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Vatican ready to announce decision on Medjugorje, says Pope Francis

Pope Frances talks to the media on board an airplane returning to Rome (Photo: AP)

Pope Francis has said the Vatican is ready to make an announcement concerning the alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith met recently to discuss the issue and “we’ve reached the point of making a decision and then they will say,” he told journalists on the flight back to Rome on Saturday.

The expected announcement will include “just some guidelines [the congregation] will give to the bishops,” he said in response to a reporter’s question.

An international commission of cardinals, bishops, theologians and other experts, working under the auspices of the doctrinal congregation, was set up in 2010 to investigate the claims of six young people who said Mary had appeared to them daily beginning in 1981. The apparitions purportedly continue and thousands travel to the small town each month to meet the alleged seers and to pray.

After a few years, the commission completed its study in which the members “did a beautiful job, a beautiful job”, Pope Francis said at the end of his one-day visit to Sarajevo.

For years the local bishop, Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, has said he believes nothing supernatural is happening in Medjugorje.

While the Vatican has said dioceses should not organise official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, it has said Catholics are free to visit the town and pray there, and that the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno and the Franciscans should organise pastoral care for them.

Pope Benedict XVI reaffirmed that the Church never requires the faithful to believe in apparitions, not even those recognised by the Church.

Bosnia Pope Visit