A new communique was released from the Bishop of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno (the ecclesiastical territory within which the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje are allegedly taking place) helps clarify things by providing a meticulously-documented refutation of what it refers to as six “untruths” being peddled by some promoters of this phenomenon.
Share this with those who may be confused by the relentless barrage of promotion from those Medjugorje boosters who, for whatever reason, do not take into account all the facts surrounding this controversy.
Facts can be quite inconvenient, as this communique shows.
BISHOP ŽANIĆ IN “THE MYSTERY OF MEDJUGORJE”
Diocesan Chancery, 2011-12-31
In June 2011 the newspaper Večernji list published a book written by four journalists: Ž. Ivković, R. Bubalo, Z. Despot and S. Hančić, titled “The Mystery of Medjugorje: 30 years of the phenomenon. For the first time: the documents of the Yugoslav secret police”. On June 17, the day before the book’s release, one of the authors wrote an ad in the same newspaper. The book was also mentioned on the website of the Italian vaticanist Andrea Tornielli, on September 9 and 20, 2011. The Canadian psychologist Louis Bélanger responded to him on the internet, on September 19, 20, and 21 of this year.
Tornielli writes that, according to the 1987 UDBA (Ured državne bezbednosti: Office of State Security) document called “Crnica”, it turns out that the principal tool seems to have been “Bishop Žanić, who in the beginning showed himself to be open to the possibility that there was a supernatural event taking place, but later became its most committed enemy”, and that Bishop Žanić’s aversion toward Medjugorje “had been fed by a series of documents manufactured by the secret police.”
In sum, according to the UDBA report, Tornielli says, it turns out that “Bishop Žanić was ready to accept any document against the Franciscans and against the apparitions, even if it was of suspect origin.” Very grave accusations. The author concludes that the Commission of the Holy See on Medjugorje will need to discuss these documents too.
Louis Bélanger reacted on September 19, primarily because Tornielli was attacking the “intellectual, spiritual, and pastoral integrity of the former Ordinary of Mostar, Msgr. Pavao Žanić”. The Italian vaticanist, said Bélanger, “doesn’t ‘document’ anything, doesn’t verify anything: he copies/pastes very serious allegations without granting his readers any factual historical retrospective.”
Tornielli then mitigated his assertions and, on September 20, wrote to Bélanger that it “is a fact that the Communists were trying to control and influence the Medjugorje phenomenon, and that they were trying to influence Bishop Žanić.”
Bélanger replied on September 21, agreeing that the Communists had tried to manipulate both Medjugorje and Bishop Žanić. “My main point is that you convey the allegation that the Secret Service so heavily influenced Mgr. Žanić’s decision that he changed completely his position from January 1982 – does the choice of that date point to a specific historical document? – making him a tool of the communist regime, thus its marionette concerning Medjugorje. As if the Ordinary had no legitimate intimate intellectual, spiritual and pastoral motive for the change of his initial spontaneous and positive assessment of the supernatural quality of the Medjugorje events – completely independent of the regime’s political stratagems.”
Tornielli did not respond further.
Since the late bishop Pavao Žanić is mentioned in numerous pages of the book “The Mystery of Medjugorje” (MM), and not in a complimentary way, it is our duty, for the love of truth and out of respect for Bishop Pavao, who was a bishop in Herzegovina for 23 years, to respond to such arbitrary claims and insinuations. But, as an introduction, another topic:
The first untruth: The journalist Ivković writes: “The day the seers met with the Gospa for the first time, June 25…” (MM, p. 120).
Which Six? It is commonly known that the “seers” met for the first time on June 24, 1981. This also turns up in the same journalist’s writings on pages 9, 17, 29, 166, etc.
This is a big untruth that creates confusion if this whole thing has been elaborated throughout the journalist’s writing. But if the author is thinking of the stable Six, it is worth mentioning here that, in regard to the “seers”, the “mystery of Medjugorje” has not been resolved yet: who was present on the second day of the “apparition”? In fact, the first encounter was on June 24, and this Six was present: Ivanka, Mirjana, Milka, Vicka, Ivan Dragićević and Ivan Ivanković.
