Pope Francis Says Vatican to Make a Ruling on Apparitions of the Madonna Soon

Virgin Mary
Catholics gather at the site where the Virgin Mary reportedly appeared in an apparition in Medjugorje, 120km (75 miles) south of Sarajevo, June 25, 2009. Millions of pilgrims from all over the world have visited the small Bosnian town after six Bosnian youngsters claimed that the Holy Mary appeared to them there 28 years ago. |

The Vatican is expected to make a ruling on the highly controversial apparitions of the Madonna which allegedly first began in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje in 1981.

Six children in the obscure town first reported seeing Jesus' mother Mary in a vision and since then the town has become a major pilgrimage site. Many critics, however, have dismissed the apparitions as a hoax.

Pope Francis commented on the Vatican's deliberations on the apparitions while flying back to Rome from a recent visit to Sarajevo, according to Reuters, and said a ruling is expected soon.

"We are about to make decisions and then they will be communicated," the pontiff said, after being asked about the Vatican's investigation into the alleged apparitions.

Francis also stated that he recently received a long study by a Vatican commission and that the case was now before the Holy See's doctrinal department, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

An international commission of Catholic cardinals, bishops, theologians and other experts was set up in 2010 to investigate the claims of the six young people who said Mary appeared to them daily starting in 1981.

The commission has completed its study and Francis said the members "did a beautiful job."

Medjugorje is home to around 4,000 people and has become a place of spiritual pilgrimage since the sightings began. The town's local Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno said he believes nothing supernatural is happening there.

The Vatican has said individual diocese should not organize official pilgrimages to Medjugorje. Catholics are free to visit the town and pray there and the Diocese of Mostor-Duvno normally organizes pastoral care for them.

Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed that the Church never requires Catholics to believe in apparitions, even those that are officially recognized by the Vatican.

The Christian Post contacted the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for comment on the ruling but the organization did not respond by the time of this publication.

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