by Marco Corvaglia
The bishop of Mostar, Pavao Žanić, accused Father Tomislav Vlašić (who, as far as it is known, began attending Medjugorje on the sixth day of the "apparitions": cf. R. Laurentin Racconto e messaggio delle apparizioni di Medjugorje , Queriniana, Brescia, 1987, p. 45) of having begun a manipulation of the young "seers".
It is amazing how the subsequent behavior of Vlašić gave, in retrospect, credibility to the accusations of the bishop.
All this is indisputable.
On 11 July 1988 the seer Marija Pavlović herself confessed, in writing, that she had released a false testimony in which she had attributed to the Madonna the approval of the community Kraljice Mira, founded in Italy by Father Tomislav ("From […] my declaration, which bears my signature, it follows that I have brought the answer of the Madonna to a certain question of Father Tomislav Vlašić. That answer would be, That is the plan of God“).
Well, Marija said that she wrote that testimony because "Father Tomislav kept suggesting it to me, stressing over and over again, that I as a seer should write the declaration which the world was waiting for."
For documentation see: Our Lady Leads the Community Through Father Tomislav. Or Maybe Not.
In 2008, Father Tomislav was accused by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, among other things, of "manipulation of consciences", in relation to his activities referred to the aforementioned Italian community.
See: And the Gospa Said: "Thank Tomislav Very Much: He Is Guiding You So Well", § 1.
In 1984, Bishop Žanić had called Father Tomislav Vlašić "mystifier and charismatic magician" [La posizione attuale, non ufficiale, della Curia Vescovile Mostar nei confronti degli eventi di Medjugorje ("The Current, Unofficial, Position Of the Episcopal Curia Of Mostar On the Events Of Medjugorje"), 30 October, 1984, § 22].
Well, in 2012 Tomislav Vlašić, after reduction to the lay state, announced that he is part of a group, called the "Central Nucleus" of 49 beings chosen by God throughout the universe, along with his collaborator Stefania Caterina.
See: The New Age Origins of Medjugorje, § 2.
To this can be added the story, dating from 1976-1977 (ie, before the beginning of the apparitions), linked to the pregnant former nun MK whom Vlašić pushed not to reveal the name of the father of the child, saying she “will have more merits and God’s blessings.”
See (in Medjupedia, by Louis Bélanger): Medjugorje: The unbearable sadness of duping the faithful – 2) Fr. Laurentin’s fabrication concerning the father of a nun’s child – Part 2 – The facts.
The fact that the visionaries were influenced by Father Tomislav Vlašić seems to be confirmed also by the strange custom that they had to lay hands on the faithful.
In fact, as we know, this is a practice typical of the charismatic movement, of which Father Tomislav was a notorious member.
Let us read this dialogue taken from the interview-book by the Franciscan Janko Bubalo and the seer Vicka (the interview was made in 1983):
VICKA: We pray individual prayers for particular sick people. […]
FATHER JANKO: Good, Vicka. I attended your prayers over the sick on more than one occasion. […] You place your hands on the head of the sick person, and with eyes closed, you pray… what interests me now is what it is you pray?
VICKA: For each sick person we pray the Creed, then seven Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glories […]
FATHER JANKO: And do you, for example, sense anything happening to yourself during the time of prayer?
VICKA: Well, I sometimes sense that something is flowing through my hands from the sick person. I don’t know what this is, but sometimes I sense it.
[Janko Bubalo, A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje. The Seer Vicka Speaks of Her Experiences, Friends of Medjugorje, Chicago, 1987, pp. 226-227]
The other visionaries have stopped using this practice, but, Vicka, however, over time, intensified it and publicly lays hands not only on sick people, but on any faithful or religious (often, while doing it, she laughs, as one can see in the following videos):
Tomislav Vlašić: His Role at Medjugorje
Father Tomislav Vlašić (with microphone), in 1981, in the church of St. James, with five "visionaries" (from left, Ivan, Marija, Ivanka, Jakov, Vicka).
Vlašić (close-up), again in 1981 in St. James Church, along with four visionaries (image taken from the book by J. Bubalo, A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, Friends of Medjugorje, 1987).
Father Vlašić, Vicka and Father René Laurentin at Medjugorje in December 1983 (image taken from the book by R. Laurentin, L. Rupcic, La Vierge apparaît-elle a Medjugorje?, OEIL, 1984).
Medjugorje, 1985, medical team of Dr. Frigerio is at work. At the bottom you can see Vlašić.
After the storm that overcome Father Tomislav Vlašić (first accused of "heresy, schism, diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspicious mysticism, disobedience towards legitimately issued orders and charges contra sextum" and now reduced to the lay state) the attempt has been noticed, dictated by an excess of zeal in favour of Medjugorje, to deny the close relations in early years between the Franciscan and the visionaries.
As always, in order to ascertain the truth, it is necessary to go back to the sources of the period.
That Tomislav Vlašić has been the reference point of the seers is unanimously attested, purely by way of example, by all the authors, of the medjugorist faction, that frequented the Herzegovinian village already in the three years of fixed permanence of Vlašić (August 1981-September 1984) and therefore have been able to personally state which was the relationship between the Franciscan and the seers.
