This past January, the Vatican announced Saint Hubertus that it had completed its thorough investigation of the alleged apparitions and messages of our Blessed Mother to six individuals in Medjugorje, Yugoslavia (now Macedonia), which began in June of 1981Patron Saint of Hunters Medal and continue to this day. The findings of this investigation are currently being examined by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Once this examination is complete, the results of the investigation will then be forwarded to the desk of Pope Francis, who will make the final judgment regarding the authenticity of these apparitions and messages.
What will our Holy Father decide with regard to Medjugorje? It’s difficult to predict his decision because of the complexity of the situation. Debate as Saint Hubertus to the authenticity of the alleged apparitions and messages has been raging for decades among theologians, bishops, priests, and canon lawyers, while millions of lay faithful have embraced the apparitions and messages as authentic. Unless I am mistaken, a number of years ago the Vatican under Blessed John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger Saint Hubertus did issue a provisional statement to the effect that the alleged appearances and messages of Our Lady in Medjugorje were “worthy of belief” and that therefore the lay faithful were temporarily permitted to accept them and believe in them if they wished.
However, recent signals from the Church hierarchy have sounded a decidedly negative tone. A few years ago, Vinko Puljic, the Bishop of Medjugorje, filed an Saint Hubertus official complaint with the Holy See regarding the massive goings-on in his diocese surrounding the alleged apparitions, which prompted the Vatican in 2010 to appoint a special commission of selected bishops, priests, Saint Hubertus theologians, and lay faithful from around the world to investigate the whole matter. Last October, Cardinal Gerhard Muller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Vatican office which was in charge of the commission of investigation), sent a letter to the U.S. bishops ordering them to forbid alleged Medjugorje visionary Ivan Dragicevic from speaking at two public events in the States during which he expected to receive apparitions from Our Lady. Cardinal Muller pointed out in his letter that the alleged apparitions have yet to be ruled authentic. With regard to the credibility of these “apparitions,” Cardinal Muller stated that “all should accept the declaration” of the former Yugoslavian bishops dated April 10, 1991, to the effect that there is no proof that apparitions or supernatural revelations have taken place at Medjugorje.