Pope Francis has voiced serious doubt about the authenticity of alleged continuing apparitions of the Madonna in Medjugorje, a once-obscure village in Bosnia boosted by the pilgrim business.
“These presumed apparitions don’t have a lot of value. This I say as a personal opinion,” he told reporters on his plane returning on Saturday night from Portugal where he gave the Catholic Church two new child saints.
Six children first reported visions of the Virgin Mary in 1981 in a scenario reminiscent of famous apparitions in the French town of Lourdes in the 19th century and 100 years ago in Fatima, which Francis visited on Friday and Saturday.
In the following years, the Bosnian village became a major pilgrimage site, giving many visitors a renewed sense of spirituality and locals a steady source of much-needed revenue.