Friday, October 18, 2019

The Deep Connections between Saint John Paul II, Medjugorje and Fatima - An Interview with Bishop Hnilica

John Paul II's Consecration on March 25, 1984
I've been deeply convinced of a connection between John Paul II, Fatima and Medjugorje for a long time. This interview with Bishop Hnilica, SJ, sheds tremendous light on these connections.  

But first, a little about Bishop Hnilica:
Bishop Hnilica giving Fatima Statue to Pope John Paul II
"...the Slovak Bishop ... worked for a long time to spread the message of Fatima, particularly with regard to Russia. It will be remembered that it was Bishop Hnilica who had taken all the Fatima documentation to John Paul II during his convalescence in 1981 [following the attempt on his life on May 13th], and who had presented him with the statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which the Holy Father sent to a specially constructed church on the Polish-Soviet border. It was during the time he spent in prison in Czechoslovakia that Bishop Hnilica discovered the true meaning of Our Lady's request to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart as the only way to obtain peace in the world. As a result, he has worked to spread the message of Fatima wherever he went."

The six-year imprisonment of Bishop Hnilica was a direct result of the intense anti-religious persecution of atheistic Communism that both he and St. John Paul II knew firsthand. These were some of the tremendous errors that would spread from Russia following the Bolshevik Revolution, which was occurring in 1917 at the same time Our Lady of Fatima came. This was, in part, what she warned us about and why she asked us to consecrate, pray for and offer sacrifices in response to this great looming danger.

For the atheistic communism that rose from Russia would, in fact, be the cause of over 100 - 110 million lives lost worldwide within the last century (some believe the death toll is actually much higher). 
Understanding this great loss of life that we have endured, not only through Russia, but from the great wars of this past century, help explain the great urgency of Our Mother's messages at Fatima - and why men like John Paul II and Bishop Hnilica (as you will see) believed Our Mother comes again to Medjugorje in order to fulfill the plan she began in Fatima.

God has prompted me to write additional articles that demonstrate that these same satanic atheistic ideologies that killed over a hundred of million people physically - continue to wreck havoc on the faith of countless souls to this day. The fact is - an untold number of souls are in grave danger of being lost today-  as they live lies permeated with the very same anti-God, anti-family ideologies that Lenin proposed back in Russia in 1917. The ongoing tragedy of the widespread destruction of faith and the family is exemplified in the fact that young people are losing their faith by the millions, (my pastor quoted a study that states 100,000 young people leave Christian churches each month in America). This is occurring, in part, because they have become victims of these agendas - indoctrinated (among many other things) to believe that God, sin, heaven and hell no longer exist and that Communism and Socialism are the answer to our nation's troubles. Understanding the direness of the situation gives us insight into why God continues to send us His Blessed Mother Mary every day – for He will stop at nothing to save His children.

The graveness of our situation was understood well by St. John Paul II, who said:

"We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is, therefore, in God's Plan, and it must be a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously." (1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia)

Understanding and foreseeing the grave destruction that awaited mankind, God sent us Our Blessed Mother to Fatima, asking us to pray for and Consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart on July 13, 1917 (these are the first two parts of the Secret of Fatima - the 3rd part is often called the Third Secret). 
This message, appropriately, followed the terrifying vision of hell that was shown to the children. For communism's very aim is the destruction of souls.
Lucia writes:

"Frightened and asking for help we looked up to Our Lady, who with sorrow and gentleness said to us: 
"You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go.
To save them, God wants to establish in the world
devotion to my Immaculate Heart.
If you do what I tell you many souls will be saved and you will have peace.
The war will end, but if you don’t cease offending God,
a worse one will start in the papacy of Pope Pius XI.
The war is going to end.
But if people do not stop offending God, another, even worse one will begin in the reign of Pius XI.
When you shall see a night illuminated by an unknown light know that this is the great sign that God gives you
 that He is going to punish the world for its many crimes
by means of war, hunger, and persecution of the Church and the Holy Father.
To prevent it, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart
 and the Communion of reparation on the first Saturdays.
If my desires are obeyed,
Russia will be converted and there will be peace;
if not, its errors will spread all over the world, promoting wars, persecutions of the Church: the good will be martyred, the Holy Father will suffer much, several nations will be annihilated.
In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.
The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me; it will be converted, and a certain period of peace will be granted to the world."

