[UPDATE (1/16): The Mostar diocesan website has picked up this translation of Bishop Peric’s statement, and improved it in a few places, so I recommend readers use that edition. I’ll leave this draft here, along with my introductory comments.]
One sensational element of the claimed apparition at Medjugorje is in predictions of a “great sign” to eventually appear at the town. According to the alleged seers, the sign would be a miraculous proof of the alleged apparitions’ validity, and as such would encourage the world to repent. The “sign” was part of ten apocalyptic “secrets” that the apparition supposedly told to the seers.
On December 11, Bishop Ratko Peric of the diocese of Mostar-Duvno issued a paper relating how this idea got started, and what the seers have said and done in regard to it. This document highlights various contradictions among the seers vis-a-vis each other, and inconsistencies between their earlier and later statements.
It also looks at the apparent falsehoods claimed by “seer” Ivan Dragicevic, who at one point wrote down a prediction of the sign, and later denied having written it.
Bp. Peric begins by addressing the contention of some apparition promoters that all the talk of a “great sign” was invented by other people, and does not come from the seers themselves. Then he proceeds in chronological order through various diaries, books, chronicles, and interviews to present how the idea of the “great sign” first appeared. He also recounts the efforts of two study commissions to explore the question, efforts that were somewhat thwarted by the non-cooperation of the seers.
This document was published on the diocesan website in Croatian and in Italian, and here I present an English translation based on the Italian.
By way of full disclosure: please be aware that I am an amateur in learning the Italian language; any errors or omissions are my responsibility, and I appreciate any appropriate corrections. [Thanks to Marco Corvaglia for sending a correction already.]
[One technical note: the translation of the key words apparizione and apparsa needs a little explanation. Apparizione refers to an apparition as an event; apparsa to the personage or entity that appears. Apparsa, in the feminine gender, indicates a feminine being. In English, both of these words might be translated as “apparition”. However, to do so would lead to obscurity, especially in sentences containing both words. Therefore, I translate apparizione as “apparition” and apparsa as “lady”. This does not imply any endorsement of the alleged seers’ reports.]
To begin with a sample, here is a quotation from Bp. Peric’s conclusions:
“The sign” has to be, and may indeed be, the most splendid weapon of the “seers” of Medjugorje and of the propagandists of the “apparitions”. The same “seers”, from the beginning, have asked the lady that appeared to them for it. They asked for it and “begged” for it, as we have seen. Then, through the “seers”, followed whole floods of lies, contradictions, promises, speed-ups, slowdowns, falsehoods, uncertainties.
Questionable games surrounding the “great sign”
Bp. Ratko Peric, 11 December 2009
One of the proofs of the authenticity of the apparitions of Medjugorje, since its very beginnings, was supposed to be a visible sign, a “great sign” which the alleged apparition of Medjugorje would leave at the place of the apparitions. In statements by all six of the “seers”, there have been so many discordant and contradictory phrases that an ordinary member of the faithful can only end up confused and disappointed by such a quantity of obvious deceptions, uncertainties, and improbabilities. With this study – although it be long – we want, on the basis of the written material, to present all of that indecency that surrounds the lady that appeared, which the “seers” call “the Madonna”, while the Commissions of the diocesan curia and of the Episcopal Conference have never approved that idea, nor such statements and messages.
The “great sign”. Two Herzegovina Franciscans, reacting to the subtitle “A great sign – a major retreat” in Mirror of Justice, a collection of articles about the alleged apparitions, write: “The truth is as follows: in no statement of the seers, neither in those of the first days nor in those released later at the request of curious people, is there any word of a ‘great sign’, nor in the controversial diary of Vicka, which, as we have seen, she did not write, but her sister.”.
Response: The “classic” then-chronicler of the Medjugorje “apparitions”, from 1981 to 1984, the chaplain Tomislav Vlašić, dismissed from the Franciscan order in 2009 and released from priestly ministry at his own request, writes in his own hand in the Chronicle of the apparitions about the “great sign” on several occasions: 26 October 1981, 8 May 1982, 3 September 1982, and 16 April 1983, as we shall document below. Hence the added designation “great” does not come from the diocesan Curia, but is an original invention from Medjugorje.
From Janko Bubalo’s book “A thousand encounters with our Lady”, about the sign:
In conversations with Vicka Ivankovic, Friar Janko Bubalo writes:
25 June 1981: Friar Janko relays the words of Vicka: “Mirjana has asked her to leave a sign here, so that people stop gossiping about us.”
