News Release on: New Book on Medjugorje - 31 May 2006

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News Release - New Book on Medjugorje - 31 May 2006

Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion?

British author Donal Anthony Foley claims Medjugorje is “Trojan horse” within Catholic Church

  • New Book is critical of Medjugorje
  • Pope Benedict skeptical about Medjugorje visions

On 24 June 2006, the 25th “anniversary” of the first alleged vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary at Medjugorje will take place. This small village in Bosnia- Herzegovina, in the former Yugoslavia, has since become world famous. It is claimed that these visions have gone on since 1981, and still continue, but these claims are being met with increasing skepticism.

A new book on the subject Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? by British author, Donal Anthony Foley, takes a critical look at these claims and concludes that such skepticism is well founded. He argues that believers should not allow themselves to be led astray by Medjugorje, which the Church has still not approved after 25 years.

Amongst other things, Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? explores the tangled historical background to these events, which includes centuries-old feuding in the area, strange religious ceremonies, and a long-running dispute between local Franciscans and legitimate local Church authority.

While much of the present media attention on, and within, the Catholic Church is focused on the film of the bestselling The Da Vinci Code, the solid evidence painstakingly set out by Foley in this new study clearly demonstrates that for the past 25 years Medjugorje has been acting as a kind of as a “Trojan horse” within Catholicism.

He argues that it has in fact been harming the Church by diverting increasing numbers of Catholics away from the far more important and totally approved apparitions of the Blessed Virgin at Fatima. John Paul II stated that Fatima is the “true Gospel of Christ” for the Church in our time, while Benedict XVI recently expressed the hope that "the message of Fatima be increasingly accepted, understood, and lived in every community."

The author, Donal Anthony Foley, can be contacted at:

Editors/journalists who would like a review copy of the book, or who might wish to publish extracts from it, should contact above email address

Bookstores can either order the book directly at a discount from wholesalers ( e.g. Ingram, Baker & Taylor, Bertrams, Gardners), or orders can be placed via Theotokos Books by emailing above address.

Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? undertakes a detailed examination of the transcripts of the interviews with the Medjugorje visionaries made during the first crucial week of the visions from 24- 30 June 1981. Curiously, this primary evidence has been ignored by almost all the authorities who have written on Medjugorje, despite the fact that, as Foley shows, these tapes clearly reveal that whatever the visionaries saw it was not the Blessed Virgin.

Moreover, a crucial point that emerges from these tapes is that the visions were supposed to end after “three more days”—that is on 3 July 1981. And yet 25 years later some of the visionaries are still claiming daily visions!

Concern was recently expressed about Medjugorje by no less a figure than Pope Benedict XVI, who remarked that while he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, the question that had often been asked was: how could any believer accept as authentic, apparitions that occur every day and for so many years? The Pope was also somewhat amused at the suggestion that, while a Cardinal, he had paid an incognito visit to Medjugorje. In addition, there is apparently no truth in the rumor that he is preparing to approve of the “shrine.”

In reality, Medjugorje has been an ongoing problem for the Church for the last quarter-century, since, although all the evidence documented in this new study shows that the claimed visions are not genuine, at the same time the pastoral needs of the millions of pilgrims who have gone there in good faith have been a real concern for Church authorities.

For more details of Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? including extracts, please visit:

The book received a very positive review from Jack Carrigan, in the 12 May edition of the London based Catholic Herald. Here are some extracts:

"The question [Foley] addresses is: are these visions from heaven or are they a religious illusion? Referring to the subject of the apparitions diplomatically as 'the Vision', he has conducted a painstaking and thorough investigation of every aspect of the case and, in an area fraught with strong, even aggressive opinions his tone is moderate and charitable throughout. ... This summer marks the 25th anniversary of the sightings, and there is no end in sight. Huge crowds, hungering for the supernatural, are expected at Medjugorje. Are they being led closer to God - or astray by his adversary? This is the question readers of this judicious and informative book must ask themselves".

John Hauf, the former editor of SOUL magazine, USA, says:

"Donal Foley takes the reader on a journey of discovery through the formidable information maze that surrounds Medjugorje. His tenacity in not losing the narrow path to the truth about the Balkan prodigy among many false trails and dead alleys would make Hercule Poirot jealous. Foley unearths little known Croatian sources and calls upon Catholic scholars to shed light on the enigma of Medjugorje. He delivers what he promises and takes his readers to the heart of the matter. Understanding Medjugorje is excellent!"

More information about the book, including extracts, is available at:

Foley previously authored Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World, which was described by noted English Dominican theologian, Fr Aidan Nichols, as “a book with an extraordinary message,” while Fr Peter Felner, F. I., spoke of it as being, “a very important contribution to our understanding and appreciation of private revelations,” before going on to say that, “not only scholars and believers, but also the general public will find this volume informative and inspirational.”

Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? has just been published by Theotokos Books, and is now available via the Internet, or can be ordered through regular "bricks and mortar" bookstores. It can also be ordered via:

Donal Anthony Foley has been researching Marian apparitions since the mid-1990s. He lives in Nottingham, England, has degrees in Humanities (BA) and Theology (BD), and his book on the subject – Marian Apparitions, the Bible, and the Modern World – was published by Gracewing in 2002. He has written articles for a number of Catholic magazines, including the Homiletic and Pastoral Review, and also maintains a website at:

Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? is available through the Theotokos site, internet booksellers and by ordering direct from booksellers.

Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? is paperback-softcover, Demy Octavo size (8.5 in. x 5.5 in.), has 23 chapters, 310 pages, and a comprehensive index.

Price: £14.95 / $22.95 / €22.95 ISBN 0955074606

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