Vatican Suspends Prominent Priest

By Roberto Sanchez Guevara
Religious Intelligence (United Kingdom)
September 10, 2008

Father Tomislav Vlasic, a Franciscan priest who was prominent in the early efforts to publicize the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje, has been suspended from ministry pending the outcome of a Vatican investigation because of his flagrant disregard for ecclesiastical discipline.

Vatican suspends prominent priest

Father Vlasic — who eventually broke with the Medjugorje "seers" and founded his own quasi-religious community, was cited for "suspicion of heresy and schism, as well as scandalous acts 'contra sextum', aggravated by mystical motivations".

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has said charges against Fr Tomislav Vlasic include "the diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspicious mysticism, disobedience toward legitimately issued orders" and charges that he violated one commandment: You shall not commit adultery.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote to Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno, whose diocese covers Medjugorje, to inform him that they were investigating the case of Franciscan Father Tomislav Vlasic.

"Father Vlasic is forewarned that, in the case of stubbornness, a juridical penal process will begin with the aim of still harsher sanctions, not excluding dismissal, having in mind the suspicion of heresy and schism, as well as scandalous acts 'contra sextum' (meaning against the Sixth Commandment) aggravated by mystical motivations," Bishop Peric wrote.

Fr Vlasic was a central figure in promoting the apparitions at Medjugorje. The Medjugorje phenomenon began on June 25, 1981, when six children told a priest they had seen the Virgin Mary near the town. Since then Mary is said to have appeared there more than 40,000 times and to have imparted hundreds of messages. In 1984 he wrote to Pope John Paul II to say that he was the one "who through divine providence guides the seers of Medjugorje".

He is banned from making public appearances, preaching and hearing confessions, and he will be required to make a solemn profession of the Catholic faith. The Vatican has warned Father Vlasic that he will be excommunicated if he violates any of the prohibitions.


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