Pope Francis says he’s suspicious of ongoing Medjugorje apparitions

Holy Father distinguishes between first apparitions and ongoing appearances: "I prefer the Madonna as Mother, our Mother, and not a woman who’s the head of an office, who every day sends a message at a certain hour."

The supposed Apparition Hill in Medjugorje (image from National Catholic Reporter)

Asked by journalists about the alleged appearance of the Virgin Mary at Medjugorje, Pope Francis said the original apparitions more than three decades ago deserve further study, but voiced doubt in the supposed ongoing visions.

He stressed the need to distinguish between the two sets of apparitions, referencing a report submitted to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by a commission set up to study the apparitions by Benedict XVI in 2010.

“The first apparitions, which were to children, the report more or less says that these need to continue being studied,” he said, but as for “presumed current apparitions, the report has its doubts.”

“I personally am more suspicious, I prefer the Madonna as Mother, our Mother, and not a woman who’s the head of an office, who every day sends a message at a certain hour. This is not the Mother of Jesus. And these presumed apparitions don’t have a lot of value.”

He clarified that this is his “personal opinion,” but added that the Madonna does not function by saying, “Come tomorrow at this time, and I will give a message to those people.”

While pope, Benedict XVI established a commission headed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini to study the topic in further detail.

In January 2014, the commission completed their study on supposed apparitions’ doctrinal and disciplinary aspects, and was to have submitted its findings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The congregation has yet to submit its final document to the Pope for a final decision.

Pope Francis told journalists that Cardinal Ruini’s report was “very well done,” and that there are three main takeaways that must be kept in mind when thinking of the report.

First, he stressed the importance of studying the first apparitions of 1981 as their own entity, and attached to this was the second point on the need to be wary of the alleged ongoing appearances, always distinguishing between the two.

Third, he emphasized the need to also look at the pastoral and spiritual dimensions of Medjugorje, because “people go there and convert. People encounter God, change their lives.”

This isn’t a result of “magic,” he said, but is a valid spiritual and pastoral fact that “can’t be ignored.”

Full story at Catholic News Agency.


  1. Linda Maria says:

    I have never understood these (supposed) apparitions of Our Lady, at Medjugorje, and why it occurred! (A “trick” of non-Christian spiritualism??) Why wasn’t even one of these children inspired to leave the world, and enter religious life??? There is always a place in religious life, for those who are simple and humble (even handicapped!) as well as the well-educated! There are many simple, humble, HOLY saints, in the Church! Even today, we have Causes for Canonization, of simple priests, brothers, monks, and nuns, like Ven. Solanus Casey! Why NOT ONE religious vocation– as with Sister Lucia, of the Fatima apparitions??

    • Linda Maria says:

      Like many others– I saw several of the Medjugorje children (when they got older), many years ago, in the 1990s, along with their priest, Fr. Jozo, when they came on speaking tours, to the United States. I felt badly for the tortures inflicted by the evil Communists, on poor Fr. Jozo– and appreciated hearing the young apparitionists speak. However– it seems to me, that just a few, very special and important apparitions of the great and holy Mother of God, would seem appropriate!! And would inspire all, to greater holiness! Daily apparitions start to look suspicious to me, like delving into non-Christian spiritualism!

      • Joel Fago says:

        The Mother of God is appearing as before (and never will again) to warn us that the world will change as never before. Pray, pray, pray!

        • Thomas Edward Miles says:

          Joel, how do you know the appearing times or not of the BVM, presumptuous on your part!!

        • Linda Maria says:

          Joel, the Blessed Virgin Mary used to provide millions of Catholics, with necessary graces, for sanctification, preparing them for Heaven! Organizations such as the Legion of Mary, as well as Fr. Patrick Peyton’s famous Family Rosary Crusade, used to help Catholics immensely, spiritually! At one time, Our Lady was recognized and honored, and her wonderful graces sought, through lots of Marian devotions, in our Church! However– Vatican II changed all of this, seriously downgrading her role, in favor of the politics of modernism and ecumenism! Tragic!

