Medjugorje: In St. John Paul II’s Own Words

St. John Paul II


Medjugorje: In
St. John Paul II’s Own Words

When
speaking with people regarding Medjugorje, I often find that people either know
little to nothing about the reported apparitions of Mary that have lasted over
38 years and that continue to this day…

Or,
they have a vague negative perception fueled by things they once heard or read
many years ago.

I’ve
also found that most have no idea that St. John Paul II personally believed in
Medjugorje and spoke highly about it with Bishops and priests, stating such things
as:

·      Mary’s
coming to Medjugorje was an answer to his prayers.

·      Medjugorje
is the continuation and extension of Fatima.

·      The
fall of Communism in Poland should not be credited to him; but it is the work
of Mary in Medjugorje and Fatima.

·      Today
people have lost the supernatural. They find it in Medjugorje.

·      Medjugorje
is “the Spiritual Heart” and “the Hope of the World”.

·      “Our Lady of Medjugorje
will save America!”

Yet,
these are, in fact, accurate representations of his thoughts. This article will
verify each of these statements plus many others.

But,
let’s first address the most fundamental question:

What is Medjugorje?

Medjugorje
is a small village in former Communist Yugoslavia, (what is now currently known
as Bosnia- Herzegovina) where it has been reported consistently and undeniably
that Mary, the Mother of Jesus, has been coming to earth – first to six
children – now to three of the six children (who are now adults) who still
report seeing her to daily. In the reported messages, Mary calls herself the
“Queen of Peace” and asks for: Peace, for her children to convert and have
strong faith through centering our lives on the Eucharist (adoring and going to
Mass daily if possible), reading Scripture and praying the rosary daily with
the heart (with our family if possible), fasting twice a week and confessing
once a month. Up to 50 million people have made pilgrimages there. Out of these
millions, hundreds of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, as well
as, countless conversions and miracles have been reported – resulting in
thousands who describe Medjugorje as a place where “heaven touches the
earth”!

As
mentioned above, most have no idea what Pope John Paul believed regarding these
events that began in 1981 and lasted through the end of his pontificate and
beyond (again, according to continuous reports).

In
response to this, I provide here a comprehensive account of what St. John Paul
II said regarding Medjugorje privately to many priests and bishops.

Their
testimonies, placed here in chronological order, not only give insight into
John Paul II’s beliefs, but also provide a compelling look into the history of
Church’s response regarding the reported apparitions as well; particularly, as
it regards its unprecedented stripping away of the authority of the local
bishop to make judgments regarding Medjugorje. This is why those holding to the
local bishops’ opinions and purporting them to be the Church’s official
response do not represent the Church or the reported apparitions accurately or fairly.

Now,
on to Medjugorje in St. John Paul II’s own Words:

1984: Pope John Paul II to Bishop
Hnilica: “Medjugorje is a continuation,
an extension of Fatima. Our Lady is appearing in communist countries primarily
because of problems that originate in Russia.”

·     
This was said while discussing the
Consecration of Russia with Bishop
Pavel Hnilica, who was speaking to the Pope of how he was able to enter Communist
Moscow at the risk of further imprisonment (he had already been imprisoned for
six years in a Communist work camp alongside tens of thousands of others), in
order to Consecrate Russia as it’s bishop in union with Pope John Paul II’s
Consecration on March 25, 1984. (See testimony here of his time in prison and
how he was able to enter Moscow http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/ttindalr/hnilica.htm)

·      This Act of Consecration was made to fulfill the request
of Our Lady in Fatima – who, Pope John Paul II was convinced –
saved his life from the trained assassin’s bullet on May 13, 1981. (See full
interview: http://www.medjugorje.hr/en/news/medjugorje-and-pope-john-paul-ii—an-interview-with-bishop-hnilica,1132.html)

On
April 2, 1986 reported by Fr. Ivan Dugandzic, OFM, during a meeting with the
Holy Father. The Holy Father told him that he follows the events continuously. “You can tell everyone that each day I
pray for a happy conclusion to these events.”

June
1986: Response to a group of twelve Italian bishops seeking pastoral advice on
people making pilgrimages to Medjugorje. “Let
the people go to Medjugorje if they convert, pray, confess, do penance and
fast.”

