Friday, August 10, 2007

Michael Davies: Biographies of the Medjugorje Seers

 Many readers of this blog are familiar with Michael Davies book "Liturgical Timebombs" and have great respect for the author, now deceased. Recently I ran across a book by him that I had never heard of before called "Medjugorje AfterTwenty-One Years" Nobody familiar with Davies' other works can doubt his scholarship and credibility. In this book, he rips to shreds the claims that the Blessed Virgin has been appearing to six children (now all adults with children of their own) of the Yugoslav town of Medjugorje since 1981. There is so much evidence that Davies brings forth that by the end of the book the claims of Medjugorje look foolish and laughable.

One of things Davies brings up are the subsequent careers of the so-called "seers." St. Bernadette and Lucia both saw Mary only a few times, and it was enough to cause them both to want to dedicate their life to serving God in the convent. Supposedly, Mary has appeared to these seers collectively over 8,500 times since 1981 and there has not been a single vocation out of the six of them. Odd, isn't it? Of course, one retains freedom of will, and there is no guarantee that an authentic apparition will produce a religious vocation - but throughout the Church's history, this is usually the case.

Furthermore, most of the seers are now rich, having made fortunes off of giving talks about their alleged apparitions. Is this the way Sr. Lucia or St. Bernadette behaved?

Here is an excerpt from Davies' book on the biographies of the "seers." I have the book in its entirety linked on the sidebar under "Excellent Catholic Articles." The remainder of this article is entirely taken from Davies' book.

The six seers are, in order of age:

Vicka (Vida) Ivankovic, born on 3 September 1964 is the oldest of the seers. She has been receiving daily apparitions since 24 June 1981, although on some days there were no apparitions while on others she received five or more. She has received nine of the ten secrets and still receives daily apparitions. Vicka is always willing to speak to any large number of pilgrims who wish to meet her, and to put their questions to Our Lady and to transmit her answers to them.

She claims that for two years, from 7 January 1983 until 10 April 1985, Our Lady recounted her life story in great detail, and that this autobiography will be published in due course. She also stated in an interview for an Australian television network, which I have on video-cassette, that Our Lady took her on a guided tour of heaven, hell, and purgatory. Jakov Colo, the youngest visionary, was also invited on the tour. Our Lady took Vicka by the right hand and Jakov by the left and they floated off. Vicka wondered how long the journey would take, and was amazed to find that it lasted only one second. The tour itself took 20 minutes. Vicka did not explain how she was able to be so precise about the time taken. Heaven is a very large room in which people wearing grey, yellow, and pink gowns are walking, praying, and singing while small angels float above them. Purgatory is a big space in which no one can be seen, but it was possible to feel that the souls there were beating and thumping each other. There is a large fire in hell into which the souls enter and emerge as beasts.

Another of her stories is of a taxi driver who had been given a bloody handkerchief which he was about to throw in a river. A mysterious women in black, who, of course, turned out to be Our Lady, prevented him just in time, because, had he done so the world would have been destroyed (see May 1990, Part 6). No open minded person who reads Monsignor Zanic's account of Vicka (see May 1990—Parts 6-11), or of her attempt to defraud Dutch benefactors of Medjugorje by telling them that Our Lady wished them to finance the construction of a hotel by the father of one of her friends, can escape the conclusion that she is an habitual liar (see November 1997, Medjugorje Incredibilities.)

In January 2002 Vicka married Mario Mijatovic from the parish of Gradino. They live in the parish of Medjugorje.

Mirjana Dragicevic was born in Sarajevo on 18 March 1965. Her first vision was on 24 June 1981 and after receiving the tenth secret on 25 December 1982 she ceased to have daily apparitions. Mirjana said that parting from Our Lady caused her great sorrow, and they found it hard to part from each other even after being together for 45 five minutes. Our Lady assured Mirjana that she must return to a normal daily routine and live in future without her motherly advice. She warned Mirjana that the first few months without their daily meetings would be very hard for her, and this proved to be the case. Mirjana fell into a state of deep depression, avoided everyone, and locked herself in her bedroom weeping, hoping that Our Lady would appear to her, and calling out her name. Our Lady bestowed a great gift to her, that of promising to appear upon her birthday for the rest of her life. However, a year is a long time, visitors were coming from all sides, and so Our Lady had a change of mind. On 2 September 1987 Mirjana received an internal locution, and from then on, on the second of every month, she has received an internal locution or an actual apparition of Our Lady, and sometimes they pray together for unbelievers. From 2 January 1997 these visits ceased to be on a private basis. Mirjana is made aware of the exact time when Our Lady will appear, from 10am until 11am, and this monthly meeting is now open to the public.

