Shocking Truth of the Medjugorje Commissions
By Michael K. Jones

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As a rule of thumb the Vatican tends to shy away from any investigation of claimed apparitions, leaving the responsibility to the local Bishop of a diocese.  At the time the Medjugorje apparition began back in June of 1981, the Medjugorje parish was and remains under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Mostar. The Bishop of Mostar was Bishop Pavlo Zanic, (now deceased.)  Zanic believed in the Medjugorje apparition early on but quickly changed his mind. He became extremely vocal against the claimed visitations, even prior to the Commission he himself formed to investigate.

Under church law there should be no public discussion either for or against, when an apparition is under investigation. Silence is the order of the day. Zanic broke this rule to the point the head of the doctrine of faith, (Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict)  wrote the Yugoslavia Congregation of Bishops requesting they tell Zanic (in my words) to keep his mouth shut during the investigation. Zanic refused obedience toward Cardinal Ratzinger and continued to be outspoken against the Medjugorje apparitions throughout his entire life. Most are not aware of this but the Medjugorje Commission appointed by Zanic was tainted with unbelievers from the very start of its formation. Only one member of the Commission went to Medjugorje to investigate and he came away believing. For having a change of heart and believing in the Medjugorje apparition, this priest was instantly dismissed from Medjugorje Commission by Bishop Zanic.

It is also church procedure for a local parish to collect data in regard to such events, so a commission can investigate completely. The Medjugorje Commission refused all documentation collected by the local parish of Medjugorje. Refusing information compiled by the local parish in Medjugorje caused the local parish priests to get upset and voice their indignation publicly toward the Bishop. Zanic used the parish priests’ indignation to his advantage claiming publicly the apparitions must be false if the local priests are hostile and disobedient to his rule. However, it was never publicly released that the actions of the Medjugorje parish priests was the result of the Bishop’s continual campaign to destroy the apparitions without proper investigation. The truth that remains hidden is Bishop Zanic did not follow proper Church procedure. Under the authority of Bishop Zanic, the tainted commission declared the Medjugorje apparitions were not supernatural.

The United States Ambassador to Yugoslavia at that time was David Anderson. President Roland Reagan had heard of Medjugorje and was interested in it and as such the U.S. State Department contacted Ambassador Anderson telling him to do an investigation of the apparitions. Anderson's political officers talked one on one with priests and pilgrims. Anderson himself talked personally with Bishop Zanic and other members of the commission. Anderson also talked with Yugoslavia government official, who as we know were a Communist government. David Anderson’s reports state Zanic knowingly appointed unbelievers to the commission. Upon completion of each investigation Anderson sent his report to the U.S. State Department through documents called, "AirGrams." Anderson also sent a copy of his investigations  to "Vatican Rome," as stated in the documents themselves. So the Vatican was 100% aware Bishop Zanic's Medjugorje Commission was tainted against the Medjugorje apparitions and the Vatican also knew the U.S. State Department was aware of it. As such, the Vatican could not allow this information about the commission to escape as it certainly would make the Church look untruthful. So, the Vatican formed the famous second Medjugorje Commission. This was the first time in history the Vatican had ever involved itself in local church matters, as are claimed apparitions handled. However, during the second commission many priest and lay people cried fowl because the Vatican overstepped the church rule, procedures and rites of the local Bishop to investigate and declare if claimed apparitions are real or not. However what these other priest and lay people did and still do not know is, The U.S. State Department told the Vatican that Bishop Zanic's Medjugorje Commission was made up of unbelievers. As such, the investigation of the Medjugorje apparitions was tainted to fail on purpose.

