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Is Medjugorje Authentic and Does it Matter?

June 26, 2015 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Magisterium, Mary

Is Medjugorje Authentic and Does it Matter?

Is Medjugorje Authentic- -

As I was making my way to the Catholic Church, I was deeply blessed by an encounter with a 17th century priest who taught me, through his writings, how to overcome aridity in prayer. This was a significant breakthrough for me and brought me tremendous relief. I developed an instant affinity to this priest and looked for other writings of his that might help me. By God’s grace, I didn’t find anything else about him until I became Catholic and discovered that his teachings were condemned by the Church.

The central lesson of this encounter was that God works through people and situations both because of them and in spite of them. In this case, once I received official word about the Church’s ruling on his writings, I set them aside. It is very important to note that I didn’t set aside the truth and the blessings that I received in this case. What I recognized, though, was that the gifts I received were from God, not from this errant priest.

All this isn’t a setup to say that I believe that Medjugorje is a fraud. In fact, I don’t. That said, I don’t believe the converse either.


How is this possible? Let me outline it for you.

God “Rains on the Just and the Unjust”: 

God’s grace can work through a donkey, as he did in Numbers 22, and he can work through a saint. Of course, He more frequently works through saints and holy means. Regardless, God will always respond to a heart that desires Him and wherever He finds hearts open to Him, He responds with His grace.

The Good Fruit: 

I know many good and faithful Catholics who have had their lives changed for the better in Medjugorje. The fruit speaks for itself. They spent a great deal of time, treasure, and energy to seek God. This reflects a heart disposed to receive God’s grace. This is the soil necessary for God to work and God will never reject a soul who seeks Him.

The Bad Fruit: 

It is incontrovertible that some of the fruit out of Medjugorje is very problematic and must also be weighed in the balance by the Church. Many who argue for authenticity seem to focus only on the good fruit. The rotten fruit of disobedience to the Church is deeply concerning in this case. Obedience to the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the Magisterium is always a good sign, and lack of obedience is always a bad sign and an indicator of the infiltration of the world, the flesh, and the devil. In this case, it may be that the early apparitions were valid and then the work of the enemy achieved progressively irreparable damage since then.

We Must Trust the Blessed Trinity to Work Through the Church for Our Final Basis of Judgment:

With regard to whether or not the Church “approves” of the claims of the seers of Medjugorje, I will wait for and accept the leading of the Holy Spirit in and through the Magisterium. I won’t argue for or against it lest I potentially and arrogantly find myself to have led people contrary to the decisions of the Church.

With regard to those who have been changed in and by the events happening at Medjugorje, or even an approved apparition, I would strongly encourage you to attach yourself to the work of God, not to the apparition itself. If, through your engagement with Medjugorje, you have drawn near to God, then you need not have any doubt that He has drawn near to you. If you take this approach, no matter what decision the Church makes, your faith will rest on the authentic work of God in your life.

Image credits: “Our Lady of Medjugorje”, Luca Llorenzi, 5 October 2010, CC-SA; Cultural day promotes cross-nation appreciation, Staff Sgt. Daryl Knee, 3 June 2012, PD; both Wikimedia Commons.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio Author Insights Edition, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Marianne

    A very balanced approach to the subject. I do the works I do for the Church today in part because a trip to Mdjugorje set my soul on fire for the Lord. Good fruit. I recognized however the wisdom of a cautious approach and trust in the decision of the Magisterium knowing that one way or another, the Lord used that trip to open my eyes and heart to His constant presence within me. This has given me the ability to do things for Him that I had never thought possible and lead many others to a closer relationship to Him. God is good all the time and as you say, He can use anything and anyone to draw us to Him, even me 🙂

  • LizEst

    Well, my sense is that that voice was not to be listened to. By the same thinking, you would only go to confession, or Sunday/holy day Mass, when you felt like it…and that would be going against a lot of things: the commandments, the precepts of the Church, Holy Scripture–which says that a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors me. You see why this is not good? We need to pray in good times and in bad, when we feel like it and when we don’t feel like it. Yes, sometimes it can feel like nothing is happening. But, we must keep going! It is one way we show our faithfulness to the Lord.

    That said, those who are advanced in prayer, eventually are led to a different type of prayer which can seem like nothing is happening. A wise spiritual director can be of great help here.

    • Jan England

      Thank you Liz! I needed to hear your response. God bless you.

  • Jan England

    Dan this is excellent. Thank you and God bless you.

  • Jeanette

    Thank you Dan for this good reasoning. I have been to Medjugorje twice – just recently in May – and have seen and experienced much ‘good fruit’ there, too much to recount right now. After my first trip, I was blessed with a much closer relationship with Mother Mary. During both trips, my closeness to the Blessed Trinity was palpable and I thank God that I was able to be in Medjugorje. It’s wonderful being with devout Catholics (and Protestants) from all over the world and being able to celebrate Mass in unity with them; to be able to pray whenever you wanted, to go to Adoration daily and to share with your pilgrim friends your love for God. There are 50 confessionals and it is a sign of hope to see such long lines in front of the confessionals – sometimes an hour wait. Medjugorje is a special, peaceful place of prayer. Many, many priests and Sisters come as well. At the anniversary June 25th last year, there had to be 60 or more priests concelebrating the Mass that evening at the outdoor Mass. But, aside from my positive experiences, obedience to the Pope and Magisterium is very important to me and I will abide by their decision as I believe the Holy Spirit is the guiding force of our Catholic Church. God bless.

  • LizEst

    The Alphabet greatly influenced St Teresa of Avila, Doctor of the Church. One edition has been translated by Mary Giles, a reputable translator, has a preface in it by Kieran Kavanaugh, the noted and faithful translator of Carmelite works. So, you are on safe ground.

