Pope Sounds Skeptical on Virgin Apparitions
He criticizes Christian 'novelty seekers'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 10, 2015 4:05 AM CDT
Pilgrims say their prayers at the Hill of Appearance in Medjugorje.   (AP Photo/Amel Emric)
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(Newser) – Dealing with things like the liquefaction of dried saint's blood is all in a day's work for Pope Francis, but he doesn't sound convinced by some alleged apparitions in a Bosnian village. More than 30 million pilgrims have visited Medjugorje since children first reported seeing the Virgin Mary appear there in 1981. The Vatican has investigated and is expected to rule soon on whether the sightings are authentic—and Francis has hinted the answer will be no, Reuters reports. During his daily Mass yesterday, he criticized those "who always need novelty in their Christian identity" and wondered, "Where are those visionaries who tell us today about the letter the Madonna will send at 4pm?"

Seeking out seers and visions "isn't Christian identity," he said, per the AP. "God's last word is called Jesus and nothing more." Some of the six people who were children when they first reported sightings of the Virgin Mary say she still appears regularly and shares secrets with them, Reuters notes. One of the six spends a lot of time in Alabama and says she often has her visions "in a field in Shelby County," according to AL.com. A Vatican spokesman admits Francis was probably talking about Medjugorje in his homily, the AP reports, but stresses that the mention was not an "official pronouncement" on the matter. (A skeptical Italian man recently hung up on Pope Francis—twice.)