A CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
Allegations vs Evidence
"By virtue of Divine right the bishops possess an ordinary power of government over their dioceses." (De. fide.) 1
"He that honors the Bishop is honored by God; he that does anything without consulting the Bishop, serves the devil." (St. Ignatius of Antioch.) 2
Claims are frequently made by many promoters and supporters of alleged or unapproved apparitions, visions or locutions (even those that have received negative decisions or have been condemned – such as Garabandal, San Damiano, Necedah, Palma de Troya, Bayside, Dozul, the “Little Pebble,” Julia Kim and Naju, Mayfield Ireland, Nancy Fowler - Conyers, Gianna Talone-Sullivan, etc. - of Scottsdale and Emmitsburg, Dr. Mary Jane Even - Lincoln, Theresa Lopez - Denver, Ron O'Brien - Keene, Emmitsburgh, Vassula Ryden, and many others. They are blinkered in their judgments in respect of obedience to statements made by lawful authority – preferring their own “private opinions.”
Promoters and supporters of Medjugorje, are likely to make unsubstantiated parroted claims such as:
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>"Because of the negative manner in which the local Bishop behaved the Church nullified his ruling, the Vatican took his authority from him, and gave it to the Yugoslav bishops as a whole." "... the fact they spoke of providing care for pilgrims it was a defacto approval of the cult of Our Lady of Medjugorje." "Pope John Paul II believes in the apparitions." 3 "The Pope Thanks Fr. Jozo For Medjugorje." "Medical science confirms- the seers are seeing an apparition that is medically inexplicable." "Medjugorje apparitions are 'the last apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary.'" "The apparitions continue." And, one of the biggest "oddities" is the unsourced multi-parroted alleged quote from Pope Urban VIII;
"Pope Urban VIII on Private Revelation
"His Holiness, Pope Urban VIII stated: 'In cases which concern private revelations, it is better to believe than not to believe, for, if you believe, and it is proven true, you will be happy that you have believed, because our Holy Mother asked it. If you believe, and it should be proven false, you will receive all blessings as if it had been true, because you believed it to be true.' (Pope Urban VIII, 1623-44)" 4
Emphasized excerpts from appropriate and pertinent sections from verifiable EVIDENCE from ECCLESIAL AUTHORITY – may be fully examined at:
Mike Chonak’s DOCUMENTS ABOUT MEDJUGORJE
Medjugorje Is All That Glitters Gold?
1968: "... the Holy See ordered the Franciscans to hand over five parishes to the diocesan clergy. They barely gave two parishes. In 1975, ... a Decree of the Holy See was issued regarding the division of parishes in Hercegovinia. The Franciscans publicly and collectively denounced this decree even though they administer over 80 percent of the faithful in the diocese of Mostar." 5
1976: "... due to disobedience, the hierarchy of the Franciscan Province along with then Provincial Silic 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.'
1981, June 24: The alleged phenomena at Medjugorje commenced.
1981, July: Under examination, Mirjana Dragicevic lies under oath - first of all, she stated: "'We went to look for our sheep when at once...' (The associate pastor interrupted and told me that they actually went out to smoke, which they hid from their parents.) 'Wait a minute, Mirjana, you're under oath. Did you go out to look for your sheep?' She put her hand over her mouth. 'Forgive me, we went out to smoke'" 6
1981, Dec. 19: "'Our Lady said that the bishop is to blame for the disorder in Herzegovina. She also said that Rev. Ivica Vego is not to blame, yet that the bishop has all authority. Our Lady said that he [Vego] should remain in Mostar and not leave.' 7
1982, Jan. 3: "All the 'seers' together asked Our Lady about Rev. Ivica Vego. Our Lady answered: 'Ivica is innocent. If they throw him out of the Franciscan Order, may he remain courageous.... Ivica is innocent.' Our Lady repeated this three times." 8
1982, Jan. 11: "'We asked again about the two chaplains of Mostar, and Our Lady repeated twice what she had mentioned earlier regarding them.' (Note: January 14, 1982, Vicka was at the Chancery office with the bishop and at that meeting she mentioned that she did not know Vego.)" 9
1982, Jan 14: "Vicka, Marija, and Jakov ... speaking falsehoods." 10
"The chaplains of Mostar, Vego and Prusina, were thrown out of the Franciscan Order in January of that year by the superiors of their Order. Many followers of Medjugorje and 'Our Lady' defended the expelled chaplains..." 11
1982, Jan. 20: "'The children asked what Rev. Ivica Vego and Rev. Ivan Prusina were to do now that they were thrown out of the Order. Our Lady answered: 'They are innocent. The bishop was harsh in his decision. They can stay.'" 12
1982, March [Spring]: Bishop Zanic asked the 'seers' to write everything they knew about the sign without making the 'secret' public." Ivan Dragicevic wrote and dated his May 9, 1982. He wrote: "The sign will occur in June." ... "In the first months, they often said that the 'great sign' would come very soon, quickly, and so on. When the first year ended, they changed their tune." 13
1982, April 4: Vicka Marija and Jakov again caught in lying. 14
1982, April 15: "Vicka asked Our Lady a question. 'Could you generally tell me everything about Ivica Vego and Ivan Prusina?' Our Lady smiled at first and then she said, 'They are innocent.' She repeated twice that: 'The bishop has made a mistake... let them remain at Mostar.... they can say Mass sometimes but may they be careful to stay away from attention until things calm down. They have no faults....'" 15
1982, April 16: "Yesterday while we were with Our Lady we asked her if we could pray the Our Father for them [Vego and Prusina]. She answered immediately: 'Yes you can,' and she prayed with them. When we finished the prayer she smiled and said to me: 'Those two are constantly on your mind.' I answered, 'You're right.' " 16
1982, April 26: "Our Lady: 'The bishop has no real love of God in his heart. Regarding the bishop, may Ivica and Ivan remain calm. What the bishop is doing is contrary to the will of God, yet he can do as he pleases, but one day justice as you have never seen shall be revealed.'" 17
1982: The "Bishop's Office had formed the Commission to investigate the events and to study the case [of Medjugorje] 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...": 18
1982, May 9: "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. 19