The second day, June 25, Milka was not present, nor the second Ivan; and Marija, the sister of Milka, and Jakov Čolo were added. And then: Vicka states that Ivan Dragićević “stood with us and saw everything like us” that second day, while the same Ivan categorically denied to Fr. Zrinko Čuvalo, on June 27, that he had been present at the “apparition” that second day, and he denied it three times.To which testimony should we give credence?
Why is the anniversary the 25th and not the 24th of June? The same author reports the news that the Gospa said “this to the seers a month before the first anniversary of the apparitions, and then they conveyed it to the parish priest so that he could make it known to the faithful” (p. 17).
This news was made public by Vicka in 1985. She added that it had happened in 1982, “about a month before the anniversary, or maybe more.”
It is strange that such a piece of news was not recorded in the Chronicle of the Apparitions, in which its scribe, and moreover the illicit head of the parish at the time, Fr. Tomislav Vlašić, was accustomed to writing all sorts of banalities; and yet he must have left out such an important message. Otherwise, this would be a case of some false recollections and memories.
It is much more probable that this choice was the fruit of a tacit understanding, as has since been recounted: Podmilačje at Jajce has been celebrating St. John the Baptist on the 24th of June for centuries, and it would not be opportune for the young Medjugorje to compete with that celebration. So it was all attributed to the Gospa who supposedly established, on the occasion of the first anniversary in 1982, that the anniversary be celebrated on the 25th of June, as was made public in the book A Thousand Encounters only in 1985. In any case, over time the group of the stable Six was formed.
Let it be said, incidentally: according to the Chronicle of the Apparitions at Medjugorje and in the vicinity about 120 people have affirmed that the Gospa appeared to them between 1981 and 1985, and that Jesus and angels from God also appeared to some of them. If necessary, we could call them all “seers”. Anyway, the Six were chosen.
In the article, “The secret dossier. How the UDBA suffocated Medjugorje” (MM, pp. 119-169), Ž. Ivković reports many untruths in regard to UDBA and he seems to accept them.
The main piece of news goes back to November 17, 1987, six years after the start of the Medjugorje phenomenon. UDBA’s informers in the province are said to have boasted to excess in front of their superiors in the metropolis about their “successes”. The rest is numerous untruths, one after another. It’s impossible to rebut all the untruths here, but we cannot neglect the occasion to do so in regard to the matters that seem truly grotesque.
Bishop Žanić – enemy. The municipal Party conference at Čitluk in August 1981 “also energetically condemned the behavior of part of the clergy,” and the following names were mentioned: “Bishop Pavao Žanić, Fr. Jozo Zovko and Fr. Ferdo Vlašić” (MM, p. 121). Bishop Žanić is included here among the enemies of the state along with the two Franciscans. Should we accept this too? It will be useful to make note of it, because later Ž. Ivković will brand Bishop Žanić as a “collaborator” of the UDBA!
The second untruth: The aforementioned UDBA document, reported by the journalist as a discovery, states: “So Žanić in the course of 1986 alone went to Rome 14 times…” (MM, p. 127).
— This is not true. According to . . . (continue reading)
(Courtesy of NewAdvent.org)
Relax. Settle down. Be at peace.
There’s no need to obsess the way you are over what a tiny handful of people may think about Medjugorje. If some, like I, doubt that it’s an authentic apparition, so what? Why does that rob you of your peace? Your most recent behavior indicates that you are unsettled, anxious, and worried about the fact that some are skeptical about Medjugorje. This turmoil and defensiveness exhibited in your recent public comments is not from the Holy Spirit.
Pause, take a deep breath, and ponder these words from Scripture:
“If this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!” (Acts 5:38-39)
Please remember that this passage is just as important for you as it is for anyone who doubts Medjugorje. Think about that. Just pray for God’s will to be done in this matter.
And then, spend some time thinking prayerfully about this wise advice from Saint Teresa of Avila:
“Let nothing disturb you, let nothing afright you.
Nothing is wanting in whom God possesses.
God alone suffices.
All things are passing.
God never ceases.
Patient endurance attains all things.”