These last sentences are integral to understanding Fatima, Pope John Paul II and Bishop Hnilica – as well as Medjugorje. For, as we shall see in this interview, these two great men of God came to understand that Medjugorje is the extension and fulfillment of Fatima, as she continues to ask for her desires to be obeyed. For more information about St. John Paul II’s belief in Medjugorje, I write about this extensively here:
Medjugorje: In St. John Paul II’s Own Words

The above information is given as a preface to this interview, which was conducted by Marie Czernin for the German Catholic monthly magazine PUR. It was published in December 2004:

Interview with Bishop Hnilica:
Marie Czernin: Bishop Hnilica, you spent much time with the Pope John Paul II and you had many private encounters with him – for example when you visited him at the Gemelli Hospital shortly after the attempt on his life, May 13, 1981. 
Did you ever speak with the Pope about the events in Medjugorje?

Bishop Pavel Hnilica – I visited the Holy Father on 1984. We had lunch at Castel Gandolfo, his summer residence, and I told him about the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which I have done in the muscovite Cathedral of the Assumption, on March 24 that same year, according to what Our Lady had asked in Fatima.

John Paul II's Consecration on March 25, 1984
[Bishop Hnilica is speaking of going undercover to Moscow to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with Pope John Paul II's Consecration on March 25, 1984, in order to fulfill of Our Lady's request at Fatima to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. You can read his fascinating testimony that details how this took place in the heart of atheistic communist Russia here in an excerpt from the book: Fatima, Russia and Pope John Paul II: How Mary Intervened to Deliver Russia].
When I told to the Holy Father about these events, he was very touched and he said: “The Virgin Mary led you there under her protection”. 
I responded: “No, Holy Father, she was carrying me in her arms!” 
After this, he asked me what I am thinking about Medjugorje and if I have visited that place. I answered that the official Vatican has not forbidden me to go, but that I was counselled not to do it. The Pope looked at me and said:
“Go to Medjugorje incognito as you went to Moscow. Who can forbid you this?” The Pope has not given me an official authority to go there, but he found another solution. The pope continued to speak, and he showed me a book about Medjugorje written by René Laurentin. He started to read some chapters and he underlined that the messages of Medjugorje are in close relationship with those of Fatima.  
“Look, Medjugorje is a continuation, an extension of Fatima. Our Lady is appearing in communist countries primarily because of problems that originate in Russia”, said the Pope, who already took this as a mission of his pontificate.
This is why I immediately understood the connection.
After the conversation with the Pope, I visited Medjugorje incognito three or four times. But, the former bishop of Mostar-Duvno, Pavao Zanic, wrote a letter to me asking me not to visit Medjugorje any more; if I refuse, he will write to Pope himself, he said.
It seems that somebody informed him about my visit.
However, there was no reason for me to be afraid of the Holy Father.

- Did you have other occasions to speak with the Holy Father about Medjugorje?

Bishop Hnilica – Yes, the next time we spoke about Medjugorje was on August 1st, 1988.
A groups of doctors from Milan, who were testing the children, came to visit the Pope in Castel Gandolfo. One of the doctors mentioned that the bishop of Mostar was giving them hard times.
The Pope said: “As he is the bishop of that place, you have to respect him.”
Then he continued in a cordial tone: “But he will have to answer before God if he has not acted in a right way”.
[Eventually the Church, in an unprecedented manner, would remove the Bishop of Mostar's authority regarding any judgments concerning Medjugorje. Authority was given first to a Commission of Yugoslavian Bishops and most recently, a Vatican Commission of Cardinals and the most highly trained theologians in Marian apparitions studied the reported apparitions for four years. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would also be forced to issue a letter stating that the Bishop of Mostar's statements should be regarded only as his personal beliefs.]
After this, the Pope was pondering a few moments, and then he said:  
“Today’s world has lost the sense of supernatural, in other words, the sense of God. But many people rediscover this feeling in Medjugorje through prayer, fasting and the sacraments.”
For me personally, this is the strongest explicit witness about Medjugorje. What has especially and profoundly impressed me is the fact that the doctors, who were present, declared “Non constat de supernaturalitate”. The Pope, for his part, recognised long time before that the 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.

- Is it possible that many things that happen in Medjugorje can be invented?

