|Most Rev. Pavao Zanic, Bishop of Mostar|
|The section headings in brackets have been added here.|
February 1990: statement of Bp. Zanic
"I know that there will
probably be many sincerely pious souls that will misunderstand me and
consider me an enemy of Our Lady.... What I am doing is
defending the truth, defending the Church, and I pray to God
that I be able to give up my life for this." -- Most Rev. Pavao Zanic
The Truth about Medjugorje: Bishop Zanic's Latest Statement
|[Bishop Zanic's reasons for writing this statement]|
1. The truth regarding the events in Medjugorje is being sought out
by a Commission of the Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia (BKJ). Their
work is progressing slowly. Therefore, with this statement, I wish
to help the Commission in coming to a decision as soon as
Propaganda in favor of Medjugorje is being rushed in
order to place before the Church and the world a "fait
This has been the intention of the defenders of Medjugorje from
the beginning. It must be admitted that they have succeeded, because
the other side is either working too slowly or remaining silent.
For these reasons and due to the motivation that I have been given
from many from all over the world who realize that the truth has been trampled
upon, I have decided to make another statement according to my
duty and my conscience and help the commission.
With this statement I wish to awaken the conscience of those who
defend Medjugorje. Their path is simple, wide, and downhill all the
way, while mine is difficult, thorny, and uphill.
The Church and Our Lady have no need of falsehoods.
Jesus says: "The truth will make you free" (John 8:32).
"I am the way and the truth and the life" (John 14:6).
"For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world,
to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth,
hears my voice" (John 18:37).
For a short description of the falsehoods about Medjugorje
we would need 200 pages, but for now all I will give is this short summary
without a scientific approach. I am somewhat uneasy because of
the fact that in some statements my name is in the forefront, yet from the
beginning of the "apparitions" I have been in the center of
the events due to my episcopal position and duties. I am sorry as well
for having to mention some "unpleasant things," but without them
the arguments lose their strength. However, the most unpleasant
things will be left out.
|[Promoters of Medjugorje concealing the truth]|
2. A characteristic attitude:
Marina D., a tourist guide for Atlas travel, brought a priest from Panama
to my office in August 1989. His name: Presbitero Rodriguez Teofilo,
pastor of Nuestra Senora de Lourdes. With him came Carmen Cecilia
Capriles - a journalist, Director General of the IATA agency, Avenida
Alberto Navarro, Apartado 1344 Zona 7, Panama. Marina presented herself
as a tour-guide translator for English and a convert because of Medjugorje.
The priest asked me for the reasons why I do not believe in the
"apparitions." I told him that I have at least 20 reasons not to
believe, of which only one is necessary for those who are sober and well
instructed in the faith to come to the conclusion that the apparitions
are not of supernatural origin. He asked me to please tell him
at least one reason.
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.
It is unpleasant to write about this, yet it is necessary in
order to see who is speaking for Our Lady.
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.
Marina cannot be
blamed for having fallen into a community which is concealing the
truth. When I asked Marina to translate Vego's story into English,
she spontaneously responded according to the practice in Medjugorje:
"Do we have to tell them these ugly things?"
I responded by saying that if she and other Medjugorje supporters
had not held back the truth and covered up these "ugly events,"
these people from Panama would have found out earlier, and they would not have
had to travel to Medjugorje for nothing. It is an injustice and a sin to
hide this truth; even though it be unpleasant, it must be said.
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. He has written around ten
books on the topic of Medjugorje, and in almost all of them, the
truth and Bishop Zanic are under fire. He knows well what people
like to hear. Therefore, it was relatively easy for him to find those who
would believe him.
"A veritate quidam auditum avertent, ad fabulas autem convertentur"
-- "They will turn away from listening to the truth and wander
into myths" (2 Tim. 4:4).
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."
The main players on which Medjugorje rests are retired Archbishop F.
Franic, R. Laurentin, L. Rupcic OFM, Amorth, Rastelli S.J., and some
Franciscans and charismatics from all over the world.
