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Vatican's Medjugorje commission meets

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VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican commission studying the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina held its first meeting in late March.

While the Vatican press office provided no details about the meeting, it published the names of the commission members April 13.

The Vatican had announced March 17 that at the request of the bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had established an international commission to investigate the claims of six young people who said Mary appeared to them daily beginning in 1981.

Although the apparitions apparently are continuing and thousands of people travel to the small town each month to meet the alleged seers and to pray, the Catholic Church has never made a formal declaration about the authenticity of the apparitions.

The doctrinal congregation appointed retired Cardinal Camillo Ruini, former papal vicar of Rome, to head the commission.

The Vatican said the commission members include: Slovakian Cardinal Jozef Tomko, retired prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Spanish Cardinal Julian Herranz, retired president of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts; and Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes and former secretary of the doctrinal congregation.

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The other commission members are: French Msgr. Tony Anatrella, a psychoanalyst; Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, a theology professor in Milan, Italy; Franciscan Father David Jaeger, a canon lawyer; Conventual Franciscan Father Zdzislaw Jozef Kijas, an official at the Congregation for Saints' Causes; Marianist Father Salvatore M. Perrella, a professor of Mariology in Rome; and Father Achim Schutz, a professor of theological anthropology in Rome.

Polish Msgr. Krzysztof Nykiel, an official at the doctrinal congregation, was named secretary of the commission.

The four consultants assisting the commission are: Father Franjo Topic, a professor of theology in Sarajevo; Jesuit Father Mijo Nikic, professor of psychology at the Jesuit university in Zagreb, Croatia; Jesuit Father Mihaly Szentmartoni, a professor of spirituality in Rome; and Sister Veronika Nela Gaspar, a professor of theology in Rijeka, Croatia, and a member of the Daughters of Divine Charity.

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