The "Virgin" of Medjugorje is portrayed in all her pictures
as standing with her hands outstretched and upturned in typical Charismatic
Mirjana and Ivanka were the two first to see the
"Gospa." They originally claimed that they were up on the hill
above the village in order to tend to their sheep. However, later when questioned
by Bishop Zanic, who reminded them that telling a lie under oath was perjury
and a serious sin, Ivanka quickly changed her story that they were there
to have a smoke.
The seers were exposed as not truly being in a state of ecstasy. See
the proof in the story in the right column opposite this photo.
Michael Davies, a highly respected and esteemed writer, author of many
books and articles on the Catholic Church since Vatican II, has written
a book entitled Medjugorje, A Warning exposing Medjugorje as a fraudulent
apparition. His wife, who is Croatian, had been asked to translate the messages
into English. After reading them, he told his wife not to bother with them
as they were so trite in style and content as to be totally unworthy of
E. Michael Jones, the Editor of the Catholic magazineCulture Wars
has done extensive research on the claimed apparitions. He believes that
the apparitions may be of demonic origin as the Gospa uses occult New Age
terminology in some of the messages. For example, right after the Yugoslavian
Bishops' Conference's Statement against the Apparitions at Medjugorje, she
spoke of "turning negatives into positives," which Jones claims
are words right out of a New Age manual.
I feel obliged to alert our readers about the most widely known
of the false apparitions in the world today. My aim is not to anger, insult
or impugn the sincerity or the motives of those who genuinely believe in
them. My goal is only to bring forward the truth, however unpopular that
Medjugorje is a sordid tale about manipulation, lies, intrigue, deception,
false doctrine, money scams, scandals and a lot of dupped people--the whole
26 million of them who visited Medjugorje in search of a genuine spiritual
experience but sadly only finding the stones of false doctrine to nourish
their starving souls.
In speaking to believers in Medjugorje, I have discovered that not one of
them really knew the contents of the messages. When I confronted them with
the grossly heretical statements emanating from the mouths of the seers
such as this one, "All religions are equal before God," they
responded that they had never heard this message before. They claimed to
believe because of so many people returning to the practice of the Faith
as a result of Medjugorje and because of other similar good fruits. I will
present to you some fruits--from personal scandals involving Fr. Tomislav
Vlasic, the first spiritual director of the Medjugorje seers, to the general
state of disobedience of the local branch of the Franciscan Order to the
Vatican--all of which are not particularly edifying later in this article.
I wish to halt this apparition "factory" dead in its tracks, as
it continues to spawn an endless number of false apparitions here in the
United States: Nancy Fowler and her "apparitions" in Conyers,
Georgia; Rosa Lopez of Hollywood, Florida; Theresa Lopez of Denver, Colorado;
John Leary in New York State...and countless others. All these so-called
seers admit that their revelations started immediately after, and as a consequence,
of their visiting the apparition site in Medjugorje. The devil appears to
be promoting all these false visionaries in order to bring discredit upon
the true Apparitions such as those at Bayside.
Beginning on June 24 and June 26, 1981, six children
from the village of Medjugorje, in the now independent state of Bosnia,
claimed to have witnessed apparitions of the Virgin Mary. Their names are
Ivanka Ivankovich (15 years), Mirjana Dragicevic (16), Vicka Ivankovic (16),
Ivan Dragivecic (16), Marija Pavlovic (16) and Jakov Colo (10).
Fr. Jozo Zovko, the parish priest of Saint James,
the local Catholic Church in Medjugorje, uncritically accepts the authenticity
of the apparitions and presents them to his parishioners in this light,
without consulting with anyone, not even his Bishop, only a week after they
begin. This is very strange on his part, and should arouse our suspicions
as to his motives. One is led to surmise that Fr. Zovko, being an ardent
Charismatic, saw here a golden opportunity of filling his church and then
transforming it into a huge Charismatic shrine. In fact, the Charismatics
appear to use the apparitions as the divine seal of approval for their movement.
The Apparitions were foretold by members of the Charismatic Renewal in at
least two instances: 1)During the Charismatic Renewal Leaders session in
Rome in May 1981, Sister Briege McKenna, herself a Charismatic, claimed
she had a vision of a young Franciscan by the name of Fr. Tomaslav Vlasic,
who also happened to be present. She saw Fr. Vlasic seated in the middle
of a crowd, and from his seat flowed streams of living water. Fr. Emiliano
Tardif, another Charismatic there, told Fr. Vlasic, as a prophecy "straight
from God": "Fear not, I am sending you My Mother."
