If nobody believed in superstition it would be unable to hurt anyone


Bishop Zanic - campaigner against the lying "visions" of Medjugorje



The bishop ordered the visionaries to have the visions in private in 1985 and not to promote the messages.  The Church has the right to ban messages from being promoted unless they are checked out.  Even if they are it might determine that it is wiser to wait until some clear indications of the apparition being from God are found.  His command was disobeyed completely


Here is the March 25, 1985 official letter of Bishop Zanic to the parish priest, Father Tomislav Pervan, of St James parish of Medjugorje

Reverend Father Tomislav,

Most certainly the Pastoral personnel of the Medjugorje parish know about the newest developments and the circumstances of the letter of the "visionary" Ivan Dragicevic on the sign that he described on May 9, 1982 during his stay in the seminary in Visoko. With a copy of that letter we are also supplying you with a copy of the Minutes of the last meeting of the Commission on the Events of Medjugorje held in Mostar on March 7, 1985, on the occasion of the opening of Ivan Dragicevic's letter. This letter contains the described sign which would occur in order to confirm the "apparitions" of the Madonna in Medjugorje. Last year, in a conversation with the investigating Commission, Ivan Dragicevic declared that the sign we speak of will be the Madonna's shrine and that sign will appear suddenly one morning.

Even before this, the Ordinary had come to the firm conclusion that the apparitions of the Madonna in Medjugorje are not a reality. Meanwhile, in 1982, the Bishop's Office had formed the Commission to investigate the events and to study the case thoroughly. Because of it, the Bishop's Office has refrained from making any official statement on the real state of affairs. However, several times through letters, the Bishop's Office expressed its desire, and even demanded, that the propaganda stop because of the disobedience of the pastoral personnel and the "visionaries." This was a futile attempt. I present the documents which have been sent to you, and the subject of each one of them:

—December 13, 1981, (N 977): attitude toward the events in Medjugorje;
—April 12, 1983, (N 241): letter to the parish priest, instructions to be followed;

Invitations for meetings:

—March 31, 1983, (N 297);
—September 27, 1983, (N 982);
—July 19, 1984, (N 777);

Following a two-day session, the Commission on the events of Medjugorje declared that the pastoral personnel and the seers in Medjugorje are requested to abstain from any public statement or declaration to the press about the contents of the visions and the alleged miraculous cures.

At our meeting, held in the Chancery Office in Mostar on October 31, 1984, I demanded that Medjugorje's occurrences "be toned down and eliminated little by little."

In the meantime, matters remain as they were, and a great disgrace is expected to befall the Church. Now, without any delay, after all this, I demand from you that you remove the "visionaries" from public display and put an end to their "visions" in the parish church. They have had "visions" in Mostar, and earlier in Sarajevo, Visoko and Dubrovnik. Let them now have them at their homes: people say that they had them at their homes during 1981. In ten days the new statue of the Gospa in front of the main altar ought to be discreetly removed late one evening and replaced by the old one. You must stop talking about apparitions and also cease publicizing messages. The devotions that grew out of the "apparitions" and their messages must be eliminated, sales of souvenirs and printed material which propagate the "apparitions" must also stop. The faithful can go to the sacrament of reconciliation and attend Mass. I do not allow the other priests, especially Fathers Jozo Zovko, Tomislav Vlasic and Ljudevit Rupcic, to celebrate Mass for the faithful or to preach.

The "visionaries" must give you whatever they wrote, especially what pertains to the so called "Biography of the Madonna." No excuse that that's a secret can justify them from not handing over that material to you. Since there was so much public talk about their Diaries and their other writings, and since all this had a great influence on the events of Medjugorje, thus all these documents and written materials fall under the supervision of the Ordinary and become subject to the investigation of the phenomenon of Medjugorje.

We do hope that you will execute what we demand from you in this letter. With greetings and a prayerful wish for God's blessing.

Msgr. Pavao Zanic,
Bishop of Mostar-Duvno and Apostolic Administrator of Trebinje-Mrkanj.