    As with questions like yours today, you can always ask the question on this site. It will help others who might be wondering about the same thing. That said, because you are asking the question, it leads me to believe that, perhaps, you do not have a spiritual director. I recommend that you seek out a faithful spiritual director who can field questions like this and guide you in your choice reading material. To be accountable to a faithful spiritual director is an important step that will help you grow spiritually. God bless you msheaver.

  • Dan Burke

    Thank you for your kind words Florian.

  • Dan Burke

    Liz is right. The only way to really be prepared to judge a work is through familiarity with the Catechism, particularly part four on prayer, and the writings of the spiritual doctors of the Church. From what I know, Osuna is trustworthy.

  • Utelene Nugent

    Good morning Dan! Bless you! I trust that this morning I find you in good health and excellent spirit.
    For me, you have put the Medjugorje situation in proper perspective. Of course, we can’t go off, jumping to conclusion, without this be authenticated by Holy Spirit, through the Magisterium of the Church. Reminds me of Holy scripture which says “Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart. Wait, I say on the Lord.”

  • Matt

    I’m going to take a contrary approach than Liz, whose advice I esteem greatly, but end at the same place.

    I would suggest that the voice is absolutely to be listened to. Love is foremost a freely chosen act of the will and not some external obligation, as is typically the case with duty (though sometimes that arises from internal compulsion). Nor is love grounded in positive emotions or feelings of sweetness or consolation (no matter how helpful they might be). It’s problematic if I spend intimate time with my wife strictly because I made a vow and am thereby obliged. It’s also problematic if I spend intimate time with her only when I feel good about doing so. Both courses will damage my relationship.

    Moreover, asking a guardian angel to finish my prayers would be like asking a friend to go spend intimate time with my wife. Simply put, my wife desires me, and not my friend by proxy. If prayer is an expression of my love for God as an act of my free will, then only I can supply it. An angel may intercede for me, but it cannot supply for a lack of will on my part. If, however, I approach prayer more like a household chore than an intimate time with my wife, then I could certainly ask my friend to, say, wash my car or mow my lawn, and he might actually do it.

    As Liz points out, prayer only when we feel like it is a very bad approach. Perhaps that voice was calling you to a purification of your motives and your practice, a movement from duty and obligation (I have to finish this dry-as-dirt rosary) to freely chosen acts of the will to be present to God (I find no solace in it and have nothing to offer, but I give myself to you my God all the same).

  • Donna-Marie Cooper O’Boyle

    Thank you for this, Dan. I was taught by holy directors who always stressed “obedience” as a virtue to be lived. I do not believe in an apparition until it is approved by Mother Church. In a nutshell (due to lack of time at the moment), one of the biggest concerns that I see about the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje is that the evil one who is slicker than slick and TOTALLY EVIL will take full advantage of the countless souls who are totally convinced that it is authentic without having waited for the approval of the Church. What the evil one can easily do is to turn these people away from the Church if and when it is said that the apparition is not authentic and that it is not to be believed. The evil one will convince them that they know better than the Church and it is the anti-Christ, etc., etc. telling them not to believe. Don’t forget that the evil one is full of tricks up his sleeve and can imitate holy happenings. We know he can quote Scripture, right? So, in my very humble opinion, I believe that what I mentioned is the greatest danger in this alleged apparition–that so many people who believe in the apparition will turn from the Church if the Church declares that it is not authentic. With all of that said, I am not stating that this is NOT an authentic apparition. I am stating that we should wait for the approval of the Church. May God bless all those who have been to Medjugorje and who believe in this apparition. May their hearts stay with true Mother Church no matter what.

    • LizEst
      • Lynn Loring

        Thank you very much for this link. My heart hurts physically from this profoundly sad situation. Much suffering was, is, and will be done in union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus in all of this. Does the authenticity of Medjugorje matter, you ask? Yes, it does. The thick and dark disobedience in the Church is very real and it is very harmful for the world. Anytime we mention or hear mentioned “Medjugorje” we should offer up reparation for the souls involved…first the bishops and priests, which greatly wound the heart of Mary, the seers, then the pilgrims past, present and future. Liz, as you know, most discussions/words will not change minds or hearts, unless of course a word of warning, like a seed reaches a soul in the process of being cultivated (good ground and the little lost lambs) or as encouragement for those who have their hearts set on obedience, but the storms, (e.g. emotion-experience-disobedience-I will NOT serve shouts) are taking a toll and the truth actually comes as a welcome strengthening encouragement. I am reminded of the Old Testament warnings concerning false prophets. Our patron father, St. Elijah was a valiant warrior against them! Amazingly, God allows false prophets, according to the book of Kings, so as to TEST hearts. More amazing is the fact that He (Jesus) is so willing to suffer and gather His little ones to suffer in union with him to SAVE us from our own hearts of disobedience so we can turn to Him in obedience through MERCY! So, while my heart hurts…my spirit is strengthened. The disobedience involved is blatant and dangerous. May St. Elijah intercede and strengthen those who are to give the clarion call of warning! Repent! Turn your hearts away from false seers (prophets) and your own selves and back to the ONE TRUE GOD in the ONE TRUE CHURCH. Those who are willfully continuing to follow, in any measure what has been deemed something to NOT be promoted, are in need of much mercy and grace. Many souls are at stake. This should not cause us to fear but to unite in complete obedience, making reparation as our Lord calls us. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph pray for us! St. Faustina who teaches us the depth and breadth of the COST of mercy, purchased by obedient souls, pray for us! All the Saints of Carmel pray for us.

    • MTQ

      DITTO! Thank you Donna Marie!

