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Medjugorje is generating what the Devil loves most: disobedience

St Bernadette lived a holy and humble life. I don’t think the same can be said for the Medjugorje seers

By on Friday, 11 February 2011

Pilgrims gather around a statue of Mary in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNS/Damir Sagolj, Reuters)

Pilgrims gather around a statue of Mary in Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNS/Damir Sagolj, Reuters)

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. I have been to Lourdes on several occasions, largely drawn by the personality of St Bernadette herself. Being chosen by Our Lady as her messenger did not make Bernadette holy; it was how she lived her life afterwards, especially during the 13 years she spent at the convent in Nevers: often in pain, unable to take part in the regular life of the community because of her ill-health, lonely, isolated and constantly belittled by the mistress of novices, she nevertheless bore her crosses with exemplary patience.

St Bernadette has been on my mind ever since I got sent a YouTube film recently, advertising Medjugorje. J Edgar Hoover once said that the only certainties in life were death and taxes. I would add a third: controversy over Medjugorje. It seems that Catholics today are divided into two camps: you are either “for” Medjugorje or “against”. This, needless to say, has led to much unseemly in-fighting within the Church.

What annoyed me about the YouTube presentation (apart from the muzak and the hushed and reverential voice of the narrator) was its blatant way of referring to the alleged apparition as “Our Lady”, as if this were a foregone conclusion. It isn’t. I was further nettled by statements seeming to show that the late pope, John Paul II, as well as Mother Teresa, both “believed” in it, as if to demonstrate that the apparitions must be true, simply because of the witness of these two holy heavyweights.

I am not an expert on the subject of these alleged apparitions. But I have read enough of St John of the Cross to know what he means by “spiritual gluttony” in my encounters over the years with adherents of the place. One lady told me excitedly of her rosary turning to gold; another had been overwhelmed by watching the sun dance; a third became very angry very quickly when I expressed a little caution in my response to her assertion that Medjugorje only brought forth good fruits.

My own instinct is to think that Our Lady has not appeared thousands of times to the supposed seers, or given them dozens of different “secrets”. Nor do the seers themselves live lives like St Bernadette. Of course, you don’t have to be a saint to see Our Lady, as I said above; but there seems to be nothing humble, holy or hidden about the later lives of the Medjugorje “seers”.

Actually, what I think as a private person, or what the late pope wrote in a private letter to two friends who had sent him literature about Medjugorje, or indeed what the saintly Mother Teresa is said to have said, is neither here nor there; it is what the Church thinks that matters. What the Church thinks about alleged apparitions is left to the local Ordinary to investigate and pronounce.

Four years after the Lourdes apparitions of 1858, and after a lengthy investigation, the local bishop pronounced them authentic. In the case of Medjugorje, both Bishop Zanic of Mostar and his successor, Bishop Peric, fully investigated the phenomenon and decided that nothing supernatural was taking place. So why are bandwagons of pilgrims still going there? The answer probably lies in Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion by Donal Foley, available from Theotokos Books. Foley has his vociferous detractors, naturally enough, but he has done his homework and reading his book reinforced my own sceptical instincts. In particular, the scandalous behaviour he describes of some of the Franciscans closely associated with the place, seems shocking: Fr Slavko Barbaric, who died in 2000 and who I was told by one of the faithful at the time “has been taken by Our Lady straight to heaven”, had actually had his faculties for hearing confession withdrawn by Bishop Peric several months before his death; Fr Zovko, who was refused permission to celebrate Mass in Washington in 2002, had had his faculties also revoked; worst of all, Fr Tomislav Vlasic, deeply involved in the early years of Medjugorje, was laicised and dismissed from the Franciscan order very recently, in July 2009, for various misdemeanours including some against the Sixth Commandment.

Bishop Peric has spoken of other problems, apart from disobedient Franciscans: religious communities established without diocesan permission and ecclesiastical buildings erected without approval. What is going on? A sound Canadian priest once said to me, when I asked him about the “good fruits” of Medjugorje: “The Devil doesn’t mind a few thousand people becoming better Catholics after going there if, as a result, he’s got millions of Catholics being disobedient to the authority of the Church.”

Obedience is the issue. It’s what the Devil (you can’t get away from him – and my thanks to “paulpriest”, who pointed out at length to me after my last blog how very busy Old Nick is behind the scenes today) hates like poison. You can imagine Screwtape rubbing his hands with glee. St Bernadette was once asked what she feared most; her reply was: “Bad Catholics”.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t bother reading the above article – it’s just another apologia from someone who’s been there, who is ignoring the declarations of the local Ordinary and Bishops’ Conference.

  • Anonymous

    God has already ‘dealt with’ all these problems. He became man and founded a hierarchical Church. One of the legitimate roles of the hierarchy is to discern and make declarations on alleged supernatural phenomena occuring in their dioceses. Bishop Peric and the Bishops’ Conference have said Medjugorje isn’t of supernatural origin. Let’s see what the Rome commission says – or perhaps you have a hotline to God . . . ?

  • EmmaW

    Why are you so convinced that Medjugorje is satanic? How would you feel if you found out that if it truly is the Blessed Virgin Mary who appears to the seers?

    Although I’ve never been to Medjugorje myself I have read some of the messages- I can’t see anything satanic in them! I see the very opposite- a call to repentence! Here a just a few messages:

    Tonight also, dear children, I am grateful to you in a special way for being here. Unceasingly adore the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar. I am always present when the faithful are adoring. Special graces are then being received.

    “Dear children! Pray, because Satan wishes to complicate my plans still further. Pray with the heart and surrender yourselves to Jesus in prayer.”

    “Dear children! Today I call on you to begin fasting with the heart. There are many people who are fasting, but only because everyone else is fasting. It has become a custom which no one wants to stop. I ask the parish to fast out of gratitude because God has allowed me to stay this long in this parish. Dear children, fast and pray with the heart. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

    “Dear children! Today I call on you to read the Bible every day in your homes and let it be in a visible place so as always to encourage you to read it and to pray. Thank you for having responded to my call.”