1983, Jan.: "Rev. Grafenauer, a Jesuit priest, came to me with the intention of researching the phenomenon of Medjugorje. He listened to 20 cassettes, and after having listened to them he said that he would not go to Medjugorje because he concluded that Our Lady was not appearing there. Upon my insistence he went to Medjugorje and after a few days he came back as a 'convert' of Fr. Vlasic. He brought some documents, threw them on the table and said: 'Here's what Our Lady wishes to tell you!' I understood this as a plot to overthrow the bishop with the help of Our Lady. The documents he brought were a compilation of Vicka's diary, the parish chronicle and hand-written documents. For this reason it is difficult to establish where they were first written. Vicka and those who defend Medjugorje hid this from the bishop for more than a year. 20
1983, May 7: Vicka wrote to Bishop Zanic: "'I have found out that excerpts from my diary are being distributed.....'" 21
1983, Dec. "The Marian theologian Rene Laurentin ... came to visit me ... When he asked me why I did not believe in the apparitions, I told him that according to the diary of Vicka and the words of the other 'seers' this 'Lady' has been speaking against the bishop. Laurentin quickly responded: 'Don't publish that, because there are so many pilgrims and converts here.' I was scandalized by this statement of this well-known Mariologist!" 22
1984, March 24: "The Commission on the Medjugorje events issued a warning. [against the propaganda and disobedience] Unfortunately all this remained fruitless. " 23
1984, April 24: "Ivan sent messages from Our Lady to the bishop...'My son Jesus is praying for him so that he [the bishop] would believe and therefore take better action in favor of Medjugorje.' She added: 'How would he react if my son were to appear on earth? Would he then believe?" 24
1984, "Fifty miraculous healings have been mentioned, then 150, 200, 300, and so on. Laurentin chose 56 dossiers and sent them to the "Bureau medical de Lourdes." 25
1984, October: "... 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. 26
1984 , Oct. 31: "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." 27
1985, March 7:"Three members of the commission went to ask Ivan if what Laurentin wrote were true." - "When will this [sign] occur? The sign will occur in June" [It didn't happen!!! F.J.L.] 28
1985, May 13: "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." 29
1987, January 29:"...it seemed fitting to continue the investigation on the level of the Episcopal Conference with the institution of a new Commission for that purpose.
"The Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith was informed. It expressed its appreciation for the work carried out by the diocesan commission under the responsibility of the local Ordinary, and it encouraged the continuance of the work at the national episcopal level.
"The Episcopal Conference, therefore, is establishing a commission to continue the investigation of the events at Medjugorje...Therefore, it is not permissible to organize pilgrimages and other manifestations motivated by the supernatural character attributed to the events of Medjugorje. Legitimate devotion to Our Lady, recommended by the Church, must conform to the directives of the Magisterium and especially to those contained in the Apostolic Exhortation Marialis Cultus of 2 February 1974 (cf. AAS, 66, 1974, pp. 113-168)." 30
1987, July 24: "... a commission is mounting an enquiry on the matter. The said Commission has been established by the Yugoslavian Bishop's Conference ...
"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 verdict.
"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.
"It is sufficient to recall Garabandal in Spain, San Damiano in Italy, and tens of similar cases in recent years. In Garabandal the visionaries kept saying that the Madonna has promised a big sign for the entire world. Since then twenty-five years have passed and the big sign has not appeared. Had the Madonna left a sign here, everybody would know what this is all about.
"... 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." 31
1985, Jan. 31: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in answer to questions, again reminded the world that "Poem of the man-God" has continued to be condemned. He informed Cardinal Siri:
"After the dissolution of the Index, when some people thought the printing and distribution of the work was permitted, they were reminded again in 'L'Osservatore Romano' (June 15, 1966) that 'The Index retains its moral force despite its dissolution.'"
1988, Jan. 27: "Medjugorje [alleged] visionary Vicka Ivankovic, in an interview with an American attorney said: 'Our Lady said if a person wants to know Jesus, he should read THE POEM OF THE MAN-GOD by Maria Valtorta. That book is the truth.'" 32
1988, July 11: "3. From the text and testimonies which bear my signature it follows that the Madonna communicated to me that the community and the program of Father Tomislav V[lasic]. and Agnes Heupel are the way God intended for me and the rest of us. Now I repeat that I have never received from the Madonna, nor have I given to Father Tomislav V., not to any other individual, any such approval or instructions from the Madonna.
"4. My first declaration, as published in Croatian and Italian, does not correspond to the truth. I personally had no desire to give any sort of written declaration. Father Tomislav V. kept suggesting to me, stressing over and over again, that I as a seer should write the declaration which the world was waiting for.
"5. I also have to say that the contents of "My Declaration" as it presented bearing my signature pose some questions...: 'Anything in my statement which might be construed as the Madonna's approval of the undertaking of Father Tomislav Vlasic and Agnes Heupel is absolutely not in conformity with the truth, and in the same way, the idea that I had a spontaneous desire to write my declaration of April 1988 is also not in conformity with the truth.'" 33
1989, August 23: "In a letter dated February 6, 2000, to priest-author Rudo Franken, Peric stated: 'regarding Father Fra Jozo Zovko, OFM, member of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina [Zovko is the confidant of the Medjugorje visionaries, and a central figure in the apparitions] ... I am obliged to inform you that he was revoked of "every faculty and canonical mission in the diocese of Mostar-Duvno and Trebinje-Mrkan" by my predecessor Bishop Monsignor Pavao Zanic, died on the last 11 January, in a letter of this diocesan chancery office Nr. 622/89.