Jesuit Father Robert Faricy, Professor of Spiritual Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, went to Medjugorje for the first time in September 1981. He returned a year later, with Father Tom Forrest, director of the International Charismatic Center of Rome. The two knew the visionaries and Vlašić well (he himself, like them, a member of the charismatic movement) and even had a personal message from Our Lady, on September 26, 1982:
For Father Faricy and Forrest:
They are on the good path, have them persist.
[René Laurentin, Corpus Chronologique des Messages, O.E.I.L., Paris, 1988, p. 181]
The first book on Medjugorje by Father Faricy goes back to March 1984 (Mary Queen of Peace, edited by Alba House, New York). The following year, in Medjugorje Up Close (Fowler Wright Books, 1985) he calls Vlašic "spiritual director of the seers." [cf. French edition: R. Faricy, Au Coeur de Medjugorje. Marie parle au monde, Fayard, Paris, 1986, p. 45].
Father Marijan Ljubić starts very soon to frequent Medjugorje, publishing his first book in 1982 (M. Ljubić, Objawienia matki Bozej w Medjugorje, Miriam Verlag, Jestetten, 1982). He too calls Vlašić "spiritual director of the seers" [M. Ljubić, A. Castella, Medjugorje. Dernière invitation à la prière et à la conversion, Parvis, Hauteville, 1986, p. 155].
The Franciscan Janko Bubalo, who used to live in the convent of Humac and regularly frequented Medjugorje, distant only six miles, in 1983 conducted a lengthy interview with Vicka, published in a book often mentioned. The book includes photographs, among which the second of those reported at the beginning of this article (on the right, a reproduction of page).
The caption says:
Father Tomislav Vlašić [...] From August, 1981 until the end of 1984, he was the spiritual adviser of the seers.
[Janko Bubalo, A Thousand Encounters With the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje), Friends of Medjugorje, Chicago, 1987, p. 289]
The chief historian and chronicler of these "apparitions", Father René Laurentin, frequented Medjugorje since December 1983. In a paragraph of one of his books, "Racconto e Messaggio delle apparizioni di Medjugorje" (Story and Message Of the Apparitions In Medjugorje), significantly entitled "A New Spiritual Guide", he wrote:
Fra Tomislav [...] makes contact with the visionaries [...] He becomes their "spiritual director".
[R. Laurentin, Racconto e messaggio delle apparizioni di Medjugorje, Queriniana, Brescia, 1987, p. 90]
On 30 October 1984, the Bishop of Mostar, Pavao Žanić, issued a report called La posizione attuale, non ufficiale, della Curia Vescovile di Mostar nei confronti degli eventi di Medjugorje ("The Current, Unofficial, Position Of the Episcopal Curia Of Mostar On the Events Of Medjugorje").
In it, in paragraph 10, Tomislav Vlasic is explicitly defined by his bishop "spiritual father of the visionaries."
In essence, the testimonies of those who already in the first three years frequented Medjugorje are absolutely in agreement.
Besides, it is useful to know that Vlašić, during his stay at Medjugorje, took care of an autographed document several times already quoted and reproduced by photos in this site.
This is the Kronika ukazanja (Chronicle Of the Apparitions). It was updated almost daily, from August 1981 to August 1984 by Vlašić (in the picture, the Franciscan along with Vicka, Jakov and Marija, who partially covers him), with the information that the "seers" personally and punctually told him, after each apparition.
The existence of the Chronicle has always been known to everybody and it is one of the sources of the Corpus Chronologique des Messages, edited by the "official" historian, Father René Laurentin.
The paper was also partially completed by Father Slavko Barbarić, who thus expresses himself about Tomislav Vlašić, on April 2, 1984:
[He] has guided the visionaries, the parish and the pilgrims.
[Chronicle Of the Apparitions, vol. III, cit. in Službene Vjesnik (Official Gazette of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno), 2 / 2009, p. 183]
Vlašić clearly was the reference point of the visionaries.
The Franciscan Svetozar Kraljević in 1984 wrote:
Father Tomislav Vlasic, so to speak, is the spokesman of the Virgin and of the seers of Medjugorje.
[Svetozar Kraljević, Les apparitions de Medugorje, Fayard, Paris, 1984, p. 93]
Moreover, we have various "messages" of the Gospa in which Vlašić is kindly mentioned, including that, unmistakably, of 28 February 1982, above mentioned:
Thank Tomislav very much. He is guiding you so well.
[For documentation see: And the Gospa Said: "Thank Tomislav Very Much: He Is Guiding You So Well"]
In May 1983, when Father Tomislav Vlašić was chosen by Our Lady in order to form a prayer group, the "seer" Marija Pavlović entered it since its creation and in 1988 Marija even followed Vlašić to Italy to settle herself in the religious community he had founded (documentation available on the page Our Lady Has Made a Program for the Community and Leads It Through Father Tomislav and the Messages to Agnes. Or Maybe Not).
The connections of Vlašić with Medjugorje remained standing even in later years (see And the Gospa Said: "Thank Tomislav Very Much: He Is Guiding You So Well", § 4).
Published on 1 June 2012