Question about Medjugorje

Question about Medjugorje July 15, 2014

A reader writes:

Always a total fan until I heard your negative comments about Medjugore. Have you ever been? I have and I am not one to jump on board easily but then I won’t fight grace either and the place radiates it. Anyway here is yet another miracle(see attached article) backed up by medical tests(X-Rays) that show hard cold evidence that hopefully you will be open enough to review and pray about that it is possible you might be have been given the wrong info in this matter but right on in others like your wonderful apologetics.

Don’t limit the Good God’s miracles and grace. What is the reason you are so negative about Medjugorje? It’s apparent in an unprecedented move that St. John Paul II protected it. I’m sure you are a wonderful person and know you do much good for our Church but maybe you’ve been mislead on this one.

May God continue to bless you and your ministry.

I’m not “negative”. I’m realistic because a) the local bishops have, for years, warned against it; b) a priest who went there to live and minister as a true believer years ago is now warning that it is a demonic deception; c) the visionaries have gotten filthy rich off it and demonstrate bad fruits; d) the clergy involved have gotten people pregnant and been defrocked; and e) the local bishops gave the matter to Rome not because “Rome took it out of their hands in order to vindicate Our Lady of Medjugorje” but because the local bishops know perfectly well that Rome will find what they have found and add her clout to shutting down this fraud.

Whatever good has happened Medjugorje is due to the presence of Christ in the sacraments and the faith of pilgrims in Christ. God is not going punish well-meaning people for sincere devotion simply because some frauds are lying to them. But the fact that God does something good in response to our faith does not legitimate Medjugorje. What the bishops have said will be re-said by Rome–and perhaps in harsher, but certainly not in lighter terms. There are lots of real apparitions. Stick with them.

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  • nosungal .

    “…the local bishops know perfectly well that Rome will find what they have found and add her clout to shutting down this fraud.” Hmmm… File under ‘Presumptuous’. The events at Medjugorje have been going on for thirty-three years and the Special Vatican Commission established to investigate those events was formed in 2010 and came to it’s conclusion in January of this year turning over it’s findings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who will study the report and turn it over to the Holy Father who will have the final say. If it were ‘fraudulent’ we can safely ‘presume’ two things: it would have been officially denounced by now as such, and, the Mass and the Sacraments would have been diluted at best, and discarded at worst. The only safe opinion is to wait for Rome’s ruling.

    • HornOrSilk

      It has been officially denounced. Taking it to the CDF sounds like they are planning to discuss many problems with it, and it is best to have a comprehensive explanation of those errors.

      • sez

        and a pastoral plan for easing the Medj-heads back down from the clouds

      • nosungal .

        We await the ‘official’ ruling from Rome. Until then there is only the ‘opinions’ of naysayers.

  • Catholic & loving it

    Amen Mark from me too! Next time someone brings the topic up, I’ll link then to this article.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    Well stated. But here’s my question: Will Rome say it before 2084? Baroombarum.

    • Andy

      With or without Ent draught? And will the beards get longer?

    • sez

      They might wait until all seers have passed on to their eternal reward. But I hope not, because there are some who would follow those seers anywhere, even directly opposite the Pope.

    • Why, Rome has only just finished saying, “Good morning!”

  • Dave G.

    This is interesting timing for the question. I saw on our parish bulletin that someone in our diocese (I didn’t really pay attention) was organizing some pilgrimages, including here. Haven’t paid that much attention to the whole issue, but that caught my eye.

    • Dan F.

      Dave, You might want to look up on USCCB the precise details but I’m pretty sure that the US bishops have banned “pilgramages” from US parishes to Medj.

  • Don’t forget that there can be demonic influences as well, acting so as to deceive people. It seems obvious that supernatural activity is associated with Medjugorje. The question is which of it is of heaven, and which of it is of hell.

    • Jody

      Do not despise prophecy test the spirit and keep what is good

  • Mike Blackadder

    Mark do you have some previous posts about Medjugorje with more details of the points you make here? I’ve read some about Medjugorje and know that there was controversy but I’ve never seen any of the real counterarguments.

