“Apparitions of the BVM – Between history, faith and theology”, was the theme of the 22nd mariologic congress, which was held in Lourdes from September 4 to 8, 2008.
The most famous experts in theology, history of art, literature and ethnology from all over the world gathered together, and among them also the members of the Croatian section of the Croatian Mariologic Institute of the Faculty of Catholic Theology in Zagreb.
During the morning, the Congress worked in plenary sessions, and in the afternoon in 15 language sections, among which also the Croatian section. Two lectures treated the theme of Medjugorje: The Medjugorje apparitions and the universal Church, position of the Church dignitaries (Edo Peričić), and The Medjugorje apparitions and theology (Adalbert Rebić).
Croatian theologians, whether in favour of Medjugorje or fervently critical towards it, speak positively about what is presently happening in Medjugorje. “The fruits of the Medjugorje phenomenon are not disputable. Medjugorje is already now at the level of Fatima and Lourdes”, says Dr. Adalbert Rebić. „The apparitions and the visionaries have to wait… the main problem is in the fact that the local bishop is reserved towards this phenomenon, and we should neither neglect the fact that the visionaries are still quite young”, explains Rebić and adds that everything that is presently happening in Medjugorje is in conformity with the Church teachings, not only recognised but even recommended by the Church, and that the Bishops Conference already recognised these fruits.
Dr. Ivan Karić, a theologian who also participated in the congress, underlines that Medjugorje has de facto already become a shrine. But the Vatican, because of a certain lack of clarity, has not yet recognised the authenticity of apparitions. He adds that the destiny of Medjugorje depends very much on the position of the local bishop. Another theologian, Dr. Mato Zovkić, considers that Medjugorje can go on even with the restraint connected with the apparitions and the visionaries. He considers that the phenomenon of Medjugorje is unusual, because of the important number of the apparitions which last an exceptionally long time. It is impossible to give an official position as long as the apparitions are still happening.