Though opposed to the claims of apparitions in Medjugorje, local Bishop Ratko Peric says the town can be a Jerusalem and a site of the action of The Holy Spirit. Yet in the midst of a major building boom, the Bishop also warns the locals against turning Medjugorje into a modern Babylon.
Bishop Peric during Confirmations in Medjugorje on May 20. Photo: Mile Pavlovic, Brotnjo Online
Medjugorje can go in two different directions, and one of them will turn the village into a new Jerusalem and a place of the obvious action of God, local Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar told Confirmation candidates in St. James Church on May 20.
“You have the opportunity to make Jerusalem out of this parish, a place of action of the Spirit of God, where a multitude blends into unity, where each one understands everyone in God, and not in false wealth, where Peter’s word is heard: “Repent … and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2.39) Bishop Peric said in his sermon.
Bishop Ratko Peric with Medjugorje's parish priest Fr. Petar Vlasic on their way to the Confirmation on Sunday, May 20. Photo: Mile Pavlovic, Brotnjo Online
Since becoming the Bishop of Mostar in 1993, Ratko Peric has upheld the critical attitude towards Medjugorje and the claims of apparitions first taken by his predecessor Pavao Zanic, and before he mentioned the Jerusalem potential, Bishop Peric spoke at more length about Babylon whose inhabitants aimed at building a tower to Heaven (Genesis 11.4), only to have their languages confused so they could not understand each other any longer (Genesis 11.5.7).
“In Babylon the fruit is from the human spirit: incomprehension of speech, breaking down of unity, loss of name, ruin of the city, destruction of the tower. Misunderstanding and chaos! Misunderstanding and fuss! In Jerusalem the fruit is from God’s Spirit: unification, diversity of human gifts, respect of every language, nation and gift. Understanding and harmony” Bishop Peric lined up the two cities.
Visionary Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic attended the Confirmation Mass. Photo: Mile Pavlovic, Brotnjo Online
“Dear faithful, confirmands! You have the opportunity to turn this Medjugorje into Babylon, confusion and chaos; to show a false pride up to the clouds, to give in to the race for foreigners and their money, to allow tourism to flood and defeat you with a multitude of languages, to compete over who will build the most Babylonian floors and villas, over who will open a profitable business and get richer” the Bishop said, before outlining his positive Medjugorje scenario.
While Bishop Peric has full authority over pastoral and liturgical matters at Medjugorje, his predecessor had a Bishop’s usual authority over an acclaimed apparition in his diocese removed in 1986 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, today Pope Benedict XVI.
Upon refusing Bishop Pavao Zanic’s negative report of the Medjugorje apparitions, Cardinal Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, removed the Medjugorje case dossier from Bishop Zanic, to hand it over to the group of Yugoslavian Bishops.