Bishop Pavao Zanic (1918-2000)

In Face of Responsibility

As published by Michael K. Jones

Important notice: This is the first time the following information has freely been released to the public. The following article is from Chapter 16 of Michael K. Jones book entitled, "Medjugorje Investigated." The following information is copyright protected. Sorry, the information below (previous unknown to the general public) can not be used without permission.

Author's note: May 23, 2014. News about Medjugorje was pouring in earlier this year but of late there are no new developments to report. After much thought, I've decided to present an official document I obtained from the U.S. State Department, many years ago. This document was long in coming! I had to go thru acts of Congress, in order to get a fully disclosed release of this and other documents. Obtaining the documents took years. In phone calls with the State Department, they finally agreed to release the documents in full, with exception of two documents. I am aware of the general direction of the unreleased documents. They were not related to Medjugorje as a whole but more so in mention of the whole of Croatia during time of civil unrest in 1990's.

Many know Biship Pavao Zanic was adamantly opposed to the Medjugorje apparitions, even to his death January 11, 2000. The Medjugorje apparitions remain strongly debatable, even before the release of the first Medjugorje Commission's findings, in the second half of 1981. Critics still argue the finding of the first Commission proves, Medjugorje is not supernatural in nature. As such, these critics claim the faithful must be obedient to the ruling of the first Commission, conducted under the direction of  Bishop Zanic. However, the findings of the first Commission were considered biased by the Vatican. So, a second Commission was established and when that failed, a 3th Commission followed and again failed and yes even a 4th. The 4th Commission (formed March 2010) completed its investigation (January 17, 2014) but to date no finding are released. Oddly enough, events taking place earlier this year would seem to suggest a return to the original findings of the first Commission, which was considered bias. There is also a strong possibility the Vatican will not announce the findings of the 4th Commission, in favor of silence. Often times the Vatican exercises prudence with a wait and see attitude. 

So, even though many know Biship Pavao Zanic was adamantly opposed to the Medjugorje apparitions, they don't also realize there was a time Bishop Zanic believed. Zanic also supported the Medjugorje parish against negative claims of religious aggression, by the socialist republic of Yugoslavia and it's State controlled media sources. The letter below was written by Bishop Zanic.

About the letter: Bishop Zanic’s attempt to address the media attacks with the President of the SFRY, (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.) The president failed to respond. Thus, the Presidency allowed Petar Segvic (media source) to address Bishop Zanic’s letter thru the very media that Zanic felt indignant. The chronological dates in the U.S. State Department suggest that after Petar Segvic’s articles appeared in the Borba, (newspaper) Bishop Zanic responded through a Catholic publication. The article defended Medjugorje; the parish priests, the church as a whole and addressed the complexities of public and private revelation. These articles appeared in “The Church on the Rock,” Issue 9,10, 1981.

(Start State Department Document)

The Fundamental truth of Christianity has been the belief in supernaturalism wherefrom Jesus Christ arrived and where he returned to after his life on earth. That was where he took his Holy Mother too, and that has been the final goal of God’s Children.

The faith of the Church also embraces special gifts, visions announced to individuals who possess that charisma. St. Paul also referred to charismata in his first letter to the Corinthians. It is difficult to find in the past history of the Church another period of time when there was so much talk about miraculous phenomena and visions as it has been the case today. They have become a “characteristic sign of our times.” They attract the attention of the public at large and confront the Church with the question of distinguishing the truth about them or mere semblance as well as with the responsibility which those phenomena entail.

