From the files: Bishop and exorcist Andrea Gemma on Medjugorje: "Absolutely diabolical"


Here's a background item on the Medjugorje case, a May 2008 interview with Bishop Andrea Gemma from Gianluca Barile's website Petrus. It was reported in the press at the time, and some quotations did appear, but I never came across the full text until recently.

Medjugorje: the accusation of the bishop-exorcist Mons. Gemma: "The apparitions of the Madonna? Completely false: the seers lie under the inspiration of Satan to profit economically"

by Gianluca Barile

bp-andrea-gemma.jpgVATICAN CITY - A mixture of economic and diabolical interests, with the alleged seers and their collaborators directly involved in profits related to the increased flow of pilgrimages and visits in the area, and the Evil One well content to sow discord between the faithful most convinced of the validity of the apparitions of Medjugorje and the Church, sceptical as ever in the face of what she has declared more than once, through the words of two successive bishops of Mostar during that time, "a great deception". Monsignor Andrea Gemma, former bishop of Isernia-Venafro [served 1990-2006], among the greatest exorcists living, does not mince his words: instead of the Virgin, so far only rivers of money have appeared at Medjugorje, a grave accusation that sums up not only the courage but also the moral and spiritual capacity of the prelate who agreed to respond to questions from "Petrus" on such a prickly event.

So, Excellency, how do you define Medjugorje?

"It is an absolutely diabolical event, around which numerous underworld interests revolve. The Holy Church, which alone can make a pronouncement, through the words of the Bishop of Mostar, has already said publicly and officially that the Madonna never appeared in Medjugorje and that this whole production is the work of the Devil."

You speak of "underworld interests". Of what kind?

"I'm referring to 'the Devil's dung', to money, what else? At Medjugorje everything happens for the sake of money: pilgrimages, overnight stays, the sales of trinkets. In this way, abusing the good faith of the poor people who go there with the idea of meeting the Madonna, the false seers have set themselves up financially, they have married and live a wealthy life, to say the least. Just think: one of them, directly from America, with a direct economic profit, organizes tens of pilgrimages every year. These people don't seem to be really disinterested persons to me. Rather, with all the people vulnerable to this noisy swindle, they evidently have a great material interest in getting people to believe that they see and speak with the Virgin Mary."

Monsignor Gemma, is there no appeal from your verdict?

"Could it be otherwise? These people claim to be in contact with the Madonna, but in reality are inspired solely and exclusively by Satan, are creating chaos and confusion among the faithful for the sake of absolutely deplorable interests and advantages. Think, then, of the disobedience they have fed in the bosom of the Church: their spiritual guide, a Franciscan friar expelled from the Order and suspended a divinis, continues to invalidly administer the sacraments. [NB: The interview took place in 2008, before the laicization of Tomislav Vlasic.] And numerous priests from all over the world, despite the express prohibition of the Holy See, continue to organize and participate in pilgrimages with Medjugorje as their destination. It's a shame! This is why I speak of a mixture between personal and diabolical interests: the false seers and their helpers are pocketing money, and the Devil creates discord between the faithful and the Church; the more fanatical faithful, in fact, aren't listening to the Church, which - I repeat - has, from the beginning, warned about the mendacity of the Medjugorje apparitions."

And if the alleged seers were really seeing the Madonna?

"In reality they would be seeing Satan under false pretenses. Because Satan has great interest in splitting the Church, setting the two currents of the 'pro' and the 'contra' Medjugorje against each other. Moreover, it wouldn't be the first time: St. Paul himself asserts that the Devil can appear as an Angel of Light and can, so to speak, camouflage himself. He did that, for example, with St. Gemma Galgani. But beyond his disguises, the Evil One has already intervened and I can assure you that it is he inspiring the false seers since the beginning with the promise of easy money."

You're not exactly fond of those seers...

"Please! It's enough to see how they act: they're disobedient to the Church, they should have withdrawn to private life and instead they keep on making propaganda for their lies, for the sake of money, and thus playing the Devil's game! My thoughts go immediately to St. Bernadette, the seer of Lourdes: that sweet creature wanted to shed her life and took up the habit of a Sister to serve the Lord. Instead, the impostors of Medjugorje continue to live comfortably in the world without showing any kind of love either for God or for the Church."

The supporters of Medjugorje emphasize that the Holy See has never expressed any position on the matter.

"That's another lie! As I pointed out before, the Vatican has forbidden pilgrimages by priests to the place and has spoken through the words of the two successive bishops of Mostar, Monsignors Zanic and Peric, with whom I have spoken personally, and who have always manifested their doubts to me. You see, even for Fatima and Lourdes, the Holy See didn't express any position directly on those Marian apparitions. So why would they have to make an exception in this case? The truth is that when the Bishop of Mostar speaks, the Church of Christ speaks, and is it to him, who speaks with the authority conferred to him by the Vatican, that we need to listen. Thus, the Holy See has already expressed itself with the words of the Bishop of Mostar, making evident that Medjugorje is a diabolical trick. But I will share a secret with you. You'll see that soon the Vatican will intervene with something explosive, to unmask once and for all who is behind this swindle."

