Comprehending Medjugorje : Original Documents And Conversations with Arnaud Dumouch

Supplement IV : The Position of the Catholic Church

Reference (French Edition) :
Daria Klanac, Comprendre Medjugorje : Regard historique et théologique, avec la collaboration du théologien Arnaud Dumouch, Informativni centar Mir, Medjugorje, en coédition avec les Éditions Sakramento, Paris, 2012, 2e éd. (1re éd. 2008, ISBN 978-2-915380-19-4 & 978-9958-36017-6), annexe i, pages 211 à 218.
English Translation by Duško Čondić


Supplement IV

The Position of the Catholic Church


Herein we present the integral text of the Zadar Report as published in the Glas Koncila [Voice of the Council], which is the official publication of the Church in Croatia. This report and all the accompanying comments remain in effect at present.

The Report of the Bishops’ Conference of the Former Jugoslavia
As Regards Medjugorje

At the regular meeting of the Bishops’ Conference of Jugoslavia held in Zadar, on the 9th through the 11th of April, 1991, the following was adopted:

From the very start, the Bishops have followed the events occurring in Medjugorje through the agency of the local diocesan Bishop, the Bishop’s Commission, and the Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of Jugoslavia for Medjugorje.

On the basis of the investigations as of this date, we cannot confirm that what is at play are supernatural apparitions or messages.

Meanwhile, numerous gatherings of the faithful from various parts, who come to Medjugorje moved by religious as well as other motives, require concern and pastoral services, first of all, by the local diocesan Bishop, and, along with him, with other Bishops, such that a healthy sense of devotion towards the Blessed Virgin Mary might be fostered in Medjugorje and that which is associated with it, in keeping and harmony with the teachings of the Church.

To that purpose, the Bishops will publish particular and appropriate liturgical and pastoral directives. In the same manner, through their Commissions, they will continue to further follow and investigate the totality of the events in Medjugorje.

The Bishops of Jugoslavia
Given at Zadar, on the 10th of April, 1991

Hence, only after the elapse of ten years from the start of the apparitions (24 June, 1981), the Bishops’ Conference of Jugoslavia issued a Report in which, in fact, it did not pass any judgement, but rather delayed passing such judgement. Their report, as a totality, must be read and understood while keeping in mind these five salient points:

1. The Bishops follow the events from their very start.

2. The Bishops do not offer any judgement as to their supernatural or non-supernatural nature.

3. The Bishops note the vast numbers of faithful that gather in Medjugorje, and in that regard they express the need for pastoral care and concern.

4. The Bishops obligate themselves to continue to follow the events in their totality.

5. The Bishops did not forbid private pilgrimages and they consider it to be a pastoral duty for the faithful to be accompanied by a priest.

A commentary published in the same issue of the Glas Koncila, clarifies various aspects of the report cited above.

The editorial in the Glas Koncila, Zagreb, 5 May, 1991, is an expansive analysis of the Report issued by the Bishops’ Conference, and, as such, is worthy of a review on our part of the document that continues to be in force up to the present day. One can therein observe the wisdom and patience that flows from the Gospels and the Apostles as applies to the decision-making processes of the Church. At an important moment in time, the Glas Koncila offered the necessary word regarding the matter of Medjugorje, and the bold voice that is in keeping with the prudence exhibited by the Church:

The latest report of the Catholic Bishops of the Former Jugoslavia regarding Medjugorje is a classic example of the thousand years practice on the part of the Church which demonstrates its sense of prudence. It clearly shows that the Church, above all else, respects facts, that she carefully evaluates, within the scope of her competence, and in all else, keeps in mind her obligation to show pastoral concern for the spiritual good of her faithful.

It is a fact known throughout the world that the faithful and those who are merely curious, continue to gather from all continents of the world, now for more than ten years, because of the news of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Is it a fact that the Mother of God truly is appearing there and offering her messages? The Bishops, meanwhile, guarding the limits of their competence, report that “on the basis of the investigations up to the present, the apparitions cannot be confirmed.”