  • L Almaraz

    I am grateful to our Lord that so many were able to obtain many spirtual blessings from Medjugorji, but very early on in my spiritual quest, I learned how strongly Our Lord valued total obedience from his people to the Bishops in spiritual matters.
    This is a recurring theme from all saints. God is able to work through all things even if there appears to be bad or unworthy conduct from bishops. That sealed the matter for me on Medjugorji. Obedience to Mother Church and the sucessors of Peter and the twelve Apostles trumps all apparitions.

  • Connie Rossini

    When I was in formation in OCDS (the Secular Carmelites) we were taught that even when we felt we had prayed badly we should not oblige ourselves to do mental prayer over. I think this can be extended to your situation. We can often think we are praying badly because of aridity, distractions, exhaustion, etc. Yes, love is deeper than feelings. John the Evangelist says that love = obedience to Christ’s commands. And God does command us throughout the Bible and through the Church to pray. So while we should always try to pray well, we should never give up prayer because we think we are doing it badly. The most important work in prayer is the work God does, often secretly, not our efforts. Now if you are just multiplying vocal prayers without any real love in doing so, maybe you should reduce them to a few that you can pray with attention. But if you are, for example, just praying one Rosary a day, I would advise you to do the best you can with that prayer and entrust the results to God. P.S., the prayer at the end of your post is beautiful.

  • Rosemarie Ortiz

    This has been one of the most objective articles I have seen on this topic. You handled it so well. Thank you for this.
    I am also concerned about the possible reactions from followers if the Church speaks against it.

    God bless to you and your work

  • Diana von Glahn

    You rock, Dan Burke. 😉

  • Christine

    I am a strong believer in Mary’s, Our Mother’s, messages from Lourdes, Fatima and Medjugorje: Turn to JESUS, PRAY the Rosary Daily, Follow JESUS. Is it wrong to want Mary’s apparitions to be real, to want OUR FALLEN, HURTING WORLD to turn (return) to JESUS? I agree that what salvations that come from any apparition of Mary Our Mother, are from the Holy Will of GOD. I agree that GOD uses ALL things to work for HIS WILL, as we enter into HIS WILL. I do not want to go against the Catholic Church I love and yet even Bernadette, Jacynta, Francesco and the other were once persecuted for seeing OUR LADY…… I do Love her so much that I am drawn to believe she is here to warn us and to draw as many as possible nearer to JESUS. I pray for the salvation of souls. Please pray for me to “see” more clearly and devoutly. I do struggle with this. Amen.

    • Geraldine

      Christine, I agree with you 100%. There is no doubt, you can never go wrong saying the Rosary daily, First Saturday Devotions, and all that Fatima has given us – I love Our Lady so much, She is the Mother to us all, She has been so kind to me, I am so thankful to her for the graces She has sent me, one Catholic who really doesn’t deserve.

  • Marg

    thanks Dan for your words of wisdom on the Medjugorje, their right on! God seeks us out and finds us, and that’s what I love about God He never leaves us alone. Hope all is well for you and may God continue to bless you and you work have a great!

  • Marg

    I sent a reply in regards to Dan’s posting and it didn’t go through, why would it not appear on here?

    • LizEst

      It has appeared, Marg. All comments have to go to moderation. That means it has to be approved by a real human being. And, well, if that human being has to be away from their desk for a moment, or a few moments, it can take a little while. So, we beg your patience with the system. It is for everyone’s benefit.

  • Sandra

    I was twice in Medjugorje and had prayerful experiences but i would have to say it was my devotion to Our Lady that kept me on track. And my experiences in Medj confirmed my Catholic faith and that it was very different to other Christian faiths. In fact Our Blessed Mother said that clearly, to visionaries early 80s. She said all religions have the Holy Spirit but Catholics have the full deposit of faith.

    In Ireland we had many Evangelical Americans in late 80s coming here to preach and some of my friends became Born Again and when they did they felt it necessary to leave the Catholic Church. I got this in my heart before it happened. Having devotion to Our Lady I believe this kept me grounded and I believe I have gift of discernment. I also believe anyone can go wrong especially if their ego enlarges. Maybe that’s where Our Lady comes in, we could imitate her humility. This happened to my friends in 80s, saying I dont believe that stuff anymore (meaning Medj). I said to a friend that day – they have gone from Our Lady now, next is the Holy Eucharist. This happened within weeks. I believe Medj has produced good fruit. However I believe that obedience is paramount. I pray for priests and bishops they can get it wrong too. I await the Vatican decision.

    Blessings of Jesus and Mary,

    • LizEst

      Christ won our salvation for us by obedience, even to death, death on a cross. We would do well to imitate His life and His faithfulness.

      • Sandra

        No one is disagreeing witb you Liz. Did I mention Euchsrist! ! The living Presence of Jesus Christ, the Way, Truth and Life.

        • LizEst

          ?? I’m not sure I follow your point, Sandra. I was not saying that anyone was disagreeing with me. Perhaps you thought so because I was emphasizing Christ’s obedience.

          • Damian

            Liz you seem to be sarcastically judging many on here to get them to trip up.

          • Dan Burke

            Damian – Liz is not sarcastic or “judging” – just trying to understand and bring clarity.

          • Damian

            Amen I say to you. God bless you both, maybe a moment of weakness on my part. Liz you do wonderful work and share some get incite. Don’t take it the wrong way, but when Sandra shared her experience or thoughts you counteract it as though she was not obedient even though she said we await the Vatican’s decision. Not to be judging myself, if so forgive me. (I’m tired)

            Medjugorje is a place I found to help me in my journey of faith. I was there in 95. I could tell you much about my experience and that of others with me, but I am in Australia, its very late and I am very tired. One of my daughter who also has Down Syndrome is sick and we were at the hospital today. Please pray for her.
            Thanks for your great work Dan and Liz.

          • LizEst

            I will certainly pray for her, what is her name? My goddaughter has Rett Syndrome, perhaps you may have heard of it.

