Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Homily Excerpt of Bishop Peric in Medjugorje for 2010 Confirmations

Photo: Marijan Sivric, Slobodna Dalmacija

On Saturday, May 29, 2010, Bishop Ratko Peric, was in Medjugorje where he administered the Sacrament of Confirmation to 84 young people.  What follows below is the final segment of Bishop Peric's homily as it pertains to the alleged apparitions, after he discussed Confirmation. 

First, I would like to provide some background. 

The New Commission
It is important to remind readers that the new international commission is currently looking into the phenomena, and it will forward it's findings to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).  The CDF will then decide if it wants to respond, and if so, how? Will it maintain the current status which remains that of the 1991 Zadar Declaration: "On the basis of studies made so far, it cannot be affirmed that these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelations" (this is considered a non constat de supernaturalitate).  Or, will it change the status to a constat de non supernaturalitate (established as not supernatural). 

Can an apparition be approved while ongoing?
There is much confusion over whether the a decision can be made while the alleged apparitions are ongoing.  It makes sense that such phenomena could not be given a constat de supernaturalitate while they persist (established as supernatural).  The Holy See would lose credibility to affirm a phenomenon one day only to have something happen later as it continues,that would negate supernaturality.  For this reason, an apparition would never be approved while ongoing. 

Can an apparition be condemned while ongoing?
If the Church sees things that are opposed to supernaturality while an alleged apparition is ongoing, She can not only condemn it as not supernatural, but has a duty to offer such clarification for the good of the faithful.  The recent condemnation of the apparitions associated with Holy Love Ministries in Ohio is a good example of this.  Soon after the apparitions were condemned, they went spastic, issuing at "decree" against the bishop!

The Current Position of the Church on Medjugorje
The local Church - that is, the two consecutive local bishops (Bishops Ratko Peric, and Zanic before him), as well as two previous commissions - one in 1986 (Mostar), the other in 1991 (Zadar), have maintained an official position of non constat de supernaturalitateBishop Peric changed his personal position to include the constat de non supernaturalitate, based on continuing analysis of all that is involved.

The CDF, through the findings of the new commission, will need to overturn the official position of the local Church and previous commissions for any kind of approval.  For this, it must go through each of the objections raised by the local bishops and commissions, and prove that errors in judgment, content, etc. were made.

The 2010 Confirmation Homily Excerpt
Here, in this excerpt of the homily from Medjugorje, His Excellency, Bishop Ratko Peric, reminds the Franciscans of the current official position of the Church (emphases mine in bold). 

The homily in Croatian at the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno is entitled:  "Međugorje: Crkveni Red" or, "Medjugorje: Ecclesiastical Order!"

Finally a word to the Franciscan fathers. I wish to thank you for your pastoral work in this parish. As a religious Congregation you are a gift to God’s Church. Therefore the Church expects you as a religious Order to uphold ecclesiastical order in this parish and this diocese. No competent Church authority has authorized or entrusted any of you, or anyone else, to preach during Mass or generally in the church on the “apparitions” which have not been approved. Furthermore, on the basis of expert investigations and the statements of the local Bishops and Bishops's Conference made thus far, what has been confirmed is that they do not concern supernatural apparitions or revelations. If in the future, the Holy Father the Pope decides to take a different position from the one sustained up till now, we shall then uphold the decision of the Church, firmly believing that the Church of God is “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim 3:15). Hence, all that I have responsibly said from this place up till now, I still stand by today and expect that it be ecclesiastically respected!

May the Holy Spirit help us all!
You might ask:  Why would the bishop use the occasion of Confirmation of young people to discuss the phenomena? 

The bishop is responsible for nearly 100 parishes in the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno, and in the ancient diocese of Trebinje-Mrkan for which he is the apostolic administrator.  It is not unusual that he would speak about a local situation while he is there on his visit, as opposed to making a separate visit. 