The Zadar Declaration which decided that there was no reason to affirm that the apparitions were supernatural defended the authority of the bishop: "Yet the gathering of the faithful from various parts of the world to Medjugorje, inspired by reasons of faith or other motives, require the pastoral attention and care, first of all, of the local Bishop and then of the other bishops with him, so that in Medjugorje and all connected with it, a healthy devotion towards the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the teachings of the Church may be promoted. The Bishops will also provide special liturgical and pastoral directives corresponding to this aim. At the same time, they will continue to study all the events of Medjugorje through the commissions."

OFFICIAL CHURCH DOCUMENTATION REFUTING THE APPARITIONS: http://members.tripod.com/~chonak/documents/medj_index.html
Bishop Zanic believed the claim of the visionaries of Medjugorje that they were seeing Mary the mother of Jesus in visions and getting messages from her.
Then evidence came up that they were fooling themselves.
He campaigned against the claims. Father Laurentin, a theologian who specialised in theology based around Mary did his best to undermine his evidence.
Fr Michael O Carroll who is a member of the Pontifical Marian Academy and of the French Society for Marian Studies is a promoter of Medjugorje. He has joined with the devious Fr Rene Laurentin to do it and his praise for him knows no bounds.
Fr O Carroll’s book is called Medjugorje, Facts, Documents and Theology and was published by Veritas of Dublin.
Laurentin and Zanic fell out and he accused Zanic of slandering him in saying that he made a lot of money out of his books on the apparitions and that he was used by the Franciscans to defend these appearances and was influenced by the charm of a visionary (page 53). But significantly, no proof is given that Zanic is wrong. O Carroll brags about Laurentin’s respect for authority. But it is the bishop and not Laurentin who has to decide if the apparitions are what they claim to be. Laurentin is authenticating the visions in spite of the bishop which is bad enough if the bishop is open-minded but a scandal if the bishop does not approve. If the bishop is unreasonable then Laurentin should not be antagonising him which could only make him more stubborn. Padre Pio was badly treated by the Church but he obeyed it nevertheless. St Gemma Galgani and all the saints who had apparitions preferred their visions to be in disrepute than for the Church to be disobeyed and their visions commended them for that. The Medjugorje Virgin never chastised Fr Laurentin.
Laurentin wrote to Zanic and asked him to stop giving misinformation about him. He did not use the strong words like slander. O Carroll, Laurentin’s mate, bluntly accuses Zanic of slander. What is going on? Laurentin would have read O Carroll’s book. Laurentin would have corrected him if he had been an honest person.
O Carroll accuses the bishop of heresy for saying that belief in visions is optional for Catholics (page 107) even though O Carroll approved of what the Church officially taught as we have seen earlier. He argues that it is offensive to say that God could reveal anything and it is up to us to believe it or not. It is O Carroll who is the heretic for though belief in visions is optional if you have reason to doubt them the message must be listened to whether it is from God or not if it fits the revelation God has already given. For example, you don’t have to believe in Fatima to say the Rosary every day and beg the Church to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as the apparition there commanded. O Carroll knows this fine well and he knows that the Church is not as certain that Jesus rose as she is of any miracle that is not in the Bible or in divine tradition which is why it leaves us to make up our own minds. It says the faith revealed to the apostles cannot be added to. He is lying and trying to discredit the bishop. His reason for telling this lie is because Ivan Dragicevic wrote a letter threatening the bishop with supernatural disasters and accusing him of hating Jesus if he does not accept the visions. The letter appears on page 97. The bishop was not totally sure that Ivan wrote the letter but it must have been Ivan when Ivan never denied writing it. It was in Ivan’s writing. The bishop would not have passed the letter on to the Vatican with a criticism of it if his position on apparitions being optional were heresy.  
The Medjugorje Virgin cannot criticise the bishop. She is only an apparition that has no right to be believed unless the Church in the form of the local bishop and whoever he designates decides if it is credible and compatible with Catholic faith and morality. Yet she criticised the punishment issued to the Franciscans Prusina and Vego by the bishop. O Carroll says the Virgin would contradict a bishop in the wrong for she would have called for the bishop who sentenced Joan of Arc to death to be disobeyed. The Virgin would say nothing and leave it to the sin-convicting power of the Holy Spirit to correct any injustice. O Carroll surmises she would have corrected the bishop who condemned Joan and concludes that what she said about Bishop Zanic by no means proves the Medjugorje apparitions to be false (136). But even if Zanic were in the wrong with the two Franciscans Prusina and Vego, these men could have ministered elsewhere for the sake of peace and could have avoided trouble with the Church. The bishop was not sacking them but moving them. The Church wants bishops to be obeyed even when they are wrong as long as what they command is not sinful. The injustice is a lesser evil in the Church than the bad example and results of disobeying and condemning a bishop which causes more trouble and pain than submitting. The purpose of authority is to keep order for everybody has different ideas and you can’t have chaos. Those who think you are wrong have to be doing with it when you are in authority. The Virgin would have told the bishop who had Joan murdered to kill her if that was what he thought he should do. And we must remember that in those days the Church saw nothing wrong with having heretics and witches put to death. Joan’s alleged holiness did not become apparent until much later. At that time, she was killed for heresy and witchcraft. Even if the Virgin did oppose the bishop it would not mean the Franciscans had the right to defy their bishop for it was a less serious matter and it can’t be proved that the bishop is being sinful. O’Carroll does not want to see this. And if Joan’s bishop was being evil and the Virgin corrected him it would not mean that the Med Virgin could correct Zanic. Nothing Zanic did was sinful. There is a difference between a bishop unjustly moving a priest about a diocese and a bishop who asks a priest to commit murder or to steal for him. The most Mary could have said to Zanic was to think very carefully and perhaps take his time before making a final decision.  
The Virgin does not need to get involved in Church politics. All she needs to do is advocate prayer and soul-searching and send the Holy Spirit to give light. That way she can be asked about Church politics and be right to say nothing. The Virgin would like to tell the bishop who had Joan put to death that he was wrong but it is because apparitions are optional for belief that there is no point in her saying anything. There is no doubt that O’Carroll is wrong and proven how erroneous it is to believe that Our Lady of Medjugorje is a Catholic.
O Carroll tries to approve Medjugorje despite the disobedience. It helps us and the anti-Medjugorje Catholics that he, the ardent devotee of the fake Virgin Mary of Medjugorje and therefore an idolater, admits the disobedience happened.
Is Zanic a Liar?

