Medjugorje: A Clarification and Disobedience

Emily - statue

Emily - statue

Within the past couple of weeks there have been some news reports on Medjugorje. These reports are creating some expectation among the faithful that Medjugorje is soon to be approved by the Holy Father. I would like to clarify these reports for the sake of truth and proper communion among the faithful.

Medjugorje is a village in Bosnia-Hercegovina (former Yugoslavia) where, since 1981, six people have been claiming that the Virgin Mary appears to them on a regular (“timed”) basis.[i] Much controversy exists over these claims—too much, in fact, for this article. Instead, I defer the reader to Donal Foley’s book Medjugorje Revisited which has a good summary of the Medjugorje phenomenon and the controversies behind it.

The recent news on Medjugorje has been sparked by an upcoming trip to Sarajevo (which is not too far from Medjugorje) by Pope Francis. There is media buzz about this because last year a Vatican commission that examined the facts of the Medjugorje phenomenon finished its work. Its report was sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome and its current status and/or contents are unknown. This lack of knowledge of this report’s contents and the Holy Father’s pending Sarajevo trip are causing speculation among those supportive of Medjugorje.[ii]

Adding to the media buzz is a recent statement by Bishop Franjo Komarica—the President of the Bosnian Conference of Catholic Bishops. In an interview published by Vatican Radio—in German—Bishop Komarica made statements about Medjugorje and the Pope’s visit to Croatia. In a rough translation of the relevant portion of the interview, Bishop Komarica defers the matter to the Pope.[iii] He says nothing about the Pope approving Medjugorje. Komarica also remarks about good and bad fruits, saying that the bad ones need to stop, and the good ones be watched.

Compounding the news reports is an upcoming visit of Medjugorje “seer” Ivan Dragicevic. Dragicevic spends six months of the year in Massachusetts (where his wife is from). Because of his connection to these United States, Ivan gave talks and other functions that promoted Medjugorje. These came to a screeching halt in 2013 when the CDF ordered the Papal Nuncio (Archbishop Viganò) to notify the American Bishops that clerics and the faithful could not participate in such functions.

Ivan’s talks appear to have ended, but a recent report has come out advertising a new talk in Missouri. This is in apparent defiance of the CDF/Nuncio’s directive that “clerics and faithful” were “not permitted” to attend gatherings that “promote” Medjugorje. There has been as of yet no public announcement that the CDF/ Viganò order was rescinded for Ivan to stop speaking in the United States, leading one to wonder whether or not Ivan is acting in disobedience to the Holy See.

A representative of the organization hosting Dragicevic’s speaking event informed this author in a phone conversation that Viganò [privately] clarified his earlier order. The representative maintained that the Nuncio stated Dragicevic cannot speak on church property, nor is the presentation to be supportive of Medjugorje. It must be billed as a “form your own opinion” event.[iv]

Meanwhile, taglines for the event include “Come hear Ivan share the messages of our Blessed Mother!” and “An Evening with Our Lady and Ivan Dragicevic.”

In his discussion of the “fruits” of Medjugorje, Bishop Komarica remarked, “Thanks be to God one doesn’t hear so much about negative fruits [with Medjugorje].” Perhaps the public should start asking questions.


[i] “Regular basis” means that the alleged visionaries claim to see Our Lady at various intervals. Some claim to see her daily, while others once or twice a year.

[ii] As of this time, there has been no judgment rendered by the Holy Father on Medjugorje. His trip to Sarajevo has raised the question of whether or not he will make known his judgment on the case while in that country.

[iii] The translation was done by Richard Chonak and it reads:

Q: “Was there never any discussion that the Pope might visit Medjugorje to form his own impression of it?”

Bp. Komarica: “Yes, actually, Medjugorje is a fact, since ’91 [sic], and very many people went there from near and far. The Church has her preconditions, in regard to recognizing a place of pilgrimage. As for any visions there, we’re leaving that to the Holy See, as is known. And it’s necessary that the Church, the responsible Church officials continue to carefully accompany and evaluate the developments in Medjugorje. One should keep an eye on good fruits, and if there are also any negative fruits, one should isolate them so that one stops them. Thanks be to God, one doesn’t hear so much about negative fruits. When Medjugorje is going to be recognized: we’re leaving that to the Holy Father. It’s his decision … [“as far as I know”? difficult phone audio].”

