“Just another guy with a blog.  No big whoop.”

March 23, 2010

Unsuspecting Medjugorje devotees misled by deceptive translation?

That's the opinion of Medjugorje-watcher Diane Korzeniewski, who offers a line-by-line analysis of the original message of Archbishop Allessandro D'Errico, apostolic nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina, comparing it with a faulty translation of that message which was posted on a pro-Medjugorje website.
It takes only two sentences, mistranslated to include words not said by Archbishop Allessandro D'Errico when the Papal Nuncio addressed the people of Bosnia & Herzegovina with regards to the new Medjugorje commission, to change the meaning of what he was saying.

His Excellency would be disappointed to learn how a pair of sentences, made into one, came across to English speaking readers as a result of the fabrication that was made. . . . (Continue reading)


  1. I hope everyone finds the truth.

  2. Patrick, I just checked the Catholic Answers Live calendar and see the topic for your appearance scheduled for tomorrow--which was "Medjugorje" a few weeks ago--has been changed. This disappointed me; what little I know about the Medjugorje situation makes me skeptical, and I knew you could offer a balanced discussion in light of the Church's understanding.

    I do hope the topic will be discussed on Catholic Answers Live in the future and pray that the Church will sort out the questions surrounding Medjugorje.

  3. I wish Rome WOULD decide and put an end to this.

  4. The cancellation (delay?) on the part of EWTN is not a bad thing from my perspective as host of Catholic Answers Live. We booked the topic and date well in advance of finding out about the confirmed Holy See Commission under good Cardinal Ruini. There is a certain brand of Medjugorje supporter who thinks the whole affair is up-in-the-air (and therefore it's unknown what Catholics are to believe about the phenomenon) until and unless some further Commission says something "official."

    In fact, many callers would have simply said, as Susan L. says, "let Rome decide." Not great radio!

    The only trouble is, this is not how the Catholic Church resolves claims of private apparitions. All apparitions are approved or rejected by the local Bishop. Full stop. A good example is Fatima, which was approved not by Pope Pius XI but by the Bishop of Leira, in Portugal in 1930. Pope Benedict XV made positive public statements within months of the 1917 apparitions, but the competent authority -- granted by Rome -- is the chief shepherd of the local Church on the ground, near the events and amidst the players.

    The local Bishop is the one officially given the "private apparition beat." In the case of Medjugorje, that would be former Bishop Zanic, current Bishop Peric, the official Zadar Declaration of 1991, supported by the findings of a thrice-expanded Commission of the (then) Yugoslav Bishops' Conference -- have already ruled on Medjugorje: It is an *unapproved* apparation.

    Catholics may not make official pilgrimages there; neither the church of St. James nor the nearby apparition site may be called a "shrine;" and if you do travel to the Diocese of Mostar Duvno and visit St. James, you are not permitted to do so presuming the seers are seeing the Blessed Virgin Mary.

    As Catholics in the midst of a terrible crisis of authority, it behooves us to obey the directives of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which to this day directs inquirers to the Zadar Declaration as the official stance of the Catholic Church. The current Commission is going to be polishing and more completely articulating the position set forth in that Declaration. We must pray fervently for His Eminence Ruini, and all the members, and for the Holy Father who is now the target of vicious media (and ecclesial) attacks.

    A sad parallel to these attacks may be seen in the nasty treatment given His Excellency Ratko Peric by many many Medjugorje devotees. It's hard to understand the venom against the man given the task -- by Rome -- of evaluating the phenomenon.

    The overwhelming preference of subjective experience over objective facts and authoritative protocols is disturbing to observe, especially since most Medjugorje devotees self-identify as fervently attached to the Church. May it remain so....

  5. And I don't understand WHY the attack on us as supporters?

    I am not attacking anyone who disbelieves. I am really really sickened by the attitude of those on this site and others towards those of us who believe that Our Lady is there. (Patrick Madrid has not had this attitude, by the way...thank you, Patrick).

    Come on! Enough already. If it is true that all that is needed is for the local Bishop to say that this is not true, then WHY is Rome doing a study on it?

    I admit fully that I am no expert on Medjugorje. I am not running around reading all the sites, gobbling up all the literature, or making a pilgrimage (although I would like the last one).

    Ok. So now attack me. Go ahead. Have your fun.

    There are too many loose threads here to say "no way" on Medjugorje.

    You have not shown me ONE THING that disproves it. I have had anti-Medjugorje links given to me. Uhhh. Won't cut it. With a quick look, I could send you pro-Medjugorje sites that you will discount. The stuff I looked at (that were sent me) proved nothing. The devil is sure to show up where Our Lady is,too, to cause trouble.

    Are the seers being disobedient to Rome?

    Now, I'll grant you, if you can show me that to MY satisfaction, then you will have proven something. Maybe you can. I don't know. I haven't followed the sites. Just the messages which don't go against Church teachings.

    And yes!! I am an extremely devout convert. Don't mess with me telling me that I'm not a good Catholic. I'm not perfect but I'm trying real hard.

    "Unapproved" apparition. Ok. It's not approved, right? So please explain to me (because I really want to know)...does the Church use stronger language when something is not only "unapproved" but worse than that? What I mean is...haven't there been alleged apparitions that the Church believed to be uhmmmm.....maybe satanic in nature or...maybe folly on the part of the "seers?" Something that the Church would say is not only "unapproved" but to be totally discounted?


    Ok, I'm a little more calmed down. I am very willing to accept what the Church teaches. I still reserve judgment on Medjugorje until I can talk with my spiritual advisor (a very holy Catholic priest). My advisor is very knowledgeable on Church teachings and will go out of his way to not steer me wrong.

    What I do find extremely offensive is when I see the anti's making fun of us, belittling us and lumping us with those few who act in an un-Christian like manner. The arrogance that I have witnessed (on another posting here of Patrick's website )has made me wonder about people's obsession with getting rid of any talk of the seers. I have spoken about the arrogance before and the only person who addressed it was Patrick Madrid. Let me tell you, he was virtually the ONLY PERSON who spoke with respect. That is why some have stopped visiting. We don't like getting royally bashed.
    One lady in particular was so highly critical and so determined to get me to disbelieve, she couldn't come down from her high horse and speak like a normal person...with some respect.

    Hence you see my anger here. That site which has a bad translation? Are you trying to tell me that this was on purpose? Even the writer on the other site was having trouble with the translation.

    When it comes to this topic, people are very...quick...to assume the worst.

  6. Dear Susan:

    If you felt attacked, please point out where. And please let me know where exactly I hinted in any way that you are not a good Catholic, or made fun of you, or belittled you, or arrogantly tried to rid all talk of the seers? Assumed *anything* about you? Good gracious, I don't know you at all, Susan, and you evidently don't know me! Below, I have answered your questions. Please answer this one from me.

    I am not "anti" anything so much as "pro" Magisterium. I cited your post only because it proves that a radio presentation of the facts about Medjugorje (as opposed to enthusiastic propaganda, which dominates the internet by an overwhelming majority) would be effective.

    Take it easy.

    There are two degrees of non-approval to any private apparition: non constat de supernaturalitate (it is not confirmed that the origin is supernatural) and constat de non supernaturalitate (is is confirmed that the origin is not supernatural). Medjugorje has been assessed by two successive local bishops (Zanic and now Peric) as well as the Zadar Declaration to be the former. Bishop Peric has written publically that his own view is the more stringently negative, but the other one is also rejection insofar as it is not an approval. It falls in the same designation as the false apparitions at Garabandal, although both Medjugorje and Garabandal *are* in fact subject to the more stringently negative judgment in the future.