  • danjc1109

    Please tell more about “a priest who went there to live and minister as a true believer years ago is now warning that it is a demonic deception”

  • Bill Russell

    Medjugorje is a cult. And a very financially profitable one. Its history goes back a long while with the problematic Hersegovinian Franciscans headquartered at Siroki Brijeg. near Medjugorje, which was a
    Ustashe center. During World War II they were complicit in the horrific slaughter of

    Serbs. Bishop Misic described hundreds of women and children thrown
    alive into ravines at Surmanci. Eugene Cardinal Tisserant said that the Franciscans behaved “abominably.” The local bishops there today know this tragic history well, more so that pious but naive Americans who flock there, and contribute to the opulent lifestyles of the “seers.” I doubt that the pilgrims are told the history of Medjugorje. As for John Paul II protecting the shrine, there is no clear evidence of that. But it is irrelevant. The same pope also unwittingly protected Father Maciel, one of the most evil men in the history of the Church.

    • James H, London

      You need to fact-check.
      1) Tours to Medj always include a side-trip to Siroki Brijeg; the Franciscans there were not ‘complicit’, they were the first victims. The entire community were machine-gunned to death for refusing to abuse a crucifix.
      2) I have seen the houses of the alleged seers, and they are simply not opulent. Comfortable, yes (now that the place has waterborne sewage), but small. One of them still lives in her childhood home, and has been in cancer remission for years. The only ones making a mint out of it are the people providing accommodation. The only alleged seer who seems to have made himself rich out of the business just happens to be married to an American heiress.

      There’s far too much willful misinformation and mud-slinging from the anti-Medj crowd. When I compare their versions of events with things I’ve witnessed or read of/asked about years ago, it makes them look hysterical. If they could only calm down and make their case without calumny, I might take them more seriously.

      • D611

        Atrocities were committed by people on all sides of each of the conflicts. Priests being human sometimes engage in wars not as spiritual fathers to all, but as bloody participants in ways that exceed self defense. Case in point is the notorious Franciscan, Miroslav Filipovic, OFM in WW2 who was a convicted war criminal involved with heinous acts. He was eventually expelled by the OFM. Just google his name, if you can stomach reading what happened at his hands. Then there is Surmanci. There where women, Children, and Orthodox priests were murdered.

        Yes, the Serbs committed grave atrocities too, perhaps even more. It depends on which historical account you read as to who committee the most atrocities. One place to learn of atrocities is to read information from the trial at the Haugue. You will find sick people did sick things on all sides.

        In any case, it was individual priests making Judas like choices, not the entire Franciscan community. It would be unfair to simply broad brush those Franciscans. But it only takes seeing a few priests committing sins that cry out to heaven to scandalize many for generations to come.

        The atrocity of Surmanci is right there near Krizevac. Feel free to research it outside of what Croats or Serbs will tell you.

        Part of the healing process after any war is to acknowledge wrongs on all sides. Vengeance belongs not to man, but to God. Christians don’t believe in an eye for an eye. Those who dismiss atrocities committed by one side using atrocities committed by another in any war, are not applying Gospel principles.

      • Bill Russell

        Sorry to burst your bubble, but if you really want to fact check, read the bloody history of the Herzegovenian Franciscan and why they were condemend by Pius XII’s secretary of state:

        The Ghosts of Surmanci – Culture

  • Sharon

    Mark, really good to read a post by you which is not filled with really off putting hyperbolic language; just a plain statement of the situation.

  • StMichael29

    I followed the Mdj for 28 years. I was there once in 1985 and even translated a lot of books into Spanish. As a matter of fact, I devoted my whole life to spreading the messages and make people believe in this false apparitions. In November 2013, the words of Pope Francis stating that Our Blessed Mother was not the head of the post office to deliver a message every day and that we should better read the Gospel hit me. I began to make some research and on January 2014 I decided to quit Mdj. I read all the information against these “apparitions”. Please go to and there you will find facts and documents about this event.

    And back to Pope Francis’ words, please consider that the Catholic Bible has about 31,000 verses depending on the translation. Mdj has generated in 33 years more than 40,000 messages. Can we believe that the Blessed Virgin, who only speaks 4 times in the New Testament, would deliver more messages than Jesus? Please don’t let yourself be deceived by this event, don’t waste your time on it as I did! It has cost me a lot to overcome the deception and not lose my faith, and it still hurts when I think of how much I trusted the visionaries and the Franciscans.

