Former Vatican exorcist Bishop Andrea Gemma has denounced alleged visions of Our Lady in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje as the "work of the devil" and a "diabolical deceit".
The UK Daily Mail reports that the Vatican has rejected claims made by the six Bosnian 'seers' that they have seen the Virgin Mary more than 40,000 times over the past 27 yearsBishop Andrea Gemma, 77, once the Vatican's top exorcist, told a magazine in Italy: "In Medjugorje everything happens in function of money: Pilgrimages, lodging houses, sale of trinkets.
"This whole sham is the work of the Devil. It is a scandal."
He predicted that the Vatican would soon crack down on the group.
The Medjugorje phenomenon began on June 25, 1981, when six children told a priest they had seen the Virgin on a hillside near their town. Some of the children also claim to have received ten secrets from Our Lady.
A church investigation dismissed the vision, and the Vatican banned pilgrimages to the site in 1985. But many Catholics ignored the ban.
Today, the seers own smart houses with security gates and tennis courts and expensive cars. One is married to a former US beauty queen.