over two decades - since 1981 - it has been claimed that Our
Blessed Mother (called the "Gospa" by devotees) has been
appearing to 'visionaries' in Medjugorje, Bosnia (Yugoslavia),
leaving messages for the faithful almost daily. Millions of devotees may
make pilgrimages there annually and many have attested to various
"good fruits" from the alleged apparitions (e.g. conversions,
"miracles", etc.). However, these alleged apparitions
are not without controversy. As the late Michael Davies has pointed out, there are various troubling aspects. For example:
Examinations have found nothing of a supernatural
There have been
various promised healings
which never materialized
'visionaries' predicted a "great sign" which never
though it was supposed to come "very soon, quickly"
The 'seers' have been able to produce 'apparitions' upon
Most of the 'seers' own hotels there,
who profit greatly from the travel business
'seer' is said to have "spoke and wrote much, and in doing so she
fell into many contradictions"
One 'seer' lied under oath
(and only corrected her statement after she was reminded that she
was under oath)
One 'seer' allegedly had a vision
while under anesthetic
One 'seer' has been charged with
being an "habitual liar"
One 'seer', a former seminarian is "now extremely
wealthy and drives a custom built BMW"
There have been
"fabricated miracles" (e.g.
a miracle of the sun - "Many pilgrims damaged their eyes from
staring into the sun")
There have been charges of
"great blindness, superstition,
misinformation, and fanaticism" with regard to Medjugorje
The priest that was "virtually the
spiritual director of the Medjugorje seers" is said to have
impregnated a nun asked her to lie about it
Our Lady has supposedly given messages
that go against even the
high-ranking Cardinal Ratzinger (the future Pope Benedict XVI)
has been well-known and scandalous disobedience
on the part of religious in that area
least one 'visionary' has denied statements made earlier
(even though the earlier statement had been taped)
"Gospa" in the alleged apparitions has given messages
against traditional Church teachings (e.g.
telling some people not to pray for themselves, permitting a
Protestant woman to receive Holy Communion, etc.)
Some of the messages
seem ridiculous just on their face! For example:
"Another of her stories is of a taxi driver who had been given
a bloody handkerchief which he was about to throw in a river. A
mysterious woman in black, who, of course, turned out to be Our
Lady, prevented him just in time, because, had he done so the world
would have been destroyed." (Davies)
"Gospa's" behavior in the alleged apparitions seems
uncharacteristic of the Mother of God, based on previous, approved
apparitions (e.g. she is said to sometimes
laugh during the apparitions)
The 'seers' have supposedly received
"tens of thousands of
messages most of which are notable only for their banality".
Davies points out, "One must also recall that apparitions are
always something 'extraordinary', rare, and this is an important
element for their discernment."
At first the
alleged apparitions were supposed to end soon, but later some
'seers' say Mary promised them "apparitions for life".
Later, a so-called 'second generation seer' (e.g. a
'seer' to take over after the original 'seers' die) may be expected
alleged apparitions have been rejected by the local clergy.
According to Davies,
"Only one Croatian bishop..., a
charismatic, expressed belief in the apparitions, and not one of the
100 diocesan clergy in Herzegovina accepts them as authentic."
have died in consequence the alleged apparitions.
As Davies points out, a small 'war' broke out in
Medjugorje over the "monopoly" one family had in the "pilgrimage
industry in Medjugorje." As a result, well over 100 people were
killed. Also, at least one other person is said to have died waiting
for a promised cure that never materialized (after refusing
traditional treatment due to the anticipated "cure")
'apparitions' are not limited to
Yugoslavia. Michael Davies
speaks of the Medjugorje "road show" in which
the 'seers' have
apparitions wherever they go, almost upon request.
"The Madonna seems to be following
[them] around the world"
Some of the words attributed to Our Lady are hard to reconcile with what
we know about the Mother of Our Lord. For example,
Our Lady is supposed to have said things such as: "Have you had
enough of me already?" and she is supposed to have thanked the
'seers' for visiting with her. She also was supposed to have
instructed a priest to be disobedient to his bishop. The priest in
question was one that broke his vows, impregnated a nun, and left
the religious life.