      • Daniella says:

        And who are you to decide how long Our Lady should or should not appear to the visionaries in Medjugorje?

    • Daniella says:

      Please educate yourself about the fruits of Medjugorje, such as over 600 priestly vocations that are direct result of Medjugorje apparitions. Millions of people converted, reverted and are living holier lives because of Medjugorje. For those who believe, no miracle is needed. For those who do not believe, no miracle is enough.

      • Linda Maria says:

        Many people have converted to the Catholic faith, or returned to it, and many have decided upon religious vocations, after visiting Medjugorje. This is all very good! However, we still do not know, the truth of the apparitions– that is the for the Vatican to decide. God can work in very unusual ways– such things as Marian apparitions, are hard to know, for sure! Unfortunately, there have also been some questionable things, at Medjugorje, too! The Vatican is supposed to investigate, and discern the truth, for mankind.

        • Linda Maria says:

          Is it possible, that Our Lady has tried to communicate something important, at Medjugorje– and yet, post-Concilliar Catholics of today, even Catholic children —may not be catechized properly, nor HOLY enough, to correctly hear, understand, and respond to her call, from Heaven?? Were the humble Fatima child visionaries better prepared, better catechized, more holy, more careful to listen, understand, and follow as Our Lady directed, fearlessly?? Is Our Lady still in the Medjugorje region– trying to help people, and convert them–unseen from, and regardless of– the original visionaries??

          • Linda Maria says:

            There is one more sad possibility– that perhaps the Medjugorje visionaries simply were deceived by a vision of a dead spirit, such as can be common, in pagan spiritualism practices. Once, when visiting Salt Lake City, I was asked by Mormon friends, too, what I thought of the visions of young Joseph Smith, their prophetic founder. The Mormon religion has produced many wonderful fruits! I would never want to discourage anyone who believes in it! But upon looking at their Book of Mormon, and seeing artifacts of their founder– well, I will never know! But I am Catholic, so who cares??

          • Your Fellow Catholic says:

            Linda maria, Mormons are heretics and apostates. You declare over and over again your hatred for Roman Catholics and our Bishops, yet you say “I will never know!” when it comes to people so far outside the faith, they think the United States is where God chose to drop a book.

          • Linda Maria says:

            Anyone who ever saw the Medjugorje visionaries, with Fr. Jozo, speak about their visions– or saw some of the horrific wounds that poor Fr. Jozo endured, due to Communist tortures— would never want to say mean things about him, or the visionaries, nor accuse them of “heresy,” self-gain, or fraudulence! Medjugorje is in a war-torn land, of horrific Communist atrocities! We are so lucky, here in America! Best to just have good manners, and let the Church investigate and decide. It really does not matter much, to me! But I do believe in the Marian apparitions at Fatima, Lourdes, etc.

          • Linda Maria says:

            I certainly do not “hate” any of our prelates– ridiculous! And the Mormons are our fellow Christians, although our beliefs differ. They also helped us support Christian Marriage, between one man and one woman– and helped back Prop. 8 in California— which should have reigned, as God’s Law! And I do not have to bother, as a Catholic– with any other religion, and what they do or believe! Ridiculous! Go thank the Mormons, for their belief in and support for Christian Marriage!

          • Linda Maria says:

            The above post is to Your Fellow Catholic.

          • Linda Maria says:

            Not many of our Protestant Christian brethren today, believe in and support true, Biblically-based Christian Marriage, between one man and one woman– which is from God. Not many are pro-life, either– many support a woman’s “choice,” to keep or kill her baby– God’s baby!! The Mormons and evangelicals believe as we do, on the sanctity of Christian Marriage, between one man and one woman– and the sanctity of all life, from conception to natural death, by the hand of God.

      • Steve Seitz says:

        I don’t think anyone doubts the fruits of Medjugorge, the question is whether Medjugorge is a fraud — much like some of the Protestant televangelists of the 70s and 80s.

