Monday, January 20, 2014
A special Vatican investigative commission has concluded its study of the reported Marian apparitions at Medjugorje, and supported its findings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Vatican confirmed on January 18 that the commission, chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, had held its final meeting the previous day. The commission, appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in March 2010, had been asked to weigh the authenticity of the reports that the Virgin Mary has been appearing regularly to several “seers” since 1981.
The commission’s report, which had been eagerly awaited for months, will now be studied by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which in turn is expected to make recommendations to Pope Francis.
The “Medjugorje phenomenon” has posed a difficult problem for Church leaders. While thousands of people visited the little town in Herzegovina and reported extraordinary supernatural experiences, local bishops have discouraged belief in the reported apparitions, and in 1997 Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar decried the “scandalous disobedience” of those who continued to encourage pilgrimages to the site.
According to the Italian daily La Stampa, which cited unnamed Vatican courses, the Ruini commission found no evidence of fraud or trickery in the early report of Marian apparitions at Medjugorje. However, the claims of continuing apparitions for over 30 years, and the regular scheduling of events at which the “seers” claim to have private revelations, have caused mounting skepticism. Last year Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the prefect of the CDF, instructed bishops that they should not allow public meetings organized by the alleged seers “during which the credibility of such ‘apparitions would be taken for granted.”