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4. Apparitions? Three more days!

by Marco Corvaglia

Go to the page Responses to Saverio Gaeta (Part 1)

Saverio Gaeta

Saverio Gaeta.

On the afternoon of June 30, 1981, during the "apparition" (and even after), the "visionaries" stated that the Gospa (Our Lady) had communicated that she would appear for three more days (which would have meant through July 3, 1981).
In reality, the alleged apparitions continued, and still continue to this day. A blatant lie, therefore, one might say.


Medjugorje supporters, of course, disagree. Let's see on what basis.



In an attempt to justify this sensational event, Saverio Gaeta (like other supporters), seems to consider the importance of two excerpts from a conversation that took place on the morning of the same day (i.e., before the "apparition") between parish priest Father Jozo Zovko and Mirjana herself:

Responding to the pastor's prompt, "How many more days do you think you'll see her?", the girl said, "Something tells me two or three more days. Something tells me. I was just thinking about it. I mentioned this to them [the other visionaries, nda]."
[Saverio Gaeta, Medjugorje. La vera storia, San Paolo, Milan, 2020, p. 125]



Shortly thereafter, Mirjana says something else:


Shortly thereafter, Mirjana added that Marinko [Vicka and Ivanka's uncle, who, in the early days, established a continuous presence alongside the youngsters, nda], evidently concerned about the turn of events and the threats made by the police, "Suggests that we tell people that Our Lady told people not to come anymore. That she wouldn't appear again."


​Well, Saverio Gaeta argues that I did not draw from this "the obvious consequences" [ibid., p. 126]. 

Namely, which ones?


Let's reread Mirjana's two statements above and ask ourselves: In short, in the end, and according to the supporters' arguments, would the "three days" have thus arisen from Mirjana's personal opinion ("two or three days") or from Marinko's suggestion (to tell people that, from now on, Our Lady will no longer appear)?


What's the obvious conclusion?


Saverio Gaeta writes:


The summary outlined by Laurentin turns out to be plausible. "In the extreme difficulties under which the visionaries struggle, faced with the irreconcilable demands of the crowd, priests, police and the Gospa, the end of the apparitions emerges as the only possible solution, and this hypothesis flashes here and there within this conversation and in others. A rumor circulates that "there will be 18 apparitions just like at Lourdes!" The analogy with Lourdes was entirely delusional because Friday the 3rd would not be the 18th day; only the 10th, not counting the time between the 18 Lourdes apparitions taking place over the course of five months.  The hypothesis was reinforced, overwhelmingly, as a way out of the inextricable event." 


In essence, one can't understand anything. French theologian René Laurentin (the best known apologist Medjugorje has had in its history) is saying that this was a legitimate stratagem? Or that it was a naive unfounded belief? Or both?

An explanation that fails to explain isn't an explanation. It's a smokescreen.


However, let's now take a look at what happened in the afternoon.



All the "visionaries" except Ivan were present at that "apparition" on June 30, 1981. It took place a few kilometers from Medjugorje, in Cerno, where the youngsters had arrived by car, along with two women, Mica Ivanković (a relative of some of the "visionaries") and Ljubica Vasilj-Gluvić.


Here are Father Jozo Zovko's questions and Mirjana's answers from the interview after the "apparitions":


FRA JOZO ZOVKO: Please, describe to me what you were talking about with the Gospa.
MIRJANA: I asked how many days will she stay with us. She said, "Three days."
MIRJANA: Three days more. That means until Friday.
[James Mulligan, Medjugorje. The First Days, Boanerges Press, San Bernardino 2013, p. 228. Cf. Ivo Sivric, The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, Psilog, Saint-François-du-Lac, 1989, p. 346]

Canadian scholar Louis Bélanger, who was also the publisher of Father Sivrić's 1989 book, also provided the original audio of an excerpt from this interview to the public. Here it is:


And here is the English translation:

MICA: Then Mirjana asked again how many more times she would appear. She said: "Three more times!"
FRA VIKTOR KOSIR: Who said that?
UNIDENTIFIED VISIONARY [Ivanka, according to Daria Klanac]: The Gospa.
FRA VIKTOR KOSIR: Which of you said that?
FRA JOZO ZOVKO: Well, this interests me. "Three more times!" Well, when is all this going to end?
VISIONARIES [together]: On Friday.
MICA: Later on they said, "On Friday".
FRA JOZO ZOVKO: Where is it going to end on Friday?
JAKOV: In the church.
MIRJANA: Except perhaps if the Gospa tells us that she would prefer to apper on the hillside on the last day. We shall see.
[Mulligan, Medjugorje. The First Days, p. 252. Cf
. Sivric, The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, p. 371, D. Klanac, Aux sources de Medjugorje, Sciences et Culture, Montréal 1998, p. 184]



Three days later, on Friday, July 3, during the "last apparition", the visionaries are staying in a room in the rectory, and several priests are present for the occasion, including the pastor of Gradnići, Father Umberto Lončar. Also present is journalist Mijo Gabrić, of the Catholic periodical, Glas Koncila.


After the "apparition", according to the testimonies gathered by Father Sivrić, all the "visionaries" said that "the Gospa told them that it was her last apparition" [Sivric, The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, p. 67].


Father Lončar, supporter of the phenomenon, notes in his diary the actual words spoken subsequently by Vicka and directed at the faithful:


The Gospa appeared to us several times. Tonight, she gave messages to us and not to the world. Tonight, she appeared for the last time and said, "My angels, my angels!" I bless you, you will be happy and at your Father's side. Keep your faith."

[René Laurentin, Dernières nouvelles de Medjugorje, n. 9, O.E.I.L., Paris 1990, p. 142] 


Saverio Gaeta believes (but it would be more correct to say "hypothesizes") that the above quote, "Tonight, she appeared for the last time", not being part of the "message," was an addition - additional information provided by the "visionary". 

Ultimately, according to Gaeta's interpretation, confirmations of the end of the apparitions given by the visionaries on July 3 would come from their "spontaneous feelings" and "personal appraisals" [Gaeta, Medjugorje, p. 161], evidently prompted by Mirjana's opinion (which, quite frankly, seems rather unfeasible).


On July 4, however, according to the official version, the youngsters are "surprised" by the unexpected "apparition".


Hence, we see the confusing attempts at explanation that we saw at the beginning, which contradict some of the facts.


The proclamations given cannot come from Mirjana's personal opinion, because on June 30, as we have seen, it's the "visionaries" themselves who, during and after the "apparition", report the Gospa's message of "three more days".


Much less can be derived from Marinko's suggestion (who, by the way, had never mentioned three days) because there is no point in making a "strategic" proclamation and then immediately refuting it with facts.


In fact, the most obvious proof that the event has no plausible explanation lies in one single detail. If a plausible explanation had existed, supporters would not have had to systematically search for it.

It would have been enough to ask the people involved.
A linear explanation with internal and external consistency, of course.


Instead, there were only contradictions.


Here is an excerpt from Father Janko Bubalo's conversation with Vicka in 1983:


JANKO: One of you said that the Virgin told you in Cerno that she would only appear to you three more days.

VICKA: I really don't know that. I don't recall. Someone said that just so that they would leave us in peace. Fra Jozo really wore us out. Here, there. Ask this, then that. Your mind stands still!