Many books have been quickly published, as well as articles, brochures,
films, and souvenirs. There are tourist agencies,
pilgrimages, 600,000 copies of prayerbooks (written by two
Franciscans, Vego and Prusina, who were thrown out of their Order)
published in many languages, 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
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]|
The credibility of the "seers" - Mirjana Dragicevic.
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. She then showed me
the watch on which the "miracle" occurred because the
hands of the watch had gone haywire.
I took the watch to a watch expert, who said that the watch
had certainly fallen and become disordered.
After bringing the watch back to her I told her not to mention
that a miracle occurred.
Yet, on cassettes taped later on, she went to to speak of
how a miracle occurred with the watch and that initially
they had gone out to search for their sheep.
Later on, she claimed that
Our Lady said that all faiths are equal. How much can we
|[The credibility of the seers: Vicka Ivankovic]|
has been the main "seer" from the beginning and through her the
creator of Medjugorje, Rev. Tomislav Vlasic OFM, has launched the
main portion of falsehoods regarding Medjugorje. He presented
himself to the Pope in a letter May 13, 1984 as follows: "I am
Rev. Tomislav Vlasic, the one, according to Divine Providence, who
guides the seers of Medjugorje." It would have been better
for him to withdraw into the "desert" and remain silent, because
his past speaks enough about him. Vicka spoke and wrote much, and
in so doing she fell into many contradictions. Prof. Nikola Bulai,
a member of the first commission, questioned her and wrote a 60-page
study on her. He numbered all the illogicalities and falsehoods of
her diary. Here I will only mention the bloody
Word spread around that
there was a certain taxi driver who came across a man who was bloody all over.
This man gave this taxi driver a bloodied handkerchief and he told
him to "throw this in the river." The driver went on and
then he came across a woman in black. She stopped him and asked
him to give her a handkerchief. He gave her his own, but she
said: "not that one but the bloody handkerchief." He gave her the
handkerchief she wanted and she then said: "If you have thrown it
into the river, the end of the world would have occurred now."
Vicka Ivankovic then wrote in her diary that they asked Our Lady if this
event was true, and she said that it was,
and along with this, "that man covered with blood was my son Jesus,
and I [Our Lady] was that woman in black."
What kind of theology is this?
From this it appears that Jesus wants to destroy the world if a
handkerchief is thrown into a river and that it's Our Lady who will
save the world!
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
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.
Towards the end of January 1983, 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. Here are a few quotes:
December 19, 1981: "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.
January 3, 1982: 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
January 11, 1982: 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.)
January 20, 1982: 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."
April 15, 1982: 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...."
April 16, 1982: "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."
April 26, 1982: 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
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!
conversation with Vicka:
"The bishop has the duty to judge whether or not this is
Our Lady...," said Rev. Grafenauer.
Vicka: He can judge as he wants, but I know it's Our Lady.
Grafenauer: The Church says that those who are confident in
themselves, that this itself is a sign that Our Lady is not
Vicka: Let those who are doubtful remain doubtful; I'm not.
Grafenauer: This is not a good sign... you once told the
bishop that he should listen more to Our Lady than to the
Vicka: Yes I did.
Grafenauer: This means that the bishop should listen to
you more than to the Pope.
Vicka: No, not me.
Grafenauer: But the bishop doesn't know what the phenomenon is,
and perhaps it is not Our Lady.
Vicka: Yes, it is Our Lady.
Grafenauer: You told the bishop that he is to blame and that
those two [Vego and Prusina] are innocent and that they can
perform their priestly duties.
Vicka: Yes I did.
Grafenauer: Can they hear confessions? Did Our Lady mention that?
Grafenauer: If Our Lady said this and the Pope says that they
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
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.
What a degrading humiliation of
Our Lady! According to these statements she is destroying
obedience in the Church, obedience to the bishop, to the
heads of the Franciscan Order, and to the Holy Father.
She is defending Vego!
The apparition in Cerno.