Also, that he must repeat these things year after year, is an indicator that not everyone is following basic protocol for phenomena with a status of non constat de supernaturalitate.  It is important to not lend credibility to an alleged apparition ahead of a final decision by the Church by using a parish pulpit or altar. The reason is obvious:  If something negates supernaturality later, her credibility is affected.  This is very basic.  People cannot presume supernaturality ahead of the Church and act on that presumption. However, when it comes to Medjugorje, many people - priests and bishops included - have lost sight of this.   It is possible that we may see a change in the pastoral directives also coming out of this new commission,which will support it's position.  Even if it maintains the current non constat, then it is likely that we will see a tightening of those directives.

Is anything opposed to authenticity?
It's worth pondering the words of Archbishop Allessandro D'Errico, Papal Nuncio to Bosnia & Herzegovina, as he explained the creation of the new commission back in March.  Using the Croatian text that appears on the Bosnia & Herzegovina Bishop's Conference site,  we have the translation of Fr. Philip Pavic, OFM (scroll here), who served as a confessor and pilgrim assistant from 1987 - 2000.

From personal experience, every time I met the Holy Father he had great interest in the question of Medjugorje, a question to which he was directed from the very beginning that he became prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It deals with a question for which he feels responsible as the supreme head of the Church to pronounce a clear message.

The Holy Father personally knows it very well and he has told me that several times - he is well acquainted with the whole phenomenon. He knows about the great good that is being done in this region by the priests, the Franciscan friars, and the laity. And on the other hand he asks himself how come there is information in such opposition to this phenomenon.
Hence, the Holy Father recognizes that there are things which oppose authenticity.  The new commission is not likely to dismiss the critical questions raised (see examples in the links below). Emotions and feelings cannot be a basis for discernment.

In the end, the thing that people on all sides of the issue should pray for is not approval or disapproval, but for the Holy Spirit to guide the new commission and the CDF to the truth.  Our part then becomes a matter of trust in the Holy Spirit and humble acceptance and a willingness to be open in what Holy Mother Church may teach us through all of this.

Related Links:

Edits made at 11:25am:
  • Clarified it was the apparitions associated to Holy Love Ministries which was condemned as not supernatural.
  • Added link to letter containing Bishop Peric's personal position. It's important to point out that then Abp Bertone noted that the bishop's personal opinion is not the position of the Church.  The official position of the Church remains the 1991 Zadar Declaration, which Bishop Peric himself points out.  Cardinal Bertone goes on to say that Bishop Peric is entitled to his personal opinion. 
  • A few other grammatical tweaks were made for simplification.
  • Clarified the first sentence of the second paragraph, under the section discussing the current position of the Church.  The wording was such that it would have led people to believe the commission will make decisions.  It is the CDF that will make decisions, consulting the commission. 

Te Deum Laudamus! Home
The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!


Nick said...

"3. God, who through the Word creates all things (see John 1:3) and keeps them in existence, gives men an enduring witness to Himself in created realities (see Rom. 1:19-20). Planning to make known the way of heavenly salvation, He went further and from the start manifested Himself to our first parents. Then after their fall His promise of redemption aroused in them the hope of being saved (see Gen. 3:15) and from that time on He ceaselessly kept the human race in His care, to give eternal life to those who perseveringly do good in search of salvation (see Rom. 2:6-7). Then, at the time He had appointed He called Abraham in order to make of him a great nation (see Gen. 12:2). Through the patriarchs, and after them through Moses and the prophets, He taught this people to acknowledge Himself the one living and true God, provident father and just judge, and to wait for the Savior promised by Him, and in this manner prepared the way for the Gospel down through the centuries.

4. Then, after speaking in many and varied ways through the prophets, "now at last in these days God has spoken to us in His Son" (Heb. 1:1-2). For He sent His Son, the eternal Word, who enlightens all men, so that He might dwell among men and tell them of the innermost being of God (see John 1:1-18). Jesus Christ, therefore, the Word made flesh, was sent as "a man to men." (3) He "speaks the words of God" (John 3;34), and completes the work of salvation which His Father gave Him to do (see John 5:36; John 17:4). To see Jesus is to see His Father (John 14:9). For this reason Jesus perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making Himself present and manifesting Himself: through His words and deeds, His signs and wonders, but especially through His death and glorious resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover He confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed, that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal.