27 June 1981: Friar Janko asks: “Has anyone else asked for anything?” Vicka responds: “Yes. Jakov and Mirjana have asked the Madonna to leave a sign here, so that people stop speaking ill of us, saying we’re liars, drug users, etc.” The alleged Madonna told them not to be afraid of anything.
28 June 1981: Vicka: “I asked again for her to leave a sign here, to be able to convince the people that we’re not liars, that we’re not telling lies and we’re not making a joke with the Madonna.” The Madonna did not respond to this at all.
J(anko) speaks to Vicka: “OK; I’ll begin with this. Now we can clearly see, whether from your statements or from the recorded cassettes, that since the beginning you have begged the Gospa to leave a sign of her presence, so that people will believe and not doubt you.
V(icka): “That’s true.”
J: And the Gospa?
V: At the beginning, every time we asked her for such a sign, she suddenly vanished, or else she began to pray or sing.
J: Does that mean she did not want to answer you?
V: Yes, somehow.
J: And now?
V: We continued to beg her. And soon enough, giving a nod of agreement, she began to promise that she would leave a sign.”
We read of this nod of agreement already in the first “apparition” in the church, 2 July 1981. As the parish priest Friar Jozo Zovko announced to the people, Jakov spoke: “Today I asked the Gospa to leave some kind of sign here. She made an affirmative sign with her head, and then she disappeared.” 
This means that there has been talk of a sign since the beginning of the “apparitions”, thus since the 25th of June, that the “seers” “begged” the apparition to manifest a sign to them so that the whole thing would not look like a big falsehood and a trick, and that the lady, nodding in agreement, promised to give “some kind” or “a certain sign”.
From the “First diary”, about the sign
In the so-called “First diary”, maintained from 24 June to 6 September 1981, attributed to Vicka, which she initially denied, then acknowledged that there was a “diary of hers”, although it was written in the handwritings of two people, we read of the sign at the end of July, in August, and at the beginning of September 1981 from the mouth of the “seers”. We report literally:
21 July 1981: “Then we asked her if she would leave a sign here. She said yes.”
27 July 1981: “After that, we asked for the sign, and the Blessed Gospa responded, “Wait for it soon, and when I leave the sign, I will still appear to you.”
29 July 1981: “Then we asked her if would leave a sign here soon. She said yes…”
27 August 1981: “We asked her about the sign and she said: I will do it shortly because I have promised it.”
29 August 1981: “Ivanka asked if she would be leaving a sign here soon. The B.V.M. said: A little more patience yet.”
31 August: “But Jakov suddenly asked about the sign and she said: Just a little more patience.”
3 September 1981: “Jakov asked about the sign; the Gospa said: Again just a little more patience.”
In almost all the “apparitions”, the lady speaks of the “sign” that she will leave, and even “soon”, “shortly”, “just a little more patience”, “again just a little patience”, “again just a little more patience”. This “again just a little more” was understood as so near, imminent, that it was thought that the sign would be arriving at the latest around Christmas 1981. And we are witnesses that there has been no sign at all or any trace of a sign, right up to our days, though about 29 years have passed.
From Vlašić’s “Chronicle of the apparitions”, about the “great sign”
16 September 1981: Again, to Vicka and Jakov, “she revealed that she will leave a sign, provided that we are patient. She told them also that they don’t have to pray for themselves, since she has rewarded them in the best way. They should pray for others.”
Here the sign is imminent again; they only need to have a little more patience. And then a great message which is completely at odds with the true messages of the Blessed Virgin: the lady tells Vicka and Jakov that they don’t have to pray for themselves, because she has rewarded them in the best way, but they should pray for others. This – that they do not have to pray for themselves – is a totally heretical message! Is there a need to prove that?
12 October 1981: Jakov and Vicka… posed some questions, to which she responded more or less as follows:
Were you assumed before or after death? The Assumed One (L’Assunta) responded: before death.
When will you leave a sign? I won’t leave a sign yet. I will still appear. [The words for a long time appear in parentheses, and then are crossed out.]
More patience is necessary for so much awaited here. Everything is delayed.
17 October 1981: “The seers have asked again about the visible sign. The Gospa said to look to her to fulfill the promise, and look to the faithful to pray and believe firmly.”
In this message, the lady is altogether reserved. Neither the day nor the hour is known.
