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Medjugore

Pope Benedict says the alleged appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVM) for the past 26 years in Medjugore, Herzegovina, is a fraud, designed by the Devil to lure Catholics from the path of righteousness. (Vatican officials have said that the apparition, nonetheless, is virtually indistinguishable from reality.) The Pope also defrocked Fr. Tomislav Vlasic, the “spiritual father” of the six children, now adults, whom the BVM has allegedly visited at 6:40 pm local time every evening for the past 28 years. Fr. Vlasic, who created his own religious community to service the phenomenon, has now broken with the Mejugore “seers.” [csr 8.2, 2009)

Pope Benedict’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, neither endorsed nor explicitly denounced the phenomenon, which by the end of his papacy had attracted 30 million pilgrims from around the world. Local Franciscans, who run the Parish of Mejugore, have brilliantly marketed the Medjugore BVM to the world while resisting the control of the Diocese of Mostar. The head of the Franciscans recently announced Fr. Vlasic’s dismissal from the order.[csr 8.2, 2009)