    To be frank, and I mean this in kindness, you don't need to consult a priest, regardless of his personal holiness. The place to go is the source that presents the official Catholic position, which is the statements found on the website of the Diocese of Mostar Duvno. That is where the CDF directs people from all over the world.

    Is it not possible that the Holy See is finally getting involved because all the usual avenues of episcopal teaching have been ignored by Medj supporters?

  7. I just noticed after following Diane's link to the official Medjugorje web site, that the seers' messages continue to be presented on that web site. Didn't Bishop Peric state that they were not to promote or publish them?


  8. Patrick Coffin, my rant wasn't aimed at you. It was probably bad timing on my part to be writing it here but I did say that it was based on what posters have said in the past on this particular website. We got blasted before. There is another website that I made only vague references to (it's another apologist whom I like but he gets waaaaay carried away) and it was too much so I stopped even reading it.

    So it's a combination of past posts on Patrick Madrid's site and this other apologist's site.

    I apologize if it looked like I was yelling at you. I wasn't. I was just ranting. You see, #1) anytime this topic comes up, supporters get hit. This may be the one time people leave us alone. (and wouldn't you know, this would be the time I'd rant. sigh)
    #2) I have serious questions about the article concerning the translation.

    With all due respect, I am going to talk to my spiritual advisor anyways about this. He can help explain things on what the Church teaches and what it says about Medjugorje. I need to talk this over with someone I know. (I probably need to go to confession while I'm at it, too). This priest is very knowledgeable and completely 100% with the Church on everything.

    I blew up too soon and on the wrong people. I sincerely apologize for that. It really wasn't aimed at you (even though, looking back, I can see how it looks like that). It was, unfortunately, getting ready for the shots. (open mouth--insert foot)

    Now that I've tasted crow (seconds, please)...

    friends? (Looks hopeful)

  9. We're copacetic. Or kosher if you're a non-Gentile.

    Happy Lent.

    Patrick the Lesser

  10. I think Patrick Coffin has made an error in his interpretation on how private apparitions are adjudicated - and most especially in this instance. Rome had placed the discernment of Medjugorie in the hands of the now defunct Yugoslav Conference of Bishops (may not be the exact name). While that group did not endorse the visions, they did not condemn them. Now Rome is stepping in.
    It should be remembered that this is a Catholic Croatian village in a Bosnian Muslim country that experienced a vicious civil war with excplicit religious overtones. There are a range of political forces that are impacting every aspect of how the Church handles this issue - both in Bosnia and in Rome. And the control of the local bishops, least of all Rome, has been very poor in this area for some time - a legacy of the sources of the previous civil war and some rather impolitic ecclesial authorities.

  11. Patrick,

    The web site you linked to is an anti-Medjugorie website. I simply do not trust it because of their continued bashing of all thing Medjugorie. I would think you'd know better than to link to this type of stuff. For a balance to this view (not about the translation, but about the messages) go here: http://www.medjugorje.ws/en/articles/medjugorje-real/

  12. Matt in Sydney, AUSMarch 25, 2010 at 7:48 AM

    Dear all,
    I have posted on sites before but I feel I need to say that I spent 5 weeks in Medjugorje in the heart of winter Jan-Feb 1994. I lived in a house with a number of Bosnian refugee families and I have many fond memories of these beautiful people. The snow that fell on the town was mesmerizing and I loved the routine of morning English mass, various solitary and friendly activities, and the Croatian mass in the evening. I had a disturbing event when I went exploring over the other side of Krizevac and down into the valley beyond. From what I feel from that place - I am inclined to think that this is not human deception but something dark. I can only say be very careful and I pray that when the Vatican does denounce this place, that people will retain their sanity and trust in God's providence and mercy.

    On this feast of the Annunciation the humility and obedience of the Mother of Jesus is again celebrated by the Church. Praised be Jesus and Mary, the Holy Virgin was chosen from all humanity to be the Mother of God. Without her "yes" there is no incarnation, no human nature taken on by the Second person of the Trinity, no crucufixion, no resurrection.............

    We have all of the truth required for salvation and holiness in the holy canon of scripture and the sacred tradition of the Church.
    Mary our Mother was always obedient, humble, docile to the Spirit of God.
    With the light of reason can people say that what is happenning at the personality cult reflects the nature of the Mother of our Lord?
    The serpent is smarter than any person on earth.
    praised be Jesus and Mary (protect us). Amen.

  13. Regardless of any tiny error in translation, the tone of the speech and message was clearly supportive and positive towards Medjugorje. It reads accurately that, on the one hand, Benedict appreciates the good fruits, yet on the other hand hears so many opposite things.

    Patrick, do not get involved with these people, nor give them any face. Simply let the Vatican decide. The more high-profile Catholics such as yourself who say no to this type of unecessary hooha, and who promote patient waiting for due process, the BETTER. Lord knows we've had enough.

  14. It is astonishing to see how readily some people will dismiss information without considering it on its own merits simply because it conflicts with their own notions. This mindset of regarding facts as attacks is not worthy of good Christians.

    Yes, Diane K. does not believe that Medjugorje is an authentic apparition. What of it? What does that have to do with anything when it comes to analyzing the documented evidence she presents?

    And what do you mean by saying, "I would have thought you would have known better than to link to this kind of stuff"? By "that kind of stuff" I presume you mean inconvenient evidence that conflicts with what you believe and which you dismiss because you don't want your opinions challenged.

    If that's not it, then I'd be interested in knowing specifically what it is that Diane has posted that you find unworthy of your consideration.

    If you were to be consistent in applying your logic of dismissing information presented by anti-Medjugorje sources because of their continued "bashing" etc., those who doubt the authenticity of Medjugorje should therefore disregard evidence supplied by pro-Medjugorje sources because of their continued promotion of all things Medjugorje.

    Don't you see the unfair and inconsistent double standard at work here in your comments?

    Facts is facts, ma'am. Go where the facts are because that's where you're going to find the truth. That's what I say. Or, in the words of St. Paul, who said it far better than I, "Test everything; hold fast to what is good."

    Please be willing to do the "testing" part.

  15. Paul, I appreciate your concern and I understand and sympathize with your desire that the Vatican make a decision on this, and hopefully soon. May it be so!

    I am curious, though, whether you will take your own advice and cease promoting Medjugorje and simply let the Vatican decide. After all, if the goal is for people to refrain from raising criticisms and concerns about problematic aspects of Medjugorje (which you deem to be "unnecessary hooha"), then wouldn't you agree that it would be equally important for those who promote Medjugorje and proclaim it to be authentic to also be silent on this matter and wait patiently for the Church's definitive decision?

    I ask that question in all sincerity and with respect.

  16. Patrick,

    Ok, since you asked, I think you and the blog you link to are making way too much out of this. Both translations seem to be saying the same thing to me. 'It is very difficult for him to perceive' does not mean he has not heard anything, the two translation proposed are not contradictory. Either way, the Pope is saying that there is opposing info. being put out about the phenomena. That could mean that B XVI is surprised that the local bishop is causing such divisions by putting out false or misleading info. It could mean that he is surprised that there are so many supporters that put out contrary info. It seems to be a non issue that someone who is venimently against Medjugorje wants to be a big issue. Oh, and you are right, it is the thing that is said that makes a thing true, not the one who says it. However, getting your facts here is kinda like watching the view to learn the truth about politics. The facts are this: The Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Church’s highest authority under the Pope himself for dealing with private revelation, confirmed the legitimacy of personal belief and pilgrimages to Medjugorje at this point in the Church’s evaluation in its statement issued on May 26, 1998 (Protocol No. 154/81-06419). In the statement of Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary to the Prefect, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, to French Bishop Msgr. Gilbert Aubrey, Archbishop Bertone confirms that the 1991 Zadar statement is presently the official position of the Church regarding Medjugorje. Archbishop Bertone (presently Cardinal Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State) states: "As for the credibility of the ‘apparitions’ in question, this Dicastery respects what was decided by the bishops of the former Yugoslavia in the Declaration of Zadar, April 10, 1991."

