by Marco Corvaglia
§ 1. Medjugorje and the New Religious Movements: The Promise of a New Age
New Age movement, movement that spread through the occult and metaphysical religious communities in the 1970s and ʾ80s. It looked forward to a “New Age” of love and light...
[New Age movement, Encyclopædia Britannica]
The New Age expects a time when, in this earthly world, evil will be no more. It is a form of millenarism, the doctrine on which many new religions base themselves and that was rejected by the Church [Catechism of the Catolic Church, §676:"...The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism..."].
What most millenarian (or chiliastic) groups have had in common has been their conviction that their own age was corrupt and their anticipation that a restoration of a truer and purer age was on the horizon.
[John R. Stone, Expecting Armageddon. Essential Readings In Failed Prophecy, Routledge, New York and London, 2000, p. 2]
Well, the messages of the Gospa (the Virgin of Medjugorje), in their basic characteristics, propose a scheme that is typically found in the millenarian New Religious Movements (NRM): the present has to deal with evil; the future will at first receive a regenerative catastrophe (the secrets) and, later on, a long period of peace, prosperity, serenity and harmony.
To begin with, it is sufficient to consider two messages.
14 April 1982:
This century is under Satan's power. When the secrets I have confided to you come about, his power will be destroyed.
[René Laurentin, La Vergine appare a Medjugorje?, Queriniana, Brescia, 1991, p. 224]
25 October 2000:
I desire to renew prayer with you and to call you to fast which I desire to offer to my Son Jesus for the coming of a new time—a time of spring.
[The Messages of the Queen of Peace, Shalom, Camerata Picena, 2007, p. 197]
Also an answer given by the Medjugorje Madonna on 1 October 1981 seems to be perfectly consistent with the thinking of this movement:
All religions are similar before God. God rules over them just like a sovereign over his kingdom.
[René Laurentin, Message et pédagogie de Marie a Medjugorje. Corpus chronologique des messages. Urgence du retour à Dieu, O.E.I.L., Paris, 1988, p. 156. English edition: Messages and Teachings of Mary at Medjugorje. Chronological Corpus of the Messages. The Urgency to Return to God, Riehle Foundation, 1988]
§ 2. Medjugorje and the New Age: Father Petar
Several Franciscans who were present in Medjugorje in the early years of the phenomenon, including Father Petar Ljubicić - the priest who, according to the visionary Mirjana, will reveal to the world the ten secrets - are open supporters of the self-proclaimed mystic Vassula Ryden.
Vassula was born in Egypt in 1942 in a family that came from Greece, and declares herself Orthodox (in fact, the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, under whose jurisdiction the woman falls as an Orthodox residing in the U.S., considers her a heretic: original communiqué of 16 March 16 2011; English version).
According to Vassula, Jesus tells her, through a sort of "automatic writing" (a typically New Age mode), messages she published in twelve volumes under the title True Life in God, in 40 languages.
The famous French Mariologist René Laurentin, in the eighties, with his many books, was the initiator of the worldwide propaganda for Medjugorje. He is also an ardent fan of Vassula.
In his book Qui est Vassula, he relates:
In November 1985, the sky opened up for her. That morning, she oversees the painters who refurbish her hall while noting on her notebook the many purchases she has to do in the morning. […] And suddenly her hand, writing down in her notebook, receives an inner impulse. The pencil draws a heart out of which a rose appears. The pencil falls from her hands. The visitor says:
- I am your guardian angel, Dan (that is to say, Daniel).
The intimate guest accompanies her, for many hours a day, sometimes even to play tennis.
[René Laurentin, Qui est Vassula, F.-X. de Guibert, Paris, 1994, p. 8]
As noted by Father François Dermine (author of the book Vassula Ryden. Indagine critica, Elledici, Rivoli, 1995), "the relationship of Vassula with Jesus often falls into triviality, as when Jesus starts talking to her on the couch while she is housekeeping, and she gets bored and starts watching the clock because she has to prepare dinner and asks Jesus to let her go" [F. Dermine, "Settimana", Edizioni Dehoniane Bologna, No 22, 2 June 1996, pp. 12-13].
Instead, appear very close to Vassula the Franciscans of Medjugorje, including Father Petar Ljubicić, who, according to the seers (we have already mentioned it), is charged with a task unprecedented in the history of Catholicism. In 1986, the “official” chronicler Father Laurentin reported:
Mirjana chose the young father Pero (Petar), a Franciscan, vicar in Medjugorje:
- I will give him the secret ten days before its fulfilment. After seven days of prayer, he will reveal it, three days before its fulfilment.
Father Pero [...] was present at the apparition of October 25, 1985 [extraordinary apparition for Mirjana]. [...]
During the apparition, Our Lady prayed twice (in Latin) for Father Pero.
- I was glad because Mary was happy with my choice, Mirjana continues.
The heart of Pero is totally open to the Lord. He will get a reward.
[R. Laurentin, Le apparizioni di Medjugorje continuano, Queriniana, Brescia, 1986, pp. 34-35]
Well, Father Petar in September 2011, in Rome, took part in the pilgrimage of "True Life in God" (the organization created and managed by the self-proclaimed mystic) and released to the promoters this video interview in which, as we can see, he gives his support to the "revelations" of Vassula:
Father Petar said:
I met Vassula for the first time in Switzerland when I was a missionary. We met together over dinner. I was a missionary from 1995 to 2000. I had already read several of the books by myself and was convinced that it was an authentic revelation. Reading these books we discover how the Person of Jesus Christ is the Person who should be our source of life, the goal of our life. One feels that Jesus is again here on hearth [...]
