is not the practice of the Holy See to assume, in the first instance, a position of its own regarding supposed supernatural phenomena. This Dicastery, therefore, in what concerns the credibility of the “apparitions” in question, limits itself simply to what has already been established by the Bishops of the former Yugoslavia in the Zadar Declaration of 10 April 1991: “… On the basis of the investigations conducted to this point, it is not possible to affirm that it is a case of apparitions or of supernatural revelations”. After the division of Yugoslavia into various independent nations, it would now pertain to the members of the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina to possibly take the case again under examination and, in that case, to issue new declarations.

What His Excellency Msgr. Peric stated in a letter to the General Secretary of “Famille Chr├ętienne”, in which he declared: “My conviction and position is not only ‘non constat de supernaturalitate’, but even this: ‘constat de non supernaturalitate’ of the apparitions or revelations of Medjugorje”, must be considered the expression of a personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar, who, as Ordinary of the place, always has the right to express what is, and remains, an opinion which is his personally.

Finally, concerning pilgrimages to Medjugorje which take place in a private manner, this Congregation holds that they are permitted, on the condition that they not be considered a validation of events in progress and which still call for examination by the Church.

Hoping to have given a satisfactory response at least to the principal questions posed by yourself to this Dicastery, I ask you, Excellency, to accept the expression of my most devoted sentiments.

+ Tarcisio Bertone