Medjugorje is a Fraud

Medjugorje is a Fraud January 9, 2013

One of the marks of the fraud is that so many of its apologists say that skeptics (that is, people who listen to the bishops who have spoken to the question) have to shut up till Rome speaks, while they themselves are free to go on promoting it.  The sensible thing, of course, is for promoters to be silent till Rome speaks since there is no evidence that Mary is actually appearing there and plentiful evidence that the “visionaries” and many in their circle are crooks and frauds.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • michaelp71

    I would think that since this is a hot-button issue for some Catholics/converts/reverts that saying Medjugorie is a fraud is not speaking the truth with love.

    • Confederate Papist

      Mark’s a big boy and I know he’s fully capable of defending himself…so my two cents won’t really matter but I have to say it…

      Mark *has* on many occasions written about Medjugorie and the absence of Rome’s imprimatur, if you will. After a while you just call a spade a spade…

  • Laura

    Michael, the first part of “speaking the truth with love” is “speaking the truth”. The word “fraud” is the mildest word that actually conveys the reality of what has happened: the sexual and financial exploitation of credulous pilgrims, people impersonating bishops and pretending to perform sacraments in public, obvious falsehoods proclaimed as doctrine, and so on. This is NOT what a true manifestation of heaven looks like. Fudging the truth merely leaves vulnerable people in danger.

    If this is a “hot button” issue, for you or anyone, then… the problem is your hot button. Turn it off. Feed your mind and imagination with the undeniable Good: deep and sustained meditation on scripture and the Creeds, including the special subset of these known as the rosary. No apparition will EVER add anything to the public revelation that we already have. You don’t need any second-hand dubious stuff– take the direct personal access to the Divine that is being offered to you by the Church! Follow the example of Our Lady, who was obedient to the requirements of the Law and Temple, even though the leaders were deeply corrupt (to the point of procuring the torture-murder of her Son). Choose any of the spiritual or temporal works of mercy, and DO IT rather than spend even a nanosecond on thinking about Medugorje.

  • michaelp71

    Laura I am in agreement with you and this was not written for my sake but for others who could be “lost” if we don’t do this with love. It sounds as if you know and live the faith properly but for others who have clung to these “apparitions” we have to be clear but do it lovingly. St Paul says that we cannot eat the “meat” of the faith until we are ready or we could be lost…I am paraphrasing. Patrick Madrid has written on this and you may want to check out his site.

  • Sergio

    Mark the difference between these people that tell us to shut up wit their cheap pious (supposed grace), and us, is that we can distinguish between being in Catholic culture and being a Catholic.

    Thank you for this post. People drive me bananas at my Parish with Medjugorje.

  • If it was so obviously a fraud, I would think it would have taken less than 31 years to condemn it. However, you are correct that naysayers are free to bash it. I’m not sure that Medjugorje enthusiasts not wanting it to be bashed because they see it as an attack against Mary counts as a point in favor of fraud, though.

  • Confederate Papist

    Better to say “we were wrong” about Medjugorie than to find out it was a fraud after being an apologist for many years..

  • William

    It seems to me that the sensible thing, of course, is for promoters and those who think it’s a fraud to be silent till Rome speaks .

    • Mark Shea

      But since it is manifestly not the case that believers and promoters of this fraud will do that–thus forcing the bishops to ask Rome to intervene–it is up to people of conscience to point out that Medjugorje is a fraud.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      However, even if the apparition is approved by Rome, skeptics are still fine to believe that it is fraudulent. Private revelation is not necessary.

      • I’d be careful about saying it is not “necessary.” Yes, not necessary to reveal any new dogma or teaching. But, necessary for some situation in history? Perhaps. I doubt that Mary would be sent to Fatima, Lourdes or wherever just for a friendly chat. There is some compelling reason that is behind the appearances.

        • Andrew

          ” I doubt that Mary would be sent to Fatima, Lourdes or wherever just for a friendly chat. There is some compelling reason that is behind the appearances.”

          I agree with you, Dave.

          It’s true that no Catholic MUST “subscribe” or become a “devotee” of private revelation….but I’d agree with Dave. For Catholics, I’m sure there is a compelling reason behind Fatima, Lourdes, etc…..and the person who simply says “I choose not to look in to (Fatima) because I don’t have to..” would be really missing out on something VERY important…I would think

  • *When* Roma locuta est, *then* causa finita est. Until then, I agree with you: Deeply, deeply skeptical, but reserving judgment.

  • Stu

    I’m not comfortable with the event around Medjugorje. But I’m not happy proclaiming it a fraud…yet.

    Critique it, point out where it is fishy, and by all means compare it to approved apparitions.

    But we can wait for the official pronouncement from “Headquarters” and then be there to help pick up the pieces with those who have invested themselves heavily into this event.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      Mark is fine to call it a fraud even if it is approved by Rome.

