Though opposed to the claims of apparitions in Medjugorje, local Bishop Ratko Peric says the town can be a Jerusalem and a site of the action of The Holy Spirit. Yet in the midst of a major building boom, the Bishop also warns the locals against turning Medjugorje into a modern Babylon.
Medjugorje can go in two different directions, and one of them will turn the village into a new Jerusalem and a place of the obvious action of God, local Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar told Confirmation candidates in St. James Church on May 20.
“You have the opportunity to make a Jerusalem of this parish, a site of action of the Spirit of God, where there is the unity among a multitude of peoples, where everyone understands everyone in God, not in the fake wealth, where the word of Peter is being heard: “Repent … and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit ” (Acts 2.39) Bishop Peric said in his sermon.
Since becoming the Bishop of Mostar in 1993, Ratko Peric has upheld the critical attitude towards Medjugorje and the claims of apparitions first taken by his predecessor Pavao Zanic, and before he mentioned the Jerusalem potential, Bishop Peric spoke at more length about Babylon whose inhabitants aimed at building a tower to Heaven (Genesis 11.4), only to have their languages confused so they could not understand each other any longer (Genesis 11.5.7).
“In Babylon, the fruit of the human spirit: misperception of speech, breaking the unity, the loss of the name, city decay, demolition of the tower. Misunderstanding and fuss! In Jerusalem, the fruit of the Spirit of God: the unification of diverse human spirits, respect of every language, people and talent. Agreement and harmony!” Bishop Peric lined up the two cities.
“Dear faithful, candidates! You have the opportunity to turn Medjugorje into Babylon, confusion and turmoil, to show pride, to blame Heaven, to give in to foreigners and their foreign ways and tourism, open the flood of many languages and compete over Babylon floors and enlargement of villas, profitable businesses are more open and rich” the Bishop said, before he outlined his positive Medjugorje scenario.
While Bishop Peric has full authority over pastoral and liturgical matters at Medjugorje, his predecessor had a Bishop’s usual authority over an acclaimed apparition in his diocese removed in 1986 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, today Pope Benedict XVI.
Upon refusing Bishop Pavao Zanic’s negative report of the Medjugorje apparitions, Cardinal Ratzinger, as Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, removed the Medjugorje case dossier from Bishop Zanic, to hand it over to the group of Yugoslavian Bishops.