Fr. Vlasic arrived in Medjugorje on June 29th,
five days after the apparitions began. Shortly thereafter, he was appointed
to the village parish, and since then has become a spokesman for the "Virgin"
and the seers of Medjugorje.
|"To speak in tongues you had never
learned was, and is, a recognized symptom in cases of alleged diabolic possession."(Msgr.
Virtually all of the promoters of Medjugorje are
Charismatics. The seers themselves lay hands on people in typical Charismatic
fashion. When one of the seers asked the "Virgin" whether they
should have a Charismatic prayer group at Medjugorje, her reply was, "Not
only at Medjugorje but in all the parishes of Yugoslavia." This fact
alone discredits these apparitions since it is a Protestant innovation introduced
into the Catholic Church to subvert it from within in order to bring about
a one world religion, which will no longer be the true Church of Jesus Christ.
Incidentally, Pentecostalism as a doctrine was condemned as a form of spiritism
by the Catholic Bishops in the United States at a meeting in Baltimore in
the mid 1800's. Msgr. Ronald Knox wrote that "to speak in tongues
you had never learned was, and is, a recognized symptom in cases of alleged
diabolic possession."(Msgr. Ronald Knox, Enthusiasm, Oxford University
Press, Oxford, 1950, p. 551). To freely expose oneself to such dangers borders
is a revival of the ancient heresy of Montanism, a heresy that claimed the
Holy Spirit superseded the revelation of Christ and was supplementing the
revelation of Christ, such that they were acting under a "new outpouring
of the Spirit." Pope St. Zephyrinus (199-217) denied them communion
with the Church.
There are quite a number of
instances where the most bizarre events occur during the apparitions. For example, at one apparition,
the seers witnessed the people treading on the "Virgin's" veil.
Is it possible that the Mother of God would actually allow a grotesque scene
like this to happen. At another time, the seers themselves were touching
"Our Lady", and they were even guiding
people in the crowd to touch her. They told the people, "Now you are
touching her veil, her hand, her robe." I can only shrug my shoulders
in disbelief and say, "Incredible!" Such happenings are
scandalous, and truly unbecoming and unworthy of the dignity that should
be accorded the Mother of God!
At another time, as Mirjana was waiting for the "Virgin" to appear, she saw a light, and out of the light
came the devil disguised in the features and clothing
of Mary, but with a dark, hideous face. After a while "Mary" appeared
and said: "I am sorry about that",
and then she proceeded to tell her that she had to see him to know who he
is. Surely the devil can do a better job of camouflaging himself
than that, and surely Our Lady would not orchestrate such a strange sequence of events.
Then there was the time when a pilgrim from France, Jean-Louis Martin
(who already was having serious doubts about the apparitions) having made a "V"
formation with his index and middle fingers
extended, his hand made a sudden rushing motion towards the seer's (Vicka)
eyes. The seer's head jolted backward as an automatic reaction, clearly
showing that she was not in an ecstatic state
as they claim to be in during the apparition.
The whole incident was captured on film by two different cameras.
Later, a very nervous and embarrassed Vicka tried to explain away her
being exposed as not being in a true ecstatic state by claiming that the
Child Jesus had fallen out of Our Lady's hands, and at that precise moment
she had simply made a rapid gesture to rescue Jesus from falling. Her explanation
only compounds her credibility problem.
The messages of Medjugorje
are clearly not compatible with the messages
of Our Lady of
Fatima, Lourdes, LaSalette, or
Bayside. They are clearly not Catholic,
but rather promote religious indifferentism
(the heretical belief that one religion is as good as another). Take for example
this statement taken from an interview between
Fr. Vlasic and the seer Mirjana(1):
Mirjana: "She (Our Lady) also emphasized the failings of
religious people, especially in small villages,
for example, here in Medjugorje,
where there is separation from Serbians (i.e.,
Serbian Orthodox) and Moslems. This separation is not good. The Madonna
always stresses that there is but one God, and the people have enforced
unnatural separation. One cannot truly believe, be a Christian, if he does
not respect their religions as well. You do not really believe in God if
you make fun of their religions."
