Medjugorje Fact-Sheet: Is the Devil in the Details?

Given the turmoil, uncertainty, and speculation that has been engendered by Cardinal
Schönborn’s recent high-profile visit to Medjugorje, I, like many who have been following the story closely, am waiting and watching to see what this new development might portend for the Church’s eventual decision on whether the Medjugorje phenomenon is an authentic Marian apparition or not.

The Catholic Church will, I presume, eventually issue some kind of definitive decision on this question, but in the meantime, before that happens, I believe it is wise to consider all the available relevant information and evidence, those which lend support to Medjugorje and those which do not. As St. Paul said, “Test everything; hold fast to what is good” (1 Thess. 5:21).

In addition to the bemused reaction to His Eminence’s visit there from the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno (within which territory Medjugorje is situated), a few other high-level Churchmen have been speaking up about the matter, including Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, who is disinclined to accept the claims that the Medjugorje phenomenon is base on authentic Marian apparitions.

Regardless of whether one believes Medjugorje is a true Marian apparition, disbelieves it, or is simply skeptical toward the whole thing but remains open to all credible evidence, pro or con (this is my personal position, by the way), it seems clear that these recent statements from such well-informed bishops are certainly worth pondering.

Consider this, too:

Under the heading: “Medjugorje, Secrets, Messages, Vocations, Prayers, Confessions, Commissions,” Bishop Ratko Peric, in 2007, provided an exhaustive chronology and outline of salient facts surrounding the alleged apparitions. For anyone who is serious about wanting to know all the details pertaining to Medjugorje, this “Fact Sheet” is a must read, regardless of where you currently stand on this issue.


  1. davidtlig

    Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.Matthew usefully quotes the only reference in the Catechism to 'private revelation' but seems not to find in the above quote from it, an encouragement to look for Jesus and Mary in Medjugorje.Whatever the anti-Medjugorje people might say, the local bishop does NOT represent the Magisterium of the Church. In fact, after trying to find something in canon law about the position of the local bishop in matters associated with apparitions, I can find nothing. As far as I can see, any 'authority' of the local bishop is simply one of church 'etiquette'.

  2. Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS

    David, There is one fundamental thing wrong with using sensus fidelium in the case of Medjugorje. That "sense" must be aligned with the Magisterium. Right now it is very distant from the local Magisterium. The Holy See would have to overturn the local bishop. He is standing on solid doctrinal ground with his current position. The local Magisterium can never be misaligned with ordinary Magisterium. Hence, Bishop Perics findings would have to be proven contrary to the faith. Dissidents often use the SF argument to advance things like sex outside of Sacramental marriage. Their "sense" doesn't change objective Truth. The Church does not have authority to modify Truth for their "sense."Google Pope John Paul II and learn in what boundaries SF ms apply. It can never counter the Magisterium.

  3. Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS

    David, you said "the local bishop does not represent the Magisterium"In each diocese is the local Magisterium and it must be aligned with the higher Magisterium. If there are things contrary to the faith in the messages, for example, he could not pronounce favorably as he would be out of alignment with Church teaching.By pointing out what is contrary to the faith at Medjugorje publicly the Church will not over-rule his findings unless he has erred. That which he points out as contrary to faith is like 101. Hence, not likely to be overturned.

  4. Nick

    To strengthen Diane's words, here's what the Catechism of the Catholic Church has to say:67 Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.84 The apostles entrusted the "Sacred deposit" of the faith (the depositum fidei), contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. "By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practising and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful."92 "The whole body of the faithful. . . cannot err in matters of belief. This characteristic is shown in the supernatural appreciation of faith (sensus fidei) on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals."904 "Christ . . . fulfills this prophetic office, not only by the hierarchy . . . but also by the laity. He accordingly both establishes them as witnesses and provides them with the sense of the faith [sensus fidei] and the grace of the word"

