Medjugorje, Exploring the Origins
The alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje have had a sordid history. Much of it to some extent successfully glossed over or reinterpreted by the Franciscans that run the parish at Medjugorje. A document was put out by Bishop Ratko Peric, the ordinary of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno that encompasses Medjugorje, which was translated by Richard Chonak of the Catholic Light blog, that put to record of what actually occurred in Medjugorje and how the alleged apparitions were fabricated and manipulated by dissident priests such as Tomislav Vlasic and Slavko Barbaric.
I want to briefly summarize some highlights from this translated document first, which then be followed by the translated document in full.
1. Tomislav Vlasic, in collusion with his superior, undermined the authority of the bishop by relocating himself to Medjugorje without asking permission. They waited an entire year to do so.
2. Tomislav Vlasic and Slavko Barbaric, the spiritual directors of the alleged seers, did not allow the seers to report any alleged messages from the Madonna without coming to them first so they can have their stories straight.
3. A grave theological error that the alleged apparition stated that all people in Heaven have their souls and their bodies with them. I guess Tomislav Vlasic never studied the Nicene Creed.
4. Tomislav Vlasic claimed to have visited the Pope (John Paul II) when he never did.
5. The Madonna wanted Slavko Barbaric to replace Tomislav Vlasic as the spiritual director so he could document the entire episode of the visions. Slavko Barbaric passed away in AD 2000, and the alleged apparitions continue to this day… without Slavko Barbaric. Another “vision” that never came true.
There are many more, but I just highlighted the big ones that I thought were prescient. The following is the completed translation of Bishop Ratko Peric’s documentation of the many errors of the apparitions in Medjugorje:
Just as last year, when the Holy See sanctioned the Rev. Vlasic with interdict, warning him of more severe penalties if he would not obey, once again numerous comments have appeared in the mass media to proclaim the non-connection between the “Medjugorje phenomenon” and the “Vlasic case”. If in both the letter and in reference to the two more serious penalties there is an explicit reminder of the “Medjugorje phenomenon”, in which Tomislav Vlasic in involved, why is there never any connection between the one and the other? We would like to recall just that undeniable connection, from the beginning.
Tomislav Vlasic, born at Socivi, 16 January 1942, was ordained a priest as a member of the Herzegovinian Franciscan province, 16 July 1969, at Frohleiten, Austria. After ordination he worked for some time as a spiritual assistant at Humac and starting in 1973 as superior of the residence at the Franciscan house in Jablanovac, Zagabria. At the proposal of the provincial superiors, he was canonically named spiritual assistant in the parish of Capljina in 1977, where he remained in service until 17 August 1981, when he moved to Medjugorje, on his own initiative, without any necessary warning and without the approval of the bishop.
But, according to the Reverend R. Laurentin, the quasi-official historiographer of the “Medjugorje apparitions”, the Provincialate gave Fr. Vlasic permission to reside at Medjugorje, all without the knowledge of the Bishop. Fr. Laurentin writes:
“Coming to know of the arrest [of the parish priest --RC] that same day, August 17, Tomislav Vlasic, parish priest from Capljina, went to Medjugorje in order to inform himself and take account of the situation. From there he went immediately to the provincialate, at Mostar, to inform them of the serious situation and the danger that weighed on the parish left without anyone to guide them. The provincial found his observations sensible and his visit providential. He immediately named him to replace the imprisoned parish priest. – Therefore, at the end of the next day, friar Tomislav settled into the presbytery of Medjugorje. For the second time, he contacted the seers, whom he had rapidly questioned on June 29. He became their ‘spiritual director’ and this would be the title he kept later in the parish….’
Therefore, by the sixth day after the “apparitions” happened at Medjugorje, and after the arrest of friar Jozo Zovko, 17 August, transferred to the parish of Medjugorje, where the Provincialate “appointed” him parochial vicar. Obviously, the Provincialate cannot appoint him as a parochial vicar, but can only propose him, because it is the Bishop who canonically appoints a parish priest or a chaplain, but again such “appointments” are part of the tragic “Herzegovina case” and the “Medjugorje phenomenon”.