1987: Fr. Gianni Sgreva, who was
discerning whether to help with the foundation of a new Community, which
stemmed from the conversion of several young people in Medjugorje.

“…Before founding the community I spoke
with Cardinal
Ratzinger.
He listened to everything attentively and instructed me what
to do. For Medjugorje he told me,

“Don’t you worry about
the tree, you worry about the fruits, the vocations, and Medjugorje is our
concern.”

I spoke also with the Holy Father. I
talked to him about the community and the vocations connected with the
experience of Medjugorje. The Holy Father listened to me, drew close to me and
right in my ear said to me, reminding me not to forget:

“Don’t
you be concerned about Medjugorje, because I’m thinking about Medjugorje and I
pray for its success every day. You be concerned with the vocations and pray
for me every day”

·      Passionist Fr. Gianni Sgreva speaks in regard to the origins of the Oasis of Peace Community, whose
history began with “the events in the famous Bosnian village of Medjugorje.
Here, in the year 1987, several young men and women were touched by the
presence of the Queen of Peace. They began to try and live the messages of Our
Lady – prayer, penitence and conversion – transforming them into a lifestyle
compatible with consecrated life.” It is now “composed of brothers and sisters
from all parts of the world and is present today in Italy, Cameroon and Brazil.”

1987: In a private conversation with
the visionary Mirjana Soldo the Pope said:

“If
I were not pope I would already be in Medjugorje confessing.”
https://priestlyconsecration.com/2019/04/the-visionary-mirjanas-meeting-with.html:

·     
Mirjana
further attests and writes in her book, My Heart Will Triumph, about her
time with Pope John Paul II. In the course of the conversation, saying:

·      “Please
ask the pilgrims in Medjugorje to pray for my intentions.”

“I know all about Medjugorje I’ve followed the messages from the
beginning. Please, tell me what it’s like for you when Our Lady appears.”

·      “Take
good care of Medjugorje, Mirjana. Medjugorje is the hope for the entire
world.”

·      “If
I were not the pope, I would have gone to Medjugorje a long time ago.”

·      She
writes: “I will never forget the love that radiated from the Holy Father. What
I felt with him is similar to what I feel when I am with Our Lady, and looking
into his eyes was just like looking into hers. Later, a priest told me that the
pope had been interested in Medjugorje from the very beginning, because right
before our apparitions started, he had been praying for Our Lady to appear
again on Earth. 

·      “I
cannot do it all alone, Mother,”
he prayed. “In
Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Poland and so many other communist countries,
people cannot freely practice their faith. I need your help, dear Mother.”

·      According
to this priest, when the pope heard that Our Lady had appeared in a tiny
village in a communist country, he immediately thought Medjugorje had to be an
answer to his prayers
.  

·     
[John Paul II was shot on May 13, 1981 –
the reported Marian Apparitions in Medjugorje began on June 24, 1981 – just a
little over a month later.]

1988: “Pray for me in Medjugorje. […] Medjugorje is the spiritual
heart of the world.”
(Pope John Paul II to bishop of Florianopolis
(Brazil), Maurillo Kreiger)

·      1988: Mons. Maurillo Kreiger visited
Medjugorje four times. His first visit was in 1986. He writes as follows: “In 1988, I was with eight other
bishops and thirty three priests on spiritual retreat in the Vatican. The Holy
Father knew that many of us were going to Medjugorje afterwards. After a
private mass with the Pope, before leaving Rome, he said, without having been
asked anything, “Pray for me in Medjugorje”.

·      On
another occasion, I told the Pope “I am going to Medjugorje for the fourth
time”. He concentrated his thoughts and said, “Medjugorje, Medjugorje, it’s the spiritual heart of the
world”.
On the same day I spoke with other Brazilian bishops and the
Pope at lunch time and I asked him: “Your holiness, can I tell the
visionaries that you send your blessing?” He answered: “Yes, Yes.” and embraced me.

