Church Position

Notwithstanding public criticisms of the Marian Apparitions by Bishop Ratko Peric (Local Bishop of the Diocese of Mostar), the Vatican espoused that no official decision was actually made concerning the phenomenon at Medjugorje on the local level: "The commissions at those levels never came to a conclusion on the question of whether or not the alleged apparitions are supernatural, so the bishops of Bosnia and Herzegovina have asked the CDF to take over investigations" (1, 2). Those who oppose Medjugorje claim that both local bishops, (Zanic and Peric) of Mostar and all the official commissions of investigation were uniformly negative: "supernaturality is not demonstrated".  This is in direct conflict to the Vatican statement that "The commissions at those levels never came to a conclusion on the question of whether or not the alleged apparitions are supernatural". Even if those who oppose Medjugorje could somehow substantiate their claim, the Vatican is the higher authority and It's statement would indicate that the lower level decision was not recognized by the Holy See.  Bishops and Cardinals take an oath of obedience to the Pope (3). Nevertheless, Pope Benedict XVI publicly blessed a statue of Our Lady of Medjugorje in Saint Peter's Square in Vatican City on June 4, 2008 (4, 5, 6).

The apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje have gained a very substantial following among many Catholics. The Holy Roman Catholic Church follows procedural standardized criteria for evaluating apparitions, miracles, and supernatural phenomenon which incorporates considerable research, time, and study before issuing an Official judgment. Pope Benedict XVI formed a commission completely independent of the local Diocese. The Vatican announced on March 17, 2010 that it commenced a formal investigation of the apparitions at Medjugorje. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Camillo Ruini to head the commission investigating the Marian Apparitions (7, 8, 9).  On January 19th, 2014, Vatican Insider reported that this Papal Commission decided in favor of the Medjugorje Apparitions and Visionaries (10). The very next Day the Vatican Website ( removed all negative references to the Medjugorje Apparitions, the only two remaining references are in Cardinal Ruini's Bio and a reference comparing Medjugorje to Lourdes (11, 12). Most Catholic welcomed this purging as a very positive sign.


The Holy Roman Catholic Church has a Hierarchy.  The Code of Canon Law - Book II, Part II, Section I, Chapter I, Article I - gives the Pope full and supreme power over all levels of the Church and free use to exercise this power (13).  The First Vatican Council, Session IV, Chp. IV, p.IX:  "So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema" (14).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, 883 states: "The college or body of Bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head" (15).  How can a Bishop who refuses to acquiesce to the Pope expect others to submit to him?  "Although the Pope John Paul II made no official declarations in the form of "I hereby solemnly declare Medjugorje worthy of belief", He has nonetheless expressed on numerous occasions, both verbally and in his own pen, His personal support for the apparitions.  In fact, whenever a Bishop would inquire about Medjugorje to Pope John Paul II, He would invariably give His staple response; "If I was not Pope, I would already be there!". We list below just a few of the many statements Pope John Paul II to various Bishops, as well as letters in His own pen" (16).  ABC News estimated that nearly 40 million people have made pilgrimages to Medjugorje, including some 17 million Catholics (17).