We do not have a duty or even a right to respect other religions. The
Roman Catholic Church is the only true religion. All others are the creation
of man. This has always been the teaching of the Catholic Church. What the
Church Says Ex Cathedra:
"There is but one universal Church of the faithful outside of which
no one at all can be saved." Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council,
1215 A. D.
"The most Holy Roman Catholic Church firmly believes, professes,
and preaches that none of those existing outside the Catholic Church, not
only pagans, but also Jews and heretics and schismatics, can have a share
in life eternal; but that they will go into the eternal fire which was
prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before death they are joined
with Her; and that so important is the unity of this ecclesiastical body
that only those remaining within this unity can profit by the sacraments
of the church unto salvation, and they alone can receive an eternal recompense
for their fasts, their almsgivings, their other works of Christian piety
and the duties of a Christian soldier. No one, let his almsgiving be as
great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of
Christ, can be saved, unless he remain within the bosom and the unity of
the Catholic Church." Pope Eugene IV, the Bull Cantate Domino, 1441
"We declare, say, and define, and pronounce that it is absolutely
necessary for the salvation of every human creature to be subject to the
Roman Pontiff." ( Pope Boniface VIII, the Bull Unam Sanctam 1302 A.D)
|Seer Vicka Ivankovic: "The Blessed
Mother says all religions are dear to her and her Son."|
Contrast the above statements to what Medjugorje says:
Question: "Is the Blessed Mother calling all people to be Catholic?
Seer Vicka Ivankovic: "No. The Blessed Mother says all religions
are dear to her and her Son." (Janice T. Connell, The Visions of the
Children, The Apparitions of the Blessed Mother at Medjugorje, St. Martin's
Press, August 1992).
We certainly should respect and love those who belong to these false
religions and exercise Christian charity towards them, but the message
didn't say this. It said respect the religions themselves.
The interview continues:
Fr. Vlasic: "What then is the role of Jesus Christ if the Moslem
religion is a good religion?"
Mirjana: "We did not discuss that. She merely explained and deplored
the lack of religious unity, especially in the villages. She said that
everyone's religion should be respected, and of course one's own."
Comment: We did not discuss that! What kind of nonsense is this? If
Our Lady would make a statement concerning other religions, she would make
sure to clarify it so that it would not lead people into error. So here
we are waiting patiently for some sort of an answer that might ease our
hearts regarding the heretical statement we have just heard, and what do
we hear? "We did not discuss that!"
|Seer Mirjana:"God directs all denominations
and confessions as a king directs his subjects through his ministers."|
What then is the role of Jesus Christ in Medjugorjian theology? We submit
to you one of their statements on this question:
"God directs all denominations and confessions as a king directs
his subjects through his ministers." What kind of a statement is this?
Does this mean that God is directing the Moslems in their "holy wars",
the Jews in their rejection of His Son, the Messias; the Protestants in
their attacks against everything Catholic, the Zoroastrians in their fire-worshipping?
We quote again from the seers: "Diversity of religion is no obstacle."
This is outright heresy!
Comment: Then why bother to convert people to the one true Church? If
diversity of religion is no obstacle, why would Jesus say that those who
refused to be baptized would be damned (St. Mark 16:16)?
Here is another one of their statements concerning salvation:
Fr. Vlasic: "Did the Madonna tell you whether many people go to
Mirjana: "I asked her about that recently, and She said that today
most people go to Purgatory, the next greatest number go to Hell, and only
a few go directly to Heaven."
This revelation contradicts Sacred Scripture, which states that, "Many
are called but few are chosen" (Matt. XX, 16), and "How narrow
is the gate and straight is the way that leadeth to life: and few there
are that find it" (Matt. VII, 14). The Bayside Message affirms that
souls are falling into Hell like raindrops. Venerable Mary of Agreda, in
her revelations on the Blessed Virgin Mary called the "City of God"
says the same thing, as does virtually every Catholic saint, seer, and
The seer Ivanka in an interview revealed what the "Gospa"
( Croatian word for "Madonna") of Medjugorje considers to be
the most important thing in the world. It is not prayer or penance, as
you will see.
Fr. Kraljevic: "What are the messages?"
Ivanka: "Peace, conversion, fasting, penance, prayer."
Fr. Kraljevic: "Which is the most important?"
Fr. Kraljevic: "Why peace?"
Ivanka: "When everyone in the world is at peace, everything is possible."
|The messages' style and content betray
the intellectual acumen and sophistication of a primary school student.|
Comment: The world cries "peace" where there is no peace,
"love" where there is no love. Medjugorje sounds like just another
added voice to the false peace chorus. What kind of peace does the Gospa
mean? "To reconcile ourselves with one another." This is again
characteristically vague and ambiguous, showing such lack of clarity in
thought and theological precision as to make angels weep. The messages'
style and content betray the intellectual acumen and sophistication of
a primary school student.To any good Catholic, if asked this same question,
he should answer: The salvation of his soul and those he loves, and then
the souls of others in general. This is achieved by obeying God's will,
and amending our lives.