"As the present diocesan Bishop of these two Dioceses of Herzegovina, I withhold this decision and action. Futhermore, since he has heard confessions without the necessary faculty, he has also fallen into the penalties prescribed in Canons 1378 2, 1. I notified him of this in my letter ... of 14 June 1994.
"The Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples requested in 1990 that he [go] away from Medjugorje, into a 'convento lontano,' but he is still very involved in the Medjugorje affair, residing in Siroki Brijeg and visiting Medjugorje.
"Fr. Jozo Zovko is a disobedient Franciscan.
"Fr. Zovko is constructing a Convent of great proportions in Siroki Brijeg in this diocese without a permission of the ecclesiastical authority. According to the project, of 1997, it costs about 8 millions DEM. From where [the money comes], I do not know." 34
1990, Feb. "Promoters of Medjugorje concealing the truth"
"2... I told him about the case of the ex-Franciscan priest Ivica Vego. Due to his disobedience, by an order of the Holy Father the pope, he was thrown out of the Franciscan religious order by his General, dispensed from his vows and suspended "a divinis." He did not obey this order, and he continued to celebrate Mass, distribute the sacraments and pass the time with his mistress... According to the diary of Vicka and the statements of the "seers", Our Lady claimed 13 times that Vego was innocent and that the bishop was wrong. When his mistress, Sister Leopolda, a nun, became pregnant, both of them left Medjugorje and the religious life and began to live together near Medjugorje where their child was born. Now they have two children. His prayerbook is still sold at Medjugorje and elsewhere in hundreds of thousands of copies.
"3. The Marian theologian Rene Laurentin behaves in the same manner. He came to visit me around Christmas 1983, and I offered him dinner. When he asked me why I did not believe in the apparitions, I told him that according to the diary of Vicka and the words of the other 'seers' this 'Lady' has been speaking against the bishop. Laurentin quickly responded: 'Don't publish that, because there are so many pilgrims and converts here.' I was scandalized by this statement of this well-known Mariologist! Unfortunately this has remained Laurentin's position: to hide the truth and defend falsehoods... The 'seers' and defenders of Medjugorje led by Laurentin from the very outset have seen that the modern believer in a communist country very quickly believes in something 'miraculous,' in apparent miraculous healings and apparent messages from 'Our Lady.'
"4. ...Fanciscans, Vego and Prusina, who were thrown out of their Order)..., fanatical prayer groups that are inspired by the apparent messages of Our Lady, and finally there is the greatest motivator of all -- money. No one even mentions that which throws doubt on the 'apparitions.' The bishop has been warning everyone, but the 'machinery' has been working overtime.
"Fifty miraculous healings have been mentioned, then 150, 200, 300, and so on. Laurentin chose 56 dossiers and sent them to the "Bureau medical de Lourdes." Dr. Mangiapan responded in their Bulletin, April '84, that these dossiers have no practical value, and they cannot be used or considered as serious proofs of the apparitions in Medjugorje. Much has been written about the healing of Diane Basile. I sent the dossier to Dr. Mangiapan who studied the case and then took the position "opinion plus que reservée." It is a case of multiple sclerosis. More will be written about this later in a book."
"The credibility of the seers: Mirjana Dragicevic"
"5. "One month after the beginning of the 'apparitions' I went to Medjugorje to question the 'seers.' I asked each of them to take an oath on the cross and demanded that they speak the truth. (This conversation and oath were recorded on tape.) The first one was Mirjana: 'We went to look for our sheep when at once...' (The associate pastor interrupted and told me that they actually went out to smoke, which they hid from their parents.) 'Wait a minute, Mirjana, you're under oath. Did you go out to look for your sheep?' She put her hand over her mouth. 'Forgive me, we went out to smoke,' she said...
"Later on, she claimed that Our Lady said that all faiths are equal. How much can we believe Mirjana?"
"The credibility of the seers: Vicka Ivankovic"
"7. On the 14th of January 1982 Vicka, Marija, and little Jakov came to visit me. Vicka began to speak quite nervously because she was speaking falsehoods. She said, 'Our Lady sent us to you to tell you that you are too harsh with Franciscans...' In what way? 'We don't know!'
"Two Franciscan chaplains in Mostar, Ivica Vego and Ivan Prusina, which the bishop sought to remove from Mostar because of disorder and disobedience towards the faithful of the newly-established cathedral parish in Mostar, defended themselves before their superiors by saying they would not leave Mostar because Our Lady, through Vicka, told them not to leave. This was mentioned to me by a member of the Franciscan Provincial Council.
"I asked Vicka at our meeting: 'Did Our Lady mention anything about the Mostar chaplains, Vego and Prusina?' 'She did not. We don't know them,' responded all three. Our conversation lasted 30 minutes, and I taped all of it. I repeated the question of the chaplains of Mostar several times, and they always responded, 'We don't know them.' Later on, I found from Vicka's diary that they knew the chaplains very well. It was clear to me that they were lying, yet I did not want to mention this to them in order to maintain their confidence during our conversations."
"8. On the 4th of April 1982, Vicka and Jakov came to visit me 'sent by Our Lady.' The chaplains of Mostar, Vego and Prusina, were thrown out of the Franciscan Order in January of that year by the superiors of their Order. Many followers of Medjugorje and 'Our Lady' defended the expelled chaplains. During our conversation, Vicka very excitedly began: 'The last time we were with you, we didn't tell you everything and for this reason Our Lady scolded us. We spoke of many things and therefore we forgot...' 'What did you forget?' 'Our Lady told us to tell you that those chaplains, Vego and Prusina, are priests and, therefore, they can celebrate Mass just like other priests.' 'Wait a minute. Did Our Lady tell you this before our last meeting?' 'Yes, that's why she sent us to you. Last time I spoke of many other things and I forgot to mention this.' During that previous meeting I asked her directly several times if Our Lady mentioned anything about the two chaplains. It was clear to me that Vicka was lying, and this was proof enough for me not to trust her statements. Marija and Jakov also participated in this lie."