Bishop Hnilica – Some years ago, there was a Youth meeting in Marienfried, and I was invited. During the encounter, a journalist asked me:
“Bishop, don’t you believe that, all that is happening in Medjugorje, comes from the devil (Satan)?
I answered:
“I am a Jesuit. Saint Ignatius taught us how to discern spirits, but he also taught us that each event can have 3 different sources: human, divine or diabolic.” 
At the end, he agreed with me that what is happening in Medjugorje cannot be explained from a human point of view – the fact that every year normal young people – thousands of them – are attracted, they stream in order to reconcile with God. Medjugorje has already been named “confessional of the world”, because, as a phenomenon, neither Lourdes nor Fatima managed to spur that many crowds of people to go for confession. 
What is happening during confession? The priest is delivering the sinner from the devil.  
Then I answered to the journalist: 
“Of course, Satan is capable of many things, but he is not capable of one thing: Is it possible that Satan spurs people to go for confession in order to be delivered precisely from him?” 
The journalists laughed, understanding what I wanted to say.
Therefore, the only cause remains in God. 
Later on, I told to the Holy Father about this conversation.

- How would you summarise the messages of Medjugorje?
What is distinguishing these messages from those in Lourdes or Fatima?

Bishop HnilicaIn all three places, Our Lady is inviting us to repentance, forgiveness and prayer. In this aspect of the message, these three apparitions are similar. However, the difference in Medjugorje is that the apparitions are lasting for 23 years now. The intensity of the continuation of the supernatural is neither declining nor diminishing during all these years, and the result is an even greater number of intellectuals that are converted here.

- Some do not consider the events of Medjugorje as genuine because war broke out in this region, which has for result that nations turned one against another: isn’t this a place of peace and not of conflict?

Bishop Hnilica In 1991 (10 years after the first message: “Peace, peace and only peace”), when the war broke out in Croatia, I met the Pope once again, and he asked me: “How can the apparitions of Medjugorje be explained in the midst of the war in Bosnia?” 
Really, the war was terrible, so I answered:  
“It seems that we are in the same situation as in Fatima. If Russia had immediately been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Second World War and the spreading of the Communism and atheism would have been avoided. Holy Father, as soon as, in 1984, you consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, countless changes took place in Russia, and the fall of the communism began. 
In Medjugorje, Gospa started with the warning that there would be a war if we were not converted. Nobody took these messages seriously. Maybe, if the bishops of former Yugoslavia had accepted these messages more seriously, it would not have gone that far – but in any case, this would not have been a guaranty of the definitive recognition of the official Church, because the apparitions are still going on today.” 
Then the Pope told me: “Then, bishop Hnilica is convinced that my action of consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was valid?”
I answered: “Certainly it was valid; the only question is how many bishops really did the same consecration in union with the Holy Father.”

- Why is it so important that other bishops should have done the same in the sense of what Holy Father has done?

Bishop HnilicaIt is expressing the collegiality of the Church; in other words, the unity of the bishops with the Pope gives to it a far deeper meaning. When Carol Woytila was elected a Pope in 1978, I congratulated him, but I immediately told him that something would be missing to his pontificate if he does not consecrate Russia together with all the bishops. 
He told me then:  
“If you manage to convince bishops about this, I will do it tomorrow.” 
This is why, after the consecration (25.03.1984), he asked me how many bishops concelebrated with me. 
As I could not answer him to this question, the Pope said:  
“Every bishop must prepare his diocese, every priest his community, every father his family, because Gospa said that also lay people must consecrate themselves to her Heart.” [emphases mine] 

