by Michael and Denise Harvey
On June 24, 1981, six children in the village of Medjugorje, of former
Yugoslavia, claim to have seen Our Lady on a hill. She told the
children, “Peace, peace, peace. Be reconciled. Only Peace. Make your
peace with God and among yourselves. For that, it is necessary to
believe, to pray, to fast and to go to Confession”. Since then, Our Lady
has continued to appear in Medjugorje every day. The fruits have
been extraordinary, perhaps more than any other apparition. Millions
of conversions, tens of thousands vocations to the priesthood and
religious life, thousands of emotional and physical healings have all
been attributed to Medjugorje.
There has also been quite a lot of misinformation spread about
Medjugorje. Some of this is attributed to erroneous translation, or a
false reporting about the seers. Some however, have intentionally
twisted the context and personally attacked the seers.
The contents below have been compiled to bring light to some of the
common accusations. In this way, the faithful can discern the
apparition based on the facts. As Catholics, we are not obliged to
believe any private revelation, which includes Lourdes and Fatima.
However, God continues to reveal himself to individuals “not indeed
for the declaration of any new doctrine of faith, but for the direction
of human acts” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-II q174 a6
reply 3). This is private revelation, a supernatural gift from God to an
individual for the benefit of their soul and it is often beneficial to
True or False:
-Gospa is the Croation word for “Lady” – FALSE
The Croation word for a woman is Gospodica (Miss in English) or
Gospoda (Mrs. In English). Gospa is the word for Lady specifically
referring to Our Lady the Virgin Mary. Gospa is only used in this
context in Croation. A woman – who is not the Virgin Mary – is never
referred to as Gospa. It is reserved for Our Lady. When the seers refer
to the woman they see as Gospa, they are specifically referring to the
Blessed Virgin Mary.
-The Local Bishop Knew the apparitions were a hoax – FALSE
Bishop Pavao Zanic went to Medjugorje after the initial apparitions to
investigate. He came back a month later, on July 25, 1981 to
administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. In front of 3,000 people he
gave this homily:
“I am deeply convinced that no child who says that they have seen
Our Lady has been talked into doing so. If we were speaking about
one child only, one might say he could be stubborn and that not even
the police could make the child renounce what he said. But six
innocent, simple children in the space of half an hour would, if they
were pushed, admit all. None of the priests, I guarantee had any idea
of putting the children up to something. I am also convinced that the
children are not lying. The children are only speaking out what’s in
their hearts. It is certain the children are not lying”.
In the national Croation Catholic newspaper, “Glas Koncila”, Bishop
Zanic stated: “It is definite that the children were not incited by
anyone, and especially not by the Church, to lie”. – August 16, 1981.
Soon after, the six children were threatened by the Communist
government with torture and imprisonment if they did not deny the
apparitions. They refused to deny it. Due to their young age, the
threat was not carried out, but they were continually pressured and
harassed. Bishop Zanic and the pastor of St. James, Fr. Jozo, were also
threatened. They were both taken on a five hour “excursion” by the
communists. Fr. Jozo refused to deny the apparitions. He was
imprisoned and tortured for three and a half years. Bishop Zanic
abruptly changed his position on the apparitions.
In 1991, Pope St. John Paul II retired Bishop Zanic, taking Medugorje
out of his hands and placed the investigation under the authority of
the Yugoslavian Conference of Bishops (This is a rare move for the
Vatican, as the local Bishop usually retains the authority over an
apparition site). The Conference, under communist rule, neither
approved nor condemned it, but took the position of “up until now it
cannot be established”. Bishop Peric was then assigned to the local
region, but he did not have any authority over the apparitions in
Medjugorje. Bishop Peric, who worked closely with Bishop Zanic, was
under the same government pressure. He was kidnapped by
militiamen and held for ten hours. As a result, he publicly opposed the
apparitions. The Vatican then announced that Bishop Zanic’s and
Bishop Peric’s opinions on Medjugorje are just that – personal
opinions – which does not carry any Church authority. After the war
and breakup of Yugoslavia, Medjugorje was designated a region in
Bosnia-Herzegovina. The authority of the apparitions are now under
the Bishops of this region. They also have neither approved nor
condemned it. Pope Francis has established an international
committee of Bishops to continue investigating the apparitions. Two
Vatican envoys were assigned to live in Medjugorje and provide
pastoral care for the huge number of pilgrims.
