comment 28 Mar 17

The Pope Can’t Stop Medjugorje Now

As the Vatican dispatches another papal envoy to the controversial shrine of Medjugorje in Bosnia, a British journalist recalls his first trip there in the 1980s.

Marcus Tanner
Pilgrims visit St. Jacob Church in Medjugorje. Photo Wikimedia Commons/Mariusz Musial.

Another papal envoy is en route for the Bosnian pilgrimage town of Medjugorje, raising hopes – and fears – among both devotees and opponents of this controversial shrine.

Some 30 years ago, my first-ever foreign journalistic assignment took me to what was then a humble village.

There was no airport then, no huge hotels and no convoys of honking buses ploughing through the narrow streets and filling them with dust and noise.

There was no Irish pub with signs pointing to Dublin and not much sign of the millions of pilgrims who were about descend on this remote corner of Balkans in the years to come.

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