Marian Times

Focus on the Medjugorje apparitions and the Catholic Church in the Bosnia Herzegovina region. Other Catholic items of general interest.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Medjugorje - Arguments of Bishop Zanic (Part II)

Excerpts from soon to be published book. Copyright © Paul Baylis, Comments are welcome, but unauthorised use of any material here is strictly forbidden and legal action will be taken if ignored. Please email with any comments or requests to use this text.

Bishop Zanic:
The Marian theologian Rene Laurentin behaves in the same manner. He came to visit me around Christmas 1983, and I offered him dinner. When he asked me why I did not believe in the apparitions, I told him that according to the diary of Vicka and the words of the other "seers" this "Lady" has been speaking against the bishop. Laurentin quickly responded: "Don't publish that, because there are so many pilgrims and converts here." I was scandalized by this statement of this well-known Mariologist! Unfortunately this has remained Laurentin's position: to hide the truth and defend falsehoods. He has written around ten books on the topic of Medjugorje, and in almost all of them, the truth and Bishop Zanic are under fire. He knows well what people like to hear. Therefore, it was relatively easy for him to find those who would believe him. "A veritate quidam auditum avertent, ad fabulas autem convertentur" -- "They will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths" (2 Tim. 4:4). The "seers" and defenders of Medjugorje led by Laurentin from the very outset have seen that the modern believer in a communist country very quickly believes in something "miraculous," in apparent miraculous healings and apparent messages from "Our Lady."

Editors Note:Perhaps, in the early stages, Rene Laurentin was not familiar with the Herzegovinian, Mostar or Apeljina Affairs. If he did know, then I doubt that he could have wanted to hide the fact that Our Lady had said things against the Bishop. Medjugorje citizens are only too aware and it would not surprise most of them that Our Lady said these things. After Laurentin got himself up to speed, he would also have realised. Certainly, it wasn’t until 1993 that the Vatican ruled in favour of two priests Vego and Prusina who Zanic was trying to defrock for administering sacarements to the faithful in secular parishes. The Holy See, in this case, found that it was in fact Bishop Zanic that had acted against Cannon Law. This event completely validates Our Lady’s statement against Him.

The credibility of the "seers" - Mirjana Dragicevic. One month after the beginning of the "apparitions" I went to Medjugorje to question the "seers." I asked each of them to take an oath on the cross and demanded that they speak the truth. (This conversation and oath were recorded on tape.) The first one was Mirjana: "We went to look for our sheep when at once..." (The associate pastor interrupted and told me that they actually went out to smoke, which they hid from their parents.) "Wait a minute, Mirjana, you're under oath. Did you go out to look for your sheep?" She put her hand over her mouth. "Forgive me, we went out to smoke," she said.

Editor’s Note: Zanic continually attacks the credibility of the seers over very small incidences and anomalies. This strategy was adopted by later writers such as E Michael Jones because, not having much substantial evidence against the Virgin's messages, they felt that there was an opportunity to cast sufficient doubt on the visions if enough dirt could be brought against the visionaries. It has to be remembered that the visionaries are defensive against the Bishop by default, given his reputation during the Herzegovina, Mostar and Apeljina Affairs. Zanic was a negotiator and he felt he knew how to put pressure on the Vatican to get what he wanted, as his predecessors were able to do when they were successful in getting the Vatican to agree, essentially through fraud, to the handover of vast numbers of Franciscan parishes. The visionaries feel like POWs in the Bishop's presence. I'm sure they would have felt safer in the hands of the communist police.

Later on, she claimed that Our Lady said that all faiths are equal. How much can we believe Mirjana?

Editor’s Note: This is one of the sayings of Our Lady that is most falsely represented of all. Bishop Zanic probably already realized much later that Our Lady did not mean to say members of all faiths would necessarily be saved. Our Lady actually said the following, and it should be clear that Our Lady is simply reiterating the Biblical truth that all people are loved by God and have the opportunity to be saved if they obey His commandments.

Our Lady’s statement: “All religions are dear to my son. It is you on earth who are divided. We are all children of God. The Moslems and the Orthodox for the same reason as Catholics are equal before my son and me. All religions are not equal. All men are equal before God. It does not suffice to belong to the Catholic Church to be saved. It is necessary to respect and obey the commandments of God in following one’s conscience. Those who are not Catholics are no less creatures made in the image of God and destined ultimately to live in the house of God. Salvation is available to everyone without exception. Only those who refuse God deliberately are condemned by their own choice."

I believe that all faiths are “tolerated” by God, but that God wishes all faiths to “mature”. Such a supposition makes sense to anybody who considers that many faiths are indoctrinated from the cradle and there is large degree of parochialism which is difficult to overcome. Furthermore, at least those of any religion have the humility to believe in an all-powerful being, as opposed to a completely atheistic, naturalistic secular view of the world in which men’s pride puts them on the highest pedestal. Finally, we can sympathise with the confusion about and within various religions. After all, Jesus had only ascended to heaven for a short time before confusion and indecision began creeping in, particularly with regard to the arguments between Peter and Paul, who could not agree whether the gentiles should be allowed to join the new church without being circumcised!The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Declaration Vatican’s “DOMINUS IESUS” on the Unicity and Salvific Universality of Jesus Christ and the Church seems to follow this line of thinking:

"…In considering the values which these religions witness to and offer humanity, with an open and positive approach, the Second Vatican Council's Declaration on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions states: The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and teachings, which, although differing in many ways from her own teaching, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men. Continuing in this line of thought, the Church's proclamation of Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life?(Jn 14:6), today also makes use of the practice of inter-religious dialogue. Such dialogue certainly does not replace, but rather accompanies the missio ad gentes, directed toward that mystery of unity from which it follows that all men and women who are saved share, though differently, in the same mystery of salvation in Jesus Christ through his Spirit. Inter-religious dialogue, which is part of the Church's evangelizing mission, requires an attitude of understanding and a relationship of mutual knowledge and reciprocal enrichment, in obedience to the truth and with respect for freedom."

Mary’s statement is also expressive of a desire for peace in the region. She specifically mentions the Orthodox, Muslims and Catholics – the three main religious identities in the region – a mix of religious ideology that has been the root cause of all the major disturbance in the region since the break-up of Yugoslavia and even before that. The Virgin truly comes as a healer and this justifies her title “Queen of Peace”, contrary to detractors who try to equate the Virgin’s arrival with the onset of troubles in the region.


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