The Provincialate did propose Fr. Vlasic as “spiritual assistant at Medjugorje”, only a year later, 19 July 1982, although it could and must have known about the sad “Zagabria case”, which had to be resolved in another way. Bishop Zanic, not knowing about Vlasic’s moral life and the implications of the “Zagabria affair”, sent the decree on 27 July of that year for his transfer and carrying out his activity at Medjugorje.
Since the year 1981, Fr. Vlasic has been implicated in the events of Medjugorje, accompanying the “seers” and inseparably connected to the “Medjugorje phenomenon”, from its beginnings and also in what followed. Or rather, the “Medjugorje phenomenon” was created in a sense , even before its beginning. Already in May 1981, over a month before the beginning of the “apparitions”
“Fr. Vlasic went to Rome for an international congress of leaders of the Charismatic Movement. During the congress he had asked some of those present to pray with him for the healing of the Church in Yugoslavia. A religious, Sister Briege McKenna, who was united with those in prayer, had a vision: she saw Fr. Vlasic seated and surrounded by a great crowd of people facing him, and from the place where he was seated, there flowed rivers of water. Another religious there, Fr. Emile Tardiff, OP, said in prophecy, “Do not be afraid, I will send you my Mother.” After a couple of weeks, the Madonna began to appear in Medjugorje.” 
And above all he has been involved in the “Medjugorje phenomenon” after having been proposed by his Superiors in July 1982 and having been approved and appointed by the Bishop as chaplain of Medjugorje. Here are written proofs.
Friar Tomislav Vlasic and Friar Slavko Barbaric tell the seers what they are to say to the people. In the Chronicle of the apparitions, prepared then by friar Tomislav Vlasic, we read:
21. VIII. 1982. (Saturday). In the morning friar Tomislav and friar Slavko spoke with the seers. The conversation turned toward the direction of the edification of themselves as persons, and toward indicating their role in the context of these events, especially in regard to their authority, which they must not put at risk in responding to all the questions, but direct the people to the way of conversion and waiting for the promises of God.”
–Two Franciscans want to indicate the role of the “seers”, that they must not put their own authority at risk in responding to all the questions, but speak of “conversion” and “waiting for the promises of God”, because they won’t make any mistakes that way; at least that is compatible with the real Madonna!
“The seers must not make statements without informing us.” In the Chronicle of 12 April 1984. Vlasic wrote:
“Today I spoke with all the seers. I brought to their attention again the necessity of not releasing statements to anyone without informing us.”
– This means that he is to control, verify, approve, and announce what is true and what is false in the “messages of the Gospa”. The censor of the “messages of the Gospa”! What an interference in the “Medjugorje phenomenon”!
A grave theological error. In spite of Vlasic, who was illicitly at Medjugorje, a notorious theological heresy showed up, which he had already written down in the Chronicle, 6 May 1982, getting it sincerely from the “seers”:
“This evening the young people posed a theological question and received the answer. Are people in heaven present with their souls, or with the soul and the body? – they asked. They are present with the soul and with the body – that was their answer.”
– All of us profess the Catholic faith that the resurrection of the body (resurrectio mortuorum) will be at the Last Judgment, and Fr. Vlasic takes down the fable of the “seers” of Medjugorje: not only Jesus and the Madonna, as we believe in the Catholic Church, but also all the other saved persons in heaven “with the soul and the body“! And he leaves that in the official Chronicle, with no other observation! This means that even he is not clear about this Catholic dogma, and that after 13 years of preaching on the Nicene Creed at Humac, Jablanovac, Capljina, and Medjugorje. No wonder that last year the Congregation indicated he should take the elementary course on theology and pronounce the profession of faith, on the approval of the Holy See!
