By David Martin
In a direct breach of a 2013 CDF decree, Pope Francis has decided to authorize pilgrimages to Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, which can now be officially organized by dioceses and parishes without being restricted to a private capacity as before.
The announcement was made Sunday at the parish shrine in Medjugorie—held by millions to be the site of the Virgin Mary’s appearances to six children—by Archbishop Luigi Pezzuto, the Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Archbishop Henryk Hoser, the Holy See's Special Apostolic Visitator.
The "ad interim" director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, responding to journalists' questions about the Vatican announcement, said, "Considering the considerable flow of people who go to Medjugorje and the abundant fruits of grace that have sprung from it, this authorization is part of the particular pastoral attention that the Holy Father intended to give to that reality, aimed at encouraging and promoting the fruits of good."
Pope Benedict's Ruling Defied
The paradox of this authorization is that Medjugorie has no fruits to its credit. The Vatican announcement in fact defies the Church's previous position under Benedict XVI that the Virgin Mary never appeared to six children in Medjugorie.
At the direction of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Carlo Viganò, the former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States issued a letter on October 21, 2013, stating that Catholics "are not permitted" to participate in any meetings that promote belief in the Medjugorie visions. In his letter, Viganò said that "all should accept the declaration," stating that: "On the basis of the research that has been done, it is not possible to state that there were apparitions or supernatural revelations."
The declaration was based primarily on the verdict of the bishops of Yugoslavia on April 10, 1991, who decreed:
"On the basis of studies it cannot be affirmed that supernatural apparitions and revelations are occurring"
The bishops' denunciation was reflected in a March 25, 1985, letter from Bishop Zanic to the pastor of the Medjugorie Church, Fr. Tomislav Pervan, wherein he told him: "I demand from you that you remove the 'visionaries' from public display and put an end to their 'visions' in the parish church."
In October, 1993, Bishop Ratko Peric of Medjugorie was interviewed by Fr. Ante Tonca Komadina who at the time was editor of the diocesan newspaper, "Crkva na Kamenu." Therein the bishop backed the 1991 decision of his predecessor Bishop Zanic, saying:
“When he [Bishop Zanic] heard the small fibs and large lies, insincerities, inexactitudes, and all sorts of fabricated stories from those who claimed that the Gospa was appearing to them, he became totally convinced that it was not a matter of supernatural apparitions of the Gospa. Then he started to bring out the truth and to expose the falsehoods."
Started by Sex-Predator
From the onset, Medjugorie had every appearance of being fake, and in 2009 the Vatican issued a decree against Fr. Tomislav Vlasic—a fake mystic and sex-predator charged with abusing and impregnating a nun—who was the founder and central figure of the Medjugorie movement. He was punished and stripped of his priestly status on July 27, 2009, because he had continued with the movement in defiance of the 1991 episcopal decision in Yugoslavia.
Beginning in 1981, six children under the direction of Fr. Vlasic began making fraudulent claims of having seen the Virgin Mary in order to stir up mischief and to assist Vlasic’s efforts to undermine Bishop Zanic of Medjugorie.
Born of the Charismatics
Of key significance was the fact that Vlasic was heavily involved with the Charismatic Movement, a diabolical sect wherein the devil presents himself as the Holy Spirit to lure Catholics away from the institutionalized Church. Pope Paul VI condemned the Charismatics 1969 when he said it attacks "the very existence of the Church... extinguishing the real flame of Pentecost." (May 17, 1969)
Just prior to meeting the Medjugorie "seers" in 1981, Vlasic was in Rome to participate in the International Charismatic Renewal Conference, and there he was told by Sr. Briege McKenna, a false prophetess, that he would become the center of a worldwide Marian movement with the help of the "Holy Spirit." As soon as reports of "apparitions" began emerging from Medjugorie, Vlasic left his assignment at Čapljina for Medjugorie without the permission of his bishop (in violation of Canon 127), and became the spiritual director of the six children.
It was then that the Medjugorie cult began to solidify into what it was to become—a demonic monstrosity for the destruction of the Faith—and it was Vlasic who directed the "seers" from thence on what they were to say in their messages. In 1984 he even wrote to Pope John Paul II to tell him that he was the one "who through divine providence guides the seers of Medjugorie."
“By Their Fruits You Shall Know Them”
The fruits of Medjugorie speak for themselves, which include a falling away from the sacraments, a departure from tradition, contempt for the priesthood, attendance at interfaith worship, entanglement in fake mysticism (sorcery), promiscuous behavior, and the illusion of unconditional mercy in spite of sin.
That is to say, Medjugorie is not Catholic but is a wing of the international New Age network that simply uses the name of Mary to bewitch the faithful with a new gospel. Medjugorie is all about advancing the Charismatic Movement, which is directly tied to the so-called renewal since Vatican Council II. It advocates one-world ecumenism and teaches that God works through other religions, which of course is heresy.
It was for reason that Bishop Andrea Gemma, the Vatican’s former top exorcist, described the Medjugorie visions as the "work of the devil."
Why is Pope Francis now authorizing pilgrimages to Medjugorie?