Medjugorje Priest Defrocked

This just in--Fr. Tomislav Vlasic, a principal figure in publicizing the Medjugorje apparitions, has been defrocked. (HT: Thomas C. Fox at NCR.) A report from the London Telegraph is here.Here's the conclusion of the Telegraph's item:

[Under investigation on various charges,] [i]t emerged on Sunday that he has chosen to leave the priesthood and his order, a move which has brought the investigation to an abrupt halt.But the Pope has insisted that Father Vlasic observes a set of conditions on pain of excommunication which include a total ban on teaching Christian doctrine and giving spiritual direction.There is also an "absolute prohibition of releasing declarations on religious matters, especially regarding the phenomenon of Medjugorje".

But I wonder if we'll be hearing more from Vlasic. On one hand, if the man's merely a cynical exploiter, and the whole thing was a put-on, now he's lost the insider status that made it profitable for him--now comes the tell-all book perhaps.On the other hand, what if he isn't a fraud, and truly believes in the apparitions he did so much to publicize? Well, would you listen to the Pope's order not to speak about Medjugorje over what you believe was the Virgin Mary's command (through 6 schoolchildren) to do so? After all, he told John Paul II in 1984 that he was the one: "who through divine providence guides the seers of Medjugorje." Surely Mary's authority supervenes that of the Pope, right?Whatever the next act in this drama is, it should prove interesting.

Lisa Fullam is professor of moral theology at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. She is the author of The Virtue of Humility: A Thomistic Apologetic (Edwin Mellen Press).

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