Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Diocese of Mostar-Duvno acknowledges response to UK Mail Online Medjugorje article

Last week I told you about a response Kevin Symonds wrote at Catholic Lane to a December 23, 2012 article on Medjugorje in the British tabloid, Daily Mail (online).

This morning we find Kevin's article - "Inaccurate Reporting on Medjugorje is a Disservice to All Catholics" -  translated into Croatian on the website for the diocesan paper, Crkva Na Kamenu (Church on the Rock). That it is published online there is an acknowledgment of the response by Mr. Symonds.  Below is a snapshot.  Here is a direct link to the response in Croatian. (if you scroll down, you will also find it in english).

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Susan said...

From the translated article:

"The Italian web site L Abateo Impertinente demonstrated from legal documentation that "seer" Ivan Dragicevic took out an $800,000 mortgage for a home in Massachusetts. This loan, says the documentation, was retired within a year. The question then arose: how was such a high debt repaid in a year by someone who does not have a full-time job? Furthermore, was this house bought to "house" pilgrims?"

In Massachusetts? Medjugorje pilgrims go to Massachusetts? Follow the money, people.

This is of a piece with everything else we hear about the seers. They have not entered religious life, OK, maybe they didn't have vocations. That's legitimate, surely. God grants vocations to religious life as He will. On the other hand, one suspects, on the basis of these peoples' general attitudes towards ecclesial authority, that perhaps the obedience required of religious would not have been to their liking. Making a profit in money is merely more of the same. Ivan has apparently made a very good thing of this. I wouldn't mind having an $800,000 house in Massachusetts myself.

The Holy Father will search these matters, and other facts not available to us, with the light granted him by his office and by his native talent. I have no idea how the matter will be resolved.

However, if a definite answer is to be forthcoming, it will certainly be negative, since the alleged apparitions are still going on, and the Church in her wisdom will not pronounce affirmatively on matters which have not yet concluded. Who knows what may lie in the future after all? This is only common prudence.

I suspect the US Mail Online is merely selling page views, advertising and/or subscriptions. Controversies sell newspapers. Let us not allow such matters to disturb us.

Christopher said...

Hi Everyone,

Thank you again Diane for taking the time to actually research and report on Medjugorje and for actually seeking the truth behind the propaganda that is touted non stop by the Medjugorje media machine.

Christopher said...

Hi Everyone,

Thank you once again for taking the time to expose the truth behind the Medjugorje propaganda machine.

Nick said...

Well, it WAS a good article :)

Anonymous said...

All need to be careful. An $800,000 house in the Boston area is not that grandiose. I heard once that Ivan's father-in-law is rich, and if that is true it would not surprise me to see him buying his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren a place near him, and any place near him would cost some money.

I myself am not rich, but I do have rich friends who recently bought their newly wed daughter and son-in-law an apartment in San Francisco for $550,000 cash, and also bought them a brand new Lexus. My friends are literally worth millions so to them it was no big deal at all. They laugh sand say some day their daughter will get everything they have anyway, which is true.

We need to guard against envy and calumny in these matters and not run off with gossip, in my opinion, to preserve our own souls.

I have read many distortions on both sides of the phenomenom - the latest being that the Medjugorje massacre of some families during the 1990s never happened at all and that it was completely fabricated by someone seeking publicity. Anyway, everyone should be careful with these issues, imho.


Anonymous said...

Dear Bill,

I am the author of the piece in question on Catholic Lane.

My contention remains unchanged: Ivan needs to explain this matter, otherwise it hurts his image, especially after the remark he made about money that is available on Corvaglia's YouTube page.

Secondly, sir, I grew up just outside of Boston and I disagree with your assessment of $800,000.

Thirdly, you need to provide proof of your point about Ivan's father-in-law.

-Kevin J. Symonds

Anonymous said...

I read the Italian article about Ivan's home purchase history. While I cannot say with absolute certainty, it seems to be making a specious argument. To me, it shows someone trading up in houses over several years during the hottest US housing market in history from the late 1990s to 2005. I know I sold a house I bought for $73,000 (Texas is cheap) for $151,000 in just 4 years. I know many who made money during this time by trading-up in houses.

