Local Bishop Speaks Out In Medjugorje While Vatican Releases Apparition Guidelines at the Same Time

By Michael K. Jones

Bishop Ratko Peric gave the homily to confirmation candidates at St. James Church, Medjugorje on May 20, 2012. An outspoken critic against the apparition since 1993 when elected “Bishop of Mostar”, we who believe Our Lady is appearing have to ponder the double meaning of his message where Bishop Peric places the outcome of Medjugorje in the hands of the confirmation candidates.

Speaking to the congregation, Peric stated the future of the parish is in hands of the candidates where Medjugorje and St. James parish could become a Jerusalem or a Babylon. Bishop Peric speaks,

“You have the opportunity to make a Jerusalem of this parish, a site of action of the Spirit of God, where there is the unity among a multitude of peoples, where everyone understands everyone in God, not in the fake wealth, where the word of Peter is being heard: “Repent … and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2.39)

“In Babylon, (Genesis 11), the fruit of the human spirit: misperception of speech, breaking the unity, the loss of the name, city decay, demolition of the tower. Misunderstanding and fuss! In Jerusalem, the fruit of the Spirit of God: the unification of diverse human spirits, respect of every language, people and talent, agreement and harmony!”

“Dear faithful, candidates! You have the opportunity to turn Medjugorje into Babylon, confusion and turmoil, to show pride, to blame Heaven, to give in to foreigners and their foreign ways and tourism, open the flood of many languages and compete over Babylon floors and enlargement of villas, profitable businesses are more open and rich.”

We could certainly debate the meaning of Bishop Peric’s speech but this article is designed to beg the question if Peric’s homily is a prelude to the findings of the 4th “Independent” Commission investigating the Medjugorje apparitions.  Reports released to news agencies this past February claim Vatican sources announced the Medjugorje Commission will hand down their verdict sometime this year. See two of the February announcements here, http://www.medjugorjeusa.org/vaticancommissiona.htm  & http://www.medjugorjeusa.org/vaticancommissiona.htm .

Adding fuel to a possible fire, it is most interesting that on May 23, 2012, “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” published guidelines to help distinguish those who have experienced real apparitions from con artists seeking fame, financial or sexual gain, etc. It seems a little odd or maybe planned that the releases of these guidelines come just three days after the homily by Bishop Peric at Saint James parish in Medjugorje.

Church procedure and guidelines for claimed Marian apparitions are only just published in May 2012 when the actual criteria for judging presumed apparitions date to 1978. Again this begs the question, why publish now when the guidelines were complied 34 years ago, just 3 years before the first Medjugorje apparition in June 1981? Is there some connection between Peric’s speech in Medjugorje about Jerusalem or Babylon and the release of claimed apparition guidelines? (Newly published guidelines will be found at bottom of this article.)

Having read the Bishop of Mostar’s homily, the buzz online is, many think Peric’s speech shows a softer heart toward Medjugorje. Speaking for myself I am not so convinced. The Bishop seems to be comparing the direction of Medjugorje as flip flopping between the Spirit of Jerusalem and Babylon. This does not suggest a softer view to me but more a broad range of all things good to all things bad. Peric also states Medjugorje is surrounded in things fake, also seeking riches and many wealths. To this he cries out saying “Repent … and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”.  The speech suggests there must be repentance, in part by stopping foreigners and their foreign ways and tourism, if there is hope for Medjugorje.

At best, we can only each speculate on the meaning of the Bishop’s homily given to the confirmation candidates. On that note, it is my opinion that Bishop Peric’s speech followed three days later by the Vatican’s announcement of guidelines to investigating claimed apparitions and seers, appears to be more a deliberate act, rather a random one of chance. If these events following one after the other are worthy of consideration, we could expect the decision from the Forth Medjugorje Commission any time soon and it is possible the Commission may concluded a negative ruling against Medjugorje seers and apparitions. As June is the anniversary of Our Lady in Medjugorje and this is followed by the Youth Festival, I would think any announcement by the Medjugorje Commission would likely not come till after the 31 anniversary of the apparitions and the following Medjugorje Youth Festival, August 1-6, 2012.