Cerno is a village not far away from Medjugorje. The eighth
day after the beginning of the apparitions in Medjugorje there
was an "apparition" near Cerno. The "seers" told Rev. Jozo Zovko,
the pastor of Medjugorje at the time, of this happening the evening
of the event. They mentioned that Our Lady said four or five times that she
would only appear for three more days, that is, on July 1, 2, and
3. This was recorded on cassette and publicized by Rev. Ivo Sivric,
OFM. The cassette was reproduced. A few years later Rev. Janko
Bubalo published a book titled, A Thousand Meetings with Our
Lady. This is a book of conversations with Vicka. Vicka does
not mention this event, therefore Rev. Bubalo asked whether or not Our
Lady said "only three more days." Vicka responded by saying that
she did not remember!
It is evident that Vicka is
speaking falsehoods and that Our Lady cannot say that which Vicka is
saying. Vicka is fabricating these statements. Should this
remain unknown to the rest of the world? Evil (such as
speaking falsehoods about Our Lady) must not be done in order to
obtain a greater good (such as pilgrimages, prayers, etc.).
|[The credibility of the "seers": Marija Pavlovic.]|
"Seer" Marija Pavlovic
Here is a written account of the taped conversation between
Rev. Grafenauer and Marija:
Grafenauer: Did Our Lady say that the bishop is to blame?
Grafenauer: Did she say that Vego and Prusina were not to blame?
Grafenauer: When Our Lady says that the bishop is to blame this
immediately appears suspicious, and we could conclude that this is not
Our Lady speaking. The seers are apparently spreading word around
that the bishop is to blame.
Marija: Our Lady told us this.
Grafenauer: This is causing revolt in Hercegovina and these are
not good fruits. People will be angry with the bishop and will
defame his reputation. How can Our Lady do such things? The
Church knows well that Our Lady is good and that she would never
do such things.
Marija: Our Lady told us this.
Archbishop F. Franic,
Rev. Laurentin, and many others know all this, yet they remain
silent. What kind of theology can accept these statements by
Our Lady through the declarations of the "seers" that their Teacher,
Pastor, and Liturgist, the bishop, who has legally received his
duty from Christ through the Church, has no love of God in his heart,
that he is declared a sinner throughout the world, that he
should convert and that prayers will be said in Medjugorje for this
intention? There were statements made that Jesus himself would
pray for the bishop so that the bishop would believe and then take
better action in favor of the events in Medjugorje. To say that
the bishop is to wait for Our Lady's judgement is an absurdity.
It is an offense against Our Lady, the Mother of the Church. God knows
that I am not without sin, and that Our Lady could criticize me,
yet God alone is the judge. I have never been reprimanded
or warned by the Holy See for my episcopal service.
The creator of Medjugorje, Rev. Tomislav Vlasic, amongst
other things has published and distributed in many languages
a seventeen page booklet titled: A Calling in the Marian Year
(Milan, March 25, 1988). This regards the founding of a prayer group
for young men and women (something which has been unheard of in the
history of the Church!) who would live together, in Parma, Italy.
They would be the ones who would save the world.
Our Lady apparently gave Rev. Vlasic and Agnes Heupel (a German
woman supposedly healed at Medjugorje) the inspiration to establish
and to lead this community together in a manner similar to Saints
Francis and Clare, as described by Vlasic.
In order for this action
to succeed, Rev. Vlasic asked Marija to add "her witnessing"
on three pages. She is a member of this community and on April 21,
1988 she wrote: "Sento il bisogno..." -- "I feel the need..."
As expected, Our Lady has given a set program to this community of
the "Queen of Peace" and she leads this community through Rev.
Vlasic and Agnes who give messages to the community. "I have been in
the community for a month and a half." I have apparitions, and
Our Lady leads me in the mystery of suffering which is the
foundation of this community. I must write down everything and
publish this once Our Lady tells me to. I have understood God's
plan which he began through Mary in the parish of Medjugorje." This
quotation is taken from pages 15 and 16 of Rev. Vlasic's text.
The defenders of Medjugorje quickly understood that this community
of young men and women living, sleeping, working, and praying
together in the same house would eventually destroy both
themselves and Medjugorje. Therefore, they sent their Provincial,
Rev. Jozo Vasilj, to Parma. He went together with the bishop of
Parma Msgr. B. Cochi and Rev. T. Vlasic to the Congregation in Rome.