    “I would like the people to pray along with me these days. And to pray as much as possible! And to fast strictly on Wednesdays and Fridays, and every day to pray at least one Rosary: the joyful, sorrowful and glorious mysteries.”

    Surely the rosary is the weapon against Satan! Why would Satan be asking people to pray the rosary if it destroys him? Also, why would Satan promote the following:

    * Daily Prayer (Of the Rosary)
    * Fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays
    * Daily Reading of the Bible
    * Monthly Confession
    * Holy Communion

    All of the above are being promoted by Our Lady at Medjugorje! So stop assuming it’s the devil as this offends Our Lord.

  • Cjkeeffe

    Praise be, that some has seized the Medjugorje problem and boiled it down to it down to its essential. That is obediance. To me the most tellingt hing is that after nearly a decade of so called daily apparitions the Bishops of Yugoslavia could find no evidence to show that the Gospa was appearing at the palce.
    If you want to go for apparitions, I can’t see why people will not go to those palces approved by the Church. How many people who go to medjugorje a) go to the papally vindicated and approved shrine of Our LAdy of Peace at Hrasno in the same provianmce or b) actually know it exists.
    Christ Himself told St Margaret Mary during his visions to her to be obediant to her church authorites even if they contradicted a wish He had asked her to do. It seems that the selfish gene of the 1960’s has influence these so called apparitions, where each person now is the pope and can approve supernatural happenings.
    Like Cardinal Arzine who on youtube had something to say about professional aparitionists who follow this apparition and that one, I go on pilgrimage at least once a week. When I go to Sunday Mass I go on pilgrimage to my parish church where the divine Lord reveals Himself in the Tabernacle for all to see.
    My faith is founded on the teachings of Christ and the Sacrements of His Catholic Church, whilst I accept Lourdes and Fatima (and approved private revelations) my faith is not founded on them. But is founded on teh objective truths of Christ Catholic Church

  • EmmaW

    “Nor do the seers themselves live lives like St Bernadette.”

    It’s the heart that matters not the outward appearance of others- what good is it if someone wears a habit but has no love?

    Also it is wrong to be judgmental of Fr Slavko Barbaric, Fr Tomislav Vlasic and Fr. Zovko- have you not heard what Jesus says about judging others?

    We are all sinners in need of repentance and none of us are saints! Even the greatest sinners who repent can make it to heaven and Jesus came to save sinners! Jesus spent time with tax collectors, prostitutes, other sinners who were unclean in the eyes of the Pharisees but Jesus came to save sinners not the righteous!

    God’s ways are not our ways, God can send Our Lady to make constant apparitions if he wants to, when did God or Our Lady ever give a limit on how many appearances they can make? We are living in the end times and this world is in a real mess, it makes sense for Our Lady to make more appearances now than ever!

  • Michael

    There are people in life who for whatever reason read into things and misinterpret what was originally written or they add this or that because in their mind they are certain they have all the answers. First of all I did not make a “claim” as you indicate. I wrote documented truth which had nothing to do with any personal opinion that comes from me. Ask yourself one very simple question, if the Medjugorje Commissions were not tainted as I say they were why is the Church currently doing a FORTH Medjugorje investigation? It does not take a rocket scientist to figure this question out. Secondly, you ask me to back up what I say and I could do that but it will not make any difference because “For those who believe no explanation is necessary and for those who do not believe no explanation will suffice.” Thirdly, I did not ask you to accept anything I wrote. In fact I recommended that everyone hold their tongue and leave these matters to due process. It seems somehow you missed this in my first posting. Forth, you say money can not buy truth but it is also true ignorance does not buy bliss. “If a blind man leads a blind man, both fall into the pit.” Fifth, I made no “grave” accusations against the Church; this would be your interpretation of what I said and not what I really said. You have also miscalculated my intent as well because I had no intentions of trying to get you to go out and purchase my book. In fact with the formation of the 4th commission I pulled my book off the market as the book accomplished its goal, which was to make the Vatican realize it had to do a proper investigation according to Church guideline. I am the only one who has copies of the book anymore. What I did to bring these truths to light was not about making money and I take offense to those who would make such claim. You have no clue what I have sacrificed. I put my money where my mouth is to investigate Medjugorje. I will consider scanning the document and posting on my website but turning a document into a picture for posting makes for a huge file that many may not be able to open easily to view. I accept your chose to believe or not as I wish you would also accept my choice, I said this also in my first posting. I did not write what I wrote to make war with those who choose to disagree.

  • Bwaj

    If I may explain my position and worry. I don’t believe many Catholics are making the Gospel known to those in other religions, those of no religion and validly baptized Christians, who while professing the three Creeds (which are Catholic) and I believe they are using the claim of ‘invincible ignorance’ etc.,. to do it. If Our Lord saves some who are in invincible ignorance that is His choice, however, this should never be an excuse for any member of the Church to abandon preaching the Gospel of salvation to all.

    You did not get a letter back from a priest in charge of an English Catholic cathedral in which he said his bishop told him (in reply to my letter) since Vatican II we have to tell members of other religions to definitely be guaranteed salvation they must believe in Our Lord, repent and be baptized (or even desire it). I burned that letter. I should have kept it and sent it to you – then you would understand why I am so. Would the best word be angry, distressed or shocked? I hope you would be too.

    Both Baptism by desire and the claim of salvation through invincible ignorance should be the exception, however, as I have said on the latter referring to various religions like Judaism and Islam, possibly, even Pagan religions and athiesm they know the essentials of what we believe but choose to reject it. Can that be classed as invincible ignorance?

    I know what Islam teaches in the Qur’an – after 9/11 I bought a copy to see for myself whether politicians were being truthful about it being a religion of peace. They were not, however, looking at it opened my eyes wide that they actually know what we believe, reject what we believe and persecute us because of our beliefs.

    As for Judaism. There has been a prayer recited in every synagogue since the 12th / 13th century AD which claims the Messiah has not yet come and is still to come. It is in the ‘Maimoinoides’ Principles’.