    • Talon

      Very interesting and unfortunate, “St. Michael.” I too have been “committed to” Medjugorje for about 20 years now, but have exactly the opposite take. (Meaning that I not only still believe that they’re true, about a year ago someone asked me what I would do if the Church one day ruled against the apparitions. I thought about it for a bit and then said with complete sincerity that I’d be glad – in this case – that I was deceived because Medjugorje has done wonders for my spiritual life.) The message is very simple and repeated over and over again for those of us, like myself, who are slow and lazy: Pray, read scripture, receive Jesus in the Eucharist, renounce sin and the devil, go to confession, etc.

      Hard to go wrong following this track (whether it’s legit or not), don’t you think?

    • Belmat

      Why do not you write a comprehensive article about your experiences and views and let it publish it on some website or blog of yours or someone else’s (e.g. here on Mark’s blog or perhaps on Te Deum by Diane K – – from this thread or at )

  • Elaine S.

    The one thing more than anything else that convinced me Medjugorje was a fraud was the simple fact that these alleged “apparitions” and “messages” have been going on for over 30 years now, in highly predictable fashion and seemingly on command of the visionaries. Most genuine or Church-approved Marian apparitions occur for only a limited time and stop when the main message has been delivered. The apparitions at Lourdes and Fatima, for example, only lasted about 5-6 months. Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared maybe 2 or 3 times in all. It is true that Sister Lucy of Fatima received messages or apparitions after entering the convent, but as far as I know, these were not a daily or predictable occurrence and Sister Lucy went out of her way NOT to publicize or sensationalize them — as evidenced by her insistence that the “third secret” not be revealed until at least 1960. I can’t think of any genuine visionary who had visions or messages every single day at exactly the same time, and in front of (often paying) audiences, for his or her entire adult life. If there was one, feel free to correct me.

    • Talon
      • Eimeara Volodchenko

        Sorry but the Laus Visionary didn’t take Our Lady with her wherever she went. There were some frequent /daily apparitions for 4 months but not daily over 50 years.

    • Eimeara Volodchenko

      I am with you there, Elaine S. A thousand per cent. You said what I was going to say. Sr Lucia was very humble and didnt’ want any attention and when she was sick in 1932 she went to stay with a family under a different identity and same when she became a boarder, she also assumed another identity.

  • Francis McGonigal

    There is a way to resolve the veracity surrounding the Medjugorje phenomena.

    Clearly, the onus should be on the visionaries to establish their case.
    This could be done by obtaining from the apparition a verifiable prediction.
    Given the length of time this has been dragging on this should be sooner rather than later.

    To my knowledge the seers of Medjugorje have not in over 30 years revealed anything more than what would be expected from a Catholic education.

    I suggest all parties negotiate a cut-off date (let’s say the end of 2014) for the visionaries to put up or shut up.

    • Talon

      I’ll pass that on to Our Lady of Laus and see what she thinks of it… 😉

      Incidentally, the visionaries have indeed made “predictions” and, I believe, have now shared those with the commission in Rome. Our Lady is herself is said to have stated that the apparitions would not be formally approved until after the second of those predictions comes to pass.

  • Christoph

    As someone who is skeptical aboug Medjugorie (or, in somewhat different terms, agnostic 🙂 ) I share your basic attitude. However, I find your comments with regard to the topic somewhat troubling, insofar you give a list of reasons without providing further sources to back up your claims. Granted, some of them are common knowledge (i.e. first point a). But others are not well documented (for example point b as another commenter already requested more information). In particular point c with regard to conduct of the seers (or “seers”) is controversial. In another post you once mentioned that one of them married a former beauty queen (verifiably true but not really a major sin) and bought a house for a vast sum of money in the US (I couldn’t find anything on that point). It is stuff like that I would like to get some more solid sources in order to evaluate the accuracy of the claims. I can understand that you have only so much time and doing this research requires a lot of energy and time. But if you engage further in the topic and provide the reasons for your skepticism, you should also do the legwork for such a controversial issue. I for one would really benefit from such an approach.

    Again, this is not an attack on your position that I basically share. But I think this is an issue where faithful catholics tend to disagree strongly (my wife is a strong supporter of Medjugorje). Therefore both sides should approach it with respect (as you clearly are striving to do) and with highest degree of accuracy possible.

    • Talon

      From one who leans in the opposite direction – toward support of Medjugorje: Very well said, Christoph. Thank you.