Please note: I am not equating Medjugorje with Fr. Maciel. I am not suggesting any kind of similarity whatsoever between the two. Nor am I in any way impugning or disrespecting or trying to besmirch the memory of Blessed Pope John Paul II. I believe he was a good and holy man who was deceived by a duplicitous, wicked man.
“If even a good and holy pope can be deceived and be utterly wrong in his sincere personal opinion about the character of Fr. Maciel, then how much more so is it possible that you could be sincerely wrong in your personal opinions about Medjugorje?”
I was one of several American Catholics interviewed recently for this Our Sunday Visitor newspaper article on the vexing subject of the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje.
Those who’ve read my previous comments about that on this blog or who have heard me discuss it on my radio show already know where I’m coming from. I consider myself an open-minded skeptic who is not only willing to be wrong about Medjugorje (though I don’t think I am), but I sincerely do hope I am wrong and that it is an authentic Marian apparition. Good golly, do I ever hope I’m wrong about this.
Here’s the article by Emily Stimpson:
Vatican panel to weigh authenticity of alleged Marian apparitions
For many, it was an announcement that seemed long overdue.
On March 17, the Vatican announced the formation of a commission to investigate the authenticity of the Marian apparitions centered in Medjugorje. The commission, requested by the bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina, will take place under the auspices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and will begin work almost immediately. Its findings will be subject to the final authority of the CDF.
The announcement was, in many ways, unprecedented.
Franciscan University of Steubenville theology professor and mariologist Deacon Mark Miravalle noted it’s typically the local bishop or ecclesial conference that establishes these types of investigatory commissions.
It is possible for that call to come from the Vatican “if it’s not pleased with what takes place at the local level” or, if the Vatican “thinks things have not gone ideally, for the CDF to step in and take a more active role.”
But, Miravalle continued, it’s usually the local bishop who has the final say on the commission’s findings, not the CDF.
Fruits of visions
The announcement is unprecedented, but, in many ways, so is what’s taking place at Medjugorje.
It all began in 1981, when six Croatian teenagers, who lived in the small village in Bosnia-Herzegovina, reported that the Virgin Mary had appeared and given them a message to share with others. Nearly 30 years on, some of the visionaries still claim to see the Blessed Mother daily. The rest say she now appears to them only yearly.
For those inclined to accept the apparitions as true, the number of years Mary has appeared to the visionaries — 29 — as well as the number of messages received — upward of 30,000 — are signs that God is at work in Medjugorje.
“In 30 years you have no notable contradictions between the seers, and no observation — to my knowledge — that any of the messages are in any way off the beaten track in terms of faith and morals,” said Father Johann Roten, director of the University of Dayton’s Marian Library — International Marian Research Institute.
Father Roten pointed out that scientifically and medically the apparitions are among the most studied in Church history.
In addition to the messages themselves — which consist primarily of calls for repentance, conversion and peace — proponents also point to the tremendous fruits that the messages have born in the Church.
To date, more than 30 million men and women have visited Medjugorje, with countless conversions and vocations to the priesthood and religious life resulting from those visits.
“There seems to be an undeniable explosion of supernatural graces in Medjugorje,” Miravalle said.
‘Not good’ fruits
But there also seems to be an undeniable storm of contro-versy surrounding Medjugorje.
“The good fruits of Medjugorje are undeniable,” said Patrick Madrid, director of the Envoy Institute of Belmont Abbey College. “But we can’t disregard the fruits that aren’t good.”
Madrid, who calls himself “a skeptic, not a critic,” of Medjugorje, points to accounts of scandal surrounding several key figures as an example of those “not good” fruits.
He likewise finds fault in the very thing that so many proponents find good: the messages.
“From very early on, you see an incitement to disobedience in the messages,” Madrid said. “If this really is the Mother of God urging disobedience to the bishops, that seems at odds with her messages to people like St. Faustina, where she urged obedience even in the wake of disbelief and disapproval.”
Both proponents and skeptics have ample evidence to which they can point and ample arguments with which to respond to those who disagree with them. At this point, it can feel difficult, if not impossible, for faithful Catholics in the middle to know who’s right.
