Pope Laicizes Priest Involved with Purported Apparitions of Mary at Medjugorje
The Vatican granted Father Tomislav Vlasic his request and laicized him. An ongoing investigation into growing concerns over the alleged apparitions continues.
Pilgrims in Prayer in Medjugorje, Bosnia where some have alleged there have been apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary beginning in 1981.
This action follows growing concerns at the Vatican over the claims surrounding the alleged apparitions, the behavior of some of the purported “seers” and an ongoing dispute between the local Ordinary and those involved.It appears that the now laicized priest had asked to be laicized and to leave his religious community.
We offer the following excerpt from an article written by Simon Caldwell which appeared in the Daily Mail Online on Monday. We take no position on the purported apparitions and await the clear direction of the church:
EXCERPT FROM SIMON CALDWELL'S ARTICLE
“The Pope has defrocked the priest at the centre of claims that the Virgin Mary has been appearing in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje.
“The Vatican stripped Father Tomislav Vlasic of his priest status after an investigation into growing concerns over the alleged apparitions.
“Father Vlasic was named as the 'creator' of the phenomenon by Pavao Zanic, the local bishop at the time the apparitions began in 1981.
“In the midst of a spat with the local bishop and the Vatican, he had earlier made a prophecy that the Virgin Mary would appear in Bosnia.
“Months later, six local children said they had seen the Virgin on a nearby hillside. Soon after Father Vlasic announced he was 'spiritual adviser' to the 'visionaries' who now claim that Our Lady has visited them 40,000 times over the last 28 years.
“An estimated 30 million pilgrims have visited the shrine since 1981, including many from Britain and Ireland.
“Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict, issued a ban on pilgrimages to the site but this has been widely ignored.
“Father Vlasic was suspended last year by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith amid an inquiry into his conduct after three three commissions failed to find evidence to support the visionaries' claims.
“The Vatican also began an inquiry into claims he was guilty of sexual immorality after he made a nun pregnant.
“The defrocking was secretly signed off by the Pope in March.
“Father Vlasic refused to cooperate with the investigation from the outset and he was banished to a monastery in L’Aquila, Italy, where he was forbidden to communicate with anyone, even his lawyers, without the permission of his superior.
“It emerged yesterday that he has chosen to leave the priesthood and his order, a move which has brought the investigation to an abrupt halt.
“The defrocking of Father Vlasic means he is stripped of his priest status.
“This represents a massive blow to millions of Medjugorje followers worldwide who were hoping that the Vatican would one day legitimise the controversial shrine.
“The seers have grown wealthy as a result of their claims – and so has their town, which has boomed as a result of the ‘Madonna gold rush’.
“Some today own smart executive houses with immaculate gardens, double garages and security gates, and one has a tennis court.
“They also own expensive cars and have married.”
End of Excerpt From Simon Caldwell
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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