26 October 1981: The chronicler Vlašić writes: “After that, the seers told me that the Gospa has asked them why don’t ask about the sign any more. She encouraged them, saying that she would certainly leave a sign, that we are all patient and praying. The signs that the faithful have seen in recent times, she said, are only foresigns of a great sign.”
Here we meet for the first time the expression “great sign”. For ten days the seers have not had any interest in such a sign, and now the lady is so surprised that curiously they “don’t ask about the sign any more.” In any case, she will leave a sign for them, and the luminous signs that some faithful were seeing were not the sign proclaimed, but only foresigns of the “great sign”. Again patience is kept waiting.
21 January 1982: The same chronicler notes: “This evening, the five seers also had an encounter with the Mother of God. The duration was 5 minutes. After the prayer, the singing, and individual greetings the seers posed some questions, to which they received responses.
Why does the Gospa not leave a concrete sign so that the priests be persuaded and begin to convert themselves, and to convert the world? The answer: “I will leave the sign at the right time.”
Six months have passed since the first mention of the sign and there has been no sign, let alone a large one or a concrete one. And the sign is supposed to be, for hesitant priests, a convincing proof of the veracity of the apparitions! The lady responds that she will leave the sign at the right time. Obviously it is not to us to ask furthermore when is the right time, but we have to be patient until the right time.
16 March 1982: In the Chronicle is written: “Vicka says that they know the day when the Gospa will leave a visible external sign; for now it is a secret”!
The seers, however, know not only the “right time”, but also the “day” in which the lady will leave a visible sign, but for all of us everything is wrapped up in secrecy; so the faithful are all the more curious, emotional, shocked, and frightened.
8 May 1982: The chronicler Vlašić continues: “Four seers were present (….) This evening the young people asked in particular: Can we write down on paper the date of the great sign and describe it and leave it sealed in the archive? The Gospa responded: No! I have entrusted this solely to you. You will tell it when I tell you. I know that many will not believe you, and that you will suffer much. But you will bear everything and be happier people.”
The members of the First Diocesan Commission for Medjugorje (1982-84), at the order of Bishop Pavao Žanić, wanted to verify the statements about the so-called “great sign” of which so much was said, and which was supposed to come true soon. In the meeting on 7 May 1982, it came to the decision that the Commission would request all six of the “seers” to respond to two elementary questions: “1. What sign will the Gospa leave? 2. When will the sign appear?” The “seers” were supposed to write two copies and put them in envelopes and seal them with the seal of the diocesan Curia: one copy would be kept by each one of them personally, and another at the Curia. When the “great sign” should arrive, the envelope would be opened, and the prediction of the sign would be read, and it would be seen this way if the predicted sign corresponds to the reality that appeared. The request was truly reasonable and prudent, and the response of the “seers” could resolve all doubts, including those of the clergy. In the meantime the fingers of certain Franciscans were seen, and not of the “seers” alone. “Friar Ivan Dugandžić, member of the Commission, acknowledged later that he had informed Friar Tomislav Vlašić of the intention of the Commission and of the bishop.”
It is easy to conclude that the same Vlašić took up the protection of the “great sign”, and asked the young people to ask the “Gospa” if they can respond to the request of the Bishop and of the Commission. The four “seers” at Medjugorje did not want to respond to the questions of the Commission, affirming that the “Gospa” had said a decisive NO, that it was out of the question. Mirjana Dragićević answered likewise at Sarajevo. But since no one could reach Ivan Dragićević by telephone in the seminary at Visoko, because the telephone there happened to be out of order, and the members of the Commission Dr. Mato Zovkić and Dr. Želimir Puljić arrived in time, they posed the questions to the “seer” Ivan, and he promptly responded to them. This was a first sign of contradiction in the “seers'” way of acting. This story of theirs will become more and more muddled.
Ivan wrote a statement at Visoko, 9 May 1982, in two copies. One copy, sealed, was taken back in an envelope entrusted to the Curia and saved in a secure place, while the other remained at the seminary, in Ivan’s quarters. Later the envelope at the Curia, with Ivan’s permission, will be opened by the Commission, but for now let us follow the story of the sign in chronological order.
18 August 1982 [conversation of T. Vlašić with Mirjana]: “Mirjana lives in Sarajevo. She spent most of her vacation in Switzerland near her parents and at Sarajevo. Therefore I had a fairly long conversation with her about her recent experiences. Here is the content of the conversation.