Mirjana has received all ten secrets. She claims to have received them from Our Lady on a parchment which has been examined by “linguistic experts” who pronounced that it is written in an unknown language. This is fortunate as had this not been the case they would no longer have been secret. The only precedent for a document in an unknown language is that of The Book of Mormon. One wonders why Our Lady would have given the ten secrets to Mirjana, who speaks only Croatian, in an unknown language, and whether by some miracle she is able to understand it. It is also claimed that, having been carbon tested for date and substance, the parchment has been documented as made from an unknown substance. Mirjana was married to Marko Soldo on 16 September 1989 and has two children, Marija born on 8 December 1990, and Veronica born on 19 April 1994. She is married and lives in Medjugorje.

Mirjana has the distinction of being the only seer to have had an apparition of the devil. He appeared to her on 14 April 1982 while she was waiting for Our Lady to appear. He was wearing the same clothes worn by Our Lady, he had a terrible black face but with Mary’s features. He stared at her with burning black eyes and offered her all the pleasures of the world, but she refused. A little later Our Lady appeared and said: “I apologize, but you had to see him in order to know that he exists and that you will be tempted in this world.” To the best of my knowledge this is the only occasion when Our Lady has apologized to a seer, and no explanation is given as to why she did not command the devil to manifest himself to any of the other Medjugorje seers to prove to them that he exists.

Marija Pavlovic was born on 1 April 1965. She is married, to Paolo Lunetti on 1 April 1993, went for a honeymoon on the Côte d’Azur in France. The couple now have three children, Mikaele, born on 14 July 1994; Francesco Maria, born on 24 January 1996, and Marco Maria born on 19 July 1997. Mrs Lunetti now lives in Monsa, Italy, in a “palatial” six storey home. She has received nine secrets, and still has daily apparitions. She is on such good terms with Our Lady that the Blessed Virgin allows herself to be caressed if Marija requests it. A nun who was present while Marija was witnessing an apparition relates:

Marija asked me whether I desired to touch the Virgin. I said yes straight away. She then took my right hand and I lifted it to the Virgin's shoulder: she then guided my hand down telling me what I was touching. I myself neither saw nor felt anything. Thus I caressed her right down to her feet.
Surely this ludicrous and almost blasphemous nonsense is enough to deprive Pavlovic of any credibility. Marija receives and reveals Our Lady’s “Message to the Parish of Medjugorje and the entire World” on the 25th of each month.

Ivan Dragicevic, who is not related to Mirjana, was born in Bijakovici in the parish of Medjugorje on 25 May 1965. His secondary education took place in Citluk where he failed to pass the first year examinations. In August 1981 he entered the Franciscan seminary for Herzegovina where he claimed to receive daily apparitions and claimed that Our Lady always gave him the traditional Croatian greeting: “Praise be Jesus and Mary”. It is somewhat surprising that Our Lady, who is our model of humility, would bestow praise upon herself! He failed to pass his first year examinations after two attempts. It was thought that he might have more success at the seminary in Dubrovnik where he was sent in the autumn of 1982. On one occasion, during the recitation of the rosary, he informed his fellow seminarians that Our Lady had appeared upon a picture of Our Lord and said: “This is your father.” Our Lord did not once refer to Himself as our father in the Bible and is never referred to as such in the Tradition of the Church. Once again his academic progress was poor and he left the seminary in January 1983 and returned home. He spent, and still spends, a great deal of his time touring the world, addressing large audiences, and never fails to delight them with purported apparitions of Our Lady. On 23 October 1994 he married Laureen Murphy, an American beauty queen from Boston, and, of course, had a wedding day apparition. They have three children. He divides his time between his homes in Medjugorje and Boston. He has received nine secrets and by 2001 more than 7,000 daily apparitions, and still has a daily apparition wherever he is in the world. He is now extremely wealthy and drives a custom built BMW with “outside the series” wide sports tires.