    Perhaps you should remember Our divine Lord’s solemn warning: ‘”But, when He comes again, shall the Son of Man find faith on earth?”‘ (St. Lk:21.8). If a non-Christian believes they will get to Heaven without needing to repent and accept Him and be baptized (or desire it) then why would he / she feel the need to enter the Church and why would some Christians, irrespective of denomination, feel it is worth risking their lives to say Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life? I got an email on Twitter this morning from a person (I have since blocked him) accusing me of blasphemy, saying I should be stoned and throwing a stone at me for saying on the internet the true Church is the Catholic Church, the true Faith is the Catholic Faith and the Way to salvation is through the true God Who is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  • Bwaj

    Thank you Martyjo,:
    ‘I do not argue the case for invincible ignorance out of any liberal Vatican II tendency. I argue the case on the grounds of traditional Church teaching, but with the proviso that Churchmen must do all in their power to make Christ known to all men and not suppress this teaching for the sake of false ecumenism and inter religious babble.’

    This is my point. It is the ‘inter-religious’ nonsense like Assisi 1, 2 & 3 (the latter of which I hope never happens) and the diocesan equivalent which has me worried e.g. Pope John Paul II kissing the Qur’an and bowing to it.

    Do you know what Muslims are commanded in it to do to Christians? I have written to Pope Benedict and to Pope John Paul II and to all our diocesan bishops on several occasions about this as well as the fact Muslims are told in the Qur’an what we believe is untrue and that we invented it. I have even quoted those texts from the Qur’an which means there is no invincible ignorance as invincible ignorance surely means they do not know what we believe not they know what we believe, reject it and say the opposite e.g. denial of the Trinity, denial of Jesus as God and Lord, denial of His divine Sonship, denial of the Crucifixion and Resurrection, the claim we go to Hell for believing what we do. For the record, if you listen to what Bin Laden and his supporters say, that is what Muslims are really taught in the Qur’an.
    In fact September 11th was the anniversary of the Battle of Vienna in 1683. This is not the same as those Greeks who built an altar dedicating it ‘TO THE UNKNOWN GOD’.as those who built this altar did not build an altar rejecting the Triune God.

    As for the Jews they know we believe Jesus is the Messiah but as I’ve said elsewhere – they reject Him.

  • Anonymous

    There is plenty of evidence of the disobedience and scandalous behaviour of Frs Barbaric, Vlasic (who got a nun pregnant – this has been proved and he has now been laicised) and Zovko on these sites:-

    If you take your silly emotional, uninformed argument to its logical conclusion, it would mean that no legitimate ecclesiastical superior would ever be able to discipline or make judgements against priests/religious under his authority. Thank God we don’t live in a Church founded on your weird beliefs . . . by the way, how do you know we are living in the end times – have you been told this by Heaven? Are you another one with a hotline to Heaven? Been to Medjugorje, perhaps . . . ?

  • Anonymous

    You asked: “Why are you so convinced that Medjugorje is satanic?” Well it’s certainly not for me to say if it is satanic, or human fraud, or the result of some other human weakness – I’ll leave that to the commission in Rome. In the meantime, PLEASE study, and I mean STUDY, with an open mind some of the four web addresses that I gave you in my comment posted above. You may find that all that glistens is not gold . . .

  • Oconnd

    To imply that I ignore declarations of the local Ordinary in itself consists of you yourself ignoring the declarations of the Holy See.

    God Bless you,

  • Anonymous

    In what way am I ignoring the declarations of the Holy See? Please elucidate. Has the Holy See made it mandatory to believe in the authenticity of Medjugorje? Did I miss something?

  • Bwaj

    You see – here you are again. Slandering those of us who believe Medjugorje either is (or could be) genuine.

  • Bwaj

    If you must bring the Franciscans into it – originally they didn’t believe it.

  • Bwaj

    Why don’t you study with an open mind instead of the closed minds of individuals who are either liberal heretics, athiests or traditionalists who believe in anyone not offering the Mass in Latin in the EF form is damned?

  • Bwaj

    Wrong. Archbishop Bertone’s letter permitted private pilgrimages. What you or a skeptical cardinal say is of no importance. You don’t get my point – it is not your personal opinion, or Ms. Philipps’ that I object to, it is the claim that many of you claim to know (when you do not) that the Medjugorje apparitions come from Satan (which they do not) and to claim those who go there privately, even with a priest, which was allowed by the Vatican is to be disobedient when it is not because it can not be disobedient to go on private pilgrimages if the CDF permits them.

  • Bwaj

    Ten years since the Zadar Declaration
    Date: August 10, 2005
    Ten years after the Declaration of Zadar, we can say:
    1. The Zadar Declaration is and remains the only official declaration of the Church on
    the events of Medjugorje.
    2. All subsequent declarations of the Holy See refer to this Declaration.
    3. The position of Mgr Ratko Peric, Bishop of Mostar, has to be understood as his
    personal conviction.
    4. The final judgment on the supernaturality of the apparitions and revelations
    remains open. The events are still happening and have to be examined by the
    5. The “especially suitable liturgical-pastoral directives” envisaged by the Declaration
    of Zadar have still not been given.
    6. Nothing is known about the existence of the envisaged Commission, supposed to
    “continue to keep up with and investigate the entire event in Medjugorje”.
    7. Private pilgrimages to Medjugorje are allowed under condition that they are not
    considered as the recognition of the events which are still occurring, and which
    demand to be examined by the Church. The Church does not forbid priests to
    accompany these pilgrimages.