    The 1998 CDF Statement on Medjugorje also makes specific reference to the personally negative position of the present local bishop of Mostar, Msgr. Peric, as constituting "what is and remains his personal opinion." The present bishop’s personal position is not the official position of the Church on Medjugorje. The Vatican Congregation confirms the 1991 declaration of the ex-Yugoslavia Bishops as the present official position of the Church on Medjugorje, which in no way condemns the apparitions, but on the contrary allows for personal belief before any final decision is reached. The Vatican statement ends by likewise repeating the Church’s expressed permission for private pilgrimages to Medjugorje while further investigation takes place.
    -taken from http://www.medjugorje.ws/en/articles/medjugorje-real/, from one of the churches foremost Marian scholars. I recommend a reading.

  17. Patrick,

    As an apologist, a man of reason, logic and faith, I would expect a more evenhanded evaluation of this topic from you in this space. I certainly am surprised you would link to a decidedly anti-medjugorje blog with the sensationalist headline: "Unsuspecting Medjugorje Devotees Misled by Deceptive Headline?" First, there is no evidence of "deceit" - at most a quibble over a perfectly reasonable translation (even Diane seems to have backtracked - will you?). Second, Diane has no theological or linguistic background to uncover a "deception". Third, Medjugorje supporters are not "unsuspecting" sheep who need to be protected from "misleading" Croation to English translations any more than other readers of other Catholic blogs.

    There have been many objective developments on the Medjugorje news front in recent months, however I never see you linking to any objective news but only negative and unqualified sources. So the question becomes, are YOUR readers being misled by your careless and apparently biased reporting on this important story?!

  18. Not so, Tipper, not so. I invite you to read more carefully what I have actually said on my blog. You will see that I have indeed linked to pro-medjugorje information, for example in this post: http://patrickmadrid.blogspot.com/2010/01/medjugorje-fact-sheet-is-devil-in.html

    If Diane feels she has "backtracked" from her original concern, that's news to me. I know she reads this blog, so perhaps she may want to answer that question for your herself.

    Also, it is not necessary that people be "sheep" (in the negative sense) in order to be misled. To say that some people are unsuspecting does not impute anything negative or derisive to them. It simply means that some people, without realizing what is happening, can be misled by something that is deceptive in its appearance, whether or not the person who wrote it intended to deceive. For example, the phrase, "I will waste no time in reading the material you sent me," is deceptive insofar as it can be understood in two different and entirely legitimate ways but which have opposite meanings. A friend could write that line to you in a note without in any sense intending to deceive you. And yet, the statement could rightly be termed deceptive because of its ambiguity and, therefore, being open to more than one possible interpretation. That is why there is nothing amiss with the headline I gave the blogpost. You shouldn't impute bad motives or ill will to me. And as for your complaint that I am "careless" and "biased" in my reporting on this story, I refer you to my posts (just type in "Medjugorje" in the search bar at top-left to aggregate all the posts that discuss this issue), I think that a fair reading of what I have actually said all along belies that claim.

  19. Patrick,

    With due respect for your considerable service of the Church as an apologist - there have been several important news stories on this matter in the past few months which you have neglected to address (e.g. Cardinal Schonborn's visit and comments, the announcement of the International Commission, possible consideration of Shrine status and/or formation of new Diocese for Medjugorje - AND the UNDERLYING story which Diane is attempting to distract and spin - the statement of Archbishop Allessandro D’Errico, Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina, on Medjugorje on March 18th at the end of 48th Bishop’s Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina).

    In this case, you seconded Diane's claim the Croatian to English translation of the Nuncio's remarks were deceptive. As you know, ANY translation is fraught with peril (hence the Latin dictum "Translator Traitor"). However, I do not see much difference between this:

    "Whenever I would meet the Holy Father he was always very much interested in Medjugorje. He was involved in everything, starting with the time when he was Head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He is aware that this is an issue of special importance and he, as supreme authority of the Church, needs to give his precise statement about that matter. The Holy Father is very much familiar with the Medjugorje phenomenon; he even mentioned that to me personally. He is aware of a huge amount of positive and good influence of local priests, religious, Franciscans, lay people and therefore it is very difficult for him to perceive that there can be so much opposing information about the same matter.

    That is why he wanted to establish this Commission that is on a really high level. He wanted to establish this Commission in order for him to have a broad picture about this matter but according to the people who have highest qualities and skills. That is why he invited Cardinals, Bishops and experts from different parts of the world to be part of this Commission."

    And Diane's (non expert!) "rough" translation:

    "He knows about great deeds which are done in this territory by the priests, religious, franciscans, lay people.
    On the other side he asks himself how come there are such opposed information about that phenomenon."

    Is the meaning really altered to the point of deceit? Are you really willing to allege the source of the story were misleading (rather than providing a service of an initial translation?) without any other objective, qualified, expert opinion to the contrary??

  20. The problem I see is that some pro-Medjugorje people have taken the translation located on the Medjugorje.hr web site, and trumpeted it as evidence of the Pope's support for Medjugorje. The Croatian text doesn't support that bias.

    Consider: "He is aware of a huge amount of positive and good influence...and therefore it is difficult for him to perceive that there can be...". This is spin; it's not a translation of the Croatian text.

  21. Tominelley,

    As this is an apologetics blog, one ought to bring facts and reason before alleging thinks like "deceit" and "spin".

    At this point, there is only one English version of the Archbishop's statement available - that is, the one posted on the medjugorje.hr website. If you want to make a reasonable case theirs is somehow faulty - then you should come armed with an alternate translation from a qualified, reputable, and objective source.

    My personal spirituality does not depend upon Medjugorje; however, I don't think it is unreasonable that Our Lady would be appearing at Medjugorje to warn us about our blindness to God (as she did at Medjugorje and Kibeho) and I don't think we should dismiss that possibility prematurely. This could be a very important visitation from heaven!

  22. First, let me say that I have no horse in this race. At best it is private revelation. Nice, but unnecessary. Regardless of how interesting it may be, it is not binding revelation.

    What bothers me is that I see a lot of half-truths coming from both sides of the argument.

    Yes, it is the local bishop who generally makes the decision under normal circumstances but Pope John Paul II chose to relieve him of that responsibility. Keep in mind that the Bishop of Mostar was in favor of the appartitions the first few weeks. However, there has been a long-running dispute between the diocese and the Franciscans. When Mary (allegedly, but I don't want to keep repeating that so just assume it's there) took the side of the Franciscans, he suddenly changed his mind. I suspect this had a lot to do with taking the authority to decide away from him and his successors.

    I also keep hearing claims that one of the visionaries attributed so heretical statement to Mary but, when I try to find out the details, they are not forthcoming.

    I've also heard of complaints that the site is becoming commercialized. The visionaries have no control over this and, besides, have you seen what it's like near Fatima? You can buy all kinds of stuff there, some very odd.

    I don't know if Mary is appearing there or not. One thing I do know is that it's not our call. The pope will decide whenever he is led by the Holy Spirit to do so. In the interim we would do well to keep our tongues under control.

  23. "Tipper",
    The words and phrases "positive", "influence", "and therefore", "difficult", "perceive", and "there can be" do not appear in the Croatian text; Medjugorje.hr has chosen to publish an English version with them. One is deceived if he thinks that the apostolic nuncio would be indicating the pope's favor of Medjugorje at the onset of a study by the new commission.

  24. For those in any doubt about the authenticity of Medjugorje just view Colleen Willards Miracle Testimonial

  25. Partick,

    So, did you read my post? What say you?