Chapter 6 of O Carroll’s book relates Bishop Zanic’s objections to Medjugorje and attempts to refute them.
I find it impossible to believe O Carroll that the bishop really thought the messages about conversion and peace were absurd (page 108).
The bishop disbelieved in the visions because the Virgin said that her last appearance was to take place in 1981 but she kept on appearing.
The reply to this is that the visionaries were asked to move the apparition into the Church and Mirjana said that there was no point for the visions were to end next Friday which was the third of July 1981 (110). Fr Jozo Zovko asked her if the Virgin said that and she said they assumed it for they read it in a book and it happened in Lourdes. It is improbable that they all assumed such a thing and did not ask the Virgin. Why didn’t the Virgin tell them they were wrong in case enemies of the apparition would spread disbelief over it? They decided to end the hoax and changed their minds after they announced the end. That is the logical explanation. The Bishop is accused of being wrong when he said that a number of priests were there during the allegedly last apparition but the book says only Jozo was there. That is difficult to believe. There would have been more priests than that especially when the bishop had no objection to the vision at that time.
A tape made of an interview with the visionaries has Mirjana admitting that the Virgin told her the visions would end that Friday. The vision was unable to make up her mind if she wanted to go to the Church instead of the hill Podbrdo (The Medjugorje Deception, page 79). The real Virgin would have been able to make up her mind. She would have known of the suggestion to appear in the Church before it was mentioned to her so she would have had time to think.
The bishop stated that Fr Zovko was one of those who were behind the hoax and the book says that Zovko was once strictly opposed to the apparitions (Medjugorje, Facts Documents, Theology, page 111). That is certainly a lie for when he is so supportive now of a false apparition it is hard to believe he would have opposed a real one. His opposition would have been necessary in case anybody would trace the origin of the apparitions to him so it was an act to cover his tracks.
The bishop said that Fr Vlasic was one of the hoaxers who started the whole thing too. The book simply gives the astonishing argument that he was thirty kilometres away from Medjugorje at the start as a sufficient refutation! (111).
The bishop said first that nobody was influencing the children and later that they were like robots. But the reason for this change of heart is not stated and that is unfair. When the children began saying the Virgin was criticising the bishop and taking the side of the suspended Franciscans it was clear to the bishop that the children were being manipulated.
Page 114 argues that it was ridiculous for the bishop to say that the visions were from Satan for there were so many prayers, confessions and conversions because of them. Do the conversions and prayers and self-sacrifices of the Hare Krishnas prove that they are right?
The same page confesses that the Virgin did not resolve the dispute between the Franciscans and the bishop except how she has kind of resolved it by calling on all to convert and live in peace (114). This is the answer to the fact that the apparition promised that this would be fully rectified (112). But it is then claimed by the book that it would have been fixed but for the bishop’s impatience (113). So, much for not judging. Sometimes people in power have to be impatient and can make mistakes and be misinformed. The Virgin made a promise and it failed. And calling to conversion is no way of solving a dispute.
The bishop said that the blame for the religious division in his diocese rested wholly with the Franciscans (115). O Carroll says that there was no problem when the order served Hercegovina when their bishop fled from the Turks and set up a diocese or when they allowed secular clergy in. He gets sarcastic and asks if they are expected to wish they did not exist. That is his answer to the bishop. But the past has nothing do with what is happening in Zanic’s time. If the bishop is in authority the Franciscans have to be to blame.
Page 115, asks why the Virgin cannot accuse the bishop of being rash when that is what he is. But she has her Holy Spirit. Why can’t he discreetly make this seen? It is better for her to say nothing and not to judge and to let people be guided by the Spirit and find out for themselves. There was no evidence for the reality of the apparitions at this time meaning that she had no right to ask the world to take her word for it. She was the one that was rash.
Page 116 responds to the bishop’s assertion that Vicka said in August 1981 that a big sign would be performed soon and that they must be patient so that is a lie for it never took place. O Carroll says that in prophetic style even a thousand years can be described as one day and that soon could be a long time for us. The only excuse for such a view is the fact that the Bible often said that this and that was near and it never happened and hasn’t taken place yet. God would not wrap up prophecy in such empty and confusing language. Christians change the meaning of words when prophecies fail. The Bible never justifies this practice. The Christians ignore the fact that when God speaks to us the purpose is to make us understand. He talks to us as if he were looking at things from our point of view. You interpret things according to how the audience understood them for the speaker would be trying to make the audience understand. Soon then means soon. The Virgin never explained that soon did not mean soon and she was not reciting scripture but giving messages so why would she use soon in the scriptural sense? There is no evidence that the visionaries knew at that time of arguments like O Carroll’s. That is why O Carroll cannot give us a quote or anything to justify his interpretation. The bishop is the intelligent one in this matter. A woman called Mara Jerkovic made a statement about the sign and the bishop had regard for her testimony for it was unfavourable. O Carroll writes her off as a gossip (117). He gives no evidence that she really is one or cannot be trusted.
