Pope’s decision on Medjugorje imminent

Vatican to issue guidelines to bishops’ conferences about the phenomenon

Pope Francis has revealed that he is ready to make an announcement regarding the Marian pilgrimage site Medjugorje.

Speaking to journalists aboard the papal plane after a short trip to Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Pope said that the Vatican would issue guidelines to bishops’ conferences about the phenomenon which draws tens of thousands of Irish pilgrims every year.

“We’re at this point of making decisions”, he said, “and then they will be announced…but only some guidelines will be given to bishops on the lines they will take.”

Philip Ryan, who has lived at Medjugorje for 27 years and is now senior representative there for Joe Walsh Tours, told The Irish Catholic that he does not expect Rome to issue a formal approval of the claimed apparitions.

“The simple situation as we’ve understood it, is that the apparitions can’t be approved until they end, and that no definitive statement can be made until then,” he said.

Nonetheless, he hopes that the Vatican will give leadership and guidance that recognises Medjugorje as a place of prayer, the fruits of which are “undeniable”, pointing to how 1.5 million pilgrims visit the town each year, 20,000 of them from Ireland.

“After 34 years you want to know that what you’re doing is right,” he said, “and would like the full embrace of the Church of Medjugorje as a place of prayer”.

The local bishop Dr Ratko Peric has expressed the view that nothing supernatural is taking place in the Medjugorje phenomenon and a senior Vatican diplomat recently warned that Catholics are not permitted to participate in meetings that take for granted the alleged apparitions as true.