  26. Yes, helgoth, I did. But I find your argument unpersuasive mainly because it does not deal with the specific issues Diane raised about the translation problem. I wish I had time to discuss and, when necessary, debate, every point raised here by Medjugorje supporters, but I am swamped with other work and family duties and therefore can't do that. I do read all the comments, but time doesn't permit me to respond to all of them, or even most of them.

  27. Diane from Te Deum Laudamus here...

    I'm going to make separate entries on separate issues as it would be too long to put them all into one. Perhaps any further dialogue could be responded in such a way so we don't end up with single posts 20 different sub-topics on Medjugorje.

    Here I will address the so-called "back-tracking".

    I did not backtrack on the heart of the problem, but on a lead in phrase used, "A druge strane" which I had mistakenly said was "And the other side". I later discovered that in my dictionary it said that when "stran|a" is preceded with "a druge", it can be translated as "on the other hand". Others have said that it means "on the other side". We say these two things interchangeably. But, this particular expression was not the heart of the problem and it was distracting everyone's attention from what I was pointing out: Words were added after that which that not in the original.

    What words? "... it is difficult for him to perceive that...

    as in, it's hard for the Pope to understand....

    Those words do not exist in the Croatian, and while there are several different "correct" variations on how the second sentence could be translated, "difficult to perceive that" is not among them.

    What it does say is that "A druge strane pita se..."

    On the other hand, he asks himself..."

    Or, "On the other hand, he asks how come..."

    There is nothing saying that it is "difficult to percieve that"

    We see something similar in the German and Italian, but we don't know if these were translated from the original Croatian or from the English.

    This may seem like no big deal, but it is if it caused people to walk away with an entirely different impression than what His Excellency was conveying. And, people did as is evidenced by several reactions I found online, and continue to find.

    Whether one says, "on the other hand" or "on the ohter side", or whether one translates "pita se" as "asks himself" or "asks how come" are non-issues.

  28. Tipper,

    I don't consider the "news" about a "new diocese for Medjugorje" plausible, so I had no need to distract anybody from anything.

    If people want to report a rumor on a new diocese being created that would span across two countries (the cities Andrea Tornielli named were in Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina) and two bishop's conferences, that's their right.

    I do know that a Military Ordinariate is being set up. I found that interesting. Abp D'Errico spoke about that in his address, as well.

    Could there be some kind of change in boundaries coming? Nothing is impossible. Here are some interesting stats though:

    There are a mere 66 parishes in the Mostar-Duvno Diocese (30 of which belong to the Franciscans), and Bishop Peric has responsibility for another 16 parishes in the ancient Trebinje-Mrkan (T-M) diocese for which he is the Apostolic Adminstrator. This is a total of 83 parishes under the jurisdiction of Bishop Peric.

    Just about two weeks ago, the rumor being floated was that Medjugorje was going to be moved to the Trebinje-Mrkan diocese and that it would have it's own bishop. Ok, so that would be for... 17 parishes if it included St. James in Medjugorje and perhaps a few more in bewteen (one bishop for such a small number of parishes over a relatively small area?)

    One interesing point is that the Franciscan custody does not reach into Trebinje-Mrkan.

    Now that little rumor about St. James switching to T-M just to get away from Bishop Peric has morphed itself into a a real whopper with a diocese that would include cities in both Croatia and BiH. Can you imagine a new diocese being created that included Detroit, Michigan and Windsor, Ontario?

    Even if such an odd scenario played out, how can anyone assume that the next bishop to have jurisdiction over Medjugorje will not hold the same line as Peric and Zanic?

  29. Gary Sibo,

    I'd like to respond to some of the things you raise as you seem to be seeking truth. I'll leave it up to you as to whether you want to pursue the reading in the links I will provide. I did not quote all that you said, as several things fell under each of the topics I address.

    Your remarks will be in bold:

    Yes, it is the local bishop who generally makes the decision under normal circumstances but Pope John Paul II chose to relieve him of that responsibility.

    There is considerably inuendo out there to this effect, which I had once accepted as fact. However, there are a couple of documents that prove the bishop was not "relieved".

    - On January 18, 1987 in a press release in Glas Koncila that had been dated January 9, signed by Cardinal Kuharic, president of the Yugoslav bishop's conference stated:

    During the inquiry these events under investigation have appeared to go much beyond the limits of the diocese. Therefore....it became fitting to continue the work at the level of the Bishops' Conference, and thus to form a new Commission for that purpose

    Secondly, this explanation - that it was elevated because it went beyond the limits of the diocese (it was already global!), coincides with a provision in the 1978 Critiera for Discernment of Apparitions

    Keep in mind that the Bishop of Mostar was in favor of the appartitions the first few weeks.

    This is covered extensively by Italian researcher, author, Marco Corvaglia who has translated much of his work into English. Read: Medjugorje, the Communists and the Bishop

  30. continuing response to Gary Sibo:

    However, there has been a long-running dispute between the diocese and the Franciscans.

    Actually, this is not quite accurate, but it's presented that way on many promoter sites, so it's easy to understand how people would get that impression. Truly, it is the Herzegovina Province of Franciscans which is at odds with not only the Bishop, but with several Popes!

    It is called "The Herzegovina Case", with a history that goes back to around the 14th century. Fast forward to 1968 and read this comment I made at another blog with some history. Then come back for more background links.

    Here is a google translation of the Decree Romanis Pontificibus.

    In 1999, Pope John Paul II had seen enough. That resulted "Romanis Pontificibus Definitively Implemented", with suspensions, and dismissals of friars by the Superior General in Rome.

    There is a running list here (scroll slowly to the bottom).

    In all fairness to the Franciscans, they had done much good throughout the centuries as missionaries in that territory, especially during heavy persecution when the Turks had invaded and occupied the territory. They remained while others fled. This is admirable. However, once an area is settled, it what is suppose to happen is that the diocesan priests take over. The very diocese I am sitting in now here in metro Detroit, was missionary territory at one time and eventually a diocese formed. We don't have missionary priests occupying most or half of our parishes. However, the Holy See was willing to let the Franciscans have 50% (they originally had around 80%).

    The Franciscans pleaded their case, valiantly, over the years, but the Holy See stood with the local bishop.

    Hence, what is in Romanis Pontificibus is the will of God for that diocese and people need to accept it.

    From what I understand, most of the Franciscans are cooperating now. But, there are still issues, and there are still parishes that have been usurped and are occupied by priests who do are there illegally and without faculties. There are many invalid sacraments taking place yet today.

    My point is that if people have a beef with the bishop over this, their beef is actually with the Holy See, and the many Popes involved.

  31. It's hard to understand the thin-skinned sensitivity (and vengeful tone) of many Medjugorje supporters in the blogosphere. Anyone who raised serious objective concerns is labeled "hate-filled," or somehow lacking the proper disposition.

    Sources of information relating to the legitimate authority (namely, Zanic, Peric and the Zadar Declaration) are considered to be conducting some kind of offensive front against the Blessed Mother and are written off as "anti-Medjugorje," or "bashers."

    If someone stands up and says he doesn't accept any private apparitions, even approved ones (as is our right to do as Catholics since General Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle), no problem. But if he stands up and asks any critical questions about Medjugorje (a pointedly, persistently unapproved apparition) the zealots start howling. It's disturbing.

    People spend their time parsing the hidden profound meaning of "Sa druge strane" (words spoken impromptu by an Archbishop who is not the local Ordinary) and yet flatly ignore the "non constat de supernaturalite" of Bishop Zanic, Bishop Peric, the Zadar Declaration, and a thrice-expanded Bishop's Commission, going on 30 years now.

    Astounding myopia.