They were told that the Church cannot allow such a community to
exist and then Rev. T. Vlasic was ordered to dissolve the
community and to return to Hercegovina. Vlasic did not obey
immediately, yet he returned later. This is what was explained
to me by Rev. Jozo Vasilj regarding the community.
The same Marija Pavlovic made another
public declaration on the 11th
of July 1988. On a single sheet of paper, distributed in the same
manner as the earlier statement, she mentioned: "I feel a moral
obligation to declare before God, Our Lady (the Madonna), and
the Church.... From the text of A Calling... it appears as if
I gave Our Lady's answer to the question put forward by Rev. T.
Vlasic, etc. I now declare that I never sought from Our Lady
(the Madonna) a confirmation of the work of Rev. Vlasic and Agnes
Heupel.... My first declaration... does not correspond to the truth.
Rev. Vlasic suggested to me a few times [nota bene] that I
as one of the "seers" should write a declaration which the world
expects.... Everything I said does not correspond to the truth.
This I declare before the Blessed Sacrament."
statement was signed,
Marija does not deny that she gave her first statement.
Rev. T. Vlasic sought statements from her many times, and this obviously
turns out to be manipulating one of the "seers." So we can
conclude that Marija has consciously spoken falsehoods on the
first or second occasion. She has lied, and this she attributes
to Our Lady. It is evident that Marija is a toy in Rev.
Vlasic's hands. This was clear to me even earlier, yet up until
now, I didn't have material proof to back this up. Rev. T. Vlasic
has manipulated all the "seers" in the same fashion. Under this
type of manipulation, Marija saw how Our Lady cried when someone
mentioned the bishop at a prayer meeting: "From Our Lady's eye
flowed forth a great tear. The tear ran down her face and
disappeared into a cloud under her feet. Our Lady began to cry and
she ascended to heaven crying" (August 22, 1984). An obvious
fabrication by Rev. T. Vlasic intended to frighten the bishop.
Why don't the advocates of
Medjugorje mention these two statements of Marija? Must
these "ugly" things be hidden from the world because, as Rene
Laurentin would say, there are many "conversions" in Medjugorje?
Laurentin writes in his book Dernieres Nouvelles 3 on page
27, that a certain monsignor asked Marija to pray for a message
from Our Lady for his priests. Marija answered: "Our Lady said
that they should read Laurentin's book and spread it
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
|[The credibility of the "seers": Ivan Dragicevic]|
The "seer" Ivan Dragicevic. 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."
Dated: May 9, 1982.
Seer: Ivan Dragicevic.
After having heard this lie,
the members of the first Commission wanted to end all further work,
but they stayed on. Within a few days of this event Rev.
Slavko Barbaric OFM, took the "seers" somewhere and instructed
them all, including Ivan, to write a declaration that Ivan
did not disclose the sign!
Ivan sent messages from Our Lady to the
bishop. On April 24, 1984 Our Lady supposedly said the following
regarding 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?"
Regarding the Commission, Our
Lady says only the following: "Pray, pray, pray! Think over and live
the message I have given and you will see why I have come."
This statement was signed: "Ivan
"Tell the bishop that I seek a quick conversion from him
towards the happenings in Medjugorje before it's too late.
May he accept these events with plenty of love, understanding, and
great responsibility. I want him to avoid
creating conflicts between priests and to stop publicizing their
negative behaviors. The Holy Father has given all bishops the duty to
fulfill certain tasks in their respective dioceses. Among these,
bishops are to solve problems and arguments. The bishop is the
spiritual father of all the parishes in Hercegovina. For this
reason I seek his conversion towards these events. I am sending
my second-last warning. If what I seek does not come about, my
judgement and the judgement of my Son await the bishop. This means
that he has not found the way to my Son Jesus. Our Lady told me
to give you this message."
This message was signed "with
greetings" and dated, "Bijakovici, June 21, 1983." Rev.
Tomislav Vlasic brought this document to me, which he more than likely
wrote himself in a moment of exaltation.
Ivan kept his own diary of the apparitions for a couple of years.
This has not been revealed
nor has Vicka's, not have the writings of the others.
These are the original sources of the events at Medjugorje, yet
they are full of naive statements, clear falsehoods, and absurdities.