The visionaries told the bishop that the Virgin confirmed that a story that a bloody handkerchief would have brought the last judgment on the world had it not been given to her was true (83). O Carroll makes no attempt to refute this so it must be true. It refutes the apparitions for the story is silly in the extreme.
The apparition’s behaviour was bizarre. The Virgin was roaring with laughter one time she simply said she would sort out the dispute between the Franciscans and the diocese. There was nothing funny in it. The Lady then told the visionaries to laugh. At least, that was their explanation to the people who saw them laughing (81-82). This sounds like the vision was a joke or a hallucination. They would not have laughed with the Virgin if they saw anything but at her. Perhaps they thought she was mad. O Carroll passes over that too. He ignores anything embarrassing.
The bishop and the two Franciscans, Vego and Prusina, were in disagreement. The bishop suspended them from their priestly duties. Page 89 says the Virgin said, "The bishop has none of the real love of God for those two." This is quoted by Zanic but O Carroll does not question its authenticity. Though an apparition cannot criticise a bishop as an apparition cannot have the same authority as Jesus gave the Church, she might have said, "The bishop lacks some of the real love of God for those two." That was better than completely demonising the bishop.
Page 119 says that the bishop regarded Vicka, Grafenauer and Vlasic as the witnesses to the infamous diary of Vicka in which the messages were recorded that she is so ashamed of now. All three claimed that there was no diary. Vlasic swore on the cross that this was so and that he had never seen it. Was he a perjurer? Grafenauer stated that he had not the courage to tell the bishop that he never saw the book until much later (118). I would take this as proof that he did see something. Why not correct the bishop immediately? The bishop is accused of lying and saying that this man was a witness to the diary even after he was corrected. But how do you know that Grafenauer did not see the diary and regretted mentioning it? The man was a supporter of the apparitions.
Grafenauer is unreliable for he made a recording of a dialogue with Vicka in which she says that the Virgin opposed the pope in banning Vego and Prusina from hearing confessions. Still, he supported the apparitions after a strong initial opposition to them.
The bishop is criticised for condemning the apparitions because of the number of visionaries.
Apart from the six there are forty-seven other claimants. O Carroll says that they might all be genuine but argues that the visions to the six are real so if the rest are frauds that does not harm the case for the six (121). None of the forty-six were tested by science.
The visionaries were proven to have lied to the bishop. The Lady stood up for a priest who was accused of fathering a child by a nun and it was later found that the accusation was true. The bishop of the diocese where the apparition happens is the one who has to decide if anything supernatural is happening and if it is from God and yet this Lady counsels disobedience. Catholic doctrine going back to the time of Ignatius of Antioch at the beginning of the second century insists that whoever disobeys a legitimate order of the bishop separates himself from Christ and the Church. Catholics might say that the bishop is wrong and should not be obeyed but apparitions are subordinate to Church authority. Mary would not appear in a diocese if it would lead to trouble with the bishop. She certainly would not threaten the bishop with divine vengeance as the visionaries reported she had done on June 21st 1983 in which she said he has to convert to belief in the events of the Medjugorje parish or else. That was an attempt to bias the bishop in the apparitions favour by scaring him. The real Virgin could not do that for the Church leaves it up to each person to decide even when it approves of an apparition if that apparition really was from God.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, November 1996
Regarding the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, the Congregation states:
The Interpretation given by some individuals to a Decision approved by Paul VI on 14 October 1966 and promulgated on 15 November of that year, in virtue of which writings and messages resulting from alleged revelations could be freely circulated in the Church, is absolutely groundless. This decision actually referred to the "abolition of the Index of Forbidden Books" and determined that --- after the relevant censures were lifted --- the moral obligation still remained of not circulating or reading those writings which endanger faith and morals.