  5. Nick

    No shrine and no pilgrimages. Neither the Diocesan Bishop as the head of the local diocese of Mostar-Duvno, or any other competent authority has ever officially declared the parish church of St. James the Apostle in Medjugorje as a "Marian Shrine" and no "cult" of the Madonna based upon so-called apparitions has even been proclaimed. Due to these discrepancies, the local Bishop has repeatedly forbidden anyone from preaching or speaking in churches on the supernatural nature of these so-called "apparitions and revelations", and he has asked that no official pilgrimages be organized be they at the level of parishes, dioceses or generally in the name of the Church. These and similar warnings were made by our former Bishops Conference and the Holy See. Whoever acts to the contrary, is directly going against the official statements of the Church, which even after 14 years of so-called apparitions and widespread propaganda, still remain valid in the Church.– Msgr. Ratko Peric SOURCE

  6. pilgrim

    Yes, Nick we all know and understand what the Diocesan bishop has said about shrine status. But you must understand that if the Holy See wish to give Medjugorje shrine status at international level then it can do so without any permission from the local bishop – as did the Yugoslav bishops.This is a fact you should not make yourself blind to. And yes, we all know that pilgrimages cannot be organised at diocesan level. I don’t know of any diocese that does this. But there is a difference in a group of parishioners travelling to Medjugorje with their parish priest as spiritual director.In my opinion, most critics of Medjugorje fail to see or accept is that there is an instruction in place for pilgrims to receive pastoral support. Ten Franciscans cannot administer to all of the pilgrims needs. They struggle coping with the demand for pastoral care even from their own parishioners.Remember when Peter cast his net under instruction from Jesus and landed such a catch that he was unable to drag it in? Other disciples came aboard to assist with the catch.This is a similar scenario at Medjugorje. Outside priests are needed to assist with the catch.The Church has no problem with this. Neither has the local bishop.Perhaps antagonists also fail to understand that all the Franciscans of the Medjugorje parish work there with the blessing and co-operation of the Mostar bishop. All are signed in and vetted by the bishop. What many people do not realise also is that ALL Mass stipends given at the parish office are collected by the bishop of Mostar for use as he sees fit. The money does not go to the Medjugorje parish or the Franciscans. Generally the money is distributed to poorer parishes. So bishop Peric has not been slow to claim his pound of flesh from the pilgrims in the way of Mass stipends. No pilgrims, no mass stipends, no money for the poorer parishes of the diocese.Nick, you might also like to know that the instructions of the bishop are announced regularly to the pilgrims at Masses. The parish priest also issues a notice to priests and pilgrims about the requirements of the Church. This can be found on the parish website.The relationship between bishop and the pastors of Medjugorje is far more cordial and co-operative than critics may wish to accept.

  7. Nick

    Yes, Pilgrim we all know and understand what you have to say about shrine status. But you must understand that if the local Bishop and Bishops Conference have not given Medjugorje shrine status at the local or national level than it is highly unlikely that it will become an international shrine This is a fact you should not make yourself blind to. Perhaps antagonists also fail to understand that the Holy See defrocked the Franciscans, which means they disobey the Church when they celebrate sacraments. Here is the proof.I hope you listen to Rome. It is your duty as a Catholic to listen to Rome.