"9. Towards the end of January 1983, Rev. Grafenauer, a Jesuit priest, came to me [see 1983 Jan. entry above] ... Here are a few quotes:" [cf. individual entries above.]
"10. Vicka never denied that Our Lady said these things or that she wrote these things down in her diary. The assurance and authenticity of this can be best confirmed by a cassette taped by Rev. Grafenauer during his talks with Vicka and Marija. He left taped copies of the cassette in the parish of Medjugorje, with the bishop, and he left one with the Bishops' Conference in Zagreb. The cassette should be heard!" [The conversation text may be seen in the full Feb. 1990 file. , but it includes the following:
"Grafenauer: If Our Lady said this and the Pope says that they cannot....
"Vicka: The Pope can say what he wants, I'm telling it as it is!
"Grafenauer: See, this is how one can come to the conclusion that this is not Our Lady... when the Pope says no, they cannot celebrate Mass, and they cannot hear confessions, and then on the other hand, Our Lady says they can do both, this cannot be!
"Vicka: I know what is right [What Our Lady said].
"Grafenauer: This cannot be true. I would put my hand into fire to testify that this is not Our Lady speaking. When a person has a greater gift there also exists a greater danger that the devil could be at work upon this person."
"The credibility of the 'seers': Marija Pavlovic.
"14. The same Marija Pavlovic made another public declaration on the 11th of July 1988. ...: 'I feel a moral obligation to declare before God, Our Lady (the Madonna), and the Church...I now declare that ... My first declaration... does not correspond to the truth..."
"15. Marija does not deny that she gave her first statement... She has lied, and this she attributes to Our Lady. It is evident that Marija is a toy in Rev. Vlasic's hands..."
"It is a terrible sin to attribute one's own lies to Our Lady. When the world learns of this, who will believe them anymore? They have been discredited. No one can destroy this material evidence. It will be reproduced and spread by word of mouth. I know well that there are many who disregard such material. They accept the events of Medjugorje irrationally, with great emotion and with personal interests. They are blind, but these documents will remain a part of the history of the Church and Mariology."
The credibility of the 'seers': Ivan Dragicevic
"16. "Regarding the "great sign", Vicka mentions this 13 times in the diaries, 14 times it is mentioned in the parish chronicle, 52 times on the cassettes, and in numerous times in talks with the bishop.
"In the spring of 1982, I asked the 'seers' to write everything they knew about the sign without making the 'secret' public. The way I suggested they do it was to write down information on paper in duplicate. Then this would be sealed in an envelope, and one copy would remain with them and one with the bishop. When the 'sign' occurs, then we would open the envelopes and see whether or not the 'sign' was predicted. Rev. Tomislav Vlasic, pastor of Medjugorje at the time, told the 'seers' to say that Our Lady said not to write anything down, and so they didn't. However, Ivan Dragicevic was in the Franciscan minor seminary at Visoko, Bosnia at the time, and he wasn't informed of this on time.
"Two members of the first Commission, Dr. M. Zovkic and Dr. Z. Puljic (now bishop of Dubrovnik), went to visit Ivan in Visoko. They gave him a sheet of paper which was somewhat greenish in color with questions typed out on it. Ivan wrote down the content of the 'sign,' dated the document and signed it in their presence without a word or any sign of fear. A few years later, Laurentin wrote that Ivan told him personally that he wrote absolutely nothing down on that sheet of paper and that he tricked the two members of the Commission.
"On March 7, 1985, three members of the Commission went to ask Ivan if what Laurentin wrote were true. Ivan said it was true and that they could freely go ahead and open the envelope in the Chancery office because in it they would only find a white sheet of paper. They came back to Mostar where the Commission was having a meeting and before all the members, they opened the envelope. In the envelope on a greenish sheet of paper they found written the content of the sign: 'Our Lady said that she would leave a sign. The content of this sign I reveal to your trust. The sign is that there will be a great shrine in Medjugorje in honor of my apparitions, a shrine to my image. When will this occur? The sign will occur in June.'"
"Of the one hundred diocesan priests in the dioceses of Hercegovina, not one believes in the apparitions."
"This blindness towards the events in Medjugorje has also caught some priests and bishops." 35
1990, Nov. 27-28: "From the very beginning, the bishops have been following the events of Medjugorje through the local bishop, the bishops' commission and the commission of the Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia for Medjugorje. On the basis of studies that have been made to this moment, it cannot be confirmed that supernatural apparitions and revelations are occurring here.
"Yet, the gathering of faithful from various parts of the world to Medjugorje, motivated by reasons of faith, requires the pastoral attention and care of the bishops. Therefore, in the spirit of church communion, our bishops' conference is willing to assist the diocesan bishop in organizing the pastoral activity in Medjugorje so that a proper liturgical and sacramental life may be promoted, and so that manifestations and contents which are not in accord with the spirit of the church may be prevented and hindered." 36
1991, April 10: "On the basis of studies it cannot be affirmed that supernatural apparitions and revelations are occurring."37
MAY 6,1992. "Archbishop Dionigi Tettamanzi, in his capacity as Secretary General of the Italian Bishops' Conference, wrote to the publisher Emilio Pisani to request that 'in the event the volumes ["Poem of the man-God"] are reprinted, it be clearly stated at the outset that the 'visions' and 'dictations' related therein may not be considered to possess a supernatural origin, but must simply be deemed literary forms of which the author has made use to narrate the life of Jesus in her own way." 38
Given that the publisher had not done this up to date, there is little hope that the request would be complied with. In fact, the Melbourne distributor of Valtorta's works offered me the new (in 2001) Italian edition. He was not able to establish whether or not the disclaimer was printed in this new edition! [F.J.L.]