-Diocesan Chancery states there is nothing supernatural in
Medjugorje, including the first few days – FALSE
After Bishop Zanic’s reversal of his initial positive position on the
apparitions, a committee of Bishop’s from the former Yugoslavia
Conference stated: “On the basis of investigations up till now it cannot
be established that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and
This statement does not suggest that there is no supernatural
apparition or revelation, only that it has not yet been established.
However, on May 12, 2019 the Ruini Commission, established by Pope
Benedict XVI stated: “The Commission established by Pope Benedict
XVI to study the alleged apparitions of Mary at Medjugorje, voted
overwhelmingly to recognize as real and supernatural, the first seven
-The apparition of Our Lady is the “Idol” of Medjugorje – FALSE
There are no “idols” in Medjugorje. Jesus is praised and worshipped
through Mass, Adoration, prayer and reception of the Sacraments.
Our Lady is loved and honored. Fatima, Lourdes, Knock, etc. are also
examples of this love for Our Lady.
-Our Lady prayed the Our Father with the visionaries – TRUE
In the testimony of one of the visionaries, Vicka, she said that on July
22, 1981, after asking Our Lady about some sick people who had been
recommended to them, they prayed with Our Lady: “Our Lady said the
Our Father and Glory Be. She was silent during the time of the Hail
Some people have claimed that since the Our Father is the prayer of
sinners, Our Lady would not have prayed it. Jesus is sinless, and He prayed it, to teach us. Our Lady was simply teaching the children to
pray the prayer Jesus taught us.
-Our Lady claimed the holiest person in the area was a Muslim – FALSE
At the time of the apparitions, there was an old Muslim woman
named Pasa who lived in the village of Medjugorje. She was a friend
of the family of one of the seers. Pasa was a good woman who
became like a surrogate grandmother to the family. She loved God and
always spoke about Him and prayed unceasingly. She also constantly
encouraged the seer’s family to keep persevering in their Catholic
faith. Pasa was once present during an apparition and claimed to see a
light. When the seer asked Our Lady about the authenticity of this,
Our Lady confirmed it. She went on to say that Pasa has a great love of
God and prays with her heart. Our Lady simply commended the way
Praying with the heart is a continual request from Our Lady. She wants
us to pray the rosary, not just say the rosary. She wants us to give
attention and love to our prayers. Our Lady asks for this over and over
again, as any Mother would.
-Our Lady said she doesn’t dispose graces – FALSE
In January 1983 the actual question that was asked by one of the
seers, is: “Are you the source of all graces”. Our Lady replied: “No, I am
not the source.”
Of course, God is the source, not Our Lady. She never said she didn’t
dispose of graces, nor was She asked that question.
-Our Lady said all religions are equal before God. God rules over all
religions as a sovereign over his kingdom – FALSE
In October of 1981, Our Lady was asked if all religions are the same.
Our Lady replied: “Members of all faiths are equal before God. God
rules over them just like a sovereign over his kingdom. In the world all
religions are not the same because all people have not complied with
the commandments of God. They reject and disparage them”.
When the seer originally conveyed the message, she referred to the
nearby regions which have distinctively different religions; i.e,
Croatians are Catholic, Bosnians are Muslim and Serbs are Orthodox.
In the minds of the local people, ethnicity and religion are the same.
As a result, the message was erroneously interpreted as to mean that
all religions are the same. The seer later clarified it, saying: “All
Croatians, Bosnians and Serbs are Our Lady’s children who She wants
to lead to Jesus.”
God does not ordain different religions, but He (obviously) permits it.
Still, all are His children, and He is Lord over all.
-Our Lady claims that all men are saved (universalism) – FALSE
On January 10, 1983 the seers questioned Our Lady on Purgatory. She
replied: “The majority of souls go to purgatory, many others go to hell,
only a small number go directly to Heaven.”
The fact that Our Lady stated that many people go to hell, is first and
foremost a call for us to pray more, and second a clear sign that She
did not speak of universalism.
-Our Lady said that She would only appear three more times – FALSE
During the early days of the apparitions, one of the visionaries was
trying to figure out how long Our Lady would continue appearing.
Someone told her about Lourdes and she thought the Medjugorje
apparitions would be the same. The visionary conveyed this idea in an
interview. This was her own thought, though. The seer was a child at
the time. Our Lady never mentioned this.
-None of the visionaries have become priests or nuns – TRUE
On August 2, 1981 (six weeks after the initial apparition) the seers
asked Our Lady what She wanted them to do later (when they grew
up). She answered: “I would like for you to become priests and
religious, but only if you, yourselves, would want it. It is up to you to
decide”. Ivan, one of the older children, entered the seminary, but did
not do well academically. After prayer and discernment, he decided to
marry and have a family. The other children also decided on the
vocation of marriage.
