Crkva na kamenu [The Church on the Rock], 11 January 2022
Today, 11 January 2022, on the 22nd anniversary of the death of Bishop Pavao Žanić, we are publishing the homily he gave in Medjugorje on 25 July 1981. The altered sermon will be mentioned first, in the way it has been published for years by those manipulating with Medjugorje, and then the entire passage on the Medjugorje phenomenon. All this has been published in the book by the retired Bishop Ratko Perić titled: Biskup Žanić o Međugorju [Bishop Žanić on Medjugorje], Mostar, 2021, pp. 54-63, here in abbreviated form:
Children that do not lie. “I am deeply convinced that no one has persuaded these children who say they have seen Our Lady. If it was only one child, it could be said: He’s hardheaded, so the police can’t get anything out of him. However, six innocent, simple children in half an hour, if someone persuaded them, would say all. None of the priests, I can assure and guarantee you, had any part or intention of persuading these children to do something… I am also convinced: The children are not lying! The children are saying exactly what is in their hearts… This is certain: The children are not lying.” This is what Fr. Ljudevit Rupčić OFM published.
Analysis. Father Rupčić does not refer to other sources, while Fr. Ivan Dugandžić refers to Fr. Rupčić. A surprising approach can be seen in the selection of the text from the bishop’s homily made by Fr. Rupčić and those who refer to him as the original source. There are dots between the last and the second last sentence of the excerpt of the bishop’s sermon in Rupčić’s text. The following important sentence of the bishop has been omitted: “Whether this is really their own experience or something supernatural, is difficult to say.” In this way, the bishop prudently distanced himself from passing a judgement on the authenticity of the “vision” as well as on the truthfulness of the “apparition” and on identifying what the children claim to be seeing. He openly says twice, convinced of the honesty of the oaths given by the 15-year-olds, that the children were not deceived at the time, and three times he says that children are not lying, i.e., they are experiencing something. Yet he reasonably and responsibly adds the question: whether this is their personal subjective experience or something supernatural on God’s part – time will reveal. This important and honest sentence of the bishop can be read in R. Laurentin’s French edition of 1986 and in the Italian translation of 1987. But who gave this text to Laurentin?
On the other hand, Fr. Ljudevit Rupčić does not include this important sentence in the Croatian typed text of 1985 or in the booklet of 1990. Neither was it included by Marija Dugandžić in 2001, or Mirjana S. Vasilj-Zuccarini in 2005, or Draga Vidović in 2010 or by Fr. Ivan Dugandžić 2020. Yet they all almost literally copy Rupčić.
Žanić – Dugandžić: According to the minutes of the meeting of the Diocesan Commission held in Mostar in 1985, the conversation on this topic between the bishop and Dugandžić who was a member of the Commission went as follows:
Bishop: “I said then [in the homily] that the children were speaking out of conviction, but now I would say that their conviction is mistaken!”
Fr. Ivan: “If you were of that conviction, then you naively went a bit far in your homily during the confirmation when you said, ‘the children are not lying’. There should have been more behind this for you to say that.”
Bishop: “What I said then was: ‘The children are really not lying. They are experiencing something, but it remains to be seen what they are experiencing.”
Fr. Ivan remained silent on this and forgot that the bishop pointed this out in such fashion that it be remembered and not censored and then trumpeted about like in Jericho, as has been the case now for decades, even in 2020: “The children are not lying!”
Father Rupčić and those around him who recorded from the tape and who adhere to this to this day, seem to want to catch the bishop in a contradiction: first he said three times that “the children are not lying”, and then due to blackmail from the Udba [Yugoslav communist secret police] and pressure from the diocesan clergy, he denied everything and started saying that the children were lying! Such a deliberate omission of the bishop’s prudent views in his first statement is properly called misuse and deception, a manipulation of a homily unworthy of Catholic priests, religious and Catholic lay people! To delete the bishop’s sentence and to use the second one which is otherwise connected to the first, is similar to the well-known dichotomy written in Holy Scripture: “There is no God”. But reading the whole sentence one can see: “The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 14:1). Father Rupčić even puts the word “Truth” in the title of his essay and brochure! And, after “censoring” the homilist, or censoring but not verifying, he added six harsh slanderous sentences against the bishop’s theological knowledge and mental health, two against authority, obedience to the Church and love towards religious. Censor and then manipulate, compromise and then falsely defame! And his crowning statement is probably the sixth slander: “and with unrestrained hatred of the Franciscans.” He declares and defames him as an uncontrollable hater of the Franciscans and hence, do you need any other evidence!?
Those promoting the “apparitions” of Medjugorje regularly quote only this passage from the manipulated homily of the bishop regarding the children, without the appendix which we have pointed out. And nothing other than this because they only need the bishop’s phrase: The children are not lying! It is as if the bishop dogmatically concluded: The children are not lying, hence Our Lady’s apparitions are true and credible, the messages are authentic and guaranteed. Yet, as we have seen, the Bishop rationally distances himself from the nature of children’s inner experiences, imaginations, and possible fantasies.
