Monday, September 28, 2009

Bishop Cracks Down on Medjugorje

The Bishop of Mostar has issued a series of restrictions on Medjugorje, I am afraid it has been translated by machine, the original can be found here, on the diocesan website, it is dated September 2009.
The Bishop needs our prayers, I am sure he is going to have a difficult time, it can't be easy taking on the Medjatourist industry.
- NO more retreats, spiritual exercises, conferences, foreign priests… without permission of the bishop
- NO own or foreign priests may propagate NON-recognized ‘messages’ or ‘apparitions’
- EVERY priest must show his ‘celebret’ before H.Mass
- NO more H.Sacrament or adoration in ‘Oasis of Peace’; even NO permission to reside in whole diocese [not sure what that last part means]
- NO services in the private church in Bijakovice; it is now closed.
- NO mentioning of ‘seers’, apparitions, messages’ in parish bulletin;
- NO mentioning of the word ‘sanctuary’ in Medjugorje
- NO mentioning or comment of ‘messages’ or ‘apparitions’ on the 25th of the month via Marija Pavlovic
- NO private ‘apparitions’ of Mirjana Dragicevic in ‘Cenacolo’ of Sr. Elvira
- NO permission for ‘Kraljica Mira’(founder : Tomislav Vlasic) in Medjugorje or in whole diocese
- NO ‘seers’ or others in the church to pray prayers from the ‘apparitions’
- NO intentions during the rosary concerning ‘apparitions’ or ‘messages’
- NO ‘seers’ in or around the church on anniversaries of ‘apparitions’ or ‘messages

Here are other recent statements in Italian
Il contesto del "fenomeno di Medjugorje", I.
deals with the role and manipulations of ex-Fr. Tomislav Vlasic and deceased Fr. Slavko Barbaric
Il contesto del "fenomeno di Medjugorje", II.
deals with the phantasies of T.Vlasic and the manipulations of S.Barbaric around the ‘Youthfestival’
Il contesto del "fenomeno di Medjugorje", III.
first deals with the homily of bishop Peric on June 6 2009 in Medjugorje, in which he thanks the Vatican for the support to his negative standpoint on the ‘apparitions’ in Medjugorje. Then he publishes his letter dated June 12 2009, to the present Medjugorje-parish, Fr. Petar Vlasic.


Tominellay said...

God bless Bishop Peric!!
He is a good, courageous shepherd.

me said...

I will pray for the Bishop.

Michael said...

Can you double check this, Father?

I just visited the site, and with my teeny bit of knowledge of Croatian (my Slovenian is a fair bit better) I couldn't find the announcement.

Sponsa Agni said...

Excuse me, Father, but where can find those restrictions on the diocesan website mentioned?????
I tried to look it up, but couldn´t find anything linke this...
Have a nice evening!

Richard Chonak said...

Thanks for posting the main points. I'm offering a translation of the bishop's two letters containing the directives, at

Hidden One said...

Now we will see if the supporters of the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje are loyal to the legitimately exercised authority of the Church... or not.

If there is a formal schism, it will be soon. For the supporters' own sake, I hope that Bp. Peric stands firm.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Wife of the Lamb, MP,
It is in the letter to the PP I linked to, this is summary of H.E, points.

Tominellay said...

All this is published in the original Croatian on the diocesan web site in Sluzbeni Vjesnik, no. 2, 2009, pp. 179-194. The letters to the priests which Richard Chonak translated, are on pp. 192-194 in Sluzbeni Vjesnik (official herald of the dioceses of Herzegovina).

Fr. John Mary, ISJ said...

Thank you for posting this, Father.
Got the news via Fr. Z.
May the Lord bless the Bishop and the Holy Mother intercede and protect him...there's diabolical activity in all of this that is not understood nor seen.

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Of course the Bishop cracked down on St Pio..telling him no public Masses & ministry ..he did obey. If what you write is true Catholics priests & lay people must obey. It doesn't constitute a denial of the supernatural though personally I don't believe the authenticity.

Diane Korzeniewski said...