  • Bwaj

    ‘ ……… In 1921 Monsignor José Alves Correia de Silva, the then bishop of Leiria, decided to set up an ecclesiastical commission to investigate the authenticity of the apparitions. The commission could only function properly in a quiet setting, and Lucia, through no fault of her own, was an obstacle to this as her presence aroused fanatical zeal among some devotees or bitter criticism among the sceptical. The bishop therefore, with Lucia’s consent and that of her parent’s, decided to send her to a girls boarding-school, the Dorothean Sisters of Villar, near Oporto in Portugal.
    The bishop’s admonition was, You must live in the boarding school under false identity. When you leave Fatima, you must not tell anyone about your destination, and when you are in the boarding school, you must never talk to anyone about the apparitions.
    These were hard demands for a 14-year-old girl. Lucia, however, had already learned that God’s will expressed itself through her religious superiors, and submitted. She left Fatima at 2 o’clock in the morning on 18 June 1921, accompanied by her mother and her uncle Carreira. On the way, she stopped at Cova de Ira, the place of the apparitions, and recited the rosary there. ‘

  • Anonymous

    You ask me why I don’t study this with an open mind – what makes you think I haven’t studied it with an open mind? Just because I haven’t drawn the same conclusions as you, does that make my study any less valid? That’s very arrogant. For your information, I have made an intense study of this phenomenon since the early 1980’s.
    All of the labels you describe do not apply to me. I am in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church and I would only ever describe myself as a Roman Catholic, nothing more, nothing less. I fully and unequivocally accept all that the Church perenially teaches, and I fully and unequivocally condemn all that the Church has perenially condemned. Is that good enough for you? Can I join your quasi-gnostic, pseudo-mystical club now? Oh, I’m sorry, I can’t. I forgot. I don’t believe in Medjugorje. Oh well, that’s me damned then . . .

  • Buddy

    As I understand it Gloria in return for the Russian Orthodox presence at Vatican11, a decision was taken that there would be no condemnation of communism, to the desmay of many. Therein I believe lies the genesis of a new opening to the world, symbolised by JohnXX111, flinging open the Vatican windows to let in fresh air, but alas as PaulV1 would later state the smoke of Satan had entered. Under this new dispensation Fatima had to go, and now 26 yrs after the John Paul11 had supposedly consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart it is imperative that all the nonsence stop. Obey Our Lady, let the Holy Father do the Conscration in union with all the bishops of the world, no excuses, no hand wrining, no looking over one’s shoulder. Heaven has spoken, the clock is ticking, the time is NOW.

  • Buddy

    Sorry Oconnd, but it was the complete opposite with me. Are you sure you were praying to Our Lady of Fatima?

  • Anonymous

    Please read my post again Bwaj. These pilgrimages are NOT private by their very nature. They are often official parish/diocesan pilgrimages, advertised in parish/diocesan journals. It is not for me to say if Medjugorje is genuine, satanic, human fraud or due to some other human weakness. But you state, categorically, that the apparitions aren’t satanic, and this means that you put YOUR views above any findings of the Church. How can you categorically state Medjugorje isn’t satanic, if the latest commission hasn’t finished or published any findings? To date, I have taken my lead from the legitimate authority in this matter (firstly, local Ordinary, then the Bishops’ Conference) and now I will take it from the Rome Commission. Is that clear?

  • Anonymous

    You quote from a pro-Medjugorje website, which are not noted for their accuracy or veracity. The point I made regarding private trips to Medjugorje stands. The CDF did not forbid private trips, but the diocesan/parish ‘pilgrimages’ advertised in official parish/diocesan journals, cannot be described as private. The tour operators who categorically state Our Lady is appearing there are disobeying the Church. Look, you seem very keen to keep quoting the CDF – why don’t you write to them for clarification on this point? Their address is:-
    His Eminence William Cardinal Levada
    Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
    Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11
    00120 Vatican City State

  • Oconnd

    The Holy See has explicitly permitted holy pilgrimages there by the faithful, thereby causing those who say that doing so is disobedient to valid Church authority to themselves be dissenting from valid Church authority.

  • Anonymous

    You seem not to be able to make the distinction between a private trip and an official pilgrimage. If someone told me that the Virgin Mary was appearing in the next town to me, and I decided to go and have a look for myself, and drew no attention to the fact, that would be a private trip. However, if I organised a parish or diocesan pilgrimage to the town, with a full sacramental programme and advertised it in parish/diocesan journals as a place where Our Lady is appearing, that could NOT constitute a private trip by its very nature. The CDF stated that people could make PRIVATE visits there – not official parish/diocesan ‘pilgrimages’ which has been happening. The CDF also said, in the letter that your mate Bwaj keeps posting:- “Finally, concerning pilgrimages to Medjugorje which take place in a PRIVATE manner, this Congregation holds that they are permitted on condition that they are not considered as an authentication of events in course which still necessitate an examination by the Church.” But as Bishop Brincard so wisely stated:- “Let us recognize that it is not easy to apply faithfully this recommendation. How, in fact, to organize a private pilgrimage without it being motivated by the conviction that the events of Medjugorje are of a supernatural origin? Since this conviction is at the origin of the pilgrimage, does not this latter not become de facto “an authentication of events in course which still necessitate an examination by the Church”? . . . ”
    Instead of you quoting pro-Medj websites, which are notoriously unreliable, I will say the same to you, as I said to Bwaj – write to the CDF and send them your piece that you gave a link for earlier. Ask their opinion of what you wrote on Medjugorje.

    His Eminence William Cardinal Levada
    Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
    Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11
    00120 Vatican City State

    The 1996 CDF article on private revelations – which is binding on all Catholics – states that:- “It should be recalled however, that with regard to the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, canon 823#1 of the current Code remains in force: “the Pastors of the Church have the …. right to demand that writings to be published by the Christian faithful which touch upon faith or morals be submitted to their judgement”. Alleged supernatural revelations and writings concerning them are submitted in first instance to the judgement of the diocesan Bishop, and in particular cases, to the judgement of the Episcopal Conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” Have you submitted your on-line apologia of Medjugorje to the bishop, or the bishops’ conference, or the CDF? No? Oops! Don’t talk to me about disobedience and dissent . . .
    Oconnd, go to Medj if you want to, but I’m quite happy to stay put, thanks. I usually enjoy reading the comments on this blog for some really cutting edge debate, but the ignorance and garbled posts on this thread has made it extremely heavy going. It’s got really tedious now, having to explain the same points over and over. Can someone at CH close this thread?