    Also, most Medjugorje supporters dismiss Bishop Peric's "personal opinion" by misquoting Archbishop Bertone. The firmer rejection ("constat de non supernaturalitate") is indeed the personal opinion of His Excellency and not the official episcopal judgment. That's because he wants to ensure that the Holy See, should it form a future Commission, may phrase the formulation in a different mode. He was right. Cardinal Ruini is now leading it.

    And yet....and yet, in the meantime, Medjugorje supporters still fly to the site, still make pilgrimages that presume that the seers are seeing the Gospa (in contravention of the local episcopal directives) and still make (or spend) money off the phenomenon while the Commission is still doing its work! I thought we all had to wait before deciding one way or the other?

    Gary repeats the same boilerplate "Pope John Paul II chose to relieve him of that responsibility." This is untrue, but this kind of spin is typical, I'm sorry to report. And then: "Keep in mind that the Bishop of Mostar was in favor of the apparitions the first few weeks." Okay, even if true, so? Bishop Zanic (a very Marian bishop) found so many disturbing things going on that he changed his mind, firmly and with no wavering for the rest of his life. Finally, "However, there has been a long-running dispute between the diocese and the Franciscans" proves too much. The root "dispute" here predates the Medjugorje phenomenon and has nothing do with whether the Blessed Mother is appearing there (cf. the Holy See's Decree "Romanis Pontificibus" of 1975 under Paul VI and how it was disobeyed by BH Franciscans.)

    The schismatic pose struck by many Medj devotees is troubling. One more time: it's okay for Catholics to either raise serious questions about the Medjugorje phenomenon, or reject it outright. And now I await the claim that the Gospa will retaliate in some vague way because those who doubt the authenticity of Medjugorje are "thwarting heaven's plan." As a certain round-headed American philosopher once said, "Good grief."

  32. Patrick,

    Likewise with respect, I am not a Medjugorje promoter, though certain people cast me that way. I am a defender of vatican-given rights. It all began for me when atheists and complete unbelievers, who were converted through medjugorje, started appearing on blogs saying things like "Oh, I just read Richard Salbato's website and read all about this..." and "Oh, I just heard that Medjugorje has been condemned by the Vatican". They sounded deflated, when they should have been born trouble-free into their new spiritual lives. I spent literally hours UN-confusing people about what the Zadar Declaration actually said (NEVER a condemnation) and reminding people what the Vatican actually said, e.g. through letters from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, which explicitly stated that the faithful are ALLOWED on private pilgrimages to Medjugorje AND that we should not confuse the opinions of the local bishop with Vatican opinion. I have always promoted a "wait and see" policy. I want to wait and see. I want the answer. I will obey the answer. But, in the meantime, I am simply trying to stop cold water being poured on people and on God's harvest plans. Remember, God reaps where He does not sow. Even if Medjugorje is evil incarnate, God can still get a harvest out of it.

  33. To respond in part to Susan L, I'd like to show some of the bad cases, in which Medjugorje supporters have said quite nasty things to those of us who research the critical case. I trust that Susan L would never say stuff like the following.


    One comment from a guy presenting himself as a priest appears under Diane K's post on "Te Deum Laudamus" -- which Patrick linked above:

    Rev. Philip Morris said...
    Everything you post about Medjugorje is ALWAYS negative. You sound like a "woman scorned" and keep looking for the slightest problem or mistranslation of a word or two to "hang your hat on." You and the Vatican Commission need prayer in the discernment process. I'm sure that when Medjugorje is declared a Shrine (which would be the only thing the commission can do at this point in time) you will find something wrong once again with what was written or try to find "some dirt" in the background of one of the members. Let the commission do it's work. . .they don't need your input.
    ---END QUOTE---

    That's pretty ridiculous. I don't think that any priest would say to a total stranger: "You sound like a 'woman scorned'.... They don't need your input."

    How can any sincere Christian say such a thing? It's beyond me.

    But there are people out there who post stuff like that. They don't want to talk about whatever issue Diane raised -- they want to make a personal attack on Diane.


    I receive stuff like this on my blog too (Catholic Light, http://catholiclight.stblogs.org). I posted a piece about early supporter Mark Waterinckx, who, after 24 visits to Medjugorje, and after being a personal friend of Fr Zovko, changed to being a critic.

    My blog post on March 23 makes plain that Mark turned against Zovko and Medjugorje after he met women, one and another and another -- 12 in all -- who accused Zovko of molesting them.

    After I posted that story, this comment came in under the name Paul Baylis -- I presume it's the same Paul Baylis whose comment appears above.

    "what you're essentially saying is that Mark Waterinckx's entire crusade is more or less the result of a feeling of being jilted by Fr Jozo Zovko."
    ---END QUOTE---

    Now, that is very nasty: (1) first, Paul is insinuating that Mark had some weird emotional attachment to Zovko; (2) second, he tries to put those words into my mouth, as if I had asserted such a perverse thing.

    That is twisted. That is reprehensible.


    I don't blame the average Medjugorje supporter for that sort of thing: but the people who say such terrible things do their best to distract people from facts and history and issues, and instead put the focus into personal attacks and expressions of contempt for their fellow Catholics -- all this directed at serious Christians who are, in their own imperfect way, trying to provide information and advice, and trying to base all that on provable information.

    Of course, conversely, if there is any similar nasty personal talk against Medjugorje supporters, let me take the opportunity to expressly reject that.

  34. Paul: Thanks for the reply. No offense taken. You can parse the Zadar Declaration all day and say it's not a condemnation, etc. but it is a rejection. If you propose marriage to a woman and she says "it can't be confirmed that I said yes," then the net result is that you are not married. It is the logical equivalent of "no." It is not an acceptance of your proposal.

    Medjugorje is rejected as an apparition worthy of belief.

    I'm glad to hear you'll obey the "final absolute forever" judgment of the Holy See. Many will not. The Baysiders still follow the Veronica Leuken messages despite strong condemnation. Same with the more famous Medjugorje spin-offs: Theresa Lopez of Denver; Gianna Talone-Sullivan of Phoenix (now east coast). People don't care about what the Church says.

    Why? Because the "know deep in their hearts that Mary is appearing." Anything else is the sly work of Satan who hates "the Woman." I could add in Garabandal -- another high profile false apparition. Medjugorje websites often link to Garabandal and other questionable enterprises. And no one cares.

    Bishop Zanic compared the fanaticism he observed in Medjugorje with the fanaticism of the Jim Jones followers. If this is an outrageous affront to Our Lady -- or some insult to the seers -- the Holy See sure had a funny way of responding. They did nothing. His Excellency was never rebuked, his words never retracted, and he ended up being succeeded by the equally non-supportive Ratko Peric. Zanic's statement is significantly titled "The Truth About Medjugorje." It's still up on the Mosta-Duvno website. These facts alone should give Medj supporters pause.

    And I agree with you. God IS calling people at Medjugorje. There ARE good fruits, including penance and vocations. All true and -- any sane person will praise God for these. But a) there are other (very) bad fruits, and b) God can call people under any circumstance. There were many conversions at Bayside and Necedeh, WI (yet another false apparition) as well. The fact of prayer and penance may well be God's way of protecting the simple faith of people who go to Medjugorje, so that when it is definitively and unambiguously rejected as authentic, people won't lose their Catholic faith. I don't know. I'm no prophet.

    But I do have eyes: the Catholic Church around the world -- in virtually every country where Medj is illicitly promoted -- is being divided by this phenomenon.

    In that, it bears no resemblance to, say, Fatima or Lourdes.

    Over and out. I don't have time to keep racking up this thread with more replies and counter.

    Happy Solemnity of the Annunciation everyone!