The article says Ivan bought houses totaling $1,566,000 in 5 years. But that sounds specious because it says he bought a house, sold it and the mortgage was paid and he pocketed the difference (the profit - the reason one sells in an appreciating market as it was between 1999 and 2005, besides the needs of an expanding family) and used that to buy the next house, and then he repeated this. In other words, he did the age-old American past time of trading up in houses. A major motivation for this is expanding families. My daughter now has 4 kids and they are looking at bigger houses right now. She will sell her house and use any profit (market is bad now though) after paying off the remaining mortgage towards the next house purchase. So if her current house is $250,000 and her next is $350,000, then one could say she spent $600,000 in the last 3.5 years on houses - but it does not mean she is rich or anything! That seems to me to be the $1,566,000 attributed to Ivan.

Using that argument, I too have bought houses totaling $720,000 in the past ten years (in Texas things are cheaper. Although I sold each time and had to pay the bank for the remaining mortgage each time!! - I live in my house worth $225,000 at the moment.)

I cannot vouch for the Boston area prices, but my wife's friends live in a very nice suburb of Boston and their house, while not ostentatious, was quite pricey by Texas standards, as are all the houses in the northeast. My house is $225,000, has 3 baths, 5 bedrooms, and is only 15 years old, and is 3300 sq ft. My mom's house in upstate NY (Poughkeepsie area) is 1500 sq ft, built in 1958, one bath, and was appraised at $350,000 several years ago and that was after the market began dropping!

And I beg your pardon? I am not required to provide anyone information about Ivan or his in-laws. I am not the one publishing articles about these people. I only pointed out something I read many years ago about Ivan's father-in-law - I did not vouch for it, I only said I heard it many years ago. But it always give me pause when I hear people speaking of Ivan's wealth - I wince in the hope that they have researched everything very carefully if they choose to publish information about his wealth.

I have no 'beef' with anybody on this matter.
Take care,

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I've got two comments in moderation for this post that are not going to get moderated because they are lacking a name.

As it says above my combox when using anonymous, you must sign your name or use a pseudonym.

I suggest using the Name/URL option and if you don't have a website, simply leave the URL field blank. We can't have a bunch of "anonymous" questions because it looks like someone is dialoguing with themselves.

If you still want to use anonymous option, then SIGN YOUR NAME in the body of the post before you even start writing. Then, you won't forget and get your comment deleted.

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


Setting aside any argument over how the $800,000 house was paid for, it is still lavish living when you contrast it to the lives of visionaries of approved seers. Bernadette, for example, lived with very few comforts and in serious poverty.

Sorry, but all of the monetary gymnastics in the world will not convince me that this is the humble life a visionary of authentic apparitions would live.

Anonymous said...

Dear Bill,

Before I say anything further, Blimey Cow has a very good & hilarious video:


I will meet you in person in Texas to discuss if you would like.

-Kevin Symonds

Tominellay said...

I read the L' Abateo article a couple years ago and if I remember correctly, Ivan did "trade up" two or three times to the $800,000 house. However, I believe the final transaction did involve a two-year mortgage note for more than $200,000. How does an unemployed fellow commit to $8,000+ per month payments for 24 months? BTW, he paid it off, slightly late, in something like 30 months. There's a lot of money in the Medjugorje industry...

Maureen said...

According to the property records, Ivan and Laureen bought three properties in Massachusetts. They made a profit of $129,000 on the first condo and $65,000 on the second one.

Property #1
Boston Condo
Purchased in 10/1999
Price: $156,000
Downpayment: $5,000
Mortgage: $150,000
Sold in June 2001
Selling price: $285,000
Profit: $129,000

One month before selling property #1, they purchased a larger condo in Boston, promising to pay it off in 15 years at a rate of $60,000 per year ($5,000 per month).

Property #2
Boston Condo
Purchased in 5/2001
Price: $575,000
Sold in March 2005
Selling price: $640,000
Profit: $65,000

Ten months before selling property #2, Ivan and Laureen purchased a single-family home in Peabody in May 2004 for $835,000. They put $35,000 down and signed a mortgage for $800,000, agreeing to pay it in full within six months (by November 24, 2004).

Property #3
Peabody single family house
Purchased in 5/2004
Price: $835,000
Paid in full on December 30, 2005

At the time they bought the Peabody house, they still owned the second condo in Boston, so they were paying two mortgages for ten months - the $5,000 per month they owed for the second condo, and roughly $150,000 per month for the new house (at a 6% rate with 1.2% tax).