In should be recalled however that with regard to the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, canon 623 #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 judgment".

Alleged supernatural revelations and writings concerning them are submitted in first instance to the judgment of the diocesan Bishop, and, in particular cases, to the judgment of the Episcopal Conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Any apparition that breaks this rule, and the Medjugorje Virgin commands that her messages be distributed as they are received, is not a Catholic apparition or concerned about Catholic orthodoxy. The bishops are the official Catholic teachers not apparitions. The vast majority of modern visions break the rule and so are themselves disobedient apparitions.
The visionaries did not obey the letter of Bishop Zanic 25 March 1985 which stated, "Speaking about the apparitions must stop, no message must be published...the sale of records and printed material which promote the 'apparitions' must stop" - page 155, Medjugorje, Facts, Documents and Theology. Pro-Medjugorje prelate, Franic wrote to Zanic in 1985, "I have always defended your prestige" (ibid 157). Franic had a disagreement with Zanic but he limited his criticism to that holding that otherwise Zanic was an honourable man and not the megalomaniac that Medjugorje believers make him out to be.
The real Virgin would not appear in a diocese where the bishop was convinced nothing was happening and certainly not for too long a time. She would go elsewhere if she did rather than cause trouble or give anybody an excuse for causing trouble. She would stay if he were open-minded or if he approved.
Bishop Zanic published a booklet called Medjugorje in 1990. This is a must for an examination of the apparition claims.
The lies told by the Medjugorje supporters only prove the bishop right. The visionaries are fakes.