    Patrick Coffin

  35. People have responded to Medjugorje as one would expect and hope. None of them can be cast in any type of negative light. At Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe, the term "devotee" was never used. Everyone got naturally excited. Everyone converted. Mexico became catholic because everyone became a "devotee" of Our Lady of Guadalupe. All according to God's plan. Miracles are SUPPOSED to get people excited.

    What's happened with Medjugorje is very odd indeed. And I believe it is because of the unprecendented longevity of these apparitions and the lack of solid information from the Vatican during this time. The Vatican took a cautious approach - and absolutely rightly. No arguments.

    But, during the downtime, the media got involved in a big way. Immediately after the Zadar Declaration of 1991, the headlines read "No Miracle at Medjugorje!". Certain parts of the media misrepresented non-constat de supernaturalitate to mean Vatican disapproval, when it is simply the standard criteria for apparitions that are still ongoing and possibly subject to further investigation. People starting picking up the threads of Bishop Zanic's letter, which the Vatican forbade him to continue disseminating. All to no avail. Damage done. People like E Michael Jones got on the bandwagon with a witchhunt against the franciscans and seers, casting aspersions of every kind and dreaming up new angles for his latest novels (see Ghosts of Surmanci). The reality-TV mentality took over. People profited from the chaos.

    The media had a taste and certain seedy characters wanted more. Paul Likoudis ran an article, "Film Probes Underside of MEDJUGORJE INDUSTRY," (The Wanderer, March 26, 1998) promoted a certain "exposee" film. Four years later, the director and producer of that film, the cameraman, the journalists - all of whom Likoudis referred to and quoted throughout his article - testify publicly that everything he reported was false. It was all part of a deliberate campaign to destroy Medjugorje.

    And look at the state of things even now. An even split right down the middle of Catholic-dom.

    This situation isn't the fault of those who believe in Medjugorje. It's the fault of those who won't just leave them alone, stigmatise them, call them "devotees" and "promoters", pour buckets of cold water on them. Atheists are converting, then having second thoughts after reading some of these blogs. It's a dangerous business snatching God's harvest back out of His hands.

    I haven't interviewed Ivan or checked his bank statements. So, I'm certainly not going to spread any rumours of profiteering. Why the heck do other people feel they have that right? Where the heck did this spirit of judgement come from. We should know better. Let's show the rest of the Christian world that Catholics know what is expected of them as Christians better than those that hate Catholics.

    Let's simply unite as Catholics in patience and obedience, while allowing the Vatican to conclude its investigations. Then, let's all obey the Vatican. Meanwhile, we have been specifically advised by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of the CDF that we don't need to heed the threats and machinations of the local bishop when it comes to our freedom of private pilgrimage. And why on earth would the Vatican ever want to destroy good fruits? Hence, there has never been any ban on private pilgrimage. As for official pilgrimages, well please don't read anything negative into that either. That simply means: If the Vatican still hasn't pronounced finally on the validity of the apparitions, then it's not right for any pilgrimage to do so either.

  36. Response to RC:
    I think it's quite strange that you manage to twist what I said into a sexual connotation. Be assured that was never my intention.

    Paul Baylis

  37. Resonse to Diane M. Korzeniewski:

    I see you have managed to tailor the Herzegovinian Affair to suit your requirements. Again, I have to ask why this is necessary. I consider myself "au fait" with the history of the Franciscans and Seculars in this region and, trust me, it's the Franciscans who come up smelling rosey on this one.

    I encourage anyone with an interest in knowing why on earth there can be so much bad blood between fellow clergy in one region to bite the bullet and do the reading. I've summarised it on my blog at http://catholic-ecclesia-dei.blogspot.com/2009/08/herzegovinian-and-mostar-affairs.html , but feel free to refer to the original.

    It's quite an eye-opener. Definitely worth the read.

  38. I hope everyone in this thread is as passionate about proclaiming the gospel as they are about arguing with each other about an unconfirmed apparition. Even if it is deemed acceptable, it is still private revelation and doesn't change one thing about what we believe and what Christ's church teaches.

  39. I'll let the Church decide (gee how nice of me!), but I do believe that it sure would be nice if Mary were appearing somewhere right now! An approved apparition would be a real boost to this world...

  40. Paul Baylis said: I see you have managed to tailor the Herzegovinian Affair to suit your requirements. Again, I have to ask why this is necessary. I consider myself "au fait" with the history of the Franciscans and Seculars in this region and, trust me, it's the Franciscans who come up smelling rosey on this one.

    Paul. The Vatican heard the case. The Vatican ruled on the case. End of story.

    Whenever a party loses out, there are always claims of conspiracies, of "not being heard", of the Vatican being duped. etc.

    We are talking about Franciscans here - men who, in addition to their other vows, take a vow of poverty.

    A true Franciscan spirit would have had them give the very cloak off their back if he had asked for it, let alone church property.

    I can't imagine St. Francis refusing to give up property to a diocesan bishop, especially if the Holy See ordered it, no matter what the history was, and regardless of whether it seemed fair or not.

    The Holy See has been dealing with a near complete schism on it's hand. Thankfully, most of the Franciscans signed the promise of obedience to the local bishop and are cooperating.

    Further, all the while there have been invalid sacraments at the usurped parishes (including 700 invalid confirmations).

  41. Meanwhile, we have been specifically advised by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of the CDF that we don't need to heed the threats and machinations of the local bishop when it comes to our freedom of private pilgrimage.

    There is a line in the 1991 Zadar Declaration that is of importance which gave the local bishop pastoral authority: first of all, of the local Bishop and then of the other bishops with him, so that in Medjugorje and all connected with it, a healthy devotion towards the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the teachings of the Church may be promoted.

    Is it the letter from Tarciscio Bertone to Mr. Boutet in which he says:

    What Bishop Peric said in his letter to the Secretary General of "Famille Chretienne", declaring: "My conviction and my position is not only 'non constat de supernaturalitate,' but likewise, 'constat de non supernaturalitate' of the apparitions or revelations in Medjugorje", should be considered the expression of the personal conviction of the Bishop of Mostar which he has the right to express as Ordinary of the place, but which is and remains his personal opinion.

    Note several things:

    1) The bishop has a right to express his personal conviction.

    2) He does not say that he should not express his opinion.

    3) The bishop himself, in his original letter to Boutet pointed out that his personal conviction was not the final judgment of the Church:

    ... Nevertheless I am open to a study that the Holy See would undertake, as the supreme court of the Catholic Church, to speak the supreme and definitive judgment on the case, and that as soon as possible, for the good of souls and for the honor of the Church and of Our Lady.

    There was nothing new in then Abp Bertone's letter that wasn't already in Bishop Peric's letter.

    Further, what does +Bertone say about pilgrimages:

    Finally, as regards pilgrimages to Medjugorje, which are conducted privately, this Congregation points out that they are permitted on condition that they are not regarded as an authentification of events still taking place and which still call for an examination by the Church.

    A very Marian bishop, Msgr. Henri Brincard of France, raised the most logical point:

    "I have no authority to pronounce any ecclesial judgement whatsoever on the events of Medjugorje. I am therefore the first to have to give an example of obedience, notably in respecting the pastoral decisions of my confrere of Mostar and in complying with joy to his wishes.

    "I do not see how I can go to Medjugorje without giving my support, by the very fact of my having come there, to the events who's discernment and assessment rests henceforth with the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Such support would fly in the face of a traditional teaching of the Church, recalled in Lumen Gentium and applicable to all the successors of the Apostles (11): "Individual bishops, in so far as they are set over particular Churches, exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to them, not over other Churches nor the Church universal."

    Read more in my post: Are pilgrimages permitted to Medjugorje, or not?

    And, What did Abp Bertone really say about Bishop Peric?

