Medjugorje USA Speaks Truth & Facts About Bishop's Medjugorje Comments
By Michael K. Jones

Article date, March 12, 2017

Before starting this article Medjugorje USA would note we believe the Medjugorje apparitions are of supernatural nature. Regardless of our position and stance, the article below is not bias one way or another. The article below is the result of years of study, classified U.S. State Department documents, declassified for Medjugorje USA under the "Freedom of Information Act," Church Dogma, Cannon Law and a host of other reliable known sources.

When the apparitions began in Medjugorje, the dioceses of the province of Mostar were under the jurisdiction of Bishop Pavao Zanic. Many know Bishop Zanic was adamantly opposed to the Medjugorje apparitions, even till his death on January 11, 2000. The Medjugorje apparitions remain strongly debatable, even before the first Commission’s negative findings. Today, critics still argue that the findings of the first Commission prove Medjugorje is not supernatural in nature. As such, these critics claim the faithful of the church must be obedient to the ruling of the first Commission, conducted under the direction of Bishop Zanic. Per the findings of the first Commission, we are lead to believe the faithful and clergy should stop believing because the Medjugorje apparitions are not a heaven sent supernatural phenomena. Regardless of what the first Commission findings suggest, every year Medjugorje continues to be a gathering place for thousands of faithful pilgrims and clergy.  

On February 16, 2017, the current Bishop of Mostar, (Bishop Ratko Peric) spoke out publicly against the Medjugorje apparitions. Multiple media sources published Peric’s comment, “There is no truth to the alleged apparitions in Medjugorje….” The media articles greatly lacked in-depth reporting, drawing attention to shallow sensationalism with intent to thrill or divide those who believe and those who do not.

This article is designed to share violations, misconceptions, truths, facts and more that govern the logistics and procedures of alleged apparitions and our rights to believe as we will.

The negative findings of the first Medjugorje Commission were considered bias by the Vatican when United State Ambassador to Yugoslavia, (David Anderson) conducted an investigation of the Medjugorje apparitions, as requested by the U.S. State Department, under the orders of President Ronald Reagan. Anderson sent a copy of his findings (called an Airgram) to the Vatican as well as to the U.S. State Department. Anderson’s investigations uncovered a conspiracy where the members appointment to the first Medjugorje Commission were in fact publicly bias against the apparitions, even prior to their appointment to the Commission. As result of these classified Airgrams sent to the Vatican, the findings of the first Commission were dismissed and a second Medjugorje Commission was established and when that one failed, a 3rd Commission followed and again failed. The 4th Commission (formed March 2010) completed its investigation (January 17, 2014) but to date no findings are released.

There is 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, allowing the passage of time to determine outcomes. Even so, when apparitions appear, the Bishop of that diocese is responsible for any investigation. The Vatican does not involve itself in such matters, at least not until the Medjugorje apparitions. Originally, the responsibility of investigation of the Medjugorje apparitions fell in the hands of Bishop Pavao Zanic.

In 1981 Zanic wrote an article entitled “In Face of Responsibility” which appeared in a Catholic publication, “The Church on the Rock,” Issue 9,10, 1981. This article was positive towards the apparitions in Medjugorje. Shortly afterwards, Zanic having a change of heart claimed the apparitions were false. According to U.S. State Department classified documents, Zanic’s outspokenness against the Medjugorje apparitions were so alarming, the head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith (Cardinal Ratzinger who later became Pope for a short time) sent a message to Bishop Zanic via the Yugoslavian Conference of Bishops stating Zanic must immediately stop his raging vocal campaign as it was a disruption and division within the Church. Zanic remained disobedient in this regard for the remainder of his life.

In the 1981 article “In Face of Responsibility” Zanic writes in part the following about apparitions in general,  “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 or 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 Domingo.”

A Commission and Bishop may find there is not enough evidence to say an apparition is supernatural in nature. Although many believe the faithful should observe obedience, accepting the bishop’s judgment, Commissions findings are not infallible nor are said findings obligatory or binding. Zanic is telling us in his writing “In Face of Responsibility” that ultimately, we each chose for ourselves, as is human nature.

Before we the faithful consider the findings of the first Commission and also the writing by Zanic in “The Church on the Rock,” we also need consider the investigation of U.S. Ambassador David Anderson and the outcome of that inquiry. The Ambassador’s scrutiny was enough that the Vatican involved itself, refusing the findings of the first Commission in favor of the formation of a second Commission. The second Commission is a shocking fracture in usual Church process and protocol. Such a shattering of Church procedures had to be an eye sore for Bishop Zanic. Zanic’s anger was such that he persistently used media sources to promote his unyielding negative opposition toward the Medjugorje apparitions.

The successor to Bishop’s Zanic (after his death) to the diocese of Mostar was Bishop Ratko Peric. U.S. State Department documents complied by U.S. Ambassador David Anderson tell us, Bishop Zanic and Bishop Peric were best of friends and of like mind in their opinions against the Medjugorje apparitions. Bishop Peric would ultimately follow in Zanic’s footsteps.