“The apparition” of Medjugorje praises the work of Vlasic. In Vicka’s diary manuscript of 28 February 1982, the alleged apparition greatly praised the work of Vlasic as a guide to the “seers”. Vicka’s literal text:
“I and Jacov were there. The Gospa came at 6, 3 minutes, she looked kindly at us. Then the Gospa spoke about Tomislav, first she looked at him, and then said: “you can thank Tomislav very much because he is guiding you so well.”
– The one who is illicitly at Medjugorje, and is directing everything so well, and — directing everyone to follow him. And the “Gospa of Medjugorje” praises and approves it all!
“The apparition” recommends Vlasic as a spiritual teacher. He himself writes in the Chronicle of the apparitions, 5 March 1984, speaking of Ivan Dragicevic:
“The Gospa expressed the desire and recommended, after his request for advice, to finish his upper levels and after that she would show him what to do. She also told him to entrust himself to friar Tomislav Vlasic to guide him spiritually.”
The one who, furthermore — either one of them — have acted without regard to the “message” of the “apparition” of Medjugorje! Friar Tomislav talks to the “seer” Ivan, Ivan talks to friar Tomislav, and then the whole thing is attributed to the Blessed Virgin.
Vlasic accompanies the seers according to “divine providence”. In the letter of 13.IV.1984, he presents himself to the Pope as the one who “through Divine Providence guides the seers of Medjugorje”. He reports that “the Madonna continues to recount her life to the seers” and informs the Pope:
“I will be in Rome from 19 April to 10 May for an international meeting. I know that you are very busy, but if you can receive me for a few minutes, I will be able to tell you about the main points of the apparitions.”
–The Pope did not receive him.
On the role and the connection of Vlasic with the “Medjugorje phenomenon” even from the beginnings, how he “channeled” the apparitions and events, another disobedient person of Medjugorje has testified, in a better way, writing chronologically: the propagandist of the “apparitions” and myth-maker of the events, friar Slavko Barbaric.
Appointment by the bishop and then the request that friar Slavko leave Medjugorje. The Provincialate proposed Rev. Barbaric as parochial vicar of Medjugorje in the letter of 16 August 1984. Bishop Zanic approved the Tabula the same day and the transfer of Barbaric. But the bishop, on 3 January 1985, writes to the Provincialate, “I ask you to transfer friar Slavko Barbaric from Medjugorje to another position. He at Medjugorje, on the very important questions regarding the alleged “apparitions” of the Madonna is making propaganda in a way completely opposed to the directions I have given many times orally and in writing.”
The desire of the “Gospa” for friar Slavko to remain at Medjugorje. The apparitional “phenomenon”, however, intervenes, expresses the “desire” that friar Slavko stay at Medjugorje to guide things and collect the information so that after the visit of her “apparitions” a synoptic image may remain of what has happened. In the Chronicle of the apparitions friar Slavko personally wrote this “message” sent to himself:
“3 February 1985. (Sunday) The vision came suddenly. Shorter this evening than in some days, just 2 minutes. Marija, Ivan, and Jakov were present. The message was for friar Slavko, as promised in the vision yesterday. It was given by Ivan. It went as follows: “I would like that Slavko remain here, and attend to all the details and the notes so that at the end of my visit we will have a synoptic image of everything. I am praying especially for Slavko at this time and for all those who work in the parish.” 
– It is well known that such a “synoptic image” was a typical Medjugorean daydream of friar Slavko, because he died on 25 November 2000, while the apparition has not ceased to multiply, even nine years now after his death, and as things stand, the apparitions of Medjugorje will have no end! An image truly a-synoptic [a-sinottica], not synoptic.
Vlasic “channels” the “apparitions”. Here is what Barbaric wrote in the Chronicle of the apparitions of 1984,, which needs to be read in the light of what the Holy See decided in regard to Vlasic during 2008-2009. After the departure of Vlasic from Medugorje, friar Slavko Barbaric wrote that he remained in Medjugorje in the hope that he too would be “chosen according to divine providence” to continue to guide what had become a “tradition”.