People have heard that Rome was against the Messages, so they are ‘a priori’ against the Messages. But everybody who reads these Messages and meditates on them, would be able to see that there is nothing against the faith or the Church.
Original version: [1:37] Ja, kad sam bio u Švicarskoj misionar, tada sam prvi put susreo i sa gospođom Vassulom bili smo na ručku zajedno. I već tada sam se susreo s tim porukama. Ja sam bio misionar u Švicarskoj od Devedeset pete do Dvije tisućite godine. Nekoliko knjiga sam sȃm pročitao i uvjerio se da se tu radi stvarno o objavi. Čitajući te knjige, može se zaključiti koliko je osoba Isusa Krista zaista osoba koja nam može biti smisao i cilj života, što jest. Ima čovjek osjećaj kao da je tu Isus ponovo ovdje na zemlji [2:22] [...].
[3:38] Ma ja, jer je bilo govora o tome je li Rim protiv toga, ovako-onako, mislim, to je mnoge zbunilo. I onda mnogi automatski to, a priori, odbiju. Jer svaki onaj koji trijezno tome pristupi i čita i meditira te stvari, postaje mu jasno da tu nema ništa protiv vjere i Crkve, jednostavno pomaže da čovjek voli više Crkvu, da više Isusa zavoli, da s njim živi. [4:10]
§ 3. Medjugorje and the New Age: Tomislav Vlašić
In light of all we just described, the events related to Tomislav Vlašić (vicar of Medjugorje from August 1981 to September 1984, also praised by Our Lady: see And the Gospa Said: "Thank Tomislav Very Much: He Is Guiding You So Well") take on new contours and meanings.
One of the most important tasks for the humanity of Alpha Centauri is to control the vast interplanetary fleet. It is composed of the most powerful spacecraft and selected crews, provided by the planets faithful to God.
[Stefania Caterina, Oltre la grande barriera, Luci dell'Esodo, Mestre, 2008, p. 123]
These puzzling words bring to mind the New Age UFO cult. They were written in her book Oltre la grande Barriera ["Beyond the Great Barrier"] , by Stefania Caterina, who, since the nineties, has been a close collaborator of Father Vlašić.
The Franciscan, having founded, in 1988, the community Kraljice Mira, potpuno tvoji po Mariji k Isusu, based in Parma (Italy), was aided by the Medjugorje seer Marija Pavlović to make people believe that Our Lady endorsed the establishment of the community (for the documentation see Our Lady Leads the Community Through Father Tomislav. Or Maybe Not).
Well, it was soon closed by decree of the bishop of Parma, Msgr. Benito Cocchi (letter 68/I/28 of 1 October, 1988). Vlašić solved the problem by opening four centres in other dioceses (one in Medjugorje).
Stefania Caterina, as a lay sister, was responsible for the parent company (located in Lama dei Peligni, near Chieti, Italy) and deputy head of the whole community.
On 11 February 2012 Stefania Caterina and Tomislav Vlašić spread, via the website www.versolanuovacreazione.it, the following video, in which they claim to be part of a group (called the "Central Nucleus") of 49 beings chosen by God throughout the universe.
Here's the video and, later, the transcription of some exemplary passages:
TOMISLAV VLASIĆ [03:34]: In recent years I have been in silence for God's will, and now the time has come, and, by God's will, I must speak and inform mankind, along with Stefania, of what the Lord not only intends to do, but is doing. [...] [04:50] In the universe something happened, of which we are going to speak to you.
STEFANIA CATERINA [08:11]: We want to tell you clearly that both Tomislav Vlašić and I belong to the Central Nucleus. We have been called to this task more than ten years ago. Of course we could not reveal it because then the Lord had to fix so many pieces in a very large mosaic, concerning not only Earth but the entire universe. [...]
[16:10] Jesus said clearly that it is a small number of people. We do not go over 50 in number. Indeed, we are 49 to be exact. And why? Because the Central Nucleus is divided into seven nuclei. Seven nuclei, at the head of which is one of the seven great archangels. [...] [17:24] People who are part of it come from different mankinds, not only from Earth. Moreover, those of us who come from Earth are very few [she smiles]. And they come from other mankinds of the universe. Some of them are dead…
TOMISLAV VLASIĆ [21:33]: We can talk about some mankinds in the universe, who have remained faithful to God: they form a nucleus, all the people are a nucleus. But in this large nucleus there are many small nuclei, which move similarly to the Central Nucleus. They move, and at the same time the people provide the best nuclei for the mission in the whole universe, and these hook to the Central Nucleus. Thus, since early this year, these three instruments are working: the pure spirits, the Central Nucleus, and brothers and sisters faithful to God, who have been faithful to God from the beginning of creation.
STEFANIA CATERINA [22:59]: On some planets, as you know, even Jesus Christ was unknown until recently, because the announcement of salvation on some planets had not yet arrived. For most of this time, the task of the Central Nucleus has been to bring this announcement. [...] [23:27] But the Central Nucleus in spirit, for example, also acts in Purgatory ...
It should be recalled that on 25 January 2008, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has ordered the sanction of interdict against Tomislav Vlašić, accusing him of "heresy and schism." On 10 March 2009, at his request, the Franciscan was reduced to secular status (see And the Gospa Said: "Thank Tomislav Very Much: He Is Guiding You So Well").
This article continues on the page The New Age Origins of Medjugorje [Part 2]