May 1997: Diocesan Statement

Don Ante Luburic, Chancellor, Diocese of Mostar
16 May 1997
Printed in
Published by the Catholic Information Agency, Zagreb: June 22, 1997
Thanks to the Franciscan Archive for making the e-text available.

Medjugorje: a Place of Religious Disorder, Disobedience, and anti-Ecclesiastical Activity

On May 14th, three Bishops from Uganda came to visit Medjugorje and from there went to visit Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar (their former classmate from Rome) in order to inquire on the local Church’s position on the so-called events of Medjugorje. The undersigned was also present.

The Bishop gave his former classmates some documents, which clearly show that from 1981 to 1991, three qualified Commissions in the service of the local Bishop and the Bishops’ Conference have investigated the events. Ten years ago, in 1987, Bishop Pavao Zanic, formally and officially declared that, in the parish of Medjugorje, the Madonna had not appeared to anyone. In 1991, the Bishops’ Conference did not only declare that the apparitions were not authentic, but also stressed that: “It is impossible to confirm that the events involve supernatural apparitions or revelations at all.” From 1981 onward, “messages of peace” have been sent out to the world from Medjugorje. Yet in our local Church these messages include the following “fruits”:

The Administration of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina, which was punished in 1976, has from 1982, been given the further penalty of being at the level of “ad instar,” due to its unwillingness to implement the decisions of the Holy See regarding pastoral services in some of the parishes of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno.

Many churches have been built by the Franciscans through the help of the faithful and the benefactors, which they blessed themselves, without even informing the local Bishop, which goes against Canon Law and the charism of St. Francis. A church in the parish, Ljuti Dolac, was blessed in this way on April 23rd of this year. In Medjugorje itself, many ecclesiastic buildings have been erected without any permission from proper Church authorities.

More than ten Franciscan priests do not have canonical faculties to hear confessions in the Diocese of Herzegovina. Some due to their own fault, while others, due to the fault of their Religious community which is not fulfilling the Papal Decree.

More than forty Franciscans have not received the necessary faculties to work pastorally in Herzegovina, yet they don’t even bother with the decisions of the legal Church authorities. Some of them are currently in Medjugorje.

Many Religious communities are living and working in the parish of Medjugorje without the permission of Church authorities, such as: “Beatitudes,” “Kralijice, mira, potpuno tvoji,” “Cenacolo,” “Oasi di pace,” and “Franjevke pomocnice svecnika.” Hence, Medjugorje has become a place of Religious disorder, disobedience and anti-ecclesiastical activity.

Last year, some “Catholic faithful,” with the knowledge of the Franciscans, built a brick wall over the entrance doors of the church in Capljina and the Cathedral’s affiliated church in Miljkovici. Two Franciscans who are without canonical faculties for the parish of Capljina, are currently working in the enclosed church. Everything they are doing is unlawful and the marriages performed there are invalid!

Some of the Franciscans in Mostar are ignoring the legally-established Cathedral church and the other four diocesan parishes in Mostar dedicated to the four evangelists, while they continue to organize religious services with the people on their own, against the specific decisions of the Holy See and the Head of the Franciscan Order.

The Provincial “ad-instar” has, on many occasions, warned his brothers in writing, that serious measures of the Franciscans’ General Administration are being considered for the entire Province due to their disobedience.

In Medjugorje, the periodical “Glad mira” and “Press Bulletin” are published without the necessary permission from Church authorities. These same periodicals proclaim the “authenticity of the apparitions” and speak of the “shrine”even through no responsible Church statement has ever claimed “authenticity” nor proclaimed any “shrine.”

The counter-Church organization “Mir j dobro” (Pax et Bonum) was allowed to borrow the shield and motto of the Franciscans, who have not distanced themselves from their group’s illegal activities, even when this was asked of them.

Hence, these are some of the “fruits” of those who are using Medjugorje to “sell shady peace” to the world, and who have hardened themselves in their disobedience towards the Holy See and the Franciscan charism.. . .