The Christian dispensation, therefore, as the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away and we now await no further new public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Tim. 6:14 and Tit. 2:13)."

- Dei Verbum -- Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation

Nick said...


God has said everything in his Word

65 "In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by a Son."26 Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one. St. John of the Cross, among others, commented strikingly on Hebrews 1:1-2:

In giving us his Son, his only Word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word - and he has no more to say. . . because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has now spoken all at once by giving us the All Who is His Son. Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behavior but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely upon Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty.

There will be no further Revelation

66 "The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ."28 Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.

67 Throughout the ages, there have been so-called "private" revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.

Christian faith cannot accept "revelations" that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment, as is the case in certain non-Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such "revelations".

25 Dei Verbum 2.
26 Hebrews 1:1-2.
27 St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mount Carmel 2,22,3-5 in The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, tr. K. Kavanaugh, OCD, and O. Rodriguez, OCD (Washington DC:Institute of Carmelite Studies, 1979),179-180:LH, OR Advent, week 2, Mon.
28 Dei Verbum 4; cf. 1 Timothy 6:14; Titus 2:13. "

- Catechism of the Catholic Church

Nick said...

"The Revelation of God

9. What is the full and definitive stage of God's Revelation?


The full and definitive stage of God’s revelation is accomplished in his Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, the mediator and fullness of Revelation. He, being the only-begotten Son of God made man, is the perfect and definitive Word of the Father. In the sending of the Son and the gift of the Spirit, Revelation is now fully complete, although the faith of the Church must gradually grasp its full significance over the course of centuries.

“In giving us his Son, his only and definitive Word, God spoke everything to us at once in this sole Word, and he has no more to say.” (Saint John of the Cross)

10. What is the value of private revelations?


While not belonging to the deposit of faith, private revelations may help a person to live the faith as long as they lead us to Christ. The Magisterium of the Church, which has the duty of evaluating such private revelations, cannot accept those which claim to surpass or correct that definitive Revelation which is Christ."

- Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church

Kevin Symonds said...

There is an interesting story developing over the "constat de" and "non constat". Keep your eyes on Desiderium.

-Kevin Symonds

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


Hopefully, we get better clarification because there is not much out there with these. What we have circulating is "unofficial", but it's all we have.

observant one said...

I'll never understand why the bishop continues to embarrass himself before his own. And they continue to humbly take it - over and over. Most serious followers know that he has no control over the phenomena itself, cannot speak for it or what pilgrims can think - other than what the Church has already explained to them, and yet he just cannot abide the now well known advice from past experience given him by his own Church authorities about his personal take on all things re: the ongoing process of the phenomena itself.

Yes, may the Holy Spirit help him too - if he would only permit...esp. in the area of demonstrating some humility himself while lecturing the faithful who only seem to be following the guidance offered to them by their Church. Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and this man certainly has his apparently self-given "gift" of constantly disrupting it for others!!

And sometimes such outright anger takes a toll on one's outward appearance (picture even offered here!) - just compare the visage of this bishop with that of Cardinal Schoenborn. The uninviting alongside the inviting! Such a sad countenance. Pray for him as do his humble, loving faithful belonging to this diocese and this parish.

Kevin Symonds said...

Observant, the semi-"holier than thou" routine between Schonborn and Peric is ridiculous.

The fact is that Peric is getting on in years. Furthermore that he has had numerous people ragging on him--physically assaulting him even--because he tries to tell people about the "hidden side" of Medjugorje, I don't think it a stretch that he looks aged.

"Athanasius contra mundum."

This applies to Peric.


P.S. Paul VI didn't look so good at the end of his pontificate either. I don't suppose he would when he had dissident laity, theologians, priests, bishops all calling for the man's head on a pike.

Louis Bélanger said...

@ observant one… It is quite interesting to read the comment of somebody speculating on the physical traits of a respectable person like the Ordinary of Mostar and concealing his/her own visage behind “observant one” that equals with “anonymous”. How virtuous! How courageous! How transparent! What a rich capacity of argumentation!