… She says that once the vision lasted about an hour and a half. So far the Gospa has confided 7 secrets to her. She knows what kind of sign there will be at the place of the apparitions and when it will appear.”
Here it is already specified that the sign will appear in the “place of the apparitions”, on Podbrdo. And that Mirjana also knows the time when it will appear. This means that both Vicka and Mirjana know the place and the time of the sign foretold.
3 September 1982: “The five seers had the vision, which lasted 4 minutes. The young people posed in particular the questions connected to the Madonna’s mediation of graces. They brought some answers: “People have begged for the great sign. It will happen, independently of the conversion of the world.”
Here are two more points of data about the mysterious “great sign” of which Vlašić writes: it was necessary to beg for it, and it has been begged for, only the moment awaits for it to be realized; and, second, the sign is independent of the conversion of the world.
4 January 1983: The chronicler is chaplain Vlašić: “I spoke separately with Vicka:
1. Five or six months ago (I wrote this in the diary), the Gospa spoke in regard to Ivan Jurčić, who had lost his left leg, that by that day, when the visible sign is on the hill, he will be completely healed. (He posed this question to Vicka since his sister is engaged to Ivan. During the pre-marital interview Ivan gave me the message….)”
Here there is an acknowledgement that no miracle happened on 16 December 1981. In fact a miracle was promised, that the left leg of Ivan Jurčić will be healed completely “when the visible sign is on the hill”. There has been no sign on the hill and Jurčić’s leg has not been healed. So far only the invented announcement of the “seers”. And the people should faithfully follow their nonsense! Including the priests!
More on the sign from Bubalo’s “Thousand encounters”
Here it is opportune to record the conversation of Friar Janko Bubalo with Vicka Ivanković, described as “at the end of 1983 or (in other words) at the beginning of 1984”, specifically in reference to the promised sign and to the matter of Ivan Jurčić’s left leg.
J(anko): “You spoke of me about a young man who does not have his left leg.
V(icka): And what did I say to you?
J: That the Madonna is going to heal him, without any condition, when the promised sign is here.
V: If I said that to you, I told you the truth. The Madonna (…) with that young man, acted in a particular way.
J: Do you mean something by that?
V: He came to the apparitions of the Madonna almost every day, and the Madonna showed she particularly loved him.
J: How do you know that?
V: Here’s how. On one occasion, a little before Christmas in the first year, he let all of us see his bad leg. He had taken off the artificial part from his leg, the plastic part, and sitting there he let people see the healthy leg.
J: Why was that?
V: I don’t know. Maybe he thought the Madonna might want to say that she will heal him (….)
J: But you haven’t told me whether the leg is going to heal or not!
V: The Madonna said yes to us, but later.
V: After she gives her Sign here, then he will be healed completely. She said that to us around the middle of 1982.”
Since the middle of 1982, that is, for 27 years, the Medjugorean apparition has not given that sign promised and expected, now also connected with the healing of Ivan Jurčić’s leg; for 27 years Jurčić, Vicka’s cousin, has waited for his “plastic” left leg to grow.
More on the sign from Vlašić’s “Chronicle of the apparitions”
16 April 1983: The chaplain Vlašić also discussed the “great sign” with Jelena Vasilj, a “seer” in addition to the six, who has the “internal locution”, and made these notes in the Chronicle: “It has not been given to her to know the manifestation of the great sign nor its date. She has been told that it will be coming. The Gospa has also entrusted some secrets to her (that means, similar to the third secret of Fatima) but she cannot talk about it now.”
The childish fables, that want to be compared to the third secret of Fatima, the one about the attack on the Pope!
7 November 1983: Here is a little more from the Chronicle of the apparitions by Vlašić: “In recent days I have spoken with all six of the seers about the essential messages of the B.V.M. and about the course of the predicted events. Here is a general report.
This time is a time of grace and conversion. Later warnings to the world will be seen, and after that the sign of the Gospa as a grace. Then punishments will follow, so that the world, at least after the Sign, will be converted.
Ivan adds something additional that the Gospa has said to him. He says that after the Sign conversion will be difficult. Those who do not convert before that time will have remorse of conscience, which will persecute them.
All of them say that before the Sign there will be intense foresigns here.
