May 16, 2017
A special Vatican commission formed by Pope Benedict XVI to investigate reports of Marian apparitions at Medjugorje concluded that the earliest apparitions were likely authentic, but expressed grave doubts about later reports, according to Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa.
Tornielli—who has broken several stories during this pontificate, demonstrating that he has reliable sources inside the Vatican—provided details about the Vatican investigation, after Pope Francis said that the commission’s report was “very, very good.” The Vatican has not yet made the report public.
Answering a reporter’s question about Medjugorje during his return flight from Portugal on May 13, Pope Francis indicated that the investigating commission, formed in 2010 and headed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, had drawn a distinction between the first reports of apparitions at Medjugorje, which occurred in 1981, and the subsequent claims, which continue to this day. The commission “has its doubts” about the later reports, the Pope said. He had said that he too is skeptical, unable to believe that the Blessed Virgin would “every day send a message at such and such an hour.”
Enlarging on that report, Tornielli said that the Ruini commission delivered its report in 2014, with a large majority of its members in agreement that the original appearances—seven events in late June and early July of 1981—were authentic. “The commission also rejected the hypothesis of a demonic origin of the apparitions,” Tornielli said.
However, the Ruini commission was not convinced of the authenticity of later reported apparitions, and the members were split on the question of whether the spiritual fruits of the Medjugorje phenomena were positive.
When the Ruini commission’s report was brought to the attention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), it encountered further skepticism, Tornielli reports. However, before the CDF could render a judgment, Pope Francis intervened, asking the prelates to send their thoughts directly to him. (Pope Francis confirmed this decision during his May 13 interview.) The Pontiff then chose to focus on the spiritual benefits of the Medjugorje phenomena, and sent the Polish Archbishop Henryk Hoser to study the pastoral situation there.
Archbishop Hoser made his visit in March of this year, and on his return spoke of the “immense” spiritual benefits that pilgrims had received at Medjugorje. He is due to deliver a final report on his findings to Pope Francis soon.