There are other reasons besides what I mention but one of the reasons Zanic did not want the apparitions approved is because Medjugorje was one of the more wealthy parishes. There had been an ongoing plan even before the appointment of Zanic as Bishop to remove the wealthy parishes away from Franciscan's and to give those parishes to diocesan priests also known as secular priests. Secular priest were more so attached to the hip of the Bishop whereas Franciscan's have a number of missions they support. As such, much of the funds collected at the richer Franciscan parish could support missions of the Franciscans whereas if those richer parishes were places in the hands of secular priests, this would generate more income for the Diocese of Mostar. There is of course no 100% documented proof to this but there is enough solid evidence when pieced together to make this believable.

Soon the Vatican found it was in the middle of a heated debate having formed the second commission. Everything indicates the Vatican wanted out of the Medjugorje investigation without findings. They got their prayers answered when civil unrest began in 1990 leading to the independence of Bosnia from Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia continued to split apart until its complete collapse. Today Yugoslavia no longer exists as it was voted out of existence. When Bosnia gaining independence, this formed a new providence under its own power and as such the Vatican had no formal agreement of religious rights in the new formation of the Bosnia government. So with no formal agreement between the new independent state of Bosnia and the Church, this stopped the second commission from completion. This tells us the second commission was not stopped so as to retain the results of the first Medjugorje commission but the second commission was stopped for political reason only.

With the second commission dismissed without findings, many said this meant the original decision of Bishop Zanic would stand, while others said under Church law if an investigation has not been completed as was the second commission, this means Church law allows pilgrims to visit a claimed place of apparitions till such time a completed investigation has determined if the apparition are genuine. This is the division we have lived with for many years now in that some say the first commission is not valid as the second was formed overriding the first and the second was not completed. Others say because the second commission established no findings we accept the previous findings. If the second commission is the correct procedure, we go back to step one which means the faithful have a right to go to Medjugorje until such time a decision has been handed down on Medjugorje. If on the other hand the findings of the first commission once again become rule because the second commission was not completed, this means the faithful has no right to visit Medjugorje as it has been declared unworthy of devotion. The real question that seems to hold no answer is which is the correct Church procedure? Do we have a right to continue to go to Medjugorje, or do we have no right at all to go there? This question has caused unending conflict between those who continue to believe in the apparitions and those who do not. The answer to the question is really quite simple even though the debate goes on. Because the commission appointed by Bishop Zanic was tainted on purpose with unbelievers who declared the apparitions were false, the findings of the first Commission are invalid. The second commission having not completed its investigation means we the faithful have a right to continue to visit Medjugorje until such time a proper commission has been established and a decision of the apparitions has been handed down by due process.

My book "Medjugorje Investigated" publicly exposed the above for the first time ever. My book is based on factual data of classified State Department documents which were personally declassified for me at a great expense under the Freedom of Information Act. However, because State Department documents say this or that, does not mean content in those documents are truths. There has to be validation to promote truth. The U.S. State Department documents come to validation in the fact Ambassador Anderson’s Medjugorje investigations were sent to Vatican, Rome. The fact Vatican, Rome had the U.S. State Departments investigations and formed the "second commission," is proof perfect validation the first commission was tainted. Though many would have us accept it is political changes in the region that lead to the uncompleted second investigation, the truth is the formation of the second commission was so controversial, the Church had to welcome the political changes in Yugoslavia and the independence of Bosnia as this allowed the second commission to be dismissed without any findings.

The long and short is, the Church had to form a third Commission after the publication of "Medjugorje Investigated," even though the church previously announced they would not do another investigation of Medjugorje till the apparitions were over. Even so, one month after the release of “Medjugorje Investigated,” the church publicly announced the formation of a new Medjugorje Commission. However, we are back to step one once again. The current Bishop of Mostar has been very outspoken verbally against Medjugorje. He has even visited the Medjugorje parish on different occasions telling the congregation his negative feelings against the apparition.  The current Bishop has also written a book where he denounces Medjugorje. Church rule states silence would be in order when apparitions are under investigation. The current Bishop has been told by Vatican officials to keep his opinions to himself but he has been disobedient as was former Bishop Zanic.  It is also noteworthy it is documented Zanic and current Bishop were very good friends and of like mind. It is also true that the current Bishop was told to stop his attack during this third investigation but he has not been obedient to this request either.