Mirjana has specific knowledge. All 10 of the secrets have been entrusted to her. She knows the secrets according to the dates when everything will be carried out. Three secrets will, in fact, be warnings that will happen before the Sign. The secrets will become actual in fairly rapid succession. Many will not have time to convert. And those who remain alive will have little time to reflect – on account of the shortness of time – and to convert, because the final warnings will follow quickly after the Sign.
Mirjana will reveal the secrets 3 days before they happen, as a witness. She says that all of this will happen in an relatively brief interval of time. To my question: “What do you say to the world?” she answered “Convert right away and receive God”. Mirjana said that the 7th secret has been averted because people have prayed and fasted.
“Does the Gospa ask for conversion, prayer, and fasting in order that the threatened evils be averted, or to save souls?” – I asked. She answered: “For both the one and the other. But primarily to save souls. Because it is impossible to avoid all the evils. It is impossible to expect the conversion of all humanity which is in the depth of sin.”
From this text it is possible to compose, as it were, the course of the apocalyptic events: first of all a “time of grace and conversion” – then “warnings to the world”, “three warnings”, and these are the “three secrets” – then the “sign as a grace” – finally “punishments”, because the world still has not converted, not even after the sign. After the sign conversion will be difficult, and those who do not convert, will feel remorse and will be persecuted by conscience.
Still more on the sign from Bubalo’s “Thousand encounters”
Before turning to Ivan the “seer” and to his envelope, let us consult Friar Janko Bubalo who interviewed Vicka several times about the sign:
“J(anko): Please tell me something about the Sign (….) Where will the Madonna leave this Sign?
V(icka): On Podbrdo. At the place of the first apparitions.
J: Where will the sign be? In the sky or on the land?
V: On the land.
J: Will it appear – will it arise all at once, or little by little?
V: All at once.
J: Will everyone be able to see it?
V: Yes, everyone will see it here.
J: Will the Sign be temporary or permanent?
J: Do you know with precision how the sign will happen?
V: With precision.
J: Do you also know when the Madonna will manifest it to the rest of us?
V: I know that also.
J: Do all the other seers know it too?
V: I don’t know that, but I think that not all of us know it yet.
J: I haven’t asked you yet if this Sign is a special secret or not.
V: Yes, it’s a special secret. But at the same time it’s part of the ten secrets (…)
J: OK. But why is the Madonna leaving this Sign here?
V: To show the people that she is present here among us. (…)
J: Will I get to see this Sign?
V: You’ll see. I told you before, a long time ago. For now, that’s enough. (…)
J: Once, the members of the episcopal commission asked you, and you specifically, to describe the Sign in writing, how it will happen and when it will appear, so that then the writing could be enclosed and sealed in front of you, and be preserved until the Sign appears.
V: That’s correct.
J: But you did not agree. Why? It’s not clear to me either. Some people say that only Ivan responded in some way, and I have never asked him.
V: I haven’t asked him either. And I’m not going to ask him, but I think he didn’t give them an answer. Maybe something mixed them up, but I don’t have any more to say about it.” (…)
[In the Italian edition, Fr. Gabriel Amorth and Friar Smiljan Dragan Kožul censored the part in bold. For what motive? It’s dealing with a text that well explains the Croatian word “spetljao” (= (It.) imbrogliato, “mixed up”, “confused”, “misled”), used by Vicka in the story about her colleague Ivan!]
From this conversation we deduce that the sign is a secret, and equally both a special secret and at the same time one of the ten secrets; that it will appear all at once on Podbrdo, that it will remain permanently; that we do not know what Vicka said to Friar Janko, if he will see the awaited sign; we know that friar Janko died on 21 February 1997 and he did not see the “sign”. Now we will see what Ivan Dragićević mixed up with the Commission, as his colleague Vicka says [in the original Croatian version].
About the sign, from the report of the Diocesan commission, 1985.
In March 1984, “seer” Ivan Dragićević, who, in the meantime, as a seminarian of the Herzegovina Franciscan province, left both the seminary of Visoko and that of Dubrovnik on account of a lack of scholastic success, said to Friar Slavko Barbarić that he had written nothing on the paper in the envelope at Visoko in May 1982. So Friar Slavko sent this surprising news to Rev. Laurentin, presenter and follower of the “Medjugorje phenomenon”, and the latter has, incredibly, justified Ivan’s action. “Intimidated by these commands, made in the name of the bishop, and without a solution between the imperatives of earthly authority and those of the Madonna, he made recourse to traditional solutions of country prudence, applied a thousand times in the centuries of Muslim persecution or the treacheries of today’s Marxist police. He took the pen, wrote on two sheets and put them in two envelopes, which were sealed, but he had only written: Nothing, nothing, nothing!“
How was Fr. Laurentin able to write this? Here is the answer: “He was able to say this, since Friar Slavko was responding to his questions together with the seers,” writes Friar Slavko of himself. So that we don’t know what was communicated to Laurentin by the “seers” and what by Friar Slavko the psychologist.