I'll never understand why observant one continues to embarrass himself before his readers. And they continue to humbly take it - over and over. Most serious readers know that he has no control over the phenomena itself, cannot speak for it or what pilgrims can think - other than what the Church has already explained, and yet he just cannot abide the now well known advice from past experience given him by his own Church authorities about his personal take on all things re: the ongoing process of the phenomena itself.

Yes, may the Holy Spirit help him too - if he would only permit...esp. in the area of demonstrating some humility himself while lecturing the readers who only seem to be following the guidance offered to them by their Church. Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and observant one certainly has his/her apparently self-given "gift" of constantly disrupting it for others!

The Church of Mostar and the Church of former Yugoslavia have already concluded to the absence of clear proof that the Lady of Medjugorje is the Virgin Mary.

Unfortunately, the scope and significance of the non constat do not seem to be well understood by observant one. He/she seems to ignore that a judgement had been made — no evidence of supernaturality — with the help of two Commissions [in Mostar in 1986 and in Zadar in 1991]. That verdict had been reached by the majority of 34 experts and by 19 of the 20 Yugoslavian bishops.

If the 20 members of the new Commission do not still see the “imminent Great Sign“ announced by the Lady of Medjugorje in 1981, or something miraculously new since the Zadar Declaration, will it not be delicate for them and observant one to reverse the first diocesan judgement made 24 years ago — and later confirmed by the Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia — without discrediting the discernment of their predecessors and of observant one?

However that may be, since most of the documents and reliable sources are available, is it not more pertinent for observant one to understand the significance of the still valid judgement than to speculate about the physical traits of the Bishop of Mostar?

Tominellay said...

I think that what Bp. Peric said in his homily was both expected and appropriate. His homilies and his writings are always clear, too.

In this homily he addresses first the parents of the confirmands; next, he speaks to the sponsors of the children being confirmed; then he directs words to the boys and girls of the confirmation class; and finally, he addresses the Franciscan clergy with whom he is concelebrating the Mass. He is not "embarassing himself" at all. He is being a bishop in his diocese.

Patrick Coffin said...

Observant One hides behind the facade of anonymity. Not hard to see why. An orthodox bishop in very good standing with the Holy Father shouldn't be on the business end of such patronizing sarcasm. Talk about a cause for sadness.

The entity of Medjugorje (or, in Observant One's parlance, "the phenomenon") has certainly been successful at fomenting the spirit of schism. If "non constat de non" gets switched to "constat de non," some in the Medjugorje Movement will still repeat the same mantras: "You must accept Medjugorje. Resistance is futile. Obey the Gospa. Trash the Bishop."

If it remains in "non constat" status, the mantras will hardly be expected to soften.

Think I'm exaggerating? Read the reactions of the followers of Gianna Talone-Sullivan (a Medj spin-off rejected by the local bishop in 2003), of Theresa Lopez (another Medj spin-off rejected by the local bishop in 1994) and of those still attached to the Holy Love group in Cleveland (rejected by the local Bishop in 2009). If you do a google search of Bayside, you'll see the same basic thing: "We are right; our Lady is appearing; if you don't see it, you're thwarting heaven's plan and need an attitude transplant. We'll pray for you!"

In addition to weak catechesis, these disturbing trends showcase the triumph of subjective conviction over objective teaching authority. Meaning no offense, but this is otherwise known as the Protestant Principle.

May God bless and strengthen the man whom Jesus Christ has appointed to lead and guide the faithful in Mostar-Duvno, His Excellency Ratko Peric, and may the same God be profoundly present with Cardinal Ruini and the members of the Holy See Commission who now study the Medjugorje phenomena, and *all* its fruits.

Romanus said...

