Monday, June 13, 2011

Excerpts from 1986 medical report concerning Medjugorje Visionaries released on diocesan website

The Diocese of Mostar-Duvno has released a report in English concerning medical and scientific studies performed on the visionaries of Medjugorje.  While it was given in 1986, I believe this may be the first time we are seeing it in English. 

When googling the subject, the search list turns up quite a bit of positive information about such testing of the visionaries.  The Holy See, which currently has an international commission studying the phenomena, has such positive studies, but also those of a critical nature like the one from which we are seeing excerpts below.  Those interested in the phenomena might want to be aware of it as we wait for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to convey the answer to the question of Medjugorje.

It is important to note that the International Medical Association of Lourdes will sometimes study cases sent by bishops who are discerning other phenomena.  Many can claim a cure, and some may be truly miraculous, but few can be proven as miraculous because of the rigorous standard that must be used.  Some alleged cures of certain conditions or diseases do not really qualify for further study because of the potential for lengthy remission, for example. On the other hand, when several MRI's document a growing tumor, then it suddenly disappears and is no longer traceable following an event or prayer; or when a blind person suddenly regains vision, it is easy to document.  Such a case is still scrutinized to rule out other possible explanations for the cure. 

The excerpts released here concern the testing of visionaries themselves.

Here is the lead-in....
KIUM, 2011-06-10

Prof. Henri Joyeux and Father René Laurentin (both French), in collaboration with some other professors and doctors, published in 1985 the book „Etudes médicales et scientifiques sur les apparitions de Medjugorje“, published by O.E.I.L. (Medical and Scientific Studies On the Apparitions At Medjugorje". The work has been translated and published in Croatian, too, (Duvno 1986). A critical look at this work was addressed by a member of the enlarged Diocesan Commission (1984-1986), Father Nikola Bulat, in his study on the phenomenon of Medjugorje Istina će vas osloboditi, Nepouzdanost izvora i nedoličnost poruka. Studija o nekim međugorskim pitanjima ["The Truth Shall Set You Free. The Unreliability Of the Sources And the Indecency Of the Messages. A Study On Some Issues Of Medjugorje”] (1986), Mostar 2006, pp. 96-98.

A few months after the exams conducted by Dr. Joyeux, further medical tests were carried out by an Italian group, led by Dr. Luigi Frigerio, in 1985.

Prof. Théophile Kammerer, then President of the International Medical Committee of Lourdes, after having studied the French dossier and having known the results obtained by the Italian group (through the report of Dr Cherubino Trabucchi), presented his criticisms in a meeting of the Committee in 1986.

We asked Mrs. Pascale Leroy-Castillo, Director for Archives and Heritage of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, to send us a transcript of the conference. She replied on May 13, 2011, with the consent of Dr. Alessandro de Franciscis, head of the Lourdes Medical Bureau, that publication of the contents of the conference of Prof. Kammerer is allowed, stating that it was held at the meeting of that Committee in September 1986. Also on this occasion, we sincerely thank the officials of the International Medical Committee and of Archives and Heritage of the Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes for their kind permission. Here are some passages from the exposition of Prof. Kammerer.

*Go read the excerpts from the 1986 report concerning scientific testing of Medjugorje visionaries the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno website...

Further reading about medical and scientific testing of Medjugorje visionaries:

  • Retired University of Montreal researcher, Louis Belanger, also has a site with considerable information in French and English at

  • I refer you also to my own blog on the Medjugorje phenomena which has some interesting facts to sift through.
  • Richard Chonak has done a lot of translating, into English, items from German and Italian on the subject, as well, including interviews.  See his tag for Medjugorje and scroll.

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Ann said...