-Our Lady appears with Her feet covered by Her dress – TRUE
The description of Our Lady is of a very beautiful woman about 5’5”,
slender with black hair, wearing a long grey/blue dress that touches
the cloud She stands on, and a long white veil. Comments have been
made that since we can’t see Her feet (as we can in Lourdes), She
must be hiding something. The insinuation being that Her feet are the
devil’s hoofs. With that same “logic”, we would have to dismiss the
approved apparitions of Beauraing and Kibeho since the seers of
those apparitions also describe Our Lady’s dress covering Her feet.
While it is true that Our Lady will crush the head of the serpent
(Genesis 3:15), it does not mean that She needs to show Her feet to
prove the authenticity of Her presence. She asks for our prayers and
sacrifices to defeat the enemy.
-Our Lady has “wardrobe changes” – TRUE
The seers describe Our Lady as wearing a greyish-blue plain dress with
a white veil most of the time. On special occasions, like Christmas or
Easter, She wears a gold dress. This is very much in keeping with Her
other apparitions. Over the centuries, in each apparition, Our Lady
appears in a different outfit; i.e., Lourdes, Fatima, Knock, etc. Our Lord
has given His Mother a beautiful wardrobe. This hearkens back to a
comment St. Joan of Arc made, at her trial, when asked if her saints
(St. Michael, St. Margaret and St. Catherine) wore clothes when they
appeared to her. She answered; “Don’t you think God can afford
-Our Lady’s dress becomes stained – TRUE
During an apparition in August, 1981, several of the people who were
present asked the seers if they could touch Our Lady. When Our Lady
agreed, some of the people’s hands blackened Our Lady’s dress (it was
an outward sign of their inward state of soul). Seeing this, one of the
visionaries, Marija, began to weep. Those people were immediately
told they must go to Confession. This was allowed to convey the
necessity of frequent Confession for all Catholics.
-Visionary Mirjana has a “magic” parchment – FALSE
One of the seers, Mirjana, received a sheet of paper-like material
(partly paper, partly cloth) from Our Lady. This piece of “paper”
contains ten secrets regarding the future, given by Our Lady. Although
the “paper” can be seen by anyone, the writing is invisible. Only
Mirjana can read it. Our Lady told Mirjana that it was for her use only.
There has been no request to see the “paper” from the parish priests,
the local Bishop or the Vatican. The seer keeps it in her home. A close
friend and relative have seen the “paper” but could not see the writing. At the time when the first secret is to take place, Mirjana will
give the “paper” to a priest of her choice, or one otherwise directed
by Our Lady, and the writing will become visible. The priest will fast,
pray and make an announcement to the world before the event
happens. This is not magic. It is supernatural. There are numerous
examples of this phenomenon in scripture and in the lives of the
saints, i.e., St. Catherine of Siena received a wedding ring from Jesus
that only she could see, the Fatima children received the Body and
Blood of Jesus from an angel, St. John received and ate a scroll from
an angel, etc.
-Our Lady almost dropped the Baby Jesus – FALSE
During an apparition, Our Lady was holding the Baby Jesus. At a
certain point, one of the seers – Vicka – was concerned that Jesus
would fall. This, of course, was not the case, but Vicka made a jerking
motion, common in that perceived situation (Remember, Vicka was a
young teenager at the time). At the moment Vicka moved, a man in
the room pretended to poke her in the eye. He said her flinch was
proof that she was not experiencing an apparition. However, Vicka
confirmed she was witnessing an apparition, and her reaction was
related to it. It is common for seers, at times, to be aware of their
surroundings and, at times, to be in a complete state of ecstasy. Both
are common in approved apparitions.
In Lourdes, St. Bernadette was often able to interact with both Our
Lady and the people/events around her (i.e., pointing out to others
where Our Lady was standing, digging for the spring of water, etc.).
Other times she was in ecstasy, which rendered her completely
unaware of her surroundings. This is also true of the children in Fatima
and of St. Juan Diego in Guadalupe. Always being impervious to one’s
surroundings isn’t consistent with authentic apparitions.
-Former Fr. Vlasic was the seers’ spiritual director – TRUE & FALSE
Father Jozo Zovko was pastor of St. James Church (1980-1983). Former
Fr. Vlasic (laicized) was the associate pastor of St. James Church in
Medjugorje (1982-1984). In the early years of the apparitions, Father
Jozo, together with other Friars, including Vlasic, assisted the children.