This interview coincides with one of the seers of Fatima, Lucia dos Santos's own confirmation of the connection between Fatima and Medjugorje:
“According to Sister Lucia’s own nephew, Father Salinho — a Salesian priest who lives in Portugal — Sister Lucia continued receiving visions of the Virgin Mary long after 1917, and some of these apparitions of the Virgin spoke to Sister Lucia of the Madonna’s continued work in Medjugorje. This report of Father Salinho’s was documented by the French author Sister Emmanuel Maillard in her book Medjugorje, Triumph of the Heart! (Queenship, 2004), a revised edition of Sister Emmanuel’s earlier popular work, Medjugorje: the 90s. Pope John Paul II met with Sister Emmanuel, was given a copy of her earlier book, and therefore this knowledge – between Fatima’s main visionary and the apparitions in Medjugorje – may not have been foreign to the Vatican.
This is a very important revelation, for one of the things that the Church looks for, in evaluating apparitions, is coherence between Mary’s apparitions. Fatima and Medjugorje already have an immense amount in common; from the miracle of the dancing sun that has been recorded at each location – once in Fatima and numerous times in Medjugorje – to references to Mary’s Immaculate Heart in the devotion of both Fatima and Medjugorje, to the spiritual program of daily prayer – especially the Rosary – Mass, fasting, and penance for the salvation of sinners at each site; to incredibly similar depictions of visions of the afterlife, particularly of hell, which were given to both the Fatima and Medjugorje seers by their apparition. The coherence is evident. Now there is even a report from a Catholic priest and a family member of Fatima’s main visionary, that Sister Lucia herself experienced apparitions of Our Lady speaking about her work in Medjugorje; and, therefore, Sister Lucia reportedly confirmed the apparitions of Medjugorje through her own private revelations of the Virgin.
...It is noteworthy, in stressing this connection, that Sister Lucia and Pope John Paul II maintained a lifelong friendship. [One that began]... when the pope was in Fatima on May 13, 1982, to thank the Virgin for saving his life from an assassination attempt. This was the same day that Our Lady of Medjugorje told the visionaries in Yugoslavia: “His enemies tried to kill him, but I have protected him.”
What is interesting about Lucia’s visionary experiences of the Madonna is the fact that they did not end while she was a little girl. It is true that the last apparition in the Cova da Iria fields nearby Fatima, resulting in the miracle of the dancing sun that was witnessed by an estimated 70,000 people, did conclude on October 13, 1917. However, even after the conclusion of these public apparitions, Sister Lucia continued receiving private revelations of the Virgin Mary as a nun in her cell. The same Virgin Mary that came to her as a little girl in Fatima continued appearing to Lucia as a grown woman in the convent. The apparitions lasted late into Lucia’s life, even after the Madonna reportedly began appearing in Medjugorje to six Croatian youths in 1981.” (Written by Daniel Klimek)

The reported message from Our Lady of Medjugorje on August 25, 1991 purports this same assertion: that she is the same Blessed Mother who came first to Fatima, (and who has reportedly- to this very day –been appearing daily in Medjugorje for nearly 40 years) asking for the desires she requested in Fatima to be fulfilled. She said:
"Dear Children! Today also I invite you to prayer, now as never before when my plan has begun to be realized.
Satan is strong and wants to sweep away my plans of peace and joy and make you think that my Son is not strong in His decisions. Therefore, I call all of you, dear children, to pray and fast still more firmly.
 I invite you to self-renunciation for nine days so that,  
with your help, everything that I desire to realize through the secrets 
I began in Fatima, may be fulfilled. 
I call you, dear children, to now grasp the importance of my coming 
and the seriousness of the situation. 
I want to save all souls and present them to God. 
Therefore, let us pray that everything I have begun be fully realized.
Thank you for having responded to my call."

As reported in this interview above, Pope John Paul II believed that Mary's coming to Medjugorje “is a continuation, an extension of Fatima.” Saying, “Our Lady is appearing in communist countries primarily because of problems that originate in Russia.”

Pope John Paul II was convinced that Mary saved him not only as an individual from a trained assassin on May 13, 1981, (the feast of the first apparition in Fatima), but that she has continued to come to save us collectively as well, saying:

"Christ will conquer through her, because He wants the Church's victories
now and in the future to be linked to her."
(John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, p. 114)

Therefore, just as he was convinced Mary guided the bullet to save his life, he also was convinced that Mary was truly appearing in Medjugorje to save all of us from the continued destruction waged against us by satan... 
We can surmise this based on the fact that he believed Mary was appearing in answer to his prayers. We know this based on the testimony of one of the visionaries, Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo, who reports about the time she spent with Pope John Paul II in 1987 in her book, My Heart Will Triumph. Here are excerpts of the Pope's remarks. To read about the whole encounter, please see my previous post: Mirjana's Meeting With Pope St. John Paul II: He Believed Medjugorje Was The Answer to His Prayers!
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.”