“I BEG YOU: LISTEN TO MY MESSAGES AND LIVE THEM,” Padraic Dunne, published privately, Drogheda, County Louth, 1992
BIBLICAL EXEGESIS AND CHURCH DOCTRINE, Raymond E Brown, Paulist Press, New York, 1985
Encountering Mary, Sandra Zimdars-Swartz, Avon, New York, 1991
LOOKING FOR A MIRACLE, Joe Nickell, Prometheus Books, New York, 1993
MEDJUGORJE, David Baldwin, Catholic Truth Society, London, 2002
MEDJUGORJE HERALD, Vol 13, No 2, Feb 1999, Galway, Ireland
MEDJUGORJE, FACTS DOCUMENTS THEOLOGY, Fr Michael O Carroll, Veritas, Dublin, 1986
OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE, Tomislav Vlasic OFM, published by Peter Batty, East Sussex, 1984
POWERS OF DARKNESS, POWERS OF LIGHT, John Cornwell, Penguin, London, 1992
QUEEN OF PEACE (Newspaper), Fall, 1995, Pittsburgh Center for Peace
ST JOHN’S BULLETIN, Medjugorje by Br Michael of the Holy Trinity, Society of St Pius X, October-December 1992, no 32, Dublin
THE HIDDEN SIDE OF MEDJUGORJE, Fr Ivo Sivric, Ed. Psilog, Saint Francios Du Lac, Quebec, 1989.
THE THUNDER OF JUSTICE, Ted and Maureen Flynn, MAXCOL, Vancouver, 1993
VISIONS OF THE CHILDREN, Janice T Connell, St Martin’s Press, New York, 1992
WORDS FROM HEAVEN, Anonymous, Caritas of Birmingham, Sterrett, Alabama, 1996

The following books are available from Militia Immaculatae Trust, 35 New Bond Street, Leicester.

MEDJUGORJE – AFTER FIFTEEN YEARS, Michael Davies, Remnant Press, Minnesota, 1998.
MEDJUGORJE THE UNTOLD STORY, E Michael Jones Fidelity Press, 206 Marquette Ave, South Bend Indiana 46617, 1998.
MEDJUGORJE, Bishop Zanic, Mostar, 1990.
THE MEDJUGORJE DECEPTION, E Michael Jones, Fidelity Press, Indiana, 1998.
TWENTY QUESTIONS ABOUT MEDJUGORJE, Kevin Orlin Johnson, Ph.D. Pangaeus Press, Dallas, 1999.




THE WANDERER by Paul Likoudis, 1998
Unity Publishing has pictures allegedly proving that the messages from Mary are being made up by the priests and that the visions are hoaxes. Ivan was snapped acting as if he was guarding the door while the priest and a visionary were inventing the message. This is however is a pro-Catholic site.


VISIONS ON DEMAND, Network 5 International, 1997
DIVINE OR DECEIVED? COVER-UP, Network 5 International, 1998

Network 5 International
PO Box 51
L69 3EE
To Order Understanding Medjugorje visit http://www.theotokos.org.uk or write to Theotokos Books, PO Box, 8570, Nottingham, England