Please note! Since this article was published back in 09 the Third Medjugorje Commission was dismissed without finding. The Vatican announced the formation of a new and Forth Medjugorje Commission to investigate the Medjugorje Apparition in March 2010. Unlike the previous Commissions, the 4th Commission is not local but is an international appointment. If you would like to know more about the 4th International Commission, click here >>> http://www.medjugorjeusa.org/4thmedjugorjecommission.htm

Reuters News Agency Report Probable Firmer Guidance on Medjugorje Apparitions
By Michael K. Jones

This is a long and important article on Medjugorje based on recent buzz though many media sources including recently developments from Reuters New Agency.  Anyone reading this article needs to commit to reading all of it. The beginning of this article has many negative aspects that appear to surround Medjugorje but it is only in completing the article you will understand the truths. If you are not committed 110% to reading this whole article you are better off not reading it at all. Thank you.

Adam Tanner is bureau chief for Reuters in the Balkans, overseeing coverage of Serbia, Bosnia, Albania, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo. On Wednesday Oct. 7, 2009 Tanner reported on Tuesday Cardinal Vinko Pujjic (head of the Bosnia Conference of Bishops) told Reuters News Agency the Vatican may soon issue firmer guidance for Catholics on the claim that the Virgin Mary has been visiting Medjugorje “We are now awaiting a new directive on this issue,” said Cardinal Puljic, “I don’t think we must wait for a long time, I think it will be this year, but that is not clear… I am going to Rome in November and we must discuss this.”

Cardinal Puljic announced a third Commission would be formed to review the Marian apparitions at Medjugorje. VATICAN CITY (CNS, Jul-24-2006) -- "The Commission members have not been named yet," Cardinal Puljic told Catholic News Service in a July of 06. The Cardinal stated he was awaiting suggestions from the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" on the appointment of theologians. Even though appointments would come from the Vatican, Puljic stated, “this Commission will be under the (Bosnian) bishops' conference" as is the usual practice with alleged apparitions.

According to the Cardinal, the primary task of the Commission would be to review a 1991 report from the region's bishops (Pavao Zanic) that concluded, "It cannot be affirmed that these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelations."

On September 16, 2004  Cardinal  Puljic speaking at the Synod of Bishops, complained that the reported apparitions of Medjugorje are becoming a source of division in the Church. Cardinal Puljic spoke on the general theme of how bishops should be involved in "overcoming the divisions existing in the Church and in today's world."  The Cardinal added, "the unity of the Church is threatened by the disobedience of the Franciscan monks serving at Medjugorje"… (more on this later)

Recently the Current Bishop of Mostar- Duvno, (Bishop Ratko Peric) who’s jurisdiction covers the Medjugorje St. James parish, has been slamming a hammer down on many aspects of the Medjugorje community, visionaries, parish priests and pilgrims. The short list of new rules handed down by the Bishop would be, 

- NO more retreats, spiritual exercises, conferences, foreign priests. without permission of the bishop
- NO own or foreign priests may propagate NON-recognized 'messages' or 'apparitions'
- EVERY priest must show his 'celebret' before H.Mass
- NO more H.Sacrament or adoration in 'Oasis of Peace'; even NO permission to reside in whole diocese [not sure what that last part means]
- NO services in the private church in Bijakovice; it is now closed.
- NO mentioning of 'seers', apparitions, messages' in parish bulletin;
- NO mentioning of the word 'sanctuary' in Medjugorje
- NO mentioning or comment of 'messages' or 'apparitions' on the 25th of the month via Marija Pavlovic
- NO private 'apparitions' of Mirjana Dragicevic in 'Cenacolo' of Sr. Elvira
- NO permission for 'Kraljica Mira'(founder : Tomislav Vlasic) in Medjugorje or in whole diocese
- NO 'seers' or others in the church to pray prayers from the 'apparitions'
- NO intentions during the rosary concerning 'apparitions' or 'messages'
- NO 'seers' in or around the church on anniversaries of 'apparitions' or 'messages

With Bishop Peric’s recent demands on the Medjugorje Parish over the past few months and recent statement by Bishop Puljic that the Vatican, may soon issue firmer guidelines on the Medjugorje apparitions which Puljic is going to the Vatican in November to discuss, suggests the Medjugorje parish, community and pilgrims are soon to receive a heavy negative blow.

One month before the announcement of the third Commission by Bishop Puljic in 2006, my book “Medjugorje Investigated” was on shelves in Medjugorje. My book provided documented proof that the Vatican was aware the first Medjugorje Commission was tainted on purpose by then Mostar Bishop Pavao Zanic with added direction from some Yugoslavia Conference of Bishops. The first Commission was designed from the very beginning to state, "the apparitions were not supernatural in nature." Truth be known, the decision to make this declaration was decided before any appointment of a single Commission member or any investigation having been established.