When the Second Diocesan Commission on the phenomenon of Medjugorje began to work (1984-86), it wanted to deepen the investigation of that “great sign” and of that “envelope” from Ivan. Three members of the Commission – Ž. Puljić, Š. Samac and I. Sisek – visited Ivan Dragićević at Medjugorje. According to the official report of the Commission, which took place in March 1985, we read this description [the secretary writes Dragičević consistently instead of Dragićević]:
“After that discussion, we heard what Drs, Puljić, Sisek and Samac said of their experiences in Medjugorje: they saw Vicka, who is not in bed, but anyway remained at home the whole time and did not come to the meeting at the church. We met Ivan Dragičević at his house, and Ž. Puljić asked him why he conducted himself, in regard to the members of the Commission, as in his statements cited by Laurentin. Why does he make such assertions?
Then M. Zovkić and Ž. Puljić explained to the other members of the Commission what the issue really was: when word spread about the sign that the Madonna was going to leave at Medjugorje, the members of the sub-Commission at the time, M. Zovkić and Ž. Puljić, took themselves to the Franciscan seminary of Visoko, where Ivan Dragičević was at school. They asked him to write the message of the Madonna, which he wrote down in about 10 minutes. It was written through carbon paper. Both copies were placed in two envelopes, which were sealed. One was carried to the archive of the Curia at Mostar, the other was consigned by Ivan to the custody of his professor Friar Celestin Vlajić. Mirjana Dragičević in Sarajevo did not want to write anything about the sign, telling the members of the Commission that the Madonna was angry after Ivan wrote something. The young people at Medjugorje did not want to write anything, although other members of the Commission had asked them to do so and to seal the messages. The young people say that, at the advice of T. Vlašić,, they asked the Gospa if they could write it and she told them not to write anything.
Laurentin, in one of his writings, spread the word that Ivan had indeed deceived the Commission and had not written anything on the paper but put it into the envelope blank. Today when the three members of the Commission at Medjugorje asked Ivan why he deceived them, he said he had more trust in Laurentin than in them. Finally, Ivan told Ž. Puljić that he could freely open the envelope located in the archive of the Curia in Mostar, because there was nothing in it but the blank paper. He promised that the envelope that had been with Friar Celestin and which had been returned to him, would be brought in front of the church that same evening to open it in front of Željko Puljić. But Ivan did not bring the envelope, saying that he had lost it somewhere, but again gave Dr. Puljić permission to freely open the envelope located in Mostar. Now everyone asked that Ivan’s envelope, which had been stored unopened in the Archive, be opened in front of us. The envelope was opened by the Commission and it was confirmed that Ivan had not told the truth. The envelope did not contain a blank, unwritten sheet of paper, but a written sheet. When we were confronted with Ivan’s handwriting, we saw that Ivan Dragičević did write on the paper from the envelope, that he had signed the written text, writing first what the sign would consist of and when it was to be realized. Shortly the report was made on the opening of the envelope, signed by Dr. Zovkić as president and Lj. Lucić as secretary, leaving that the other members of the Commission would sign the report the next day. Only Ivan Dugandžić was not present when the envelope was opened. In sum, Ž. Puljić said, alluding to Ivan Dragičević: “He has deceived us immorally. We are offended and also dismayed at the future of these young people and this phenomenon.” Then we learned from P. Krasić that this was not the first case of deception on the part of Ivan. He also deceived his seminary colleagues at Visoko with the trick of turning clock-hands backward, and with the apparitions, so that his colleagues no longer believed him. Some of them were seriously scandalized.”