Who can believe these reports when some of the so-called reporters have been promoting this false apparition for decades? I'll trust Donal Foley's exhaustive book on this any day. We know a few priests who believe Our Lady did appear to the children a few times at the beginning, but the see-ers were used to advance a nefarious agenda to enrich the area where they lived, bring more tourists. There are some good fruits, but there is much bad fruit that no one ever hears or reads about. We have not yet fulfilled Our Lady's requests to Fatima. I believe Medjugorge is an attempt on the part of Satan to distract everyone from Our Lady's message. The devotees of Medjugorge get furious when one opines that Our Lady is not appearing there; this is not true of others who believe in Fatima, Lourdes, etc.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


Archbishop Alessandro D'Errico, the Papal Nuncio to Bosnia-Herzegovina called Medjugorje, "a question", three times in one paragraph in his statement to the people on March 17, 2010:

"From personal experience, every time I met the Holy Father he had great interest in the question of Medjugorje, a question to which he was directed from the very beginning that he became prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It deals with a question for which he feels responsible as the supreme head of the Church to pronounce a clear message."

Now that the Holy See has taken the case at the request of the Bishops of BiH (Fr. Federico Lombardi, March 17, 2010), the official position of the Church will remain that of the 1991 Zadar Declaration, until the Holy Father answers the question. That declaration stated that the alleged apparitions could not be affirmed as supernatural.

When referring to the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje we must be careful to distinguish between the official position of the Church and our personal positions.

Elaborating a little further on this point about personal positions and the official position of the Church, let us look at a case involving Bishop Peric, the local ordinary.

In his letter to Mr. Boutet in 1997, few people go on to read point #5 in which Bishop Peric says:

5) Nevertheless I am open to a study that the Holy See would undertake, as the supreme court of the Catholic Church, to speak the supreme and definitive judgment on the case, and that as soon as possible, for the good of souls and for the honor of the Church and of Our Lady.

He never claimed, in that letter, to be making a definitive judgment for the Church. The phenomena had gone well beyond the bounds of the diocese, of the country, and continent. This alone makes it prudent for the Holy See to make a definitive judgment.

There was panic over point 4 in the same letter, prompting Msgr. Aubry's letter to +Bertone, but it is very clear from what he wrote, he was expressing his personal position and conviction.

Interestingly, then Archbishop Bertone pointed out that Bishop Peric had a right to express his personal opinion and conviction in a reply to Msgr. Aubry in 1998 when he said:

" should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place, but which is and remains his personal opinion."

Sadly, Medjugorje promoter sites have distorted this to suggest that Bishop Peric was somehow silenced.

There are people who believe that Medjugorje has been definitively condemned as not supernatural. I just want to make sure it is understood that no such thing has happened, and we await the answer to the question by the Holy See.

With regards to Fatima, that is a whole separate issue. I prefer not to discuss the third secret conflict in this thread.

Nick said...

Interesting scientific study on Medjugorje

Interesting because whoever wrote it is dabbling in pseudoscience.

Nick said...

Here are two examples of pseudo-science in the document which I linked. I'm posting the statements in quotes in their context, but the bolded part is the pseudo-scientific statement itself.

Pages 233-234
"The voices of the Marian visionaries are not continuously inaudible, but become periodically audible like in Medjugorje; the voices of part of their prayer with the apparition can be heard. In that way also, it is a selective inaudibility. The fact that the voices of all people present at the apparitional site do not vanish rules out the possibility of an unknown geophysical force causing the disappearance of the voices of the percipients. So the selective inaudibility makes it clear that the voice phenomenon is outside the control of the visionaries."

Actually, there is another possibility: Voluntary inaudibility. Which a scientist would note in his report, since that's what scientists do. Pseudoscience, however, does not consider any possible conclusions that might disprove its finding, a la falsifiability.

Pages 237-238
"The selective inaudibility of the voices of the Medjugorje visionaries goes in favor of a Marian apparitional experience, as this is a characteristic phenomenon during the terrestrial visitation of the divine Mother. So we are left with the logical option of trusting the visionaries and believing in the reality of Marian apparitions at Medjugorje. After his investigatory studies, Dr. Bartulica (1991) concludes that Medjugorje will remain in the history of either unusual human behavior or authentic apparitions, regardless of the Church’s final verdict."

Here we have someone taking a scientist's opinion as a way of saying - in light of what he just said about trusting in the visionaries - that "Medjugorje can't be unusual human behavior because it is true, so irregardless of what the Church's verdict is, Medjugorje is true." This is pseudoscience because theological matters ("Did God do this?") are scientifically untestable.