Tomislav Vlašić

Last updated
Tomislav Vlašić
TitleHead of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe
Personal
Born (1942-01-16) 16 January 1942 (age 79) [1]
Religion New Age [2]
Children1
Known forFormer spiritual director of the Medjugorje seers
ChurchChurch of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe
Senior posting
PredecessorOffice established

Tomislav Vlašić (born 16 January 1942) [1] is the leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe seated in Italy. He is best known for being a former spiritual director of the alleged seers of the Marian apparitions in Medjugorje. He also claims to receive the messages from God the Father, the Holy Spirit, the Madonna, the Apostles and the archangels.

Contents

He is a former Franciscan friar and Catholic priest, an adherer of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. He became the spiritual director of the alleged seers of the Marian apparitions in Medjugorje in October of 1981. [3] Vlašić is the author of the chronicles of apparitions, a chronology that follows the alleged apparitions. In August 1984, Vlašić was replaced by Franciscan friar Slavko Barbarić [4] He remained actively involved in the Medjugorje phenomenon at least until 1991. He was one of the founders of the Medjugorje International Youth Festival (Mladifest), an annual gathering of the Catholic youth, established to mark Our Lady's birthday as claimed by the seers.

In 1987 he moved to Italy and founded the community "Queen of Peace – Totally Yours – to Jesus through Mary" with the apparent approval from Madonna, as proclaimed by Marija Pavlović, one of the alleged seers. Pavlović subsequently disavowed the organization. [5] In 2009 Vlašić was laicized after accusations of sexual misconduct, and was excommunicated in 2020.

In 2018, with a group of followers, Vlašić established the Church of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe, led by himself and his associate Stefania Caterina in Gheda near Brescia in Italy.

Catholic priest

Tomislav Vlašić was born in the village of Sovići in the municipality of Grude, Herzegovina. He became a Franciscan and was ordained a priest on 26 July 1969 in Frohnleiten, Austria. [1] [6] After his ordination, Vlašić served as a chaplain in Humac, Ljubuški and later was appointed president of the Herzegovinian Franciscan residence in Jablanovac in Zagreb, Croatia. [6] While in Zagreb, before coming to serve in Medjugorje, Vlašić had an affair with a nun and fathered a son. The letters between Vlašić and the nun were discovered by her landlord, who sent them to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. Ratzinger then revealed the affair to Vlašić's bishop Pavao Žanić. In 1987 Vlašić left Medjugorje apparently "to establish the Queen of Peace community in Parma", Italy but also because "it became public knowledge that he had fathered a child with a Franciscan nun and had then tried to cover up the affair." [7] [8] [9] [2]

In 1977, Vlašić was named a chaplain for the St. Francis of Assisi church in Čapljina. [6] In time he became the pastor of this large congregation, was a noted scholar and "regarded as the region's foremost liturgist. [3] In May 1981 Vlašić went to Rome to participate in an international meeting of the Catholic charismatic renewal. He "asked some of the leaders to pray with him for the healing of the Church in Yugaslavia." One of the charismatic leaders Sr. Briege McKenna, the "famous charismatic nun and healer", who told Vlasic that she had a vision of a "twin towered church" with him surrounded by great crowds, [4] and from the place where he was seated streams of water flowed. Another leader at the same event, Fr. Emiliano Tardif spoke a message to Vlasic as a prophecy: "Do not fear; I am sending you my Mother." [4] In June 1981 Our Lady allegedly began appearing in Medjugorje to six adolescents who ranged in age of 10 - 16 years old. [10] [4]

Medjugorje phenomenon

On 24 June 1981, the alleged Marian apparitions occurred in Medjugorje. Vlašić entered into contact with the seers on 29 June 1981 and became their spiritual director. [11] [7] [12] Vlašić stayed in Čapljina until 17 August 1981, when he moved to Medjugorje without the bishop's approval [6] but with the approval of the Franciscan Province. René Laurentin writes that the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina approved his transfer to Medjugorje, bypassing the bishop's decision. According to Laurentin, Vlašić went to Medjugorje immediately after Medjugorje's parson friar Jozo Zovko was imprisoned by the communist authorities and Vlašić was named Zovko's successor by Provincial Jozo Pejić. [11] [12]

