Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Medjugorje Commission will carry out its work 'with the utmost reserve'

The Medjugorje Commission held its first meeting on 26th March, it was revealed yesterday by the Press Office of the Holy See:
"The International Investigative Commission on Medjugorje met for its first session on 26 March 2010."

"The Commission, presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, His Holiness' vicar general emeritus for the diocese of Rome, is composed of the following members: Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Vrhbosna, president of the Bishops' Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina; Cardinal Josip Bozanic, Archbishop of Zagreb and vice-president of the Council of European Bishops' Conference; Cardinal Julian Herranz, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Msgr. Tony Anatrella, psychoanalyst and specialist in Social Psychiatry; Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, professor of Fundamental Theology at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy; Fr. David Maria Jaeger, O.F.M., consultant to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Fr. Zdzislaw Jozef Kijas, O.F.M. Conv., relator of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Fr. Salvatore M. Perrella, O.S.M., teacher of Mariology at the Pontifical Marianum Faculty of Theology; and Fr. Achim Schutz, professor of Theological Anthropology at the Pontifical Lateran University as secretary. Msgr. Krzysztof Nykiel, an officer of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith serves as additional secretary."

"Other experts have also participated in the commission's work: Fr. Franjo Topic, professor of Fundamental Theology in Sarajevo; Fr. Mijo Nikic, S.J., professor of Psychology and Psychology of Religion at the Philosophical and Theological Institute of the Society of Jesus in Zagreb, Fr. Mihaly Szentmartoni, S.J., professor of Spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and Sr. Veronica Nela Gaspar, professor of Theology at Rijeka."

"As announced previously, the work of the Commission will be carried out with the utmost reserve. Its conclusions will be submitted to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for study."
This will be a very important step in clarifying the supernatural or otherwise phenomena that are taking place at Medjugorje. I have been there once on a free trip for clergy courtesy of Medjugorje Peace Tours. The people in the group I joined were fine upstanding Catholics, very loyal to the Church. I also had the privilege of making my confession to the late Father Slavko. I was also impressed by the testimonies of the "visionaries" Ivan Dragicevic and Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic.

The work of the Cenacolo community in helping drug addicts to recover was most impressive. So a lot of good has come to the Church through Medjugorje. Nevertheless it is important that the various doubts that exist be clarified, not least for the sake of unity. The long-running dispute between the Franciscans at the parish and the diocesan bishop needs to be resolved.


  1. An interesting phenomena..I've been 5 times & reviewed Donal Foley's " Understanding Medjugorje " & come out against the validity but it's many..actually about 30 or more of my family have been on Pilgrimage & all practice their faith fervently as so the many friends who came with us..

  2. Fr John said: “The long-running dispute between the Franciscans at the parish and the diocesan bishop needs to be resolved.”

    As you probably are aware, no Franciscan can work in the Medjugorje parish without the signed approval of the local bishop. So all Franciscans in Medjugorje are “signed in” by bishop Peric. There is no dispute about this fact. And since your last visit, probably at least 10 years ago (?), there has been much building and expansion of church facilities in and around St James’ church. None of this could be undertaken without the permission of the local bishop. While bishop Peric may not believe in the claimed apparitions I think it is misleading to suggest that there is a long-running dispute between the bishop and the Franciscans and that the two parties do not co-operate and work together for the good.

    Also, are you aware that ALL mass stipends paid into the parish office by pilgrims are receipted with the Mostar diocese stamp as the cash is collected by the bishop’s office and distributed to poorer parishes? This, as you may know, amounts to hundreds of thousands of pounds annually, and is a much-needed income source for the Church in Bosnia Herzegovina decimated by at least 50% since the Bosnian War.

    From this you can see that there isn’t actually a long-running dispute between Franiciscans and the locql bishop. You can verify this by simply contacting the Franciscan Provincial of Herzegovina, Fr Sesar, whose office in Mostar is close to the bishop’s office. You may also be surprised at the actual amount co-operation that does exist between the bishop and the Franciscans.


  3. Well, I'm relieved to hear it. Thanks for the clarifcation. I shall check sources again. Thanks.

  4. Dear Friends, whether or not Mass stipends are passed to the diocese, it is somewehat disingenuous to suggest that all is hunky dory with the disobedient, suspended, Franciscans of Medjugorje. (And yes, I have been there, before anyone asks. And yes, I can admire the spirit of prayer of people who go there on pilgrimage etc.) But to suggest that one should believe the rebellious and disobedient Franciscans of the place over the legitimately-appointed succesor of the Apostles is positively wrong. "He who hears you, hears Me...." etc . In matters of Faith and morals, stick with Christ's duly appointed. Please do have a look at this paper:

  5. Dear Fr Boyle,
    Please look at the situation regarding Fr Slavko before he died:-
    Official documents on Medjugorje in English can be found at:- and also

  6. Yes, I am aware of all this. Which is why the commission needs to work 'with the utmost reserve' so that it can be seen to come to its conclusions in a dispassionate manner with the good of souls at heart.

    I have now published two 'anonymous' comments on this post. These are the first 'anonymous' comments to be made on my blog since I de-restricted the comment facility. I would rather commenters avoided being 'anonymous' especially on subjects where people have very strong opinions. I will keep my policy under review and advise my readers if I decide to exclude 'anonymous' comments.