            Re Sandra, I was just stressing obedience, not making a judgment. If that is how you took it, that’s how you took it. I stress this a lot with people, in person, too…in season and out-of-season. It’s nothing unusual, or special, for me to say it here. We don’t hear a lot on this these days because people don’t like to talk about it. That’s why we need to know God’s Word intimately…so, we will know what is and is not of God and so we don’t pick and choose what we want to believe because it suits us, and what we don’t want to believe because it doesn’t suit us. The fact remains, obedience to the Father’s will is how Christ won our salvation for us. We are called to imitate Him. The Church, as the Body of Christ, must necessarily experience the Cross…on the way to the Resurrection. Count on it. The glory everlasting life in the glory of God awaits on the other side. Count on that, too!

            God bless you Damian. Prayers for your daughter…and for you and all you do for her.

          • LizEst

            Thank you for the gift of your comments. God bless you, Damian. What else am I doing?

  • teresa24

    Yes, Medjugorje is authentic, period. Whatever the Church rules is what we’ll have to go by. But I’ll still be allowed to believe, in myself, that the apparitions were and are real. It’s that simple.

    • Dan Burke

      Dear Teresa – thanks for your note. Just curious, do you believe the Holy Spirit works in and through the Magisterium to lead the Church to the decisions it makes on these matters and other matters of the faith like the sacraments, sacred doctrine, etc?

      • teresa24

        Dan, I’m surprised that you’re even asking the question. I think you know the answer. And even if ” the Holy Spirit…….. like the sacraments, sacred doctrine, etc…?” I still believe that Medjuogrje is authentic. That’s just my opinion. Are you still curious ?? Best wishes.

        • Dan Burke

          Teresa – I am surprised you are surprised! 🙂 I can’t read your mind. Could you answer the question?

          • Sky

            I think we might have misunderstood Teresa, we might be quick to read her post but failed to get her point. I think what she meant was that she believes that the Holy Spirit works in the church and that she will continue to believe that the apparition in Medjugorge is real, just like how Dan himself believes that the vision were real. Here’s Teresa’s message:”Whatever the Church rules is what we’ll have to go by. But I’ll still be allowed to believe, in myself, that the apparitions were and are real.”

            God bless everyone…

          • LizEst

            Sky–Dan did not say he believes that the visions were real. What he said was, “it may be that the early apparitions were valid and then the work of the enemy achieved progressively irreparable damage since then.” “It may be” is a far cry from saying “I believe”. “It may be” allows for the possibility that they are or were real. “It may be” also allows for the possibility that they are not real. Big difference from saying that they are real. God bless you, Sky.

          • Dan Burke

            Liz – as usual, you read carefully and understand what you read before you comment. Refreshing and unfortunately rare.

          • LizEst

            I see our comments are crossing in the ether again. Thanks Dan!

          • Dan Burke

            Sky – Liz is correct. It is inconsistent to claim on one hand that someone trusts and yields to the judgement of the Church as led by the Holy Spirit, and then on the other hand, rejects that judgement on the same point. This only leads me to conclude that she has determined that she is better equipped to assess these matters than the Church and thus the Holy Spirit.

        • LizEst

          Well, I’m curious. What is the straightforward answer (yes or no) to Dan’s question: do you believe the Holy Spirit works in and through the Magisterium to lead the Church to the decisions it makes on these matters and other matters of the faith like the sacraments, sacred doctrine, etc?

          • teresa24

            I think the answer is obvious LizEst so I’m not taking the time to answer it. Have a wonderful day!

          • Dan Burke

            Liz – since Teresa won’t answer, my conclusion would be that if she is willing to reject the Church’s judgement on Medjugorge, and she is consistent, then she probably rejects the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the Church on any other matter that she disagrees with. Would you agree with my guess? It seems that she values her own judgement against the Church that Christ established and has promised to protect in all matters of faith and morals. What say you?

          • LizEst

            Yes, all I asked her for was a simple yes or no, which takes a lot less time than writing out the answer she did, in fact, write back to me about not taking the time to answer it. So, I would venture to say, you are correct…and I agree with your assessment. She said the answer is obvious. To me it is obvious that she probably rejects the work of the Holy Spirit in and through the Church on such things. It also reminds me of something Augustine said, “If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don’t like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” The same principle is at work here!

          • Cathy

            Good assessment Liz!

          • Dan Burke

            On target as usual

  • Claire Dwyer

    Thanks, Dan, for this genuine and thoughtful take on Medjugorie. It is a welcome relief from the smugness of some who anticipate a negative judgement from the Church, and the defensiveness of those on the other side. I also have reflected on the possibility that the initial visions may have been legitimate but something went wrong down the line…
    I do know that because of the content of the initial messages, in the 80’s, my family began saying the rosary and fasting. It led to my attending Franciscan University where one of my professors was one of the world’s leading mariologists. He certainly seemed to believe the alleged apparitions and messages were fully in line with the teachings of the Faith and complimented other approved apparitions. I went to Medjugorie myself years (and years!) ago while studying overseas. I witnessed no miracles, but felt profound peace and encountered a depth to my prayer that was new to me.
    All that being said, I am – today, perhaps more than ever – grateful to be a daughter of the Church and ever obedient to her. After all, to whom should we go?

  • Cathy

    Yolanda,thank you for the mention of the letter,I had no idea that this existed. I went to Connecticut in 2010 to hear Ivan and I found it to be quite the experience,now putting that aside I am on another part of the country and there
    Are priests sponsoring trips to medjogre ,and I thinking to myself I thought they weren’t supposed to be doing this as clergy

  • Frank Capra

    Medjugorje is clearly a hoax. It is alleged by some of “the seers” that our Blessed Mother is actually preaching religious indifferentism. Clearly a heresy that would never come from our Heavenly Mother, since Holy Mother Church teaches, dogmatically, that no one is saved outside The Catholic Church.