However, an Italian journalist in his book in 2017 and in an exclusive video, reveals the six-minute homily by bishop Žanić in Medjugorje, which refers only to the phenomena in Medjugorje, and which we quote here from the book:
A complete excerpt from the Bishop’s homily on the “phenomenon of Medjugorje” 25. VII. 1981, in Medjugorje: “Today I know that there are many here who are not from Medjugorje, from the parish of Medjugorje, who gathered here not only for the feast of St. James and the celebration of Confirmation, but also for the latest events in this parish. Everyone expects to hear what the bishop will say when he comes because the bishop is responsible for what happens in the Church. Your pastor said the same at the beginning when he greeted me, that I am praying for you and that I am responsible for you. I will do so, as much as I can now.
I must say right away that we are all saddened by the reporting from the press, which shows contempt for religion through inappropriate texts and insults. We forgive them because we are for love and are against hatred. But we feel sad. We also have our dignity and our belief, and if we were to talk about atheism to atheists in such fashion, and to write in the same way, they would say that we are against brotherhood, against love. This is not good. Hence, we forgive.
The second thing I would like to say is that somewhere someone wrote that the responsible church authorities in Mostar said that this was all superstition. Nobody asked me anything and I didn’t say anything. Therefore, this statement is also untrue.
I am deeply convinced that no one has persuaded these children, who say they have seen Our Lady. If it was only one child, it could be said: He is hardheaded, so the police can’t get anything out of him. However, six innocent, simple children in half an hour, if someone persuaded them, would say all. None of the priests, I can assure and guarantee you, had any part or intention of persuading these children to do something. And that is why these words are offensive and should be rebuffed. I am also convinced: The children are not lying! The children are saying exactly what is in their hearts. Whether this is really their own experience or something supernatural, is difficult to say. One thing is certain: The children are not lying. Those who have written about this problem do not know how to write theologically or philosophically at all. They then rashly conclude that there can be no more miracles after Jesus, and that one priest said this, and another said that. They come to the priests to inquire and question them, and then when they leave, they write inappropriately. The Church has always been careful to pronounce its judgment on such events. When Our Lady appeared in Lourdes, I could say that Bernadette’s first ‘enemy’ was the pastor, who later, when he saw what it was about, and the bishop who also saw what it was about, then truly became defenders of what was going on. I have been to Lourdes seven times and have led six pilgrimages.
I am truly and deeply convinced that Lourdes is a strong apology of our faith, a defense of our faith. Our Lady did not say anything new, for she has nothing new to say. All she does, everywhere in the world where she appears, is to bring us back and to admonish us to return to her Son Jesus Christ, his Gospel, and his Church. None of the priests, children or believers made any troubles. Everything here always happened spontaneously. I think the biggest propaganda was made by the media with their way of reporting. Yet there was nothing on the part of the faithful that would be contrary to the laws of this state. And if someone has done something, the state is free to punish him. But that was not the case here.
One thing is for sure: something has moved the souls. This is for sure! This is for sure! Confessions, prayers, and certainly forgiveness and reconciliation among you, are certainly the most positive things that can be, and be stated with certainty. Let us leave everything else to Our Lady, let us leave it to Jesus Christ, to His Church, which will surely one day be able to say something about all this. For now, we stand on a solid foundation – Jesus Christ.”
Analysis. Two of the Bishop’s views are evident from this sermon: initially, he resolutely, based on his conversation with the children four days earlier (doc. N. 3), defends the Franciscan Fathers that they did not up till then manipulate the children, that they did not entice people to rebel against the state, and that those responsible for the troubles are the journalists and the communist press. Later on, the Bishop will confirm all this with an even stronger and more courageously written letter to the President of the state, on 1 September (doc. 8). Secondly, the children are experiencing something personal, and are expressing it in an external way, however, is this just their personal, private imaginative experience, or something objective, supernatural, an apparition of Our Lady, well, on this the Church will make its final judgment. In his sermon, the Bishop also pointed out three times what he would repeat at least another five times up until Christmas of 1981, explaining the essential difference between a possible childish experience and a possible heavenly phenomenon.
Fr. Ivan Dugandžić, the author of the book Međugorje u očima mjesnih biskupa Žanića i Perića na temelju dostupnih dokumenata [Medjugorje through the Eyes of the local Bishops Žanić and Perić on the Basis of Available Documents], Medjugorje, 2020, p. 32, quotes the Bishop’s quote from the sermon and omits what Rupčić also omitted:
– Whether this is really their own experience or something supernatural, is difficult to say.
– The Church has always been careful to pronounce its judgment on such events.