They were not able to pay off the $800,000 loan within the six month term, but they were able to pay it off within 19 months of purchase. They sold the second condo 10 months after buying the Peabody house, and paid off the Peabody house 10 months after selling the second condo.

I don't see any reason to believe Laureen's family paid for these properties.

In a period of just over six years, they purchased three properties totaling $1,566,000 and sold two of them for a combined total of $925,000. That means they paid out $641,000 for property in that time period and managed to pay off their final and largest mortgage of $800,000 in just a year and a half.

For 2011 tax assessment, Ivan and Laureen's Peabody house was valued at $610,000. According to Truvia's currently listed information for this house, "This is a Single-Family Home located at 5 Emily Lane, Peabody MA. 5 Emily Ln has 4 beds, 4 baths, and approximately 4,156 square feet. The property has a lot size of 0.37 acres and was built in 1992. The average list price for similar homes for sale is $736,653 and the average sales price for similar recently sold homes is $625,047. 5 Emily Ln is in the 01960 ZIP code in Peabody, MA. The average list price for ZIP code 01960 is $273,770."

Their house is more than double the price of houses in the same zip code.

Susan said...

Thank you for this information Maureen.

This would stress the financial ability of all but the richest dual-income professionals. And so far as I can tell no one is working at all!

It is possible that parents are funding all this, but I find that unlikely. Typically even wealthy parents will buy one house for a child, not 3 in rapid succession.

So, what do we surmise here? What do these people do, if it is not work? Well, Ivan is a visionary at Medjugorje. Can I wonder if that might pay quite well, everything considered? And is that appropriate?

Well, there's nothing wrong with accepting gifts, I suppose. And I can't see anything morally wrong in profiting (assuming the profit is honestly derived) from being a visionary. But the whole thing makes me uneasy.

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...


The Holy See lists "profit or gain" in the list of negative criteria. Read carefully, slowly, and several times, this 1978 document on discernment of presumed apparitions which was recently made public by the Holy See


Tominellay said...

Thanks, Maureen, for sorting that out...
Congrats, Kevin, on your fine article being noticed in Mostar...
Thank you, Diane, for your updates, analyses...

Redazione l'Abateo Impertinente said...

Hi everyone, I'm the original author of the article featured on "l'Abateo Impertinente".
I've been pointed to this website from an e-mail received some days ago, and I just wanted to clarify a couple of things.

Above all, I had to give up updating the website for personal problems, plus I received all sort of cursing/threats from the so called "medjugorje followers".

For that, I was not able to publish some updates following the article related to Dravicevic business.

First, the properties that were described in my inquiry are/were not used to house pilgrims. For that, Dragicevic owns other properties in Medjugorje.

Second, shortly after my inquiry was published, the "Prayer Experience with Ivan Dragicevic and Family", a business directly run by Ivan and his wife and hosted on the website of 206 Tours, was taken down in a hurry.

Finally, to answer all questions/statements about Laureen Murphy's parents (Dragicevic wife) paying for the houses that the couple bought, I can say that it is totally a false claim.

From what I obvserved reading all the documents that I managed to find and archive, Ivan's real estate trading begun in 1999, shortly after he started the "Prayer Experience with Ivan Dragicevic and Family" business (1997-1998), whereas he married Laureen Murphy in 1994.

Also I verified Murphy's relatives possessions, and they own modest properties.

I did not publish and will not publish anything more about Murphy's relatives simply because they are not directly related to the "Medjugorje phenomenon" and it would be plain wrong to do such a thing.

I think that it is really like falling down low to try to justify Ivan's business using people that has nothing to do with it.

Sorry for my bad english.

Diane Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

Your English is not so bad and much better than my Italian since I know nothing of the language.

Thank you for your clarification.

I myself typically don't get into these issues concerning money and property. In the end, the CDF will have the final say on what they view as problematic with regards to any alleged profit made from the "apparition business." To my mind, given the 1978 norms, I would think for visionaries to even support themselves modestly off of the alleged apparitions would be problematic from a discernment standpoint. Profit is profit.

I agree too that it is best not to bring into the discussion other family members.

All of this can quickly cross into calumny. So, pointing out facts and raising questions is legitimate, but forming conclusions is probably best left to the Holy See.