All the Friars supported them well, especially as they were being
pressured by the government. This support was commended by Our
Lady. Soon after, Fr. Jozo was imprisoned by the communists. Former
Fr. Vlasic then started his own community. At first, the group seemed
to be in accordance with the faith. However, later discoveries revealed
serious errors in promoting erroneous mysticism. Other compromising
issues regarding Vlasic’s priesthood also came to light. As a result, he
was laicized and eventually excommunicated. Former Fr. Vlasic’s
personal choices are not the reflection of the apparitions or of the
community at St. James. In fact, his removal points to the authenticity
of the apparitions since his activities were uncovered, and he was
An important note: Vlasic is often confused with Fr. Slavko Barbaric, a
Friar who was also at St. James in the early years of the apparitions.
Fr. Slavko was the seers’ spiritual director from 1984 until 2000, when
he passed away. It was Fr. Slavko that Our Lady referred to as a Saint.
-Our Lady “giggles” – FALSE
In the early days of the apparitions, the children mentioned that Our
Lady laughed at some of Jakov’s comments (he was ten years old at
the time). This laugh was a modest expression of her affection for the
young boy, accompanied by a sweet smile. Any holy, modest mother
would respond to her child’s comment in the same way.
-The visionaries are rich – FALSE
All the visionaries live middle class lives. Each has opened their home
in Medjugorje to pilgrims for a modest cost, thereby earning a modest
living. The women seers are all married and have husbands who
receive additional income from their jobs.
One visionary, Ivan, has a second home in Massachusetts which is the
hometown of his wife and in-laws. His wife’s parents were
instrumental in assisting them in buying a home there. As a young
woman, Ivan’s wife won a state beauty contest, before meeting Ivan in
Medjugorje, and experiencing a conversion. This involvement in the
beauty contest has prompted some criticism, the insinuation being
that they are involved with beauty pageants, or some such activities,
which is false.
It’s important to note that St. Bernadette and the family of the Fatima
seers were also accused of allegedly profiting from the apparitions.
After the apparitions in Lourdes, Bernadette’s Father received a job
and they moved from the dungeon they were living, to a better home.
In Fatima, the family sold the land of the apparitions to the Church
and moved from a very small home to a larger one.
-The apparitions have been going on longer than any other approved
apparition – FALSE
The longest recorded apparition was for 88 years to Sr. Lucia of
Fatima. Our Lady first appeared to her at Fatima in 1917. The
apparitions continued at her convent in Pontevedra, Spain until she
died in 2005. This was confirmed by the sisters and Church clergy.
The second longest recorded approved apparition was for 54 years,
1664-1718, to Benoite Rencurel in Laus, France.
-Our Lady makes appointments – TRUE
Our Lady of Medjugorje has asked the children to meet her at a
specific time each day. This “appointment making” is consistent with
Our Lady’s respect for our free will. It is also consistent with other
apparitions. For examples, in Lourdes, Our Lady asked St. Bernadette:
“Would you do me the great grace of coming here for fifteen days”. In
Guadalupe, She asked St. Juan Diego to meet Her at the same time in
the same place, the next day. At Fatima, Our Lady asked the children
to come back to the same place on the 13th day of each month, for six
-Medjugorje is condemned – FALSE
On May 12, 2019 the Ruini Commission, established by Pope Benedict
XVI stated: “The Commission established to study the alleged
apparitions of Mary at Medjugorje, voted overwhelmingly to
recognize as real and supernatural, the first seven apparitions”. Pope
Francis authorized official Church pilgrimages to Medjugorje on that
-Medjugorje is about money – FALSE
Monsignor Andrea Gemma was reported to have claimed that
Medjugorje, “is a diabolical event around which numerous economic
interests are involved”. This statement was countered by many (see
below), including Mariologist Fr. Rene Laurentin, who stated: “I cannot
be in agreement with Msgr. Gemma. Do not forget that at every
religious shrine there are souvenir stores and hotel structures that
give hospitality to the pilgrims. According to the reasoning of Msgr.
Gemma, we would have to say that Fatima, Lourdes, Guadalupe and
San Giovanni Rotondo (St. Padre Pio) are also deceits inspired by Satan in order to make some people rich. I am convinced that Medjugorje is
a fruit of the Good and not of the evil.”
-Medjugorje produces good fruits – TRUE
Since 1981, over 50 million people have visited Medjugorje. There are
over 10,000 recorded vocations to the priesthood, and thousands of
vocations to religious life. In addition to this are the millions of
conversions and thousands of healings – physical, emotional and
spiritual. Medjugorje is known as “the confessional of the world”
owing to the enormous number of pilgrims flocking to confession.