At Bayside and Fatima, Our Lady asked for the Consecration of Russia
to Her Immaculate Heart as the necessary condition for peace. At Medjugorje,
curiously no mention of the need to do this, simply reconciliation with
If the seer is truly seeing Our Lady, the first thing She would do is
establish a strong love of Her Rosary, yet what does Ivanka say?
Ivanka: "When I get up in the morning, I pray seven Our Fathers
and the Credo. At noon, I pray the Angelus. In the evening, I pray seven
Our Fathers and the Credo, and sometimes the Rosary. When we are all home
together, we pray an evening prayer."
Comment: And sometimes the Rosary? What kind of a devotee of Our Lady
is this who only says the Rosary once in a while?!
We also find Ivanka a victim of the same Medjugorjian indifferentism
Fr. Kraljevic: "Does that mean that all people go to Heaven?"
Ivanka: "It depends on what they deserve."
Fr. Kraljevic: "Yes, but many have never heard about Jesus."
Ivanka: "Jesus knows about all about that; I don't. The Madonna said
religions are basically similar; but many people have separated themselves
because of religion, and have become enemies of each other."
The whole apparition
appears to be orchestrated to promote today's false ecumenism in the spirit
of Vatican II.
Comment: Religions are basically similar?! Again this is sheer heresy.
How can the Moslem religion which believes that God revealed himself through
Mohammed be similar to the Catholic religion, which believes that God revealed
himself through Jesus Christ? Or what about the Buddhists who don't really
believe in a personal God? Or the Hindus who believe in many gods? Again,
the great evil is that "people have separated themselves." What
is the solution offered? Are the separated brethren and infidels urged
to join the one true Church to become part of the Mystical Body? No, no!
God forbid!They are only to be reconciled with one another.
The whole apparition appears to be orchestrated to promote today's false
ecumenism in the spirit of Vatican II.
The Blessed Virgin Mary who appeared at Lourdes, Fatima, LaSalette and
Bayside is the Mediatrix of all Graces. Our Lady distributes freely the
graces which She has obtained from Her Son. No grace comes to us without
first passing through the hands of Mary. This is Catholic doctrine and
is the teaching of all the great Marian apostles, from St. Louis de Montfort
to St. Maximilian Kolbe, and the teaching of St. Pius X and Pope Pius XII,
among others. Yet, the "Virgin" of Medjugorje, when asked by
the seers at the request of a priest if people should pray to Jesus or
to Mary, responds: "Please pray to Jesus. I am His mother and I intercede
for you with Him. But all prayer goes to Jesus. I will help. I will pray,
but everything does not depend only on me." And Vicka when asked whether
she feels the Virgin is one who gives graces or one who prays to God, replies,
"She who prays to God."
Comment To reduce the Mediatrix of all graces, our Co-Redemptrix, the
Mother of God, to merely one who prays to God is unthinkable. This is clearly
not Catholic but Protestant doctrine. And this is not the only deviation
from Catholic doctrine in regards to Our Lady.
The Blessed Virgin Mary, being totally without sin, would never say
the Our Father, since it contains the phrase "forgive us our trespasses,
" since this would not be fitting, for it would imply that She had
sins to be forgiven. Our Lady at Lourdes would remain silent during the
Rosary except for the Glory Be's, which She would repeat with Bernadette.
The fact that the "Virgin" of Medjugorje regularly recites the
Our Father with the seers represents a great theological difficulty, since
this appears to be a subtle denial of the perpetual sinlessness of Mary.
Getting back to the Charismatic/Pentecostals, the "Virgin"
of Medjugorje gave this message to the local parish through the seer Jelena
(not listed as an official seer): "Raise your hands and open your
Comment: Who raises their hands in prayer except the Charismatics? This
the posture taken by nearly every Charismatic around. It is also interesting
to note that the "Virgin" of Medjugorje is portrayed in all her
pictures as standing with her hands outstretched and upturned in typical
Charismatic stance; as opposed to Our Lady of Grace, with hands extended,
showering Her graces upon us.
E. Michael Jones, author of the book Medjugorje, the Untold Story
and the Editor of the Catholic magazine, Culture Wars, who has done
extensive research on the claimed apparitions, has this to say about Medjugorje's
fruits: "Proponents of the apparitions like to talk about its fruits
when they become uncomfortable with the behavior of the seers and their
Franciscan handlers. Over the ten years since he had become involved in
investigating Medjugorje, Jones had come up with his own list of fruits.
