Article: The Case against Medjugorje

The Case against Medjugorje by Dr Pravin Thevathasan

The following points are offered as reasons to justify the case against the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje.

1. According to the seers, Our Lady had stated on 30 Jun 1981, that she was going to appear for only three more days, as is documented in the following interview:

Father Zovko: …what do you talk about with the Gospa?

Mirjana: I asked her how many more days she is going to stay with us. She said “three more days.” [1]
On the basis of this interview, the apparitions ought to have ceased on Friday 3 July 1981

2. In September 1982, two members of the first commission established by Bishop Zanic asked Ivan— who was then a seminarian in Visoko—to describe the nature of the “great sign.” He complied with little hesitation. Two copies of his description having been made, one was filed in the archives of the Visoko seminary and the other was taken to the Mostar Chancery.

In March 1985, Ivan reported to Father Puljic that, in fact, he had “put a blank sheet of paper in the envelope. Then I sealed it. Then the Gospa appeared to me and she smiled.”

When the copy at Mostar was opened by the president of the commission, the following declaration, signed by Ivan, was found:

“The Blessed Virgin said that she will leave a sign—there will be a big shrine at Medjugorje in honour of my apparitions and this shrine will be in my image. The sign will be effected in the sixth month.” [2]

Later, Ivan admitted to Father Laurentin— an ardent supporter of the apparitions—that he had lied.

3. During the apparitions, the seers are alleged to be in a state of ecstasy and to remain unresponsive to external stimuli. However, when on 14 January 1985, Jean-Louis Martin approached Vicka while she was supposedly in ecstasy and made as if to poke her in the eyes, she instinctively moved away. After this apparition, Vicka explained that the reason for her reaction was because Our Lady had appeared with the Child Jesus and, coincidentally, just when Jean-Louis made his approach, it looked as if the child Jesus was going to slip from Our Lady’s hands!

In any case, why did she not then move forward in an attempt to catch the falling infant? [3]

4. From a catholic perspective the Medjugorje phenomenon appears riddled with doctrinal inaccuracies. For example, take this description of heaven, according to the seer Mirjana:

After I had seen that everyone in Heaven is dressed alike, wearing the same attire as is common when Jesus was on earth, I asked her (the Gospa) if all the people in Heaven dress like that? She replied: “Yes, otherwise Heaven would be too various if everyone would be dressed as was common at the time of their death.” [4]

As for Purgatory:

There are some souls in purgatory who pray a lot to God but nobody here on Earth prays for them. There are other souls in purgatory who do not pray at all but some people on Earth pray for them.[5]

Apart from a somewhat unsound formation in eschatology, Mirjana has also admitted to “terribly depressive moods,” to having behaved strangely at school so that her peers thought she was “crazy” and to having developed a tendency to bouts of unexpected laughter etc.[6]

5. At Lourdes, Our Lady silently moved the beads when Bernadette prayed the Our father and the Hail Mary and only joined in at the Gloria.

But at Medjugorje, she allegedly says the Our father as well. Thus the Immaculate Mother of God asks the Father to “forgive us our trespasses.” [7]

6. Mary is supposed to have given Jelena a prayer addressed to her Immaculate Heart in which we ask her to, “give me the grace to be merciful towards you.” [8]

A nonconformist writing in the “Medjugorje Messenger,” (October-December 1987), was pleased to discover that Our Lady had said: “I cannot solve your problems. You must go to Christ. I will pray with you but you must go to Christ with the problem.” Our Lady of Medjugorje is indeed a Protestant Madonna.

7. The following transcript is an interview which took place between Father Janko Bubalo and the seer Vicka, on the subject of a feast Day of Our Lady about the end of March. She said that:

“One of her feast days is marked in my mind, one that occurs about the end of March or so.”

Fr Bubalo asked her if this was the Annuniciation, to which she responded: “I don’t know. She told us something about that day, but I don’t remember.”

Fr Bubalo responded to this uncertain reply as follows: “And it’s not clear to you what is commemorated on that day?” To this the visionary replied: “It is and it isn’t. Don’t let me jump off the deep end on that one.”

Fr Bubalo then explained to her the significance of the feast of Annunciation, and Vicka expressed relief at this, as she hadn’t been quite sure, but now she understood why the Virgin had been so happy on that occasion: “I never saw her so happy, not even on Christmas. Why she almost danced with joy!” [9]

Here we have a 21-year-old seer who says her daily rosary and to whom Our Lady has supposedly been telling her life story, and yet she “isn’t sure” about the meaning of the Annunciation.

8. Our Lady is alleged to have said “you are not a believer if you do not respect the other religions, Muslim and Serbian.” [10] The seer Mirjana comments “you must respect each person’s religion …keep your own for yourselves and your children.” [11]

When Jelena is asked if Our Lady speaks about the Catholic Church, she replies “Our Lady never said anything about a particular church but that she is the mother of all.” [12]

When Marija is asked if the Mass and the rosary have a particular value, she replies, “provided people live what the messages ask for.” [13]

Apparently, the messages take a priority over the fundamentals of our faith.

9. On 29 January 1982, Fathers Prusina and Vego were dismissed from the Franciscan Order and relieved of their vows and their jurisdiction. However, contrary to the wishes of the Bishop, they continued to live at the Franciscan monastery in Moster. Our Lady of Medjugorje supposedly intervened on their behalf on 3 Jan 1982, when she said: “Ivica (i.e. Fr Vego) is not guilty … the Bishop is not bringing about order and so he is guilty.” [14]

As Father sivric comments: “to say the least, it seems inappropriate, strange, and ridiculous to me that the visionaries consult the Madonna on Fathers Vego and Prusina’s problems. To ask her to resolve theological questions is equally so. To accept their doing so as a reality can incite really troubling consequences for the entire Church.” [15]

10. What of the alleged cures that have taken place? In his report, the Bishop refers to five seriously ill people who were formally promised a cure by Our Lady. All five were dead within weeks or months.

The Lourdes medical bureau has not accepted one authentic cure from Medjugorje to date.

There have been several other events which have established a strong case against the “apparitions” and Medjugorje. But surely the one critical argument against it has remained its consistent rejection by the Bishop of Mostar, the Ordinary of the diocese in which Medjugorje is located. A Catholic ought always to turn to the Bishop of the diocese in which an alleged apparition is taking place in order to establish its authenticity.

[1] Fr Sivric, The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, p. 65.
[2] ibid., p. 76.
[3] quoted in E. M. Jones, Medjugorje: The Untold Story.
[4] The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, p. 101.
[5] ibid., p. 101.
[6] ibid., p. 102.
[7] quoted in Medjugorje: The Untold Story.
[8] Davies and Lawman, Medjugorje, A warning.
[9] quoted in Medjugorje: The Untold Story.
[10] Davies and Lawman.
[11] ibid.
[12] Medjugorje Messenger, (Oct – Dec 1987)
[13] ibid.
[14] Sivric, The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, p.120
[15] ibid., p. 121.