The Vatican is denying reports that a Vatican commission studying the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje will release its findings by the end of this year.
In comments to the Register today, Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi said the speculation was “not true” and that the commission’s findings will take longer.
Earlier this week, the French magazine La Vie said the commission, established by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010 and chaired by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, was expected to present its report to the Holy Father by the end of December.
“I have spoken with Cardinal Ruini and I can assure you that it will take longer,” Fr. Lombardi said. “Among other things, the commission must first give its opinion to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to discuss, so it’ll be a long time yet.”
Fr. Lombardi’s remarks match those made by allegedly informed, but unnamed, sources quoted in Bosnian media, saying many more conversations need to take place.
La Vie did not cite any authoritative sources for its story, but it followed remarks made in February this year by Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo who said the commission’s work “needs to finish this year.”
The commission, which has been working in strict secrecy, is studying the shrine and in particular reports of Marian apparitions at Medjugorje which began in 1981. These apparitions continue regularly to this day, according to the shrine’s six “seers”, attracting hundreds of thousands of pilgrims each year.
The local hierarchy, however, has sought to discourage the “Medgjugorje phenomenon”, prompting the Vatican to carry out its own investigation.
After the commission’s report is examined by the CDF, it will be given to the Pope who will have the final say.