  • Anonymous

    It seems we both think along the same lines after all. The only advice I would offer is not to be too fixed in the opinion that all non-Christians are damned by default. We don’t know how perhaps a small number of these souls may be in circumstances that God alone knows they can’t help.

    The ultimate point, though, on which we are both agreed, is that, generally speaking, outside the Church no salvation. We are also agreed that ecumenism and the likes of Assisi are in conflict with the Church’s teaching throughout the ages. These novel doctrines give the impression that non-Catholics and non-Christians can be saved without entering into the true Church.

  • Old Watcher

    Pat, no surprise in seeing you haunting another article on the bigM with you usual sarcasm, a virtue no doubt given to you by the gospa.

  • Old Watcher

    Pat21, most sincere apology, really for my rant. I misread and mistook you for someone else. I’m ashamed sorry. God bless you.

  • Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS


    What the Church teaches about “judging others” is often misunderstood. We may judge actions, but not the state of someone’s souls or their motives. In fact, it is often necessary to judge actions. Would you get into a car when, in your judgment, the driver is drunk? If a father sees his son smoking marijuana behind the garage, and asks him if he had ever smoked dope, and the kid said “no”, it is proper for the father to judge that A) his son committed a moral wrong in smoking an illegal substance and B) his son lied to him because he witnessed it. If you see a man cutting through a chain securing a bike to a rack, then drive off with the bike, it is reasonable to judge that the man stole the bike. But motives, and the state of someone else’s soul is only known to God. In none of these cases is anyone committing a sin, or being unvirtuous by judging the actions they witness. You can read more about “judging others” by a Catholic Apologist who fields the question and dives into the Catechism of the Catholic Church to explain all of this.

    Now, we can’t simply tell others, who do not need to know, about the moral shortcomings of others. If I see the neighbor’s kid smoking dope behind the garage, I can’t broadcast it to the neighbors. This would be the sin of detraction. I can, and tell the kid’s parents, or other authority like the police without pain of sin, and sometimes this is a duty).

    Sometimes, a bishop finds it necessary to make known to the public, the immoral actions of a priest, or other party for the good of the faithful. He is justified to do so, and does not commit detraction. Let’s look at the case of Fr. Tomislav Vlasic.

    How did we come to know that he was being investigated, in the context of Medjugorje for, “for the diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspected mysticism, disobedience towards legitimately issued orders and charges contra sextum.”?

    The answer: Cardinal Angelo Amato, then an Archbishop, and the Secretary of the CDF (and now a member of the new commission) , invited Bishop Peric to make this known to the public, along with the sanction imposed upon him, not by the bishop, but by the Holy See itself.

    Why was this made public? To alert the faithful of potential harm. They would be negligent to not make this information public.

    If the Holy See wanted the faithful informed, then we are not prohibited from discussing it, “in the context of Medjugorje”. While many protagonists try to distance Vlasic by virtue of his many years away, the Holy See is the one with jurisdiction to “judge” what it considers factual. It is clear by the documents referenced here, that he was linked with Medjugorje, and not in a favorable way.

    With very heavy sanctions imposed on him, he requested laicization which was granted (some would say he quit before he could be fired). However, this did not come without some of the most severe restrictions by the Holy See. Among other things, Vlasic was prohibited, by that motu proprio of the Holy Father on his laicization, from being in Medjugorje…. under pain of excommunication!

    Once again, nothing prohibits us from sharing or discussing information of this nature, which the Holy See explicitly authorized the Bishop of Mostar to share with the public.

    About Fr. Barbaric we can say objectively, given records that were made public, that Fr. Slavko Barbaric was committing an act of disobedience at the time of his death, just by being in Medjugorje, where he had been prohibited by his bishop (all priests serve at the discretion of their bishop, including religious order priests. The bishop, not the religious order gives them faculties to celebrate Mass and hear Confessions, not the religious order superior). Italian researcher Marco Corvaglia has detailed out the case of Fr. Slavko Barbaric in the English section of his website here:

    Mark Waterinckx put a list together of the canonical penalties against fra Jozo, complete with dates and protocol numbers.

    It is not sinful to repeat facts that have been made available to the public.

    You are right to say that we are all sinners and need repentance. But the Church has a right and duty to protect the faithful from priests who may hear Confessions or celebrate public Masses when they do not have faculties to do so.

    There is no priest so special, that he is above the promise of obedience made to his bishop, and the bishop’s successors, when he was first ordained, especially on matters of parish assignments. St. Francis would be rolling in his grave at the thought of such willful disobedience on the part of franciscans.

    Fr. Jozo Zovko, OFM has a very long, canonical “rap sheet” so to speak, which is detailed here by Marco Corvaglia:
    . He remains without faculties. See his name listed 23rd in this list of priests with canonical sanctions at the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno webpage (scroll down towards the bottom, and if desired paste the url into a google translator from Croatian to English):

  • Anonymous

    No problem Old Watcher! I didn’t take it as a rant – believe me, it was nothing compared to what I’ve endured from some Medj supporters over the years! However, you may find some sarcasm elsewhere on this thread by me – sorry, but I’m only human and I’ve been trying to get people to listen to the legitimate authorities in this matter for nigh on 27 years and I’m sure you will understand that it’s beginning to pall. Reasoned argument and presentation of indisputable facts don’t seem to work. Please pray that I may be granted the gift of patience. God bless you too!

  • Peyramale

    Bonkers. You ought to be careful how you refer to Holy Mass in whichever form you view it. How pitiful that the only comment you can make on Lourdes, where the skin between heaven and earth is thinnest, is a negative one.

  • EmmaW

    Well I believe that Medjugorje is authentic- afterall why would the devil be promoting us to go to confession frequently, say the rosary daily, go to daily Mass and receive the Eucharist? Many people in Medjugorje have been going to confession; Pilgrims who come to Medjugorje are always impressed by the number of people waiting in line for confession and the number of priests hearing confession. Many priests have had extraordinary experiences during confessions in Medjugorje. It’s seems that if it were the devil behind all this, then he certainly has failed- as he’s done the very opposite- brought more souls to Christ!!