“2.IV.1984 (Sunday) I cannot fail to mention what happened today. Friar Tomislav Vlasic has been transferred. He said his goodbyes during the high Mass. The whole church was moved to tears, and with reason. Tomislav remains a luminous figure in the history of these apparitions. He was truly prophetic and courageous to come after the imprisonment of friar Jozo Zovko and carry on his work. How much work and fatigue he invested, how much pastoral prudence and prayer, no one could count it all. The grace of God chose him and sent him. He responded and worked. With his pastoral and spiritual experience he channeled this great fountain which welled up on the day of the apparitions. Also wise, full of the Spirit of God he has guided the seers, the parish, and the pilgrims. Despite all the positive activity every day he had to combat the attacks and dangers ready to destroy what was happening at Medjugorje. He knew prophetically to foresee events, read the situation, and move ahead. I am a witness like no one else, because I was here 13 months with him together in this place. In his case, we speak of wisdom and dedication. And in the most difficult moments he remained calm.And at the more serious attacks, coming from inside and outside, he responded with dignity. He was always ready to support more difficult sacrifices, so that the things of God could advance. Just when I recall all the attacks on the part of the Curia, I have sufficient reason to say: the deportment of Tomislav, the answers and the behavior in the face of the bishop, the prayers and fasting despite denigrations, are one of the proofs that she is – the Queen of peace.
He often repeated. if anyone is disturbed, I’ll be ready to get out of the way, because that’s for the glory of God. When he knew about the transfer he reacted with calm: I am ready, in humility, to accept every decision and every decree. All of us in the house reacted with emotion. And Tomislav knew, as we all knew, that our Superiors were moving him at the request of the Bishop. It is difficult to say how unjust this request is: one thing is certain – the intention is to punish Tomislav and shut down everything that happened here.
He is already at Vitina. We hope he will be able to come and continue to work in the extraordinary plan of God and collaborate with our Gospa, who is slowly but surely revealing her plan.
I am profoundly convinced, and this is also my prayer: that the Gospa, who in so many messages has made people know to count on her, will impart the grace of love and more profound peace!
With reason Fr. Laurentin said: friar Tomislav, the diligent gardener has cultivated and guided the new people of God.
I remain here, I hope to be chosen in the providence of God to continue what has become a tradition. If I am not sure that God is guiding these events, this evening I will be without fear and trepidation before the great responsibility. I will continue to labor with the groups of pilgrims and with individuals to inform them about the message and development of the events here at Medjugorje. I know that was much more secure while Tomislav was here continually. But may God’s will be done. That’s how the Gospa’s plan will be fulfilled. That the thing will not happen without our sacrifice, prayer, and fasting, that is clear above all. I learned from my dear brother Tomislav and experienced concretely what it means to let yourself be guided and be ready to work as long as God wants. And as well, I know the other friars are ready as are the sisters.
Today friar Petar Ljubicic arrived. He loves Medjugorje, loves the Gospa, and that’s enough.
Amen. So be it!”
– From this statement and from the subsequent events some clear facts follow, in plain terms:
First, friar Tomislav Vlasic does not remain “a luminous figure in the history of these apparitions”, but a shadowy figure, “a myth-maker [mistificatore] and charismatic magus” as Bishop Zanic called him. and finally the Holy See dismissed him from religious life and reduced him to the lay state warning him of excommunication if he does not obey the precepts issued up to now. The gravest sanction for a priest.
Second, he spiritually and pastorally “channeled” all these “apparitions”, as his colleague friar Slavko put it in his inspired and accurate way; he controlled it, he created myths. created fantasies, always glorified himself, and even perjured himself before the Bishop.
Third, the “attacks” of the Bishop are founded on facts and canonically justified. And the “denigrations” of which friar Slavko writes are the sad facts, easily demonstrable about T. Vlasic because of his double life. All these sad truths were known also to the Superiors and to the same friar Slavko Barbaric, and yet he speaks of denigrations!