One of the conditions the Church looks for in authenticating an
apparition is the number of people visiting the site, over a continuous
period of time. There has never been a false apparition that has had
an enormous and steady influx of pilgrims. Another necessary
condition for authenticity is the fruits of the apparition.
-Our Lady promised Medjugorje would be protected during the
Bosnian war (1992-1995) -TRUE
During an apparition, the seers asked Our Lady about the safety of
Medjugorje during the war. She said Medjugorje would be protected
and there would be peace. Medjugorje was protected and after three
years, there was a greater peace between the warring regions.
In fact, one bomb dropped in the Church plaza, but never exploded; 9
bombs dropped in the village which also, never exploded; enemy
pilots got lost in the clouds while flying over Medjugorje.
During a meeting with the Superior General of the Franciscan Order,
Pope Saint John Paul II asked: “All around Medjugorje bombs have
been falling, and yet Medjugorje itself was never damaged. Is this not
perhaps a miracle of God?”
-Medjugorje has been commended by Saints, Bishops and Exorcists –
Pope St. John Paul II commented to the Archbishop of Slovakia
“Medjugorje is the continuation of Fatima, it is the completion of
Again, Pope St. John Paul II commented to Fr. Rene Laurentin: “I regret
to have to guide the Church from the Vatican and not from
In 1989 Pope St. John Paul II said: “Today’s world has lost its sense of
the supernatural, but many are searching for it-and find it in
Medjugorje, through prayer, penance and fasting.”
The same Pope said to Fr. Jozo Zovko on the 20th July 1992: “BUSY
YOURSELF WITH MEDJUGORJE, LOOK AFTER MEDJUGORJE, DON’T
TIRE. PERSEVERE, BE STRONG, I AM WITH YOU. WATCH OVER,
FOLLOW MEDJUGORJE”. In August 2002, Pope St. John Paul II wrote a
letter to Fr. Jozo thanking him for his ministry and giving him his
Pope St. John Paul II, in response to a question asked by the
Archbishop of Asuncion, La Paz, Bolivia. – Feb. 1995 “AUTHORIZE
EVERYTHING THAT REGARDS MEDJUGORJE.”
In a handwritten letter to Denis Nolan, St. Mother Teresa wrote, “We
are all praying one Hail Mary before Holy Mass to Our Lady of
Cardinal Tonini stated: “Only unbelievers do not believe in Our Lady
and in Medjugorje. For the rest, nobody is forcing us to believe, but let
us at least respect it. I think that it is a blessed place and a grace of God; who goes to Medjugorje returns transformed, changed, he
reflects himself in that source of grace that is Christ”.
Bishop Gilbert Aubry of St. Denis states: “So, she talks too much, this
Virgin of the Balkans? That’s the sardonic opinion of some unabashed
skeptics. Have they eyes but do not see, and ears but do not hear?
Clearly the voice in the messages of Medjugorje is that of a motherly
and strong woman who does not pamper her children, but teaches
them, exhorts and pushes them to assume greater responsibility for
Cardinal Schonborn wrote: “In order to doubt that into Medjugorje
a stream of grace flows, one must shut one’s eyes,” he added,
comparing Medjugorje to Lourdes as a place where hearts are
The Cardinal adds, when comparing the Church’s caution towards
the alleged apparitions to the Church’s caution towards St.
Faustina, he stated that; “The “personal reliability” of the witnesses,
the sensus fidelium, and the charitable works associated with
Medjugorje are surely an important element. What does one learn
from the Mother of God? The faith in everyday life! For me
Medjugorje is a school of normal Christian life.”
Famous Exorcist Fr. Gabriel Amorth stated: “Surely, Medjugorje is
a fortress against Satan. Satan hates Medjugorje because it is a
place of conversion, of prayer, of transformation of life”.
Compiled by: Michael and Denise Harvey – Dominican Laity
OUR LADY OF MEDJUGORJE – FIVE MAIN MESSAGES:.
1. PRAY WITH THE HEART, THE ROSARY, DAILY
2. DAILY READING OF THE BIBLE
3. HOLY MASS (AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE)
4. FAST ON WEDNESDAYS AND FRIDAYS
5. MONTHLY CONFESSION
Helpful Resources: You Tube: Fr. Leon Pereira, OP – Medical
doctor, Dominican Friar and chaplain in Medjugorje.
You Tube: Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC Conversion
You Tube: Tom Medjugorje
Medjugorje website: www.medjugorje.org
“Visions of the Children” by Janice T. Connell