  • Godfrey Buillon

    if it’s not supernatural in origin as it claims to be then it is a lie. if it is a lie, therefor it is bad.

    • LizEst

      The three categories usually used are supernatural, not supernatural and preternatural.

      Supernatural refers to something, obviously, supernatural–in other words this is something of God.

      Not supernatural is just that. It is not of God, therefore it could be of human origin or demonic. This designation is sometimes used when it cannot be determined, at this point, whether it is one or the other.

      Preternatural would indicate that something is clearly demonic in origin.

      We’ll just have to wait and see what is said officially.

  • LizEst

    I think there is a variety of experience in this regard. Someone once gave us a rosary from Medjugorge. I picked it up to move it from one place to another and it turned my hand red and began to burn it.

    Holy Love has been declared not supernatural in origin. Clergy are forbidden to celebrate the sacraments there, and they cannot legitimately use the use the name Catholic or identify themselves as a Catholic group. You can read the bishop’s letter and decree here (by downloading it) :

    • Cathy

      Thanks Liz, I have some questions though what did you do with the rosaries as a result of your experience?In regards to the clergy ,isn’t the rule for medjgore that the clergy can not lead a pilgrimage to medjgore.If this is true who gave the directive and when a priest
      Advertises that he is leading a pilgrimage,then is this disobedience? I join in with you to wait and see the church declares..

      • LizEst

        I’m not at liberty to discuss this further except to say we no longer have the rosary (and there was only one rosary, by the way)…and yes, Church authority is aware.

        As to the other question, yes there is a directive that is out on this. As to disobedience on the part of a priest, this is something that you should take to your bishop if this is going on now. I am not going to judge something I don’t personally have knowledge of. He may simply be unaware of the directive or he may believe he is not violating it or there may be some other reason. That is why his bishop would be one to talk to him. If he is a close friend, then you might tactfully advise him to research it.

  • Annie Marie Gier Goman

    I am a believer of apparition specially the Blessed Mother Mary, as I too had experienced an encounter with her statue alive & the eyes moving & showing me something. It happened on Holy Thursday night year 2012 in our church.
    With regards to the Medjugore, I do believed on it, but we do not need to go there to see it. Jesus himself will make it happened when you truly will ask it.
    It was in 1980’s that I really wanted to go there to experience what other people had encountered & told me.
    I prayed & told my Lord Jesus about it and one day He did a big miracle in my life and a few adults & more children had seem it. I think we just have more strong faith that He & His Mother are really here for us to work for our salvation.
    I recently visited the apparition site of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Lipa, Batangas, Philippines. I bought a booklet on the interview of the nun who encountered the Blessed Mother and is now 86 yrs old.
    I found answers to my questions and also that the Blessed Mother could not just come & show herself without Her Son’s blessing, She said, that she has to respect her son for He is God.

    • LizEst

      Anne Marie–With regard to the so-called apparition of Mary at Lipa, Batangas, Philippines, it was declared not supernatural by the Vatican in 2010. The Archdiocese of Lipa has approved veneration of Mary under the title of “Mediatrix of All Grace”. A comprehensive site for checking on things of this nature is:

  • Dan Burke
  • Ben Kerr

    I’v been reading the Medjugorje messages for years, trying as best as i can to be obedient. fasting, praying the rosary daily, praying for the shepherds daily and trying to pray for all the other things she asks us to pray for. I dont believe its led me wrong and has helped me have confidence and faith. I know she asks for alot of prayer and it can seem tedious to try pray as much as she asks but iv become generally quite a prayerful person and i just get a sense that shes with us from the Medjugorje messages. I guess she just wants her apostles to be strong. Im also involved with the Marian Movement of Priests which does have ecclesiastical approval and Our Lady made reference to the Medjugorje apparitions in one of the messages through Fr Stefano Gobbi saying she was with us there. But if the Pope and Magesterium dissaprove Medjugorje ill stop following the messages but i wont stop praying and fasting. Its mysterious but i believe obedience to the Pope and Magesterium is what Our Lady would want

    • Yolande Suzin

      Devil’s commonly ask for prayer when making their fallacious appearances. Our Lady of Rowendale not only asked for prayers, but that only the Traditional Mass be attended. A study of fallacious apparitions will quickly convince one never to trust what an apparition says, they always have a seperate agenda. They bank on the recipient refusing to acknowledge this. It worked in Medjagore for decades and many people came away in mortal sin, refusing to acknowledge it. Shakespeare points this out very well in Hamlet. Of course in our day no one understands Shakespeares deep theological message. It is an old teaching of the Church that you are to refuse and reject an apparition. Above all, never, never act on anything it tells you unless its absolutely in keeping with Church teaching. Check with a devout priest. And while I”m here, the Pope can’t rule over an apparition outside his jurisdiction of Rome. If he makes a statement, he must agree with whatever the local bishop declared. The priveledge of verification and condemnation belongs to the local bishop alone. He already spoke in 1991.

      • LizEst

        Strictly speaking, the Bishop has the authority to make the final determination. But, sometimes, a bishop asks that Rome step in. As one legal site ( ) has said, “The fact that this has to be done is, in reality, a sad commentary on the lack of obedience to church authorities by many Catholics.” At this point, we do not know what will be said. We will have to wait and see.

        • Yolande Suzin

          Very true; most of true all is that Catholics who search for a “high” when visiting Medjagore disregard the fact that it’s that very high the Magisterium is there to protect us from. The teaching on “elevated states” is that God gives them to us at His will. We are unable to bring these about by our choosing; when we do beware of what caused it.