  8. pilgrim

    Nick said: “you must understand that if the local Bishop and Bishops Conference have not given Medjugorje shrine status at the local or national level than it is highly unlikely that it will become an international shrine.”Nick, with the greatest respect for your position and belief, let me repeat that the three levels of shrine status operate independently of each other. International shrine status does not have to happen after approval at local or national level. It operates under a different set of statutes governed by the Holy See and not by the local ordinary.It must be frustrating for you to judge from afar and have to rely on the misinformation continually pumped out by opponents of Medjugorje; misinformation that they have started to believe is true. Now isn’t that a case of the blind leading the blind down dark alleys.Yes, most opponents really believed that the time was drawing near when Rome would condemn Medjugorje, so when cardinal Schönborn turned up and started stating the real facts and position of the Church, well, it was all too much for them and the gnashing of teeth began along with the attempted smears of the cardinal, the latest stemming from the Petrus site and half a letter on the Mostar bishop’s website. As to defrocked Franciscans, let me again remind you of the point I made earlier: ALl Franciscans working in the Medjugorje parish do so with the full approval of the Mostar bishop. They cannot pastor in Medjugorje without his signature. Defrocked Franciscans is simply a smokescreen and has nothing to do with the legitimacy of the Medjugorje Phenomenon. If it had, then Rome would have stepped in years ago and closed down the place.Of course I listen to Rome, but do you? Have you taken on board cardinal Schönborn’s statement referring to the Zadar declaration of 1991 in regard to the Holy See’s position on Medjugorje? If you had then why the accusations against the Medjugorje Phenomenon.Feel free to believe what you want, but why attack other Catholics who choose to believe? What harm are they doing to you? The Church has all of this in hand and I include the Mostar bishop in that as well. There is nothing untoward happening at Medjugorje. The frayed edges which the bishop has tolerated for many years are being dealt with because this is what the Holy See requires. Perhaps it suited the bishop to allow the anomalies to prevail for so long so that he could use this against the Medjugorje Phenomenon. But in recent months he has been busy tying up his backyard problem because that is what Rome requires – to dot the i’s and cross the t’s so that the criteria for shrine status is properly met. It has to do this if it is going to put its name to the shrine. whether the bishop likes it or not.The tree has to be protected and if the local bishop is reluctant to protect the tree that produces good fruit, then someone else has to.

  9. pilgrim

    Wot, no comment, Diane? Guess there isn’t much to say about the cardinal’s letter, or the piece the bishop allowed us to see. It’s not an apology, that’s plainly clear. But as the bishop had written to the cardinal it was probably best that he acknowledge receipt otherwise the bishop may have felt even more slighted.I know how much you like having documentation to back up your arguments, that’s why I was puzzled by you running with the Petrus smear. Not your usual style. The floater by Petrus was a real stinker and you grabbed it with both hands. Ugh!

  10. moditters

    Keep that Christian attitude, Pilgrim.

  11. Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS

    The first Petrus article was not presented as documented fact by Petrus nor myself. It was explained to be whispers in the Sacred Palace. The fact that the Holy See published an out of the ordinary private audience that Cardinal Schonborn had with the Pope, coupled with a prompt fax from ROME by the Cardinal to Bishop Peric of a conciliatory nature….these dots are just too easy to connect. There is no commentary needed.

  12. Nick

    I see you won't listen to Rome. But perhaps you are unaware of what the Church teaches on docility:CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH87 Mindful of Christ's words to his apostles: "He who hears you, hears me", the faithful receive with docility the teachings and directives that their pastors give them in different forms.I'm ending my part in the discussion here. May you come to heed Mother Church as a child of God, Pilgrim. Good night.

  13. Athanasius

    Does the holiness or lack thereof in the visionaries confirm or invalidate the apparition? Is that a criteria of authenticity?The seers at La Sallette fell away from the faith, though the woman involved returned at the end. I believe with Lourdes Bernadette's holiness was used as a criterion, but the approval of the apparition did not turn on it, unless I'm mistaken.

  14. Athanasius

    Irrespective of the truth of medjugore, we should be mindful that there are plenty of instances in Church history where a false apparition has occurred, and there were visible fruit connected with it. Even after authentic apparitions such as Lourdes and Knock there were false seers who cropped up afterward. Within our own time, there was an anti-Pope in spain, Clemente Dominguez y Gomez "Gregory XVII" who claimed to have visions, and founded an order based on instructions from the blessed virgin at an apparition site which the Church had not officially condemned. He encouraged the rosary and frequent confession, defended traditional doctrine and brought about numerous conversions. People started selling property to move near him, and all of the sudden he received a vision in which Jesus and St. Peter elected him "Pope", and was crowned by his newly created "cardinals". All of those souls emotionally attached, who saw the good fruit left the ark of salvation for an imposter. Satan will bear conversions and even some souls coming closer to God in order to net many more. Remember the admonition of our first Pope, "Fratres sobrii estote et vigilate!"