Observant seems to ignore the fact that while what the bishop says is indeed his personal opinon, it is the SAME opinion as the episcopal commissions - no evidence of supernaturality. As for what the Church has said, Abp. Bertone made it clear in the same letter, observe devotion to Our Lady in accordance with Church teaching, NOT the "Gospa", go there if you must must but privately and not acting contrary to the decisions of ecclesiastical authority. In all ecclesiastical matters that authority is the Bishop of Mostar. In the sole case of whether Medj is definitively judged authentic or not authentic that authority rests with the Pope, whose commission is now at work.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

"Observant one", please note that you have made your last comment on my blog. If you want a reason: Bishop-bashing.

I don't mind objective dialogue about issues, but I do mind personal attacks on others, especially a bishop who is doing his job.

Echoing what some have already said, it is easy to do a "drive-by" on the bishop when you hide behind anonymity. You might want to read very carefully what Fr. John Trigilio, author of "Catholicism for Dummies" has written in this recent post: May the Laity be Critical of it's Pastor, Bishop, Pope, Church? Be sure to observe that there are boundaries, even in the most extreme cases, where sin has taken place.

To be continued...

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Continued from above...

What we have here is criticizing a bishop for doing his job. Let's look closer at some of what "Observant one wrote" (I don't have all night to fisk the entire thing and others have already hit on certain subjects).

I'll never understand why the bishop continues to embarrass himself before his own.

As I stated in my main post: The 1991 Zadar Declaration remains in effect until a new judgment is passed down from the CDF, with the help of the international commission.

The 1991 Zadar Declaration states:

"...Yet the gathering of the faithful from various parts of the world to Medjugorje, inspired by reasons of faith or other motives, require the pastoral attention and care, first of all, of the local Bishop and then of the other bishops with him, so that in Medjugorje and all connected with it, a healthy devotion towards the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the teachings of the Church may be promoted. The Bishops will also provide special liturgical and pastoral directives corresponding to this aim..."

"Pastoral attention" does not mean the bishop should accomodate behaviors which are not compatible with liturgical norms, or basic protocol for any apparition which has not been approved. The dangers are obvious.

Cardinal Bertone re-iterated this in 1998.

It's interesting to note, that Bishop Peric enjoys the full backing of the CDF as shown in this 2007 memo from the Bishops of Tuscany to their priests following an ad limina.

Further, many have completely misconstrued (and rejoiced as if it were some kind of triumph) that Bishop Peric was not named to the commission. There are several valid reasons for this, among which are:

1) He has already voiced his personal conviction that the phenomena are not of supernatural origin (link in the main body of the post).

2) Not only is the local bishop not a part of the new commission, but there is no one representing the local Franciscans, who were represented on past commissions. Why?

Bottom line is that the bishop's requirement to give pastoral attention in the context of the 1991 Zadar Declaration was not lifted in any way with the initiation of a new commission.

To be continued...

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


"Observant one" says": Peace is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and this man certainly has his apparently self-given "gift" of constantly disrupting it for others!!

Being at peace is to rest in God. If the people are not at rest, it is not on account of what the bishop is saying, but with the fact that they cannot accept what he is saying, even though the Church has given him this authority (specifically in the 1991 Zadar declaration which remains in effect.... sorry for the redundancy, but this cannot be emphasized enough).

But, this would mean to acknowledge the authority that Bishop Peric has as Ordinary of the place, as well as the authority clarified under the 1991 Zadar Declaration.

What is required for that is HUMILITY. But, with Medjugorjeans, the attitude is "your will Lord, as long as it is in agreement with my will" [that is, for the apparitions to be recognized as authentic at all cost, and dismissal of anything which would suggest they are not authentic].

Obedience brings peace; disobedience disquiet.

Obs One: And sometimes such outright anger takes a toll on one's outward appearance (picture even offered here!)

As if God has given you the ability to read souls to know that the expression on his face was one of anger, and not one of focus and a serious act of worship to God? The Mass is a Sacrifice, not a banquet, a party, or a celebration. At the sacred hands of this bishop, the representation of the Sacrifice of the Cross would take place.

With a proper understanding of what the Mass is all about, I am very heartened to see that Bishop Peric did not stop to smile for a camera.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

With regards to Cardinal Schonborn, you may be interested in this report:

Pope Benedict XVI wrote to Cardinal Schonborn over recent statements (ouch!)