For the past 17 years since his election as Bishop of Mostar, Bishop Peric has used his position to openly speak and lash out against Medjugorje. As examples of Peric’s efforts to stop the apparitions, he publicly denounced the faithful and clergy for going there. Peric also stopped any apparitions from taking place on church property anymore. Apparitions to seer Mirjana on the 2nd of each month at “Community Cenacolo” were halted when Bishop Peric gave an ultimatum to Community Cenacolo founder Sister Elvira. The monthly “Press Bulletin” published by St. James Parish was stopped dead. From the pulpit of Saint James Medjugorje Parish, during a celebration of Communion of children, Peric used the platform to strongly speak out against the apparitions. Peric demanded Masses at Oasis of Peace (that took place for years) stop immediately. Peric also wrote a book where he makes negative comments against the Medjugorje apparitions. These are just some examples of the division distributed by Bishop Peric’s position and power. I believe it important to note here that division is no creation of God but is of men who seek to make argument, rather to find a place of harmony, duty, tolerance and peace.

On February 11, 2017, an announcement was released from the Vatican.

Vatican City – Pope Francis is sending a bishop to Medjugorje to gain “deeper knowledge” of the pastoral needs of millions of Catholics drawn there by reports of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary.

The region of Medjugorje is in jurisdiction of the diocese of Mostar. Bishop Peric is the bishop that oversees the pastoral needs of that diocese. The question here is; why is Pope Francis sending his own chosen bishop to Medjugorje to look “deeper” into the pastoral needs of pilgrims visiting Medjugorje? Pastoral needs in that diocese are the job of Bishop Peric. Cleary the Vatican must feel the job of pastoral needs are best taken out of the hands of Bishop Peric for reconsideration or Vatican City would not have released a statement of the newly appointment bishop to Medjugorje for the needs of the people. This statement from Vatican City suggests Bishop Peric may not be properly caring to the needs of pilgrims visiting Medjugorje.

No matter how I look at this new appointment for pastoral needs to Medjugorje by a new bishop chosen by Pope Francis, I see such an action is like giving Bishop Peric a face to face warning. In response to the Pope’s decision in this regard, just a few weeks later after Pope Francis announces a new Bishop for pastoral needs in Medjugorje, Bishop Peric speaks out once again stating “There is no truth to the alleged apparitions in Medjugorje…”

Bishop Peric should be working for the greater good of pilgrims who come to Medjugorje to pray, as well as attending to similar duties in all the parishes in the Mostar diocese. Prayer is good no matter where it is said, even in Medjugorje and the guidance of the Church is always needed by the faithful who pray in hope. Instead of proper guidance for the faithful in the diocese of Mostar (which included the faithful living in or visiting Medjugorje,) with his most recent statement against Medjugorje, Peric brings only greater division and turbulence, once again leaving speculation and sensationalism running wild in the media.

With this appointment of a new bishop evaluating of pastoral needs in Medjugorje, I think it important to understand that Pope Francis is not saying the Church now believes in the apparitions or does not believe in the apparitions. The announcement on February 11 tells us that regardless of any decisions about the apparitions, one way or another, pilgrims who visit Medjugorje are deserving of good proper pastoral guidance but are receiving outspoken criticism and negative division, even from the Bishop of Mostar, Ratko Peric. The sum total of good pastoral guidance is the job of the Bishop of Mostar, Ratko Peric. It may be possible Bishop Peric has overlooked his duty to the faithful, in his anger and efforts to sound off against the Medjugorje apparitions. In short, Bishop’s Peric’s personal opinions about the Medjugorje apparitions are not the true issue here. Offering good guidance to the faithful of the Church is the true issue. The question remains if Bishop Peric has ignored good proper guidance for pilgrims visiting Medjugorje. To determine this matter Pope Francis finds it necessary to appoint a new Bishop to Medjugorje to evaluate the good needs of Medjugorje pilgrims.

The news media sources reported sensationalism about what the Bishop of Mostar has to say against the apparitions but clearly the media sources are not looking beyond the surface. It is not usual for a Pope to act on his own without great input from the powers that be, aka “The Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith.” Having certainly discussed these matters, it is clear Pope Francis’s decision is, an independent bishop is necessary to determine pastoral needs of pilgrims visiting Medjugorje. Such action should comes regardless of if the apparitions are real or not.

It is the opinion of Medjugorje USA that such action by Pope Francis is proper. Meanwhile, Bishop Peric’s campaign to again offer negative comment, after this appointment by Pope Francis is announced, continues to show’s Bishop Peric’s anger against the Medjugorje apparitions’ remains far stronger than does his commitment to offer good pastoral care for the faithful in his diocese.

Even as written in Bishop's Zanic's "In Face of Responsibility," 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." Ultimately, we each chose for ourselves, believing as we will. In this, just as we have a right to believe so also does Bishop Peric have the right not to believe. However, in his right to not believe, Peric uses his power and position to inflict judgment and condemnation on those who are not of like mind. It is here Peric parts way with the faithful and oversteps the line with grave division, no longer the good caretaker of the Mostar diocese but acting more as a terror and dictator. 

These things having been said, we would do well to pray, pray, pray to Our Lady of Medjugorje "Queen of Peace."  Without prayer there can never be peace.

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