Appearances seem to vary with the travel season
(e.g. there may be more 'apparitions' when more people are in
Those critical of Medjugorje have
"come across an organized boycott"
has become a "tourist attraction"
The alleged apparitions are
very different from previous,
accepted apparitions of the Blessed Virgin
'seers' and others involved have become "very rich" off
the alleged apparitions. In fact, the Medjugorje
become a "lucrative source of income"
for various people connected with the events there. So much money is involved, it is called
a virtual "Medjugorje
Industry". In fact, it is claimed that "If any of
the 'seers' were ever to admit that the whole story has been a fraud from
beginning they would almost certainly be lynched by their families,
friends, and neighbors who have made a fortune from the 'apparitions'.
Monsignor Zanic has no doubt that 'the greatest motivator of all -
money - is what inspires the 'seers' and their manipulators"
(Davies). Even in the United States, Medjugorje is a "multi-million
dollar business operation"
There has been evident lying. As Davies reports: "[I]t
noted that [one priest who was born in Medjugorje] reveals that two
Franciscans, who were members of the bishop's first investigative commission, had detected
'thirteen apparent cases of deliberate and
conscious lying' on the part of the alleged visionaries." A
statement by Monsignor Pavao Zanic, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno is quoted as
saying "For a short description of the falsehoods about
Medjugorje we would need 200 pages"
may be connected with the 'Protestant-inspired'
movement ["There has been a close connection between Medjugorje
the charismatic movement from its very inception." "...the charismatic movement, which if examined objectively, renders the
magisterium unnecessary, for what need is there of a teaching authority
when each individual Christian can communicate directly with the Holy
Ghost" (Davies)]. As Davies further points out, "[T]he
Catholic Charismatic Renewal was founded in Pittsburgh by two
Catholic professors... who had received what they termed 'baptism of
the spirit' through the laying on of hands by Protestant
Some of the messages they attribute to Our Lady are of "very
dubious orthodoxy". For example, despite the Church's constant
teaching that "Outside the Church There is No Salvation" (click
here), Our Lady is supposed to have said things like: "To God
all religions are the same". This completely ignores that fact that
her Son established only one Church; the Catholic Church
by lay persons is widespread in the area. For example, pilgrimages are arranged
without the bishop's permission - in fact, they are against his contrary orders.
As Davies points out, "Pilgrimages to Medjugorje have, or course,
been forbidden by the bishop, the lawful authority in the diocese, and
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and so every organized pilgrimage there
constitutes an act of disobedience to lawful
Rather than engender obedience, one group of
religious involved in the
phenomena has remained in a "state of disobedience". Religious in the area have
even participated in invalid sacraments (confessions,
There is controversy over the circumstances surrounding the beginning of
the alleged apparitions ["The alleged apparitions
began on 24 June 1981 when (one 'seer') claimed to have seen Our
Lady while out walking... They later claimed that they were looking
for their sheep when, in reality, they had gone out to smoke, a fact
which they hid from their parents" (Davies)]
- the Queen of Peace - has supposedly appeared to the 'seers' each day for decades,
yet she did not
warn against the war that was to come - "one of the most vicious wars of this [20th]
century" in Bosnia. That is some omission!
has been misinformation concerning papal approval of the alleged
apparitions. Some involved in the Medjugorje events attempt
to persuade others that they have received approval from the pope.
However, according to the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno - despite claims to the contrary
- the 'apparitions' were not approved by the Holy See.
Davies points out that the
pope has refused to visit Medjugorje and
that some "papal blessings" (essentially passed off as an
imprimatur) were really nothing more than items purchased from
souvenir stores in Rome. "[I]t is very significant that during his visit
to Croatia in 1994
and to Sarajevo in 1997, Pope John Paul II did not even mention Medjugorje
let alone pay it a visit, much to the dismay of its
healings have not occurred. "The majority of the pious
public has naively fallen victim to the great propaganda, the talk
of the apparitions and of healings. These people themselves have
become the greatest propaganda for the events. They do not even stop
to think that the truth has been hidden by
deliberate falsehoods. They are unaware that not
even one miraculous healing has occurred that could have been
verified by competent experts and institutions such as the
Bureau Medical de Lourdes. No one knows of anyone healed from
Herzegovina. Everyone knows that little Daniel, old Jozo Vasilj,
Venka Brajcic and others cited in the first books about Medjugorje were not healed." (Monsignor Pavao Zanic, Bishop of Mostar-Duvno).