The content and sense of that declaration must be understood at two distinct levels: the first, and in this case, one that is at an essential level, is that the content of such possible, so-called, private revelations cannot be added to the revealed and obligatory contents of the Faith. Accordingly, neither the Bishops nor even the Pope himself, have the authority to infallibly conclude that the Virgin is truly appearing at any given time, nor do they have the authority to require that the faithful are obliged to believe that she is appearing. The Church and the Magisterium, under established and well-known conditions, can only declare something infallibly when she confirms that a matter of faith is or is not found in the Revelation that the Church received up to the time of the end of the Apostolic era and which she preserves in the Bible and in Tradition. That which is not included either in the Bible or in the Tradition of the Church cannot be pronounced to be a matter of dogmatic belief or faith-content that is binding as something that must be believed. Accordingly, only those who are misinformed can expect that the Bishops would resolve the question of the apparitions in Medjugorje such that we would then be able to know what we may or may not believe.

Why, then, do the Bishops so carefully investigate that manifestation? For the reason that they are obligated to confirm whether or not that which is occurring there and is proclaimed is, in fact, in keeping with the totality of revealed truths of faith and of the moral teachings of the Church. If they determine that there is nothing that is contrary to the faith, and that those messages and the manifestations are in conformity with the teachings and morals of the Catholic Church, then, they, as the most responsible authorities in the Church, can proclaim that there is no obstacle to the faithful in gathering at that place or in developing a spiritual life in keeping with those messages. By way of contrast, it would also be their duty to disclose and reveal any errors and to prevent misuse of the Faith. The corresponding expressions in the new Report reveal that the investigations on site continue.

The main portion of the Report reveals that our Bishops stress, before all else, the fact that a large number of believers and those who are curious gather in Medjugorje, and that they consider it to be their duty to have concern for them so that such a mass of people receive proper and orthodox catechetical instructions, and that the sacraments are properly and devoutly dispensed, and that the particular Marian devotion unfolds in harmony with Christian orthodoxy. This is truly a new position as revealed by the document.

Beyond a doubt, we must await, as the document states, suitable liturgical and pastoral directives for this great place of pilgrimage. Thereby is brought to fruition the long-since passed suggestion which was stressed in the article in the Glas Koncila, namely, that the concern that the Bishops have for Medjugorje be divided between two separate Commissions. One Commission would continue to investigate whether or not supernatural apparitions are taking place, while the second Commission would assume concern that a proper, true, and sound sense of Church be maintained in the gatherings at Medjugorje. It is actually possible that the first Commission might prolong their investigations and that it might decide not to render their final thinking on the matter. Meanwhile, the care and pastoral concern overseen by the second Commission simply cannot be forestalled since the events in Medjugorje continue to unfold.

For the multitude of devout faithful across the world, this Report will act as a worthy source of consolation and easement to their consciences. Those who come to Medjugorje from religious motivations can, from this point forward, know that their gatherings are now overseen by the pastoral concern of the Church’s Apostolic successors.

Discussions about Medjugorje at the regular assembly of the Bishop’s Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The regular assembly of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina [BK BiH], met in their regular assembly on the 2nd and 3rd of July, 1996, in Sarajevo. All its members were present: its president, Cardinal Vinko Puljic, the Bishop of Banjaluka, Franjo Komarica, the Bishop of Mostar, Ratko Perić, and the auxiliary bishop of Vrhbosna, Pero Sudar. We will only cite the portion of the text of the result of their meetings that applies to Medjugorje:

The Bishop of Mostar informed the Conference of two official letters from the Congregation for the Faith that were sent to two French Bishops as regards pilgrimage to Medjugorje. In the letters, among other matters, it was stated that ‘official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, if it is thereby understood that it is a place of authentic Marijana apparitions, may not be organized at the parish or diocesan level, since that would be contrary to that which the Bishops of the former Jugoslavia asserted’ in their Report dated the 10th of April, 1991. (Cf Glas Koncila, 30th of June, 1996).

The Bishops made note of this position of the Church and mean to make it the policy of their dioceses.

The Vatican Congregation and the French Bishops as regards Medjugorje

Bishop Langres and Msgr. Léon Taverdet approached the Apostolic See on the 14th of February, 1996, seeking to know the official position of the Church as regards the apparitions in Medjugorje: is it permissible to make pilgrimage there or not? The Congregation of the Holy See responded on the 23rd of March, 1996, through its secretary, Tarcisio Bertone. We cite his response in full:

The Vatican, 23 March, 1996

Prot. No. 154/81-01985

Most Reverend,

In your letter of the 14th of February, 1996, you wished to know the present stand of the Church as relates to the alleged “apparitions in Medjugorje” and whether it was permissible for Catholic faithful to make pilgrimage there.

As regards that, it is my honor to inform you that the Bishops of the former Jugoslavia, in their Report given in Zadar, on the 10th of April, 1991, and regarding the credibility of the subject apparitions asserted as follows:

“… On the basis of present investigations, it cannot be confirmed that what is at work are supernatural apparitions or revelations.”

Meanwhile, the numerous gatherings of the Faithful from all parts of the world, that come to Medjugorje moved by religious or some other motives, require the care and pastoral concern most especially of the local diocesan Bishop, and along with him of the other Bishops, so that in Medjugorje and that associated with it, a sound devotional attitude toward the Blessed Virgin Mary might ensue and in harmony with the teachings of the Church.

In that regard, the Bishops will issue particular and appropriate liturgical and pastoral directives. In the same manner, they will, through their Commissions, continue to follow and investigate the totality of the events unfolding in Medjugorje.

On the basis of that which was stated in the above citation, it follows that official pilgrimage to Medjugorje, if thereby one understands the place to be the site of authentic Marian apparitions, may not be organized either at the parish or diocesan levels since this would be contrary to that which the Bishops of the former Jugoslavia asserted in the previously cited Report.

Be so pleased, Most Reverend, to accept my very sincere sentiments!

+ Tarcisio Bertone

It is permissible for individuals to visit Medjugorje

Catholic News Service

The spokesman for the Vatican stated that the Vatican never forbade Catholics from going to Medjugorje, but said to the Bishops that their parishes and diocese may not organize official pilgrimages to the site of alleged Marian apparitions.

“We cannot prevent people from going there so long as it is not proved that the apparitions are false. This has not, as of yet, been established, hence, everyone can go there if they wish”—said the Catholic News Service, on the 21st of August, through their spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls. He added that when a Catholic makes pilgrimage to some site, he has the right to spiritual care; the Church, therefore, does not prevent priests from accompanying pilgrimages to Medjugorje organized by laymen in the same manner that it would not prevent them from accompanying a group of Catholics who which to visit the Republic of South Africa.

Navarro-Valls was insistent that “nothing had changed” as regards the stand of the Vatican regarding Medjugorje.

The first days of June, a French newspaper reported portions of a letter regarding pilgrimage to Medjugorje that was written by the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as a response to the inquiry that was made by a French Bishop.

The letter of Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cited the Report from 1991, of the Bishops of the former Jugoslavia wherein they stated that based on investigation thus far, “they cannot confirm whether or not supernatural apparitions and revelations are taking place.”

“Meanwhile,” the Bishops said, and Archbishop Bertone reasserted, “that the numerous Faithful who gather in Medjugorje require that the Church show care for their spiritual needs.”

After having cited the Report of 1991, Archbishop Bertone wrote: “From that which has been said, it follows that official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, if, thereby, the place is understood to have credible Marian apparitions, cannot be organized at either the parish or diocesan levels since that would be seen as being contradictory with that which was said by the Bishops of the former Jugoslavia in the cited report.”

Navarro-Valls stated: “When someone reads that which Archbishop Bertone wrote, he might conclude that from this point forward, all is forbidden, that Catholics do not have any possibility to journey to Medjugorje.”

In reality, “nothing has been changed, nothing new has been voiced,” said the spokesperson for the Catholic New Service.

“The problem is found in this, namely, if you systematically organize pilgrimages, that is, organize them in conjunction with the Bishop and the Church, then, in such a case, you attribute canonical sanction to the events occurring in Medjugorje—which continue to be investigated by the Church. This is different than when people go as a group accompanied with a priest so that he can hear confessions,” said the spokesman.

Navarro-Valls said that this clarification is necessary since “it is sad since that which Archbishop Bertone said would be understood in too narrow a manner. Did the Church or the Vatican say ‘no’ to Medjugorje? No.”

The declaration of the spokesman for the holy see, Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls as regards pilgrimages to Medjugorje.

In this regard, no new position has been taken. As was previously stated, in such cases, one must respect the direct authority of the local Ordinary.

In regard to this, the Bishops of the former Jugoslavia stated on the 10th of April, 1991, as follows: “… On the basis of previous investigations, it cannot be confirmed that what is at play are supernatural apparitions and revelations. In the meanwhile, large gatherings of the Faithful from various parts, who come to Medjugorje moved by religious or some other motives, require consideration and pastoral care, first of all by the local diocesan Bishop, and along with him, the other Bishops, so that in Medjugorje, and all associated with it, a sound devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary can be fostered in harmony with the teachings of the Church…”

Therefore, the indispensable need for a continued deepening and contemplation of both, prayer and all that is related to the postulated supernatural phenomenon, is reaffirmed until a final verdict is rendered.

Bollenttino, No. 233, 19th of June, 1996.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Medjugorje

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith sent the letter below to Msgr. Gilbert Aubry, the Bishop of Saint-Denis de la Reunion, wherein it clearly expresses its thoughts on Medjugorje. Bishop Aubry received the letter on the 24th of June, 1998, and promptly on the 25th of June, dispatched it to all his priests and religious organizations in his Diocese. [Circular letter, No. C003], so that they could have the latest word of Rome on the matter and so that they could inform the Faithful in that regard.

The Vatican Palace of the Holy Office

Pr. No. 154/81-06419 [a transcription of the original]
The 26th day of May, 1998

To His Excellency, Msgr. Gilbert Aubry
Bishop of Saint-Denis de la Reunion


In you letter of the 1st of January, 1998, you raised various question to this Dicastery that relate to the position of the Holy See and the Bishop of Mostar as regards the so-called “apparitions” in Medjugorje, and about private pilgrimages and pastoral concern for the Faithful who come to that place.

In regards to that, and taking into consideration that it is impossible for me to answer all the queries that your Excellency raised—because, first of all, I must stress that it is not the custom of the Holy See to assume the first level of authority, or a personal stance toward the cited supernatural manifestations. As regards the credibility of the “apparitions,” this Dicastery, for that reason, simply holds to the position stated by the Bishops of the former Jugoslavia in their Zadar Report issued on the 10th of April, 1991: “… On the basis of previous investigations, it cannot be confirmed that what is at play are supernatural apparitions and revelations.” Following the division of Jugoslavia into various independent states, it would come under the competence of the Bishops Conference of Bosnia and Hercegovina to, eventually investigate the matter anew, and in the end, to render a new statement.

In view of what His Excellency, Msgr. Perić stated in one of his letters to the General Secretary of the “Christian Family,” wherein he stated: “… my belief and position is not only one that holds that “it cannot be confirmed that what is at play is supernatural,” but equally as well that “it is confirmed that what is at play is not of a supernatural nature” as regards the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje.” This must be understood to be the personal belief of the Bishop of Mostar who, inasmuch as he is the local Bishop, always is within his right to express that which is and remains his own personal thinking.

Ultimately, as regards pilgrimages to Medjugorje that are private in nature, this Congregation considers them to be permissible under the condition that are not considered to be an acknowledgement of events that are still in process and that still require further Church investigations.

In the hope that I answered at least the major queries you posed to this Dicastery satisfactorily, I beg you, Excellency, to receive expressions of my deepest regard.

Msgr. Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
under the Presidency of Cardinal Ratzinger

The 26th of May, 1998

It is instructive to note that the Vatican still considers the declaration above to be in force. In circumstances such as this, caution and measured judgement is called for. Witness to such caution and measured judgement is seen in the letter cited above in answer to the queries posed by Bishop Gilbert Aubry, the Bishop of Saint-Denis on the island of Reunion. Msgr. Bertone wrote: “… this Dicastery… simply holds to the position affirmed by the Bishops of the former Jugoslavia in their Zadar Report of the 10th of April, 1991: ‘… On the basis of previous investigations, it is not possible to affirm that what is at play are supernatural apparitions or revelations…’ That which Msgr. Perić states in his letter to the main secretary of Famiglia Christiana, namely, ‘… my belief and position is that not only non constat de supernaturalitate, but also that the apparitions and revelations in Medjugorje constat de non supernaturalitate, must be considered to be the expression of the personal belief of the Bishop of Mostar, who, as Ordinary, always has the right to express that which is and remains his own personal thinking. Ultimately, as regards private pilgrimages to Medjugorje, this Congregation considers them to be permissible under the condition that they are not seen to be confirmed as being credible events since the Church must continue to investigate them.

On the other hand, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, when questioned in Lourdes, on the 18th of July, 1998, had this to say:

The letter of Archbishop Bertone to the Bishop of Reunion sufficiently reveals what the position of the Church has been these past years as regards Medjugorje: it intentionally postpones the subject. “The supernatural nature has not been confirmed,” those are the words that the Bishops’ Conference of the former Jugoslavia in their meeting in Zadar in 1991, stated. It is clear that we are dealing with a formulation that intentionally postpones the matter. It was not stated that the supernatural nature has been firmly established, therefore, proved and demonstrated. Nor was it denied or excluded that the manifestation might be supernatural in nature. It is clear that the Magisterium will not definitely render an opinion so long as the extraordinary manifestations in the form of apparitions, or in some other form, continue. Meanwhile, it is the calling of the Shepherd to promote that which continues to grow, and to encourage the fruits that are manifest, to protect, if necessary, from the dangers that lurk from all sides. Even in Lourdes, one must take care that the original fervor is not extinguished through undesirable events. Even Medjugorje is vulnerable. Hence it is, or it should be important, that the Bishops assume pastoral care in Medjugorje so as to protect from undesirable events that which has yielded such visible fruits.

These wise words enable us to better grasp the sense of the Report of the Bishops’ Conference of the former Jugoslavia and of the Vatican. From all of these reports that compliment each other, we can garner the following:

– That private pilgrimages are not banned

– That priests are encouraged to accompany pilgrims to the site

– That no ultimate judgement about the apparitions has been issued as of the present

Accordingly, the Faithful are not reduced to a position of disobedience if they go to Medjugorje to pray.

In his book entitled: The Last Visionary of Fatima, (Rai Eri, 2007), Cardinal Bertone, speaking of Medjugorje, (pp. 103-107), once again affirms the position of the Church.

Cardinal Vinko Puljić, of Sarajevo, gave a clear answer to queries posed to him by a journalist from the Večernji list [Evening Post], of the 21st of March, 2008:

Evening Post: The recent declaration reported in an interview with the Secretary of State of the Holy See, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, stating that the case of Medjugorje must be re-examined, caused many speculations. Did the Bishops’ Conference of BiH [Bosnia and Hercegovina], reconsider that question and will Medjugorje truly be officially re-examined?

Cardinal Puljić: Our BK [Bishops’ Conference], did not discuss it since the phenomenon of Medjugorje surpasses our competence. The moment when the Holy See comes to a decision and gives us the task, we then will discuss what must be done. Hence, unnecessary speculations are unwarranted until we receive concrete directives. That pastoral care to the phenomenon is necessary is the decision arrived at by BK based on the work of the Commission. This would not be anything new, but simply a continuation of the decisions of the BK regarding the phenomenon of Medjugorje.

Therefore, in this instance, the stand taken by the Archbishop of Vrhbosna is seen as being confirmed and in accord with the definite 1991 position of the Church.

A theological analysis of private and public revelations

My attention was drawn to an article that appeared in the Croatian Catholic weekly, Glas Koncila, dated the 26th of August, 2007. It was a theological analysis of the statement made by Mijo Nikić in the column titled Theological Review, and under the title of A Physiological View of the Apparitions. Herein is presented a condensed version of his article:

The philosophical statement that states: Whatever is received is received in the manner of the one who receives it, intends to inform us that each of our perceptions is subjective in nature. All that man sees, hears, senses, experiences, comes to know, passes through the filter of his interior world of affectivity and his past history which, more or less, tends to distort objective reality. The above cited truth relates not only to messages that a person receives in this world, but also to messages he receives from God, that is, from beings from another world, such as the Divine Persons of the Most Holy Trinity, from the Mother of God, or from angels and saints. All that we hear from them passes through our internal world of affectivity and through the “filter of our senses,” as would be said by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, our present Pope, Benedict XVI.

Saint Ignatius giving the book of The Spiritual Exercises to Saint Francis Xavier.
Saint Ignatius giving the book of The Spiritual Exercises to Saint Francis Xavier.

Divine Revelation passes through the entire man, through his thoughts, through his emotions, his conscious awareness, and through his subconscious mind. The more mature a person is, and the more open one is to God, the message will be all the more objective and faithful to its source. That which can distort our perception as well as Divine Revelation, is our affective subconscious mind, our wounded past that is bound in our subliminal mind.

When the Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks of Revelation, it informs us that we have not exhausted or fully comprehended Divine Revelation: “Even though Revelation is complete, nonetheless, we have not achieved its full expression, nor have we exhausted its content. It remains for the Christian Faith to achieve the full extent of Revelation.” (Catechism of the Catholic Faith). Jesus Himself told us that there is much that must yet be revealed, but that we as of yet cannot bear it. (cf. John, 16:12-14).

Other than the public Revelation that the Church has accepted, there are also private revelations such as apparitions, visions, internal locutions, and the like. The Catechism of the Catholic Church has the following to say of such revelations: “Throughout the ages, there were so-called ‘private revelations.’ Some of them have been recognized by Church authorities. They, nonetheless, are not part of the content of Faith. Their role is not to ‘improve’ or ‘complete’ the ultimate Revelation given to us by Christ; rather their role is to aid us in living the Faith more fully at a given time.” ( CCC: No. 67). Private revelations are seen as being credible by virtue of their correspondence with public Revelation. One’s assent to recognized private revelations must be harmonious with rules governing prudence.

Cardinal Ratzinger offers the following criteria on the part of the Church for evaluating the credibility and acceptability of private revelations:

“The standard of measure of the veracity and value of a given private revelation is its orientation toward Christ Himself. If that revelation dissuades us from Christ, or if it tends to stand independent of, or offers itself as some sort of better or different order, or, more importantly, if it places itself as being more important than the Gospels themselves, then that revelation surely does not come from the Holy Ghost who is the One that leads us into the Gospels and in no manner leads us away from them. This, of course, does not exclude the possibility that a given private revelation might place a new accent or evoke some new form of devotion, or even deepen or broaden old devotions. In the meantime, in all of this, the private revelation must act to nourish our faith, our hope, and our love, that continue to be for all of us a lasting path to salvation.

Let us suppose that what is at play are authentic revelations and real apparitions that are perceived as an interior manifestation. Such interior observations are not the figments of our imagination; rather they are a real and true manner of observation. Meanwhile, our talk of an experienced revelation and the interpretation of that which was seen in one or more apparitions, are already a secondary elaboration of our initial experience of that reality. This, then, means that what we derive from the visionary is a “filtered” reality. The visionary does not intentionally or consciously do this. They relate their experience as best they can or as best they know how. Often times, they, themselves, are aware that their speech and description lag far behind that which they actually saw or experienced. In this regard, Cardinal Ratzinger states:

“Images are, to the contrary, so to say, woven from the stimuli that come from above as well as from the existing abilities and possibilities of the subject that perceives them, in this case, the children. Hence, the picturesque language of such visions is to be seen as being a symbolic language.” The visionaries, then, make use of the knowledge they gained in school, or in their Catechism classes when describing and interpreting that which they saw and experienced. In fact, this is what Cardinal Ratzinger had in mind when he said of the description offered by Lucia, the visionary of Fatima: “The conclusion of the secret reminds one of an image that Lucia perhaps saw in some pious books and whose content was drawn from earlier cognitions of faith.”

This declaration on the part of Ratzinger is in perfect agreement with that which is revealed in psychology when it speaks of the process of perception on the part of any person whatsoever. In a given authentic case of apparition, the message and image that is transmitted to us by the visionary is the result of an impetus from above, namely, from God, Jesus, the Mother of God, or some saint, as well as from the existing possibilities and abilities of the person who undergoes the apparition. This, then, means that the very same event, or the very same message, will be transmitted according to each visionary’s abilities or possibilities, that is, in accord with their own wishes, fears, and expectations. In other words, one’s personal history, affective memory, and all else that a given visionary experienced in his life, of necessity, influences the message and vision that was received from above. In consonance with this, we must say that one must be very cautious and critical in evaluating that which a visionary transmits to us as being the message from Heaven. It is not prudent on our part to accept all that they say as being sound; rather, we must verify the voice of the Spirit. We must constantly keep in mind that visionaries do not transmit a photograph of the image they see, or recording of the text of the message given; rather, we receive that which has already passed through the internal filter of their world, their subconscious, and their past history.

The theological analysis outlined above, has helped me to better grasp the manifestation of Medjugorje in its totality, as well as the particular readings of the messages that are “strained” through the “filter” of their individual personalities. This proves to be a great help in evaluating the phenomenon of Medjugorje as well as in having a sounder approach to it. And, such an analysis might also prove to dispel so many misunderstandings.

I have been witness to the gatherings around the Table of the Lord in the Parish of Medjugorje for the past twenty-five years. All is centered on Christ, the person towards whom Mary, His and our Mother, leads us in a particular manner.