  15. David

    Even after authentic apparitions such as Lourdes and Knock there were false seers who cropped up afterward. Athanasius is correct. Medjugorje (which I have no doubt is authentic) has produced an enormous number of such 'copycat' type of 'missions' that lead astray some of those who have been touched by Medjugorje. But the false 'missions' eventually fade away. This is just one of the reasons the truth of Medjugorje shows itself, through its continuing power to convert and bring people back to God even after nearly 30 years!

  16. Paul Meyer

    I have read that one of the seers was given a book by the Blessed Mother in the early days of these apparitions and now dodges any discussion of it. Does any one know if any one has seen this book or knows anything about it? It sounds fishy like the gold tablets given to the Mormon founder. Would welcome some clarification on this mysterious book.

  17. mark waterinckx

    I don't know about a book 'given' by the Gospa to the 'seers'.There are 2 stories I remember:1° Mirjana should have read a book about Lourdes before the beginning of the 'apparitions'.2° Marija should have asked the Gospa about the book(on the index of forbidden books) written by Maria Valtorta, and the Gospa should have approved that book.

  18. Jordan

    Re:"I have read that one of the seers was given a book by the Blessed Mother in the early days of these apparitions and now dodges any discussion of it. Does any one know if any one has seen this book or knows anything about it? It sounds fishy like the gold tablets given to the Mormon founder. Would welcome some clarification on this mysterious book."The book you are referencing incorrectly, which is on the life of Mary is being dedicated by Our Lady and written down. It has not yet been finished therefore released and will be at the time Our Lady sees fit.

  19. Jordan

    Today's daily reading from Acts is appropriate here."So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail;but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!" Acts 5:38-39The messages of Medjugorje are to put the Eucharistic, Jesus, at the center of our lives, to live the holy Mass. To daily prayer, specifically the pray of the rosary and to pray it everyday, pray it together and with the heart. To read the bible everyday and to mediate on the Living Word of God. To fast twice a week on bread and water, like the early Church did on Wednesday & Fridays, to fast so that we can pray with the heart and make a good confession. And to go to the Sacrament of confession at least once a month.These are the messages of Medjugorje, the call to our individual conversions.Satan does not bring people to God, to the Eucharistic or the Sacraments. Jesus taught us to know a tree by it's fruits. He says, "You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?"I have heard some say that the fruits of Medjugorje are God turning something bad into something good but Jesus teaches us "Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles". Jesus teaches us to know a tree by it's fruits.The fruits of Medjugorje have not been seen since the early days of the Church. Multitudes of vocations being born, people returning to the Father, to the Sacraments…to the Church.Medjugorje is about Jesus. It is the call to the family prayer. Our Lady is appearing and she says these are her last apparitions on earth and the fulfillment of Fatima. She is given us the messages that can renew the Church and the world. With these messages the Church can win.What are you going to say the day when you stand before all of Heaven? Did you answer the call of Our Lady?We all know that if the Church rules that this aspirations are false that those who do believe will out of holy obedience and love for the Church will denounce the apparitions. What are you going to do if the Church rules them to be authentic though? Will you still consider yourself a believer when you did not recognize the voice of the Virgin, Mary, the mother of God?

  20. April

    Garabandal was very popular and had many "good fruits." It was condemned (further, I consider it demonic from what I know of it). I think the devil has gained some polish with Medjugorje. He's been very successful in laying the foundation for a schism.Anyway, I wonder how the Church is going to go about approving the site. If they do, if they say nothing in it refutes Church doctrine, then they're going to have to change a few things, such as life beginning at conception, as the "Gospa" said a baby receives its soul at three months, making first trimester abortions okay. Also, they're going to have to take condemnation off "Poem of The Man God" as the "Gospa" said it was fine by her. And disobedience against church authority is also just fine. Never mind that most sainted seers have been obedient. The "Gospa" put her support behind the suspended Franciscans and called the bishop a wolf.Sorry for my snarky tone. I just get angry (and my anger comes out as snark) as I love the Blessed Mother as if she were my own mother and am so offended when people attribute things to her that are so decidedly unlike her.

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