This article first appeared in Fidelity Magazine, Volume 9 Issue 6. You may purchase the e-edition of the magazine to read this statement, and the other articles that appeared in the May, 1990 issue.
1. The truth regarding the events in Medjugorje is being sought out bya Commission of the Bishop's Conference of Yugoslavia (BKJ). Their work though is progressing slowly. Therefore, with this statement, I wish to help the Commission in coming to a decision as soon as possible. Propaganda in favor of Medjugorje is being rushed in order to place before the Church and the world a "fait accompli." 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.
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, Gerente General of the lATA agency, and Averrida 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.” Hedidnotobey 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 ofVicka 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.
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 many pilgrims and converts there." 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 verltate quidam auditum avertent, adjabulas autem convertentur" "They will tum 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 modem believer in a communist country very quickly believes in everything "miraculous," in apparent miraculous healings and apparent messages from "Our Lady."
4. The main players on which Medjugorje rests are retired Archbishop F. Franic, R Laurentin, L. Rupcic OFM, Arnorth, Rastrelli 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 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 reservee." It is a case of multiple sclerosis. More will be written about this later in a book.
5. 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 in the parish 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 on 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 believe Mirjana?
6. Vicka lvankovic 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 Bulat, 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 handkerchief incident. 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 had thrown it into the river, the end of the world would have occurred now." Vicka Ivankovic 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."
Defrocked & Laicised Priest Tomislav Vlasic
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!
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 the Franciscans . . ." In what way? 'We don't know!" 1\vo 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 that 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 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 Rev. 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 Hercegovina She also said that Rev. lvica 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. lvica Vego. Our Lady answered: "lvica is innocent. If they throw him out of the Franciscan Order, may he remain courageous .... lvica is innocent." Our Lady repeated this three times.
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 Vega.)
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 Vega 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 in 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 withOurLady we asked her if we could pray an Our Father for them [Vega 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 areconstantlyon 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 be revealed."
10. Vicka never denied that Our Lady said these things or that she wrote these things down in her diary. The assurance and authenticityof 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 Bishop's Conference in Zagreb. The cassette should be heard!
A 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! 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 in question here.
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 Pope.
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 this?
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.
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 Vega!
11. The apparition in Cemo. Cerna is a village not far away from Medjugorje. The eighth day after the beginning of the apparitions in Medjugorje there was an "apparition" near Cerna. 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. Janka 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 good (such as pilgrimages, prayers, etc.).
12. "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 Hercegovtna 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.
13. 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 in 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: "Senta 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. T. 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 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 there 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.
14. 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."
The statement was signed, "Marija Pavlovic."
15.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 till 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 defenders 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 Demieres 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 around!"
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 byword 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.
16. 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 Lauren tin 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, yet 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 Dragicevic, Medjugorje."
17. "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.
18. Ivan kept his own diary of the apparitions for a couple of years. This has not been revealed nor has Vicka's, nor 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 own. 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.
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 to 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 (30km) on my knees and beg the Franciscans and the "seers" for forgiveness.
+ Pavao Zanic
20. 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. While I was publicly defending the imprisoned Franciscans, Rev. Jozo Zovko said during the investigations that the bishop is a "wolf' and a "hypocrite." These are his exact words. Zovko's lawyer, Vukovic, asked through a colleague what I had done to Zovko to deserve such heavy accusations. Similarly, Rev. Vlasic often put "Our Lady's" words into the mouths of the "seers," such as "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 ofVlasic and his Provincial. He did not deny my objection but rather he justified his words by saying that 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.
21. By their fruits. The most common argument of the defenders ofMedjugorje 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.
22. Promises of healings are characteristic of the 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 onMay 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 Euna, 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 of the others to whom he spoke .
23. 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 this 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 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 Franciscans from Hercegovina were not allowed to participate in the election of the General. The first point mentioned by the new General of the Order to his brothers in Hercegovina was, "the development or creation of obedience to, and cooperation with the bishop in Hercegovina" Disobedience, 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. The Franciscans themselves are divided. The Franciscan opposition that def ends 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. Jow 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.Jasc. I/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 ofHercegovina, 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 ofMedjugorje, 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.
25. From the beginning of the events I warned the Franciscans that they must wait for the 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 sorts 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 marveling and excitement here has been regarded at times as leading to great blindness and fanaticism.
26. 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. 1\vice during the night 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 tum to gold! And people actually believe this!
27. This blindness towards the events in Medjugorje has also caught some priests and bishops. Many priests from Italy (such as Atnorth, Restrelli and others) easily could have heard that the bishop, the commission, the bishops of Yugoslavia, 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 judgement, but everyone is obligated 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.
This is only a small compilation of that which I would like to write about. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to expand further, with precise documentation, and publish a book on these events.
28. 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 truth.
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.
29. 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:
The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, volume I, 1989.