    Remember Jesus said that a kingdom divided cannot stand. The Pharisees claimed that Jesus cast out demons by Beezebul! It seems to me that history is repeating itself! If you stand by the law too much then you fall into the trap of being a Pharisee.

    I also believe that True Life in God is authentic ( – and God makes it clear that His Holy Cross is alive with a living Flame in Medjugorje. (Notebook 24, p222). I have read how it hurts Our Lord to see people reject His messages/apparitions to us. I by all means believe in being faithful to the Catholic Church, of course! We’re not trying to be disobedient to the Church, bur we need more people in the Church to wake up and open their hearts more to recent and on-going apparitions. Even Pope John Paul II believed that Medjugorje is authentic- he did say that if he wasn’t the Pope, he would have gone to Medjugorje himself.

    There’s too much politics, too many formalities- where is the love? Where is that child-like trust in God that Jesus desires of us? Bishops, cardinals make mistakes- they are not infallible as they are human sinners like you and I. They are our shepherds that we turn to and they need to set good examples to us and be Christ like. People in the Church have made mistakes throughout the ages. No-one is perfect but God.

  • John Barry

    See Colleen Willard’s Međugorje Miracle Testimonial:
    Please look at the full video.

  • Re

    Singulari Quadam, December 9, 1854: “Strive to withdraw them from SUCH PERVERSITY OF MIND by explaining indisputably that nothing more excellent has been given by the providence of God to man than the authority of DIVINE FAITH; that THIS IS for us, as it were, a torch in the darkness, a guide which we follow to life; that THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY FOR SALVATION; for, “WITHOUT FAITH . . . IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD” [Heb. 11:6] and “HE THAT BELIEVES NOT, SHALL BE CONDEMNED” [Mark 16:16].”.

    It is obvious that words from the very SAME allocution of great pope Pius IX (“but, on the other hand, it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, are not stained by any guilt in THIS matter in the eyes of God.”) CANNOT CONTRADICT the words quoted above for if they contradicted them he would be a liar, not a great pope.

    Thus the “guilt in THIS matter” can only be a guilt of disbelieving Divine i.e. Christian i.e. Catholic faith.

    But this in no way means that invincibly ignorant non-Catholics have no guilt whatsoever so that they can be saved, as Martyjo and many others have unfortunately contradicted the strongest words of pope Pius IX from the same “Singulari Quadam”, have gravely misinterpreted pope Pius IX teaching regarding invincible ignorance and have thus gravely erred regarding Christian i.e. Catholic Faith unto their eternal perdition.

    They still have some time to abandon this perverse belief about invincible ignorance as ostensibly saving men and instead believe what pope Pius IX most emphatically preaches and be saved.

  • Anonymous


    This last line of St. Mark you quote from Pius IX’s Encyclical is exactly what Our Lord Himself said to His Apostles on the day of His Ascension, i.e., “Go ye therefore teaching all nations whatsoever I have commanded you, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Those who believe and are baptised shall be saved. THOSE WHO REFUSE BELIEF SHALL BE CONDEMNED.”

    “HE THAT BELIEVES NOT,” and “THOSE WHO REFUSE BELIEF.” Note how in both cases the person must exercise his free will to REFUSE the grace of the truth offered. This does not apply to invincible ignorance. Your argument is fatally flawed and merciless.

  • Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS


    You wrote: I wrote documented truth which had nothing to do with any personal opinion that comes from me.

    “Documented” means that there is something to support what you say and it is supplied with the charge being made, in this case, that the Commission was tainted. Unless I have missed it, I see nothing that qualifies as documentation. To claim that you have documents, regardless of where they come from, without furnishing them, is like telling a child he can have a cookie from the cookie jar, when there is no cookie jar in sight.

    Ask yourself one very simple question, if the Medjugorje Commissions were not tainted as I say they were why is the Church currently doing a FORTH Medjugorje investigation?

    I answered that in my previous comment. Medjugorje very rapidly exceeded the bounds of the diocese. There is a provision in the 1978 Normae S. Congregationis, the latest translation of which can be found here:

    Here are the provisions which speak about how a case can move to the Bishop’s Conference, and to the Holy See. For those who do not know, “local Ordinary” refers, in this case to the local bishops. My emphases in bold, my notes bracketed […]:


    1. The office of supervising and intervening is, first of all, within the competence of the local Ordinary.

    2. The regional or national Episcopal Conference can intervene:

    a) If the local Ordinary, after carrying out his part, has recourse to it in order to judge the matter more securely;

    b) If the matter is of national or regional scope; nonetheless, the prior consent of the local Ordinary is necessary.

    3. The Apostolic See can intervene, either at the request of the Ordinary [a request made as far back as 1997 – see point 5 here] or of a qualified group of the faithful, or even directly, by reason of the universal jurisdiction of the Supreme Pontiff (cf. IV, below).

    Now, Michael, read carefully this next in Section IV on what it says about the the a qualified group of faithful asking that it be taken on by the Holy See. It specifically states: “….care should be taken lest recourse to the Sacred Congregation be made for reasons that are suspect (e.g. to compel the Ordinary to change his legitimate decisions, to confirm some sectarian group, etc.). Now, here it is in context:


    1. a) The Ordinary can request intervention of the Sacred Congregation[Bp Peric was practically begging the Holy See to take the case], even after he has carried out his part, or a qualified group of the faithful can ask. In the latter case care should be taken lest recourse to the Sacred Congregation be made for reasons that are suspect(e.g. to compel the Ordinary to change his legitimate decisions, to confirm some sectarian group, etc.).

    b) It is proper to the Sacred Congregation to intervene at its own initiative in more serious cases, especially if the matter affects a larger part of the Church; the Ordinary[that would be Bp Peric] is always to be consulted and, if appropriate, also the Episcopal Conference.

