Simon Caldwell reports that the Holy See has "defrocked" Tomislav Vladic a former Franciscan. Simon says:
In the midst of a spat with the local bishop and the Vatican, he had earlier made a prophecy that the Virgin Mary would appear in Bosnia.
Months later, six local children said they had seen the Virgin on a nearby hillside. Soon after Father Vlasic announced he was 'spiritual adviser' to the 'visionaries' who now claim that Our Lady has visited them 40,000 times over the last 28 years.
An estimated 30million pilgrims have visited the shrine since 1981, including many from Britain and Ireland.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, issued a ban on pilgrimages to the site but this has been widely ignored.
Father Vlasic was suspended last year by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith amid an inquiry into his conduct after three commissions failed to find evidence to support the visionaries' claims.
This seems to be yet another sign of the Church's disaproval of Medjugorje. Some people ask why doesn't the Church just close it down, the problem is that so many otherwise good Catholics place their trust in visions and seeings rather than the authority of Peter. Many people testify to how their lives have been changed by a visit to Medjogorje, many have a sincere devotion to the place. God does have ability to draw good out of ill, never the less the Church, first of all in the person of the local bishop has a duty to verify such visions. There is always a tension between the heirachic and charismatic authority in the Church, but unless we are to end in chaos wise heirarchic authority must prevail.
Priests and even bishops visit Medjogorje claiming to do so in a "private capacity", I have never quite understood how a priest and most especially can do that especially when he celebrates the sacraments or preaches.
The Church did forbid any visit at all to Garabandal, it very quickly became a focus of division, setting the Blessed Virgin against against the Pope. It is significant the Bishop Richard Williamson in a recent interview used this pseudo-vision as yet another way of attacking or undermining the hierarchic authority of the Church.
These sort of visions demand belief not so much in Our Lady but in the visionary or visionaries. Ultimately the question is not whether there is a miraculous appearance but whether the visionary is credible. We believe in a vision because we believe in the visionary. Lourdes and Fatima are credible because of the holiness of those who did the seeing. The first fruit of any true vision is holiness of the visionary. Good trees bring forth good fruit.