Medjugorje and the Vatican 2008

Richard Salbato July 11, 2008


I am sick of writing about Medjugorje (there are bigger problems in the world today), and there is nothing more I can do about it except wait and hope that the Vatican does something soon.  Most recently there was a statement in a Medjugorje miss-information paper that the Vatican had taken the Medjugorje investigation away from the local bishop.  I did not even respond to this because I knew it was not true, but who would believe me. 

I think, however, that that following two statements by both Bishop Gemma and Bishop Peric are worth posting on my web site, because they prove that these claims are lies. These two newsletters also show that if the Vatican ever does make any statement it would have to conclude Medjugorje is false and probably demonic. 

Vatican will reject Medjugorje, says bishop

6 June 2008

An Italian bishop has predicted that the Vatican will soon declare as false the claims that the Virgin Mary has been appearing to a group of visionaries in Medjugorje, Bosnia, for nearly 30 years.

Emeritus Bishop Andrea Gemma of Isernia-Venafro said that he believed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has been studying the claims since 2006, would not rule in favour of the six seers at the end of a review of the alleged apparitions.

"You'll see that soon the Vatican will intervene with something explosive to unmask once and for all who is behind this deceit," the 77-year-old bishop told Petrus, an online Italian Catholic journal.

Bishop Gemma, the most senior exorcist in the Catholic Church until his retirement two years ago, said he personally believed the phenomenon to be a "scandal" and a "diabolical deceit".

He said: "It is a phenomenon which is absolutely diabolical, around which revolve many underground interests. Holy Mother Church, the only one able to pronounce, through the mouth of the Bishop of Mostar, has already said publicly, and officially, that the Madonna has never appeared at Medjugorje and that this whole sham is the work of the demon."

He said: "In Medjugorje everything happens in function of money: pilgrimages, lodging houses, sale of trinkets.

"So much so that abusing the good faith of those poor souls who go there thinking to  encounter the Madonna, the false seers have organised themselves financially, have enriched themselves and live a rather comfortable life.

"Just think, one of them organizes directly from America, with a direct economic interest, tens of thousands of pilgrimages every year. These don't seem to me to be disinterested persons.

"Thus, together with those who shore up this noisy deception, they patently have every interest in convincing people that they see and speak with the Virgin Mary."

Since the first alleged apparition on 25 June 1981, the seers say they have seen Mary on about 40,000 occasions during which time she has supposedly imparted tens of thousands of messages and dozens of secrets.

Medjugorje has since become a popular destination for pilgrims, attracting more than five million visitors, including hundreds of thousands each year from the UK and the Irish Republic.

Pilgrims have included Spanish tenor José Carreras, who performed a concert there, and the American actor Jim Cavaziel, who played Jesus in Mel Gibson's blockbuster The Passion of the Christ.

The Medjugorje phenomenon began when a group of children told a priest they had seen the Virgin on a hillside near their town.

An investigation by Bishop Pavao Zanic of Mostar-Duvno found the claims inconsistent with the faith and they were dismissed as false. But the seers responded by claiming that the Virgin had told them that the bishop was a "wolf" who would perish unless he accepted the apparitions as true.

Three Church commissions failed to find evidence to support of their claims and in 1991 the bishops of the former Yugoslavia declared that "it cannot be affirmed that these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelations".

Their judgments have sharply divided Catholics and the Vatican, which banned pilgrimages to the site in 1985 and began a review of the claims two years ago.

According to the Sunday Times newspaper some of the seers have grown wealthy as a result of their claims - and so has their town. Some seers today own smart executive houses with immaculate gardens, double garages and security gates, and one has a tennis court. They also own expensive cars and have married - one of them, Ivan Dragicevic, to an American former beauty queen.

The new Bishop of Mostar-Duvno, Ratko Peric, is as opposed to the claims as his predecessor and in 2004 he upheld the suspension of Fr Jozo Zovko, the "spiritual adviser" to the visionaries.

Bishop Peric on Alleged Commission

Van: Biskupija []
Verzonden: donderdag 3 juli 2008 20:08
Aan: Mark Waterinckx
Ratko, bishop


Mostar, 27 June 2008

The Croatian daily newspaper “Večernji list” on 27 June 2008 published the following sensational headline on its front page: “The Vatican. The highest circles of the Catholic Church have decided to follow the phenomenon of Medjugorje – A new Commission for Medjugorje”, while on page 5 an even more sensational title appeared: “A Commission of the Holy See is being established”, accompanied by the header: “Medjugorje – Cardinal Puljić on the anniversary of the phenomenon of the apparitions of the Madonna”. Regarding this text the following statement is presented:

The text mentions a falsehood that “seventeen years ago the Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of the former Yugoslavia made a decision on Medjugorje declaring that there are no supernatural apparitions and ordered further enquiries…”.

The truth is that no Commission of the Bishops’ Conference made any decision, nor did the Commission order any further enquiry, but that this decision was made competently by the Bishops’ Conference, which on 10 April 1991 declared in Zadar that: “On the basis of investigations made thus far” – hence on the basis of the investigations and conclusions of the Commission established in 1987 by the Bishops’ Conference of that time – “it cannot be affirmed that these events involve supernatural apparitions or revelations”.

The text of the article begins with the affirmation: “The President of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Cardinal Archbishop of Sarajevo Vinko Puljić, announced the formation of a new commission which will investigate the phenomenon and which will be under the jurisdiction of the Holy See”.

This affirmation is then followed by confusing claims and the Cardinal himself in the text that follows refutes the statement in his radio-interview published by “Večernji list”.

The first is that this Commission “will most probably be under the jurisdiction of the Holy See”. Hence it is not clear, but only assumed and anybody’s guess.

Secondly, this Commission “will – if it is established, as is probable – be like an international  commission which will override our jurisdiction”.

Thirdly: “It is certain that the international commission will receive, if it is established, different instructions which remain to be seen”.

 One may ask what kind of assertions and declarations expressing extremely doubtful statements are these: “Most probably” followed then by “probably”; “if” and then “like”; “it is certain” – “if it is established”; “which remain to be seen”?

A contradiction then appears since this so-called and most probable Commission “will override our jurisdiction” and then: “Yet the local bishop will never be excluded, since he is the most competent person for everything that goes on within a diocese”.

After reading this, even a more than average reader of “Večernji list” will not know: has the formation of a Commission only been pre-announced or is it really being established?  Will it finally become a reality and when?  Will it be established at all and when? Will it be under the jurisdiction of the Holy See and in which form? Will it override the competency of the Bishops’ Conference of B-H but not the jurisdiction of the local bishop? The only thing that is certain in all of these media announcements, journalistic fabrications and Radio-Medjugorje guesses is that the local bishop of Mostar knows nothing about it at all!

We ask ourselves why do we need such compromising statements and who needs these radio-interviews on the case of Medjugorje for the anniversary of the supposed “apparitions”?

As if we don’t have more important Church issues to deal with in these difficult times and as if there don’t exist more pressing social issues that require our attention in this country, amongst our  people and in this region, than the spreading of unfounded, incoherent news and contradictory statements on the phenomenon which was already in 1991 theologically and authoritatively resolved at the level of the Bishops’ Conference which declared: On the basis of comprehensive investigations on the entire phenomenon of Medjugorje – to this day – there has been no valid proof that these events concern supernatural apparitions or revelations!


Michael Brown’s response to these articles can be found on Kevin J. Symonds’ web site