The Medjugorje apparitions certainly have opened up a number of issues that the lay person and even many religious do not and may never understand. Above and beyond the squabbles over apparitions is a grave fact there is much division in the ranks of the Catholic Church. This division is not only among priest, nuns etc. but also among the faithful of the Church. Division is no creation of God as we are told in several places in Scripture.  One example is that of a house divided, The Scripture goes, "A house divided can not stand," etc. The division in the Church is of a much greater concern to me as it could lead to a separation within the Church even as great as in the days of King Henry Vlll.

There is no question this separation exists because Bishops would not be outspoken against apparitions while the apparition are still under investigation when Church rule is silence. Bishops would not be disobedient to Church rule and publicly smear apparitions prior to a completed investigation as this is not Church policy. The Conference of Bishops in Canada opposed Pope John Paul some years ago as a different example in regard to abortion. They recanted some years later. A well know priest or maybe it was a Bishop from Minnesota declared priest should be allowed to marry. There is also a movement within the Church to remove Mary from the dogma of the Church. Groups such as the "Marian Movement of Priest" have formed to counter such attack within the ranks of religious life. Medjugorje USA has talked with a number of priests and nuns on "division in the Church" and everyone agrees it does exist, though no one really likes to talk about it. Some believe the Church will heal before it reaches separation, others believe division is very possible as they believe extreme modernists in the Church seek to overtake time tested traditionalism. The reformation of Vatican ll many say is a part of this modernism, even though my research shows modernism of the Church extends far earlier in Church history.

The split of the Church is possible in that there are many Catholic who want modernism. When running for president we learned John Kerry was Catholic yet his views were very liberal and modern and not in accordance with Church teaching. As an example Kerry is a supporter of pro-choice where as the Church position on this topic stands opposed. There is a large population of Catholic who feel the rules that govern Catholics are too strict. Many feel abortion and other possible pro-choice issues such as birth control should be allowed, while traditional Catholics are staunchly against such modern ideas. These ongoing issues show how easy it would be for the Catholic Church as we know it to break in two pieces as it once did during the rein of King Henry Vlll.

So though the Medjugorje issues is a very important, it pales in comparison to the division and disobedience taking place within the Church by lay people, priest and nuns. One nun I know very well told me the new chapel at the convent placed the tabernacle at the far back end of the Church and not as center focus as it should be. The pews are gone and there are only chairs. No longer do the nuns kneel or stand during the celebration of the Mass, they sit only. No longer do the nuns kneel before taking communion. As a result, this one nun has refused to follow this new modern procedure and because she chooses traditions over modernism, she has been singled out as being too pious. The sad part is, one need not go far to enter a Church where the tabernacle is no longer the focal point. What is happening here with these modern concepts is people are choosing to, "Worshiping the creature and not the Creator," as Scripture tells us.

The division between traditional and modernism also plays a strong role in events taking place in Medjugorje. The U.S. State Department investigations states many priests do not believe in apparitions, period, end of story. The documents also states many other priest say they are tired of God sending apparitions to people. There is no positive evidence to say the current Bishop of Mostar or the former do not believe in apparitions or are tired of them but all the indications of their actions suggest they are opposed. Another good possible indication of course suggests the Medjugorje parish may well have been more a financial and or political debate than is an apparition debate.