The second Commission was also under the direction of the Yugoslavia Conference of Bishops (now called Bosnia Conference of Bishops.) This Commission was disbanded without a finding. There are few reasons the second Commission was not completed. One reason was the fact Yugoslavia was enduring civil unrest which lead to the independence of the region of Bosnia and Herzegovina, (the region Medjugorje is located.) The Church had no formal written agreement for the rights of Catholic’s in the region as Bosnia and Herzegovina as a new forming independent country. This (in part) allowed room for the second Commission to fold without finding.

Secondly, many religious were deeply divided over the second Commission anyway as the formation of the second Commission was seen as a violation of the first Commission. The Vatican had no choice but to throw out the findings of the First Commission by Bishop Zanic because the U.S. Ambassador to Yugoslavia at the time, (David Anderson) had been asked to do a proper investigation of the apparitions by the U.S. State Department, under the direction of President Ronald Reagan.

Through his investigation, Anderson concluded (in part) that the first Medjugorje Commission was appointed only after each member had openly admitted (prior to their appointment) that they did not believe the Virgin Mary was appearing.  Anderson later provided documents proving members on the Yugoslavia Conference of Bishops had also stated publicly they did not believe the Holy Virgin, was appearing in Medjugorje.  Anderson felt the final outcome showed overwhelming negative bias against the apparitions.

These two (and other) documented facts through U.S. State Department documents called “AirGrams,” were sent to the U.S. State Dept. and to Vatican Rome.  These documented facts clearly show the Vatican was well aware the first two Commissions were tainted with unbelievers.  It remains a mystery to me why the Vatican would allow the Conference of Bishops to again be in charge of the third Commission established September of 06, when the Vatican is aware the previous investigation of Medjugorje were tainted.

Also in U.S. State Department documents it clearly indicated that Bishop Zanic) (who passed away January 11, 2000, and current Bishop Ratko Peric were friends who shared the same views about Medjugorje. Even until the time of his death Bishop Zanic was negatively outspoken against the Medjugorje apparitions. Zanic friend, Bishop Peric who replaced Zanic as Bishop of Mostar, has followed in the same negative footsteps against the apparitions. Peric has been overwhelming outspoken against Medjugorje from the pulpit of Medjugorje, the Diocesan website, and to all media sources including in a book he wrote.

What we need consider is this, why would Bishops be outspoken against claims of apparitions that are under current investigation?  The rule of the Church calls for silence during an investigation of any apparition but Bishop Zanic and Peric did not comply with this rule. Even member of the Conference of Bishops were outspoken against Medjugorje prior to and during investigation. The negative opinions of Bishop Peric’s were so publicly displayed, Vatican Secretary of State (Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone) stated the expression of Bishop Peric were his personal opinions. The fact a high Vatican official would publicly comment, shows the Bishops negative campaign against Medjugorje was a violation.

Also in "Medjugorje Investigated," I provided official documents stating when the current Pope (Ratzinger) was the head of the "Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith" he wrote a letter to the "Conference of Bishop" in (then) Yugoslavia. Ratzinger told the Bishops to give a message to Bishop Zanic. The message told Bishop Zanic to stop his negative campaign against Medjugorje during the investigation by the Commission. Zanic was disobedient to his superior, Cardinal Ratzinger. Zanic continued to speak out against the Medjugorje apparitions regardless of Cardinal Ratzinger's letter, even until his death. Bishop Peric has followed the same path.

It is also noteworthy that above I wrote how Cardinal Puljic stated in 2004 that the Franciscan monks in Medjugorje had been disobedient. There is one priest who briefly was in Medjugorje who later was removed from the priesthood. Even if this priest is to be considered a bad apple, one bad apple does not make all the others bad. 

During the first investigation of the apparition, some Medjugorje priest were outspoken about Bishop Zanic to political offices sent by U.S. Ambassador David Anderson. The Franciscan priests were quite upset at the Bishop.

There is a word that applies here in defense of the Franciscans priest in Medjugorje, this would is called “indignation.” Indignation is a reason for justified anger, which the Franciscan’s clearly had a right to feel and voice.  Indignation is the same as when Jesus overturned the tables of the money exchanges. There are times where for truth and justice action must be taken. Indignation is an acceptable action and not an act of disobedience.

