Although the report has not yet been made public, Church officials charged with investigating the validity of the apparitions at Medjugorje have decided that the first seven apparitions were authentic.
According to Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa, the commission to study the Medjugorje phenomena, which was established in 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI and chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, has reported there findings on the apparitions at Medjugorje which have been ongoing since 1981.
“The committee argues that the six young seers were psychically normal and were caught by surprise by the apparition, and that nothing of what they had seen was influenced by either the Franciscans of the parish or any other subjects. They showed resistance in telling what happened despite the police arresting them and giving the visionaries death threats. The commission also rejected the hypothesis of a demonic origin of the apparitions.”
“The commission noted a very clear difference between the beginning of the phenomenon and its following development, and therefore decided to issue two distinct votes on the two different phases: the first seven presumed appearances between June 24 and July 3, 1981, and all that happened later. Members and experts came out with 13 votes in favor of recognizing the supernatural nature of the first visions,” Tornielli reports.
The Pastoral Solution
Having noted that the Medjugorje seers have never been adequately followed on the spiritual side, along with the fact that for a long time they have no longer been a group, the commission has endorsed the end of the ban on pilgrimages organized in Medjugorje. In addition, 13 members and experts out of the 14 present voted in favor of the constitution of “an authority dependent on the Holy See” in Medjugorje as well as the transformation of the parish into a pontifical sanctuary. A decision based on pastoral reasons – the care of millions of pilgrims, avoiding the formation of “parallel churches,” clarity on economic issues – which would not imply the recognition of the supernatural nature of the apparitions.
With anti-Catholic sentiment still prevalent in the country, the mayor in the district of Fatima had grown suspicious of the growingly popular apparitions, and had unsuccessfully tried to get the children to renounce their story.
Wanting to stop the children from seeing the fourth apparition, Artur Santos, an apostate Catholic and high Mason who was the local mayor, offered the children and their parents a ride in his car to the Cova on August 13. However, he devised a ruse to abandon the parents and to take the children alone to the district headquarters in Vila Nova de Ourem, about 9 miles away. Despite bribes, threats of death by burning oil, and threatening to lock them in a cell with criminals, the children never recanted their story.
Frustrated, and fearing retaliation from the faithful who had grown to love the apparitions, the mayor had the children taken back to Fatima after two days, much to the relief of their parents.
Mary then appeared briefly to the children privately a few days later, repeating her request to pray the rosary daily for the reparation of sins, and asking them to come back on the 13th of the next month.