Putting together this article, I speculate it is possible the decision on Medjugorje could be a negative one based on Peric’s recent homily in Medjugorje and the published release of the guidelines toward claimed apparitions and seers. Even so, realistically there are three possible outcomes of the Commission’s investigation, but that is another story for those who would like to read it called "Choices of the 4th Medjugorje Commission." http://www.medjugorjeusa.org/choicesof4thcommission.htm

If Medjugorje was declared "Not Supernatural in Nature," this could cause a great split between Medjugorje believers and non-believers. Some believers in obedience would surrender themselves to the ruling of the Church. However, what of those who still offer profound testimony and personal life changing alterations because of the Medjugorje apparitions? They may refuse to accept the Medjugorje apparitions and visionaries are ruled false by the Church because they refuse to deny the events that changed their lives. These differences could be devastating, even causing a greater split between the continuing battles in the Church between Traditionalist and Modernist. It may well be even possible these events could be a page right out of Revelations Chapter 12.

Our Lady of Medjugorje told us in one of Her messages that we need, "find the message in Scripture meant for you." Is it possible Revelation 12 where stands the Woman with a crown of 12 stars, (as She also appears in Medjugorje ) could in fact be Our Lady of Medjugorje? In Rev. 12 verse 16-17 satan seeks to destroy the Woman and Her children who "...keep The Commandments and give testimony to Jesus Christ." Is this the message Our Lady of Medjugorje tells us we need find in the Scripture? In every Medjugorje message Our Lady starts by saying to us, "Dear Children..." If we are therefore Her Children, is Revelation 12 verse 17 in fact the Children of Our Lady of Medjugorje? Want to investigate this theory more, read this article, "Is Medjugorje the Sequal to Fatima?" http://www.medjugorjeusa.org/medjugorjefatimasequel.htm

View all our organized articles on the Medjugorje Commissions on this page> http://www.medjugorjeusa.org/commissionsorganized.htm

Below are the recently published guidelines for investigating apparitions and visionaries.






Origin and character of these norms

During the annual Plenary Session in November 1974, the Fathers of this Sacred Congregation examined the problems relative to presumed apparitions and to the revelations often connected with them and reached the following conclusions:

1. Today, more than in the past, news of these apparitions is diffused rapidly among the faithful thanks to the means of information (mass media). Moreover, the ease of going from one place to another fosters frequent pilgrimages, so that Ecclesiastical Authority should discern quickly about the merits of such matters.

2. On the other hand, modern mentality and the requirements of critical scientific investigation render it more difficult, if not almost impossible, to achieve with the required speed the judgments that in the past concluded the investigation of such matters (constat de supernaturalitate, non constat de supernaturalitate) and that offered to the Ordinaries the possibility of authorizing or prohibiting public cult or other forms of devotion among the faithful.

For these reasons, in order that the devotion stirred among the faithful as a result of facts of this sort might manifest itself in full communion with the Church, and bear fruits by which the Church herself might later discern the true nature of the facts, the Fathers judged that in this matter the following procedure should be promoted.

When Ecclesiastical Authority is informed of a presumed apparition or revelation, it will be its responsibility:

a) first, to judge the fact according to positive and negative criteria (cf. infra, no. I);

b) then, if this examination results in a favorable conclusion, to permit some public manifestation of cult or of devotion, overseeing this with great prudence (equivalent to the formula, “for now, nothing stands in the way”) (pro nunc nihil obstare).

c) finally, in light of time passed and of experience, with special regard to the fecundity of spiritual fruit generated from this new devotion, to express a judgment regarding the authenticity and supernatural character if the case so merits.