I have one last item regarding the connection between Fatima and Medjugorje that I'd like to share. It is contained in an excerpt from Bishop Hnilica's 1997 open letter to Medjugorje prayer groups. It addresses the persecutions, lies and tribulations that Medjugorje has had to endure - likening them to the trials of the prophets of old and Fatima in more recent times: 

"No one can deny, even if some try, that the spiritual Movement of the Queen of Peace is a living part of the Church, born of a spirit of prayer, not of human initiative. This river of light, life, peace and love for the Mother of God has generated prayer groups everywhere, inspired conversions, and continues to heal and comfort the hearts of all Christians who have found in the simplicity of the message of the Queen of Peace an authentic direction to rediscover the Gospel and return to the heart of the Church...
Unfortunately, since the message of Medjugorje, just like Fatima's, speaks of peace and conversion, the path of the Church is not an easy one, sharing the same fate of the prophets: many conversions but also much persecution; so much grace but also many fights; and like the prophets, only after much suffering and tribulations, men come to truly understand the importance of it. We know that voices have risen against Medjugorje, but this is not the first time that different opinions clash in the matter of supernatural intervention, inside the Church community and even among bishops. "The world is losing the supernatural, people are finding it in Medjugorje through prayer, fasting and the sacraments," said the Holy Father some years ago..." 

I pray that this information and these remembrances and stories of St. John Paul II that express his love and faith in Medjugorje inspire and encourage us to ponder these events of Mary's coming to earth and the importance of living her messages. 
For if the apparitions in Medjugorje are indeed true, as St. John Paul II and Bishop Hnilica believed, it cannot be without reason that Mary is being sent from heaven to us daily now for nearly forty years. 
Thus, the importance of her coming cannot be overstated.
Therefore, let us live Mary messages of prayer and sacrifice, conversion, Eucharist and Confession. 
May they help us to live unafraid and rooted deeply in Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church - confident, no matter the trials, that in the end, Mary's Immaculate Heart will Triumph. 
To hasten this triumph, may we constantly pray that Jesus and Mary's plans be realized and fulfilled.
And, likewise, let us pray especially for our Holy Father, Pope Francis, for all priests in the Church and for our nation and families as we consecrate ourselves totally to Jesus through Mary, 
so that God's may always be done in us. We ask this through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Pope St. John Paul II and Bishop Hnilica, pray for us! 

Lastly, this is a moving video that highlights the destruction Communism brought to the Church in Russia:

© Janet Moore. 2019. All Rights Reserved.

For those interested, here is the preface that was first included when the above interview was first pubished:
(PUR - Politik und Religion, a very successful and independent magazine led by two journalists, Bernhard and Martin Muller – twin brothers aged 43). This monthly is Catholic and is distributed to all the Bishops in Germany. Bernhard and Martin Muller are deeply devoted to Fatima, where, in fact, the idea for this magazine was born. 
“As redactors, we had some doubts about making this interview, because the whole question around Medjugorje is a bit controversial. We have nevertheless decided to make it, because we want our readers to be aware of things that are spoken about in the world, and in this concrete case, in Germany. We are convinced that words spoken by Bishop Hnilica, transmitted integrally, will be interesting to our readers. These words speak for themselves. This article is not “a voice in favour of Medjugorje” raised by our magazine. On the contrary, it represents a decision to give to our readers concrete information about what people, including the Pope, are saying, or witness that somebody told, about the apparitions of Medjugorje and their fruits.
This article follows two other articles about Medjugorje published in October, in the magazine of the Italian Bishops Conference “Avvenire”, which speak in a positive way about Medjugorje. One of them reports that the Italian UN forces based in Sarajevo went on pilgrimage to Medjugorje in order to thank the Queen of Peace for her protection during their peace mission in Bosnia. The other article, published on October 10, 2004, by Allessandro Fo, professor of Latin Literature at the University of Sienna, speaks about his conversion as a fruit of his pilgrimage to Medjugorje. The fact that the magazine of the Italian Bishops Conference gives much space to the events of Medjugorje is interesting for us.
This is why we sent Marie Czernin to ask Bishop Pavel Hnilica – an old friend of the Pope who lives in Rome since the fifties, after he escaped from Slovakia – if the Pope had ever given any commentary on Medjugorje, and if yes, in which way. (Editor of PUR magazine)

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this story, very interesting and informative.pray for us blessed Mother Mary🙏🏻💐📿❤