Tomislav Vlašić

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Tomislav Vlašić, formerly Rev. Father Tomislav Vlašić, OFM, (born January 16, 1942)[1] is a former Franciscan friar and Catholic priest from Bosnia and Herzegovina. From 1981 on, he was spiritual director to the seers of the alleged Marian apparitions of Medjugorje. In 2009 he was laicized after accusations of sexual misconduct.[2]

Life and career[edit]

Čapljina[edit]

Vlašić was ordained a Franciscan priest in the former Yugoslavia in 1969, and became the associate pastor of a parish in Čapljina.[1] In 1976 Vlašić had an affair with a Franciscan nun, Sr. Rufina, in violation of Canon 132 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law.[3] When Rufina became pregnant, Vlasic sent her to Germany and urged her to keep his paternity a secret. She gave birth to their son in 1977. Her letters to Vlašić fell into the hands of her landlord, who sent them to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, a personal friend of his, at the Holy See.

In 1981 Vlašić went to Rome to participate in an international meeting of the Charismatic movement. There he was told by Sr. Briege McKenna, in an alleged prophecy, that he would become the center of a great movement with the help of the Virgin Mary. When reports of Marian apparitions emerged from the village of Medjugorje that same year, Vlašić left his assignment at Čapljina for Medjugorje without the permission of the local bishop,[1] in violation of Canon 127.[4]

Medjugorje[edit]

Vlašić immediately involved himself in the alleged Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Medjugorje, presenting himself as the spiritual director of the visionaries. He maintained a handwritten chronicle of the alleged apparitions and the messages arising from them. Also, he substituted for the pastor of the parish, Fr. Jozo Zovko, when the latter was jailed by Communist authorities.

Vitina[edit]

In 1984, Vlašić was transferred to a parish in Vitina. He wrote to a friend in the Vatican the following year, complaining about the bishop of Mostar, “It would be necessary to get all the others involved (intellectuals, theologians, bishops, cardinals...). We have to admit that Satan can also work through the structures of the Church.”[1]

Italy[edit]

Vlašić left Vitina in 1987 to go to northern Italy with German laywoman Agnes Heupel, to found, with the help of the visionary Marija Pavlovic,[5] a mixed-sex association inspired by the apparitions of Medjugorje, with the name Kraljice mira, potpuno smo tvoji. Po Mariji k Isusu ("Queen of Peace, we are all yours: to Jesus through Mary").[1]

On July 11, 1988, Pavlovic wrote a statement withdrawing a previous claim of divine approval for the community, stating "before God, before the Madonna and the Church of Jesus Christ. Everything that can be understood as a confirmation or approval of this Work of Fr. Tomislav and Agnes Heupel, on the part of the Madonna through me, absolutely does not correspond to the truth and furthermore the idea that I had a spontaneous desire to write down this testimony is also not true."[1]

That same year, the bishop of Parma ordered the association to close. However, Vlašić founded houses of the association in four other dioceses, including at Medjugorje, with the help of laywoman Stefania Caterina. Caterina became the deputy head of the association.[5]

Laicization[edit]

In 2008, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) informed Vlašić that he was under investigation "for the diffusion of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspected mysticism, disobedience towards legitimately issued orders" and charges of sexual misconduct ("contra sextum") and ordered him to stay at a Franciscan monastery in Lombardy, take a course of theological and spiritual formation, not have contact with the "Queen of Peace..." association, not get involved in juridical contracts or acts of administration, and not engage in preaching, spiritual direction, public statements, or performing the sacrament of confession, under pain of incurring the penalty of automatic interdict.[6] In May 2008, CDF informed Bishop Ratko Perić of Mostar that Vlašić had incurred the penalty of automatic interdict.[7] Father Tomislav Vlasic was subsequently laicised by Pope Benedict XVI.[8]

Central Nucleus[edit]

On February 11, 2012, Caterina and Vlašić made a video[9] about Central Nucleus, a New Age movement that combines private revelation and Catholic theology with pseudoscience and astrology.[10] Caterina stated that she and Vlašić joined the movement in 2002.[5] New Age and astrology are forbidden by the Catholic Church.[11][12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Ante Luburić (31 August 2008). "Fra Tomislav Vlašić "within the context of the Medjugorje phenomenon"". Diocese of Mostar. 
  2. ^ Colina, Jesús. "Former Medjugorje Priest Laicized", Zenit, 29 July 2009
  3. ^ 1917 Code of Canon Law (Latin) Can. l32. par. 1. Clerici in maioribus ordinibus constituti a nuptiis arcentur et servandae castitatis obligatione ita tenentur, ut contra eandem peccantes sacrilegii quoque rei sint, salvo praescripto can. 214, par. 1.
    • Sacrilege This sacrilege may be committed chiefly in three ways:...by any sin against the vow of chastity on the part of those who are consecrated to God — such are those in sacred orders (in the Latin Church) and religious, even those with simple vows, if these are perpetual. The weight of opinion amongst moralists is that this guilt is not contracted by the violation of a privately made vow. The reason seems to be that, while there is a breach of faith with Almighty God, still such a vow, lacking the indorsement and acceptance of the Church, does not make the person formally a sacred one; it does not in the juridical sense set such an one apart for the worship of God. It need hardly be noted that the partners of sacred persons in sins of this kind are to be adjudged equally guilty of sacrilege even though their status be a purely lay one.
  4. ^ 1917 Code of Canon Law (Latin) Can. 127. Omnes clerici, praesertim vero presbyteri, speciali obligatione tenentur suo quisque Ordinario reverentiam et obedientiam exhibendi.
    • Cleric Clerics are bound to obey their diocesan bishops in all matters determined by the canon law. Various Roman decisions have declared that by his ordinary authority, the bishop cannot oblige clerics to render to him any service not expressed in the canons. While the obligation of obedience is binding on all clerics, it is strengthened for priests by the solemn promise made at ordination, and for all holders of benefices by the canonical oath. The obligation to be subject to the bishop in lawful matters is not, however, a vow.
  5. ^ a b c Marco Corvaglia. "Medjugorje: A Revised and Corrected Millenarianism?". 
  6. ^ Simon Caldwell (5 Sep 2008). "Vatican disciplines ex-spiritual director to Medjugorje visionaries". Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on 9 September 2008. 
  7. ^ Ratko Perić (31 August 2008). "Canonical Status of Rev. Father Tomislav Vlašić, OFM". Diocese of Mostar. 
  8. ^ Caldwell, Simon. "Pope Benedict XVI unfrocks Medjugorje priest", The Telegraph, 27 July 2009
  9. ^ Stefania Caterina (11 Feb 2012). Il Nucleo Centrale. 
  10. ^ "Towards the New Creation". Luci dell'Esodo. 
  11. ^ Jacobi, Maximilian. "Astrology." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 2. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 16 November 2015
  12. ^ A Christian Reflection on the New Age An adequate Christian discernment of New Age thought and practice cannot fail to recognize that, like second and third century gnosticism, it represents something of a compendium of positions that the Church has identified as heterodox.