The Second Vatican Universal Church Council referred in “The Church Constitution” Issue No. 12 to the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are distributed by Him according to his own discretion… “But the judgment of their correctness and regular use is the responsibility of those who are in charge of the administration of the Church, and who are especially responsible for not making the Spirit perish but to examine everything and retain what is good.” Extraordinary gifts, charismata may be bestowed upon individuals as well as “for the sake of a renaissance and greater building of the Church” (LG 12) although they may forever remain private until they recognized as authentic the visions granted to ST. Maria Margaret of Alacoque, Gemmi Galgani, as well as the visions at the Lourdes and at Fatima, and how especially cautious the Church was in connection with Padra Pia from Pietrelcina. The Bishops of Lourdes and Tarbes respectively formed 16 member commissions to beginning of the visions, and only thereafter issued the judgment recognition even for full 13 years. Even the date was fixed at Feb. 11 for celebration of the visions at Lourdes, whereas Paul VI went on a pilgrimage to Fatima to mark the 50th anniversary of the vision, and this year’s attempt on the life of Paul II prevented him from going to Lourdes to attend the Eucharistic Congress.

Over the last 50 years, we have witnessed a genuine explosion of annunciations, visions, miraculous events whose authenticity have been or are still being examined.  Pius XXII, John VI said that they got tired of charisma mediums through whom God had been sending them messages. Over the last 50 years, there have been well over 100 visions or miraculous events, especially that tears are shed or blood dripping from a statue or a holy image. Almost regularly the bishop under whose jurisdiction a given area is, forms a commission of experts, such as theologians, psychologists and judgment, especially if and when it is obvious that it is a pronounced, either positive or negative, certain phenomena are puzzling, either supernatural or the opposite, so that the commission does not speak out. When the Bishops of Beauring (1948) and Banneux (1949) recognized, acknowledged the supernatural characters of the visions there, Cardinal Ottaviani exclaimed, “Christians, do not allow to be easily disturbed.” Even since only one event has been acknowledged as having been supernatural, i.e,  the weeping relief of the Virgin in Siracusa on Sicily. The Bishops of Sicily after serious investigations proclaimed that phenomenon as having been supernatural, miraculous. As for the other cases, the Church authorities either kept silent or proclaimed them to have been deprived of any supernatural character.

Judging by the number of visions and miraculous events over the last 50 years, Italy ranks first with 60, followed by France with 11, Spain 7, Germany 5, USA 3, Belgium Canada and Poland 2 each. In certain places the visions recur by well over 100 times, whereas at Heede, Garabandal and San Damiano even far more.

Among the negative assessments, those relating to Garabandal in Spain and San Damiano in Italy aroused the greatest noise. The bishops there declared that the visions were not authentic, that they had not been supernatural, and they banned both visits to those places and rallying there.

The bishops’ judgment or that of his commission is not infallible and that is why it is not obligatory (binding) from the point of view of the dogma. We are equally free not to accept the positive assessments about Garabandal of San Damiano. That judgment is more a disciplinary nature, to maintain peace and order. Nevertheless, the faithful show religious obedience in accepting their bishop’s judgment. Regardless of the fact that in France there are 32 centers of supporters of the events at Garabandal and four centers at San Damiano.

Individuals who watch this all from aside and who have neither obligation nor responsibilities do not realize how it is difficult for the Church authorities to find out the truth about,  visions or annunciations. The field of parapsychology is bread, enigmatic and unexplored, or rather miraculous. The individuals who have experiences, visions need not deliberately be telling untruths, but what they go through may be only of natural character, some subjective projections, hallucinations, unusual powers of mediums. However, they may also be supernatural in character. Not even experts like theologians and medical doctors can easily pass a judgment about those phenomena and they usually leave it to time to pass its judgment, and this mostly the best thing to do. But if God wants it, if he wants to tell us something, to give a warning, to invite us to conversion, (Lourdes, Fatima), the ones who suppress that voice are shouldering heavy responsibility.  The Bishop Banneux in Belgium stated that he had celebrated thousands of masses and prayer and prayed to reveal the actual truth about events in his bishopric. In similar cases caution is regularly recommendable as well as openness to the Holy Spirit who has been at work within the Church. This is why it is easy to people who do not shoulder responsibility to discuss this matter, whereas great responsibility rests on the people who are fully aware of their own responsibility before the Church and the public at large.

