Part 3: The Strange Choice of the "First Seven Apparitions"
by Marco Corvaglia
Go to Part 1: An Inadequate Commission
Go to the full index of the study: Who Will Judge the Judges? The Unresolvable Contradictions of the Commission of Inquiry on Medjugorje
The Podbrdo hill
A study (reproduced on pages 166-171 of the book Processo a Medjugorje) written by two members of the commission and titled The origins of the "Medjugorje" phenomenon is attached to the proceedings of the 15 December 2012 session (we have already reported some passages in Part 1).
It is clear from it that at that time the commission had already taken note of the elements deemed negative and / or doubtful.
This study also reads:
The International Commission, on 5 October 2012, on the basis of the work done and the materials acquired, charged (Redacted) and (Redacted) to "reconstruct the beginnings" of the events in Medjugorje.
[Appendix V - 15 December 2012 Proceedings, in D. Murgia, Processo a Medjugorje, Rubbettino, 2021, p. 168]
It is strange that almost three years after the commission was set up, the need was still felt to "reconstruct the beginnings". In particular, why did this interest in the beginnings manifest itself only after they had become aware of the problematic elements of the Medjugorje phenomenon?
Was it an interest aimed at understanding the facts, or at seeking justifications in the facts for a decision already made?
Let's continue reading the document:
Given the complexity of the phenomenon, the need arose immediately to clarify the perspective or criteria through which to re-read and tie together the historical data, setting a precise and reasonable "starting point" and an equally precise and reasonable "ending point" [.. .].
The perspectives-criteria examined were essentially three: - the intrusion of the Herzegovinian case; - the moment when the group of alleged visionaries dissolved; - the place of the apparitions. In the meeting of 30 November 2012, at the "Marianum" Pontifical Theological Faculty, professors Perrella and Szentmártoni discussed the different approaches and decided to choose the third option, which is the perspective-criterion of the place of the apparitions, namely Podbrdo, as a logical and reasonable element that allows a clear distinction to be made between the initial phase of the apparitions and the subsequent phase...
Hence the choice of the "first seven attested (presumed) 'apparitions'". [ibid.]
The document then reports the distinctive characteristics of these "apparitions" and finally it says that the "original event [is] now said to be supernatural by 12 Members of the International Commission". [ibid., p. 170]
There is something strange. Let's recap, paying close attention to the dates.
On October 5, 2012 (eleventh session) the commission asked two members to "reconstruct the beginnings of the events".
On November 30, 2012, members Salvatore M. Perrella and Mihály Szentmártoni met at the Theological Faculty where the first is a Professor, and decide, among various options, what is to be considered the "original event" of Medjugorje: the first seven "apparitions".
On December 14, 2012, the document The origins of the "Medjugorje" phenomenon is closed and dated [cf. Murgia, Processo a Medjugorje, p. 171] (it will then be presented to the commission the following day, on the occasion of the twelfth session).
In this document, on the one hand, the commission is informed of what is meant by "original event" and, at the same time, on the other hand, it is reported that a large majority of the commission considers the "original event" to be supernatural.
This means that the commission was evidently already oriented towards saving an "original event", whatever it was. That is, regardless of the specific characteristics that defined the “original event” (the options considered did differ considerably, given that, for example, the Herzegovinian case entered into a relationship with Medjugorje only in December 1981).
And the two drafters of the document already had a clear and numerically precise picture of the positions within the commission.
In the session of 15 December 2012, there is a member of the commission who protests at the choice to divide the phenomenon in two:
It appears that one of the Members of the Commission during the debate accused an authoritative exponent of having arbitrarily decided to distinguish the beginnings of the phenomenon from its subsequent history. A sort of wet sponge to divide the Medjugorje phenomenon into two parts, creating a before and an after. The accusation was immediately dismissed and it was ascertained that in reality the division into two stages of the phenomenon was the opinion, if not of all, at least of the majority of the members of the Commission
[15 December 2012 Proceeedings, in Murgia, Processo a Medjugorje, p. 254, note 3]
It is undisputed that the choice was shared by a large majority (just look at the final resolutions). But that doesn't automatically make it more sensible and justified. If an incoherent decision were made by a majority, it would be all the worse.
The oddities connected to the choice of the "first seven apparitions" are not over, however, as we are about to see.
English linguistic revision by Richard Chonak
Copyright © Marco Corvaglia. All rights reserved