Monday, June 30, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (June 30,2008) - The Vatican announced it will form a commission to investigate the apparitions of "the Virgin Mary" in the southern Bosnian town of Medjugorje.

The Bosnian Cardinal Vinko Puljic said that this will be the first Vatican commission ever to visit Medjugorje.

In 1991, a Commission set up by the Bishopric Conference in the former Yugoslavia visited the town, but ruled that nothing out of the ordinary ever took place. The Vatican has never investigated the sightings, nor has it recognized them.

Cardinal Puljic stressed that no swift decision should be expected as the commission will look separately into the apparitions as well as into the work of local clerics. The process of recognition of apparitions by the Vatican usually takes decades.

On June 1981, six young parishioners from Medjugorje reported seeing a white form with a child in her arms on one of the surrounding hills. They interpreted this and other apparitions they reportedly witnessed as "the Virgin Mary".

The story spread quickly and Medjugorje became one of the most popular Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world, attracting millions of visitors each year. The development has transformed the remote and poor village into one of the most developed and rich small towns in Bosnia.

Though the Vatican’s lack of recognition has not stopped the pilgrims, it has nearly created a split within the Roman Catholic Church in Bosnia as local priests have continued providing services in the Medjugorje church even when threatened with expulsion from their order.

Mostar’s Catholic Bishop Ratko Perić, who is responsible for the southern Bosnia region, still publicly denies any apparitions in Medjugorje.

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