Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pope to investigate apparition of Virgin Mary in Bosnia

Our Lady of Međugorje, aka Queen of Peace, is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, who appeared to six Croat children in Bosnia and Herzegovina on June 24, 1981. On that day young Mirjana Dragicevic and Ivanka Ivankovic saw an apparition of the Virgin Mary in a village in Bosnia-Hercegovina in Europe. The next day four more children, Marija Pavlovic, Jakov Colo, Vicka Ivankovic and Ivan Dragicevic had the vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary, according to reports.

Reports say, since then she has purportedly been appearing to the six visionaries, and many miracles have been reported, such as, ‘the sun spinning, dancing in the sky, turning colors, or being surrounded by objects such as hearts or crosses.” Many people claim that they could look at the sun without any damage to their eyes, and the tall cement cross erected on Mount Podbrdo has disappeared and reappeared, or glowed as if lit with lights, although there is no electricity there. Miracle healing has also been reported.

It may be noted that Vatican has not endorsed these claims. However, the Roman Catholic Church has declared that it cannot be affirmed that the reported apparitions are supernatural in character.

On 4th June 2008 Pope Benedict XVI blessed the statue of Our Lady of Međugorje in Saint Peter's Square, Vatican City. On 28 July 2009, the Pope granted a request for laicisation from Father Tomislav Vlašić, who had been under investigation for ‘dubious doctrine, the manipulation of consciences, suspect mysticism and disobedience towards legitimately issued orders.’ He was also accused of sexual immorality with a nun which case he had covered up.

"We are now awaiting a new directive on this issue", Cardinal Vinko Puljic, who is the head of the Bosnian Bishops' conference told the press. "I don't think we must wait for a long time, I think it will be this year, but that is not clear… I am going to Rome in November and we must discuss this…It is not a sin to pray, it's not a sin to hear confessions, it is not a sin to give penance, this is a good climate. But this phenomenon, apparitions or visions, falls to the (Vatican) commission... It is a very delicate question."

Currently Međugorje has become one of the most popular pilgrimage sites, with over30 million pilgrims having visited since the first sighting of ‘Our Lady, as the local people call her. Many people have claimed to have witnessed strange phenomena including ‘the sun spinning in the sky or changing colors and figures such as hearts and crosses around the sun’.

On Wednesday, 17 March 2010, Vatican announced a commission to investigate the claims, and that Pope Benedict XVI had formed an investigative commission composed of cardinals, bishops, and other experts that will report to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the top doctrinal body.

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