Bishop of Mostar: “the Medjugorje apparitions are not authentic”Medjugorje apparitions in the first seven days” is the indictment with which Monsignor Ratko Peric, who has always been extremely adverse to recognizing any credibility to the phenomenon, tries to demolish the “appearances” in their very first stage, by using well-known published material. He refers to that initial stage, the commission established by Benedict XVI and led by Cardinal Camillo Ruini had instead containing elements of supernatural origins. The final report delivered to Francis in 2014 after four years of investigation, suggested the Pope to approve only the first weeks of the phenomenon.
But what is even more striking is the coincidence. Monsignor Peric has published the article on the eve of the arrival of the Pope’s “special envoy “, the Archbishop of Warsaw-Prague Henryk Hoser, in charge of “acquiring more in-depth knowledge of the pastoral situation of that reality and, above all, of the needs of faithful who come on pilgrimage and, according to them, suggest any pastoral initiatives for the future.” It is known that Hoser’s mandate is not about the authenticity of the apparitions, but concerns the pastoral care of the faithful as well as the age-old problems in the area between the Franciscans – owners of the parish - and the Bishop of Mostar.
In his article, Peric denies any authenticity opening of the Medjugorje phenomenon: “ For this entire time, the position of this office has been clear and resolute: the apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary are not true” thus challenging Ruini Commission’s conclusions (which were never made public). “Although it has been said that the apparitions of the early days could be considered genuine and that only afterwards a superstructure arrived for other, mainly non-religious, reasons, this Curia has promoted the truth even about those early days. After having transcribed from the audio tape recorders containing the talks that took place in the first week in the parish of Medjugorje, between the pastoral staff and the boys and girls who had claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary, we expose, with full conviction and responsibility, the reasons for which it is evident the un-authenticity of the alleged phenomena. If the real Madonna, Mother of Jesus, has not appeared, - as indeed, She has not - then we must apply the following formulas: “self-declared” visionaries, “alleged” messages, “demanded” visible sign and “so-called” secrets. “
Based on the records of the talks of those early days, the bishop of Mostar says that, “An ambiguous figure” emerges. The female figure that would have appeared in Medjugorje behaves quite differently from the real Madonna, Mother of God. In so far the Virgin Mary appeared in genuine apparitions recognized by the Church usually does not speak first; laugh strangely; disappear at certain questions and then come back again; obey to the “seers” and to the pastor who make her descent from the hill to the church despite her reluctancy. She does not know for sure how long she will appear for; She allows to trample her veil lying on the ground and to touch her clothes and body. This is not the gospel Madonna. “
Peric points out the “strange trembling” that one of the visionaries, Ivan Dragicevic, during a “conversation with the chaplain of Zrinko Čuvalo (1936-1991), says he had perceived, on the first day,” A ”trembling of the appeared Virgin. What “trembling”? This perception can arouse not only a strong suspicion but also a deep conviction that it is not an authentic apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary. “
The bishop also challenges the anniversary of the “alleged apparitions” which began on 24 June 1981. ’However, records of the “Medjugorje phenomenon” have decided that the anniversary were to be celebrated not on the 24 but on the 25 of June. The reason was that June 25, 1981 apparently all six visionaries, chosen among those who boasted in those days to have “visions” were together during the apparition. In truth, to deny this version of events, formulated by Vicka Ivankovic, is Ivan Dragicevic himself who witnesses: “The first night I was with them, but not the second” Among the six regular “seers”, along with Marija Pavlovic, also Jakov Colo was present for the first time to ’ “appearance” on the second day. Therefore, the anniversary date is arbitrary, incorrect, falsified “.
Let us continue with the Bishop’s counter-arguments: the “visionaries “from the beginning, from the second day, asked the figure some sort of “sign “as proof of the authenticity of the apparition. According to Ivanka, the apparition’s “sign” was the turning of Mirjana’s clock hands, “the watch completely turned over”; “And she left us a sign on the watch”. More than ridiculous this is odd. “Moreover, Ivanka ’is sure that the figure will leave a mark on the hill, perhaps in the form of water. After almost four decades, there is no sign, no water, just fantasies. “Further, in the first seven days, “the appeared did not take any initiative, she never spoke first. To the “seers’” questions, she responds generically, rather ambiguously, bowing her head, referring to the future, promising the miracle of healing and leaving a message to the people: “People believe firmly, as if you saw me.” And to the Franciscans: “firmly believe”.
