Disinformation on Medjugorje

     Disinformation materials about Medjugorje were publicised on internet at the address Christ.Net.cz. The information had been analysed out by the Jugoslavian Bishop’s Conference more than 10 years ago (on 10th April 1991) and investigations about them were closed with official conclusion which found them groundless. Unfortunately, many people out of ignorance or out of prejudice against apparitions spread them privately further and present them as official standpoint of the Church.

     The said information, for the most part, were spread by bishop Zanic within the years 1981 - 1985. For not too much informed readers we state basic additional information explaining the whole matter.

     Immediately after the beginning of the apparitions, bishop Zanic to whose diocese the Medjugorje´s parish belongs, was about these events informed. (Normally it is local bishop who always deals with such a matter.)

     When the Communist regime accused the Church of staging and lies, bishop Zanic, on the basis of personal investigation, was declaring and publishing for three months that children having the apparitions did not lie and immediately, still in the course of apparitions, he wanted to declare them authentic.

     But other personal contradictions with Franciscans (who were not from Medjugorje) had happened and bishop began to have prejudices against apparitions, too. He started writing and telling that apparitions had been staged by Satan. Prof. Rupcic, however, with regard to this had the objection that it was not possible because it would mean the Satan´s conversion. Formerly he was saying: ”Do not pray, do not have faith, do not go to Mass, do not repent, do not confess, do not take part in adoration, steal, do not make it up with each other, get divorced ...” And in Medjugorje he says: ”Pray, have faith, go to Mass, repent, make it up with each other, do not get divorced …” It would be the greatest miracle in the world.

     For that reason bishop Zanic started telling that it is case of hallucinations. But hallucinations with certain content can have one man but not six people. Collective hallucinations psychiatry does not know.

     When neither this explanation of his had had success, he began collecting various gossip and distorted information and drawing rash conclusions from that. Then, on 2nd of June 1982 he had visited John Paul II and announced him his decision to declare that the apparitions are unauthentic. Pope had heard him out attentively and after pointed out that he proceeded from groundless assumptions. He recommended him further investigations which bishop Zanic promised. But to his four - member commission he gave instruction to collect materials speaking against authenticity of the apparitions but not the instruction to examine objectively visionaries and the course of apparitions (Dr. Ivan Duganžic only a member of the commission).

     Further, of his own accord he was further collecting intensively further untruths and assumptions and he succeeded in publishing them in L´Osservatore Romano and La Croix in November and especially in December 1984.

     In this situation archbishop Franic, the chairman of the theological commission working for the Jugoslavian Bishop´s Conference lodged with Vatican a complaint against bishop Zanic on 29. 1. 1985. The Congregation of Cardinal Ratzinger had found out that the complaint is justified and in April 1985 withdrew the bishop Zanic´s powers to make further decisions on the events and asked him to pass over the documentation which was realized in Vatican on 15. 5. 1985.

     In 1987, at the instigation of Vatican, Cardinal Kuharic, the chairman of the Jugoslavian Bishop´s Conference created new commission working for the bishop´s conference, in which bishop Zanic was only a member.

     The bishop´s conference with help of the fourteen-member commission had been negotiating again the said assumptions and untruths and officially it evaluated them definitively on 10. 4. 1991 finding them, with regard to the authenticity of apparitions, groundless. Therefore the opinion of bishop Zanic is necessary to be taken as a private opinion because the official church standpoint is opposite.

     Two reasons are known which significantly influenced the opinions of bishop Zanic. The first reason concerns passing of the parishes with Franciscans over to diocesan priests. For the thing is that in past centuries during the oppression in Bosnia-Herzegovina it was only Friars-Franciscans who persevered with people. In compliance with the agreement from 1975 Franciscans are to pass some of the parishes over to the diocesan administration. But bishop Zanic wanted to speed up and to widen this handing over but he met with resistance especially among believers who are fond of Franciscans.

     The second reason was a protracted dispute with two Franciscans from Mostar. These said that in a certain matter the bishop had not acted rightly and this man, on 7. 2. 1983, let them divest of their priestly activity. Both of them approached through Vicka the Virgin Mary and She said they did not commit offence. And in the end this, ten years later was also confirmed by the Apostolic See in Rome which on 27. 3. 1993 stated that Franciscans had not committed violation of the rules but bishop Zanic had been acting in contradiction with canonical law.

     When bishop Zanic had begun to spread his assumptions and untruths publicly. Via the Catholic press, archbishop Franic and Vatican officially intervened, but to bishop Zanic was also sent a clear letter by one of the best experts at mystics, the cardinal Hans Urs von Balthasar:

     ”Sir, how sad documents you sent into the world! I deeply saddened at seeing what manner the bishop´s title had been dishonoured. Instead of being patient you are thundering and sending forth the Jupiter´s lightnings by maligning of respectable and innocent people who deserve your considerations and your protection. Over and over again you are proceeding from already for a hundred times refuted accusations … I hope you do pray to the Lord and His Mother so that they may lead this sad,so important drama to such end which would be for the benefit of the whole Church. Join to all the people who pray so devotedly in Medjugorje.”

12. 12. 1984

                          I remain in the Lord
                                                              Your Hans Urs von Balthasar.


The Church officially considers the presented disinformation to be groundless (10th April 1991) and this has opened the way to the recognition of the authenticity of apparitions. Nevertheless, any commission which would be solving this problem (i.e. the supernature of apparitions) has not been established yet.

     The constatation of all medical commissions of the years 1982 (prof. Stopar), 1984 (French team), 1985 (Italian team) and 1997 (international team) was, that visionaries are from the point of view of psychiatry completely healthy and that the apparition cannot be explained naturally. Some of the examined healings cannot be explained naturally as well.

     As far as Medjugorje alone is concerned there were never any problems with priests in the past and now, too, as it was confirmed publicly by bishop Peric on 14. 6. 2001, who nevertheless, does not believe the apparitions and took over his view from bishop Seance. He, himself, for more that 10 years after the beginning of apparitions had been living abroad and after the takeover of the bishop´s function he did not create any commission for investigation and he never had any meeting with visionaries.

     As far as Medjugorje alone is concerned, from the beginning of apparitions every single day there have been always peace, quiet, joy and people have been receiving great God´s graces there. But nobody is forced to do these pilgrimages, but they are not banned, too. Only the official, festive character they cannot have. Ordinary pilgrimages are, to the contrary, necessary for the recognition of the authenticity of apparitions. For information we state the extract of the Medjugorje´s statistics for the year 2001: Medjugorje was visited by 1 cardinal, 14 archbishops and bishops. During Holy Masses there were serving 27,322 priests and in the course of the whole year there were given 1,164,000 Holy Communions. Visionaries lead exemplary Christian and family life.
RNDr. Ing. František Mráček, CSc.


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