        I, myself, used to believe in Medjugorge but no longer do. The reason is the testimony of two people that I know who went there within the past ten years. Also, the local bishop has condemned it from the very beginning.

  2. for some reason the CNS translation has been sanitized. when i read the italian version of the pope’s ‘dubia” on medjugorje (one article had fun using that phrase) the italian version rendered the pope with a more forceful, perhaps sarcastic slant, referring to the lady of medjugorje as the ‘boss of a telegraph office’. his comments at fatima about people demanding handouts from their plaster O L Fatima statues did not get much coverage as of yesterday, possibly also sanitized, but probably shocked many present in fatima who do not see prayer in the old protestant shibboleth of ‘praying to statues’.

  3. Joel Fago says:

    Pope Francis, why don’t you just express your doubts about the apparitions instead of belittling them?

  4. Faithful and True says:
    • Linda Maria says:

      Faithful and True, I appreciated reading this information, which you provided the link to, on the computer! So far, I have always believed, lifelong, in the visions of Our Lady at Lourdes, Fatima, and other Vatican-approved apparitions (such as Our Lady of Guadalupe, etc.). However, as regards Medjugorje– I don’t know, and I have always had doubts about Medjugorje– and that’s okay! I will be interested to find out the final decision of the Vatican, on this, and to read of why they arrived at their particular decision.

      • Linda Maria says:

        P.S. I think the messages of Our Lady of Fatima are very important, for our Church.

        • Faithful and True says:

          The conclusions found in the Ruini dossier were quite positive towards the apparitions. The Ruini report states that 13 out of 14 Medjugorje experts who were part of the investigation committee voted in favor of Medjugorje being “Supernatural in nature”. The Vatican Commission states the origins therefore are supernatural in nature. The ongoing apparitions remain under investigation. No Catholic is obliged to believe in this apparition; nor heed the messages. Keep in mind however for example that St. Faustina and the message of The Divine Mercy were officially banned by the Vatican for nearly 50 years. The name of the Vatican official who lifted that ban for new investigation? St. Pope John Paul II. Regarding the Vatican Commission…

          • Faithful and True says:

            On Medjugorje: here is a portion of it as reported in the Italian newspaper –
            From La Stampa:
            Thirteen votes in favor of recognizing the supernatural nature of the first seven appearances in Medjugorje, one vote against and one “suspensive” ballot, which will give a final answer later. A majority of suspensive votes and many doubts instead, concerning the apparition phenomenon from the end of 1981 to today.
            These are the results of the work done by the commission on Medjugorje established in 2010 by Benedict XVI and chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini.

  5. pro-life (TX) says:

    I have been aware of the alleged apparitions in Medjurgorje since the mid to late 1980’s and have yet to hear anything coming from there that would cause me disbelieve their authenticity.

    If the only argument the current pope has is with regards to the Blessed Mother’s “schedule,” that’s not a very strong argument against them. In fact it doesn’t seem to be any type of argument at all.

    There were approved apparitions in Laus, France which went on for years.

    “The first Marian apparitions formally approved by the Catholic Church in the 21st century took place in a small hamlet of barely 20 houses in the French Alps between 1664 and 1718, when the Virgin Mary —…

    • pro-life (TX) says:

      continued — http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=8296
      “The first Marian apparitions formally approved by the Catholic Church in the 21st century took place in a small hamlet of barely 20 houses in the French Alps between 1664 and 1718, when the Virgin Mary — Our Lady of Laus — appeared some 2,500 times to Benoite (Benedicta) Rencurel …..For four months, the Lady appeared to Benedicta every day….Since the apparitions were formally recognized as legitimate by the diocesan bishop when Blessed Benedicta (beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1984) was 18…After more than two decades of suffering and continual apparitions of the Blessed Mother, Benedicta …passed away peacefully. ”
      Note – The earlier apparitions…

    • But Benedicta of Laus did not see Our Lady every day. Only randomly ovet 50 years

  6. Anne T. says:

    I have to admit I love it, I love it, I love it. “I prefer the Madonna, Our Mother, and not a woman who’s the head of an office, who every day sends a message at a certain time. This is not the Mother of Jesus.” I think those are some of the best words Pope Francis has said so far. I am sitting here smiling from ear to ear.