Also, promises of miraculous healings may have
cost some their lives, since those expecting a "miraculous
cure" may have refused customary, potentially life-saving,
'seers' may try to cover up facts when they are caught in lies.
For example, during one alleged apparition, one of the 'seers' claimed she moved to
prevent the Child Jesus (who she said was in the arms of Mary) from
falling to the floor. As Davies says, "It is inconceivable that during an apparition of Our Lady with the Child Jesus, the
Child could possibly slip." A more probable explanation was that the 'seer' was
trying to cover up the fact that although she was supposed to be in a
state of 'ecstasy' (and therefore insensible to all around her), she was startled by a cameraman who was testing her
- and who caught the incident on tape.
well-meaning people are misled. As Davies states, "The Medjugorje
fraud is making so much money for so many people,
particularly in the United States, that the propaganda in its favor
must almost inevitably swamp any attempt to make the truth known.
Thousands or even tens of thousands more well-meaning Catholics will
be deluded into accepting the veracity of Medjugorje by a Hollywood
movie called Gospa produced to promote it."
is an apparent contradiction between the humble and quiet Mary in Scripture and
talkative 'Gospa' of Medjugorje
There is concern that traditional, orthodox Catholics
"'hooked' on [this] apparition [and] all their efforts tend to be
devoted to defending it and propagating it. They have thus been removed effectively
from the battlefield of orthodoxy. There can be no doubt that spurious
apparitions are one of Satan's most effective weapons in his
war against the [Church]" (Davies). In other words, those 'hooked' on
Medjugorje, tend to put the true apparitions of Fatima in the background.
Davies says, "I know that it was the view of the late Hamish Fraser
that Medjugorje was a means being utilized by Satan to subvert the
message of Fatima." Davies also warns, "Satan will obviously
seek to introduce error and separate the faithful from the Church under
a veneer of piety."
involved in Medjugorje have spread misleading information about
those who reject the alleged apparitions. For example, one bishop
who was unfavorable to the alleged apparitions was said to have been "removed by his post".
However, Davies points out: "The Truth is that...[he] offered his
resignation in 1993 after reaching the statutory age of retirement, and
was replaced by [a Monsignor] who is just as opposed to the authenticity
of the alleged apparitions as was his predecessor."
between known seers of our Blessed Mother (e.g. the
obedient, non-worldly, financially poor, saintly seers such as St. Juan Diego of
Guadalupe, St. Catherine Laboure, St. Bernadette Soubirous, etc.) and
the 'seers' of Medjugorje (e.g. the "disobedient, worldly,
financially rich, lying 'seers'")
some might ask "Haven't clergy gone on pilgrimages to Medjugorje -
even bishops?" Yes, it is true that some bishops and priests have gone
there. This doesn't change any of the above facts or make the
'apparitions' true. Even honest, sincere people may be misled - and
this is even more true when a deliberate campaign of misinformation
others might ask "But don't some people go there and feel spiritual?
Aren't there some good fruits of Medjugorje?" The fact that something
might feel good or "spiritual" does not of itself make
something truly good or spiritually beneficial. If someone promised that
a satanic ritual would make a faithful Catholic feel good or
"spiritual", would they
attend? Of course not! And further, one's feelings do not always
correspond to truth. And as far as good fruits, there may have been some
good fruits, but there have also been many negative ones. Frequently
mentioned as a "good fruit" of Medjugorje are conversions to
the Faith - but are such conversions a "truly good fruit"? Is
it truly good to have a convert's faith based on false apparitions? Will
their newly found faith crumble when they find the basis of it was
false? And this is not even to mention the bad fruits of the alleged
apparitions (disobedience, lying, invalid sacraments, damaged health,
death, etc.). In any event, God certainly can bring good out of the
bad, but that does not make the bad good.
is no doubt that many (or even most) devotees of Medjugorje are honest,
sincere people. They may have been caught up in the campaign of lies and
misinformation by the promoters or they may have been caught up in the
seeming appearance of good - but none of this changes the fact that
these so called apparitions of the "Gospa" just may be a delusion
of the devil, a great offense against the Mother of God and "an
abuse of [Mary's] name for a commercial purpose" (Davies). Faithful
Catholics should consider making reparation for the offenses committed
against the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the name of the so-called
apparitions at Medjugorje.