1992: [that is, 3 years AFTER Fr. Jozo Zovko is reported as having been revoked of "every faculty and canonical mission in the diocese of Mostar-Duvno and Trebinje-Mrkan" by" Bishop Pavao Zanic.] - it is reported reported August 24, 2002 [!] "in the Zagreb daily newspaper, The Vercernji List.
"The headline states, 'A surprising gesture from the Vatican. The Pope thanks Father Jozo for Medjugorje!'
"The cover photo was taken when the Holy Father welcomed Fr. Jozo in 1992, in the midst of the Bosnian war. At that time the Pope told him: 'I am with you, protect Medjugorje! Protect Our Lady's messages!'" 39
1992, July 21: "Caritas of Birmingham, the American promoters of 'The Poem' wrote a pleading letter to Cardinal Ratzinger... Cardinal Ratzinger felt that the bishop of Birmingham, Alabama should answer the letter, and AGAIN Bishop Raymond J. Boland restated that they cannot be considered supernatural in origin." 40
1993, Apr. 17: Cardinal Ratzinger said that the books cannot be considered supernatural in origin. "The 'visions' and 'dictations' referred to in the work, 'The Poem of the man-God,' are simply the literary forms used by the author to narrate in her own way the life of Jesus. They cannot be considered supernatural in origin." 41
1993, October: "Perhaps misinformation is another of Medjugorje's phenomena...
"But after a few months, when he heard the small fibs and large lies, insincerities, inexactitudes, and all sorts of fabricated stories from those who claimed that the Gospa was appearing to them, he became totally convinced that it was not a matter of supernatural apparitions of the Gospa. Then he started to bring out the truth and to expose the falsehoods. The greatest satisfaction of his ten years of hard work was when the bishops of Yugoslavia at their spring meeting at Zadar on April 10, 1991, dutifully declared: "On the basis of studies it cannot be affirmed that supernatural apparitions and revelations are occurring." This is an exceptionally clear ecclesiastical ruling, and is a rebuttal of the claims of all those who claim to have seen the Gospa everywhere and at any time since the year of 1981.
"The verdict of the Bishops' Conference is for me an authoritative instruction, responsive, and binding unless another kind of verdict is brought. But until now there has been no other (ecclesiastical) judgment. In the same declaration the bishops said that a healthy devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary necessarily must be in accordance with the teachings of the Catholic Church and set about publishing proper liturgical-pastoral directives to that effect. The Commission also promised to follow and investigate the happenings in Medjugorje. I know that the liturgical-pastoral committee met in Mostar in June 1991, but that no document was released. In the fall of 1991 the Serbian aggression began in the Croatian regions of Eastern Herzegovina, and in the spring of 1992 the Serbs attacked the entire region of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It has become impossible for the commission to meet anymore.
"...For instance, there have been claims for over twelve years of daily 'apparitions.' If none of these several thousand apparitions have been recognized by the bishops as supernatural, then there is something very rebellious about the Medjugorje 'phenomenon' which I cannot responsibly embrace in faith.
"... I do not want to forbid anyone to go wherever he wants to pray to God. But I cannot approve that from the altar of the church in Medjugorje the priests themselves advertise 'pilgrimages to the place of apparitions,' despite the fact that they have simply not been recognized as supernatural by the church. If, after serious, solid, and professional investigation, our Bishops' Conference had the courage to declare that Medjugorje's apparitions are not supernatural, in spite of massive stories and convictions to the contrary, then that is a sign that the Church, even in the 20th century, 'upholds the truth and keeps it safe' (1 Tim. 3:15). I affirm this unequivocally and I answer it publicly to all those who have written either anonymous or signed letters to me with contrary advice...." 42
1994 Mar.: Relative to "Poem of the man-God" which had been placed on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1959, 43 - The March 1994 issue of "This Rock" wrote: "In correspondence with 'Catholic Answers', the current Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, pointed out that, although the Index was abolished in 1965, it still retains its moral force, and faithful Catholics should heed the reservations and cautions expressed in it." 44
1994, June 14: "As the present diocesan Bishop of these two Dioceses of Herzegovina, I withhold this decision and action. [i.e. Fr. Jozo Zovko being revoked of "every faculty and canonical mission in the diocese of Mostar-Duvno and Trebinje-Mrkan" by my (Bishop Peric's) predecessor Bishop Monsignor Pavao Zanic, ] Futhermore, since he has heard confessions without the necessary faculty, he has also fallen into the penalties prescribed in Canons 1378 2, 1. I notified him of this in my letter ... of 14 June 1994." 45
1994, Oct. 11: "However, when the time came to make over the parishes in question to the Diocese of Mostar, the obedience professed was put to a hard trial. The religious community, once rewarded by the Holy See with many privileges for its apostolate, today has to receive warnings for its rigidity.
"3. In addition to this is the phenomenon of Medjugorje, a parish administered by the religious mentioned. The official position of the Episcopal Conference, 10 April 1991, distinguishes the pastoral work of the Bishop and the priests concerned from the content of the alleged 'apparitions'. The episcopal declaration states: "On the basis of investigations to date, it is impossible to confirm that we are dealing with apparitions and supernatural revelations." The alleged 'apparitions' create great confusion and division, and not only in the local Church. We are therefore waiting for the Holy See to exert its powers to restore and strengthen the unity of this particular Church." 46
1995: Bishop Peric published "Prijestolje Mudrosti (The Throne of Wisdom) - Criteria for Discerning Apparitions Regarding the Events of Medjugorje" 47
1996, March 23: "Vatican City, Prot. No. 154/81-01985
". . .On the basis of investigation up till now it cannot be established that one is dealing with supernatural apparitions and revelations. However, the numerous gatherings of the faithful from different parts of the world, who are coming to Medjugorje prompted both by motives of belief and certain other motives, require the attention and pastoral care...