They are good proof of the fact that the "seers" do not see Our
Lady or receive messages from her. These messages were written by
someone else and they were given to Ivan for him to sign as his
When Rev. Grafenauer brought excerpts from Vicka's diary to
me, I later on asked Vicka to bring her diary to me. She wrote to
me on May 7, 1983: "I have found out that excerpts from my diary
are being distributed...." This was a very important point which the
Commission accepted as good argument that the diary was written
by Vicka herself or that she considered it her own. Later on,
Rev. Vlasic also came to this conclusion, and therefore in 1984,
he declared before the Commission and myself, that Vicka did not
write that letter to me but rather, that a Franciscan did (probably
Vlasic himself) and that he gave it to her to sign! There are
many similar examples of manipulation, but none have such clear-cut
evidence as this.
|[Other problematic aspects.]|
| ||19. Secrets and secrecy.
From the beginning of the "apparitions,"
the "seers" (obviously having been instructed in order to escape being
examined effectively) have said that "Our Lady" speaks differently
to each of them. When the "secrets" were fabricated, each was to have his/her
own (60 in total), and no one was to reveal them to anyone.
Mirjana and Ivanka received a letter from Our Lady which nobody was
to read. In the beginning there were no moments of ecstasy or
of avoiding the community. They spoke publicly and were spoken to.
They only avoided the Commission.
After having admitted that they
were consulted, they asked "Our Lady" if they could write down the
content of the "great sign" on paper and seal it in an envelope.
"Our Lady" responded: No!
Ivan, though, wrote down the sign and later on said (a statement
which has been taped as well) that "Our Lady" did not scold him
for doing this. The secrets were to be given to a priest (a
Franciscan). Why were they not given to the Commission, the bishop,
or the Pope? 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.
Vicka wrote "Our Lady's
life" for a year and a half, and this was supposed to be a great
secret which shall be published "when Our Lady permits." The
commission asked for the diary about Our Lady, yet "Our Lady" did
not comply with their demand. Can the Commission just see the diary
without taking it or opening it? No, it cannot! This turns out to
be a plot to make fools out of all those who are naive enough to wait
until the end of the world for this sign.
I have already declared
earlier and now repeat the same declaration that if Our Lady
leaves the sign which the "seers" are speaking of, I'll make a
pilgrimage from Mostar to Medjugorje (30 km) on my knees and beg
the Franciscans and the "seers" for forgiveness.
Slander against the bishop.
It has been said that "the bishop also believed in the beginning."
This is not true! While the communists were persecuting the
Franciscans, the "seers" and pilgrims, I defended all of them and
therefore I did not change my mind "because of threats by
the Republic commission or because the diocesan priests sought
this from me." This is simply fabricated slander by many.
I was publicly defending the imprisoned Franciscans, Rev. Jozo
Zovko said during the investigations that the bishop is a "wolf" and
a "hypocrite." There are his exact words. Zovko's lawyer,
Vukovic, asked through a colleague what I had done to deserve such
Similarly, Rev. Vlasic often put "Our Lady's"
affirmation that Satan (in this case the bishop) is out to destroy her
plan. He wrote this more clearly in a letter to friends in the
Vatican. I complained about this accusation, his calling the
bishop Satan, in front of Vlasic and his Provincial. He did not
deny my objection but rather he justified his words by saying
he wrote this while under the influence of extreme emotion. A person
can say something while under emotion, but this cannot be written
down and translated into foreign languages.
|[Claimed fruits and promised healings]|
By their fruits.
The most common argument of the defenders of Medjugorje
is that the fruits of the events in Medjugorje prove that Our
Lady is appearing there. Those who know a bit more than the
pilgrims who come to Medjugorje say: the fruits of the staunchest
defenders of Medjugorje show that they themselves do not believe
in the apparitions. If all the "ugly things" could be made
public then surely the answer would be clearly negative to everyone.
Yet Laurentin, Rupcic, Vlasic, Barbaric, and others meticulously
hide the truth. If the defenders of Medjugorje come across
someone who is skeptical of the apparitions, they quickly isolate
this person, accuse him of something or declare
him mad, as they did with J.L. Martin.