·      “Medjugorje is a great
center of spirituality.”
Pope John Paul II
to Bishop Murilo Krieger (National
Catholic Register, April 29, 1990)

August 1, 1989 address by the Pope to a
group of Italian physicians dedicated to defending unborn life and to making
scientific and medical studies on the apparition, [at which they lamented to Pope John Paul II of the Bishop Zanic’s rejection
of their findings]:

“Today
the world has lost the supernatural. Many people sought it and found it in
Medjugorje through prayer, fasting, and through confession.”

Reported by Bishop Paul Hnilica, SJ,
Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, who then added: “For me personally, this is the
strongest explicit witness about Medjugorje…The Pope, for his part, recognized …
supernatural events are really at work in Medjugorje. Through many sources, the
Pope came to the conviction that God can be experienced in this place.”


Aug. 1988: “The pope spoke very favorably about the happenings at
Medjugorje…To say nothing is happening there is to deny the living, prayerful
witness of hundreds of thousands who have gone there.”
(Bishop Michael
D. Pfeifer, Pastoral Letter of August 5, 1988)

·      Bishop
Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI, Bishop of San Angelo, Texas, National Catholic
Register, April 15,1990: “During my Ad Lumina visit to Rome with the
Bishops of Texas in April 1988, I asked our Holy Father his opinion about
Medjugorje during the private conversation I had with him. He spoke very favorably about the happenings there, pointing out the
good which had been done for people.
During the lunch which the Texan
bishops later had with the Holy Father, Medjugorje came up for further
discussion. Again His Holiness spoke of
how it has changed the lives of people who visit it, and said that so far the
messages are not contrary to the gospel.”

1988:  “Medjugorje? Medjugorje? Medjugorje?
Only good things are happening at Medjugorje.  People are praying
there.  People are going to Confession. People are adoring the
Eucharist, and people are turning to God.  And, only good things seem to
be happening at Medjugorje.”
Archbishop Henry J. Flynn of St. Paul Minneapolis related this response Pope John Paul II gave to Bishop Stanley Ott of Baton Rouge, La., who asked him: “Holy
Father, what do you think of Medjugorje?” during the Louisiana bishops’ “ad
limina” visit to the Holy Father in Rome.

May
14th, 1989: ‘Yes, it’s good for pilgrims
to go to Medjugorje and pray and do penance. It’s good!
’ Bishop S. Treinen,
Bishop of Boise, Idaho, related this reply Pope John Paul II gave to him during
his Mass Homily at the Notre Dame Conference on Medjugorje, when he told him:
‘Holy Father, I have just come from Medjugorje. There are wonderful things
going on there… That’s first hand, I heard him say it myself.”

April
21, 1989: “If I wasn’t the pope,
I’d be in Medjugorje already!”
– Reported by Bishop Paul Hnilica, SJ,
Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, after having been admonished by the Holy Father for
not stopping in Medjugorje on his return trip to Rome from a meeting in Moscow
on behalf of the Pope.

August
1989: “Let them go [to Medjugorje].
They are going there to pray. When you get there, you pray for me.”

(Pope John Paul II to Archbishop Patrick Flores, Message de Paix, Montreal,
11/12/89).

Nov. 11, 1990: Regarding the liberation
of Poland from Communism:

“No,
this is not my merit. This is the work of the Blessed Virgin Mary, as She had
predicted in Fatima and in Medjugorje.”
(Pope John
Paul II to Msgr. Angelo Kim, President of the Korean Bishops’ Conference)

1990:
John Paul II sent his friend and confidant, Bishop Paul Hnilica, S.J., then
Auxiliary Bishop of Rome, to accompany Marija Pavlovic, another Medjugorje
visionary, on a visit to Russia. Bishop
Hnilica continually told Marija how much the pope wished to visit Medjugorje.

February 1991: “There are bishops, like in Yugoslavia for
example, who are against this. But it is important to look at the great number
of people who are answering her invitations, the amount of conversions… All
this is underlined in the Gospel… All these facts have to be seriously
investigated.”
(Pope John Paul II to Archbishop Kwangju, L`Homme
Nouveau, 3. February 1991.)

·      “The CDF has taken an
unprecedented position by stating that the bishop’s negative convictions of
Medjugorje is merely “his personal opinion”.

