An Interview with Cardinal Schonborn

Medjugorje is again in the center of attention, church and public as well. Though the visit of Cardinal Shonborn is private, it did not leave anybody indifferent because he is the member of Congregation for Doctrine of Faith. We talked to Cardinal while he was visiting Medjugorje.


“We came here to be close to the Lord’s mother”, you said during the Christmas Eve Mass, Your Eminence. These words had a great echo. We would like you to explain them?

Cardinal: “We cannot deny that pilgrims have been coming over here for the past 20 years, as we can not deny what they experience in Medjugorje and how close they feel to the Blessed Mother. This is my first visit, but since I’ve been a Bishop since 1991. I have simply noticed the fruits of Medjugorje.

Interviewer: “What kind of fruits are you talking about?”

Cardinal: “I will give you couple of examples: vocation calls for priesthood. Lots of our young priests have received their vocation call here, but not strictly in Medjugorje but because of Medjugorje. The second thing is conversions. I am impressed that that happens in every level of society, from noble families, industrials down to the common little people. Flying from Vienna, via Zagreb to Split I was asked by a security guard where I was going and I told him I was going to Medjugorje. All of sudden his face started shining and he told me that he had his conversion in Medjugorje as well. Couple of weeks ago on one small railway station one worker told me his story. His wife died of cancer and he was desperate and his friends brought him to Medjugorje. He has received the strong and living faith over here. The third evidence is the healings. A young man who was addicted to drugs told me that he was almost forced by his friends over here. He told me while the bus was entering to Medjugorje something happened with him. Especially he was healed immediately and all of us know how long that healing lasts. The fourth evidence is the prayer groups. I’ve known this Medjugorje Prayer Group from Vienna since the period when I wasn’t the Bishop. I’ve known them since 1980’s. To us Dominicans it was very meaningful that these people pray for hours and their church is always full. The Dominican churches in Vienna are rarely so full, on Thursday nights the church was always full. They stayed faithful to the prayer till today. Jesus said that the bad tree doesn’t bear any fruits. Which means: if the fruits are good than the tree is good as well.”

Interviewer: “For pilgrims Medjugorje is a miracle and they expect a message from the Holy See until Official Church would approve the supernatural events of Medjugorje. It has been speculated a period of time about the movements of Holy See. What do you know about this and what is your opinion about the demands to recognize Medjugorje?”

Cardinal: “I do not have detailed information about this matter and that is not my assignment. But I am standing to the statement made by Bishop’s Conference of Yugoslavia and Congregation for Doctrine of Faith of the Holy See. That statement for me has always been reasonable and smart. I will remind you about three statements made about Medjugorje. The first of all are phenomena. I am dogmatist and I was a professor of theological dogma. “Non constat de supernaturalitate.”- which means that the Church hasn’t given the final judgment about supernaturality of phenomena and hasn’t given any statements. So it has never denied or confirmed.”

Interviewer: “This sounds as diplomatic answer, what this really means in the practice?”

Cardinal: “It simply means that the Church hasn’t given its final judgment and decision. I am personally convinced that this is correct. While these phenomena are still going on, the Church is hardly going to give or make its final judgment and decision. These phenomena are the center of Medjugorje. It has started with the children who said that they saw Our Lady and the messages she gave through them. What has developed from that is second phenomena which will be studied by the church on the second level. From the very beginning a huge number of pilgrims have been coming to Medjugorje. The intensive prayer life has developed here and many humanitarian organizations have been born here.”

Interviewer: “The Church has divided the matter of Medjugorje from the pastoral work. But still a large number of pilgrims come over here. What position we should take about this matter?”

Cardinal: “The concrete ways of pilgrimages have been over here and that is a practical challenge for the church. That’s why the bishops from ex Yugoslavia said in 1991 that the official pilgrimages shouldn’t exist. I do not want and I cannot organize official pilgrimages to Medjugorje in my diocese as we did to Rome or Holy Land. But the Bishops Conference or Rome have never forbidden to pilgrims to come to Medjugorje, which is the main part of the third statement. For us Bishops, for me this is very important. The believers must get the pastoral care. As the Archbishop I see my homework in that. If I, as a bishop, see that in my diocese hundreds, thousands of believers convert, pray, and are healed then I, as a Bishop, must take care that all of them get that pastoral care. That’s why I supported all these things as for example community of the “Oasis of Peace,” which was started because of Medjugorje. I think that all of this has influence on us bishops, especially those dioceses which pilgrims do come to Medjugorje and they need to get good pastoral care. So in all of those conversations I had with other bishops about Medjugorje I encouraged them to support their pilgrims.”

Interviewer: “You had a meeting with a visionary, you climbed to the Apparition Hill. What were you talking about?”

Cardinal: “I would say ironically that Our Lady did not choose the simple hills. I am fascinated with the coherence of Medjugorje with other Marian shrines, apparition sites. I always say that there is a grammar of Mary’s apparitions. That style has something special with Our Lady.”

Interviewer: “In what way is this connected?”

