Medjugorje is a small town in Bosnia. It is a Croatian enclave and during the Balkans Conflict was a base for the local militia for the ethnic cleansing of neighbouring Muslims. There was an extermination camp just down the road. As well as murdering innocent Muslims, it was noted for the most brutal internecine conflict, where local Croat families would happily butcher each other or hack off limbs as punishment for perceived crimes.
Whilst this was going on, the place was full of mostly American catholic pilgrims, because the biggest local income is the massive Franciscan basilica – as since the 1980’s there are kids, now adults, who claimed to be having visions of the Virgin Mary. The streets are lined with shops selling plastic virgins, and the special votive picture cards the militia sellotaped to the stocks of their AK47s.
The pilgrims didn’t seem to notice what was going on. Trucks would take Muslim men and boys through the streets to the concentration camp at night, told to close their eyes and turn away their heads so that they would not defile the shrine.
It is entirely possible that those trucks and the uniforms of the militia had been purchased (though unwittingly) by the loyal pilgrims – as revealed by an ITV documentary programme at the time.
But back to the visions, the longest such occurrence in Church history. And the local priests, who seemed to give support and organisation to the visionaries. The parish priest at the time was a Father Zovko. For more than ten years, this Franciscan ignored the commands of his superiors and the local bishop, continuing his ministry though he was banned from doing so. He has quietly been moved away now – perhaps to avoid the scandal when an American pilgrim said that he had sexually assaulted her, and then eleven other women came forward with similar stories. This priest had apparently been referred to as a ‘living saint’ by the Blessed Virgin herself, no less.
Another priest who was also praised by name by the Virgin was the spiritual director of the visionaries for a time - Father Tomislav, pictured above. Medjugorje cultists are now desperately trying to write him out of history. Not only was this priest moved to Italy for disobedience, he was eventually defrocked. What crime was he accused of, you ask? Obviously something much worse than sexual assault? Well, before the visions he had already got a nun pregnant (must have done that when the Virgin wasn’t looking). It wasn’t that. Father Tom was messing with the money. Sexual assault, you get disappeared quietly. Get clever with the cash and they throw the book at you.
It seems that the now Mr. Tom is having visions of his own. He has hooked up with an ex-nun from Medjugorje called Stefania Caterina who reveals that they have been called by angels (who are actually space aliens) to set up a ruling council of the Earth called the Central Nucleus. The visions at Medjugorje are just one part of this. The Earth will be invited to join a ‘galactic federation of planets’. Unfortunately for you Star trek fans out there, the command of the ‘star fleet’ has already been given to the humans from Alpha Centauri. The picture is the fleet commander, Ashtar Sharan. Obviously they have weird cameras in space.
If this wasn’t enough, there’s more. Make a space in your diary as the BVM will be beaming down at the Caritas Ranch in Birmingham, Alabama. If you Google Medjugorje you will hit their enormous web presence. This is a multi-million dollar organisation, identified on a cult watch list, which has been alleged to run as a good old fashioned Waco-style cult, with testimoniesfrom escapees about taking assets, splitting families, total personal control of the members (even banning mayonnaise!).
It is also very much linked with the extreme right wing of American politics. On their own radio station they have a programme called Mejunomics where they link the Virgin’s messages to US domestic and economic policy. They promote a devotion called The Patriotic Rosary where the usual chanted prayers are interspersed with the Star Spangled Banner, the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and for balance, a prayer by Robert E. Lee. They are very critical of Obama of course, for his Satan-inspired attempt to bring socialism into God’s country.
And at least once a year, up to two of the visionaries come here to have visions. And they are very well looked-after.
Despite all this, there are people who still believe that the visions are real. The poor visionaries have been misled or coerced into going to the Caritas Ranch. The accusations against the priests are false and it is the hierarchy of the church that is evil. But apply the Axe of Reason. The BVM didn’t know that Fr. Tomislav had made a nun pregnant back in 1977? The priest she praised so highly now claims that she is a manifestation of an alien intelligence? Fr. Zovko, the priest she dubbed a ‘living saint’ was at that time in direct disobedience against his superiors (even giving him the benefit of doubt on the sexual assault charges). And now, with people coming forward and telling their stories about Caritas, she actually appears there TO A SCHEDULE set by the organisers?
Or on the greater scale – that such crimes and horrors would go on in a town where the virgin is appearing – even in her name? I suppose some might even justify what was done – some of the things I’ve read published by the Franciscans currently stationed in the parish paint the Croats as the victims.
I should point out that the local bishops have always disassociated themselves from the visions, but still have said nothing and done nothing explicit to stop this nonsense – the local bishop has not spoken out against Caritas for example. This is especially important where these practices and cults actually use the fact that they haven’t been explicitly banned as tacit approval.
And now, more of the same. Here is our special guest star. Father Sudac. The Croat priest who bears the wounds of Christ (including a bleeding cross on his forehead, which seems to have gone as that might interfere with his beautifully sculpted eyebrows, dyed hair and beard). He might look like a cross between David Icke and Derren Brown but the church says that his wounds cannot be of ‘natural origin’. Why he wears all white, like the Pope, I have no idea. He has also released a pop album. What do you think of the cover?
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