On Wednesday, March 14th, the Holy See released a statement that Pope Benedict XVI was forming a commission to investigate the occurrences at Medjugorje.
This is an unprecedented move in the church. The Holy See has never taken the matter of an apparition into its own hands. This may be for several reasons: one, Medjugorje is now a world-wide phenomenon, being one of the largest pilgrimage sites in the world; two, the current Pope’s friendship with the former Pope John Paul II, who was an ardent personal supporter of the apparitions, and his closeness to Cardinal Christoph Shonborn of Vienna, who recently visited Medjugorje and expressed his personal support of Medjugorje, points to the Pope desiring Medjugorje to be taken seriously; three, the fact that the current bishop of Mostar, Bishop Ratko Peric, has repeatedly disobeyed the Vatican’s orders to cease expressing his personal negative opinions of the apparitions.
Croatia media sources have reported that the Vatican has arrived at a solution that acknowledges the importance of Medjugorje to the Church. They claim the Church’s action affirms “that the tree bearing good fruit in abundance is to be protected.”
The Vatican communique reads: “Under the auspices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the presidency of Cardinal Camillo Ruini, an international commission of investigation on Medjugorje has been constituted. Said Commission, composed of cardinals, bishops and experts will work in a reserved manner, subjecting the results of their studies to the authority of the Dicastery.”
Vatican spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, said that the commission will be formed by about twenty members, and that as the commission carries out their investigation, they will report their findings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), which in turn will “make decisions on the case.”