Cardinal: “There are 3 elements which are connected with this phenomenon. Almost always Our Lady appears to children. Those were not especially intelligent children or holy children but normal. Bernadette did not know how to write. She was 14 almost as children over here. Secondly, Mary gives the messages through the children. It is insulting for one bishop. Why Our Lady does not come to bishop’s house? Why does she come to the hill filled with stones or by the river? This is not practical. In Fatima she appeared in the bushes. She gives the messages through children because children are not complicated. The third element: it looks like that Our Lady has her own program. In Fatima she had appeared before Russian Revolution and she gave a message. When rationalism was on its highest level she appeared in Lourdes. She appeared in Yugoslavia in the moment when we did not have an idea that Yugoslavia would fall apart in the time when the Catholics, Muslims and Orthodox were living together. She appears with the name Queen of Peace. 10 years after that the first of 4 wars on Balkan Peninsula brakes out. And her first message was peace through conversion, prayer and this first message has its weight, strength, credibility. Maybe we could go further to Guadalupe, Mexico. When Europe started invasion of America, Our Lady appeared to one Indian who had to go to his bishop to tell him what to do. I think that theologians have to study the syntax of Mary’s apparitions and in that context to study the phenomena of Medjugorje.”

Interviewer: “It is prayed for peace in Medjugorje all the time but the political peace is not correct, the state is in problems and the Croats Catholics are in the worst position. What would you suggest to the International Community which is run now in this country by your co-citizen Valentin Inzko?”

Cardinal: “ The problem over here is that too many countries are involved in this such a small country which that way cannot over come these problems. The long lasting peace can be formed only if everything is just for everybody. This is a challenge for European policy. I am happy that Valentin Inxko is now in charge of Bosnia and Herzegovina and I expect that he gets a bigger support from European community. I am sure that (this) what is going on Medjugorje supports that peace. And people from all over the world do come to this small village Herzegovina which has never been known in the world, if I want to speak ironically. Look, how many Koreans come to Medjugorje! This is a hope that these people will be apostles of peace in their countries, peace which comes from Medjugorje. If it is prayed for peace in the world on one place, than that is a special blessing for one country. And Our Lady respects all three religions. Orthodox believers honor Our Lady, Islam doesn’t respect any other person that much, but Mary. For Croats Catholics who are minority in this country the apparitions among them are the great comfort.”

Cardinal Schonborn compares Medjugorje to Lourdes

Recalling that his interest in Medjugorje dates back to the 1980s, when Viennese Dominicans were associated with a Medjugorje prayer circle, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has told an Austrian Catholic newspaper that “without anticipating a definitive Church judgment, I state that the phenomena witnessed in Medjugorje since 1981 have a strong similarity to other Marian apparitions.”

Noting that “all unusual messages are from the beginning suspicious,” the Austrian cardinal said he was impressed that the principal message of the alleged apparitions there is one of peace.

Cardinal Schönborn did not comment on the negative judgments of the local bishop and his predecessor towards Medjugorje. Instead, he said that the 1991 statement of the Yugoslav bishops, “which was at least twice confirmed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” is an “ideal guideline”: “it is not certain that the phenomena are supernatural.” This statement, he noted, allows for the possibility that the phenomena are supernatural.

The cardinal said that the alleged messages of Medjugorje are not as important as the prayer that takes place there, including Eucharistic adoration, the Way of the Cross, Confession, and the daily praying of the entire Psalter. “In order to doubt that into Medjugorje a stream of grace flows, one must shut one’s eyes,” he added, comparing Medjugorje to Lourdes as a place where hearts are transformed.

Also comparing the Church’s caution towards the alleged apparitions to the Church’s caution towards St. Faustina, the cardinal stated that the “personal reliability” of the witnesses, the sensus fidelium, and the charitable works associated with Medjugorje are “surely an important element.”

“What does one learn from the Mother of God? The faith in everyday life! For me Medjugorje is a school of normal Christian life.”.


Tomislav Vlasic公教報較早時報導了一名曾在默主哥耶服務的華釋神父 (Fr. T. Vlasic) 被教廷免除司鐸職務,而引致一些人士乘机大做文章,借机大肆攻擊默主哥耶顯現事件。


默主哥耶顯現事件發生於1981年。顯現至今仍繼續進行,曾往該地朝聖者數以百萬計,當中包括不少樞機、主教、司鐸等。筆者一位克羅地亞裔舊同事往默主哥耶渡蜜月,我問她對默主哥耶的感受,她簡單的以六個字回答:「Everybody was praying.  Everybody was crying. 」祇是簡單的六個字,便把默主哥耶懺悔與祈禱的精神,表露無遺。




筆者在尹雅白神父的個人網頁內 (www.frjameswan.org) 的錄影片段中,發現美國新奧爾良州有一羣青年前往默主哥耶朝聖後,很多都勤讀聖經,每天參與彌撒,誦唸玫瑰經,當中更有人考慮司鐸聖召。








Cardinal Schonborn's Homily in Vigil Mass at Medjugorje

“Dear brothers and sisters here in the Church and on the squares in front of the church and in the yellow hall. We are all conscious of the fact that it is a big privilege to not have to celebrate the New Year with champagne.”