  7. Dear Father,
    Sorry, I had to post "anonymously" - not because I wanted to but because I couldn't do otherwise. I'm on hotmail, I'm on Facebook. How do I get an account to chat on your blog?

  8. You don't need an account - just choose Name/URL from the 'Comment as' drop down menu and put a name in - even a pseudonym or your facebook/hotmail nickname will do. Just helps to track trends in comments. Thanks.

  9. Dear Father,
    I've just looked at the site posted by your other 'anonymous' contributor (perhaps, like me, he or she cannot post comments on your blog any other way...). Well, I remembered that you had written that you had confessed at Medj etc, and I immediately saw this:

    Father Slavko Barbarić in the 80's
    “Following a number of official letters between the Episcopal Curia , the Franciscan Provincial and Fra Slavko Barbarić concerning the friar being sent away from Medjugorje, where he had for years been carrying out pastoral work illegally, without the approval of the diocesan curia, the diocesan Ordinary proclaims that Fra Slavko Barbarić is deprived of confessional jurisdiction(the faculties of hearing confessions) in the territories of all dioceses of Hercegovina.”

    This decree has been published in Vrhbosna, the official Newsletter of the Diocese of the Metropolis of Sarajevo (n.1/2000, p.65)

    I don't know when you were there Father, whether your Sacramental Confession was valid etc. The point is that the Franciscans of that entire PROVINCE were suspended way back in 1976 by Pope Paul VI!!
    Regarding comments on this subject on your blog, please be aware that I do not willingly post 'anonymously' and it has nothing to do with 'strong opinions' (I am confident that you know that objective truth has nothing to do with opinion - and also that error has no rights).
    In the Unity of the Faith, sincerely yours.

  10. Was my confession valid? Yes. For a couple of reasons.

    First, it was before the alleged withdrawal of faculties referred to in previous comments.

    Secondly, if the priest did not have faculties, by virtue of Canon 144 and the common error concerning his possession or otherwise of faculties, the Church would supply him with faculties by virtue of the law. If a priest without faculties sets himself up to hear confessions in such a manner that the commonality of the faithful would be in error concerning his non-possession of faculties, the Church supplies the faculties to ensure the vailidity of the absolution granted.

    I can't help suspecting that there is more to this situation than we all know. It would seem inconceivable that Rome would allow a situation of gross disobedience to continue. The Holy See would surely back a diocesan bishop faced with recalcitrant and disobedient clergy. The fact that this commission is now acting 'with the utmost reserve' rather than taking peremptory action to remove the priests means that there is far more at stake. We must await the outcome of the commission's work and, in the meantime, remain peaceful, calm and charitable to all, whichever 'side' they are on.

  11. Dear Fr Boyle,
    A couple of points. Unlike your other 'anonymous' commentor, I posted the link about Fr Slavko and the other links as 'anonymous' deliberately as I have suffered the most uncharitable attacks over the years from supporters of Medjugorje. My 'crime'? Urging them to heed the declarations of the local Ordinary of Mostar and daring to distribute such declarations. For this, I have been called 'demonic', 'satanic','not a Catholic', 'not loving Our Lady'. For some, belief in these alleged apparitions has become a kind of benchmark of orthodoxy. You said "I can't help suspecting that there is more to this situation than we all know. It would seem inconceivable that Rome would allow a situation of gross disobedience to continue". I believe it is because of the global and massive nature of this phenomenon that Rome has been afraid to act, and is now being ultra-cautious, as it fears schism. The potential for schism here is very real - make no mistake.

  12. The 'Cenacolo Community' - Is that the one that Marija said Our Lady supported etc and then changed her mind and said she had only made up the supposed message of the Gospa? I don't know. I'm sure you're more clued up than I am Father.

  13. No, I am not more clued up than anyone else. I am only going on my own experiences. I haven't studied the Medjugorje phenomen in depath. From the comments it is self-evident that the Commission's work is very necessary.

  14. No more anonymous comments on this post. If the most recent 'anonymous' would like to sign in under a name, even a pseudonymn, and resubmit his/her comment I will publish it.

  15. I do sympathise with your other 'anonymous' correspondent Father. That's why I've signed in under a pseudonym or 'nom de plume'! When I've written or commented on Medj in the past I've been bombarded by hate-mail from Medj fanatics - and I hate to say it, but the priests among them have been the worst. Unlike your previous commenter, I won't even evoke what I've been called for trying to point out in all reasonableness and charity what the legitmately-appointed Bishop of the place (the Local Ordinary) has decreed.
    Dear Father, thanking you for this internet presence and thanking you for all your priestly work. God bless and keep you.

  16. Pelerin,
    The Cenacolo community is not the one you refer to, where Marija Pavlovic said that Our Lady wanted it, and then later confessed that wasn't true. That community was founded by Tomislav Vlasic (now ex-priest) and Agnes Heupel. It was called "Queen of Peace, We Are Entirely Yours; To Jesus through Mary". 'Our Lady's' 'approval' of this community was declared, in writing, by the "seer" Marija Pavlovic on April 21, 1988.
    But, three months later she confessed to not telling the truth. The Cenacolo community is run by a Sr Elvira. Neither it, nor her, have received approval from the competent ecclesiastical authorities to work in the diocese of Mostar, please see

  17. Ok. Thanks for that info Pat. Is this what they call 'the fruits' of Medjugorje?!

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Please avoid being 'anonymous' if at all possible.


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