The majority of the pious
public has naively fallen victim to this great propaganda, the
talk of apparitions and of healings. These people themselves
have become the greatest propagandists for the events. They do not
even stop to think that the truth has been hidden by deliberate
falsehoods. They do not know that not one miraculous healing has
occurred that could have been verified by competent experts and
institutions such as the "Bureau medical de Lourdes." No one
knows of anyone healed from Hercegovina. Everyone knows that
little Daniel, old Jozo Vasilj, Venka Brajcic, and others cited in
the first books about Medjugorje were not healed.
Promises of healings are characteristic of these events.
When they don't occur as promised, then they are denied
because they were never taped or written down on paper.
There have been many promises that have ended tragically. What
interests us is whether or not "Our Lady" is giving these promises,
or whether or not they are thought up by the "seers".
The tragic end of Marko Blazevic as described
by the retired archbishop of Belgrade, Msgr. Turk, says much regarding
the "promises" of healing. The archbishop wrote on May 22, 1984, that he
was received as a patient of the cardiology clinic at the Belgrade
hospital. The archbishop received the bed that was previously
occupied by Marko Blazevic of Buna, near Mostar, who was to go in
for an operation. Mr. Blazevic told the archbishop and many
other patients, doctors, and hospital staff that Our Lady had
promised, through the "seers," that the operation would succeed.
A nun who assisted in the operating room, wrote to me later that
Blazevic's wife and his daughter spoke to her with a
fanatical type of faith in "Our Lady's promise." A certain
doctor was also convinced of this promise. The patient did not
wake up after the operation.
During the operation, a group of
patients prayed fervently outside the doors of the operating
room. Many spoke of this incident which left many very
disappointed and ashamed before people of other faiths and
atheists. Rev. T. Vlasic, in his typical fashion of hiding
the truth, succeeded in convincing the daughter of the late
Mr. Blazevic to go to the bishop to tell him that Our Lady
only told them to pray, not that she promised them that the
operation would succeed! I told her not to make a liar out
of her late father or liars out of the others to whom he spoke.
|[The relation between the Franciscan province and the Diocese
The Franciscan and diocesan clergy.
The relations between the Franciscan and diocesan clergy regarding
pastoral duties in
the parishes of Hercegovina were established by a decision of the
Holy See in 1899 by the suggestions of the Franciscans themselves
and then-Bishop Paskal Buconjic, OFM. According to the decision
the parishes were to be divided equally into two groups of 50
percent of the faithful between the Franciscan and diocesan clergy.
Since there were no diocesan clergy at the time, the parishes
that rightfully belonged to them were in 1923 left to the
Franciscans "ad nutum S. Sedes."
Bishop Cule, the first diocesan
bishop of Mostar, in 1948 was sentenced to 11 years and 6 months in jail.
He served eight and a half years of this sentence before being
released. After his jail term the number of diocesan clergy began to rise.
In 1968, the Holy See ordered the Franciscans to hand over to 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
Hercegovina. The Franciscans publicly and collectively denounced this
decree even though they administer over 80 percent of the faithful in
the diocese of Mostar.
In 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."
Another penalty was that in 1979, the Province was 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
Hercegovina was "the development or creation of obedience to, and
cooperation with, the bishop in Hercegovina."
however, prevails today as before, and "Our Lady" from the
beginning has been defending disobedient Franciscans.
Vicka writes in her diary of the apparitions, that Our Lady said that the bishop is
to blame for all the disorder in Hercegovina. (See
para. no 9.)
This has been repeated many times.
Franciscans themselves are divided. The Franciscan opposition
that defends Medjugorje succeeded in toppling their own
"ad instar" superiors that developed good relations with the
bishop, and they installed a group that defends Medjugorje.
The new Provincial "ad instar", Rev. Jozo Vasilj, did not
succeed in creating peace and order amongst his brothers so he
escaped to the missions in Zaire and won't come back! (Is this one
of the good fruits?) He has been replaced by the Vice Provincial and
the General has called for obedience from all or else the Province
will be abolished. "It is time that all take their own personal
responsibility before judicial sanctions are made or the Province
is abolished" (Acta Ordinis F.M. fasc. 1/89).