The death threat (2) he had just received in Reno was the beginning of
a long list of bad things that had happened to the world since the Queen
of Peace arrived in Yugoslavia in 1981.
In addition to the broken families there were the broken vows, the pregnant
nuns (3), the poor people bilked of their money, the division in the Church,
the de facto schism (4), leading most recently to illicit confirmations
in Capljina, the kidnapping of the local bishop (5), the ethnic cleansing,
and, most dramatically, the worst fighting in Europe since World War II.
All in all it was an impressive amount of malfeasance coming, as it did,
from a group of people whose stated intention was prayer and following
the instructions of the Blessed Mother. It was Bishop Pavao Zanic, then
ordinary of Mostar, who wrote to Rene Laurentin, then Medjugorje's major
promoter, and predicted that one can look forward to a religious war here.
Zanic, who predicted war in the mid-80s, was more prescient than Our Lady
of Medjugorje, who was saying at the time that she was the Queen of Peace,
and had come to bring peace to Yugoslavia and the world. Her promoters
were saying that one of the signs of the authenticity of her messages was
the fact that ethnic groups were living in peace in Yugoslavia."
If it is not Our Lady that is appearing to the seers, who is it then?
I believe that the children did see the devil masquerading as the Virgin
Mary. It is interesting to note that the Apparition does not show her feet,
which are hidden by clouds. It is widely held that God will not allow the
devil to perfectly impersonate Himself, the Virgin Mary or the saints without
showing some physical flaw such as hiding his hands or feet.
The continued success and growth of the Medjugorje movement is now in
doubt as the tables seem to be turning against it. Some hardcore cult followers
have stated that the Franciscans now consider the seers an embarrassment.
While Ivan preaches to pilgrims to fast on bread and water, he drives around
in a $100,000 Mercedes, and lives in a mansion. He recently married Colleen
Murphy, the Miss Massachusetts beauty queen, in Boston. Most of the seers
now live abroad, outside Bosnia, and no longer cooperate with each other.
They continue to propagate their messages throughout the world at large
gatherings for substantial engagement fees.The official Medjugorje message
now is received by Marija Pavlovic (who now
lives in Italy) and is transmitted by her over the internet to "Sister
Emmanuel" (a nun without proper faculties) from the center in Medjugorje,
where it is then distributed to the world.
For these and countless other reasons not covered in this article, we feel
that Medjugorje does not pass the test of a true Apparition, and hence
is to be avoided like the plague by all Catholics. In conclusion we leave
you with the words of the last two bishops of the local diocese on their
official position regarding Medjugorje:
of Bishop Pavao Zanic of Mostar on
Medjugorje July 25, 1987:
Bishop Pavao Zanic
is the greatest deception, the greatest
swindle of the whole history of the Church."
Brothers and sisters, today here in Medjugorje
the sacrament of confirmation will be administered, and probably you are
expecting me to say a few words about those events which are the talk of
the entire world. The Church watches all this, and especially what is of
interest to her. This is confided to certain individuals and to commissions.
As you know, at present, a Commission is mounting an inquiry on the matter.
The said Commission has been established by the Yugoslavian Bishops' Conference,
for the Church cannot endanger her credibility in this 20th Century world.
It [the world] keeps an eye on her to catch her off guard, to criticize
her and be able to say: this is what you do with everything else in your
faith, everything else is like that...this is the way it is with your Christ.
I can tell you that during these six years I prayed, studied and kept silent.
Many others also prayed, and I am grateful to them for that. In each Mass
I celebrated, I had a thought for Medjugorje; in every rosary that I recited
daily, I prayed to the Madonna for God's and the Holy Spirit's enlightenment.
This helped me to gain a strong and firm conviction about everything I have
heard, read and experienced. Here people are praying and fasting a lot,
inspired as they are, of course, by the belief that these events are indeed
supernatural; and to preach untruth to the faithful about God, Jesus and
the Madonna is worthy of the depths of Hell.
Through all my prayers, my work and research, I have sought one goal only:
the discovery of truth. For that purpose, in 1982, I established a Commission
of four members which later was expanded to fifteen, thanks to some bishops
and father provincials. The larger body included people from nine theological
faculties, seven dioceses and four provinces, as well as two highly qualified.
psychiatrists. Consulting their colleagues in their respective fields, all
these people worked for three full years. The Holy See was informed about
their work and the events.
