The Remnant Press
5. THE TRUTH ABOUT MEDJUGORJE: PART 1
A Statement by Mgr. Pavao Zanic, Bishop-----Published in 1990
1. The truth regarding the events in Medjugorje is being sought out by a Commission of the Bishops' Conference of Yugoslavia (BKJ). Their work is progressing slowly. Therefore with this statement I wish to help the Commission in coming to a decision as soon as possible. Propaganda in favor of Medjugorje is being rushed in order to place the Church and the world before a fait accompli. This has been the intention of the defenders of Medjugorje from the beginning. It must be admitted that they have succeeded, because the other side is either working too slowly or remaining silent. For these reasons and due to the motivation that I have been given from many from all over the world who realize that the truth has been trampled upon, I have decided to make another statement according to my duty and my conscience, and help the Commission. With this statement I wish to awaken the consciences of those who defend Medjugorje. Their path is simple, wide and downhill all the way, while mine is difficult, thorny and uphill. The Church and Our Lady have no need of falsehoods. Jesus says: "The truth will make you free" (Jn 8:32). "I am the way and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6). "For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth, hears my voice" (Jn 18:37). For a short description of the falsehoods about Medjugorje we would need 200 pages, but for now all I will give is this short summary without a scientific approach. I am somewhat uneasy because of the fact that in some statements my name is in the forefront, yet from the beginning of the "apparitions" I have been in the center of the events due to my episcopal position and duties. I am sorry as well for having to mention some "unpleasant things," but without them the arguments lose their strength. However, the most unpleasant things will not be mentioned.
2. A characteristic attitude: Marina B., a tourist guide for Atlas Travel, brought a priest from Panama to my office in August 1989. His name: Presbitero Rodriguez Teofilo, pastor of Nuestra Senora de Lourdes. With him came Carmen Capriles-----a journalist, Gerente General of the IATA agency, and Averrida Alberto Navarro, Apartado 1344 Zona 7, Panama. Marina presented herself as a tour-guide, translator for English and a convert of Medjugorje. The priest asked me for the reasons why I do not believe in the "apparitions". I told him that I have at least 20 reasons not to believe, of which only one is necessary for those who are sober and well instructed in the faith to come to the conclusion that the apparitions are not of the-----supernatural. He asked me to please tell him at least one reason. I told him about the case of the ex-Franciscan priest Ivica Vego. Due to his disobedience, by an order of our Holy Father the Pope, he was expelled from the Franciscan religious order OFM by his General, dispensed from his vows, and suspended a divinis. He did not obey this order and he continued to celebrate Mass, administer the Sacraments and pass the time with his mistress. It is unpleasant to write about this, yet it is necessary in order to see of whom Our Lady is speaking. According to the diary of Vicka and the statements of the "seers", Our Lady mentioned 13 times that he is innocent and that the bishop is wrong. When his mistress, Sister Leopolda, a nun, became pregnant, both of them left Medjugorje and the religious life and began to live together near Medjugorje where their child was born. Now they have two children. His prayerbook is still sold in Medjugorje and beyond in hundreds of thousands of copies.
I asked Marina to translate this in English. Marina cannot be blamed for having fallen into a community which is concealing the truth. She spontaneously responded according to the practice in Medjugorje: "Do we have to tell them these ugly things?" I responded by saying that if you had not held back and covered these "ugly events" these people from Panama would have found out earlier and they would not have had to travel to Medjugorje for nothing. It is an injustice and a sin to hide this truth, even though it be unpleasant, it must be said.
3. The Marian theologian Rene Laurentin behaves in the same manner. He came to visit me around Christmas 1983, and I offered him dinner. He asked me why I do not believe in the apparitions. I told him that according to the diary of Vicka, and the words of the other "seers", this "Lady" has been speaking against the bishop. Laurentin quickly responded: "Don't publish that, because there are many pilgrims and converts there." I was scandalized by this statement of this well known Mariologist! Unfortunately this has remained Laurentin's position: to hide the truth, and defend falsehoods. He has written around ten books on the topic of Medjugorje and in almost all of them, the truth and Bishop Zanic are under fire. He knows well what people like to hear. Therefore, it was relatively easy for him to find those who would believe him. "A veritate quidem auditum avertent, ad fabulas autem convertentur"-----"They will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths" (2 Tim 4:4). The "seers" and defenders of Medjugorje led by Laurentin, from the very outset have seen that the modern believer in a communist country very quickly believes in everything "miraculous", in apparent miraculous healings and apparent messages from "Our Lady".