– Let us leave everything else to Our Lady, let us leave it to Jesus Christ, to His Church, which will surely one day be able to say something about all this. For now, we stand on a solid foundation – Jesus Christ.
Dugandžić skips this after hearing bishop Žanić before the Commission in May of 1985: “What I said then was: ‘The children are really not lying.’ They are experiencing something, but it remains to be seen what they are experiencing.” If this is not what was literally said, the sense is the same.
Fr. Ivan Dugandžić could have had the “available document” stating that it is difficult to say whether this is “a personal experience or something supernatural” after P. Brosio exclusively published that passage of the homily in his book and video with audio recording in 2017.[12 ]
Therefore, the publication of the famous homily of bishop Žanić at the Confirmation on the feast of St. James on 25 July 1981, with only a short clip of a few snippets, with two sets of dotted lines, always provoked even more questions and ambiguities.
The main question was: Why didn’t those who recorded the Bishop’s homily publish it in full regarding the Medjugorje phenomenon (6 minutes) and not partially, with dots? Why not let the whole homily be judged on it, and not just one or another extracted sentence or passage that corresponds to someone’s imagined thesis? Did the Bishop give any broader interpretation as he regularly did in each of his declarations and public statements? We have seen that he did, not once but three times, which serves to his honor and to the dishonor of his manipulators!
When it became clear to the Bishop at the end of 1981 that the children were lying that the true Madonna had appeared to them, and that they were talking such nonsense, and that there were so many false statements in all these Medjugorje “pseudo-messages” regarding the Bishop’s blame in the “Case of Herzegovina”, it would be real blasphemy to attribute any of this to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and against her faithful and loyal devotee. The objective researcher of the phenomenon therefore spontaneously asks himself: perhaps the one speaking and sending such ungodly messages, is one of her adversaries, an opposite, a liar, an antipode who is under her feet?
 Lj. Rupčić, Istina o Međugorju (Kritički osvrt na stav biskupa Žanića: “La Posizione attuale /non ufficiale/ della Curia vescovile di Mostar nei confronti degli eventi di Medjugorje”), daktiloskript, bez oznake godine, s vlastitim potpisom na 30. stranici, slijede bilješke do 33. stranice, citat: p. 6. Objavljeno kao knjižica, Istina o Međugorju. U povodu pamfleta biskupa Žanića, Humac, 1990., citat: p. 21. [a typescript paper with no year indicated, signed by the author on page 30, followed by footnotes up to page 33, quote: p. 6. Published as a booklet, The Truth about Medjugorje. Regarding the Pamphlet of Bishop Žanić, Humac, 1990, quote: p. 21.]  M. Dugandžić (prir.), Međugorje u Crkvi, Međugorje, 2001., p. 52 – poziva se na dr. Rupčića, Istina o Međugorju, p. 21. [M. Dugandžić (editor), Medjugorje in the Church, Medjugorje, 2001., on p. 52 – he quotes dr. Rupčić, The Truth about Medjugorje, p. 21.]  R. Laurentin, Medjugorje Recit et chronologie des apparitions, Paris, 1986., p. 71.
 R. Laurentin, Racconto e messaggio delle apparizioni di Medjugorje, Brescia, 1987., p. 77.
 M. Dugandžić (editor). Međugorje u Crkvi, p. 52.
 M. Stanislava Vasilj-Zuccarini, Gospin poziv iz Međugorja, 62005., p. 79.
 D. Vidović, Spasenje čovječanstva: ukazanja Kraljice mira od 24. lipnja 1981. do danas, Međugorje – Bijakovići, 2010., p. 110.
 I. Dugandžić, Međugorje u očima mjesnih biskupa Žanića i Perića na temelju dostupnih dokumenata, Međugorje, 2020., p. 32. Ne donosi izvora. [No sources listed].
 Zapisnik sjednice koju je održala Komisija pri Biskupskom Ordinarijatu u Mostaru za ispitivanje događaja u Međugorju od 30. do 31. svibnja 1985. godine, citat: p. 12. Vidi također: I. Dugandžić, nav. dj., pp. 134-135.
 Hrvatski daktiloskript 1985. nema tih kleveta u Zaključku. A daktiloskript u talijanskom prijevodu iz 1985. ima: p. 112, kao što ima i knjiško izdanje na hrvatskom 1990., p. 123. [A Croatian typescript paper published in 1985 which does not contain slanderous remarks in the Conclusion. Yet the typescript translation in Italian of 1985 reveals them on: p. 112, as does the Croatian book form of 1990 on: p. 123.]  P. Brosio, Il Papa e Medjugorje, Casale Monferrato, 2017., pp. 49-51.
 https://www.facebook.com/brosio.paolo/videos/grande-esclusiva-nei-nostri-social-per- la-prima-volta-il-vide/1595386047169389/ [26.2.2021.].
Izvor: Crkva na kamenu