"The result from this in what is precisely said is that official pilgrimages to Medjugorje, understood as a place of authentic Marian apparitions, are not permitted to be organized either on the parish or on the diocesan level, because that would be in contradiction to what the Bishops of former Yugoslavia affirmed in their forementioned Declaration." 48
1996, June 19: "VATICAN CITY, JUN 19, 1996 (VIS) - The director of the Holy See Press Office, with regard to news of recent days concerning pilgrimages to Medjugorje, answered journalists' questions this morning with the following declaration:
"No new fact has occurred in this regard. As has been stated on previous occasions, it is a duty in such cases to respect the immediate competency of the local episcopacy... " 49
1996, Nov. 29: [Specifically re: Mrs
Vassula Ryden - but applicable also to Medjugorje!!!:]
"II. Regarding the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, the Congregation states:
"1. The Interpretation given by some individuals to a Decision approved by Paul VI on 14 October 1966 and promulgated on 15 November of that year, in virtue of which writings and messages resulting from alleged revelations could be freely circulated in the Church, is absolutely groundless. This decision actually referred to the 'abolition of the Index of Forbidden Books' and determined that ... after the relevant censures were lifted ... the moral obligation still remained of not circulation or reading those writings which endanger faith and morals.
"2. It should be recalled however that with regard to the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, canon 623 #1 of the current Code remains in force: 'the Pastors of the Church have the ... right to demand that writings to be published by the Christian faithful which touch on faith and morals be submitted to their judgement.'
"3. Alleged supernatural revelations and writings concerning them are submitted in first instance to the judgement of the diocesan Bishop, and, in particular cases, to the judgement of the Episcopal Conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith." 50
1997, Jan. 25 [first printed.] "...Bishop Peric: The judgement of the Church is the same and it is still valid. There is no fact, argument, affirmation or miracle which proves that there is a case of 'apparitions or supernatural revelations'.
"...Bishop Peric: It cannot be claimed in anyway whatsoever that there has been a 'recognition of the cult' or that the parish church at Medjugorje has been recognized as a Marian sanctuary on a diocesan, national or international level.
Question: "Certain authors claim that the inquiry into the events at Medjugorje has been withdrawn from the competent authority -- your own, in your capacity as Bishop of Mostar -- and that it has been reserved to the Holy See. Is this correct? Is one of the commissions of inquiry continuing a work of investigation and study?
Bishop Peric: I would be very happy if the Holy See would reserve to itself the inquiry on the events at Medjugorje, forming its own commission and arriving at a definitive judgement. It certainly has the authority to do so. But, right up till today, I have received no such request. In 1993 the Episcopal Conference of Yugoslavia was dissolved, and was replaced by a number of episcopal conferences -- of Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina etc. The Commission of Inquiry into the events at Medjugorje of the Episcopal conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina (which is comprised of four bishops) has the authority to form a new commission eventually.
"I endeavor to visit the parish of Medjugorje on a regular basis. There are many disorders there. There are Franciscan priests there with no canonical mission; religious communities have been established without the permission of the diocesan bishop; ecclesiastical buildings have been erected without ecclesiastical approval; parishes are encouraged to organize official pilgrimages; etc. Medjugorje, considered as a location of presumed apparitions, does not promote peace and unity but creates confusion and division, and not simply in its own diocese. I stated this in October 1994 at the synod of Bishops and in the presence of the Holy Father, and I repeat it today with the same responsibility.
"Bishop Peric: We, the Bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina, are preoccupied with the consequences of the four years' war (1992-1995), and of the reconstruction of the life of the Church, and we do not see the need to form a new commission of inquiry and to make a new declaration concerning Medjugorje.
"For my part, I have included an article entitled "Criteria for Discerning Apparitions: Regarding the events at Medjugorje in my most recent book, Prijestolje Mudrosti (Seat of Wisdom) published at Mostar in 1995, pp. 266-286). I put forward ten points explaining the reasons why one cannot recognize the authenticity of Medjugorje." 51
1997: "From 1981 onward, "messages of peace" have been sent out to the world from Medjugorje. Yet in our local Church these messages include the following "fruits":
"The Administration of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina, which was punished in 1976, has from 1982, been given the further penalty of being at the level of "ad instar," due to its unwillingness to implement the decisions of the Holy See regarding pastoral services in some of the parishes of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno.
"Many churches have been built by the Franciscans through the help of the faithful and the benefactors, which they blessed themselves, without even informing the local Bishop, which goes against Canon Law and the charism of St. Francis. A church in the parish, Ljuti Dolac, was blessed in this way on April 23rd of this year. In Medjugorje itself, many ecclesiastic buildings have been erected without any permission from proper Church authorities.
"More than ten Franciscan priests do not have canonical faculties to hear confessions in the Diocese of Herzegovina. Some due to their own fault, while others, due to the fault of their Religious community which is not fulfilling the Papal Decree.
"More than forty Franciscans have not received the necessary faculties to work pastorally in Herzegovina, yet they don't even bother with the decisions of the legal Church authorities. Some of them are currently in Medjugorje.
"Many Religious communities are living and working in the parish of Medjugorje without the permission of Church authorities, such as: "Beatitudes," "Kralijice, mira, potpuno tvoji," "Cenacolo," "Oasi di pace," and "Franjevke pomocnice svecnika." Hence, Medjugorje has become a place of Religious disorder, disobedience and anti-ecclesiastical activity.