The local bishop, Ratko Perić, writes that Vlašić was officially proposed to become a chaplain in Medjugorje only on 19 July 1982, and Bishop Žanić, still unaware of his affair in Zagreb, approved his appointment on 27 July 1982. [13] Perić further writes that Vlašić cooperated with friar Slavko Barbarić in directing the seers, instructing them how to behave. Both of them forbade the seers to give any statements without their prior knowledge. In one alleged apparition, from 28 February 1982, the Madonna told the seers that they should be grateful to Vlašić for his good leadership. [14] The seers had full trust in him and exchanged their diaries with him. [1] [12]

Vlašić conducted the Chronicle of Apparitions (Kronika ukazanja). [15] The Chronicle covers the period from 11 August 1981 to 15 October 1983. The chronicle is written to give the impression of immediacy, using terms such as “same scene as yesterday” or “tonight” and “tonight”. However, Nikola Bulat, a member of the commission that examined the apparitions, concluded that the Chronicle wasn't written daily as it seems. [16] Under the number dates, events that occurred later were recorded. [17] The intro of the Chronicle was written only on 25 February 1982, so Bulat concludes that it is possible that Vlašić started writing the Chronicle only then, eight months after the apparitions or during October 1981 at its best. [18]

On 13 April 1984, Vlašić wrote to Pope John Paul II, referring to himself as "the one who, by God's mercy, leads the seers" and asked him to meet him. His letter remained unanswered. [19]

Perić states that on 16 August 1984, the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina proposed to Bishop Žanić that Barbarić should be named as a spiritual assistant in Medjugorje. Žanić approved the request the same day, however, he requested his transfer on 3 January 1985 due to his involvement with the alleged apparitions. However, the seers had another apparition in which the Madonna told them that she would like Barbarić to remain in Medjugorje and to conduct a chronicle about her apparitions, so that "after the end of her coming, there can be one overview" of the event. [19]

On 2 September 1984 Vlašić was transferred to Vitina. [19] 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.” [20]

New age leader

In 1987, Vlašić left Herzegovina for Parma, Italy, where he established a New age community "Queen of Peace – Totally Yours – to Jesus through Mary", together with his partner Agnes Heupel, a German, who claimed to be healed by Our Lady of Medjugorje. Vlašić claimed the community was established with the approval from Our Lady, for which he got the confirmation from Marija Pavlović, one of the alleged seers. Pavlović was a member of Vlašić's community since February 1988, but retracted the approval from Our Lady in July 1988, claiming she never received such a message from the Madonna. Vlašić stopped being a member of the Franciscan Province of Herzegovina since he established his own community in 1987. [9] [2] [21]

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. [9] [22] In 1992, Vlašić joined the Franciscan Province of Abruzzo. [9]

In 2005, Vlašić founded a society of believers inspired by the Medjugorje apparitions. His society gained permission from the Bishop of Brescia Giulio Sanguineti to open its headquarters in Gheda near Brescia. [2] However, Vlašić states that this society, called "The Fortress of the Impeccable" wasn't established by himself, but by other people keen on spreading his work. [12]

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, suspect 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. [23] In May 2008, CDF informed Bishop Ratko Perić of Mostar that Vlašić had incurred the penalty of automatic interdict. [24] Father Tomislav Vlasic was subsequently laicised by Pope Benedict XVI. [25]