·      [They issued two letters, one in
1998 and again in 2018 stating, in part]:

·      1998:
The secretary of the CDF, Cardinal Bertone, states in a letter to Bishop Aubry
on the status of Medjugorje stating (complete text);

“What
Bishop Peric said in his letter to the Secretary General of FamilleChretienne,
declaring: “My conviction and my position is not only ‘non constat de
supernaturalitate’, but likewise, ‘constat de non supernaturalitate’ of the
apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje”
, should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the
Bishop of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place,
but which is and remains his personal opinion.”

·      2008:
Cardinal Bertone, secretary of the CDF, re-iterates the previous statement of
the CDF with the following;

“Bishop
Peric’s statement expresses a personal opinion of his own. It is not a
definitive official judgment on the part of the Church. The Church defers to
the Zadar statement issued on 10th April 1991 by the bishops of the former
Yugoslavia and the statement leaves the door open to further investigations of
the affair. So the process of verification needs to move forward”
2

·      “If we are to be honest with
ourselves about the implications of this statement, we must then dismiss
anything the bishop says on the matter as not holding any authority, since it
is based on his personal opinions (as opposed to an official pronouncement).
This includes his many writings against Medjugorje, the numerous articles, his
appearances on public television condemning the apparitions, the commentary on
his diocese website, and so forth. None of this can be given any more authority
than if a layperson were saying the same.” http://www.medjugorje-apologia.com/position_of_the_church.html

July 20, 1992: The Pope said to Fr.
Jozo Zovko: “Busy yourself with
Medjugorje, look after Medjugorje, don’t tire. Persevere, be strong, I am with
you. Watch over, follow Medjugorje.”
   

·      Fr.
Jozo met with Pope John Paul II in 1992, in the midst of the wars in the former
Yugoslavia. John Paul II’s words to Fr. Jozo were striking: “I am with you, protect Medjugorje! Protect
Our Lady’s messages!”
The passion and urgency of the Holy Father’s words
for the protection of Medjugorje make clear how much the holy site, as to
millions of Catholics, meant to him.

Rome, November 24, 1993: The Bishops of
the Indian Ocean Regional Episcopal Conference asked about Medjugorje during
their ad limina meeting with the Holy Father, Pope John Paul
answered: 

“As Urs von Balthasar put it, Mary is
the Mother who warns her children. Many people have a problem with Medjugorje,
with the fact that the apparitions last too long. They do not understand. But
the message is given in a specific context, it corresponds to the situation of
the country. The message insists on peace, on the relations between Catholics,
Orthodox and Muslims. There, you find the key to the comprehension of what is
happening in the world and of its future.
(The Triumph of the Heart; Sr. Emmanuel; pg. 196)

1994:
“Our Lady of Medjugorje will save
America!”
(Pope John Paul II to Bishop Hnilica, National Conference,
Notre Dame)

November
1994: The Archbishop of Paraguay, Mons. Felipe Santiago Bentez, asked of the
Holy Father, the Pope, if he was right to give approval to the faithful
gathering in the spirit of Medjugorje, especially with the priests… The Holy
Father answered: “Approve all that
is related to Medjugorje”.

Feb.
1995: Pope John Paul II, in response to a question asked by the Archbishop of
Asuncion, La Paz, Bolivia. “Authorize
everything that regards Medjugorje.”

March 22, 1995: Vicka Ivankovic,
reported visionary of Medjugorje, accompanied 350 wounded and crippled Croatian
soldiers to Rome where the Pope gave them a private audience. She was the
translator (Italian-Croatian) and the Pope immediately recognized her: “Are
you not Vicka from Medjugorje?”

he asked her. Vicka then offered him a rosary saying: “I guess you have many rosaries
already, but this one is special as it was blessed by the Gospa during an
apparition.”

The Pope said to her: “Pray to the Madonna for me, I pray
for you.”

He prayed over her a long time and
blessed her.

April 6th, l995: A Croatian Delegation,
which included the President Tudjman, the Vice President Radic and Cardinal
Kuharic from Zagreb made an official visit to the Holy Father. The Pope read
his official statement and afterwards, as he often does, he spontaneously added
a few words of his own. “I want to
go to Split, to Maria Bistrica and to Medjugorje!”

