by Marco Corvaglia
Following a number of official letters between the Episcopal Curia , the Franciscan Provincial and Fra Slavko Barbarić concerning the friar being sent away from Medjugorje, where he had for years been carrying out pastoral work illegally, without the approval of the diocesan curia, the diocesan Ordinary proclaims that Fra Slavko Barbarić is deprived of confessional jurisdiction (the faculties of hearing confessions) in the territories of all dioceses of Hercegovina.
This decree has been published in Vrhbosna, the official Newsletter of the Diocese of the Metropolis of Sarajevo (n.1/2000, p.65).
In this article we shall see how and why measures of this sort were taken, which Medjugorian publicity has always kept hidden (successfully).
Slavko Barbarić was one of the 3 priests who were closest to the 6 children of Medjugorje (the others were Fra Jozo Zovko and Fra Tomislav Vlašić).
In October 1984, a short time after Fr. Vlašić had been sent away because of disciplinary measures, bishop Zanić repeated to Fr. Slavko the order already given in vain to Vlašić: not to permit the ‘apparitions’ to take place in the church any more.
Because he, too, did not carry out these orders, on the 30th January 1985 Mons. Zanić ordered him to be sent away from Medjugorje [cf. Ogledalo Pravde. Biskupski ordinarijat u Mostaru o navodnim ukazanjima i porukama u Međugorju ("Mirror of Justice-The Diocesan Curia of Mostar concerning the presumed apparitions and messages of Medjugorje"), Mostar, 2001, p.59] within 7 days.
Immediately the interventions of the Gospa started in favour of Fr. Slavko.
"Seer" Ivan confirmed that he had received this message from the Gospa on 3rd February 1985. It was written in the Chronicle of the Apparition by Father Slavko himself:
I wish Slavko to remain here and to attend to all the details and the notes so that at the end of my visit we will have a synoptic image of everything.
[Chronicle of the Apparitions, III, p. 247, cit. in Službeni vjesnik (Official Bulletin of the Mostar-Duvno Diocese), 2/2009, p.183; cf. also René Laurentin, Dernières Nouvelles des apparitions de Medjugorje, No 3, O.E.I.L., Paris, 1985, pp. 25-26.
Original text: Ja bih željela da Slavko ostane ovdje, da vodi sve pojedinosti i bilješke da na kraju moga dolaska imadnemo jednu preglednu sliku o svemu]
Fra Slavko remained in Medjugorje in opposition to the bishop, until 15th September when he moved to Blagaj, 25 km. away.
The Franciscan was ordered not to go to Medjugorje anymore, but he disobeyed this order regularly.
Fra Vlašić, who was in Vitina, and was also not meant to go to Medjugorje, behaved in the same way and in reality, continued to have frequent contact with the visionaries. In order to become aware of how often these two visited Medjugorje during these years, it is enough to consult the issues of the "Echo of Medjugorje" or the diary published annually by the "official" story teller Fr. R.Laurentin at that time.
Because of this on the 20th August 1986 Mons. Zanić wrote to the Franciscan Provincial that Fra Slavko Barbarić and Fra Tomislav Vlašić were running the risk of incurring severe disciplinary sanctions, related to Canon 1336 1, 1,3(cf. R.Laurentin,Racconto e messaggio delle apparizioni di Medjugorje, Queriniana, Brescia, 1987,p.193)
On the 15th September 1988 the Franciscan Provincial suggested that Fra Slavko be moved to the Monastery of Humac. The bishop gave his approval on 16th September 1988.
Fra Slavko moved there, but in 1991 he returned permanently to Medjugorje without the Bishop's permission [cf. Ogledalo Pravde. Biskupski ordinarijat u Mostaru o navodnim ukazanjima i porukama u Međugorju ("Mirror of Justice-The Diocesan Curia of Mostar concerning the presumed apparitions and messages of Medjugorje"), Mostar, 2001, p.60].
In 1993 the new bishop Mons. Perić was installed in Mostar. He waited until the 20th November 1999 to order Fra Slavko to leave Medjugorje and return to Humac within a period of 15 days.
The Franciscan did not obey.
The bishop renewed the order on the 17th December 1999 without effect. However on the 26th January 2000 he gave him a canonical warning, bringing to his attention the fact that if he did not leave Medjugorje before 20th February 2000 he would be deprived of the faculty of hearing confessions.
Mons. Perić renewed the aforementioned warning on the 9th February and again on the 15th February [cf. Ogledalo Pravde. Biskupski ordinarijat u Mostaru o navodnim ukazanjima i porukama u Međugorju ("Mirror of Justice-The Diocesan Curia of Mostar concerning the presumed apparitions and messages of Medjugorje"), Mostar, 2001, p.60].
The Franciscan continued to disobey.
Therefore on the 21st February the bishop wrote to Fra Slavko Barbarić that his faculties for hearing confessions had been withdrawn.
The decree was published in Vhrbosna 1/2000, p.65 (see the excerpt at the beginning of this article), under the title Fra Slavko Barbarić is without the faculty of hearing confessions.
On the 24th November 2000, when he suddenly died, fra Slavko was still in Medjugorje.
The next day, the 25th November 2000, in the monthly message of the Gospa, we read :
I rejoice with you and I desire to tell you that your brother Slavko has been born into Heaven and intercedes for you.
Published on 11 November 2008