Of course the Bishop cracked down on St Pio..telling him no public Masses & ministry ..he did obey

Exactly. He obeyed without hesitation or trickery to justify disobedience.

Jackie - This is the complete opposite of what has happened in Medjugorje.

Way back on March 25, 1985 Bishop Zanic wrote to the pastor of St. James where the children had been having their "visions". It reveals something very important: Not only was a the cult not permitted to form (an important step because it means that nothing can be found to prevent the cultus).

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.

Fast forward to 2006 and that very strong homily in which Bishop Peric reiterated things again:

Therefore I responsibly call upon those who claim themselves to be “seers”, as well as those persons behind the “messages”, to demonstrate ecclesiastical obedience and to cease with these public manifestations and messages in this parish. In this fashion they shall show their necessary adherence to the Church, by neither placing private “apparitions” nor private sayings before the official position of the Church. Our faith is a serious and responsible matter. The Church is also a serious and responsible institution!

Now that this demands are being made available again - in the most compelling report (most have not viewed parts 1 & 2 because they have not been translated yet), we have to ask.....did anyone - seers and their closest associates obey the bishop?

Clearly the answer is "no" because he wouldn't have to ask for ecclesial obedience so many times.

Why not go to Lourdes, Fatima, Guadalupe where apparitions have been approved? Or, why not take a pilgrimage to the Holy Land?

If you truly want to wait for the Church to make a final decision, then at least wait until the first stage of approval - that is when a cultus is allowed to form? The reason we wait for a bishop to allow the cultus is because it means he thinks nothing should stand in the way of it and wants to investigate further. In Medjugorje we have the opposite where the cultus was discouraged because the bishop found harmful or troubling signs. For this, he has been villified and calumniated in speech and in writing.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Naive questions from a naive mind:

If the Church has doubts on Medjugorje why does it not stop the many priests who go there and encourage their parishioners to follow?

Presumably every priest in the UK has a boss, be it bishop, archbishop or whatever all the way to our Cardinal in Westminster. Is it that difficult to issue instructions down the hierarchy and ensure they are obeyed?

The same would apply in other countries with their Cardinals issuing instructions down the line.

How can the layman know what is truth and what is not if the clergy are sending out mixed messages?

Michael Petek said...

I find Bishop Peric's directive rather interesting.

It is a directive to the pastor and the parochial vicar of Medjugorje about how they are not to promote the alleged apparitions.

The parish is forbidden to publish the alleged messages and commentaries on them, nor to use publicly any of the prayers from the apparitions.

The parish cannot be called a shrine, even privately. This is canonically correct. (Cann. 1230 and 1231)

In short, "we do not mix the unrecognised with what is recognised, the private with the official, the non-liturgical with the liturgical."

The Bishop says the "messages" given at Medjugorje are private "messages" of private persons for private use.

A wise decision which both sides of this affair can be content with. It's not so much a "crackdown" as a privatisation.

The seers can keep doing what they do provided that the Church and its premises are not engaged.

No proof beyond reasonable doubt of the supernatural.

No proof beyond reasonable doubt of the preternatural.

No proof beyond reasonable doubt of human fraud (otherwise it's a matter for the police.)

Bishop Peric will also be aware that the Vatican criteria for discerning apparitions state: "By virtue of his doctrinal and pastoral duty, the competent ecclesiastical authority can intervene immediately by his own authority, and he must do so in serious circumstances, for example, when it is a question of correcting or preventing abuses in the exercise of worship or devotion, to condemn erroneous doctrines, to avoid the dangers of false mysticism, etc."

Diane Korzeniewski said...

If the Church has doubts on Medjugorje why does it not stop the many priests who go there and encourage their parishioners to follow?

People do not want to see that Holy Mother Church is trying very hard, through subsidiarity - to help people to understand not to assume supernatural character at Medjugorje. Why visit a place which after decades has still not been granted a cult following as opposed to an approved apparition?

The problem is that people want so bad for it to all be true that they are unwilling to accept anything less than a judgment out of the Pope himself.

The Church does not work this way.