Pavao Zanic, the Bishop

(End State Department Document)

Author Michael K. Jones Related Article Info

Bishop Zanic first of all announces in this article that miraculous and supernatural events do indeed take place. He notes that miraculous phenomena and visions are a “sign of the times.”

The “Signs of the Times,” is in reference to Scripture,

Matthew 16:1-2 The Pharisees and Sadducees came to Jesus and tested him by asking him to show them a sign from heaven. He replied, "When evening comes, you say, `It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,' 3 and in the morning, `Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.' You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times. 4 A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah." Jesus then left them and went away.

Bishop Zanic is obviously explaining that those who stand opposed to miraculous and supernatural events are unable to read the “Sign of the times.” As in Scripture, Zanic is also saying that the unbelievers will not be given any signs even as the Pharisees and Sadducees were not given any sign but the sign of Jonah.

The story of Jonah can be found in the Old Testament and is the account of a man who spent three days in the belly of a whale. The story of Jonah is said to be synonymous with Jesus who spent three days in the tomb before he had risen. The Pharisees and Sadducees refused to believe that Christ was the Son of God and that He rose on the third day. In this Zanic is stating that skeptics refuse supernatural events and thus no sign is given them because of their unbelief.

The Pharisees were given a sign and that was the presence of the Son of God. Even thought Jesus tells them that they are able to read the weather in the sky, they did not know that Jesus was the Son of God. In short, Zanic is stating that the unbelievers are much like the Pharisees and Sadducees, unable to see or know the truth because they are blinded by their lack of faith.

Suggesting that apparitions are the “Sign of the Times,” is a clever way to make a strong statement quoting the Scriptures. Ultimately, believers who read the Bishop’s article would better understand the relationship between the media attack and the “Sign of the Times” but the reference could easy slip pass unbelievers such as Petar Segvic, who might read the article.

Outlining his position, Zanic discusses approved and rejected apparitions. In reference to Garabandal, he notes that the faithful have obeyed the ruling of the Church and no longer flock there. Yet on the other hand, Zanic indicates that despite the decision of the Bishop of Garabandal, there are supporters who still believe that the apparitions are authentic. Taking these two points into consideration, Zanic concludes that the Bishop of Garabandal is not infallible, thus, suggesting that the remaining supporters of Garabandal could indeed have merit.

Zanic takes an open approach to Garabandal, offering no personal opinion even though Garabandal was counted by the Bishop of Garabandal as “not supernatural.” Zanic uses Garabandal as an example to explain his position on the apparitions in Medjugorje. Oddly enough his open point of view on Medjugorje would completely change.

Petar Segvic suggested in his articles that Zanic is playing a strong role in the Medjugorje apparitions. In the “Church of the Rock,” the Bishop responds denying the allegations by suggesting that his stance is more conservative, forming no opinion at all. This is also the position that Zanic took per his discussions with Ambassador David Anderson as the U.S. State Department documents in my possession show.

Bishop Zanic suggests that the final outcome of the Medjugorje apparitions may not be know for many years. Thus, his point of view is one of exercising caution knowing that those who make claims of visions may be only of natural character, some subjective projections, hallucinations, unusual powers of mediums but also could be supernatural in character. His overall opinion is that, it is better to let time pass because if God wants it, nothing will stop it.

This is often the type of position taken by the Church in regard to apparitions. It is far better to remain silent about alleged supernatural events than it is to deny them and possibly allow the Holy Spirit to perish in the hearts of believers. The Church knows that in time all will be revealed and the truth will be made known. Then again, if the Church was to approve an apparition that later was counted false, the Church could lose the respect of the faithful. According to Vatican II Council, we fine that it is a fine line and great responsibility to decipher apparitions and declaring a judgment.

