There is a big controversy around Fr. Jozo Zovko o.f.m. He was the curate in Medjugorje when the ‘ apparitions’ started in June 1981. Already on October 21 1981 the’ Gospa’ said that Zovko is a ‘ saint’. But in reality this Franciscan has been suspended already twice. A first time by bishop Zanic on August 23 1989(diocesan letter Nr. 622/89) and a second time by bishop Peric on June 14 1994 (diocesan letter Nr. 423/94).
Many Medjugorje-fans go crazy when they hear about these suspensions of their ‘ saint’, but nobody has the courage to put these two questions to Fr. Jozo : 1- Is it true that you have been suspended ? 2- For what reason have you been suspended ? Let’s now try to answer these delicate questions.
The fact that Jozo has been suspended has already been published in many languages i.e. french, italian, english, german, dutch… in more than 10 occasions. Mark Waterinckx, who went 24 times to Medjugorje, has this list. Even the French priest and big promoter of Medjugorje, Fr. René Laurentin, wrote in his book “ Derničres Nouvelles de Medjugorje “The 15 of June 1996 on p.34 that, since the motives for the severe sanctions against Zovko were not made public, it must be serious. Also Fr. Slavko Barbaric (another Franciscan already declared ‘ saint’ by the Gospa one day after his death !) confirmed in a tape-recorded interview with Mark Waterinckx on August 8 1997 that Jozo was suspended twice.
Bishop Peric himself spoke during a tape-recorded interview with Mark Waterinckx on August 4 1997 about these 2 suspensions, what he later repeated in letters to the Dutch priest Fr. Rudo Franken on February 7 2000 (prot. 131/2000) and to the Rector of the Basilica National Shrine of Our Lady in Washington, Mgr. Michael Bransfield on November 18 2002 (prot. 1942/2002). As a result of these 2 last letters, it was forbidden to Jozo Zovko even to enter the church. Already on October 15 1996 (prot. 1405/96) the bishop of Mostar had confirmed to Mark Waterinckx by letter the suspensions of Frs. Jozo Zovko and Leonard Orec.
In 1994 already Mgr. Peric had sent the ‘declarata’ to Jozo himself and warned all dioceses of Bosnia-Hercegovina and put the official publication in his diocesan bulletin “ Crkva na Kamenu “ (“ The Church on the Rock”)
Second question : Why has Jozo been suspended in 1989 by bishop Zanic ? Officially it was not mentioned, but insiders do know. In 1986 already a dutch business-man who lived in Yugoslavia said to Mark Waterinckx “ that Jozo had a special interest for beautiful ladies “
At that time Mark was shocked and scandalized by “ such a slander “. But later more and more such rumours came to his ears. In the summer of 1989 an American girl came to him and told him with all details how Jozo had sexually assaulted her. Next day Mark went to Tihaljina to confront Jozo with this story. Zovko denied everything but was pale and in a terrible state. He trembled and accused his good friend Mark ( since 1984 he was Mark’s confessor) of bringing him in such a situation while the church was full of pilgrims waiting for his service. He lied 3 times about the girl and let Anka swear that nothing had happened. Anka was one of the 4 young girls (!) who lived together with this Franciscan in that time in the parish of Tihaljina… Mark was very worried about Jozo’s behavior.
Next day, after praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament in Medjugorje, he decided to walk (partially barefoot) the 32 km. to Tihaljina. But this time Jozo had regained his composure. In spite of the severe burns of Mark’s feet ( what resulted in 10 days of hospital) , Jozo was cynical and laughed at him. Since then, Jozo will say that Mark and all the girls and women who accuse him are crazy. When Mark told the whole story to the then curate of Medjugorje, Fr. Leonard Orec, this collegue of Jozo seemed unconcerned. But meanwhile the American girl had told her nightmare to her confessor, the American Fr. Filip Pavic.
This Franciscan contacted Mark and told him that he had already heard different similar accusations against Jozo earlier. Also Pavic was really puzzled and told about Jozo’s sex-problem to Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic, who immediately shouted 2 times : “ He did it AGAIN !”
Also this Franciscan had already confronted Jozo with accusations from other women , but Zovko denied everything. When Mark spoke later to Frs. Ljudevit Rupcic and Slavko Barbaric about ‘ Medjugorje’s best kept secret ‘, these 2 Franciscans seemed to be very embarrassed with the whole problem around Jozo.
Bishop Peric told Mark (on tape-recorder) that since it was forbidden by bishop Zanic in 19989 to Jozo to hear confessions and since Jozo still continued, that Jozo was suspended ‘latae sententiae’ (automatically) a divinis because of pertinacious disobedience.
Other Sex Problems in Medjugorje
But Jozo Zovko is not the only Franciscan in Medjugorje having sex-problems. Fr. Tomislav Vlasic ( the creator of Medjugorje, says bishop Zanic), had made Sister Rufina ( Manda Kozul) pregnant already in 1976. The child Toni was born in Germany on January 25 1977.
And when Mark Waterinckx, in an August 8 tape-recorded conversation with Fr. Slavko Barbaric, spoke about the rebel-Franciscan Ivica Vego, suspended by the church but supported by the Gospa, and said that this ex-Franciscan was now father of 4 children with an ex-nun Sr. Leopolda. Slavko shouted : “No! Five children already !!!”
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