As a matter of collegiality, especially given what Bishop Peric has put out with this thorough three part statement, bishops around the world should stand with him. Unfortunately, in some dioceses "seers" are allowed to visit parishes and have "visions".

This is so contrary to the nature of how the Church works because if a "seer" is forbidden to have visions publicly within the affected diocese, then it stands to reason that they ought not be having them outside of the diocese.

Medjugorje has gotten away from the Church precisely because of willful disobedience on the part of "seers" and especially their associates/spiritual advisors (since they were children at the time).

People have been looking for every loophole they could, even to the point of complicating simple communications to their advantage.

The final decision is indeed in the hands of a Church appointed commission, but the authority to handle pastoral matters, even concerning visitors and a proper sense of devotion was still in the hands of Bishop Peric.

Unfortunately, when you have people constructing things without the permission of the bishop, inviting "seers" to hold "visions" at unathoritized chapels, and messages being released monthly through willful disobedience to several direct orders to keep them private, you have what we have today....division in the Church over Medjugorje.

Bill of L.A. said...

Thank you for demonstrating your usual clear-headedness, Father.

In her apparitions, Our Lady always urges prayer, penance, and conversion -- not silly little intrigues against the local bishop.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I visited 23 years ago. I saw nothing remarkable. You don't need to go there to pray the rosary I guess is "the message" which sort of sums up the Church's position also.

If people want to go there to say the rosary then I guess fine. It seems disrespectful to the local ordinary to do so however.

Since then blogs have emerged and the punters have found other ways to disrespect and be rude to a bishop.

Michael Petek said...

Diane, the Bishop hasn't said the seers can't have visions in public - he says they can't use Church property or engage the Church in her official (public) capacity.

Norah said...

How can the layman know what is truth and what is not if the clergy are sending out mixed messages?

This is the question asked by many of the laity today when priest contradicts priest and even bishop contradicts bishop and all take their complaints about one another to the media. As Victor said - how can the lay man know what is truth?

At one time there was never any doubt that what father told us from the pulpit about the truths of the Faith would be the same all over the world but now the laity go parish shopping to find a priest who tells the version of the Truth which we like. Is it any wonder that so many people are leaving the Church. A house divided against itself cannot stand.

Nan said...

The lack of obedience is what strikes me. So many saints have been told to stop or to wait, that it makes no sense that these people flout the Bishop's directives and think it's okay.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Norah said it better than me.

Diane Korzeniewski said...

Diane, the Bishop hasn't said the seers can't have visions in public - he says they can't use Church property or engage the Church in her official (public) capacity.

And we should all take careful note of the fact of what this local bishop is prohibiting on Church property.

From the 1978 Criteria for Discernment of Apparitions, it says local ecclesiastical authorities will do the following:

a) Initially, to judge the facts according to positive and negative criteria (cf. below, n.1).

b) Then, if this examination appears favorable, to allow certain public demonstrations of cult and devotion, while continuing to investigate the facts with extreme prudence (which is equivalent to the formula: “for the moment, nothing is opposed to it”).
[Note: This is what is being disallowed, or prohibited. Not even the 1991 Zadar Declaration authorized the cultus, or public veneration - yet a portion of the Catholic public venerates regardless. The cultus is different from allowing pilgrimages for "reasons of faith or other motives".]

c) Finally, after a certain time, and in the light of experience, (starting from a particular study of the spiritual fruits generated by the new devotion), to give a judgement on the authenticity of the supernatural character, if the case requires this.

If after nearly 30 years the local bishop has not found reason to permit the cultus, nor has any commission, doesn't it kind of tell you something?

What that long list of prohibitions means, is that after nearly 30 years there continues to be a form of disobedience that needs to be addressed because people - especially "seers" and associates - are trying to force the issue of the cultus, which has been disallowed.

They have built a "shrine" and continue even today, months after the letters to pastor and parochial vicar were ordered to remove from the parish website anything pertaining to "shrine". Messages are still being published such as that which was "given" on September 25th.

So, the disobedience continues months after orders were given privately from bishop to priests in Medjugorje. Is it any wonder why these communications were made public?