  42. RC: "To respond in part to Susan L, I'd like to show some of the bad cases, in which Medjugorje supporters have said quite nasty things to those of us who research the critical case. I trust that Susan L would never say stuff like the following."

    RC, if someone said something that offended you, than that's wrong. I am only going to speak concerning a total of three websites: Catholic Answers Discussion board (many years ago. Not recently), this site and one other apologist's that will remain nameless.

    I have been hearing so much from Anti-M people that the supporters were nasty. I hadn't witnessed that but I ended up witnessing them being nasty to us. (Perhaps I came in too late). I have seen arrogance even today and I'm not commenting on who, just that I'm seeing it.

    What is my conclusion? Both sides are too sensitive. This is unrealistically high emotion. Time to call it quits. If you don't approve of Medjugorje, then don't. If you do, fine. Let's stop with the obsession.

    And yes, quite a few of you are obsessed! This is ridiculous.

    I go back to what I said before: Leave it alone. The devil is having way too much fun with us fighting like this.

  43. Matt from AustraliaMarch 27, 2010 at 9:16 AM

    If you had 30,000 visits with the Mother of God, do you think you would still be spending 6 months in the US and 6 months in Medjugorje and giving endless speaking tours? Or do you think you would be following the quiet way of Lucia & Bernadette in contemplation and the practice of prayer and virtue?

    The money-making scandal in Medjugorje is not very supportive. Most pilgrims fly in for a week and stay in a villagers hostel for board and meals. The entire town's income is now derived from tourism and the continued flow of pilgrims.

    When I was there, the pilgims would be running across the fields to Vicka's house to catch a glimpse of her rather than attend mass at St James. I thought this was a little bit strange. The graces I found in the town were away from the visions and visionaries and with the refugee families from central Bosnia (was back in 1994).

    When Vicka would give a Q&A session with the pilgrims, Fra Slavko Barbaric would be there filtering and translating all of her answers. I had the feeling it was actually his show. Anyhow - maybe that was just my own perception...

    I was a bit confused by the whole event, as the place definitely has a supernatural character. Therefore I do not believe it is a 100% hoax. I feel that there maybe some good and some bad, and quite a struggle between good and evil. Medjugorje the town itself attracts people from the demonic side; I mean that I met people there who had been in satanic sects, and people with deep psychiatric illness. I also met some very holy priests while there. Fr Philip Pavic was there and he was so fantastic, alas he no longer believes in Medjugorje.

    We all know that we have the Real Presence in all of our tabernacles from here in Australia to there in the USA and around the world, so really we must wonder why the fuss.

    In effect I think it is because we love the mother of Jesus so much, and would love it to be true.

    Regards all - rambling thoughts from Matt in Australia

  44. Response to Dianne:

    People please note: I do not wish to perpetuate an argument, but if I see error, for the sake of the many readers here, I simply must clear it up if I can.

    Dianne, you haven't investigated deeply enough. It reminds me of anti-catholics who still persist in calling Catholics Mary-worshippers because they simply don't want to do the additional required research to get the facts straight.

    Dianne: "Paul. The Vatican heard the case. The Vatican ruled on the case. End of story. "

    Well, it WASN'T the end of the story. According to my understanding, the Vatican realised they had actually made a mistake and that they were in fact conned by the local bishops. But, at that stage it was too late to retract all the processes. A few conciliatory efforts were made, but nothing really satisfying for the local Franciscans.

    Dianne, then you proceed to defend the authority of the local bishop as a way to somehow defend his right to ban pilgrimages, bully pilgrims and do whatever else he likes. The Vatican, with the 'blessing' of the communist government at the time, appointed the local bishops. Certain courtesies and diplomacies therefore needed to be applied, and delicately (these diplomacies and courtesies to colleagues seem to been cast as a negative feature of the Catholic Church as far as recent events testify, with coverups and the like).

    And note an article from last week about plans to develop a NEW parish in Medjugorje, separate from Mostar. The observer cannot help but two and two together, i.e. preserve the rights of the local Bishop, but don't extend his rights to the shrine of Medjugorje, which the Vatican obviously wants complete control over.

    Anyway, here is a statement from Fran Franic, of the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference, whose research led ultimately to the Zadar Declaration. It sums up nicely the situation with Zanic and Peric:

    "I think that the relative lack of clarity in the first part of the declaration is due to the bishops' intentions not to offend their colleagues and that have somehow expressed themselves diplomatically, which in turn gave ammunition to the opponents of Medjugorje."

    This is precisely what we see today. We have a tight-knit group of purposeful anti-M critics doing precisely what Mgr Franic describes, using exactly the ammunition he describes.

    Franic continued:
    " I am still firmly convinced in the supernatural nature of the happenings at Medjugorje and in private revelation. This is my own conviction and of course, I am ready to be obedient to the church's definitive judgement. I hope firmly that ths judgement will be positive for Medjugorje. For this we have to continue to pray, practise brotherly love by forgiving one another, making peace with others and doing penance because this is dear to God and to the Queen of Peace. Medjugorje should stop being an object of quarrel between us, so that those who believe in Medjugorje respect and love the ones that do not believe and vice versa as private revelations are not necessary for our salvation."

    These sentiments are shared by myself and probably EVERY Medjugorje believer. I will, however, note the final sentence and attempt to show the required respect and love for those who do not believe. But, I'm saying this much: If people persist in deceiving others with error or ignorance, then I am going to try to UNDO it and restore the peace of the potentially deceived person.

  45. Response to Diane:

    I made the mistake of reading other posts from Diane and now I'm all riled up again at her efforts at spin. Diane, there doesn't need to be any innuendo associated with the issue of the local bishop no longer having power to determine the authenticity of the apparitions.

    Regardless of whether the local bishop was "relieved" of his dossier or whether it was because of the global nature of the apparitions demanding a wider angle (as you posit), the fact remains that the Vatican passed power FROM the local Bishop TO the Yugoslav Bishops Conference, making a mockery of groundless claim that the local bishop always has the final word. That's just dumb anyway. Since when does the local bishop have more authority than the Vatican.

    By the way, this is my understanding of events: The local bishop rightfully had his shot at the first investigation. However, he formally concluded something quite ludicrous, i.e. that not only was there not enough proof that the events were supernatural (non constat de supernaturalitate), but that it was actually PROVEN NOT TO BE supernatural (constat de non-supernaturatitate). The evidence for this "proof" fell obviously well short. Also, there were complaints from other Yugoslav bishops (e.g. Fran Franic) that the team members selected by Zanic were chosen precisely because they were against the apparitions, tainting the whole process from the start. When dossiers change hands like that, when all reason dictates they need not, you need to ask serious questions. The Vatican wouldn't spend such a vast amount of time and resources setting up a new conference and going through the process again from start to finish if it could simply just leave it in the hands of the local bishop. Does anybody know of any other apparition where the local bishop has apparently been quietly and subtly hooked off the stage? It's very clear to me that the Vatican was less than impressed by Zanic's performation, to put it mildly.

  46. Paul Baylis forgets a 'small' detail. It was the wish of bishop Zanic and of bishop Peric that the Vatican should take the case Medjugorje in their own hands. Now this is done.With or without Mgr. Peric makes no difference. The many facts of manipulations, lies, contradictions can be found by everybody on the website of Mostar

  47. Are these considered undisputed facts by all?
    1) The first "vision" occurred when Ivanka and Mirjan went out to smoke cigarettes they had pilfered from their parents, which they tried to cover up by saying they were out watching sheep. They at first tried to lie to the Bishop, but then admitted they were out for a smoke.
    2) That early on the "children" said that the visions would end by July 4, 1981.
    3) They had all been asked to write down the secrets they had received and put them in a sealed envelope. Nearly all said that Our Lady told them not to. On the other hand, Ivan was in the seminary at that time and did write something down. When he later said that he did not write anything down and put in a blank paper, the envelope was opened and that he had written down that there would be a great sign.
    4) Vicka had a taped conversation with a Father Grafenauer. She indicates that despite what the bishop said, the vision said that two Franciscans should continue to hear confessions. "Graf: 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!"