    2. The Sacred Congregation will be able either to evaluate the Ordinary’s manner of acting and approve it, or, if possible and appropriate, to initiate a new examination of the matter, distinct from the study completed by the Ordinary, either on its own or through a special commission.

    The langauge used by Fr. Federico Lombardi is the only hard information we have from the Holy See on why the Holy See took on the case (in my first response to you on this). What you are offering is your own speculation, that the Holy See is responding to your book.

    Yet, it makes perfect sense to me, and to a good many other people, that Fr. Lombardi’s explanations are in line with common sense because interest in the phenomena has gone beyond the bounds of the diocese (and visionaries are galloping all over the world to have “apparitions” on demand).

    You said: I recommended that everyone hold their tongue and leave these matters to due process.

    As I stated elsewhere in this thread, which you may have missed, understandably, given that we are now well over 300 comments, I will be more than glad to hold my tongue and cease posting as soon as those promoting the alleged apparition as if it were already deemed worthy of belief by the Church cease.

    If Cardinal Bertone stated in his letter on pilgrimages that Bishop Peric has a right to express his personal opinion and conviction, “as Ordinary of the place”, then ordinary lay faithful have a right to express their opinions and convictions (for or against). What the faithful have not been authorized to do, is to refer to the entity of Medjugorje as, “Our Lady”. We do not know that it is the Blessed Virgin Mary because the Church has not told us it is here. Therefore, it is not appropriate to refer to her in such a way, as all of the pro-Medjugorje blogs, websites, books, etc. do.

    With that, I hope to see you in the comment boxes of sites promoting the apparitions as authentic and asking them to “hold their tongue”.

  • Re

    Martyjo, everyone truthful sees that pope Pius IX writes about ABSOLUTE NECESSITY OF CATHOLIC FAITH FOR SALVATION from the very same allocution you use as the foundation of your non-Catholic doctrine and that you simply don’t want to admit your grave error by taking the quote out of the context in which pope Pius IX manifestly used it and then misinterpret pope Pius IX.

    Since you do that after being warned one cannot but conclude that you do have deliberately chosen this perversity of mind (words of Pius IX) over sound doctrine and thus have condemned and embarassed yourself before all.

  • Re

    Not without Christian i.e. Catholic faith, Bwaj! “WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD.” (Hebrews 11:6).

    Read all and read carefully next time.

  • Re

    Bwaj: “Canon 5. If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation, let him be anathema.”

    Canon 5 says “baptism” not “baptism by water”! If you read “baptism” as “baptism by water” you contradict Canon 4 and come under anathema, Bwaj! Thus baptism by desire of baptism is also included in Canon 5.


  • Re

    Hence baptism by water ISN’T ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY FOR SALVATION due to baptism by desire of it (baptism by water).

  • Re

    The Creed ISN’T SUFFICIENT to have Christian i.e. Catholic faith for belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Sacrament of Eucharist and many other beliefs ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY FOR Christian i.e. Catholic faith AREN’T in the Creed.

    Anglicans, “Orthodox” (Heterodox) and all the other non-Catholics deny at least one ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY Christian i.e. Catholic belief and thus AREN’T CHRISTIANS i.e. AREN’T CATHOLICS regardless of their profession of the same Creed!

    But you Bwaj, call these unbelievers “non-Catholic Christians” (your reply to Martyjo below, on 02/15/2011 12:16 PM) and thus you also most gravely err unto unbelief and your eternal perdition.

  • Re

    Bwaj, without Christian i.e. Catholic faith IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD (Hebrews 11:6), with or without baptism. But heretics don’t have Christian i.e. Catholic faith because they reject at least one defined truth of Christian i.e. Catholic faith.

    Not everyone who says that is honest is honest. Only the one who is honest is honest.

    Heretics say they believe in Christ but they don’t. Thus baptism they received is of no avail to them if they don’t believe ALL what God revealed to be believed.

    You gravely err, Bwaj, unto loss of your Christian i.e. Catholic faith and your salvation with it when you include heretics, those who disbelieve at least one defined truth of Christian i.e. Catholic faith, in “The Catholic Church outside of which there is no salvation” (this is defined truth of Christian i.e. Catholic faith).

  • Anonymous

    True Life in God (run by the alleged ‘seer’ Vassula Ryden) has been condemned by the CDF. See details on this website:- Look at this. Cardinal Levada of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated in 2007:- “Finally, it remains inappropriate for Catholics to take part in prayer groups established by Mrs Ryden”

    This shows the dangers of ignoring legitimate authority and deciding for ourselves what is ‘right’ and ‘feels good’. You talk about ‘politics’ and ‘formalities’, but we are really discussing obedience to legitimate authority. Ignore it at your peril. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

  • Anonymous

    Nobody is ‘judging’ Frs Barbaric, Vlasic and Zovko. We leave that to God and the legitimate ecclesiastical authorities. But if the legitimate authorities take action because they have factual evidence of gross disobedience (Frs Barbaric and Zovko) and breaches of chastity (Fr Vlasic, who fathered a child and has now been laicised), then it has to act. And people will learn of it. And while we shouldn’t judge, we shouldn’t lionise these disobedient and impure priests, as you seem to be doing . . . see for factual details about these priests (there are a few webpages of evidence).

  • Re

    Canon 4 on The Sacraments in General (quoted above by Bwaj in reply to Bwaj on 02/15/2011 9:15 PM), not Canon 4 on Baptism.

  • Louis Bélanger

    M.K. Jones said: “you ask me to back up what I say and I could do that but it will not make any difference because “For those who believe no explanation is necessary and for those who do not believe no explanation will suffice”.”

    The best part of your quotation is that it is attributed to Joseph Dunninger [ The New York Times wrote that “the magician/mentalist mystified millions as a magician and mind-reader for more than half a century”. The mind-reader even said: “I have made the word “originality” a foundation for my magical doings.”

    Like Dunninger’s feats, yours are indeed remarkably original, Mr. Jones.