The article then recalls Ivanka’s question concerning how long she will appear for, “the figure replied:” As long as you want, as long as you wish ’ “. Mirjana “says she will ask the figure how many days she will appear again, and then she adds that an inner voice told her that she will appear for another 2-3 days “. She repeats it again. “The appearance of Tuesday afternoon, June 30, 1981 says she will appear only for “three days”: the 1, 2 and 3 of July 1981. In fact, to the parish priest’s question regarding how long she would appear again, all five “seers”, except Ivan, unanimously responded: “Three days. ’” Then “the figure changes idea and “is still appearing today “ uninterruptedly for 37 years, every day, to three of the original “ seers “of the group: Ivan, Marija and Vicka. The figure instead appears only once a year to the other three: to Mirjana since 1982, to Ivanka since 1985 and to Jakov since 1998. Furthermore, of the above mentioned group, two see the figure once a month since 1987 with “messages” to the world: every 2 of the month she allegedly appears to Mirjana and on the 25 to Marija”
The bishop also recalls that the descriptions of Mary’s clothes also do not match. “In the conversations with the” seers”, the appeared dresses in various ways. According to Ivan the figure was wearing a blue robe on the first day; according Ivanka, it was “coffee-colored” on the second day; according to the other “seers”, Jakov, Mirjana, Ivanka, it was “gray” on the sixth day.” Bishop Peric then judges “ very unusual and severe that “the appeared not only allows that some of the crowd trampled her veil stretched on the floor, but also that they touched her body. Vicka already touches her on the second day: “And when you touch her, your fingers bounce off like this.” The same repeats Ivanka and adds that touching her body feels “like air, somewhat like silk, our fingers come back, so when we touch, the fingers come back, somehow.” They had a doctor also touch the appeared’s vest. “And she [the doctor] has touched her vest.” These stories of touching the body of the Madonna, her dress, the trampling of her veil create in us a feeling and conviction that this is something unworthy, inauthentic and outrageous. This is not about the Catholic Madonna! “, is bishop of Mostar’s hard comment.
Finally, Bishop Peric denounces an “intentional manipulation”. The interlocutor of the “seers”, father Jozo Zovko, pastor, is very nervous because the figure appeared does not send concrete messages for the people and for the friars; why doesn’t she come down from the hill to the church where there is her statue; indeed, he asks if they can “literally” “force” our Lady to come down and appear in church. Father Zovko: “I’d like to know this, Mirjana: if Our Lady did not appear in church, could you force her to appear in church? Perhaps she will appear, right? What do you think? “Mirjana:” I do not know. We have not thought about it at all. “ P. Zovko repeats: “I think that you can force her: ’Lady, I ask You to appear to me in church’, what do you think?” And then Mirjana gives up “I think it would be better, because then, not even the police will look for us ...” ». Thus, concludes Bishop Peric, “through manipulations the “apparitions “are transferred to the church on 1 July 1981. This” forcing” the appeared to come down and appear in church is a magical trick and not the gospel of Christ”.
The bishop of Mostar’s conclusion is that one cannot speak of supernatural events: “Taking into account all that has been examined and studied by this Diocesan Chancery, including the study of the first seven days of the alleged apparitions, it can be peacefully said that: the Virgin Mary has not appeared in Medjugorje. “ The bishop had already stated all this in various writings of the past. The “recordings” which he mentioned were in fact transcribed years ago, translated from Croatian into French and English, and published in three volumes. Materials that have been taken into account and examined in depth by the commission headed by Cardinal Ruini.
What strikes even more is that the moment when the Holy See decided to appoint a special Papal envoy responsible for verifying the existing problems for the pastoral care of the pilgrims, the bishop decides to intervene in such a peremptory way, trying to influence the judgment of the apparitions’ supernatural nature. A judgment that now competes to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Fr. Malachi Martin: Medjugorje is a Hoax