      • Ben Kerr

        Is it possible for a bishop to judge in error though? Personally as a follower of Medjugorje my spiritual life is going pretty well, of what benefit to the devil would it be to ask many people to implore God persistantly that his plans will only serve for Gods glory? Or for God to fill our hearts with love? Or to frequent the sacrament of reconciliation? I wasnt looking to the Medjugorje apparitions for any kind of high i think more for guidance and instruction from our Heavenly Mother and queen. My understanding was that the local bishop didnt believe in Medjugorje but the Church in Rome was undecided and was waiting to see how things pan out. I had the impression the popes and magesterium were supportive of Medjugorje.
        But were not obligated to believe in these kinds of revelations and if i have to choose between Medjugorje and the heirachy of the church including the local bishop then ill stand with the church. i believe our lady would want that. ill stop reading the messages but im not going to give up the prayer and fasting and im going to keep praying for the priests and going to reconcilliation because those things arent against the faith.

        • LizEst

          Keep praying, keep fasting and frequenting the sacraments…and then, no matter what the eventual decision by the Vatican is, you’ll be just fine.

          Where the devil profits in regards to these things is that, if the Magisterium decides against Medjugorge, there will be folks that decide they know better than the Church: they could turn away from the Church, leave the Church, badmouth the Church, etc. I know a member of the clergy who told me years ago that, no matter what the Church decides, he will still believe in Medjugorge and will follow Medjugorge. He also told me that he, too, saw the Blessed Mother! So, there are some people that have already made up their minds and do not intend to obey the Church. Now, in his case, this will cause great scandal because not only will he be disobedient, but as a member of the clergy (scandal is something that turns people away from the faith), we will cause great damage. Let’s pray that he will follow whatever the Church’s decision is!

          One of the hallmarks of the saints is that they are obedient to the Church, knowing that in her Christ has vested his authority. In the case of someone like Padre Pio, he was obedient for many, many years…and ultimately was exonorated from the judgments against him. The Lord is going to insure that the truth comes out. The saints imitate Christ’s obedience to the Father in their obedience to the Church.

          I don’t know that there was ever a saint who wasn’t obedient to what the Church asked of them, even if they disagreed, as long as it wasn’t sinful. It’s one of the signature signs of a saint.

          • Ben Kerr

            Thanks. Like i said iv been involved a bit with the Marian Movement of Priests, reading the blue book and going to cenacles. This does have ecclesiastical approval and two of the goals of the movement is to prevent ecclesiatical masonry (The beast like a lamb in revelations) and prevent the growing opposition against the Pope and the Magesterium. So i really dont want to have anything to do with that sort of thing. But if the devils have pretended to be Mary in Medjugorje and told everyone to pray and fast ill continue to pray and fast and go to reconciliation because i think he shot himself in the foot in that regard. I think what Dan Bourke said is probably a pretty good analisis of the situation, the early apparitions being valid and the devil doing damage since then. We’ll see what the Church sais.

      • Christopher

        Bravo! Yolande, Saint John Of The Cross would have a field day with this gospa nonsense. Here’s a great line from a lady that lived in medj, she believed and then after scratching the surface discovered that it is most probably false.

        we must distinguish that in Medjugorje, God makes miracles, you know?
        So, in the midst of human follies, God continues working miracles, is
        that not so?”

        That goes right to Romans 5:20, which basically means, where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.

        • Yolande Suzin

          That invisible apparition in Medjegore that supposedly appeared to her chosen, now very wealthy few, never stopped bablling. For over twenty years it went on an on, and when it finally fell silent the cash register managed to keep on ringing for the special seers. As for the ecstasy people would claim to feel when visiting the site, well, don’t ever find out the ecstasy the devil can make you feel. Most people who experience it, fall to it. It’s one of the ways the devil has managed to proliferate so many witchcraft covens in Los Angeles. So many in fact that the creature has had to make allowances and obtain waivers to break its own coven rules by allowing more covens per square mile than is usually allowed. Wonder if this cost the old boy something with the Holy Spirit or if the sin of the participants was payment enough? Meanwhile covens are growing everywhere, especially in the Western world. If you can’t connect the dots in what I’m trying to say, then you are exceptionally naive as a member of Western Civilization. Nor have you bothered to learn about Christianity. The glory of the devil’s success is huge; don’t participate in helping him.

  • Roberta Lambert

    I can so ditto Dan’s experience and conclusion. When I was EXTREMELY wayward and a leader in opposition to goodness and to the Catholic Faith, I purchased a medal of an Ascended Master in a New Age Book Store. It happened to be the Miraculous Medal of Our Lady of Grace. I put it on after my clever Catholic mother said that she could not wear necklaces. 48 hours later I had a complete and miraculous conversion and returned to the Catholic Church. I have lived a focused and joyful spiritual life according to the recipe of the saints and have never stepped a foot outside of the Catholic Church. That was 30 years ago. My point is, the purchase of the medal was part of and within a very strong New Age organization, yet, with my conversion, I was not tempted to attribute this total life change to THAT particular perversion of religion. Because of the knowledge of the TRUE Faith that I received in my conversion and the return to the sacraments and all that the Catholic church professes and provides, I was not loyal to HOW it was that I got that medal. In living my 30 years as a lay contemplative and embracing Carmelite spirituality and of Total Abandonment to God’s Providence, I cannot count the many events, mistakes, hardships, sufferings, persecutions and tragedies that were used by our Masterful God to bring me to where He wanted me to be. I stopped wondering why difficult things happened at least 29 years ago and know with every molecule of my being that there are no exceptions to God’s Goodness in every single present moment. Being loyal to a jag in the road in which God used to orchestrate His PERFECTION in your life is not the way of discernment but unfortunately I know many good people who use this as a primary method. As if any good fruit indicates the full requirement of discernment. All of the tools of deep prayer, acquired knowledge of the Faith, the lives of the Saints, and obedience to EVERYTHING that the Catholic Church formally professes is required for proper discernment. Disobedience is not an option, nor can there be an exception to obedience to the authority of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.

