There is a big controversy around Fr. Jozo Zovko o.f.m. He was the curate in Medjugorje when the “apparitions” started in June of 1981. Already on October 21 1981 the “Gospa” said that Zovko is a “saint”. But in reality this Franciscan has been suspended already twice. The first time by bishop Zanic on August 23 1989(diocesan letter Nr. 622/89) and a second time by bishop Peric on June 14 1994 (diocesan letter Nr. 423/94).
Many Medjugorje-fans go crazy when they hear about these suspensions of their ‘saint’, but nobody has the courage to put these two questions to Fr. Jozo :
1- Is it true that you have been suspended?
2- For what reason have you been suspended?
Let’s now try to answer these delicate questions.
fact (that Jozo has been suspended) has already been published in many
languages i.e. French, Italian, English, German and Dutch… on more than 10
Fr. Slavko Barbaric (another Franciscan already declared ‘saint’ by the Gospa
one day after his death !) confirmed in a
tape-recorded interview with
Peric himself spoke during a tape-recorded interview with
In 1994 already Mgr. Peric had sent the ‘declarata’ to Jozo himself and warned all dioceses of Bosnia-Hercegovina and put the official publication in his diocesan bulletin “Crkva na Kamenu“ (“ The Church on the Rock”)
question : Why was
Jozo suspended in 1989 by bishop Zanic? Officially it was not mentioned,
but insiders do know. In 1986 already a Dutch business-man who lived in
At that time Mark was shocked and scandalized by “such a slander”. But later more and more such rumors came to his ears. In the summer of 1989 an American girl came to him and told him with all details how Jozo had sexually assaulted her. Next day Mark went to Tihaljina to confront Jozo with this story. Zovko denied everything but was pale and in a terrible state. He trembled and accused his good friend Mark (since 1984 he was Mark’s confessor) of bringing him such a situation while the church was full of pilgrims waiting for his service. He lied 3 times about the girl and forced Anka swear that nothing had happened. Anka was one of the 4 young girls (!) who lived together with this Franciscan in that time in the parish of Tihaljina. Mark was very worried about Jozo’s behavior.
Next day, after praying in front of the Blessed Sacrament in Medjugorje, he decided to walk (partially barefoot) the 32 km. to Tihaljina. But this time Jozo had regained his composure. In spite of the severe burns of Mark’s feet (that resulted in 10 days of hospital) , Jozo was cynical and laughed at him. After that, Jozo said that Mark and all the girls and women who accused him are crazy.
When Mark told the whole story to the then curate of Medjugorje, Fr. Leonard Orec, this colleague of Jozo seemed unconcerned. Meanwhile the American girl told her nightmare to her confessor, the American Father Philip Pavic.
Father Pavic contacted Mark and told him that he had heard different but similar accusations against Jozo earlier. Pavic was really puzzled and told Jozo’s sex-problem to Fr. Svetozar Kraljevic, who immediately shouted our two times : “He did it AGAIN!”
Father Pavic confronted Jozo with accusations from other women, but Zovko denied everything. Mark later spoke to Frs. Ljudevit Rupcic and Slavko Barbaric about ‘Medjugorje’s best kept secret”. These two Franciscans seemed to be very embarrassed with the whole problem around Jozo.
Bishop Peric told Mark (on tape-recorder) that since it was forbidden by Bishop Zanic in 1989 for Jozo to hear confessions but since Jozo still continued disobediently, that Jozo was suspended ‘latae sententiae’ (automatically) a divinis because of pertinacious disobedience.
Other Sex Problems in Medjugorje
Jozo Zovko is not the only Franciscan in Medjugorje having sex-problems. According
to Bishop Zanic, Fr. Tomislav Vlasic (the creator of
Medjugorje), made Sister Rufina ( Manda Kozul) pregnant in
1976. The child “Toni” was born in
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The following is the English language text of the concluding segment of the letter sent by the Diocesan Bishop of Mostar, Msgr. Ratko Perić, to Fra Jozo Zovko OFM on 26 June 2004, Prot. N. 843/2004, containing the Bishop’s decision to prohibit Fr. Zovko from exercising all priestly functions in the Diocese. The full text of the letter was published earlier in the Vrhbosna, Official Newsletter of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina in N. 3/2004, pp. 293-298.
You go one step further by stating in your two letters that “it undoubtedly follows that by hearing the confessions of the faithful in the Diocese or throughout the world, I am not violating any law of the Church”, thereby denying everything that the previous Bishop Msgr. Žanić decreed, which I then reaffirmed and publicized on many occasions, as has been mentioned.
Besides this, you mistakenly conclude that I am not ready to offer you any pastoral duty on the territory of these dioceses and therefore you consider that it would be “ineffective” to have a “meeting and conversation”. What I sought from you was to fulfill some concrete conditions beforehand, which you did not do, as is mentioned above.
Hence, your interpretation of “Medjugorje” is not in accord with the decision and the request of the Congregation.
Furthermore, in accordance with the norms of the Code of Canon Law, particularly can. 1336 § 1 n. 2, and can. 1338 § 2, to defend this local Church from your abuse, whilst not entering into the religious discipline of your congregation, and having in mind your constant disobedience in this local Church and your lack of respect towards the decisions of the Diocesan Bishops, I hereby declare that within the territory of the Dioceses of Mostar-Duvno and Trebinje-Mrkan, you have no faculties to exercise any priestly functions, especially no faculty to hear confessions.
As the Diocesan Bishop, I invite you once again, as I have done many times in the past, to regularize your priestly standing if you wish to live and work in this local Church.
I shall gladly show you here in Mostar, all available documentation that is found in this Chancery Office regarding your illicit pastoral activities as well as your moral life, upon receiving your written request.
You are hereby notified that this decision shall be published in the next issue of Vrhbosna, the Official Newsletter of the dioceses of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Recommending you in prayer to the Lord, I remain, respectfully yours,