Franciscans expelled from Medjugorje and the whole diocese of Mostar are still in occupation a year later.

By

Michael Mark, Catholic commentator. Feb. 2000

 The Franciscans who claim to be serving Our Lady at Medjugorje have been formally expelled from the local diocese of Mostar and Duvno. The expulsion was made by both the Bishop of Mostar, Mgr. Peric and the Farther General of the Order of Friars Minor (OFM) and took effect 21st. February 1999. The joint expulsion was approved by the Vatican. The rebel Franciscans continuing control of many parishes in the diocese is an act of defiance and is, in effect, theft. Not a good indication of doing Godís will !

The expulsion of all Franciscans from the diocese of Mostar is in addition to the expulsion from the Order of Friars Minor of two priests who refused to hand over the parish of Capljina in 1996. Fr. Boniface Barbaric and Fr. Bozo Rados were given notice of expulsion from the Order. This was confirmed in March 1998.

These expulsions follow the refusal of the Franciscans to accept the formal declaration of the Bishop of Mostar that nothing supernatural has happened at Medjugorje. According to the normal procedure in these matters, the Vatican acceptance of the conclusions of these investigations is, de facto, approval of their conclusions. To those who say that the Vatican has yet to pronounce on the claims from Medjugorje or that the Vatican has not condemned them, this formal expulsion of the Franciscan promoters is a clear sign of the rejection of Medjugorje by the Vatican.

Translations of the formal documents of expulsion follow. Their authenticity can be confirmed through the Vatican department of The Congregation for the Religious quoting the Protocol numbers given. A local Bishop may do it for the reader.

Congregation for the Religious

Prot. No. 32343/97

Holy Father, the Father General of the OFM beseeches your Holiness to confirm the decree for the expulsion from the aforesaid order of Father Boniface Petar Barbaric, pronounced on 2nd March 1993 by the Father General for the reasons mentioned below.

The Congregation for the Religious, having carefully considered the matters set out below, confirms the aforesaid decree for the expulsion from the aforesaid order of Father Boniface Petar Barbaric as requested., in conformity with the provisions of Canons 696/700 of the Code of Canon Law on the grounds of his unauthorized absence [that is to say, from the House of his Order], all the consequences prescribed by Canons 701 and 702 of the Code of Canon Law moreover ensuing.

Nihil contra obstante

Vatican City, 23rd March 1998

O.D. Di Odoardo CP, Jesus Torres CMF,

Principal of the Section Undersecretary

Copy confirmed to the original, Fr. Antonio Riccio

 

Congregation for the Religious

Prot. No. 32344/97

Holy Father, the Father General of the OFM beseeches your Holiness to confirm the decree for the expulsion from the aforesaid order of Father Bozo Rados pronounced on 2nd March 1993 by the Father General for the reasons mentioned below.

The Congregation for the Religious, having carefully considered the matters set out below, confirms the aforesaid decree for the expulsion from the aforesaid order of Father Bozo Rados as requested, in conformity with the provisions of Canons 696/700 of the Code of Canon Law on the grounds of his unauthorized absence [that is to say, from the House of his Order], all the consequences prescribed by Canons 701 and 702 of the Code of Canon Law moreover ensuing.

Nihil contra obstante

Vatican City, 23rd March 1998

O.D. Di Odoardo CP, Jesus Torres CMF,

Principal of the Section Undersecretary

Copy conformed to the original, Fr. Antonio Riccio

 

 

General Curia of the Friars Minor

Via Santa Maria Mediatrice 25

00165 Rome

Italy

Rome, 21st November 1998

Msgr Ratko Peric,

The Episcopal Residence,

88000 Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Prot.. No. 087753

My Lord Bishop,

It was agreed at the meeting held at the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples on 10th November that I was to inform you if decrees were made for the expulsion of Brother Boniface P. Barbaric and Brother Bozo Rados from the Order of Friars Minor. I now write to inform you how the matter has unfolded.

The General Minister, Brother Hermann Schaluck, and the Bishop of Mostar and Duvno, Msgr Peric, had decided that, in order to bring into effect the Decree Romanis Pontificibus, the parish of Capljina, formerly entrusted to the Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, would from 12th May 1996 be handed over for the Bishop to dispose of at his unfettered discretion. Accordingly, no Franciscan was authorized to reside within that parish and carry out pastoral duties within it. This was made known to all Franciscans in the Province.

Brother Boniface P. Barbaric and Brother Bozo Rados declined to be transferred, and remained in Capljina, despite repeated and authoritative requests and orders to the contrary.

Since they have persisted in disobedience, the procedure for their expulsion from the Order was set in train. On 28th February 1998 a general consistory of the Order voted unanimously in secret ballot to expel Brother Boniface P. Barbaric and Brother Bozo Rados of the Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Order of Friars Minor, in accordance with the provisions of section 1 of Canon 699.

The Congregation for the Religious confirmed the decrees for the expulsion of the above mentioned brothers on 23rd March 1998.

Since there is no record of their having lodged any appeal in the time fixed for so doing, the decrees take effect according to the canon, with the result that Brother Boniface P. Barbaric and Brother Bozo Rados no longer belong to the Order of Friars Minor.