The Province will not receive its own hierarchy until the
Decree is completed. Three visitors of the OFM Order, who came to the
Province in 1988, said that there is not one Franciscan in the
province who is in favor of completing the Decree. This opinion
is exaggerated yet still important.
24. This is only a portion of
the "good fruits" coming from Medjugorje. The pilgrims,
though, only know that the bishop "hates the Franciscans."
There are a good number of Franciscans in the province who cooperate
well with the bishop and these Franciscans do not believe
in the apparitions either. Some of them have never
set foot in Medjugorje.
A number of good Franciscans have
begged me to write something so that together, we could combat
the lies of Medjugorje because they believe that "God will
punish us Franciscans severely because we have spread lies
and falsehoods throughout the world and made money on them."
Of the one hundred diocesan
priests in the dioceses of Hercegovina, not one believes in the
apparitions. Of the 42 bishops of Yugoslavia (ordinaries,
auxiliaries, and retired) only one has been outspoken in declaring
his belief and has defended the events. Of the 15 members of
the first Commission, which was formed by the bishop of Mostar
with the help of the bishops and provincials from Yugoslavia,
11 of the members said that there is nothing supernatural in
the events of Medjugorje, two (both Franciscans) claimed that the
apparitions are authentic, one member said that there was
something "in nucleo" (in the beginning), and one
abstained. The Holy See (contrary to the story that has been
spread by the defenders of Medjugorje) has never seen,
much less rendered judgment on, the commission's three years of
work. Neither did the Holy See abandon the bishop.
|[The danger of spiritual blindness]|
| ||25. From the beginning of the
events I warned the Franciscans that they must wait for judgement
of the Church, so that together we can search for the truth.
The leaders of the events, though, had as their aim bringing the
masses as soon as possible to Medjugorje, obtaining a lot of
money for propaganda, and using Our Lady for their battle
against the bishop. They fabricated miracles regarding the sun,
and as a result many pilgrims damaged their eyes from staring into
the sun. They cited 50, 150, 200 and 300 healings, and they spoke of
all sort of things, seeing that the faithful believed everything
they said, especially when Archbishop F. Franic and Laurentin were
there to back them up. The faithful in Medjugorje look upon
the events as they are instructed, as is the case in all other
places of apparitions, be they true or false. The marvelling
and excitement here has been regarded at times as leading to
great blindness and fanaticism.
The Italians know well the story of Gigliole Ebe Giorgini, the
foundress of the false order of "Pia Opera di Gesu Misericordioso."
Separated and remarried civilly, she spent time promoting various
sorts of quackery. She gathered young women for her order and
she received and earned great amounts of money. She had two
priests in her service and many houses. She led a double
life and had a false stigmata, which she made herself.
Her "sisters" followed her fanatically, and they called her
Mamma Ebe. She had male vocations as well, but some who left her
later on, declared that she led an immoral life. She
had many jewels and gold, two yachts, furs, etc.
Many in the Church objected to her way of life, while others
fanatically defended her, citing good fruits. She even received
praise from two bishops. Twice during the night the police
raided her room in the mother house, and they found her in bed with
one of her seminarians. A scandal broke out and she was sentenced
twice to many years in prison along with a Franciscan who was her
confessor. The press wrote for years about this scandal. An
illicit film was made as well, yet her followers fanatically and
blindly defended her even when the order fell apart.
According to them, she was a saint who attracted many vocations
and this was argument enough for many that from the "fruits"
she was obviously inspired by God! Religious blindness is
extremely hard to cure. Fanaticism brought the beginning of the
heresies in the Church; today it is the foundation of sects.
The Protestant pastor Rev. Jim
Jones developed a great charitable organization in the United
States, and he gathered great sums of money and gathered many
fanatical followers to his sect. In order to be freer in their
work, about 1000 of them went to Guyana, South America where they
established "Jonestown" as their new home. They established
a dictatorship and demanded fanatical obedience to their "Messiah."
Much was written about terrible things that went on, about the
immorality of Jones and how some tried to escape the community but
were caught and killed. Then they were without money. Rumors
spread that the American army would intervene, so Jones ordered
them to retreat to the jungle. Seeing no way out, he called on
everyone to give up their lives in order to travel to eternity.
