Vatican studies Virgin visions

2010-03-17 19:06

Vatican City - The Vatican has begun formally investigating reported apparitions of the Virgin Mary at the Medjugorje shrine in southern Bosnia.

The Vatican said on Wednesday an international commission of inquiry headed by Italian Cardinal Camillo Ruini - a top adviser to Pope John Paul II - will study the case and report back to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

The Medjugorje apparition has been disputed since 1981, when six youths said they had regularly seen visions of the Virgin Mary there. Unlike Fatima in Portugal or Lourdes in France, the Vatican has been cautious about calling the sightings authentic, and has not formally approved Medjugorje as a shrine site.

Nevertheless, some 30 million faithful have visited the area since 1981.