    • Maureen

      Ivan’s Mortgage history is on Marco Corvaglia’s website along with links to the actual mortgages:

      A summary of the real estate transactions:

      According to the property records, Ivan and Laureen have purchased three properties in Massachusetts: two Boston condos and a house in Peabody. They made a profit of $129,000 on the first condo and $65,000 on the second condo. They currently reside in the Peabody house.

      Property #1
      Boston Condo
      Purchased in October 1999
      Price: $156,000
      Downpayment: $5,000
      Mortgage: $150,000
      Sold in June 2001
      Selling price: $285,000
      Profit: $129,000

      One month before selling property #1, they purchased a larger condo in Boston, promising to pay it off in 15 years at a rate of $60,000 per year ($5,000 per month).

      Property #2
      Boston Condo
      Purchased in May 2001
      Price: $575,000
      Sold in March 2005
      Selling price: $640,000
      Profit: $65,000

      Ten months before selling property #2, Ivan and Laureen purchased a single-family home in Peabody in May 2004 for $835,000. They put $35,000 down and signed a mortgage for $800,000, agreeing to pay the remaining $800,000 in full within six months (by November 24, 2004).

      Property #3
      Peabody single family house
      Purchased in May 2004
      Price: $835,000
      Paid in full in December 2005

      At the time they bought the Peabody house, they still owned the second condo in Boston, so they were paying two mortgages for ten months – the $5,000 per month they owed for the second condo, and approximately $150,000 per month for the Peabody house.

      They were not able to pay off the $800,000 loan within the six month term they agreed to, but they were able to pay it off within 19 months of purchase.

      In a period of just over six years, they purchased three properties totaling $1,566,000 and sold two of them for a combined price of $925,000. That means they paid out $641,000 for property in that time period (six years) and managed to pay off their final and largest mortgage of $800,000 in just a year and a half.

      Their Peabody house has about 4,200 square feet and a built-in swimming pool, and it has a market value that is more than double the average price of single family houses in the same zip code.

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    My hackles go up any time I hear someone refer to himself or herself as a “seer.” I feel like I ought to roll 3D4+3 against my Wisdom score for a credulity check.

    • PalaceGuard

      I have noted, through reading the Bible, of all things, that, historically, prophets were usually those who were most reluctant to be prophets in the first place.

      • Talon

        And the same can be said of at least one of the Medjugorje visionaries as well. I know for sure that Mirjana shuns the spotlight. Not sure about the others except for Vicka, who is a much more outgoing but also very humble person.

        In addition, do you think someone like Jonah would have stood a chance in his day with Medjugorje critics who much prefer their prophets to keep silent in a monastery? Going to an entire metropolis and saying, “REPENT ALL OF YOU OR BE DESTROYED!” assuredly garnered him a little bit of attention… 😉

        • Charles Sommer

          It’s worse for Jonah. He never calls for repentance. He says to Nineveh, “In forty days Nineveh will be destroyed.” They repent on their own and even the king says, “PERHAPS God will not do this to us.”
          I know of some who have had wonderful experiences in Medjugorje, including miraculous events, but don’t know enough myself of the other material. That is why I trust the Bishops on these questions.
          We always need to remember that Private Revelation is just that private and not necessary for our overall salvation.

        • Eimeara Volodchenko

          Mirjana shuns the spotlight? Yeah right, I have a bridge to sell to you. They are a bunch of show offs. Mirjana takes people into her guesthouse, travels widely and I can remember attending a concert in Medjugorje where she spoke of her apparitions. Hardly humble. Give me St Bernadette and the children of Fatima any time.

    • Talon

      When did any of these people refers to themselves as seers?

      • Eimeara Volodchenko

        Well, they do. Janice Connell’s book Mirjana uses the term’ we visionaries’

  • Eimeara Volodchenko

    What a joke to hear Vicka called humble. Mary Craig’s book Spark from Heaven comes to mind when she mentions that Vicka said many curse the Madonna because she hasn’t appeared to them but how could she when they plot against God and the lives of their countrymen. Sorry Vicka, but it is not your place to say who Our Lady can and cannot appear to. God spoke to St Paul on the road to Damascus and he was persecuting Christians.Prostitutes have had apparitions through history. Vicka’s attitude seems to be i am better than you.

  • RoP

    No doubt recent negative judgment from CDF regarding the apparitions is rooted in the visionaries’ fluctuating theological messages, the visionaries’ profit interests at the site, and their basic disobedience to the local bishop.