Pope authorizes pilgrimages to Medjugorje, but has doubts about the apparitions
From now on, parishes will be able to organize pilgrimages to Medjugorje. In the past only private trips were permitted.
This measure recognize the spiritual goods emerging from these pilgrimages where thousands of people go to confession and return to the faith.
The Vatican spokesman clarified this does not mean the possible apparitions have been approved. This is because the Church is studying these cases at the moment. For this reason, he asked these trips avoid creating doctrinal confusion.
It all began in this village in the former communist country Yugoslavia. On June 24, 1981, six young people saw for the first time a woman calling them. The lady identified herself as the Blessed Mother, Queen of Peace. She wanted to communicate a message of reconciliation as well as forgiveness.
The apparitions occurred daily, around 18:30 p.m., and continued uninterrupted.
In 2010, Benedict XVI convened a commission of experts to question the visionaries and analyzed all aspects of the issue.
In 2017, as he returned from his trip in Fatima, Pope Francis revealed the results of the report.
"Regarding the first apparitions, when 'the visionaries' were children, the report more or less says that it has to continue to be investigated. Surrounding the presumed current apparitions, the report has its doubts. I personally am more negative: I prefer Our Lady as a mother, our mother, not as the head of a post office that sends a message every day at a specific time, this is not the Mother of Jesus. And these alleged appearances do not have much value. This I say as my personal opinion.”
He also noted that these apparitions generate countless conversions and should be taken into consideration.
“There are people who go there and convert, people that find God, whose lives change. And this is not thanks to a magic wand, this is a spiritual and pastoral fact that cannot be denied.”
The pope was concerned about giving too much importance to the visionaries instead of Our Lady, and the many messages as well as secrets related to Medjugorje.
At present, three of the visionaries say they continue to receive apparitions on a daily basis. The fourth visionary, once a month; and the other two, once a year.
It is most likely the first apparitions that occurred during a period of seven days will receive approval. This is because many of the messages received at that time were later repeated.
It is a place providing good spiritual fruits, but it is still unclear yet to its validity.