Today, the Commission set by the Yugoslavian Bishops' Conference is studying
the same problems. In the meantime, there were some who were in a hurry
and wanted to go ahead, before the Church's verdict. They proclaimed the
existence of miracles and supernatural happenings; from the altar they preached
private revelations, a breach to Church regulations as long as those revelations
have not been recognized as authentic. For this reason, various Church authorities
kept warning against organizing pilgrimages and to wait for the Church's
On March 24, 1984, the Commission on the Medjugorje events also issued a
warning. Unfortunately all this remained fruitless. Then, in the month
of October of the same year, the Yugoslavian Bishops' Conference issued
an order prohibiting official pilgrimages to Medjugorje; and an official
pilgrimage was defined as any group organized to come to Medjugorje.
This did not help either. Later, on May 13, 1985, the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith sent a special letter to the Italian Bishops' Conference
asking the bishops to discourage organized pilgrimages... as well as all
forms of propaganda. This did not bring any results either. Finally, when
the second Commission was set up, His Eminence Cardinal Franjo Kuharic,
and the Ordinary of Mostar, declared on behalf of the Yugoslavian Bishops'
Conference in their January 9, 1987 press release: "For that reason,
it is not permitted either to organize pilgrimages or to arrange other manifestations
motivated by the supernatural character which might be attributed to the
Medjugorje events." This was said by the highest authority in the
Church, and this should not be overlooked as if nothing had been said.
At the outset, when the first news was announced about the extraordinary
happenings in this parish, the Chancery Office of Mostar intently followed
the news and collected everything that might be of help in the search for
truth. The Bishop gave all latitude to the pastoral personnel and the children,
he even defended them from the attacks of the news media and civil authorities.
We taped all interviews, we gathered chronicles and diaries, letters, documents,
and all this has been studied by the Commission composed of theology professors
and physicians. The three-year research produced the following result: two
members of the Commission voted in favor of the supernaturality and authenticity
of the Medjugorje events. One member abstained from voting, another wrote
that there was something supernatural at the beginning only, while eleven
members of the Commission voted against the supernatural character of those
events, and thus, that there were no apparitions.
I am deeply convinced that all the members of the Commission worked conscientiously
and examined everything that might be of help in finding the truth. The
Church cannot risk her credibility, and often in similar cases she carefully
probed these kinds of events and banned crowds from gathering where it had
been established that the events were not of supernatural origin.
The Madonna, they say, started to appear on the Podbrdo of the Mountain
Crnica, but when the militia forbade going there, she came into houses,
into forests, fields, vineyards and tobacco fields; she appeared in the
church, on the altar, in the sacristy, in the choir loft, on the roof, on
the church steeple, on the roads, on the way to Cerno, in a car, on buses,
in classrooms, in several places in Mostar and Sarajevo, in monasteries
in Zagreb, Varazdin, Switzerland and Italy, once again on the Podbrdo, atop
Krizevac, in the parish, in the rectory, etc. It is certain that not even
half of the places where the alleged apparitions have taken place have been
mentioned, so much so that an earnest man--who venerates the Madonna--asked
himself: "My Madonna, what are they doing to you?"
In this diocese, by divine decree, I am the shepherd, teacher of faith,
and judge in the matters of faith. Since Medjugorje's events have created
tension and division within the Church (some believe in it, some do not),
and have evaded Church control, since the recommendations and decisions
of the said authorities such as the Commission, the Congregation, and the
Bishops' Conference have been ineffective, I, the Ordinary of Mostar, responsible
before God for the discipline in the diocese, repeat and sanction former
decisions of the ecclesiastical authorities. I do forbid the priests
who organize pilgrimages or come here ascribing a supernatural character
to these events, to celebrate Mass in the territory of my diocese, and this
until the Commission of the Bishops' Conference ends its inquiry.
I turn to you, Immaculate Virgin and Mother, Mother of God and Mother of
the Church, Mother of this congregation which is looking for you, prays
to you and loves you. I am turning to you, as your servant and Bishop of
Mostar, and before the entire world I proclaim my deep and unshakable faith
in all the privileges that God has endowed you with, by which you are the
first and the most distinguished creature. I also affirm my deep and unshakable
faith in your intercession with almighty God for all the needs of your children
in this valley of tears. I assert my deep and unshakable faith in your love
toward us sinners, and that love you confirmed with your apparitions and
assistance. I myself have led pilgrimages to Lourdes. Exactly through the
virtue of that faith, I your servant, Bishop of Mostar, before the great
multitudes which called on you, find and accept your great sign which became
sure and clear after these six years. I am not in need of a special sign,
but it is necessary to those who believed in the truth.