Up until now, however, the Church hierarchy has been almost as divided on the question as Catholics themselves. Both of Medjugorje’s local bishops took firm positions against the apparitions, while other bishops, such as Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph
Schönborn, have caused a stir by making pilgrimages to the apparition site. . . . (continue reading)
It takes only two sentences, mistranslated to include words not said by Archbishop Allessandro D’Errico when the Papal Nuncio addressed the people of Bosnia & Herzegovina with regards to the new Medjugorje commission, to change the meaning of what he was saying.His Excellency would be disappointed to learn how a pair of sentences, made into one, came across to English speaking readers as a result of the fabrication that was made. . . . (Continue reading)
Given the turmoil, uncertainty, and speculation that has been engendered by Cardinal Schönborn’s recent high-profile visit to Medjugorje, I, like many who have been following the story closely, am waiting and watching to see what this new development might portend for the Church’s eventual decision on whether the Medjugorje phenomenon is an authentic Marian apparition or not.
Under the heading: “Medjugorje, Secrets, Messages, Vocations, Prayers, Confessions, Commissions,” Bishop Ratko Peric, in 2007, provided an exhaustive chronology and outline of salient facts surrounding the alleged apparitions. For anyone who is serious about wanting to know all the details pertaining to Medjugorje, this “Fact Sheet” is a must read, regardless of where you currently stand on this issue.
A call came in recently from a woman who wanted to remind me about all the “good fruits” associated with the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje. You know, the thousands of confessions and conversions, rosaries and other prayers prayed, and even numerous priestly vocations which are attributed to men having made a pilgrimage there.
Jul. 4, 2006 (CWNews.com) –
The Catholic bishop whose diocese includes the town of Medjugorje has warned that “something similar to a schism” has arisen at the parish church where apparitions of the Virgin Mary are alleged to take place.
In a homily delivered in Medjugorje on the feast of Corpus Christi, Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, in Bosnia-Herzegovina, said that both he and his predecessor have expressed severe misgivings about the reported apparitions. He added that both Pope John Paul II (bio – news) and Pope Benedict XVI (bio –news) backed the judgments of the local bishops.
In his homily Bishop Peric explained that– “while recognizing the Holy Father’s right to give a final decision” on the validity of the reported apparitions– he doubted their validity. He recalled that when he discussed the reports from Medjugorje with Vatican officials, including then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, they shared his incredulity.
“They particularly do not seem to be authentic,” the bishop observed, “when it is known before that these so-called ‘apparitions’ will occur.” Bishop Peric cited the schedule that the Medjugorje seers have provided, listing the times and places at which they claim the next visits by the Mother of God will occur. Thousands of messages from Mary are now claimed, and the bishop observed that “the flood of so-called apparitions, messages, secrets, and signs do not strengthen the faith, but rather further convince us that in all of this there is nothing neither authentic nor established as truthful.”
The first reported appearances of the Virgin at Medjugorje occurred just over 25 years ago. During the 1980s, thousands of Catholic flocked to the little town, with many reporting profound spiritual experiences. These pilgrimages were eventually slowed by the violent bloodshed that tore through the region in the 1990s and by the increasingly public skepticism of the hierarchy.
Bishop Peric reminded his people of the restrictions that he has imposed on activities in Medjugorje. The parish church is not formally a “shrine,” he said, and should not be characterized as such. Pilgrimages to the church are discouraged. Priests there are “not authorized to express their private views contrary to the official position of the Church on the so-called ‘apparitions’ and ‘messages,’ during celebrations of the sacraments, nor during other common acts of piety, nor in the Catholic media.”
The bishops urged the “seers” of Medjugorje to “demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish.”
Some of the Franciscan priests assigned to the Medjugorje parish, he said, have been expelled from their order because of their refusal to accept Church authority. “They have not only been illegally active in these parishes, but they have also administered the sacraments profanely, while others invalidly,” he said. As Bishop of Mostar-Duvno, he said, he felt obliged to warn the faithful “who invalidly confess their sins to these priests and participate in sacrilegious liturgies.” (source)