“The devil is present in Medjugorje, and also attacks the visionaries.” By delivering to Fatto Quotidiano, on September 11, 2020, pages from his latest book published by San Paolo editions, Il mio nome e Satana (My name is Satan—not yet translated), Fabio Marchese Ragona would like to seduce a readership in quest for sensationalism…and even create a slight earthquake inside the leonine walls.
The words reported by the Vaticanist come from an interview with Mgr. Henryk Hoser, Archbishop Emeritus of Warsaw, appointed by Pope Francis on February 11, 2017 as special apostolic visitor for the parish of Medjugorje (Bosnia Herzegovina) where he resides. This is the first time that the prelate has spoken of the presence of the devil in Medjugorje.
“Yes, it’s true,” explains Archbishop Hoser, “there are cases of demonic manifestations; I can say they are rare, but sometimes you can hear someone screaming or ranting, even in gatherings of ten thousand people.” The Pope’s special envoy insists, “This is happening here; it cannot be denied. Of course, this does not happen every day, but it does happen here in Medjugorje. In addition, it sometimes happens that the possessed want to attack the visionaries.”
Fabio Marchese Ragona’s book has been read attentively in the Vatican, notably by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who headed the study commission on the events of Medjugorje.
This commission returned its report in 2017. It recognized the first seven Marian apparitions which would have occurred from June 24 to July 3, 1981, affirming that the first phenomena noted in the Bosnian city did not have demonic origin—a detail in contradiction with previous well-argued inquiries.
Cardinal Ruini, embarrassed by the statements of the special envoy of the Holy See, reacted: “in the investigation that we carried out, we did not deal with the presence of the devil in Medjugorje; in our report, there is nothing about it.” What then, is the value of the conclusions of the commission he led until 2017?
To justify himself, the Cardinal adds: “As we know, we cannot exclude that the devil is present in the midst of good things; it is enough to remember that he can tempt the saints. St. Anthony, for example, was very tempted by the devil. This is not something incompatible with Medjugorje.”
Pope Francis’s skepticism towards Medjugorje can only be reinforced by this. In May 2017, back from Fatima, the Argentinian pontiff had declared about the conclusions of the commission: “I myself would be meaner about it. I prefer the Madonna Mother, rather than the Madonna who is the head of the office who sends messages every day. This woman is not the Mother of Jesus.”
This will probably not prevent Francis from remaining faithful to his method: privileging “the spiritual and pastoral fact;…The people who go to confession there.” And thus allowing pilgrimages to be organized, at the expense of the doctrinal aspect, which is relegated to second place. “These presumed apparitions are not of that much value,” he concluded.