Ending, Zanic explains how difficult it is to determine authenticity though medical and scientific means as there are so many aspects to consider. He states, “Not even experts like theologians and medical doctors can easily pass a judgment about such phenomena and they usually leave judgment to the passage of time.” Sometimes the best decision is to make no decision at all. Strangely enough Zanic would join forces with those who past judgment against Medjugorje with strong opposition even though in this document Zanic tells us we should not pass judgment.

In this document we find Zanic remained open about apparitions in general. This would undoubtedly include all apparitions that were taking place at the time this article appeared in “The Church on the Rock.” Yet something was going to happen to change Bishop Zanic mind. Zanic would become one of the most vocal adversaries against the apparitions. Zanic would stand opposed to Medjugorje the rest of his life even to his death.

Authors Related Notes:

 San Sabastian de Garabandal is located on a mountain about a days ride from Madrid Spain. On June 18, 1961 Conchita Gonzalez (Feb. 7, 1949) Loli Mazon (May 1, 1949) Jacinta Conzalez (April 27, 1949) and Mari Cruz (June 21, 1950) claimed they experienced the first of what would be many apparitions.

The first manifestation was that of Saint Michael the Archangel. The focus of his message was of the great struggle of good and evil, and the coming of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Note: the first apparition of the Virgin Mary at Garabandal was July 2, 1961.)

During the time prior to the vision the four girls would succumb to a spell of ecstasy. Walking backwards with their heads leaning back to the shoulders they would look to the heavens arriving at the same destination thought each girl were are a different location.

It is interesting to note that the arrival of the children to the same destination was at the exact same time. Also worth noting; while walking backwards the girls would never stumble but simply step over anything in their way. Many say having witnessed the girls in the ecstasy first hand was all the proof needed to believe.

The end result of scientific evaluation revealed no rational humanistic explanation. All the blows, pin pricks, etc. could not explain how the children could detect a priest even in lay or military garb, how they could read minds or do a number of other unusual tasks.

Objects (such as rosaries) presented to the Blessed Virgin by the children would emanate sweet odors, or become luminous. After the blessing of objects the visionaries while in ecstasy would return these items to the crowd of people. These religious objects were given to the children by people they did not know. One would think all these items strung over the arms of the children would quickly entangle. Not so! The four girls while walking backwards with their eyes to the heavens would remove rosaries from their arms and hands with ease, returning rosaries to its rightful owner.

The first visible miracle was announced by the angel of Friday June 22, 1962. On the 29th, the coming miracle was announced publicly. Conchita states that a 15 day advance notice came Monday July 2, 1962. The visible miracle took place Wednesday July 18, 1962.

The children had so often received Holy Communion by the Archangel Michael on days when no priest was able to give it to them. On the day of the promised miracle spectators witnessed an unusual event. Onlookers watched the communion host become visibly clear on Conchita’s tongue, while she was in ecstasy. This event was captured on camera film.

The miracle of the Visible Host is certainly an important event. It was in response to the children’s repeated plea for a miracle that would prove the authenticity of the apparitions. It is estimated that some 2000 to 3000 people were in the small village on this day.

There were several reliable witnesses who stood very close, some within inches of Conchita at the moment of the miracle. They affirm she first opened her mouth and put out her tongue. They certify that at that moment there was absolutely nothing on her tongue. Then suddenly the White Host appeared on her extended tongue remaining visible for about two minutes.

There were other unexpected events that took place in the mountain village of San Sabastian de Garabandal as well, far too many to list on this page. I will therefore omit them and write about the Warning, Great Miracle and Chastisement given to the four little visionaries.

This future promised miracle and chastisement as told to Conchita by Heavenly Hosts will be announced 8 days in advance so the world would know of its coming before hand. These futuristic events are likened to the futuristic events given the children of Medjugorje. Medjugorje and Garabandal are very similar in nature.