That sign to me is that for six years you steadfastly remained silent to
all rumors about the sign: it will be, they said, on the hillside of apparitions,
visible and permanent; it is going to be realized soon; it will be before
long, in a while; be patient for a while, so they were saying in 1981...
Then again: it will be realized on the feast of the Immaculate Conception,
for Christmas, for the New Year. etc. Thank you, Madonna, because with your
long silence of six years you have demonstrated that you have not spoken
here, nor appeared, nor given any message or secret nor promised a special
sign. Blessed Virgin, Mother of Christ and of us, intercede for peace in
this restless region of the Church, in the diocese of Mostar, intercede
especially for this place, for this parish, where innumerable times your
blessed name was mentioned in words which were not yours. Make them stop
fabricating messages in your name. Accept, Blessed Virgin, satisfaction
through the sincere prayers of the devout souls who have no part in fanaticism
and disobedience to the Church. Let us all reach the real truth. Dear Madonna,
humble and obedient servant of God, let the faithful of Medjugorje follow
with their firm steps the shepherd of the local Church so that all of us
might together glorify and praise you in truth and love.
+ Pavao Zanic, Bishop Mostar, July 24, 1987
The March 25, 1985 official letter of Bishop Zanic to the parish priest,
Father Tomislav Pervan, of St. James parish in Medjugorje, issued under
the number 281, is definite and vigorous. This letter includes not only
the orders and instructions of the Ordinary but also brings out the pastorals
which the clergy and the visionaries contravened and the dates of their
contraventions. The letter bears the title:
The Newest Developments in the Events
Reverend Father Tomislav,
Most certainly the Pastoral personnel of the Medjugorje parish know about
the newest developments and the circumstances of the letter of the "visionary"
Ivan Dragicevic on the sign that he described on May 9, 1982, during his
stay in the seminary in Visoko. With a copy of that letter we are also supplying
you with a copy of the Minutes of the last meeting of the Commission on
the Events of Medjugorje held in Mostar on March 7, 1985, on the occasion
of the opening of Ivan Dragicevic's letter. This letter contains the described
sign which would occur in order to confirm the "apparitions" of
the Madonna in Medjugorje. Last year, in a conversation with [members of]
the investigating Commission, Ivan Dragicevic declared that the sign we
speak of will be the Madonna's shrine and that that sign will appear suddenly
one morning. Even before this, the Ordinary had come to the firm conclusion
that the apparitions of the Madonna in Medjugorje are not a reality. Meanwhile,
in 1982, the Bishop's Office had formed the Commission to investigate the
events and to study the case thoroughly. Because of it, the Bishop's Office
has refrained from making any official statement on the real state of affairs.
However, several times through letters, the Bishop's Office expressed
its desire, and even demanded, that the propaganda stop because of the
disobedience of the pastoral personnel and the "visionaries."
This was a futile attempt. I present the documents which have been
sent to you, and the subject of each one of them: - December 13, 1981,
(N 977): attitude toward the events in Medjugorje; - April 12, 1983, (N
241): letter to the parish priest, instructions to be followed; Invitations
for meetings: - March 31, 1983, (N 297); - September 27, 1983, (N 982);
- July 19, 1984, (N 777);
Following a two-day session, the Commission on the events of Medjugorje
declared that the pastoral personnel and the seers in Medjugorje are requested
to abstain from any public statement or declaration to the press about
the contents of the visions and the alleged miraculous cures. At our meeting,
held in the Chancery Office in Mostar on October 31, 1984, I demanded
that Medjugorje's occurrences "be toned down and eliminated little
by little." In the meantime, matters remain as they were, and
a great disgrace is expected to befall the Church.
Now, without any delay, after all this, I demand from you that you remove
the "visionaries" from public display and put an end to their
"visions" in the parish church. They have had "visions"
in Mostar, and earlier in Sarajevo, Visoko and Dubrovnik. Let them now
have them at their homes: people say that they had them at their homes
during 1981. In ten days the new statue of the Gospa in front of the
main altar ought to be discreetly removed late one evening and replaced
by the old one. You must stop talking about apparitions and also cease
publicizing messages. The devotions that grew out of the "apparitions"
and their messages must be eliminated, sales of souvenirs and printed material
which propagate the "apparitions" must also stop. The faithful
can go to the sacrament of reconciliation and attend Mass. I do not
allow the other priests, especially Fathers Jozo Zovko, Tomislav Vlasic
and Ljudevit Rupcic, to celebrate Mass for the faithful or to preach. The
"visionaries" must give you whatever they wrote, especially what
pertains to the so called "Biography of the Madonna." No excuse
that that's a secret can justify them from not handing over that material
to you. Since there was so much public talk about their Diaries and their
other writings, and since all this had a great influence on the events
of Medjugorje, thus all these documents and [written]) materials fall under
the supervision of the Ordinary and become subject to the investigation
of the phenomenon of Medjugorje.