Q: So there was never any discussion of a papal visit to Medjugorje?

Bp. Komarica: “As far as I know, no. If the decision might have been otherwise, certainly the Pope could have wanted to decide, and [pauses] the Pope decided as he decided, and he had corresponding reasons to do so, and I’m not able to comment much on that.”

[iv] Moreover, the host organization is “not affiliated with [any] Diocese” said the representative.

Kevin J SymondsKevin Symonds, M.A. was born and raised in Massachusetts. He attended Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio where he obtained his Bachelors and Masters degrees in Theology with emphasis in the classical languages. He has published Internet and magazine articles and resides in Texas.

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36 thoughts on “Medjugorje: A Clarification and Disobedience”

  1. i cant understand why we have to go and find our Blessed lady or our Lord Jesus anywhere in the world, the Holy Spirit lives among us, we just have to open our hearts and minds to God through Jesus and the Holy spirit and the words in holy scripture becomes alive in us, if we want to be vessels of light, then we must pray and ask the holy spirit to be the hands, feet voice of jesus message for our families and communities, we just open our minds and hearts to the Holy Spirit and trust in him, we dont dont know how God works through us when we open our minds to Him, we don’t see goodness or holiness in ourselfs, at least i dont, its only what others see in us, im a sinner, yet Jesus still wants to reflect himself through us if we just open our hearts and minds to him and the holy spirit, God knows my faults and failings, we are all on a journey, and the road can be very hard and long for many,

  2. Pingback: Wayne Weible and the Papal Nuncio: A Response : Catholic Stand

  3. Fatima was a joke to many catholics until the Church officially approved of the marian apparitions years later. As yet the Vatican has not made a final decision on Medjugorje so don’t be too quick to condemn medjugorje….you might be wrong!

    1. It seems that too many Catholics have forgotten the sad fact that when Christ came to earth the first time the great majority of those in Israel including and especially the Priests and spiritual leaders had condemned Jesus Christ as a heretic, had Him tortured and put to death on the Cross. How many Catholics are committing the same evil in our day by being so quick to condemn Our Blessed Mother where ever God sends Her to encourage men to turn back to God before it’s too late. The proud, arrogant, self rightous will always reject and condemn God, and always do so in the name of God. The Truly humble will on the other hand place all their trust in God, and God alone.

    2. And the proud and arrogant in our day are quick to declare that it is not Our Blessed Mother appearing, but rather Satan himself. In our modern world evil is declared good while good is declared evil. “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

    3. If you think it is “proud and arrogant” to question whether an apparition is authentic, then there is nothing more to say to one another.

    4. In your pride and arrogance you have already judged and condemned Our Lady of Medjugorje as being the devil. It is only a humble heart that seeks the Truth from God, and then surrenders to that Truth. If the Pharisees of Our Lord’s day had humbly sought the Truth regarding Jesus Christ, they would have dropped on their knees in worship and adoration, but in their pride they Judged Christ as a heretic, had Him tortured and put to death of the cross. The proud and arrogant of our day do the same, and you will suffer the same eternal fate as the Pharisees for condemning Goodness as being evil. When you declare Our Lady as being the devil you will answer to God for your evil. Humble yourself before it’s too late!

    5. “Once proven it is Our Lady, I would never say a word against her.” And until that day comes you will publicly utter every kind of insult and condemnation against Her! Proud arrogant fool!!!

    6. Sir, I have not displayed such rude behavior to you. I ask of you the same Christian civility and charity to which we are all bound.

      Disagree with me all you want, but do not insult me.

