The Italian television morning programme Mattino Cinque recently turned its attention to Medjugorje and interviewed two cardinals, Archbishop Christoph Schönborn and Msgr Ersilio Tonini.
Most of what cardinal Schönborn spoke about with programme presenter Federica Panicucci has been widely published, but here are some very revealing responses made by cardinal Tonini:
“The position of the church in regards to Medjugorje has always been carefully observed. In this matter, I can tell you of how one day I visited Pope John Paul II. Two bishops were there talking to him, and the conversation casually fell on Medjugorje. One bishop was enthusiastic about it, while the other was rather doubtful. The pope cut it short by stating: ‘God’s grace is free to move how, when, and where it wants.’ This greatly impressed me, since I understood very well that the Pope rejoiced in knowing that the Virgin Mary still has the courage to appear in front of human creatures, to remind them that while time goes by, eternity comes, and it is in eternity that God’s plans are. By carrying the thought of eternity in our lives, we are then able to feel that we are God’s children. These are indeed the big promises which the Lord Jesus came to bring us: to let us know that God awaits us, that we are his children, that he is preparing to pour all his love upon us.
“I repeat that such meeting – given that I saw the Pope so interested on the subject of Medjugorje – greatly impacted on me, and I told myself that perhaps the Lord’s grace wants to make itself felt even more and that the pope, in that instance, felt directly, personally called to this cause. This truly impressed me.”
The cardinal then added: “The Catholic Church does not deem to own the apparitions. Our Lady is free to appear whenever she wants. The Catholic Church is very glad that God manifests himself through miracles and through Our Lady’s apparitions. The Church is obviously jealous and doesn’t want any follies to be introduced, it doesn’t want that there may be creatures who own the apparitions and make Our Lady say what they want her to say. This is an extremely delicate subject. The Church has recognised Our Lady’s right to speak; and naturally, since these are enormous treasures, the Church is jealous that some ‘inventory’ fables, prodigies or miracles may be introduced. This is why I am happy that the Archbishop of Vienna, whom I know very well, is present (appearing on Mattino Cinque); his word is a word of warranty.”
• Cardinal Ersilio Tonini made a pilgrimage to Medjugorje in 2009. Afterwards he testified: “I think Medjugorje is a blessed place and a grace of God; who goes to Medjugorje returns transformed, changed, he reflects himself in that source of grace that is Christ. Christ is at the same time the tap and the source. If in Medjugorje, as it is obvious by now, many conversions happen, it surely means that there is the hand of God. I believe that we should look at Medjugorje with serenity and trust, appreciating all the good and holy things that happen in that place,”