The well known “Zadar Declaration” which seems to also have two interpretations for those for and against Medjugorje, has also become a debate. All indications show the “Zadar Declaration” time frame is between the first completed and not completed second commissions. The first commission was put together quite early (82) and the investigation did not last long before Zanic declared the apparitions "not supernatural in nature." There also is no question there were other members of the Congregation of Yugoslavia Bishops who did not believe in the Medjugorje apparitions either, even before any true investigation of the apparitions had been conducted. As I wrote previously, Cardinal Ratzinger while head of Doctrine of Faith did contact the Bishops Conference about the Medjugorje matter. It is my guess Ratzinger had no choice but to contact the Bishops as U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia David Anderson has sent "AirGrams" to the State Department as well as to Vatican Rome, pointing out grave flaws. These AirGrams clearly stated the misconceptions of Bishop Zanic and the tainted commission. I can only give an educated guess that upon investigation of the AirGrams, the Vatican contacted the Yugoslavia Conference of Bishops asking about the things contained in the AirGrams which state the commission appointed by Bishop Zanic was tainted with unbelievers. The Vatican would likely also ask why some of the members of the Conference of Bishops themselves were laughing at the apparition with disbelief. Why the Vatican would appoint the Yugoslav Bishops to investigate Medjugorje would be a mystery as Ambassador Anderson's AirGrams had already indicated some of the Yugoslavia Conference of Bishops had strong negative views prior to a proper investigation of the apparitions. As such, the finding of the second Commission could have been the same as the first under the direction of the Conference of Yugoslavia Bishops which could also be the reason the second commission was dismissed. Though there are several good possibilities why the second commission was dissolved without finding, we do know during the civil unrest beginning in 1990, the second Medjugorje investigation was stopped. I no longer recall the exact year the second Commission was stopped but it was likely in 1990 or 91. Even though the Commission was left without finding, the Yugoslavia Conference of Bishops released the “Zadar Declaration” which in short states, “The bishops leave open for further investigations the question of the supernatural character of the phenomenon of Medjugorje: it is neither accepted nor denied.”

As stated above, the U.S. State Department documents tell me other Yugoslavia Bishops did not believe in the apparitions either and in fact laughed about them. I could never prove this officially but I do believe Zanic did not act alone with the tainted findings of the first commission. I say this with confidence because the attitudes of other Yugoslavia Bishops who laughed over the Medjugorje apparitions and did not believe in them from the very beginning.  Originally the first commission had only 4 members and the Conference of Bishops felt this acceptable. It was the Vatican who said, the commission was too small at which time it was extended to 15 members. I was in touch with one member of the second commission while the investigation was ongoing. According to this person there were at least 30 members on the second Commission. This person could not speak for all but this person came to believe the Medjugorje apparitions were real and felt many other appointed members of the commission felt the same. Regardless of everything, the civil unrest in the unstable region was the perfect out to stop the commission and for the Conference of Bishops to release a statement that was not for or against Medjugorje.

 As the second Commission was released without a full finding, the Church stated they would not investigate Medjugorje again till the apparitions had ended. With the above information released in my book, a third commission was appointed one month after the release of “Medjugorje Investigated.”

When considering the third Commission, I think it interesting when Cardinal Puljic was asked if the new commission was the result of the doctrinal congregation or of the bishops conference he replied, "I would rather not answer that question." I have to ask why he would not answer that question. Either way the answer makes little if no difference at all. However, if his reply was to say the new commission is the result of recently publicly declassified U.S. State Department documents, this would open up a can of worms as to why the Medjugorje apparition were left in such a state knowingly by the Conference of Bishops and Vatican officials. All I know for certain is, one month after “Medjugorje Investigated,” was on the shelves in Medjugorje, the Vatican announced they would form a new Medjugorje Commission. Currently this new third commission continues it investigation.

If I have learned anything from years of investigation of the Medjugorje apparitions it is how deeply divided we all are as Catholic’s. I constantly have to remind myself that division is no creation of God. The division among the flock of the Church tells me though we should always strive to be obedient, we must also be well informed and exercise discernment. Scripture tells us, “By their fruits you will know them.”  I believe we live in an age where we can no longer hear with our ears and accept with our hearts. We live in bold new times and could be blindly misguided within the division of this world entire. It seems more so than ever where one stands for, there will always be another who stands opposed.

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