      • Beaven

        No Andy, that’s not correct. It’s okay not to believe it, it’s not okay to insult the Church by ridiculing its judgment.

      • ED

        Andy… What the hell have you been drinking/smoking/snorting? What an *asinine* comment young man!!!

  • Janet O’Connor

    I agree with Mark that until Rome speaks officially on this matter those in favor of it including the Charismatics should be quiet and not talk about it or promote it as a matter of prudence and obedience. The same thing happened with the Divine Mercy Devotion in the 60’s and 70’s. Out of obedience to Rome (which was investigating the Diary) the Marians of the Immaculate Conception did not talk speak or print any more images of Divine Mercy until the late ninety 70’s when the CDF gave the green light and John Paul II officially approved of it himself. The same should apply here. It is NOT an attack on Mary- that is absurd, it is called Prudence and Obedience.

    • Has the Vatican ordered silence on matters of Medjugorje, or alleged but unapproved supernatural events in general? If not, I’m not sure how obedience can be brought into the picture. Prudence, perhaps. It’s pretty hard not to talk about grace-filled, sometimes miraculous events one has experienced, though. I have experienced what I consider to be miracles on a couple of occasions and even though they were not approved by the Church, I told others about them. Is that not OK?

      I agree that it is not really an attack on Mary to be critical of the alleged apparitions. However, some are so certain that Mary is appearing there, that they see it that way. Is that imprudent and mistaken of them? Yes. Is it a sign that it’s all a fraud? No.

      • Elaine T

        The local bishops have tried to shut it down, and are ignored. That’s where obedience comes in.

    • Dave Hahn

      This is not the same case. The Divine Mercy was said to be false and the Church said it could not be promoted. The Church has done neither in the case of Medj. In fact the Zadar commission has said people can go on Pilgrimages to Medj. Until than people promoting the apparition and finding conversion and healing is one way that the authenticity of the apparition is determined. So you are asking people who believe in the apparition to do something that would harm it.

      • Mark Shea

        You can go on pilgrimages to Auschwitz. That doesn’t mean the Virgin is appearing there.

  • Mark, why do you hate Mary so much?

    • kenneth

      Dude, she put a Hello Kitty sticker on his Harley and hacked his iPhone to make “Gangnam Style” his only ringtone! We’ve all let a lot ride over the years being that she’s Christ’s mom and all, but a guy has limits….

    • Mike Harrison

      Oh, please. (Sorry my comment is too short.)

  • frenchcookingmama

    I used to believe in this…years ago.
    Now, I too am deeply skeptical.
    Two recent revelations that sealed it for me:
    1) The Baby Jesus allegedly spoke on Christmas Day. “He” said nothing a first grade CCD-goer doesn’t know: “I am your peace. Live My Commandments.”
    My gut feeling, and I could be wrong, is this happened just as the Vatican commission is wrapping up its work.

    2) There was a headline at one of those pro-Medj sites very recently, saying that Mirjana “forgot” her ten secrets. Now, these were supposed to scare the crap out of everyone, they were that grave – and she simply forgot them?

    Not adding up, folks, not adding up.

    • The second thing is not literally true. I looked this up after you mentioned it. If you actually read the full article, it is pretty clear that she “forgot” them only in the sense that she was given the grace not to think about them very often, as it was supposedly extremely stressful to her.

    • frenchcookingmama

      I did *not* mean any disrespect to Our Lord Jesus in my comment. I simply think the timing of this is very strange and suspect.

  • I’ve mentioned this before, but my then-atheist liberal mother-in-law claims to have had a miraculous healing of her terminal cancer on a visit to Medjugorje; she has since become a very devout, rather charismatic and conservative Catholic. Nevertheless, there do seem to be some unsavory shenanigans associated with the place, and God’s having chosen to heal my mother-in-law seems to me to be a confirmation of Mark’s observation that “under controlled laboratory conditions, God will do whatever He likes” than any reason for me not to defer to Rome on the invalidity of the apparition. Then again, with the exception of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Marian apparitions haven’t meant much in my own devotional practice, so it’s easy for me to say this. For those with a deep devotion to certain apparitions, I imagine proper deference to Rome on this can be an unpleasant struggle indeed.

  • Beaven

    Stick to Fatima, Lourdes, Akita. There’s more than enough food for thought there. The thing which has always struck me as most problematic with M. is Mary allegedly appearing every day over and over and over for years, talking about the weather, mundane things. It’s out of all character with her other appearances.

    • Dave Hahn

      Sister Lucy herself said Medj is the continuation of Fatima. It would be foolish to not listen to our Mother if she was continuing to warn and guide us. If it is Mary obviously she thinks there is still more food for thought we need.

      • Mark Shea

        A) Documentation please. B) What is foolish is to ignore the bishops whose job is to evaluate these claims.