Your respectful servant in the Lord,

Fr. Antonio Riccio OFM,

Procurator General

 

To all Priests, Religious and Faithful

In the Diocese of Mostar Duvno

On the eve of Advent, as we prepare to celebrate Christmas, wishing you abundant peace and prosperity, we announce the decision made in Rome on 10th November 1998 at the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples. Together with Cardinal Joseph Tomkoni, the Prefect, and Archbishop Marcello Zago, the secretary of that Congregation, we, the undersigned, the Bishop of Mostar and Duvno and the Father General of the Order of Friars Minor were present, both charged with carrying into effect the decree Romanis Pontificibus, which was, as is well known, confirmed by Pope Paul VI in special form in 1975 and confirmed by the reigning Sovereign Pontiff, John Paul II. Also present were two members of the diocesan clergy from Mostar and four Franciscans representing the General Curia and the Herzegovinian Province. It was unanimously agreed that at the beginning of next Lent, that is to say, Sunday 21st February 1999, the OFM would be placed at the disposal of the bishop of the diocese the parishes mentioned in the Papal Decree.

We are conscious of the acknowledged historic contribution of the OFM to the life of the Church in Herzegovina. They have a part in the spiritual garden of the diocese and its very Catholic identity. We therefore count on the Franciscans for the future too. More than a century ago, in the year 1881, Pope Leo XIII re-established the diocese of Mostar-Duvno, setting up a regular hierarchy. Since then vocations to the secular and religious clergy have enriched the local church ever more. Co-operation in a spirit of unity appears all the more important on that account, under the leadership of the ordinary (bishop) of the diocese, sharing pastoral work, and assisting [doticne karizme].

So with renewed strength we continue along the way of the Church which we wish to be steeped in mutual respect and esteem, brotherly co-operation and unity between the religious and secular clergy.

Making known to you this agreement, we call upon you all, lay faithful, monks and nuns, secular and religious clergy, who are all the children of the same heavenly Father, that they should foster ever more the spirit of common good in the unity of the local church which exists in Herzegovina. We particularly stress to every parish community and to each individual believer who belongs to it that each and every one should advance that necessary brotherly unity, avoiding damaging divisions. Just as in the whole church, so in the diocese of Mostar-Duvno, each and every community of Catholic believers must work in unity with the bishop.

Renewing our commitment for the good of the Church as a whole and locally, we have before our eyes and vigorously commend both the particular pastoral service of the secular clergy and the special gifts of the Franciscan religious.

There is a case in which, after repeated admonitions of the men in question by their lawful superiors, Holy Church has confirmed the expulsion from the Franciscan order of two religious who used to belong to the Herzegovinian Province, but who sadly, declined to keep their vow of obedience. We pray to the Holy Ghost to enlighten them, so that they can find the way back to full unity with the Church.

Our heavenly Father to whom the coming year of preparation for the great jubilee of the year 2000 urges us to ever more perfect unity with Himself and one another in the Church, which is a sign and instrument of that unity throughout the world. May Saint Joseph, the head of the Holy Family, and protector of the dioceses of Mostar Duvno, together with Mary, the most holy Mother of God, unite us before the Saviourís crib, which was particularly dear to Saint Francis, as it is to us all.

Rome, 16 November 1998

Fr. Giacomo Bini +Ratko Peric

General Minister OFM Bishop of Mostar-Duvno

 

Implementation of the Decree Romanis Pontificibus

Notice

On 13th and 14th December, the General Minister of the Order of Friars Minor, Father Giacomo and Msgr Ratko Peric, Bishop of Mostar and Duvno, as the persons charged with carrying the Decree Romanis Pontificibus into effect, met in Mostar in the presence of a representative of the Holy See, Archbishop Marcello Zago, Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of the Peoples, and of the Provincial of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina, Father Tomislav Pervan.

Joint meetings with a section of the diocesan clergy and of the Franciscans took place in a brotherly atmosphere of unity both at local level and with the whole Church.

In the course of the above mentioned meetings the question of the transfer of the parishes mentioned in the Decree to the administration of the diocesan clergy was dealt with energetically. Both sides undertook their transfer in accordance with canon law, the decisions of the general minister and his [definitorij] and the Provincial.

The Holy See and the Order are well aware of the steps that are being taken. Disobedient Franciscans should know that they are liable to be punished according to Canon Law and the rules of their Order. It is desired that the Decree should at long last be implemented for the good of the Church, the diocese, the Franciscan province, and, above all, the faithful.

We remind Christian believers that sacraments which they receive from the condemned Franciscans are invalid.

It is important that all, both clerics and the faithful, should see the local bishop, who is working with the secular and religious clergy, as the centre and object of diocesan ecclesiastical life.

A special appeal is made to all members of the community in this diocese, which has always been faithful to the Catholic Church, to follow the precepts of the Holy Father, the Holy See and the authorities which they have appointed, in a spirit of brotherly unity with one another, for the sake of spiritual and temporal progress in this diocese which the Pope loves, and whose affairs he is closely following.

Mostar, 14th December 1998

+ Marcellow Zago OMI

+ Ratko Peric

Father Giacomo Bini, OFM