    • LizEst

      Thank you for your witness Roberta.

  • Judy Silhan

    Thank you for a much needed discussion on the apparitions at Medjugorje and the upcoming decision from the Church about them. Personally, I have never been there; but know several people who have gone and been blessed with wonderful experiences. In October, a priest I know and some friends will be going to Medjugorie. Your explanation of people being drawn closer to God by their experiences there, rather than by the apparitions was evident in my friends who went and hopefully, this will be true for those who will be making the trip. Reading over this whole discussion and comments made by others, as well as your response to teresa24, along with LizEst’s response, reaffirmed, for me, the need to focus on the teachings of the Magisterium, which, as you mentioned, is guided by the Holy Spirit, rather than focusing only on sensational apparitions which may be problematic. Please continue bringing sometimes highly contested topics to Spiritual Direction. Knowing there are others, who are aligned with the Magisterium, such as yourself, is going to be critical in the coming days, as the culture encroaches more and more upon faithful Catholics. I have, and will continue to refer friends who want a truly Catholic response to questions regarding the Church, prayer, etc. God bless you for all you do and I hope your leg is healing and that your trip to Ann Arbor went well.

  • Mike

    Hi Dan, I’m fairly new to Catholic Spiritual Direction and I’m grateful to you and the rest of the team for some really good articles and also for Divine Intimacy radio which I’ve been finding inspiring. I’ve been to Medjugorje twice and the experiences I had there, particularly the first time in the sacrament of reconciliation, have helped my faith considerably. Regarding other good fruit, I think of a guy from near where I live who went there as someone raised Catholic, but who regarded himself as a diehard atheist, who was converted as a result of experiences he had there around 18 years ago. It totally changed his life and he remains very committed to his faith. He also paid for two work colleagues to go, one of whom was an atheist and the other was a lapsed Catholic and they were both converted as a result of their experiences there too. Now, I thought you made some really good points in your article not least the importance of people attaching themselves to the work of God rather than any apparition. Also the necessity of obedience to the Church’s Magisterium as many other commenters have echoed. My understanding (and it may very well be flawed) is that the alleged messages from Medjugorje advocate faithfulness to the Church and Church authority. (As an aside, where some people have claimed that the messages are promoting indifferentism, I think this rests on a misunderstanding) My question is regarding where you say, “The rotten fruit of disobedience to the Church is very concerning in this case.” Could you please elaborate on this and explain who has been disobedient and how they have been disobedient?

  • Jeanette

    Just to stir the pot a little in this very interesting discussion on Medjugorje, what do you think of this article?: I could not find that this website was approved or disapproved by website reviews on Catholic Culture. It’s an interesting article claiming the Marian apparitions were confirmed as being authentic by the main visionary of Fatima, Sister Lucia dos Santos, who not only confirmed but also reported experiencing apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje in the convent. …some of these apparitions of the Virgin spoke to Sister Lucia of the Madonnna’s continued work in Medjugorje. “Interestingly, from Monsignor Slawomir Oder’s recent book on Pope John Paul II, ‘Why He is a Saint,’ we received confirmation that the Pope considered Medjugorje the fulfillment of Fatima, explaining in 1984: “Medjugorje is the continuation of Fatima, it’s the completion of Fatima.” …Sr. Lucia and Pope John Paul II maintained a lifelong friendship. One wonders whether they ever discussed together Our Lady’s presence in Medjugorje, as both held the conviction that the Virgin of Fatima continued her work in the Bosnia village.”
    Who knows if any of this is completely true or not but it sure is intriguing. What do you think about it?

    • LizEst

      Jeanette, I don’t know. But, I would stay away. Why? Because, it is important to keep one’s mind clear in order to accept the authority and decision of the Magisterium with regard to the activities at Medjugorge. It’s called being stouthearted and waiting for the Lord…paraphrasing Scripture here.

      The more one tries to defend, or shore up, one position or another, the more one’s mind and one’s heart tend toward that, making it even more difficult to accept a negative decision or a positive decision as the case may be. Neither of these people are alive in this world today to confirm or deny what was said about them. I know someone who knew both of them and have never heard from this person that either Sister Lucia or St John Paul II said anything of this sort. What I did hear from this person (who was in a position to know) was that St JPII visited many, many Marian shrines and apparition sites…and he never visited Medjugorge–and it was relatively nearby for him–implying that there was a reason why.

      As to the book, I would have to read what was said. More than a few people think that, perhaps, there may have been some truth to the Medjugorge activities at the beginning. Bottom line is that I recommend not reinforcing either a positive or negative position on this one way or the other. I would remain open to what the Church will declare about it.

      ps. So glad you are using that excellent resource to check out sites. For the benefit of our readers, it is

      pps. I have submitted a request to Catholic Culture to have that site reviewed. You can always do that by going here:

      • Jeanette

        Thanks Liz. I’m totally open to what the Church decides on Medjugorje. That is not a problem for me.

        • LizEst

          Yes, I believe you are. My comments are also meant for others who may be reading your post. God bless you, Jeanette…and may His will be done in all of us!

          • Jeanette

            Because of Dan’s post on Medjugorje, I have declined to speak about my recent trip to Medjugorje at our next prayer meeting tomorrow night…my sharing was requested by one of the Deacon’s at our Church. I do not want there to be the remotest chance that I may lead someone astray…just in case there is not a favourable decision by the Church on the authenticity of the apparitions at that site. We will do a teaching on faith instead. If and when there is a favourable decision, I will then feel free to share my experiences with a clear conscience.

          • LizEst

            Talking with a friend of mine this morning, I assured her that if the Church approves it, it will be fine (not required) to follow it…but that, if the Church doesn’t approve it, we are not to follow it. I told her we’ll just have to wait and see…and that’s the bottom line.