Ivanka (Ivica) Ivankovic was born in Bijakovici on 21 June 1966. She married Rajko Elez on 29 December 1986, and has three children, Kristina, Josip, and Ivan. She has received ten secrets and ceased having daily apparitions on 7 May 1985. Ivanka claimed that in this final apparition Our Lady had never looked more sweet and beautiful, and was wearing the most beautiful dress that she had ever seen. It sparkled with silver and gold. The Virgin was accompanied by two angels with matching outfits, and asked Ivanka if she had a wish. The wish was to see her deceased mother, and then, after embraces and kisses, there was a final message: “My dear child, today is our last meeting. Do not be sad. I shall return on your birthday every year except for this one. My child, do not think that I am not coming because you have done something wrong. You have done nothing wrong. The plans which my Son and I had you accepted with your whole heart and you carried them out. Ivanka, the blessings that you and your brothers (the other seers?) have received have never previously been accorded to anyone on earth.” After the conversation had lasted an hour, Ivanka gave a farewell kiss to Our Lady who then rose aloft to heaven accompanied by the two angels.

She now has one apparition a year. She states that one apparition a year is sufficient for her as she has already received more graces than anyone else on earth. In 1997 the visit lasted for six minutes and the message was as follows:

Dear Children, pray from your hearts so that you will know how to forgive and to be forgiven. I thank you for your prayers and for the love that you give me.
Ivanka claimed that when she was preparing to celebrate the New Year at midnight in 1982 Our Lady paid her a surprise visit and wished everyone present a Happy New Year. Marija, Vicka, and Ivan claim to have had only nine secrets confided to them and hence still have daily apparitions.

Jakov Colo, born in Bijakovici on 6 March 1971, is the youngest of the visionaries. He was married on 11 April 1993 to Anna-Lisa Barozzi and has two children, Ariana Maria born in January 1995, and David, born in September 1996. He received daily apparitions from 25 June 1981 until 12 September 1998. Between 7 January 1983 and 11 April 1983 Our Lady told him the story of her life. During an apparition in 1993, at the height of the war, Our Lady asked him to pray for peace in the former Yugoslavia, and convinced him that his prayers could bring the war to an end. On 12 September 1998, after visiting the USA, he came to the parish office in Medjugorje saying that Our Lady had appeared to him for the last time on that day. The apparition lasted for 30 minutes from 11.15 to 11.45. He did, however, receive the promise of a regular visit on Christmas Day each year. The Virgin revealed the tenth secret to him with great sadness, but comforted him gently, saying: “Do not be sad, because like a mother I will be with you always, and like a true mother I will never abandon you.” Jakov has had the privilege of shaking hands with Our Lady:

On the feast of Our Lady's Nativity (8 September 1981), the Virgin appeared to Vicka and Jakov in Jakov's house. So Jakov held out his hand to the Virgin, saying: "Dear Holy Virgin, I wish you a happy birthday." Thus it was that the little boy had the great good fortune to see the Mother of God shake his hand.
It is claimed that "Jakov's face, eager and upturned, is one of the most external outward proofs we have of the authenticity of the events." If one reads the accepted criteria for discerning the authenticity of alleged apparitions, eager and upturned faces will not be found among them.

The situation, according to the June 1996 issue of the Medjugorje Herald is that: “Marija, Vicka, and Ivan have each received nine secrets and so continue to have daily apparitions.” This is very convenient in order to ensure that the pilgrims and the money continue to roll in. The Medjugorje pilgrims expect, as part of their package-trip, to see a seer going into ecstasy while experiencing an apparition. They are never disappointed.

Jelena Vasilj and Marijana Vasilj. In addition to the six seers already listed, there are two who do not claim to have apparitions but to receive inner locutions in which they hear the voice of Our Lady and see her inwardly with the heart. They are Jelena Vasilj, born on 14 May 1972, and Marijana Vasilj (no relation) born on 5 October 1972. They have established a prayer group which the Virgin not only attends but actually leads through the two locutionists. Our Lady leads another prayer group which she directs through Ivan and Marija.


bg said...

