This post is being updated as additional links become available. Vatican Radio has just announced this news in German. If an English version becomes available, I will provide it.
Thanks to Richard Chonak at Catholic Light, we have at least a rough translation of the decree above in which a priest - Fr. Tomislav Vlasic - a central figure in the alleged apparitions at Medjugorje, has been laicized. You can read about the "severe canonical sanctions" taken last year against Fr. Vlasic by the Holy See in this link - Medjugorje: Canonical Status of Fr. Tomislav Vlašić, OFM.
The latest development, which came to light this weekend: Fr. Vlasic is now Mr. Vlasic.
It originates with Marco Corvaglia at his site, Medjugorje senza maschera (Medjugorje without mask), Marco has added the translation by Richard Chonak to the English section of his blog)
Fr. Tomislav Vlasic reduced to the lay stateNOTE: This translation was updated to match the changes at Catholic Light on 7/27/09.
The final word has arrived. As was reported earlier, on the 30th of May 2008, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in the person of its Secretary, Archbishop Angelo Amato, explicitly asked the bishop of Mostar, Ratko Perić (in letter no. 144/1985-27164), to make known "for the good of the faithful" the contents of a declaration by that Congregation regarding Father Tomislav Vlašić.
Let us recall a brief excerpt:
In the context of the Medjugorje phenomenon, this Dicastery is dealing with the case of the Rev. Father Tomislav Vlašić, OFM, originally from that region and the founder of the association "Kraljice Mira, potpuno tvoji - po Mariji k Isusu" [...] Confirmed reports presented to this Congregation reveal that the religious priest in question has not responded, even partially, to the ecclesiastical obedience called for in the very delicate situation he faces.
In the decree of the Congregation [see circular 939/2008, dated 8 July 2008, from the Curia of Mostar] it was written that Fr. Vlašić was suspected of "heresy and schism" and accused of "spreading questionable doctrines, manipulation of consciences, suspect mysticism, disobedience to legitimate orders and violations contra sextum (against the sixth commandment, that is). This last accusation relates to an event in 1977 (therefore prior to the "apparitions"), already reported on the page "And the Gospa said, Thanks so much to Father Tomislav; he's guiding you so well."
Today, as mentioned above, the Holy See has made a definitive pronouncement. Here is the transcription (and afterward the reproduction) of the official act, signed by the Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, Father José Rodriguez Carballo. The letter of the Minister General has already been sent to all the Provincials in Italy, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina and forwarded by them to the Guardians in each province. The Guardians have in turn sent it on to all the daughter houses in their respective provinces. However, the document has not been distributed outside the order until now:
"ORDO FRATRUM MINORUM
Prot. N. 098714
To the Provincial Ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and Italy
Dear Brother Minister,
The Holy Father, accepting the request of friar Tomislav Vlasic, O.F.M, member of the province of friars minor of St. Bernardino of Siena (L'Aquila), responsible for conduct harmful to ecclesial communion both in the spheres of doctrine and discipline, and under a censure of interdict, has granted him the favor of reduction to the lay state (amissio status clericalis) and of dismissal from the Order.
In addition, the Holy Father has granted the petitioner, motu proprio, the remission of the censure incurred as well as the favor of dispensation from religious vows and from all the responsibilities connected with sacred ordination, including celibacy.
As a salutary penal precept - under the pain of excommunication which the Holy See would declare, and if necessary, without prior canonical warning - the following precepts are imposed on Mr. Tomislav Vlasic:
a) Absolute prohibition from exercising any form of apostolate (for example, promoting public or private devotion, teaching Christian doctrine, spiritual direction, participation in lay associations, etc.) as well as of acquiring and administering goods intended for pious purposes;
b) Absolute prohibition from releasing declarations on religious matters, especially regarding the "phenomenon of Medjugorje";
c) Absolute prohibition from residing in houses of the Order of Friars Minor.
For the execution of the serious measures imposed by the Holy See regarding Mr. Tomislav Vlasic, the same Apostolic See calls directly on the Superiors of the Order.
Therefore I turn to you, so that you make sure to instruct the Guardians and superiors of friaries about full compliance, by Tomislav Vlasic, with the pontifical measures regarding him, in particular relative to the prohibition of residing in any houses belonging to the Order of Friars Minor, under pain of removal from office.
Trusting in your full understanding and prompt cooperation, I greet you fraternally.
Rome, 10 March 2009.
Fr. José Rodriguez Carballo, Ofm
It's interesting to note that at the beginning the Minister General says that laicization was a request by Vlasic. Near the end, it talks about "execution of serious measures imposed by the Holy See" and follows with instructions to notify all of the houses. Hmmm.....
Some sources out there will continue to claim that Vlasic had long ago distanced himself from Medjugorje. Keep in mind, the Holy See stated last year when he fell under interdict that his case was being investigated in the context of Medjugorje. That is because he was a central figure in the early years as a spiritual advisor to the alleged seers. In fact, Bishop Zanic called him the "creator" of the phenomenon (see #6 in the Truth about Medjugorje). He can no more be distanced from Medjugorje than a feather from a bird.
In any event, Mr. Vlasic will forever have the mark of the priesthood, despite the lay status he now has. Pray for him, that he set his life on a straight path and follow all that has been imposed on him, lest he incur an even greater penalty of excommunication.
- Vatican Radio (German): Medjugorje Priest Suspended
- The thought had crossed my mind (Catholic apologist Mark Shea opines on the matter)
- Balkan Insight - Bosnia: Medjugorje Priest Defrocked (excellent coverage by Srecko Latal)
- What is Involved in Apparition Discernment?
- Who discerns apparitions and private revelations?
- Apparitions: Types of Decisions the Church can Hand Down
- What is the Official Status of Medjugorje?
- Are pilgrimages permitted to Medjugorje or not???
- Outrageous claims against local ecclesiastical authority in Medjugorje
The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!