K. Stark said...

Historically, there has always been a big power/control struggle between the Franciscans and the bishops in that area. This is more the problem.

I've been there and it's very peaceful.

The seer cooked, served, and cleaned up after us in a very humble way. Is that not a task worthy of a wage?

I had a huge conversion of heart.

Do I believe it's happening? Yes.

Am I a fanatic. No.

Will I go back after two trips? Probably not.

So who do you follow in your parish - your priest or your bishop if they are at odds? These were simple villagers with little communication. Not now, but you can see how it happened. I think we judge history by today's standards.

Just my thoughts. No need to jump all over me.

Diane Korzeniewski said...

Historically, there has always been a big power/control struggle between the Franciscans and the bishops in that area. This is more the problem.

The truth of the matter is that the Franciscans made their case in Rome and Rome ruled in favor of the local Bishop.

The only controversy left is that which is created by those who don't like the ruling.

The whole "Herzegovina Affair" has been going on since before 1981.

In 1968, the Holy See ordered the Franciscans to hand over five parishes to the diocesan clergy. They barely gave two parishes. In 1975 after many years of talks and consultations a Decree of the Holy See was issued regarding the division of parishes in Herzegovina (Romanis pontificibus of 6 June 1975). The Franciscans publicly and collectively denounced this decree even though they administer to over 80% of the faithful in the diocese of Mostar. In 1976, due to disobedience, the hierarchy of the Franciscan province, along with the provincial Sialic, lost their authority and since then, the province has been without its independence, and the General of the Order rules directly over the province ad instar. Another penalty was that in 1979, the Franciscans from Herzegovina were not allowed to participate in the election of the general. The first point mentioned by the new general of the order to his brothers in Herzegovina was: "The development or creation of obedience to, and cooperation with the bishop in Herzegovina." (Source [this opens an rtf file of the book so it may be a slow load]: Medjugorje - After Twenty One Years" by Michael Davies

As an aside, Davies worked closely with the bishop's office on this work, having full access to necessary documents.

Michael Petek said...

Very valuable posting, Diane! The Roman decree you link to doesn't mention Medjugorje as a problem parish, neither does it make any adverse comment on any of the Medjugorje-connected Franciscan friars by name.

In fact, I remember reading a document on the Internet in which the Bishop said he was pleased with the obedience of the parish clergy there.

Can't for the life of me remember where the document is!

Michael Petek said...

By the way, what's ad instar?

Diane Korzeniewski said...

Michael Petek says:

The Roman decree you link to doesn't mention Medjugorje as a problem parish, neither does it make any adverse comment on any of the Medjugorje-connected Franciscan friars by name.

Medjugorje per se was not the point. Rather, it was addressing the italicized comment I copied which eluded to a problem between local Franciscans and the bishops.

My point is that when you see people talking about a conflict on the web, it is a good idea to be careful about what you fall for. In the case of the "problem" between bishop and Franciscans, Rome has ruled on the case. Even though the Franciscans made a compelling case to keep the parishes ordered to be handed over to the diocese, Rome listened to testimony, then favor of the bishop as can be seen by the decree.

Therefore, those who don't like the ruling ought not speak poorly of the bishops of Mostar. They don't realize their "beef" is with the Holy See, which made the decision.

By the way, what's ad instar?

I can't say. I just know that the penalties imposed upon the Herzegovina Franciscans - not over Medjugorje, but over disobedience in the transfer of parishes to the diocese, has been going on for decades.

Note that one of the later penalties imposed by the Holy See came soon before the "apparitions". The timing is impeccable, especially in light of the fact that the "Gospa" supported priests (against the bishop) who would soon be laicized in those early years.

Read more at the blog of Italian author, Marco Corvaglia here: The Gospa and Instigation to Insubordination

Diane Korzeniewski said...


Richard Chonak has translated part 1, in which the bishop speaks in detail as to how intricately involved Tomislav Vlasic was, and about heresy on the part of the "gospa".

He also chides the media in the beginning for trying to distance Vlasic from Medjugorje.

Medjugorje Context: Vlasic's involvement -- or: why the "Gospa" is a heretic

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...