The Garabandal Miracle:

The visionary Conchita says, Our Lady has promised a greater miracle in Garabandal so that all may believe the apparitions and be obedient to the message. "As the punishment which we deserve for the sins of the world is great, the miracle must also be a great one, for the world needs it." It will occur on a Thursday on the feast day of a saint devoted to the Eucharist, at 8:30 in the evening, and will last for about one quarter of an hour. It will also coincide with a great event in the Church. The sick who come to Garabandal on that day will be cured, unbelievers will be converted. There will remain a permanent sign at "The Pines" as a proof of Our Lady's tremendous love for all her children.

"The sign that will remain says Conchita, "will be able to be seen, photographed and televised but it will not be able to be touched. It will appear clearly that it is something not of this world, but of God."

Conchita has been granted permission by Our Lady to announce the date of the miracle eight days in advance. With the present means of communication and travel, eight days are sufficient for people around the world to gather. The day of the miracle may be the last opportunity given us by God and may be also Our Lady's last effort to save the world from the punishment already threatened.

Some time ago Conchita wrote, "The Blessed Virgin will not allow me to reveal the nature of the miracle although I already know it. Neither can I reveal the date of it, which I know, until eight days before it is to happen." Before the miracle takes place Our Lady has said that all mankind will receive a warning from heaven.

The Warning:

Conchita wrote: "The warning comes directly from God and will be visible to the whole world and from any place where anyone many happen to be. It will be like the revelation of our sins and it will be seen and felt by everyone, believer and unbeliever alike irrespective of whatever religion he may belong to. It will be seen and felt in all parts of the world and by every person."

It will happen in the sky, no one can prevent it from happening. We will even prefer to be dead rather than to pass through this Warning. It will not kill us. It will be a "correction" of our conscience. It will cause great fear and will make us reflect within ourselves on the consequences of our own personal sins. It will be like a warning of the punishment to come. In this way the world will be offered a means of purification to prepare itself for the extraordinary grace of the Great Miracle.

Jacinta was told by Our Blessed Mother "that the warning would come when conditions were at their worst." The date was not revealed to the visionaries, however Mari-Loli does know the year; and she said that The Miracle will happen within one year after The Warning.

The Punishment:

If we do not pay attention to the message, the punishment announced by Our Lady will be visited on the whole world after the miracle. During one of their ecstasies the girls were heard praying for the innocent children but, nevertheless, they shed tears at the same time. Since the day they learned about the punishment they have developed a great spirit of sacrifice. They pray very much for sinners and for priests. They often say that if priests are not what they should be many souls will be lost.

Conchita has written: "I cannot reveal what kind of punishment it is except that it will be a result of the direct intervention of God, which makes it more terrible and fearful than anything we can imagine. It will be less painful for innocent babies to die a natural death than for those babies to die because of the punishment. All Catholics should go to confession before the punishment and the others should repent of their sins. When I saw IT (the punishment), I felt a great fear even though at the same time I was seeing Our Blessed Mother. The punishment, if it comes, will come after the miracle"

When Our Lady spoke to the girls of the punishment, her face assumed a look of great sadness. The girls revealed: "We have never seen her look so serious. When she said the words 'The cup is already filling', she spoke in a very low voice."

The Last Apparition On Saturday, November 13, 1965 Conchita had her last apparition of Our Lady in Garabandal. She gives the details in a letter of which the following is a literal translation:

"One day in church Our Lady told me in a locution that I would see her on Saturday, November 13, at the pines; it would be a special apparition to kiss the religious objects so that I could give them away afterwards. I was anxious for this day to arrive so that I could see again the Blessed Virgin and the Child Jesus who have implanted in my life the seed of God's happiness.

It was raining but it did not matter to me. I went up to the Pines carrying with me the many rosaries which people have given to me to distribute them... As I was going up I was talking to myself, being sorry for my defects, desiring not to fall into them again, for it gave me much worry to appear before the Mother of God without wiping them out.