  4. Pingback: Medjugorje: More on Ivan Dragicevic : Catholic Stand

  5. People need to read the book “Medjugorje After Fifteen Years” written by E. Michael Jones, whose wife is a native Croatian and reads/speaks/writes the language fluently. Bishop Zanic of Mostar made available to this author all the original documents and audio tape recordings of the “visionaries” from the very beginning of the events in 1981 that the Bishop had been collecting, which clearly caught them in lies, contradictions, and heretical theology in connection with their “apparitions”. Included is the document handwritten by Ivan and signed by him in 1982 about the “sign” that is to be left on Krizevac when the “apparitions” finish; in the document Ivan wrote what the “sign” is to be. I won’t let the cat of the bag, you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is, but everything the Bishop documented in those early days clearly amounts to FRAUD… However, thanks to the renegade priests that have manipulated this farce from the very beginning, as well as more than thirty years of “practice makes perfect”, the Medjugorje “seers” continue to fool most of the Catholic faithful to this very day. Oh, and did I forget to mention the priest that Vicka visited, had an “apparition” in the presence of, and whom “our lady” blessed on that occasion who at the time was running a pornographic dating site for gay priests called “Sebastian’s Angels” which has since been pulled from the Internet because of the damage it could cause to Medjugorje (but which you can see actual nauseating screenshots of at the wayback website which includes chats posted by the priests who used the site to describe (in graphic detail) their sexual encounters with each other? Oh yes, the “fruits” of Medjugorje indeed! The ones that its supporters scramble to bury before anyone else finds out about!

  6. “Do not despise prophecy, test everything and hold fast to that which is true” (1 Thess. 5:20). It seems as though many people err in either the first directive, or the second. Many just disparage all the apparitions and instances of private revelation, which, as the passage states, is contrary to God’s will. Others refuse to accept the help of the Church in the discernment of these phenomena, nor the wisdom of people like Donal Anthony Foley, thus ignoring the second directive.

  7. Although Kevin Symonds, M.A., a graduate of Franciscan University at Steubenville, has an interesting point of view, he is not the only person from or of that institution to weighin on the Medjugorje issues surrounding Ivan.

    Dr. Mark Miravalle, a professor of Franciscan University at Steubenville and foremost leading Mariologist in America has a much more indepth view of these circumstances than what Kevin could have raised in this article. I hope Kevin takes a moment to read and contemplate Dr. Miravalle’s article. I hope all see Mark’s article as it clarifies and expands on the decision made by the Bosnian Confernce of Bishops in 1991, and further addresses many of Kevin’s concerns:

    1. My old professor’s letter does not address a question in this article–is Ivan disobeying the Nuncio and the CDF?

  8. Although Kevin Symonds, M.A., a graduate of Franciscan University at Steubenville, has an interesting point of view, he is not the only person from that institution to weighin on the Medjugorje issues surrounding Ivan. Dr. Mark Miravalle, a professor of said University and foremost leading Mariologist in America has a much more indepth view of these circumstances that Kevin has raised. Please see this article as it clarifies and expands on the decision made by the Bosnian Confernce of Bishops in 1991, and further clarifies Kevin’s concerns:

  9. I was in Bosnia-Herzegovina last summer. It’s a beautiful country to visit! That said, you’re better off visiting Sarajevo and/or Mostar. You’ll get your fill of culture and history as well as the local Catholic and Orthodox Christian churches. It’s not everyday you get to hear the local language!
    When the news of Medjugorje originally came out, the Yugoslav authorities weren’t happy about it. They jailed the local priest for 3 years and cordoned off the town to outsiders for nearly the same amount of time.

  10. Frank, I agree. Nothing but general admonitions. It’s the devil way of mocking Fatima. He is the “ape of God.” 57 secrets and counting. Oh, but so many conversions, and even vocations, the Medjugorjeites say. And even cures. Satan has no problem taking a step back in order to take two steps forward. Has there been anyone who went to Medjugorje who didn’t claim to see the “miracle of the sun” in a personal “vision”? Fatima has the message that matters because it is authentic. And, even still, the message of the third secret is not made public. The vision has been made public but not the message. Why is that? Because it has to do with the crisis of Faith, abandonment of the “dogma of Faith,” and corruption of hierarchs all the way to the “very top” of the Church.That bit of info comes from two cardinals who read the “message.” Ratzinger and Ciappi. Our popes will not obey Our Lady of Fatima as of yet and consecrate Russia, collegially, to Her Immaculate Heart.

    1. Kelso, I fully agree with you.
      The Fatima’s messages are few, straight, short and not confusing.
      We only got one half of the third Secret because it is too harsh for the Vatican hierarchy. But we know thanks to Cardinal Ciappi that “the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”
      Since this Secret was blocked by the Vatican, our Blessed Mother appeared once more in Akita. The local bishop of Akita approved them and card. Ratzinger confirmed this approval. Ratzinger said that these apparitions and the 3rd Secret of Fatima are “essentially the same”.
      The 3rd Secret is here:

      We can see it unfolding in the Chuch right now:
      “The work of the Devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, and bishops against other bishops.
      The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their Confreres.
      “The Church and altars will be vandalized. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.
      “The demon will rage especially against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. If sins increase in number and gravity, there will no longer be pardon for them.”