4. The main players on which Medjugorje rests are retired Archbishop F. Franic, R. Laurentin, L. Rupcic OFM, Amorth, Rastrelli S.J., and some Franciscans and charismatics from all over the world. Many books have been quickly published, as well as articles, brochures, films and souvenirs. On the move are tourist agencies, pilgrimages, prayerbooks written by two Franciscans Vego and Prusina who were expelled from the Franciscan Order, published in many languages in 600,000 copies, fanatical prayer groups that are inspired by the apparent messages of Our Lady and the greatest motivator of all-----money. No one even mentions that which throws doubt on the "apparitions". The bishop has been warning everyone, but the "machinery" has been breaking forward. There have been mentioned 50 miraculous healings, then 150, 200, 300 and so on. Laurentin chose 56 dossiers and sent them to the "Bureau Medical de Lourdes". Dr. Mangiapan responded in their Bulletin April 1986, that these dossiers have no practical value, and they cannot be used or considered as serious proofs of the apparitions in Medugorje. Much has been written about the healing of Diane Basile. I sent the dossier to Dr. Mangiapan who studied the case and then took the position: "opinion plus que reservée". It is a case of sclerosis multiplex. More will be written about this later in a book.
5. The credibility of the "seers"-----Mirjana Dragicevic. One month after the beginning of the "apparitions" I went to Medjugorje to question the "seers". I asked each of them to take an oath on the cross and demanded that they must speak the truth. (This conversation and oath was recorded on tape.) The first one was Mirjana: "We went to look for our sheep when at once . . ." (The associate pastor in the parish interrupted and told me that they actually went out to smoke, which they hid from their parents.) "Wait a minute Mirjana, you're under oath. Did you go out to look for your sheep?" She put her hand over her mouth. "Forgive me, we went out to smoke." She then showed me the watch on which the "miracle" occurred because the hands of the watch had gone haywire. I took the watch to a watch expert who said that the watch had certainly fallen and become disordered. After bringing the watch back to her I told her not to mention that a miracle occurred. Yet, on cassettes taped later on, she went on to speak of how a miracle occurred with the watch and that initially they had gone out to search for their sheep.
Later on, she claimed that Our Lady stated that all faiths are equal. To what extent can we believe Mirjana?
6. Vicka Ivankovic is the main "seer" from the beginning, and through her the creator of Medjugorje. Fr. Tomislav Vlasic, OFM, has launched the main portion of falsehoods regarding Medjugorje. He presented himself to the Pope in a letter May 13, 1984 as follows: "I am Fr. Tomislav Vlasic, the one according to Divine Providence who guides the seers of Medjugorje." It would have been better for him that he withdrew himself into the desert and that he remained silent, because his past speaks enough about him. Vicka spoke and wrote much, and in so doing she fell into many contradictions. Prof. Nikola Bulat, a member of the first Commission, questioned her and wrote a 60 page study on her. He numbered all the illogicalities and falsehoods of her diary. Here I will only mention the bloody handkerchief. Word spread around that there was a certain taxi driver who came across a man who was bloody all over. This man gave the taxi driver a bloodied handkerchief and he told him to: "Throw this in the river." The driver went on and then he came across a woman in black. She stopped him and asked him to give her a handkerchief. He gave her his own. but she said: "Not that one but the bloody handkerchief." He gave her the handkerchief she wanted and she then said: "If you had thrown it into the river the end of the world would have occurred now." Vicka Ivankovic wrote in her diary that they asked Our Lady if this event was true and she said that it was, and along with this, "That man covered with blood was my son Jesus, and I (Our Lady) was that woman in black."
What kind of theology is this? From this it appears that Jesus wants to destroy the world if a handkerchief is thrown into a river and it is Our Lady who saves the world!
7. On the 14th of January 1982, Vicka, Marija and little Jakov came to visit me. Vicka began to speak quite nervously because she was speaking falsehoods. She said: "Our Lady sent us to you to tell you that you are too harsh with the Franciscans . . ." In what way? "We don't know!" Two Franciscan chaplains in Mostar, Ivica Vego and Ivan Prusina, whom the bishop sought to remove from Mostar because of disorder and disobedience towards the faithful of the newly established cathedral parish in Mostar, defended themselves before their superiors by saying that they would not leave Mostar because Our Lady, through Vicka, told them not to leave. This was mentioned to me by a member of the Franciscan Provincial council. I asked Vicka at our meeting: "Did Our Lady mention anything about the Mostar chaplains, Vego and Prusina?" "She did not, we don't know them," responded all three. Our conversation lasted 30 minutes and I taped all of it. I brought up the question of the chaplains of Mostar several times and they always responded: "We don't know them." Later on, I found from Vicka's diary that they knew the chaplains very well. It was clear to me that they were lying, yet I did not want to mention this to them in order to maintain their confidence during our conversations.
8. On the 4th of April 1982, Vicka and Jakov came to visit me ". . . sent by Our Lady." The chaplains of Mostar, Vego and Prusina were expelled from the Franciscan Order OFM in January of that year by the superiors of their Order. Many followers and "Our Lady" defended the expelled chaplains. During our conversation Vicka very excitedly began: "The last time we were with you we didn't tell you everything and for this reason Our Lady scolded us. We spoke of many things and therefore we forgot . . ." "What did you forget?" "Our Lady told us to tell you that those chaplains Vego and Prusina are priests and therefore they can celebrate Mass just as other priests." "Wait a minute. Did Our Lady tell you this before our last meeting?" "Yes, that's why she sent us to you. Last time I spoke of many other things and I forgot to mention this." During that previous meeting I asked her directly several times if Our Lady mentioned anything about the two chaplains. It was clear to me that Vicka was lying and this was proof enough for me not to trust her statements. Marija and Jakov also participated in this lie.
