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 CNS Story:

MEDJUGORJE-PULJIC (UPDATED) Jul-25-2006 (340 words) xxxi

Cardinal says commission to review alleged apparitions at Medjugorje

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, announced a commission would be formed to review the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje and pastoral provisions for the thousands of pilgrims who visit the town each year.

"The commission members have not been named yet," Cardinal Puljic told Catholic News Service in a July 24 telephone interview. "I am awaiting suggestions from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" on theologians to appoint.

"But this commission will be under the (Bosnian) bishops' conference" as is the usual practice with alleged apparitions, he said.

The cardinal said he did not expect the commission to be established until sometime in September because of the summer holidays.

He said the primary task of the commission would be to review a 1991 report from the region's bishops that concluded, "It cannot be affirmed that these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelations."

In addition, he said, the commission would be asked to review pastoral provisions that forbid official diocesan and parish pilgrimages to Medjugorje, while at the same time allowing priests to accompany groups of Catholics in order to provide the sacraments and spiritual guidance.

When asked if the new commission was the idea of the doctrinal congregation or of the bishops' conference, Cardinal Puljic said, "I would rather not answer that question."

Cardinal Puljic announced the future formation of the commission during the bishops' July 12-14 meeting in Banja Luka.

On June 25, thousands of pilgrims converged on Medjugorje to mark the 25th anniversary of the first alleged apparition to six young people.

The Vatican continues to monitor events at Medjugorje, where the apparitions allegedly continue, but it has not taken a formal position other than to support the bishops' ban on official pilgrimages.

An official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith confirmed July 25 that the commission would operate under the auspices of the Bosnian bishops' conference, although the congregation would suggest the names of some commission members.

END


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