Drawing closer to a decision on Medjugorje?

After visiting Sarajevo today, Pope Francis took questions from reporters during the flight. Here’s one:

There is a big interest surrounding the phenomenon of the Medjugorje apparitions. What can you tell us about this?
“When Benedict XVI was Pope, he set up a commission on Medjugorje that was headed by Cardinal Ruini and composed of other cardinals and theologians. They prepared a study and Ruini delivered it to me after a few years of work. They did a good job. Cardinal Müller (Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ed.) told me that he was going to hold a dicastery meeting on this; I think it was held on the last Wednesday of the month. We are about to take some decisions and these will then be communicated. For now, bishops are just being given some indications.”

[Andrea Tornielli at La Stampa‘s Vatican Insider site]

UPDATE: Now that I’ve seen a video clip (alas, only partial) and some other reporters’ versions of the Pope’s words, here’s a more detailed rendition:

“On the problem of Medjugorje, Pope Benedict XVI, in his time, set up a commission, presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini. There were other cardinals, theologians, specialists, who made a study. Ruini came to me and presented the study, which took three or four years; they did a good job. Cardinal Gerhard Müller told me he would be doing a ‘feria quarta’ at that time: I think it took place the last Wednesday of the month, but I’m not sure. But we’re ready to make decisions, and then they’ll be stated. Only a few directives are being given to bishops about the direction we’re taking.”

[Note: ‘feria quarta’ (Latin for “Wednesday”) refers to a meeting of the full CDF membership.]

[Additional sources: RAI, L’Avvenire, Twitter]


  1. Who did your translation? The transcript I have seen is:

    «Su Medjugorje Papa Benedetto XVI, a suo tempo, aveva istituito una commissione presieduta dal cardinale Camillo Ruini, con altri cardinali e teologi. Hanno preparato uno studio e il cardinale Ruini me lo ha consegnato, dopo alcuni anni di lavoro. Hanno fatto un bel lavoro. Il cardinale Gerhard Müller (prefetto della Congregazione per la dottrina della fede; ndr) mi ha detto che avrebbe fatto una “feria quarta” (riunione del dicastero, che si svolge il mercoledì; ndr). Su questo credo sia stata fatta l’ultimo mercoledì del mese. Stiamo per prendere delle decisioni e poi saranno comunicate. Per il momento si danno soltanto alcuni orientamenti ai vescovi».

    If this is in fact the transcript, whoever translated the version you put on your website was quite sloppy. In the first instance, the Pope’s actual words were: “regarding Medjugorje…” (that is the sense of “su”) and NOT “Regarding the problem of Medjugorje…” The rest of the translation is OK but not as accurate as you might expect with such a controversial topic. Your credibility suffers with such blatant mistakes.

  2. Thanks for taking an interest, Michael.

    The second version above is my own translation. I based it on several Italian media sources, which, curiously, disagreed with each other about the Pope’s exact words.

    (1) From La Stampa’s “Vatican Insider” site, here.

    (2) From L’Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, at the link I posted above.

    (3) From the web site of RAI (link above).

    (4) A video available on Twitter (link above). This is a high-quality source, but it shows only about half of the Pope’s answer.

    Those four versions were available on Saturday, and I considered them reliable in this order: #4 (most reliable), then 3, 2, 1.

    Versions #1 and #2 are generally similar to each other.

    Versions #3 and #4 are also similar to each other.

    Comparing the two groups, it seems that versions #1 and #2 are summarizing slightly, leaving out a few words. Versions #3 and #4 show the Pope speaking in a story-telling manner with simpler words: for example, “made” instead of “prepared”.

    On Sunday, the Vatican’s press office settled the discrepancy by issuing their own transcript of Pope Francis’ comments.

    The Vatican’s version agrees with #3 and #4, so it confirms my translation was based on sound sources. If you find that my translation disagrees with the Vatican’s version, please let me know!

    Since you mention it: the official transcript does include the word “problem”, which is a new element in the public discussion of Medjugorje. This is the first time I have seen any Vatican official use that term, and it came straight from the Holy Father.

  3. That was a long answer. The official transcript does NOT in fact include the word “problem,” as can be seen here:


    Even if the official translation had included the word “problem,” it’s NOT what the Pope said since he never mentioned the word “problem” but only “su” (“with regard to…”). Those who insert the word “problem” are perhaps unconsciously inserting it because to them (as to you) Medjugorje is a problem.

  4. The official Italian text of the Pope’s comments, from the Vatican web site, is at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/it/speeches/2015/june/documents/papa-francesco_20150606_sarajevo-conferenza-stampa.html.

    The answer to the question from the Croatian journalist begins: “Sul problema di Medjugorje…”

    So I hope that is enough to show you that my version was reasonable to begin with the words: “On the problem of Medjugorje…”

  5. Wait a minute: are you the same commenter as “mgseamanjr”, who used to post carping comments on my web site and several others in 2011?

    What a rude little teenager he was. He was not really interested in looking at any facts or reasons. He just posted a lot of bickering. Once he posted over 30 comments on a thread at Mark Shea’s blog. Everyone found him so rude and his comments so empty of content that they banned him.

    An arrogant character: he went around accusing people of being not really a Christian if they dared to criticize his fake Gospa.

    If that’s you, you have not really improved by the passage of time, since you show up here complaining erroneously about my supposed “sloppy” work and “blatant mistakes”.

    And when I post a thorough explanation pointing to the discrepancy between various reporters’ versions, you complain “that was a long answer”. Well, isn’t that too bad? You are still not interested in dealing with facts!

    What a dupe, and still banned, too.

  6. Richard, I am sorry you read my comments with disdain. I am not rude but reply when folks attack Medjugorje with irrational disdain. I have always tried to be civil. If I offended you with my comments, I apologize. I try to stick to the facts and address the comments of others rather than engage in ad hominem and personal attacks. For your information, Mark Shea bans all people who disagree with him in a rational and intellectual manner, because, I suppose, they make him look bad. Regarding the media’s reaction to the Pope’s recent comments on Medjugorje, one would do well to read this: http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/the-vatican/detail/articolo/medjugorje-puljic-42059/

  7. So I am a “rude little teenager” with “an arrogant character” who “carps” and “bickers” and who “posts empty comments” and who “everyone finds so rude” and in fact am “a dupe.” Is this effective argument, Richard? Is this being Christian?

    I do not recall writing 30 comments on Mark Shea’s post, though I do recall defending myself from many, many personal attacks, much like yours above. I don’t recall that Mark Shea announced my banishment, though I would wear this as a feather in my cap, so to speak, if it were true. It would not surprise me to learn that Mr. Shea in fact banned me and was in contact with you and other anti-Medjugorje folks. Would you mind letting me know how you came to learn that I was, and apparently still am, banned from Mark Shea’s website?

  8. By the way, your assertion that the apparitions in Medjugorje are “fake” is not the position of the Church since the conclusions of the commission have not yet been announced. One might claim that it is “sloppy” and “erroneous” of you to state as such, but I will withhold stating so out of fear that you might launch into another personal attack.

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