9. Towards the end of January 1983, Fr. Grafenauer, a Jesuit priest, came to me with the intention of searching out the phenomenon of Medjugorje. He listened to 20 cassettes and after having listened to them he said that he would not go to Medjugorje because he concluded that Our Lady is not there. Upon my insistence he went to Medjugorje and after a few days he came back as a "convert" of Fr. Vlasic. He brought some documents, threw them on the table and said: "Here's what Our Lady wishes to tell you!" I understood this as a plot to overthrow the bishop with the help of Our Lady. The documents he brought were a compilation of Vicka's diary, the parish chronicle and hand written documents. For this reason it is difficult to establish where they were first written. Vicka and those who defend Medjugorje hid this from the bishop for more than a Year. Here are a few quotes:
Dec. 19, 1981. "Our Lady said that the bishop is to blame for the disorder in Hercegovina. She also said that Fr. Ivica Vego is not to blame, yet that the bishop has all authority. Our Lady said that he (Vego) should remain in Mostar and not leave.
January 3, 1982. All the "seers" together asked Our Lady about Fr. Ivica Vego. Our Lady answered: "Ivica is innocent. If they expel him from the Franciscan Order, may he remain courageous . . . Ivica is innocent." Our Lady repeated this three times.
January 11, 1982. We asked again about the two chaplains of Mostar, and Our Lady repeated twice that which she mentioned earlier regarding them. Note: January 14, 1982 Vicka was at the Chancery office with the bishop and at that meeting she stated that she did not know Vego.
January 20, 1982. The children asked what Fr. Ivica Vego and Fr. Ivan Prusina were to do now that they had been expelled from the Order. Our Lady answered: "They are innocent. The bishop was harsh in his decision. They can stay."
April 15, 1982. Vicka asked Our Lady a question. "Could you generally tell me everything about Ivica Vego and Ivan Prusina?" Our Lady smiled at the first and then she said: "They are innocent." She repeated twice that: "The bishop has made a mistake . . . let them remain in Mostar . . . they can say Mass sometimes but they should be careful to stay away from attention until things calm down. They have no faults . . ."April 16, 1982. Yesterday while we were with Our Lady we asked her if we could pray an Our Father for them (Vego and Prusina). She answered immediately: "Yes you can," and she prayed with us. When we finished the prayer she smiled and said to me: "Those two are constantly on your mind." I answered: "You're right."
April 26, 1982. Our Lady: "The bishop has no real love of God in his heart. Regarding the bishop, may Ivica and Ivan remain calm. What the bishop is doing is contrary to the will of God, yet he can do as he pleases, but one day justice such as you have never seen shall be revealed."
10. Vicka never denied that Our Lady said these things or that she wrote these things down in her diary. The assurance and authenticity of this can be best confirmed by a cassette taped by Fr. Grafenauer during his talks with Vicka and Marija. He left taped copies of the cassette in the parish of Medjugorje, with the bishop and also with the Bishops' Conference in Zagreb. The cassette should be heard!
A conversation with Vicka: "The bishop has the duty to judge whether or not this is Our Lady . . ." said Fr. Grafenauer.
Vicka: He can judge as he wants, but I know it's Our Lady. Graf: The Church says of those who are confident in themselves, that this itself is a sign that Our Lady is not in question here.
Vicka: Let those who are doubtful remain doubtful, I'm not. Graf: This is not a good thing
. . . you once told the bishop that he should pay more attention to Our Lady than to the Pope.
Vicka: Yes I did. Graf: This means that the bishop should listen to you more than to the Pope.
Vicka: No, not me. Graf: But the bishop doesn't know what the phenomenon is and perhaps it is not Our Lady.
Vicka: Yes it is Our Lady. Graf: You told the bishop that he is to blame and that those two (Vego and Prusina) are innocent and that they can perform their priestly duties.
Vicka: Yes I did. Graf: Can they hear confessions? Did Our Lady mention this?
Vicka: Yes. Graf: If Our Lady said this and the Pope says that they cannot . . .
Vicka: The Pope can say what he wants. I'm telling it as it is! Graf: See, this is how one can come to the conclusion that this is not Our Lady . . . when the Pope says no, they cannot celebrate Mass, and they cannot hear confessions, and then on the other hand, Our Lady says they can do both, this cannot be!
Vicka: I know what is right (What Our Lady said). Graf: This cannot be true. I would put my hand into fire to testify that this is not Our Lady speaking. When a person has a greater gift there also exists a greater danger that the devil could be at work upon this person.
What a degrading humiliation of Our Lady! From these statements she is destroying obedience in the Church, obedience to the bishop, to the heads of the OFM Order, and to the Holy Father. She is defending Vego!
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