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Our readers asked:

What is happening in Medjugorje?

Ginny Kubitz Moyer Answers:

In June of 1981, six children and teenagers in the town of Medjugorje, Yugoslavia (now Bosnia-Herzegovina) reported having visions of the Virgin Mary.   Over the years, they have allegedly received thousands of messages  from Mary; some of the original visionaries still report daily apparitions.  Medjugorje has grown into a large center of pilgrimage, attracting some 30 million visitors.

Church authorities have, for the most part, been cautious in their response to Medjugorje.   In 1991, the Bishops’ Conference of the former Yugoslavia declared, “On the basis of the investigations so far it can not be affirmed that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations.”  In June of this year, the current bishop  reminded those in his diocese that the Church has never recognized the alleged apparitions as authentic (of course, the Church never rules on ongoing apparitions, so a definitive evaluation is unlikely to come until the visionaries stop reporting messages).

On the other hand, many pilgrims to Medjugorje find it a place of intense peace and spiritual renewal.    Recognizing this, Archbishop Bertone of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith wrote in 1998 that individual pilgrimages are permitted, “on condition that they are not regarded as an authentification of events still taking place and which still call for an examination by the Church.”

Even if the apparitions are someday judged worthy of belief, they would fall into the category of “private revelation,” meaning that they are not a necessary part of one’s Catholic faith.

In summary, according to Colin B. Donovan, STL., the position of the Catholic Church is thus:

Catholics may go to Medjugorje. Such pilgrimages may even include priests acting as chaplains, as opposed to officially sponsoring them. Also, the Church has not suppressed discussion of Medjugorje, therefore, it is allowed. Common sense, however, says that Catholics on both sides of the Medjugorje issue should exercise prudence and charity in speaking of others who believe differently. Medjugorje is not a litmus test of orthodoxy, though every Catholic will have a moral obligation to accept the judgement of Rome, in the manner Pope Benedict explained, should it ever be rendered.

 
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The Author : Ginny Kubitz Moyer
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is the author of the award-winning book Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God. She lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area and blogs at randomactsofmomness.com.
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Please note that the editorial staff reserves the right to not post comments it deems to be inappropriate and/or malicious in nature, as well as edit comments for length, clarity and fairness.
  • cathyf

    What leaves me most convinced that the events at Medjugorje are not true apparitions of Mary is the content of the “revelations.” Medjugorje is right there in Bosnia, right next to a vicious war, with horrific atrocities going on at the same time as the “revelations.” And apparently the Blessed Mother didn’t have anything to say about these atrocities.

    In fact, the Blessed Mother of Medjugorje doesn’t have anything to say beyond a collection of sweet, vague, dippy teenager pieties. Since I refuse to believe that the real mother of Jesus is a dopey airhead, I must conclude that she’s not appearing at Medjugorje and not saying those dopey airhead things.

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