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THE "CONFIRMATION" IN CAPLJINA AND THE "CHARISMA" OF MEDJUGORJE

     Anonymous. The Slobodna Dalmacija daily, of October 6, 1997, on page 4, published an article written by three journalists, that on Sunday October 5th, 1997, at the parish of Capljina in the diocese of Mostar-Duvno, an anonymous so-called bishop, from an anonymous country, anonymous diocese and of anonymous origin, held a "confirmation".  Others add that he spoke German, and that a Franciscan, who is unlawfully present in Capljina, translated for him into Croatian.  The hosts felt it unnecessary to present the unlawful "minister of confirmation" to the faithful, and the illegal guest didn't deem it essential to present himself either, except for the following:  "I come to you from a far away, yet beautiful country.  My homeland is more than a thousand miles from your lovely country and your beautiful city", as reported by the SD.

     The holy sacraments are lawfully and legitimately conferred by the competent ministers who are united to the Church, according to the precepts of Canon Law, and who have a sincere intention, with the foreknowledge of the participants and the permission of the local bishop.  Where there is force and deceit, there is no sacrament.  We always invite the candidates for confirmation to be courageous witnesses for Christ, yet here the "minister of confirmation" himself has been hidden behind a veil of anonymity and secrecy!

     Hired.  To such "shepherds", Jesus would say:  "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber" (Jn 10:1).

     The anonymous guest in Capljina did not enter the Church through the main doors, because for 15 months now, a brick wall has been built up in front of them blocking the entry of the legitimate pastors of the Church.  This guest jumped in from the other side, rejecting every Christian tradition, all norms of courtesy and neglecting the specific law of the Church.  They say he even carried the signs of the bishop's office, a mitre and crosier, which no normal bishop of the Catholic Church would ever do on the territory of another diocese without the express permission of the local bishop.

     Irresponsible.  If a bishop of the church is truly involved, then he surely knows in what kind of illegal activity he has fallen into with his illegitimate church "favour".  Church law states that a bishop outside his diocese cannot administer confirmation without the "express or at least reasonably presumed consent of the local Ordinary"  (can. 390).  In this case, the Slobodna Dalmacija specifically published (SD October 3, 1997, p. 15), that the local Ordinary did not grant permission for confirmation in the parish of Capljina to any bishop or priest.  A confirmation for the candidates of Capljina was held in June of last year.  There was a confirmation this year as well in June, and another is scheduled during the school year.  This anonymous guest certainly knows the norms of the Church.  He even mentions the local bishop and his motives:  "Your bishop has his reasons for not doing this and I do not wish to pass judgement on this".  On the other hand, the guest says about himself:  "I wish to emphasize that I too have my reasons for being here today in Capljina".  He apparently also spoke with Rome:  "I also tried in Rome to contribute towards finding a happy solution for this situation, but my efforts, for what I know, have remained unsuccessful".  The unlawful stranger doesn't mention with whom he spoke, what he suggested and why his "efforts" have remained "unsuccessful".  How can he then neglect the Holy See and do as he pleases in the areas of governance and the sacraments in another diocese and a different country?

     "Spiritually unhappy."  Yet the anonymous guest reveals a secret about himself.  He only mentions one place that he is coming from: Medjugorje!  From his words one understands that he is a regular visitor of Medjugorje: "I came to your homeland for the first time ten years ago.  The reason for that each time I came home after visiting Medjugorje, I felt happier and more peaceful.  But last year I came home quite sad and spiritually unhappy.  The real reason for my uneasiness and great sadness were these walled-up doors of your church in Capljina.  Even though this sign written in five languages speaks all for itself, I continued asking friends for more news on the situation" (SD of October 6th, 1997).

     After this type of testimony and actions of the "minister of confirmation", the Medjugorje fanatics should probably avoid warning the local bishop of the importance of separating the problem of Medjugorje from the problem of Capljina, the "case of Medjugorje" from the "case of Herzegovina!"  This anonymous, irresponsible, hired, "unhappy spirit" wishes to solve the "case of Capljina" whilst coming from Medjugorje!  He is coming to the aid of Franciscans who are unlawfully residing in Capljina, who are disobeying the Decree of the Holy See, neglecting the decisions of the Franciscan Order, and ignoring the norms of the local Church as mentioned in the distancing declaration of the "ad instar" provincial dr. fra Tomislav Pervan (SD, October 7th, 1997).  The unlawful "Monsignor" of Capljina (that's how they say he was referred to in the canon of the Mass!) initially inspired by the spirit of Medjugorje with "peace and happiness", and then later on with sadness and great unhappiness, upon seeing that things are not going the way he and those who invited him would like them to go, is now working against unity, peace and order, against the regulations and canons of God's Church, and he's also abusing the sacrament of the Holy Spirit.  Medjugorje transmitted the first "messages" 15 years ago, when in January 1982, the so-called "Madonna" through one of the "seers" got involved in a question of the jurisdiction of the local Church by defending some disobedient Franciscan chaplains and rebuking the local bishop Pavao, that he made a "reckless decision".  The "seer" used an even harsher word in her description!  And now, Medjugorje has spiritually inspired an unlawful "minister of confirmation" who goes to Capljina to dissolve Church unity and to deceive hundreds of candidates for confirmation.

     Canonical and non-canonical.  On Sunday October 5, 1997, we were at Our Lady's national Shrine in Marija Bistrica.  We participated in the enthronement ceremonies of the new Military Ordinary in the Republic of Croatia.  Before this event, all the bishops participated in the solemn diocesan and episcopal celebrations in Pozega, Varazdin and Zagreb cathedral church.  Everyone has delighted to witness these events occurring as they should, with the Papal Decree being read aloud, the crosier handed over and Mass beginning with the new bishop presiding.  Yet what would have happened if a certain priest, religious or mayor of the city had jumped out of the crowd and grabbed the crosier from archbishop Bozanic or bishop Skvorcevic and said:  "This is mine!  This is my diocese!"  Everyone would have remained breathless.  The Police would probably have had to intervene and the sick person would have been sent to hospital.  In Capljina, the sick person had a mitre on his head during Mass - even during the canon, if we are to believe the witnesses.  St. Paul once said even to those he ordained, "Fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.  Therefore be alert..." (Acts 20, 29-31.  "Wolves" from the outside and "heretics" from the inside!  Hence, it is impossible not to react to such abuse, scandal and lawlessness!

     I truly feel sorry for the Catholic faithful of Capljina, especially those who are refugees and the candidates for confirmation, whose parents have constantly inquired:  Will there be a confirmation?  Will it be lawful and valid?  We instructed the Christian consciences to follow the norms of the Church.  A few listened and these deserve credit.  We have no other choice than to await that the Peter of our days by his supreme authority, place the disorderly into order, and to pray that the Holy Spirit enlightens the pats(?) and hearts of all!

     Mostar, October 7, 1997

+ Ratko Peric
bishop of Mostar-Duvno
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