UPDATES - 9/09-10/09:
* The recent laicization of a Medjugorje
priest was related to alleged apparitions according to bishop of
Mostar-Duvno diocese; He says "media reports were misleading insofar as
they suggested that the disciplinary action against Vlasic was unrelated
to the alleged apparitions"
* The Bishop of Mostar-Duvno tells
Medjugorje pilgrims "let us not act as if these 'apparitions' were
recognized and worthy of faith"; Reminds that the Church has never
recognized the alleged apparitions as authentic; Bishop also requested
removal of all references to a "shrine" or "sanctuary", banned prayers
allegedly dictated by or suggested by Mary, and instructed that the
pastor stop commenting on alleged messages
* Cardinal Puljic says a Vatican directive
on alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje is expected soon, possibly
by the end of 2009
For recent updates, please try the News &
Opinions Page (click
here) or archive (click
Highlights From 'Norms Regarding the Manner of Proceeding in the
Discernment of Presumed Apparitions or Revelations' [5/29/12 News
could well be described as the greatest fraud in the history of the Church."
"[N]o individual associated with
Medjugorje has ever been the recipient of either an apparition or a vision"
has become a place of religious disorder, disobedience, and
anti-ecclesial activity." (Don Ante Laburic, chancellor of the
Diocese of Mostar)
"I am firmly convinced that no responsible person will dare to defend the apparitions. The contrary arguments are too strong. It is
only necessary to be aware of them." (Michael
Davies quoting Monsignor Zanic, bishop of Mostar-Duvno)
am sure that Our Lady does not appear. No miracles. The 'Messages'
cannot be of our Virgin. They are the fruit of a fabrication,
fraud and disobedience to the Church. It is about big money and personal
interest too." (Michael Davies quoting Monsignor Zanic,
bishop of Mostar-Duvno)
is most alarming about the Medjugorje phenomenon is the number of
Catholics who have been deluded into believing it. It would be a
serious matter if a few thousand or even a few hundred Catholics
were wasting their time and their money, and giving their credence
and their cash to a fraud that detracts from the dignity of Our
Lady, presenting her as possibly the most garrulous woman in
history. But millions of people have now visited Medjugorje and
are supporting the ever-expanding Medjugorje industry." (Davies)
priest asked me for the reasons why I do not believe in the 'apparitions'. I told him that I have at least 20
reasons not to believe, of which only one is necessary for those
who are sober and well instructed in the faith to come to the
conclusion that the apparitions are not of the supernatural. He
asked me to please tell him at least one reason. I told him about
the case of the ex-Franciscan priest... Due to his disobedience,
by an order of our Holy Father the Pope, he was expelled from the
Franciscan religious order OFM by his General, dispensed from his
vows, and suspended a divinis. He did not obey this order and he
continued to celebrate Mass, administer the sacraments and pass
the time with his mistress. It is unpleasant to write about this,
yet it is necessary in order to see of whom Our Lady is speaking.
According to the diary of [one of the 'seers'] and the statements
of the 'seers', Our Lady mentioned 13 times that he is
innocent and that the bishop is wrong. When his mistress..., a nun,
became pregnant, both of them left Medjugorje and the religious
life and began to live together near Medjugorje where their child
was born. Now they have two children. His prayer book is still
sold in Medjugorje and beyond in hundreds of thousands of
copies." (Michael Davies quoting Monsignor Pavao Zanic,
Bishop of Mostar-Duvno)
"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer who promises you a sign or wonder, urging you to follow other gods, whom you have not known, and to serve them: even though the sign or wonder he has foretold you comes to pass, pay no attention to the words of that prophet or that dreamer; for the LORD, your God, is testing you to learn whether you really love him with all your heart and with all your soul."
"If you say to yourselves, 'How can we recognize an oracle which the LORD has spoken?', know that, even though a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if his oracle is not fulfilled or verified, it is an oracle which the LORD did not speak."
this site you indicate agreement to all terms. For terms information,