·      March
15, 1997: Dr. Franjo Tudjman said the following: “Again I repeat that on the occasion of my last conversation with him
Pope John Paul II said that, on the occasion of his visit to
Bosnia-Hercegovina, he would like also to visit Medjugorje.”

·      The
visit of Pope John Paul II to Bosnia-Hercegovina April 12 – 13, 1997. While the
Pope prayed with those gathered in the Sarajevo cathedral he prayed twice referring to the Queen of Peace for Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Many of those present interpreted it as having recourse to the Queen of Peace
from Medjugorje.

·      At
his papal general audience on the Wednesday immediately after the Sarajevo
visit. According to reports of the news agencies, the Pope on that occasion
said: “In the course of the war
pilgrimages of the faithful to the Marian shrine in Bosnia-Hercegovina did not
stop as also not in other parts of the world, especially in Loreto, in order to
request the Mother of Nations and the Queen of Peace to intervene in that
suffering region.”

Fr.
Benedict J. Groeschel once spoke about John Paul II in an interview, saying: “I can tell you for a fact that the pope
loves Medjugorje from afar and would go there in a minute if the theologians
would let him.”

August
24, 2002: “I grant from the heart a
particular blessing to Father Jozo Zovko, O.F.M., and I invoke a new outpouring
of graces and heavenly favors, and the continuous protection of the Blessed
Virgin Mary”.
  Signed letter to
Fr. Jozo, https://medjugorje.org/frjozoletter.htm

Private
Letters From JPII About Medjugorje

In October 2005, letters between Marek
and Zofia Skwarnicki and the late Holy Father John Paul II were published in
Marek’s recent book: John Paul II : Greetings and Blessings – Private
Letters from the Pope
, published in October 2005 by Bertelsman Media,
Poland.

Marek Skwarnicki first met Karol
Wojtyla in 1958. Marek was the editor of the catholic weekly “Tygodnik
Powszechny” and of the monthly “Znak” published in Krakow. He was also a member
of the Pontifical Council for Laity and journeyed often with the Pope.

The following letters are taken from
this book:

1st
Letter:

+ Dear Mr and Mrs!

I cordially thank for the joint letter
from the Skwarnickis: Zofia and Mark. I also thank for the Easter wishes. I
return them with all my heart to you and the Young Generation (the Children and
Grandchildren), and, eventually, to the Weekly and the whole Society. I trust
that our Mother of Jasna Góra (the Bright Hill) will help me on the route of my
pilgrimage in June. I do ask you for your prayer. I also remember in my
everyday prayers about Father Andrew B. And I am sending a special blessing for
Monica on the occasion of her First Holy Communion. And may everything work out fine on the Medjugorje to Rome journey.

With a heartfelt blessing, John Paul II

Vatican, March 30th, 1991

(in handwriting)

May the Peace of Christ reign in your
hearts (Colossians 3, 15)

Halleluiah!

Blessingly, John Paul II, the Pope

Easter 1991

2nd
Letter:

May 28, 1992:

Dear Mr. Mark Skwarnicki,

“…And
now we everyday return to Medjugorje in prayer.”
(p. 102)

3rd
Letter:

December 8, 1992 (this letter was
written in the pope’s own handwriting) :

“Dear Mr. and Mrs. Skwarnicki,

“…I
thank Mrs. Zofia for everything concerning Medjugorje. I , too, go there every
day as a pilgrim in my prayers: I unite in my prayers with all those who pray
there or receive a calling for prayer from there. Today we have understood this
call better. I rejoice that our time is not lacking people of prayer and
apostles…”
(p. 107)

John Paul II

4th
Letter:

February 25, 1994:

“I
thank you very much for the both letters. Mrs. Zofia is writing me about the
Balkans. I guess Medjugorje is better understood these days. This kind of
“urging” of our Mother is better understood today when we see with our very
eyes the enormousness of the danger. At the same time, the response in the way
of a special prayer – and that coming from people all around the world – fills
us with hope that here, too, the good will prevail. Peace is possible –
such
was the motto of the day of prayers of January 23rd, prepared by a special
session in Vatican in which Mr. T. Mazowiecki also participated.