          • Judy Silhan

            Thank you Liz for this most helpful continuation of Medjugorie. As always, you and Dan always provide other links we can trust, to follow up further with acknowledgement of what we have learned at Spiritual Direction. Catholic Culture is one site I am not familiar with. Glad to know it is a credible source.

          • LizEst

            You’re quite welcome, Judy. The glory goes to the Lord. Yes, Catholic Culture is a most excellent source for determining whether or not a site is faithful to the magisterium. They do the hard work of vetting the various sites; we enjoy the fruits of their labors. The Body of Christ working together!

    • Cathy

      Jeanette,may I suggest that you go to the World Apostolate Of Fatima USA site.they are located in Washington NJ, Or Blue Army they are one in the same.

    • LizEst

      Jeanette–I’ve just come across this post on another site that states firmly that neither Pope John Paul II nor Benedict XVI approved of Medjugorje. It’s worth a look:

      • Jeanette

        So many websites for and against…I will suspend my discernment for now. We will just have to wait and see what the Church decides. God bless you Liz.

        • LizEst


  • LizEst

    No, where the Blessed Mother is the Horntoad cannot be because the Blessed Mother is in heaven with God…I would say, where the Blessed Mother is, there you will find the Holy Spirit who is always with His spouse…and with His Church.

    • Cathy

      Liz,I appreciate your comment,what I am sharing is that the Battle in Heaven has been won,and we know here in the world the Battle ultimately has been won.The Spiritual Battle that we are in can at times be magnified as we let Mary mold our hearts into the image and likeness of her son Another way of looking at this ,Marys Garden within our soul and Horntoad trying to destroy it.As we move closer to the Trinity ,and the Blessed Mother Horntoad becomes more insidious, crafty if you will.I never considered Horntoad being
      In heaven,the only encounter I have heard of is what Pope Leo encountered
      The conversation between God and Horntoad..Hope this helps God Bless
      have a good night!

  • Tom Sebastian

    Hi Dan,

    Your article makes sense and is the wise way even though I do feel Medugorje could be authentic. I wanted to ask if you know what the Church’s stance on Garabandal? And also Fatima?

  • Christopher

    Medugorje no thanks, I researched it for myself and met many very good people on the way like Diane over at Father Z and Msgr Pope as well as my excellent Parish Priest all have said the same thing………. be careful with Medugorje.

    There is a great deal of positive propaganda promoting this nonsense but in reality mass, adoration, confession and prayer is hard enough.

    I’m not looking to be some kind of super catholic or super spiritualist. Tom Sebastian I might be wrong but I’m sure that the Virgin Mary did say to the approved seer of Fatima that she would not appear again after Fatima. As for Garabandal it has been proven to be a lie because a promise was made that was not fulfilled.

  • Dan Burke

    Alfonso – language like “be careful” merely echoes of the Holy Spirit in his admonition to “test all things”. The bad fruit of disobedience has resulted in the laicising of four priests and the constant bucking against the bishops. As well, the bad fruit consists of the seer saying that Mary defended a priest who was later found to have impregnated a nun. These are facts. Stating them is not arrogant or even negative – they are just facts. You are right that many who oppose are lacking in charity in their opposition. That certainly has not been expressed in my treatment. But, it also must be acknowledged that many argue for it are just as uncharitable and ready to attack those who question and dismiss any idea that it may be false. This, in itself is dangerous for these souls. In the end, we are to cling to NOTHING but God. All else, even if true and good, can and will be used by the enemy to distract us from the most important reality of our relationship with Him and the fact that if we cling to anything but Him, that thing becomes and idol and a hindrance to our progress to Him.

    • jcsmitty

      Dan: I’ve not heard or read anything about disobedience or a seer defending a priest who impregnated a nun. Can you supply a source for this? Is it a reliable source? if these “facts” can be substantiated, how come so many people who believe in Medjugorje are unaware of them? Are these ‘facts’ available on EWTN’s library site?

  • Cathy

    Alfonso,I can’t remember ever interpreting any of these forum responses as being Hostile.You could check out Michael Voris site which is beyond belief in the language and such that is posted ,I have even inquired if there is someone in charge there,the thought process that is thrown out there,and I say to myself Dan Burke’s site isn’t like this.this site is run by the Holy Spirit.When you come across these catch phrases pray,meditate,always keing in mind that all that subscribe to this site are in varying stages of spiritual growth and there is always something
    To learn and something to reflect on …Have. Blessed Day ?

  • DebraBrunsberg

    We all do need to remember that any private revelation, whether approved or not, does not have to be believed. If the Church says NO to anyone going to Medjugorje, then one needs to follow the Church. I do know a lot of very good Catholics who have gone there, had religious experiences and came back more in love with the Lord. I also know many who went there with no faith and no religious life and came back, in love with the Lord. I know because I was one of them. I was “sent” there and I hated the Catholic Church. I certainly did not believe in Jesus and had no idea who the Holy Spirit was. The Lord was generous enough to reveal himself to me in amazing ways in Medjugorje and 48 hours after I walked into that village, I knew without a doubt that God existed and that I was a sinner. I was confirmed one year later, at the age of 52. I will always obey the Church, but I will always love that little village because no matter what anyone says or thinks, that is where God picked me up, broken and wounded and healed me. There is a peace there that is unlike anything I have ever experienced. I went back a second time and the Lord explained to me that I did not have to travel anywhere to find him. He was always wherever I was.

    • 7cathy17

      What a Beautiful Witness!!The Spirit is always moving and God speaks inthe silence,and you found that in a far away land.God is Good and God
      is love.We always remember the moment of Our Holy Exchange which
      urshers in The new life ignited in our souls!!!Can”t help but to think ofthe Wedding Feast of Cana…..They have no wine…. May God continue to bless you

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