Fourth, the thought of R. Laurentin, quasi-official historian of the “phenomena” of Medjugorje from 1983 to 1997, according to whom Vlasic was a “gardener who cultivated and guided the new people of God”, is shown to be completely out of place in the light of the statement of Holy See on Vlasic, accused of “spreading dubious doctrines, manipulating consciences, suspect mysticism, disobedience to legitimate orders, and violations against the sixth commandment.” If you understand that this does not only refer to his time in Italy, since he regularly and systematically came to Medjugorje, to his big house whose construction the Franciscan fathers, through the parish priest of Medjugorje, approved in 1994, and where he directed retreats in which he not only “manipulated consciences”, but also called upon spirits! The Curia of his community have received proof.
Fifth, friar Slavko wants to continue the work of friar Tomislav, to “channel” things according to his own intentions. He too, like Vlasic, will be praised by the “apparitions of Medjugorje”. He too is convinced of being chosen by the providence of God. And now: how can you prove to such fanatics that they are “false prophets”!
[NOTE: The titles in the references have been translated where possible. --R(ichard) C(honak).]
 The whole case has been presented in the Official Bulletin of the dioceses of Herzegovina, 2/2008, pp. 79-81.
 Ž. ILI?, The Church in Herzegovina, Duvno 1974, p. 82-83.
 General Overview of the Catholic Church in Yugoslavia, Zagreb, 1975, p. 398.
 The Christian people and the Franciscans in Herzegovina, Mostar, 1977, p. 202.
 Letter of the diocesan curia, no. 638/1977, 19 August 1977.
 Official Bulletin, 2/2008., p. 80.
 R. Laurentin, Reports and messages of the apparations of Medjugorje Brescia 1987, p. 90.
 Letter of the curia confirming the Tabula, no. 711/82, 27.VII.1981. In the accompanying note Bishop Zanic writes regarding the parochial vicar at parrocchiale di Me?ugorje, Fr. Vlaši?: “You need to be attentive to the further development of events in the parish of Medjugorje You have shown the hope that the new vicar in the parish of Medjugorje will make, if things are clarified, purified, and overseen. It is necessary to sustain and pursue your work in this sense.”.
 Official Bulletin, 2/2008, p. 80, quoting from Rooney – R. Faricy, Mary the queen of peace, Milano, 1984, p. 34. See also P. Žani?, Current (non-official) position of the episcopal curia of Mostar on the events of Me?ugorje, Mostar, 30. X. 1984, pp. 6-7.
 V. Ivankovi?, The third diary, handwritten manuscript, copy in the diocesan curia of Mostar.
 S. Barbari? (handwritten), Chronicle of the apparitions, p. 747. Copy in the curia.
 Letter from T. Vlasic to the Holy Father, 13 aprile 1984, in italian. Cf. Ogledalo Pravde, p. 56, with a photocopy of part of the letter.
 Letter of the diocesan Curia to the Provincialate, no. 857/84, 16 August 1984.
 Letter of the diocesan Curia to the Provincialate, nr. 1/85, 3 January 1985.
 S. Barbari? (handwritten), Chronicle of the apparitions, vol. III, p. 247. Laurentin changed this “message” of the apparition regarding the guide of the parish: :”I desire that Fr. Slavko remain here, he who is guiding the parish and keeping the records, so that when I am no longer coming, a more complete image of everything that has taken place. In this moment I pray especially for Fr. Slavko and for all those who are working in this parish” – R. Laurentin, Latest News, 3 (1985) in French: pp. 25-26; In Italian: pp. 29-30; Ogledalo Pravde, str. 59.
 S. BARBARI? (handwritten), Chronicle of the apparitions, vol. III, pp. 3-6.
 P. Žani?, Current (non-official) position…, 30. X. 1984, p. 22.
 It suffices to have a look at the “correspondence” of Vlaši?, published several times; copies are already on file in the Curia From Zagreb, 7. XII. 1976; from Zagreb, 9. I. 1977; from Me?ugorje, 15. XII. 1981; from Krapanj, 15. V. 1982; from Dubrovnik, 15. V. 1983.
 Official Bulletin, 2/208, p. 81.
(Biretta Tip: Catholic Culture)