Over 900 of them came with cups to a huge pot in order to drink poison and
then fall dead. What gave them the strength to commit suicide?
Fanaticism! Yet when the Christian faithful hear of apparitions
and miracles they easily accept these events as facts without being at all
critical of the events.
They are then caught up in their blindness and fanaticism.
Whatever is spoken is believed automatically, such as,
the ordinary rosaries in Medjugorje turn to gold! And people
actually believe this!
This blindness towards the events in Medjugorje has also caught some priests and
bishops. Many priests from Italy (such as Amorth, Restelli,
and others) easily could have heard that the bishop, the commission,
a portion of the Franciscans, and all the diocesan priests do not believe
in these events. Yet they avoided the truth, even though I
received everyone who inquired about the events and gave them my time.
I'm particularly surprised by the lack of collegiality of some
bishops. Nobody has to accept my judgment, but everyone is obliged
by conscience to study the events of Medjugorje well before taking
a position, especially if that person has a position of authority
in the Church, as bishops do.
"What have they done to you,
Our Lady!" For nine years they have been dragging you along like
a tourist attraction. They have been speaking with you whenever
it pleased them, as if you were a bank teller. They have
fabricated messages, and they say that you come and appear there,
but beyond their own arguments they have nothing to prove that
what they say is true. The whole world has been expecting a
"great sign", and the naive still wait and believe. Unfortunately,
this false sensation will bring great disgrace and scandal upon the Church.
Those who lead the events are not converting
even though the threat of the abolition of the province by the
General hangs over them.
only a small compilation of that which I would like to write about.
Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to expland further,
with precise documentation, and publish a book on these events.
|[To those who have believed until now]|
There are many prayers and pious activities in Medjugorje. Some say that there
have been conversions as well. I have received, indeed, many truly
touching letters, and I feel sorry for those who will sooner or
later be disappointed. But there has also been fanaticism,
superstition, and misinformation in the events of Medjugorje.
I have also received many rude accusations in the mail which
I cannot mention, all in the name of the "Queen of Peace".
That which is positive in these events cannot justify the falsehoods
and lies that have been spread in order to win the world over
for God. Jesus said: "I have come into the world to give
witness to the truth" (John 18:37). The Church would
easily be able to attract the masses if it dropped the sixth
commandment, if divorce were allowed, if it let everyone
believe and do what they wanted. But Jesus went on the cross for
the truth, and the martyrs gave up their lives for the truth.
St. Paul writes to his faithful: "If anyone is preaching to
you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be
accursed" (Gal 1:9). Today, many prayer groups all over the
world pray from Rev. Ivica Vego's prayerbook and meditate over the
supposed messages of Our Lady as if these things were more important
than the Bible and the teaching Magisterium of the Church. I do
believe, despite these events, that Our Lady shall beg the
necessary graces for the Church in order for it to live Christ's
I know that there will
probably be many sincerely pious souls that will misunderstand me and
consider me an enemy of Our Lady. I have been to Lourdes
many times and to other shrines that have been tied in with
apparitions that the Church has recognized. What I am doing is
defending the truth, defending the Church, and I pray to God
that I be able to give up my life for this.
Those who have written about Medjugorje have sold their books well and
have made great profits. Unfortunately, those who have
written critically haven't fared as well because they have come across
an organized boycott. For the other side of the story,
people should read:
Rev. Dr. IVO SIVRIC, OFM (a
Franciscan born in Medjugorje now living in St. Louis, USA),
The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, volume I, 1989. Editions
Psilog, C.P. 300, Saint-Francois-du-Lac, Quebec, Canada J0C 1M0.
Tel. (514) 568-3036.
E. MICHAEL JONES, Medjugorje:
the Untold Story, Fidelity Press, 206 Marquette Ave.,
South Bend, IN 46617, USA, 1988, pp. 144.
P.A. GRAMAGLIA, L'Equivoco
di Medjugorje. Apparizioni mariane o fenomeni di medianita?
Claudiana, Torino, 1987, pp. 172.
Most Rev. Pavao Zanic
Bishop of Mostar