The Franciscan priests were well aware of the tainted Commission because one member of the Commission who did not believe went to Medjugorje and he walked away believing.  Sources have told me this was Father Slavko, who became a strong champion for the apparition in Medjugorje for many years until his death. When Zanic found out this priest now believed in the apparition, the priest was instantly dismissed from the Commission.

Franciscan priests in Medjugorje were also upset since the first Commission refused all data collected by the local Medjugorje parish about the apparitions. It is proper procedure in Church Rule that such data be collected and reviewed by the appointed Commission.  Despite numerous efforts by the Franciscan priests in Medjugorje, the investigating Commission continually refused all documents presented by the Franciscans.

There is also a long disagreement as the Bishops have tried for years to remove Franciscan's from the more wealthy parishes in the region and to give the wealthy parishes over to secular priest attached directly to the Bishop.  This would give more parish money to the Diocese so that the Franciscan mission around the world would no longer get the support of their Franciscan’s brothers in then Yugoslavia, now Bosnia and Herzegovina but the Diocese of Mostar would have larger funds. In attempts to take over parishes with secular priest, parish member would not attend the parishes but go to parishes where the Franciscans were still in charge. This is because the Croatian people have a long love and devotion for Franciscans who stood against enemy forces while all other clergy in the regions ran and hide protecting and saving themselves. Many Franciscan priests were martyred during time of past war and occupation. Croats still highly respect Franciscans for their devotion and sacrifice. This certainly was a known frustration between secular priest, the Bishops and Franciscans.

Here is another and different concern we need consider. Bishop Zanic writes in an official document in my possession that the Church itself has grown tired of apparitions sent to lay people. He goes on to say that many priest no longer believe in apparitions. Zanic’s comment how the Church is tired of apparitions sent me searching for a deeper perspective, beyond just the Medjugorje apparitions.  I was also reminded where Cardinal Puljic spoke about “the divisions existing in the Church and in today's world." I discovered these two thoughts have much common ground worth investigating.

After much research I am convinced the forces at work lay in the battle between priests, nuns and faithful of the Church who side for Traditionalism, as other priests, nuns and faithful, seek reform in the Church in the name of Modernism. Modernism is not easily defined within the word itself. Its followers have different agendas as to what Modernism means.

In such reform, there are religious and faithful of the Church who say, “it is okay to let priest marry. It is okay to let woman become priests. It is okay to accept a gay lifestyle. It is okay to have an abortion. And by the way, oh yes Mary is just a vessel used by God and is not worthy of honor.”  

Traditionalism says none of these things are okay and Mary is the Holy Virgin worth our veneration.  Traditionalism and Modernism is the real battle and division we are seeing in the whole of the Church in these modern times. Many of us are seeing Modernism taking over even in our own parishes.

I have only scratched the surface of the real truths surrounding Medjugorje. We are living in grave and uncertain times of division.  I’m most certain the Church we so love is under diabolical attack, maybe even from within.  Maybe the most recent article Our Lady gave Mirjana on October 2, 2009 shows us just how far away most of this world is from God.

“Dear Children, As I look at you, my heart seizes with pain. Where are you going my children? Have you sunk so deeply into sin that you do not know how to stop yourselves? You justify yourselves with sin and live according to it. Kneel down beneath the Cross and look at my Son. He conquered sin and died so that you, my children may live. Permit me to help you not to die but to live with my son forever. Thank you!”

There is one thing for sure and this is the Church is deeply divided not only over Medjugorje but in many other aspects. Seems to me there are those who want to serve the creature more so than the Creator. We are in need of much prayer to save our divided Church.  All priests and nuns I have discussed  modernism and traditionalism with, privately have agreed this division exists but each has their version of what they hope the outcome will be.

Meanwhile I do believe it possible that in all likelihood the current Commission will conclude it can not be proven Medjugorje apparitions are supernatural.  The Conference of Bishops in charge of the third Commission has not changed so much that we can expect a different attitude from previous Medjugorje investigations conducted by the Conference of Bishops. The only difference as result of the third Commission will likely be a decision that could allow the hammer on the apparitions to fall with a hard blow as it did during the Garabandal, Spain apparition.

At what point will the true faithful come to indignation realizing what they are feeling is such and not disobedience? When and where do the true faithful see the division and ask, “How can I be obedient to that which is divided amongst itself?”  Just maybe we could all learn a good lesson from the book of Revelation 12, where we find the dragon will seek to destroy the Woman but failing to capture and destroy Her, the evil dragon who is called, serpent, devil and satan, goes out to make war with the rest of "HER" offspring, who keep true the Commandants of God and give testimony to Jesus." Rev. 12:17. In indignation we the faithful of Medjugorje must stand against forces who seek the destruction of Our Lady because they tire of Marian apparitions. 

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