A) Positive Criteria:

a) Moral certitude, or at least great probability of the existence of the fact, acquired by means of a serious investigation;

b) Particular circumstances relative to the existence and to the nature of the fact, that is to say:

1. Personal qualities of the subject or of the subjects (in particular, psychological equilibrium, honesty and rectitude of moral life, sincerity and habitual docility towards Ecclesiastical Authority, the capacity to return to a normal regimen of a life of faith, etc.);

2. As regards revelation: true theological and spiritual doctrine and immune from error;

3. Healthy devotion and abundant and constant spiritual fruit (for example, spirit of prayer, conversion, testimonies of charity, etc.).

B) Negative Criteria:

a) Manifest error concerning the fact.

b) Doctrinal errors attributed to God himself, or to the Blessed Virgin Mary, or to some saint in their manifestations, taking into account however the possibility that the subject might have added, even unconsciously, purely human elements or some error of the natural order to an authentic supernatural revelation (cf. Saint Ignatius, Exercises, no. 336).

c) Evidence of a search for profit or gain strictly connected to the fact.

d) Gravely immoral acts committed by the subject or his or her followers when the fact occurred or in connection with it.

e) Psychological disorder or psychopathic tendencies in the subject, that with certainty influenced on the presumed supernatural fact, or psychosis, collective hysteria or other things of this kind.

It is to be noted that these criteria, be they positive or negative, are not peremptory but rather indicative, and they should be applied cumulatively or with some mutual convergence.


1. If, on the occasion of a presumed supernatural fact, there arises in a spontaneous way among the faithful a certain cult or some devotion, the competent Ecclesiastical Authority has the serious duty of looking into it without delay and of diligently watching over it.

2. If the faithful request it legitimately (that is, in communion with the Pastors, and not prompted by a sectarian spirit), the competent Ecclesiastical Authority can intervene to permit or promote some form of cult or devotion, if, after the application of the above criteria, nothing stands in the way. They must be careful that the faithful not interpret this practice as approval of the supernatural nature of the fact on the part of the Church (cf. Preliminary note c).

3. By reason of its doctrinal and pastoral task, the competent Authority can intervene motu proprio and indeed must do so in grave circumstances, for example in order to correct or prevent abuses in the exercise of cult and devotion, to condemn erroneous doctrine, to avoid the dangers of a false or unseemly mysticism, etc.

4. In doubtful cases that clearly do not put the good of the Church at risk, the competent Ecclesiastical Authority is to refrain from any judgment and from any direct action (because it can also happen that, after a certain period of time, the presumed supernatural fact falls into oblivion); it must not however cease from being vigilant by intervening if necessary, with promptness and prudence.


1. Above all, the duty of vigilance and intervention falls to the Ordinary of the place.

2. The regional or national Conference of Bishops can intervene:

a) If the Ordinary of the place, having done his part, turns to it to judge the matter with greater certainty;

b) If the matter pertains to the national or regional level; always, however, with the prior consent of the Ordinary of the place.

3. The Apostolic See can intervene if asked either by the Ordinary himself, by a qualified group of the faithful, or even directly by reason of the universal jurisdiction of the Supreme Pontiff (cf. infra, no. IV).


1. a) The intervention of the Sacred Congregation can be requested either by the Ordinary, after he has done his part, or by a qualified group of the faithful. In this second case, care must be taken that recourse to the Sacred Congregation not be motivated by suspect reasons (for example, in order to compel the Ordinary to modify his own legitimate decisions, to support some sectarian group, etc.).

b) It is up to the Sacred Congregation to intervene motu proprio in graver cases, especially if the matter affects the larger part of the Church, always after having consulted the Ordinary and even, if the situation requires, the Conference of Bishops.

2. It is up to the Sacred Congregation to judge and approve the Ordinary’s way of proceeding or, in so far as it be possible and fitting, to initiate a new examination of the matter, distinct from that undertaken by the Ordinary and carried out either by the Sacred Congregation itself or by a special Commission.

The Present Norms, deliberated in the Plenary Session of this Sacred Congregation, were approved by the Supreme Pontiff, Paul VI on 24 February 1978.

In Rome, from the palace of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 25 February 1978.

Francis Cardinal Šeper

 Jérôme Hamer, O.P.


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