Church of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe

Vlašić and his partner who also claims to be a seer of Our Lady, Stefania Caterina, founded the Church of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe.[ citation needed ] They made a video in 2012 in which they claim they are part of the Central Nucleus with other 49 people that God choose to save humanity in all universes. [9] [26] The leading Croatian Catholic news portal, Bitno.net, characterized his church as being inspired by UFO religion and New age. [26] Vlašić wrote that he met Caterina in 1994 when she joined his group "Queen of Peace", where he became her spiritual director. [12] Bitno.net reported that the two are in a loving relationship. [26]

Vlašić writes that he and Caterina retreated to solace in 2007, where Vlašić claims they received revelations from archangels and apostles.[ citation needed ] During that period they understood God's plan to root the whole Universe into Jesus Christ. In 2008, the pair published a book titled Preko Velike Barijere (Through the Great Barrier), in which they explained in detail God's plan. [12] Vlašić claims he receives messages from God the Father, the Holy Spirit, the Madonna, the Apostles and the archangels. [12]

The Church of Jesus Christ of the Whole Universe was established on 20 May 2018 and was formally registered in 2019 as a non-profit organization, registered in Italy. [12]

Belief system

At the Church's official website, it is stated that their goal is to "save the whole Universe". They acknowledge the existence of the Holy Trinity Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. The Church believes that there are three universes The High Universe, the Middle Universe, and the Low Universe. Every universe is inhabited by humans, which Church believes are brothers of humans on Earth, created in the image of God. The Church also believes in the existence of the original sin. [27]

Vlašić's church believes that God didn't create only Adam and Eve, but many other couples, that created a small nation. Further, God showed them Lucifer and asked them to whom they will serve, and the people answered differently. Those who chose to serve God didn't commit the original sin, and their descendants live in the High Universe. The Middle Universe is inhabited by the descendants of those who were indecisive. The third group's descendants, that differently serve Lucifer, live in the Low Universe and are characterised by their rebellious nature. They claim that the ancestors of the inhabitants of the planet Earth went even further making a pact with Lucifer, promising him their firstborns. This is why, the Church claims, the Earth is in the greatest enmity with God and least advanced towards its Creator. [27]

The Church believes in the "new creation" which will follow after people choose Jesus Christ, who embodied himself on the Earth to redeem people there, but also in other universes, elects him over Lucifer again. The Church believes that Jesus established his church on Earth, not only for the planet Earth but the whole universe. They thus believe that there are other humans in the universe except for the planet Earth, that remained unaware of Jesus. [27]

According to the teaching of the Earth, after a Great Jubilee in 2000, God speeded up his plan for the new creation, using many instruments including the Fatima and Medjugorje apparitions. They believe that God asked the "official" Catholic Church to recognise the existence of humans in other universes, but it still hasn't done so. For that reason, in 2004, God put in service the "three extraordinary instruments" - the Central Nucleus, the angels, and the brothers faithful to their brothers in the universe. They claim that these extraordinary instruments do the tasks that the Catholic Church was supposed to do. According to the Church, God put Archangel Michael to lead these three extraordinary instruments and will be challenged by Lucifer and his allies. The Church claims that the year 2012 was a turning point where God for the final time asked humanity to serve him. That year he asked the Pope to acknowledge the existence of humans in other universes, which the Pope hadn't done. In 2013, people from the High Universe visited the Middle and the Lower Universe spreading the news about the redemption from Jesus and christening everyone. Their mission ended in 2017. The Church claims that in 2018, with the beginning of the evangelisation of the people of the Earth, the first step towards the Christs' return begun. [27]