  11. I still have a problem with Medjugorje, though I was a former supporter. Although warning of major chastisements for mankind’s sins, in 30 years of public messages there has been no specific condemnation at all of abortion, divorce, homosexuality, or other grievous sinse of our era. Instead, 30 years of generalities! What good are the “57 secrets?”

    1. I believe 33 years of appearances from the Our Lady would more than support the dire situation of the world without specific sins.

  12. Thought that readers would appreciate a scorecard on the visionaries accumulated secrets. So far Vicka is at 9, Ivan has 9, Mirjana, Jacov, and Ivanka are in the lead with 10. Marija has only nine, but she has visions from the gospa every day in Italy. I think Vicka will end up with the most. She is a very busy seer so she deserves it. And she lays hands on people in her jeans (at least they’re baggy), so I guess she has healing powers. The gospa has told the seers that all religions are pleasing to God. I assume that the gospa also added that the Catholic religion is the best. At least I would hope so. Maybe that is one of the 57 secrets.

    1. Eimeara Volodchenko

      Agreed. Or maybe that the sign is the millions of people coming and being converted every year….Our Lady is very disorganised in Medjugorje – first only going to stay a short time – as long as Lourdes – then farewell to Mirjana within a year with the promise of a yearly apparition only but lonely Mirjana has a lucky break in 1987 – the Virgin changes her mind and appears ever since monthly
      Does it really take 29 years or so to give the remaining secret?


  14. Having made the extraordinary journey to Medjugorje, I can say the faith of those who live
    in that ancient village goes back to 1933 when the parish of Saint James erected a large
    concrete cross to commemorate the 1900th Anniversary of Jesus’ passion and death on the
    cross. During construction of the 16 ton cross, the parishioners carried up all of the materials,
    cement, sand, water, tools, etc., in memory of Christ’s way of the cross. A relic of the True Cross
    of Jesus was received from Rome from Pope Pius XI and built into this cross. Upon completion of
    the cross the devastating hailstorms that continually ruined their crops ceased and since then no reports of such storms have been reported again. The walk to the summit of Mt. Kricevac where
    one encounters the 14 stations is pilgrimage enough.

    1. Hello James and thank you for posting.
      So you are saying that the Mother of God is appearing in Medjugorje because of a huge cross built on Mt. Krizevac?
      Speaking of that mountain, I will never forget climbing it. I was in my teens at the time and was with two other people. Oh the stories I could tell!! I wonder whatever became of Martin Ilic.

    2. Maybe they’re from the ‘thee of little faith’ crowd I certainly don’t need resolution as to whether an apparition occurred. The fact that Medugorje was not bombed during the war, that there is a
      very successful drug treatment center operating
      and the people meet you at the drop off to offer
      room and board for whatever you want to give is
      proof enough that the claim maybe valid. While there I said a rosary and wrote a poem to the BVM, finding a spot on the side of the boulder strewn mountain that is very difficult to reach. Only later was i told that that area is heavily
      infested with deadly snakes. That’s miracle enough for me.

    3. Thank you for responding James. I can’t say that I agree with your broad strokes here, but neither do I think it feasible to shop-talk theology.

    4. No, I rather think that what he’s saying is that if the Mother of God is appearing, it is because of the devout faith of those who clearly sacrificed so much to construct a lasting memorial of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. I am fairly certain our Blessed Mother would be quite likely to approve of such a move, since her work is always to encourage the faithful to love Christ more today than they did the day before.

  15. Excellent article, Kevin! Pope Saint John Paul II was in Sarajevo and didn’t go to Medjugorje, a mere 2 hour and 24 minute trip. And, if the Pope was going to visit Medjugorje, would the Bishop of Mostar know first?

  16. SnowCherryBlossoms

    I love Medjugorje, I have a very long history concerning this. It is possible all of the “bad” is simply Satan making a mess of things. I’m waiting for the Church to approve or condemn it and I will go with whatever the Church decides.

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