[Janko Bubalo, A Thousand Encounters with the Blessed Virgin Mary in Medjugorje. The Seer Vicka Speaks of Her Experiences, Friends of Medjugorje, Chicago 1987, p. 42] 


In 1990, Ivanka, when questioned by Laurentin, who reminded her how she herself had confirmed that Our Lady had spoken of three more days, responded in a radically different way:


I don't remember. I don't know. If I said it, it undoubtedly means that the Virgin said it. There's no need to worry about it. God knows. The important thing is to pray and to do everything with love.
[Laurentin, Dernières nouvelles de Medjugorje, n. 9, p. 13]

Gaeta, quoting Mirjana's autobiography (from 2016), writes:


As Mirjana explained: "A day or two earlier (June 26 or 27, nda.), a local man had given me a book about the Lourdes apparitions in France [...]. When I read that Our Lady had appeared 18 times to Bernadette, I thought it would be the same in Medjugorje. Something kept telling me that she would only appear for a few more days, and I told this to the other visionaries."
[Gaeta, Medjugorje, p. 127]

We have already seen that, contrary to what Mirjana would have us believe, this was not merely her opinion as discussed with the other "visionaries" before the apparition, but a message later actually put into the mouth of the Gospa (Our Lady) herself.


This "detail" also clearly disproves Vicka and Ivanka (who, of course, could never have forgotten such an important statement from the Gospa).




When he finds himself recounting the continuation of the "apparitions" after the fateful July 3, Gaeta writes:

The question of "three more days" is effectively shelved without the youngsters themselves being able to give an explanation. As Laurentin confirms, "I systematically questioned them on this point. They have no chronological recollection or clarification to provide on this subject, which will remain a dark page in history, as is often the case."
[Ibid., p. 164]



Note that these puzzling words from Laurentin were written four years after his earlier and far from clear attempt at justification (also reported by Gaeta), which we have already seen.


Saverio Gaeta, however, plays one last card:

Without wishing to be pedantic, however, must at least be mentioned that the "three days" and the "third day" are phrases with high levels of symbolic significance in the Bible... 
[Ibid., p. 165]



In this hypothesis, then, the young "visionaries" would ask a very simple question, and the Gospa would give them an answer with arcane language.



Why? Simply not to be understood and to cause problems for the youngsters and their credibility?


Moreover, then, Mirjana's personal opinion no longer has anything to do with it, and Marinko's advice no longer has anything to do with it....


And how is it that none of the "visionaries" say they remember this arcane response and, regarding the subject, have always tried to deflect, saying contradictory and inconsistent things?


And finally, if there had been this arcane response on July 4 (or thereabouts), the "visionaries" would have asked for clarification from the Gospa ("Why did you tell us "three days"?), especially since, as is well known, they say they have so much confidence with her that they touch her, kiss her, receive and give birthday wishes, talk about their personal problems, etc.



They would have calmly communicated the "authentic interpretation" to us....


Considering the overall context of the event, in the writer's opinion, the most realistic, coherent and straightforward reconstruction appears to be that the youngsters were indeed intent on finishing it all up on Friday, July 3, 1981.


In the 24 hours following the July 3 "apparition", however, someone (even just one of them) decided he or she did not want to return to the boring life they had before, in the desolate village in which they were forced to live. The others didn't want to be left out.


After all, "visionary" Ivanka, interviewed on September 13, 1984 by Cristina Maggioni, responded as follows:

How do you spend your days?

It's very beautiful. There are people, and there is work and prayer.
[Svetozar Kraljević, Cristina Maggioni, Incontri a Medjugorje, Mursia, Milan 1988, p. 203]


Lastly, it's worth pointing out that the June 30, 1981 event is within the timeframe of the first seven "apparitions" which were deemed "intrinsically credible" by the papal commission of inquiry into Medjugorje...




On July 7, 2020, Saverio Gaeta kindly sent me the following comment to this page:

Even with respect to this fourth part, it seems to me that we're confirming our positions. And the issue of the "three days" is undoubtedly all about personal interpretation, both being aware of the overall problematic nature, but also of its importance in assessing the credibility of the Medjugorje apparitions.


Marco Corvaglia


Go to the page Responses to Saverio Gaeta (Part 5): Tomislav Vlašić: A Dubious Guide?

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