  48. Response to Mark:

    You'll need to back that up Mark because my understanding is that this was not his decision to make. And it flies against rationality. Why would Zanic agree willingly to that?

    No, here is something which might give more insight into what actually happened:

    Source: Corriere della Sera (Italian daily), January 15, 1991.

    Ex-Archbishop of Split Frane Franic stated in an interview with the Italian daily {Corriere della Sera}, on January 15, 1991, that only the ferocious opposition of Bishop Zanic, who refused to budge from his own verdict, had impeded a positive decision on the Medjugorje apparitions: "The bishops do not wish to humiliate Monsignor, Zanic," Franic stated, "And when it was brought to his attention that his opposition was unfounded, he began to cry and shout, and the bishops finally stopped arguing."

    Cardinal Franjo Kuharic, Archbishop of Zagreb and President of the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference, in an interview with Croatian public television on December 23, 1990, said that the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference, including himself, "has a positive opinion of Medjugorje events.".

    It is very clear that it meant a great deal for Zanic to have these apparitions destroyed. And it seems he would have done anything to achieve that. We still don't really know why. I have a very good idea though, but I admit it is speculation, albeit educated and reasonable, in the absence of fact. I understand that both Zanic and Zovko were called in by the communist secret police and, under threat of jail, ordered to cease the apparitions. Zovko went to jail for 1 1/2 years, while Zanic walked free. What happened? Adding further fuel to this was the fact that it was at this time that Zanic started speaking completely differently about the apparitions. He changed from being a greater believer than Zovko to being its harshest adversary. 1 + 1 looks decidedly like 2, but I reserve final judgement.

    Regardless, Zovko being in jail for all this time snuffs out the ludicrous assertion that Zovko had some clandestine plan for profit from these apparitions, unless people want to argue that he had a way to mastermind his plan from his jail cell.

    There's a heap more to this than we realise. The Vatican knows what it knows. But, our job is to pray, wait and trust God and not let the devil crouch at our door ready to fill us with judgement and hatred.

  49. Response to Daniel:

    A new confused, peace-robbed, judgementalism-fueled person is born every day because of the efforts of anti-M campaigners. Unfortunately, the internet never sleeps. I've got plenty better things to do, but here goes (again).

    Daniel says:
    1) "The first "vision" occurred when Ivanka and Mirjan went out to smoke cigarettes ...."

    How petty. These were quite modern kids, unlike the days of Fatima and Lourdes. Look, when Christ first met the apostles on the lake and called them, they were sinners, so much so that Peter asked Christ to look away from him. But, it would be unfair to seal that moment in a time capsule and make a judgement on Peter at the end of his life based on what Christ found when he first met him. Would you agree Daniel? Should we give the visionaries a chance to develop AFTER their encounter with the Virgin Mary?

    Daniel says:
    2) That early on the "children" said that the visions would end by July 4, 1981.

    Yes, this was an error by the visionaries. They admitted it and Mary admonished them for this. The media asked one of the visionaries how long the visions would last. They had no idea, so they guestimated that they would last as long as Fatima (I think it was Fatima). Media pressure on young children? Possibly. Evil little devils? Hardly. The Vatican wasn't taken in by this.

    Daniel says:
    "3) They had all been asked to write down the secrets they had received and put them in a sealed envelope...."

    Yes, mistake. However, thanks to the Lord's intervention, when Zanic gleefully took this news to the Vatican, rather than get the desired response, he was told to tone down his opposition. The Vatican wasn't buying. Ivan was caught between obedience to the Bishop and his promise to Our Lady. In the end, he compromised. Instead of writing the secrets, he invented the date of the promised sign, being sure that in six months it would have happened. Little did he know that the apparitions would last another 27 years!

    Ivan got the "hairy eyeball" from Mary too at his next apparition. A tearful Ivan told Slavko Barbaric that Our Lady was visibly angry with him and had reprimanded him sternly (source: The woman and the dragon. p.285: apparitions of Mary By David Michael Lindsey).

    Later, during Mirjana's birthday apparition on March 18, 1985, Our Lady apparently tried to put the Ivan affair behind her when she said "Ivan did not make a BIG mistake (emphasis mine). I've scolded him enough. It is not necessary to scold him any more."

    Daniel says:
    " . .Vicka: The Pope can say what he wants. I'm telling it as it is!"

    What we see here is one of the few small things that Zanic managed to glean through hours of tape interviews. He didn't get much to use against the visionaries.

    If the Vatican fell for the tricks of the local bishops during the Herzegovinian Affair, it could do so again. Luckily, the Vatican seems to have learned from their experiences in this region.

    So, if you are Vicka and you hear something directly from heaven and you are confronted on the issue, what do you say? Probably you'll say this: "The pope is entitled to pronounce whatever he wishes; I can only tell you what I have heard from heaven". I don't know exactly how it was translated, but I would suggest that's the gist of it. Remember, Vicka wasn't even into her teenage years. Her language was probably still rather childish and uncultured.

    ALL of these objections are from the most early days - some 28 years ago. Anti-M campaigners want to snapshot all the disarray of this "birth" time and overlook 28 years of development of these visionaries. You guys should meet Vicka TODAY if you ever get the chance.

  50. So in other words, all is true but all can be explained away.

  51. "Remember, Vicka wasn't even into her teenage years. Her language was probably still rather childish and uncultured."

    ? According to her birth date which is shown on two pro-Medjugorje web sites, at the time of her first 'apparition' she was 16, about 2 months away from being 17.

    And the recorded interview occurred later, when she would have been 18 (according to one site.)


  52. From the point of view of a pro-vision person then (Paul), the vision occurred to two thoroughly modern teenage girls out for a smoke which they tried to cover up from their parents by claiming to have been watching sheep and having a vision. Soon thereafter, they made up a story in which they said that the visions would soon end, and were scolded for it. Ivan made up a story in which he invented a date for a promised sign, and he was scolded for that. Vicka was merely insistently repeating what she was told to say, that despite the lack of permission two Franciscans should continue to hear confessions because Our Lady says so. Clear enough.

  53. Vincenzo: You're right...sorry...my mistake. Vicka's the same age as me as it happens and I was thinking about how old I was in 1981 and for some reason I thought that was my last year of primary school, when it was actually my second-last year of high school.

  54. Response to Daniel:

    Just like I, as a father, don't demonise my children for making mistakes and being imperfect, neither does the Vatican and neither did Mary. I'm not convinced that being imperfect and making mistakes should discount the validity of an apparition, or one might be tempted to justify invalidating the Catholic Church based on the imperfection of Peter and subsequent imperfections (to put it mildly) of numerous priests, bishops, cardinals and popes over 2 millenia. If we believed that, we'd all be protestants.

  55. Response to Daniel:
    Well, thankfully the Vatican is more sensible and we don't have people like you on the judgement panel. Because if we are to be judged as we judge, then why shouldn't God just ignore everything good you've ever done, make a nice tidy collection of the worst of your past sins, say "This is your life", then send you into the fiery furnace.

  56. I was trying to establish what are agreed upon facts. You seem to agree. I take it that since you seem to be the editor of Marian Times, you are more aware of the facts than the average reader is. Some people when looking at the facts might feel that these "imperfections" make the "visions" less credible. Your occupation seems to require you to maintain their credibility.

  57. I'm leaving it to the Vatican to decide whether visionary faux pax committed in 1981 constitute a false apparition.