"Last year, some "Catholic faithful," with the knowledge of the Franciscans, built a brick wall over the entrance doors of the church in Capljina and the Cathedral's affiliated church in Miljkovici. Two Franciscans who are without canonical faculties for the parish of Capljina, are currently working in the enclosed church. Everything they are doing is unlawful and the marriages performed there are invalid!
"Some of the Franciscans in Mostar are ignoring the legally-established Cathedral church and the other four diocesan parishes in Mostar dedicated to the four evangelists, while they continue to organize religious services with the people on their own, against the specific decisions of the Holy See and the Head of the Franciscan Order.
"The Provincial 'ad-instar' has, on many occasions, warned his brothers in writing, that serious measures of the Franciscans' General Administration are being considered for the entire Province due to their disobedience.
"In Medjugorje, the periodical 'Glad mira' and 'Press Bulletin' are published without the necessary permission from Church authorities. These same periodicals proclaim the 'authenticity of the apparitions' and speak of the 'shrine' even through no responsible Church statement has ever claimed 'authenticity' nor proclaimed any 'shrine.'
"The counter-Church organization 'Mir j dobro' (Pax et Bonum) was allowed to borrow the shield and motto of the Franciscans, who have not distanced themselves from their group's illegal activities, even when this was asked of them.
"Hence, these are some of the 'fruits' of those who are using Medjugorje to 'sell shady peace' to the world, and who have hardened themselves in their disobedience towards the Holy See and the Franciscan charism." 52
1997, Oct. 2: In this letter, the ordinary of the Diocese of Mostar, in which Medjugorje is located, says he judges the alleged apparitions to be proven false.
"4. On the basis of the serious study of the case by 30 of our 'studiosi', on my episcopal experience of five years in the Diocese, on the scandalous disobedience that surrounds the phenomenon, on the lies that are at times put into the mouth of the "Madonna", on the unusual repetition of 'messages' of over 16 years, on the strange way that the 'spiritual directors' of the so-called 'visionaries' accompany them through the world making propaganda of them, on the practice that the 'Madonna' appears at the 'fiat' of the 'visionaries, my conviction and position is not only non constat de supernaturalitate but also the other formula constat de non supernaturalitate of the apparitions or revelations of Medjugorje.
5) "Nevertheless I am open to a study that the Holy See would undertake, as the supreme court of the Catholic Church, to speak the supreme and definitive judgment on the case, and that as soon as possible, for the good of souls and for the honor of the Church and of Our Lady." 53
1997, Oct. 5: An Old Catholic "bishop" "confirms" children at Capljina for the disobedient Franciscans. 54 "Those Franciscan priests...invited someone who not only is not a bishop nor priest, but who isn't even a catholic to "confirm"> 55
1998, May 26: "...I am anxious above all to make clear that it is not the practice of the Holy See to assume, in the first instance, a position of its own regarding supposed supernatural phenomena.
"...What His Excellency Msgr. Peric stated in a letter to the General Secretary of 'Famille Chrétienne', in which he declared: 'My conviction and position is not only 'non constat de supernaturalitate', but even this: 'constat de non supernaturalitate' of the apparitions or revelations of Medjugorje', must be considered the expression of a personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar, who, as Ordinary of the place, always has the right to express what is, and remains, an opinion which is his personally.
"Finally, concerning pilgrimages to Medjugorje which take place in a private manner, this Congregation holds that they are permitted, on the condition that they not be considered a validation of events in progress and which still call for examination by the Church. 56
1998, July, 21: "Private" visits.
"The Bishops' Conference gathered in Zadar, in declaring that it is impossible to confirm the authenticity of the Medjugorje apparitions or revelations, also mentions that there exist 'great gatherings of people from all parts of the world who come to Medjugorje for religious and other motives'.
"'Private' visits of this nature have not been debated, since going to Medjugorje would then be similar to visiting any other Catholic parish. Yet it has always been clearly stated that this cannot be done officially, using the church and the pulpit in order to preach the authenticity of the alleged 'apparitions' and proclaiming the place a 'sanctuary' of unrecognized 'apparitions'.
"Regarding 'pilgrimages to Medjugorje of a private nature', the Congregation maintains that they are allowed 'under the condition that they are not considered an authentication of events still going on, which demand further investigations by the Church'. Hence, nothing new here. Official or church pilgrimages are not allowed, nor are 'private' visits allowed that have the intent of proving that the so-called 'apparitions' and alleged 'messages' are authentic! Therefore the official position of the local Bishop is the same official position of the Bishops' Conference of 1991. And both priests and the faithful as Catholics should adhere to this position!" 57
"Cardinal Vinko Puijic of Sarajevo, speaking at the Synod of Bishops, has complained that the reported apparitions of Medjugorje are becoming a source of division in the Church." 58
2002, May "Who has authority to speak about this [Medjugorje] in the name of the Church?"
"During the last assembly of the Bishops of France, a question put by a member of the Conference was the subject of a written response by Msgr. H. Brincard, Bishop of Puy-en-Velay, responsible for overseeing the Association of Marian organizations. This response was made at the request of the Permanent Council. Regarding some facts having a certain repercussion, Bishop Brincard wanted solely to bring an ecclesial light, which we can hope will contribute to strengthening the unity of the People of God. Is not the Virgin Mary, Mother of the Church, in a very particular way, the servant of this unity?
It is particularly interesting to note Msgr. Brincard's observations that:
therefore not correct to say that Bishop Zanic was relieved of the
<![if !supportLists]>1. <![endif]>Dr. Ludwig Ott: "Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma", Tan books and Publishers, Inc. Fourth Edition, May 1960. p. 289.
<![if !supportLists]>2. <![endif]>ibib., pp.278/9.