    Right on! Pope Francis. You tell it like it is.

    • May Pez says:

      Well, I’m sure you’ll love this too….;-)
      The pope has shared his opinion that the Virgin Mary doesn’t function by arranging meeting times. What then? She’s like Jeannie from I dream of Jeannie? She just pops in and out and the apparitioner is going to behave like Major Tony Nelson (placed by Larry Hagman), calling out if she’s there?, looking at the ceiling wondering if she’s there, but hasn’t shown herself? Suspicious indeed. LOL.
      That’s like complaining that Jesus “should have” been more impressive like Superman. I’m human, but not really…but I am….but I’m not…but I am….but I have superpowers dammit!….so…when the going get’s tough I’ll just be superman like and escape the cause and affect consequences, the…

  7. Anne T. says:

    The reason I posted my last post is that I have known women who spent all their time at work outside of their home, then the rest of their time in church to the point that they neglected their own families when the priests, deacons and nuns should have been taking care of things. Mother Mariam on Immaculate Heart Radio has said that there no such thing as Eucharistic Ministers, just Extraordinary Ministers who are only to be used when absolutely necessary. She is right.

  8. Anne T. says:

    I believe duly instituted acolytes can also be considered Ordinary Ministers of the Eucharist.

    • Your Fellow Catholic says:

      No, Anne T., you are almost certainly well intentioned but incorrect. Only the ordained are ordinary ministers of the eucharist. Acolytes, even those who have undergone minor orders, are not.

      • Anne T. says:

        Both the Catholic Encyclopedia and Wikipedia say that the only minister who can confect the Sacrament in Persona Christi is the priest of course. Wikipedia does say that the ordinary minsters of the Sacrament are bishops, priests and deacons. I think, by that, they mean those who ordinarily distribute Holy Communion and not the one who consecrates, who would have to be at least a priest. Perhaps you have a website that explains it better.

  9. Linda Maria says:

    I have never been impressed by visionaries, or healers, or miracle-workers, as I discovered, when young– that these kinds of mystics, with their abilities, exist in many different religions, and some have no religion at all, but perhaps, a mysterious spiritual cult. Many of these people, even if they seem to do good and impressive things– may not be holy at all! And some are real scoundrels, who prey on the innocent! There is only one thing that impresses me– and that is, HOLINESS!! Pope St. John Paul II had impressive healing and prophetic abilities– which were carefully dealt with, and not exposed to public display. He sought HOLINESS, which I admire!

  10. Bohemond says:

    We will always have Bayside …

  11. Anne T. says:

    By the way, I was not making a judgment about the validity of these supposed visitations. I am only concerned with those that have been fully approved by the magisterium or have a bishops approval. The rest I pay no attention to at all.

    • May Pez says:

      Have you asked yourself the question why the Pope hasn’t been humble enough to ask to see the parchment paper, which supposedly contains the 10 secrets? That would be interesting if he did, as different people see different information on the paper yet they are in the room at the same time? Why, after scientific tests, brain waves readings, the scientists have not been able to disprove? For example, their eyes don’t change focus or pupil dilation even though all sorts of things are thrown up in front of them only cm’s from their eyes which under usual circumstances, can’t be consciously controlled by the brain?

      • May Pez says:

        Why aren’t people paying attention to the obvious but speculate about time scheduling?

        • May Pez says:

          Oh Well, regardless, if one has Faith, that’s all that one needs and time will tell. You don’t lose out, neither do I, even if it is a hoax, makes no difference to the New Testament teachings.

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