        • Frannie

          Please continue researching this.

          I am also researching and have been astonished to learn that one reason the original Medjugorje bishop didn’t believe in the apparitions was that he didn’t believe in ANY apparitions.

          Also–if what I’ve read about the region is accurate (books published in the 1980s), regional diocesan officials in Medjugorje have never been too fond of the Franciscans there. The original bishop involved in Medjugorje may have been downright hostile to ANYTHING associated with the Franciscan brothers, in whom the reported visionaries confided (and still do).

          Plus, there’s the matter of one of the early messages being critical of the Bishop of Medjugorje. In response, the Bishop reportedly replied something like, “Well, the Blessed Mother would NEVER criticize a Bishop,” so in his view, it couldn’t be the Blessed Mother. Huh?


  • Dave Hahn

    I really don’t think the attitude of lay people has anything to do with the validity of Medj. I do however think the attitude of the Bishop can effect his judgment. Here is something Cardinal Hans Urs Van Balthzar wrote concerning the Bishops actions. I think this is why the Vatican took the ruling out of his hands.
    “What a simply sad document you have dispatched throughout the world! I was deeply hurt to see the office of Bishop degraded in this fashion. Instead of having patience as You were advised by Your superiors, You thunder and hurl Jupiters arrows, blackening renowned and innocent people, worthy of Your respect and protection. You repeatedly come up with accusations which have been proven untrue a hundred times over.”

    This is the same Bishop that defrocked two Franciscan Priests. 12 years later after the case was elevated to the Apostolic Signatura, the Tribunal responded definitively, declaring that Bishop Zanic’s expulsion and laicization of the two priests was done illegally and unjustly. Apostolic Signatura Tribunal, Case No. 17907/86CA ly. Given this information I think his track record gives us reason to question his judgment. I think people who trusted the Bishop were sadly misled by someone who should act better given his position.

    • Tominellay

      I think your take on the tale of the two priests is incorrect…
      The bishop didn’t defrock the two Franciscans.
      They were suspended from performing priestly functions due to their activities in opposition to the Vatican decree “Romanis Pontificibus”, and after repeated warnings from the O.F.M. General Curia (Franciscan headquarters) in Rome. The O.F.M. General Curia finally expelled them from the Order, and the Congregation for Religious laicized them. One of the two Franciscans married and moved on. The other appealed his case to the Apostolic Signatura, which ruled that the Congregation for Religious had erred in procedure, not having afforded the priest the opportunity to present his defense.
      It’s incorrect to say that Bishop Zanic defrocked the two Franciscans; he didn’t have the power to expel them from the Franciscan Order or to laicize them. It’s also a fact that, once reinstated, the Franciscan chose to leave the Mostar Diocese and the Franciscan Province in Herzegovina permanently, which seems also to vindicate the bishop’s position.
      There’s no reason to question Bishop Zanic’s judgement.

  • Linda

    I am about to spend $3500 to go to Medjugorje with my elderly friend who is a devout Catholic. She is 89 and is saving all her money to do this. Are we being scammed?

    • Mark Shea


  • RWB

    Matthew 7.16 … You Shall Know Them by Their Fruits …
    Check out MaryTV … ‘Fruit of Medjugorje’ and the numerous testaments of conversions, physical, mental & spiritual healings, vocations to the priesthood etc.
    Good fruit does not grow on Bad trees.

    • john konnor

      Article 1. Whether good can be the cause of evil?
      Objection 1. It would seem that good cannot be the cause of evil. For it is said (Matthew 7:18): “A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit.”……….

      Reply to Objection 1. As Augustiine says (Contra Julian. i): “The Lord calls an evil will the evil tree, and a good will a good tree.” Now, a good will does not produce a morally bad act, since it is from the good will itself that a moral act is judged to be good. Nevertheless the movement itself of an evil will is caused by the rational creature, which is good; and thus good is the cause of evil.
      ………….summa theologica aquinas
      ….now the meanings reside in the proper exegesis and hermeneutic…..many adherents at medjugorje remain obstinant and objurate in disonance to practical reason…spirit of the self or infernal spirit …modus tollens…if the doughnut is sweet it is made with sugar, the doughnut is not sweet therefore not made with sugar…if the seers of med are obeying the bishop’s orders they are obedient and humble to the Church and its magisterium… the seers are not obeying the bishop therefore they are not obedient/humble to the Church and its magisterium..I can see how the pope recently allowed a med contingency place at the Marian day celebration to promote marian ecumenism however it will be a real pity if the apparitions themselves are approbated..anyway thanks for the post

  • ivan

    Hi, I’m John and I live in Medjugorje, I just want to say that you do not lose faith, visit Medjugorje and you will not be sorry, and I just want to say that it should not be seen to be believed …