<![if !supportLists]>3. <![endif]>Condemned "The Little Pebble" ALSO claims blessings and approbation from the Pope. See pictures In the Papal Chapel !!!
<![endif]>I do not know if it
originated from Steve and Ana Shawl's pro-Medjugorje web site and
"Prayer Forum", but it is currently viewable on both - as well as
many, many other apparitionist sites. Medjugorge.org and
<![if !supportLists]>5. <![endif]>Bishop Zanic: February 1990: Statement of Bishop Zanic [Item 23.]
<![if !supportLists]>6. <![endif]>ibid.
<![if !supportLists]>7. <![endif]>ibid. [Item 9.]
<![if !supportLists]>8. <![endif]>ibid. [Item 9.]
<![if !supportLists]>9. <![endif]>ibid. [Item 9.]
<![if !supportLists]>10. <![endif]>ibid.
<![if !supportLists]>11. <![endif]>ibid.
<![if !supportLists]>12. <![endif]>ibid. [Item 9.]
<![if !supportLists]>13. <![endif]>ibid. [Items 16 & 19.]
<![if !supportLists]>14. <![endif]>ibid.
<![if !supportLists]>15. <![endif]>ibid. [Item 9.]
<![if !supportLists]>16. <![endif]>ibid. [Item 9.]
<![if !supportLists]>17. <![endif]>ibid. [Item 9.]
<![if !supportLists]>18. <![endif]>Bishop Pavao Zanic: March 1985: Developments in the Events in Medjugorje
<![if !supportLists]>19. <![endif]>ibid.
<![if !supportLists]>20. <![endif]>Bishop Zanic: op cit. 1990: Statement of Bishop Zanic [Item 9.]
<![if !supportLists]>21. <![endif]>ibid. [Item 18.]
<![if !supportLists]>22. <![endif]>ibid.
<![if !supportLists]>23. <![endif]>Bishop Zanic:1987 Declaration of the Bishop of Mostar on Medjugorje
<![if !supportLists]>24. <![endif]>ibid. [Item 16.]
<![if !supportLists]>25. <![endif]>ibid.
<![if !supportLists]>26. <![endif]>op cit. Bishop Zanic: 1987 Declaration of the Bishop of Mostar on Medjugorje
<![if !supportLists]>27. <![endif]>op cit. Bishop Zanic, March 1985.
<![if !supportLists]>28. <![endif]>Bishop Zanic: op cit. 1990: Statement of Bishop Zanic [Item 16.]
<![if !supportLists]>29. <![endif]>ibid.
<![if !supportLists]>30. <![endif]>op cit. Bishop Zanic: July 1987
<![if !supportLists]>31. <![endif]>ibid.
<![if !supportLists]>32. <![endif]>Valtorta Publishing: "Endorsements of Maria Valtorta's Writings"
<![endif]>Marija Pavlovic: July
1988: Declaration of Marija Pavlovic
<![if !supportLists]>34. <![endif]>Bishop Peric: Published Dec. 2000 in "Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission"
<![if !supportLists]>35. <![endif]>Bishop Zanic: February 1990: Statement of Bishop Zanic
<![if !supportLists]>36. <![endif]>November 1990: Statement by Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia
<![if !supportLists]>37. <![endif]>Bishops of Yugoslavia declaration at Zadar.
<![if !supportLists]>38. <![endif]>Valtorta Promoter Website
<![if !supportLists]>39. <![endif]>Children of Medjugorje
<![if !supportLists]>40. <![endif]>A history of the Controversy of Maria Valtorta’s “Poem of the Man God”
<![if !supportLists]>41. <![endif]>ibid.
<![if !supportLists]>42. <![endif]>Bishop Ratko Peric: October 1993: An Interview With the Bishop of Mostar (excerpts)
<![if !supportLists]>43. <![endif]>Holy Office Decree of December 16, 1959.
<![if !supportLists]>44. <![endif]>New Advent - The Catholic FAQ
<![if !supportLists]>45. <![endif]>op cit. the Los Angeles Lay Catholic Mission.
<![if !supportLists]>46. <![endif]>Bishop Peric: 11 October 1994: Synod Intervention
<![if !supportLists]>47. <![endif]>Bishop Peric: Prijestolje Mudrosti [on line]
<![if !supportLists]>48. <![endif]>Bishop Tarcisio Bertone: March 1996: CDF letter to Bp. Taverdet SACRED CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
<![if !supportLists]>49. <![endif]>Vatican Information Service: June 1996: Declaration on Pilgrimages to Medjugorje
<![if !supportLists]>50. <![endif]>PRESS RELEASE: VASSULA RYDEN NOTIFICATION (Dec 1996) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
<![if !supportLists]>51. <![endif]>Bishop Peric: Medjugorje: The State of the Question
<![if !supportLists]>52. <![endif]>May 1997 Diocesan Statement: Dom Ante Luburic: Medjugorje: a Place of Religious Disorder, Disobedience, and anti-Ecclesiastical Activity
<![if !supportLists]>53. <![endif]>Bishop Peric: Bishop of Medjugorje Says Apparitions Not Supernatural
<![if !supportLists]>54. <![endif]>Bishop Peric: The "Confirmation" in Capljina and the "Charisma" of Medjugorje
<![if !supportLists]>55. <![endif]>Bishop Peric: Medjugorje, Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, 14 June 2001
<![if !supportLists]>56. <![endif]>Bishop Tarcisio BertoneMay 1998: CDF letter to Bp. Aubry
<![if !supportLists]>57. <![endif]>Bishop Peric: Private Visits to Unauthentic Apparitions
<![if !supportLists]>58. <![endif]>Bosnia-Herzegovina Cardinal Critical of Medjugorje Franciscans
<![if !supportLists]>59. <![endif]>May 2002 edition of "Christian Order"
Sean Ó Lachtnáin's Home
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