The crowd laughed, and the Cardinal added “Maybe later,” which was followed by laughter and clapping.

He continued: “But now we are allowed to celebrate the beginning of the New Year with Mary and Joseph and with the child that is lying in the manger and with the shepherds. These days, we have all come to Medjugorje to be especially close to the mother of the Lord. To be more exact, we have to say that we have come here because we know that the mother of the Lord wants to be close to us.

“With her, we want to begin the New Year. And the first thing that moves me when I think about the manger and the shepherds is that there were no angels present. Although here there is an angel at the nativity set, but in the gospel there are no angels waiting there. They were on the field with the shepherds… an entire host of angels. But Mary and Joseph only heard about it. The shepherds told them.

“We also didn’t see the Gospa. But there are people here who told about it. And we trust that the Mother of God really is close to us. Belief comes from hearing. And it impresses me that first, in the gospel of today, there is talk about hearing. We have to listen to the good news first. We have two ears, two eyes, and only one mouth. That means we have to listen much, watch much, and then talk also. And what are we supposed to say? We are supposed to report what we have seen and heard. The world needs a new evangelization and that is only possible through people for whom it is impossible to keep silent about what they have seen and heard.

“We all have received the faith. And through baptism we all have received the task to pass on the faith. The shepherds related what they were told. And from there it went on. The gospel, the good news was told and those who told it were believable. Those who heard also saw that the word and life harmonize, that what the witnesses saw is also true in their life.

“How can we be witnesses of the good news? First, by looking to Mary. Mary kept all that happened in her heart and pondered it. Brothers and sisters, what we need most in this time is prayer. I’m saying this with a sadness of some sorts. I know that I’m praying not enough. I know that prayer is life. Without the living relationship with God our life becomes dry end empty.

“What does the Mother of God tell us all the time? Pray. Take yourself time for prayer. Is that a good resolution for the New Year? For us priests and deacons. For us all. Time for prayer. It gives so much strength and so much joy. So much clarity. Let us ask Mary that she helps us to pray more. When we pray our word is also filled with life. And then our testimony is credible.”

"I want to tell you something about what the Apostle Paul told us. The Year of Paul is already over, we are now in the Year of Priests. But the word of the Apostle Paul was so strong because it was filled with life. In the reading of today he talks about God sending his Son so that we can become sons. The daughters are not excluded here. Daughters and sons are meant together. But Paul says we are called to become sons, not slaves. Like Jesus is Son of God we are supposed to be allowed to call God Father. In the beginning of this year the Apostle Paul tells us: You are sons and not slaves.

"I believe Medjugorje is a place where a lot of people confess. Confession is deliverance from the slavery of sin. Nothing makes us less free than sin. God wants us as sons: Freedom of the children of God. And for that he gifted us with the sacrament of reconciliation. We are to have a new relationship with God, to be allowed to call him Abba. Jesus invited us to that in a way that we trust Him, that we trust God. There is so much fear of God in us (or, "we are so afraid of God").


The cardinal went on to say "Jesus, I trust in you," in Croatian and Polish, and then continued "Pope John Paul II left us this message: Trust in the mercy of God. Trust in the mercy of Jesus.

"Trust can be heroic sometimes, if life becomes difficult. If a marriage becomes a burden, if an illness oppresses us, if we don't know what becomes of our work; then to say Jesus I Trust in You; that can be heroic. Trust; that really is an act of faith. And again we look to Mary. Who has made and gave this act of trust, of faith, more than Mary? Jesus I Trust in You. That is to be our program in the coming year.

"It is almost midnight and it is cracking," the cardinal said as he pointed towards the firecrackers going off outside. "But we are not cracking, we are praying. We are not cracking but we are singing.

"And a last word: The shepherd returned, praised God, praised him for what they heard and saw. We, too, will return home. In order that we can become witnesses of the gospel, we have to praise God first. The shepherds praised God for what they have seen and heard. I hope that we can all drive home, travel home after these days here and praise God for what we have seen and heard. Then people will also believe us when we tell, then our word will be credible.

"Now it is almost midnight. It is exactly the right moment to profess our faith. With this faith we are going into the New Year. God bless this year."

My Pilgrimage to Medjugorje



Five years ago a fellow Catholic introduced Medjugorje to me, but I paid no attention to it. Three years ago another Catholic talked to me about Medjugorje, he said he had been there three times, and he added that the trips to Medjugorje changed his faith tremendously. He hoped I would join the pilgrimage scheduled in May 2005, and if possible, encourage all Chinese Catholics to go there to pray for the Church in China. Unfortunately, many things took place in Montreal in that year, and especially I had to take a surgery with my brain, since there was a tumor in the left brain. The surgery, which lasted for five hours, was a great success. It was operated by a well known expert who successfully removed the tumor from my brain. I had to take several weeks to recuperate after the surgery. I thank God that I had the ability to serve Him again, and that I had a chance to come to Toronto and serve the Chinese here.

More Articles...

Page 2 of 3

This Week
Last Week
This Month
Last Month
All days

Forecast Today

Online (15 minutes ago):21
21 guests

Your IP: