Pope Francis on Saturday expressed serious doubts about all of the days of the apparitions of the Virgin mary at Medjugorje, Bosnia, a site that attracts millions of pilgrims each year.
In June 1981, six Bosnian children and adolescents have said that they had been witnesses of the apparition of the Virgin in the south of the city, and claim that she continues to visit to this day.
The women they have seen “is not the mother of Jesus,” the Pope said on Saturday aboard the papal plane on his return from a trip to Portugal, where he canonized two young shepherds who had visions of the Virgin of 100 years ago.
Pope Francis arrives in Portugal to the canonization of the children to the sanctuary of Fátima
The Pope said an ongoing investigation by the Church had raised doubts about the apparitions of Medjugorje.
He said that he preferred “the Mother of Madonna ” or “our Mother”, and not the “Madonna head of service” for the sending of messages daily.”
The comments are likely to make waves in Bosnia, where Catholics represent about 10% of the population and religious tourism in Medjugorje brings money into the poor countries of the Balkans.
“These alleged apparitions have not much value, I’m giving my personal opinion,” the pontiff continued.
“But it is obvious, who think that the Virgin would be to say: “come to this place tomorrow at this time, and I’ll give you a message to a seer’?”
However, the pope was more circumspect about the original 1981 the apparitions, which he did not immediately reject.
“On the origin of the apparitions, the ones that the children had, the survey said, more or less, that the investigation must continue,” he said.
War, peace and the Virgin | Andrew Brown
Several surveys have already been conducted, the last in January 2014, but the pope had not been announced since.
However, in November 2013, he did express some doubts. “The Virgin,” he says, “is not a head of the post office who would send messages every day.”
The Vatican earlier this year sent a new one sent to “acquire a more thorough knowledge of the pastoral situation” in Medjugorje, and “above all the needs of the faithful who go there on pilgrimage”.
The envoy, however, will not be responsible for verifying the authenticity of the apparitions, because this task falls to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.