Benedict XVI has authorised ‘severe cautionary and disciplinary measures’ against Father Tomislav Vlasic, the former ‘spiritual director’ to six children who said Our Lady was appearing to them at Medjugorje in Bosnia.Note especially the last line. Obedience to Mother Church is a mark of sanctity. Many of the Saints suffered under decisions of their superiors but they complied with their instructions. Consequently, they were often later vindicated. We shall see what happens here.
The Franciscan priest has been suspended after he refused to cooperate into claims of scandalous sexual immorality ‘aggravated by mystical motivations’.
He has also been accused of ‘the diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspected mysticism and disobedience towards legitimately issued orders’, and is suspected of heresy and schism.
This led to a Vatican investigation which turned the spotlight on the role of Father Vlasic.
The priest has now been suspended by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith after he refused to cooperate with the inquiry into his conduct, instead ‘justifying himself by citing his zealous activity’ in initiating religious communities and building churches the Medjugorje area.
The decree confirming his suspension was signed with the Pope’s approval by Cardinal William Levada, head of CDF, and Father Jose Carballo, the Minister General of the Franciscan Minor
It confines Father Vlasic to a Francisan monastery in Italy and bans him from contact with the Queen of Peace community, or with his lawyers without permission from his superior.
He is banned from making public appearances, preaching and hearing confessions and he will be required to make a solemn profession of the Catholic faith.
The Vatican has warned Father Vlasic that he will be excommunicated if he violates any of the prohibitions.
The action was taken earlier this year but was made public this week by the Bishop of Mostar, Ratko Peric, at the request of the Vatican, to make local people to be aware of the priest’s status.
Earlier this year, Italian Bishop Andrea Gemma denounced the Medjugorje claims as the ‘work of the Demon’ and predicted that ‘soon the Vatican will intervene with something explosive to unmask once and for all who is behind this deceit’.
The phenomenon began on 25 June 1981 when six children – Mirjana Dragićević, Marija Pavlović, Vicka Ivanković, Ivan Dragićević, Ivanka Ivanković and Jakov Colo – told a priest they had seen the Virgin on a hillside near their town.
Three Church commissions failed to find evidence to support their claims and the bishops of the former Yugoslavia finally declared that ‘it cannot be affirmed that these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelations’.
In 1985 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – now Pope Benedict – banned pilgrimages to the site, but this has been widely ignored.
04 September 2008
Medjugorje priest suspended
Simon Caldwell reports that Pope Benedict XVI has a made a significant disciplinary decision about the Franciscan priest who has served as the spiritual advisor to the seers of Medjugore.