    You write on your website: “…just three weeks after “Medjugorje Investigated” was released and on the shelves in Medjugorje, the Church having remained silent on the Medjugorje issue for some 20 plus years, publicly announced a new investigation of the apparitions. Coincidence? We think not because Medjugorje Investigated is that enlightening.”

    Your mind powers leave me perplex. First, you claim that the “Church” “remained silent on the Medjugorje issue” between 1986 and 2006, which is fallacious and shows ignorance of historical facts. Second, you claim that your “enlightening” book has had a direct influence on the behaviour of the CDF authorities, which is pretentious.

    You also write: “In fact with the formation of the 4th commission I pulled my book off the market as the book accomplished its goal, which was to make the Vatican realize it had to do a proper investigation according to Church guideline. I am the only one who has copies of the book anymore.”

    Well, it seems that you still hope to sell your “off the market book” ($16.95) [] along with numerous Medjugorje devotions paraphernalia []. As much as I have been able to verify on your website, there is no clue about the US State Department’s and your enlightening secrets. The only way to know about them is to buy your book. But when I read your article [] — which I may not use without your written consent — some of its content is so unfounded and unreliable, even after your “13 years investigating the Medjugorje apparitions” and your 21 years of having “studied them intensely, that I am not inclined to buy your “tainted” opus.

    Now, concerning the facts related to the Commissions that were and are accessible to every researcher of good faith, can you tell us, Mr. Jones, who, among the 15 members of the second extended Commission (Bishop Zanic excluded) has tainted the Commission, supposing that you have the complete list of those members that Mgr. Zanic gave me in January 1985?

    The Bishop of Mostar already knew that René Laurentin was disseminating the rumour that he, Mgr. Zanic, had chosen 10 of the 14 members of the Commission who were “against the apparitions”. Bishop Zanic told me in an interview (1985-01-15), conducted in French, that what Laurentin had written [See “Dernières nouvelles…”, décembre 1984, p. 13] was “dishonest” (apparently he didn’t need the powerful US State Department):

    “It is terrible. I have chosen nobody that had told or written anything for or against Medjugorje, except one sole member, Fr. Ivan Dugandzic, a Franciscan from Humac, who is everyday in Medjugorje, who promotes the apparitions. I have chosen him only to show our honesty in our work. He is present since the beginning. Seven members of this Commission have been referred to me by the bishops or the Provincial Fathers of Ljubljana, Rijeka, Makarska, Mostar, Sarajevo and Zagreb. I did not know them before they came to the first meeting of the Commission. The words of Laurentin are lies: he wants to disqualify the Commission. He should withdraw his statements.”

    On the website of the Mostar diocese [], you will find a confirmation of the above: “In 1984 bishop Žani? decided to extend the first Commission. He wrote to all the theological faculties in Yugoslavia and sought the permission of certain religious superiors to allow their experts to join the Commission.”

    If you know better, Mr. Jones, please substantiate! For the moment, your intellectual honesty seems to me as “tainted” as René Laurentin’s. []

    Concerning the third Commission, I suppose that you have the list of the members after your “13 years investigating the Medjugorje apparitions” and your 21 years of having “studied them intensely”. Who has named the members? Who has “tainted” the Commission? Remember that “The Commission held 23 meetings in Zagreb” … and that “everything was done under oath”. []

    Finally, 19 bishops of Yugoslavia — one abstained — under the advice of 30 experts, voted for the “non constat de supernaturalitate”. You may pretend that the think-tank was tainted by 50 co-conspirators. That is your problem, a problem of credibility.

    Louis Bélanger

  • Re

    from extraecclesiannullasalus…: “Pope Pius X (Catechism)

    Q: But if a man through no fault of his own is outside the Church, can he be saved? (A.9 Q.29)

    A: If he is OUTSIDE THE CHURCH (note: The Catholic Church) through no fault of his, that is, if he is in good faith, and if he has received Baptism, or at least has the implicit desire of Baptism; and if, moreover, he sincerely seeks the truth and does God’s will as best he can such a man is indeed separated from the body of the Church, but is united to the soul of the Church and consequently is ON THE WAY OF SALVATION.”

    First, there is OUTSIDE THE (CATHOLIC) CHURCH in the statement and there is the Christian i.e. Catholic dogma which says “OUTSIDE THE (CATHOLIC) CHURCH THERE IS NO SALVATION.”.

    Only a fool would claim that St. Pius X went against the stated dogma by what Martyjo claims he meant with the above reply: “OUTSIDE THE (CATHOLIC) CHURCH THERE IS SALVATION: FOR THOSE WHO ARE WITHOUT THEIR FAULT OUTSIDE OF IT.”.

    Hence the statement above concludes that such a one who is without his fault OUTSIDE THE (CATHOLIC) CHURCH is ON THE WAY OF SALVATION and NOT THAT HE IS SAVED i.e. IN GOD’S GRACE as those who are IN THE (CATHOLIC) CHURCH.

    But when people like Martyjo struggle with the very basics of Christian i.e. Catholic faith they gravely err by making “being saved” (“already in God’s grace”) equal to “on the way of salvation i.e. being saved” (“on the way to receive God’s grace of salvation (justification)”).

  • Re

    Forgot to point out that Hebrews 11:6 (“without faith it is IMPOSSIBLE to please God”) and pope Pius IX words from the “Singulari Quadam” prove that Martyjo illegally restricted eternal perdition only to those who refuse to believe Christian i.e. Catholic faith.

    No, WHOEVER DOESN’T BELIEVE Christian i.e. Catholic faith, whether he refused to believe it or not, shall perish for “WITHOUT FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE GOD” (Hebrews 11:6).

  • Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS

    Thank you, Louis, for the detailed post in response to my dialogue that began with “Michael” in this thread about a week ago, who is, M.K. Jones to whom you refer.

    Unfortunately, I see no way to link directly to that original comment by “Michael”, but he is found several times in this comment thread stating the past commissions are “tainted”, with nothing more than inuendo.

  • bps

    Colleen Willard come across more as a drama queen than someone who has sincere faith….
    she is a good story teller and promoter but nothing more !