The same supporters note that at Medjugorje every year they report a record of conversions and miracles...

"It's artificial. And who is counting all these conversions? You see, if someone has a conversion, it's because he had a certain predisposition, because he thinks to look inside himself, because he receives the gift of the Spirit. The place in which this conversion happens is completely relative. Let's think of St. Paul: he converted on the road, and now what should we do, all go out to the road and wait to be converted? As regards the miracles, I'll tell a personal anecdote. I owe the miraculous healing of a person in my family to the intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary at Pompei, but that doesn't imply that the Madonna ever appeared to me at Pompei. So, just from believing, or from being healed inside or outside, it doesn't necessarily mean that Mary is letting people see her."

To the best of your knowledge, what opinion does the Holy Father Benedict XVI have of Medjugorje?

"I'll limit myself to underscore what he did as Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to send out official notes adverse to Medjugorje, such as the one which forbade priests and religious from going on pilgrimages in that country. Do you ..."

Yet it is said that John Paul II was convinced of the goodness of the apparitions.

"An unproven legend, considering that his opinions were personal and did not in any way represent an act of the Magisterium."

[Thanks to Gianluca Barile. Translation (c) Richard Chonak, 2011, all rights reserved.]


Bishops can be exorcists? I thought only priests and deacons could be exorcists?

Anything a priest can do, a bishop may do as well. A priest-exorcist can only act with the authority of the bishop. A bishop could do a solemn exorcism himself, but most bishops "farm out" the role to a priest. Practically speaking, an exorcism can take a long and intensive time to investigate and prepare for properly, thus taking the bishop away from the pastoral care of his flock.

Thank you for this information Mr. Chonak! Perhaps you have heard of the response by Fr. Rene Laurentin?


Seek what is good, shun what is evil.

Both Gemma and Laurentin make good points, but they sound like bullies in the interviews.

Just read a better English translation of the interview which Kevin gave the link for. I read it here:

Larentin sounds much kinder in that interview :)

Is it a bishop's job to be kind or to proclaim the truth?

you stated-The truth is that when the Bishop of Mostar speaks, the Church of Christ speaks, and is it to him, who speaks with the authority conferred to him by the Vatican, that we need to listen. [Correction: I didn't state that; Bp. Gemma did. --RC]
The fact is all mention of medjugorje from the local bishop has been ordered to cease. [Would you please document that?] Anything that has to do with medjugorje is now under a commission of the Vatican.
As a neutral observer i can only just by the fruits which Christ told us. The visionaries I have seen have a specific purpose for example Ivan is to pray for Priest. NO one sees the Virgin Mary except the visionaries and the message IS ALWAYS THAT MARY IS POINTING YOU TO HER SON AND TO FAST AND PRAY AND GO TO CONFESSION.[The Church judges by doctrinal content, and by the lives of the seers, more than by "fruits". Many false apparitions have led to sincere conversions and prayers answered, etc, so they are not a reliable single indicator.]

Your interview is slanted because of the bishops opinion. If you were to interview Gadafi his out look would be different towards the US. What did you expect to get from the Bishop whom I have personally met? That is why the Vatican has taken this entire matter in house because like Fatima (it took 17 years to be approved after Mary left)The church wants to be absolutely sure and for conversation sake what if it is real then how do you think your comments affect the faithful? I think it better to pray and let god answer versus sling mud.[Thus the words of a "neutral observer".]

Yes, if the doctrinal content violates Church teaching, it is a sure sign the apparition is false. However, it would seem to me the lives of the visionaries would be about the lowest criterion for the Church's analysis. As I recall, the visionary at LaSalette, France (which was fully approved) became the town drunk! ... but never denied the vision of Our Lady.

All of us reject the grace of God to some degree. Does the validity of such graces depend upon our acceptance of them? Just because the visionaries at Medjugorje are not Bernadette Soubirou doesn't disprove the grace of the visions.

I myself had a conversion experience at Medjugorje which came from completely outside of me as the most potent and surprising experience of grace of my life. The inexplicable validity of this experience, which changed my life forever and determined who I am today, I could never deny. In fact, I know several men who became priests following such an experience at Medjugorje as well.

Regardless of whether or not the Church judges the apparitions at Medjugorje to be "worthy of belief," these most potent fruits have remained, and I believe provide a much stronger criterion for judgment than the conduct of weak mortals who have received a special grace from God.

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

You write, we post
unless you state otherwise.


About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard Chonak published on April 3, 2011 7:00 PM.

New pro-life/family blogger: Dale O'Leary was the previous entry in this blog.

Lost in translation and afterward is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.