Further to reading about Anslem’s move to the ITI, founded under the auspices of Cardinal Schoenborn, and in light of your attack on Medjugorje I thought you may be interested to that:

Cardinal Schönborn once told Cardinal Ratzinger that if Medjugorje were closed, he would also have to close the Seminary in Vienna, because the majority of those candidates had received their call to the priesthood through Medjugorje. To this, Cardinal Ratzinger replied: "Closing Medjugorje is not even a question!"

Boniface said...

Well, I don't know where your information came from, but I know for a fact that Benedict XVI said while Cardinal Ratzinger:"We at the Congregation [for the Doctrine of the Faith] always asked ourselves, how can any believer accept as authentic apparitions that occur every day and for so many years? Are they still occurring every day?" There were many more comments to this tone...please chcek out this link:


Alexander said...

I have Davies' Medjugorje website linked in my blog which hosts the book.

Very excellent resource, I cannot image anyone supporting Medjugorje after reading even one third of it.

Anselm said...

As for Cardinal Ratzinger's alleged support of the "apparitions"...

"On 28 July 1998 Cardinal Ratzinger wrote to a correspondent confirming that statements attributed to the Pope and to him in favour of Medjugorje had been "freely invented". I possess a photocopy of this letter."

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
I-00120 CITT DEL Vaticano
22 Juli 1998

Herrn ............
00069 Trevignano Romano (RM)

Dear Mr. ...
First of all, I have to apologize for answering your kind letter from 27th May only today.

The burden (i.e. work load) of the last few weeks has been so heavy that I had to postpone my private correspondence again and again so that only now, as my vacation is about to begin, I can at last try to answer the more important letters.

I thank you very much for sending me the memorandum by Claus Peter Clausen, whom in fact I know as the author of the Schwarze Briefe (Black Letters). I can only say that the statements attributed to the Holy Father and me are freely invented.

With my best wishes for your manifold activities.

Josef Ratzinger

-pp. 82-83 of the Word document text of Davies' book.

Anselm said...

Furthermore, this should be enough to convince any orthodox Catholic that these "apparitions" are certainly spurious:

"Some of the messages are of very dubious orthodoxy. On 1 October 1981 the apparition announced: 'To God all religions are the same' using the Croatian word 'iste'. In a more detailed statement the apparition insists that all religions are equal:

'There is but one God for all people, but people have conjured up several religions. My Son is the one Mediator and Saviour of all people, but, as I see it, people get on well if they live their own religion well, if they follow their conscience.'

"Is Our Lady saying here that the Catholic religion was conjured up by men? How can a religion founded by the incarnation of God the Son be put on the same plane as religions conjured up by men?"

From p. 27 on the Word document text of Davies' book.

john konnor said...

Our life as catholics is a continous way of the cross... Jesus himself said...unless u pick up your cross and follow me you cannot be my his passion Jesus suffered a great deal, and love can only be repaid with the same coin...however we want to receive consolations yet we refuse to suffer for righteousness...this is wrong...medjugorje is based on good is spiritual gluttony is a diabolical deception...of course the devil wants conversions based on a subversion of the gospel message this is how he enters and destroys the edifice from within...people talk of good fruit however there is no good fruit ...the peel or rind of the fruit meaning the emotion is good yet the flesh of the fruit meaning the understanding and the intellect is bad in fact its rotten because it is defiled by the emotions... So there is no good fruit here...medjugorje is a sham


ANSELM misquoted Our Lady's words at Medjugorje. Here is a direct quote of the message of October 1, 1981:

Notice that Our Lady says "...all religions are NOT the same...."

"Are all religions the same? "Members of all faiths are equal before God. God rules over each faith just like a sovereign over his kingdom. In the world, all religions are not the same because all people have not complied with the commandments of God. They reject and disparage them."

Are all churches the same? "In some, the strength of prayer to God is greater, in others, smaller. That depends on the priests who motivate others to pray. It depends also on the power which they have."