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 4 Kutleša 2001, p. 55.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Tomašević 2020.
  3. 1 2 Sullivan, Randall (2004). The Miracle Detective. New York: Grove Press. p. 120.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Maunder, Chris (2016). Our Lady of the Nations - Apparitions of Mary in Twentieth-Century Catholic Europe. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. pp. 161–162.
  5. Caldwell, Simon. "Sex, lies and apparitions". The Spectator . Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  6. 1 2 3 4 Perić 2009, p. 181.
  7. 1 2 Luperi 2013, p. 344.
  8. Agnew 2009.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 Bešker 2020.
  10. Ivo Sivric (1989). The Hidden Side of Medjugorje. 1. St.-Francois-du-Lac (Quebec): Psilog. pp. 105–106.
  11. 1 2 Laurentin 1987, p. 90.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Vlašić 2020.
  13. Perić 2009, pp. 181-182.
  14. Perić 2009, p. 182.
  15. Bulat 2006, p. 20.
  16. Bulat 2006, p. 23.
  17. Bulat 2006 , pp. 24–25: "A similar record was made on January 20: 'Five children had a vision of the Mother of God this evening as well.' The visionaries also asked the question: 'What will Fr. Ivica Vego and Fr. Ivan Prusina do now that they have been expelled?' These are two disobedient chaplains who were suspended, ie they were forbidden to perform priestly duties and were dismissed from the Order of the OFM. Our Lady replied: 'They are not guilty. The bishop was hasty in his decision. Let them stay.' This fact interests us here only because the two mentioned chaplains were dismissed from the Order only on 29 January 1982. The act of dismissal from the OFM Order of the two mentioned chaplains was recorded in the Chronicle 9 days before they were dismissed. This clearly tells us that the wording: 'Five children and this evening ...', ie 20 January is not correct, because it did not happen that evening nor could it have been written that evening when the chaplains were fired 9 days later."
  18. Bulat 2006, p. 26.
  19. 1 2 3 Perić 2009, p. 183.
  20. Ante Luburić (31 August 2008). "Fra Tomislav Vlašić "within the context of the Medjugorje phenomenon"". Diocese of Mostar.
  21. Kutleša 2001, pp. 29-30.
  22. Marco Corvaglia. "Medjugorje: A Revised and Corrected Millenarianism?".
  23. Simon Caldwell (5 Sep 2008). "Vatican disciplines ex-spiritual director to Medjugorje visionaries". Catholic News Service. Archived from the original on 9 September 2008.
  24. Ratko Perić (31 August 2008). "Canonical Status of Rev. Father Tomislav Vlašić, OFM". Diocese of Mostar.
  25. Caldwell, Simon. "Pope Benedict XVI unfrocks Medjugorje priest", The Telegraph, 27 July 2009
  26. 1 2 3 Vojvodić 2020.
  27. 1 2 3 4 Vlašić & Caterina 2018.

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References

Books

  • Bulat, Nikola (2006). Istina će nas osloboditi [The Truth will set us free](PDF) (in Croatian). Mostar: Biskupski ordinarijat Mostar.
  • Kutleša, Dražen (2001). Ogledalo pravde [Mirror of Justice](PDF) (in Croatian). Mostar: Biskupski ordinarijat Mostar.
  • Laurentin, René (1987). Racconto e messaggio delle apparizioni di Medjugorje[The account and message of the apparitions of Medjugorje] (in Italian). Brescia: Queriniana.

Journals

  • Luperi, Edmondo (2013). "To Bible or Not to Bible: How on Earth Does a Text Become Scripture? (In Jewish, Christian, and Derived Traditions)". Annali di storia dell'esegesi. Chicago: Loyola University Chicago. 30 (2): 335–345.
  • Perić, Ratko (2009). "Vlašićeva upletenost u "međugorski fenomen"" [Vlašić's involvement in the "phenomenon of Medjugorje"]. Službeni vjesnik biskupija Mostarsko-duvanjske i Trebinjsko-mrkanske (in Croatian). Mostar: Biskupski ordinarijat Mostar (2): 181–189.

News articles

Web-sites

  • Vlašić, Tomislav (25 October 2020). "Moja svećenička služba" [My priestly service]. Prema Novom Stvaranju. Crkva Isusa Krista svega Svemira. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  • Vlašić, Tomislav; Caterina, Stefania (20 May 2018). "Crkve Isusa Krista svega Svemira". Prema Novom Stvaranju. Crkva Isusa Krista svega Svemira. Retrieved 11 February 2021.