Mixed Verdict Expected from Commission on Medjugorje

Our Lady of MedjugorjeAlthough the report has not yet been made public, Church officials charged with investigating the validity of the apparitions at Medjugorje have apparently decided that the first seven apparitions were authentic, but succeeding visions are suspect.

According to Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa, the commission to study the Medjugorje phenomena, which was established in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI and chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, has reported mixed findings on the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje which have been ongoing since 1981.

“The commission noted a very clear difference between the beginning of the phenomenon and its following development, and therefore decided to issue two distinct votes on the two different phases: the first seven presumed appearances between June 24 and July 3, 1981, and all that happened later. Members and experts came out with 13 votes in favor of recognizing the supernatural nature of the first visions,” Tornielli reports.

“The committee argues that the six young seers were psychically normal and were caught by surprise by the apparition, and that nothing of what they had seen was influenced by either the Franciscans of the parish or any other subjects. They showed resistance in telling what happened despite the police arrested them and death threating [sic] them. The commission also rejected the hypothesis of a demonic origin of the apparitions.”

However, the later apparitions were not as trustworthy. They occurred during a time when there was a conflict between the Franciscans of the parish and the local bishop and continued even though the children said they would end. Instead, they continued and were pre-announced and “programmed individually” for each seer.

The Ruini report was brought to the attention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) last year where further skepticism of the apparitions occurred, Tornielli reports. But Pope Francis intervened before the CDF came to a decision and asked all members to give their opinions to him personally.

Medjugorje, in Bosnia and Herzegovena

Medjugorje, in Bosnia and Herzegovena

Francis then sent Polish Archbishop Henryk Hoser to observe the pastoral situation in Medjugorje and determine if the fruits were positive or negative. Archbishop Hoser made his visit in March of this year and reported “immense” spiritual benefits received by pilgrims who visited the site. He is expected to deliver the final results of this visit shortly.

Pope Francis alluded to these findings during a press conference which took place on board the papal jet as he flew back to Rome from Fatima, Portugal last Saturday. In his remarks, he made the same distinction between the earlier apparitions and those that are allegedly continuing to this day.

“The report has its doubts, but personally, I am a little worse,” the pope said according to the Catholic News Service. Referring to later apparitions in which Our Lady appears at a certain time to give a message, he said, “I prefer Our Lady as mother, our mother, and not Our Lady as head of the post office who sends a message at a stated time.”

He continued: “This isn’t Jesus’ mother. And these alleged apparitions don’t have much value. I say this as a personal opinion, but it is clear. Who thinks that Our Lady says, ‘Come, because tomorrow at this time I will give a message to that seer?’ No!”

After receiving Archbishop Hoser’s report, the Pope is expected to make a final decision about the apparitions at Medjugorje.

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