It was recently reported that Pope Francis had authorized pilgrimages to Medjugorje (they had formerly been forbidden — and that directive was widely and flagrantly disobeyed). There is a proviso (which will likely be ignored by many), that these approved pilgrimages not be seen as an authentication of supernatural phenomena there.
One of the reasons given for the Church’s alleged inability to pronounce officially on the Medjugorje phenomenon has been that the alleged apparitions are still occurring. Not until they cease can be they be thoroughly investigated.
A (possibly simplistic) thought that I had this morning: Surely the Mother of God respects and even obeys the Vicar of her Son, the Pope. If the Pope were to state publicly that the visions must cease, and direct under obedience that the alleged seers assume a normal way of life (and stop having “visions” on-demand/on-schedule), would not this be a good test?
If the “seers” obeyed and if the apparitions did cease, then there would be good reason to consider them possibly legitimate and, in any case, to conduct a thorough-going investigation of the entirety of them and reach a definitive verdict — as the Church has done in so many other private revelations, approving some, declining to approve others.
If the “seers” did not obey or somehow the apparitions did not cease, then there would be good reason to consider them illegitimate. Of course, a thorough-going investigation would still be needed, and it could be started in spite of the seers’ ongoing activity at that point, since disobedience to legitimate authority would be a negative indicator.
Again, maybe these thoughts are overly simplistic. Take them for what they’re worth. And count them as one proposed solution among probably many to a seemingly never-ending contemporary phenomenon that, as far as I am concerned, calls for much greater clarity.