Perhaps it is thanks to this as well
that Europe is coming back to its senses. People in Poland get back to their
senses, too, as follows from your writing. Maybe it will become easier for them
to come to terms with the Pope who has not preached “the victory of democracy”
but reminded them of the Decalogue…” (p. 119)

With blessings,

John Paul II

There is even verification of St. John
Paul II’s affection toward Medjugorje following his death:

Reported visionary of Medjugorje, Mirjana
Soldo, tells the following story of how John Paul II’s desire to come to
Medjugorje was symbolically fulfilled after his death:

·      On
the Mount of Apparitions, I saw a pair of shoes of the Pope in front of me.
After the apparition, the gentleman who brought these shoes (he didn’t
introduce himself) said,

·      “It
was the Pope’s desire for a long time to come to Medjugorje. So I said to him,
‘If you do not go, I will take your shoes.’ And that is how I brought his
shoes, so they may be present during the apparition.”

·      And
that is how Saint John Paul II’s desire to come to Medjugorje was
satisfied.”

·     
[I personally heard this talk and have
a photograph of my daughter with the pope’s shoes from our 2017 visit to
Medjugorje] https://priestlyconsecration.com/2019/04/the-visionary-mirjanas-meeting-with.html

Like
so many whom I speak with today regarding Medjugorje, I, too, didn’t know what
to believe for many years. After traveling to Medjugorje in 1991 and
experiencing great miracles, I put all things regarding Medjugorje aside
following negative things I heard. I knew my faith didn’t rest in Medjugorje
and I didn’t think about it for nearly twenty years, until I felt a great call
within me to look again into Medjugorje around the year 2008. It was then that
I began researching Medjugorje in earnest again because I, too, had no idea
what to believe based on the limited and often false reporting that I came
across.

Thus,
I began to research all I could find in search of the truth regarding these
ongoing reported daily apparitions. What I found, first of all, were countless
miracles of conversion as I read books devoted to sharing how people’s lives
were transformed by their encounters with Mary in Medjugorje. I share some of
these miracles in the following article: https://priestlyconsecration.com/2019/03/innumerable-reasons-chief-exorcist-of.html

But,
even so, I continued to research, because its extremely important to me to
never to speak of something without first having researched it thoroughly –
especially as a theologian, a speaker, retreat leader and a teacher in my
diocese – and as a writer whose words millions all over the world can read and
access.

I
do not want to be held accountable for leading anyone astray.

Therefore,
I’ve continued to exhaustively research Medjugorje over the past decade.

I
believe this article is the most comprehensive and concise overview of the
Church’s response to Medjugorje that I have been able to achieve – along with
the article that complements it, that reports on the most current facts about
Medjugorje: https://priestlyconsecration.com/2019/03/what-are-we-to-believe-about-medjugorje.html. These two articles, as well as the
dozens of others, represent countless hours of research in response to the call
I received to find out and spread the truth regarding Medjugorje.

I
pray that this information is helpful to you in your discernment of the reported
apparitions of Medjugorje.

May
each of us ask St. John Paul II to guide and lead us to all Truth, Who is ultimately
Jesus Himself, and to the truth of Medjugorje. Asking, if this is of God that may
we respond accordingly. We ask this in Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.

Our
Lady, Mary, Queen of all Hearts and Queen of Peace, pray for us!

St.
Joseph, guardian of the Holy Family and of the Church, pray for us!

All
you holy men and women, pray for us!

Pope John Paul II’s
quotes on Medjugorje were referenced and compiled from various sources. Some
were referenced above; others were verified and found here:

·      Why
He Is A Saint, the Life and Faith of Pope John Paul ll and the Case for
Canonization
, p. 168,

by Msgr. Slawomir Oder,
Postulator for his Cause of Sainthood

·      “Medjugorje
and the Church
“, Denis Nolan, Queenship
Publishing Co., 1995, p. 23-30

·      
 https://www.medjugorje.org/wordpress/archives/33

Although
not updated since 2017, the following sites were also invaluable to me in my
research.

© Janet Moore 2019. All Rights
Reserved.

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