We do hope that you will execute what we demand from you in this letter.
With greetings and a prayerful wish for God's blessing.
Msgr. Pavao Zanic,
Bishop of Mostar-Duvno and Apostolic Administrator of Trebinje-Mrkanj.
The letter above was never published in the Yugoslavian Catholic press,
but the Catholic public is familiar with it because the majority of its
content was presented in the parish church in Medjugorje. The statue of
the Gospa which was sculpted according to the descriptions and specifications
of the visionaries was removed from the front of the main altar and replaced
by the old one. The Bishop affirms his complete certainty that Our Lady
did not appear in Medjugorje, and the Commission's communiqués continually
underline the theological and disciplinary difficulties posed by the events
and the messages of Medjugorje.
At their May 30 and 31, 1985 meeting in Mostar, the members of the Commission
questioned Fathers Jozo Zovko and Zrinko Cuvalo, as well as two nuns, Marcelina
Susac and Vladimira Vucic, who were in Medjugorje at the time of the first
"apparitions." They also had a short conversation with Father
Tomislav Pervan, as well as with Father Slavko Barbaric. The Commission
concluded its short communiqué with the following declaration:
The Commission has also heard the reports of its members on various topics
assigned to them: comparison between the concept of conversion in the Gospel
and that contained in the Medjugorje messages, disciplinary difficulties
in connection with the two former Mostar's chaplains who are appealing
to Medjugorje's messages, insufficient documentation for alleged miraculous
cures. Despite all these orders from the Bishop, the Franciscans of
Medjugorje went all over Europe, to Ireland, to Great Britain, to Canada,
and to the United States to give lectures and even to speak on the radio
and appear on television about the events in Medjugorje. Moreover, neither
Father Vlasic nor Fathers Rupcic and Barbaric obeyed Bishop Zanic's directives.
In short, everything remains exactly as before, except that the statue
which supposedly represents the Madonna was removed from the church, the
"visions" were moved from the church to the rectory, then again
to the church, but this time to the choir loft, and that the propaganda
has been intensified! Thus, with regard to the essentials of the situation,
the paths continue to diverge.
Since October 30, 1984, when Bishop Zanic sent his position on the events
of Medjugorje to Rome and the European Bishops' Conferences, he has not
modified his stand. From then on, often on the opposite side of the
fence, through his interventions he has always aimed at shutting down belief
in the apparitions of the Gospa in Medjugorje as well as at halting the
pilgrimages that they inspire. His meeting with the heads of the parish
in October, 1984, followed by a letter containing precise orders to Father
Pervan, the parish priest, well illustrate the actions he undertook in
order to be logical and true to his conviction as the Bishop responsible
for the diocese concerned.
The Yugoslavian Bishops' Conference in Zadar in April 1991 issued a
statement that nothing supernatural occurred at Medjugorje, but tempered
their negative verdict by adding that the pilgrims still flocking there
should be taken care of. The propagandists of the supposed apparitions
used this little opening of the door to claim that a final decision had
not been reached, that the site was established as a shrine, and so pilgrimages
were allowed to continue. Rome was finally obliged to intervene and state
that, in effect, no, Medjugorje had not been recognized as a shrine.
Bishop Pavao Zanic's successor, Bishop Ratko Peric, wrote this statement
on October 2, 1997, concerning his position vis-a-vis the Medjugorje apparitions:
On the basis of the serious study of the case by 30 of our [experts],
and on the basis of my episcopal experience of five years in the Diocese,
and on the scandalous disobedience that surrounds the phenomenon, and on
the lies that are at times put into the mouth of the "Madonna,"
and on the unusual repetition of "messages" for over 16 years,
and on the strange way that the "spiritual directors" of the
so-called "visionaries" accompany them through the world making
propaganda off them, and on the practice that the "Madonna" appears
at the "fiat"(let her come!) of the "visionaries,"
my conviction and position is not "non constat de supernaturalitate"
(the supernaturality has not been proven) but has changed to the other
formula "constat de non supernaturalitate" (the non-supernaturality
is proven) of the apparitions or revelations of Medjugorje."