When I arrived at the pines, I began to take the rosaries out and heard a sweet voice, that of the Virgin, which you always distinguish among others, calling me by my name. I answered her 'what?' At that very moment I saw Her with the Child in Her arms. She was dressed as usual and smiling. I told Her, 'I have come to bring you the rosaries so that you can kiss them.' She said to me, 'I can see it.' I had been chewing gum, but as I was seeing Her I did not chew it; I placed the gum on a tooth. She must have noticed for She said, 'Conchita why don't you get rid of the chewing gum and offer it up as a sacrifice for the glory of my Son?' I, a bit ashamed of myself, took it out and threw it on the ground. She said afterwards, 'Do you remember what I told you on your saint's day - that you would suffer much on earth?... Now I repeat it to you. Have confidence in Us. Then I added, 'How unworthy I am, O Mother of us, of so many graces received through you, and now you have come to me to help me carry the little cross I have." She said, 'Conchita, I am not coming only for you but I am coming for all my children, with a desire to get them closer to Our Hearts.' She asked for the things I was carrying. 'Give them to me so that I can kiss all you are carrying with you.' And I gave her everything. I was bringing with me also a small crucifix which I gave her to kiss. She kissed it and said , 'Put it in the hands of the Child Jesus.' And I did that and He said nothing. I said 'This cross I intend to take with me when I go to the convent.' But he did not reply. After kissing everything She commented, 'My son, through this kiss, will work wonders. Distribute them to the others..." Of course I will do it.

After all this she requested that I tell her all the petitions for others which I had received. She said, 'Conchita, tell me, tell me things about my children. I have all of them under my cloak.' And I commented, 'It is too small and there is no room for all of us.' She smiled at this.

'Do You know, Conchita, why I did not come personally on June 18 to give you the message for the world? Because it pained me to say it myself, but I have to say it to you for your own good and, if you fulfill it, for God's glory. I love you very much and I desire your salvation; to gather you all around God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Conchita, won't you respond to this?' I said, 'If I could be always seeing you, yes; but otherwise I can't because I am very bad...' 'You do all you can,' Our Lady added, 'and We will help you, as well as my daughters Loli, Jacinta and Maricruz...'

She did not stay long with me. She also said, 'This will be the last time you see me here, but I will always be with all my children.' Afterwards she added, 'Conchita, why don't you go often to visit my Son in the Most Blessed Sacrament? Why do you let yourself be carried away by laziness and not go to visit Him Who is waiting for you day and night?'

I have written above, it was raining hard. Our Lady and the Child did not get wet. I was not aware it was raining while seeing them, but when I stopped seeing them I was soaked. I also told her, 'O how happy I am when I see you. Why don't you take me with you right now?' She answered, 'Remember what I told you on your saint's day. When you go before God you must show Him your hands filled with good works done by you for your brothers and for the glory of God; now your hands are empty.'

I spent a happy moment with my mother from heaven, my best friend, and with the Child Jesus. I have stopped seeing them but not feeling them close. Again they have sown in my soul great peace, joy and a desire to conquer my defects so that I will be able to love, with all my strength, the hearts of Jesus and Mary who love us so much..."

Conchita ends: "The Blessed Virgin Mary told me before that Jesus does not want to send the punishment in order to distress us but in order to help us and reproach us because we pay no attention to Him. And the warning will be sent in order to purify us for the miracle in which he will show us His great love, and in order that we may fulfill the message."

While two commissions convened by bishops of Santander, Spain, have stated that there were no phenomena which would authentic the events as certainly supernatural they did not condemn the message. In this regard, the first commission stated, "we have not found anything deserving of ecclesiastical censure or condemnation either in the doctrine or in the spiritual recommendations that have been published as having been addressed to the faithful." The bishop who called the second commission, Bishop del Val, upon retiring from office stated in an interview that the message of Garabandal was "important" and "theologically correct." Indeed, some of the prophetic elements of the message can be found in private revelations which have been approved since the initial decision on Garabandal in the 1960s.

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