From this lengthy citation from the authentic report of the Commission we deduce that Ivan Dragićević
- told the lie that the alleged Gospa had permitted him to write about the sign and, on the other hand, that he was not compelled to write;
- told the Commission the lie that he had written nothing, but instead he wrote two copies, through carbon paper;
- told R. Laurentin the lie that he had written nothing, and instead he wrote with his own hand and signed it;
- told the lie that he would bring his envelope in front of the church and he did not bring it;
We deduce that all the “seers” told the lie, together with the manipulator T. Vlašić, that the “Gospa” had forbidden them to describe the sign, as if the lady were unable to tell Ivan at Visoko not to write it either, but now she “was angry” before Mirjana because Ivan had done so! Maybe in this whole “phenomenon of Medjugorje” the greatest sign may be, in the end, deceptions, undignified jokes, lies, and mix-ups!
What did Ivan write?
To recapitulate: Ivan had audaciously declared before the official Commission that the paper in the envelope at the Curia was blank; “Paper — paper”. He had said exactly this: “First I put the blank paper into the envelope and when I closed the envelope, the Gospa came to me and smiled.” After they met him in Medjugorje and returned to Mostar, the members of the Commission, with the other members, decided to open his envelope, and they found the written paper. This all happened on 7 March 1985. The “seer” Ivan, therefore, intentionally and immorally deceives the Commission. And he affirms that his “Gospa” had joined him, with a smile, in his deception! And the same lady becomes “angry” before Mirjana at Sarajevo because Ivan had written something. How can they attribute such truly indecent things to the Blessed Virgin!
Here are the questions put to Ivan and his answer from 1982:
1. What kind of sign will appear?
The Madonna said that she would leave the sign, the sign I am telling you about, and I confide to you that the sign is: that there will be a great shrine at Medjugorje in honor of my apparition, and the shrine in honor of my Image.
2. When will the sign happen?
The sign will happen in the 6th month. [June]
Date of issue of the statement:
Visoko, 9.05.1982. [i.e., 9 May 1982]
Signature of the seer:
According to this written statement, the sign is supposed to be a “great shrine at Medjugorje”. He does not say on Podbrdo, but at Medjugorje. The other “seers” say that the sign will be on Podbrdo! And that the sign will happen in the 6th month? Which 6th month? From the context it is possible to conclude that it refers to June 1982. If that is not true, then we are dealing with completely equivocal responses, in the manner of the prophetess “Pizia” of Delphi in Greece, who always answered ambiguously, in such a way that no mortal could ever correctly hold her to her word: that is, she could always be understood in diverse ways, depending on who put a comma into her phrase and where.
About the sign, from Barbarić’s report
The lies about the sign began to come one after another. Here is an example from the written testimony of Friar Slavko Barbarić [who died on 24 November 2000].
9 March 1985: Ivan tells Friar Slavko Barbarić about this, completely differently from what he told the Commission: “I should have told you this earlier, when the Gospa told me that they had opened the envelope and found something inside. But that was not the sign, that was not what the Gospa entrusted to me.”
The Gospa tells one thing about the sign to Ivan the seminarian at Visoko, and another thing at Medjugorje three years later. O Ivan, caught in his confusion at trying to make sense of it, intends to attribute his lies to the Blessed Madonna?
Then Ivan began to speak about his second envelope, which remained with him, and he said that there was nothing in it, that this one “is blank”! But he has never succeeded in finding this second envelope. So on 9 March he asked his “lady” to finally have them compared. She answered him: “I know that you did not write any part of the sign, because you cannot do so without my permission.”
But the diligent and restless Friar Slavko began, day after day, to come into Ivan’s house to establish why the “seer” had written something and not admitted it, and had indeed written something which he did not have to write.
Some other Franciscan fathers are also involved with this. “One day Friar Ljudevit Rupčić took part in the conversation also. Ivan responded confusedly about the envelope”, recalls Friar Slavko.
We wanted Ivan to understand, and wanted him “not to fall prey to fear any more, and that he not keep trying to ‘make sense of it’, as said the doctor of psychology Friar Slavko Barbarić, who informed us again of a lie by Ivan. He said that Ivan “affirms having written for himself on the paper: the envelope was sealed, but not the paper.” In the meantime Friar Slavko sends the text from Ivan to the graphologist in Milan for an expert opinion. He determined that “the external pressure was not adequate to explain the internal anxiety evidenced by the writing,” but in any case, “I seriously need to take into consideration the fact that this is not the first time that the seers of Bijakovici speak one way or another of pressure on the part of the Commission”!
So the Commission is culpable, since it carries out its assignment to ascertain whether the “seer” tells the truth or a lie or if he is confused as he tries to “make sense of it”!
11 March 1985: Ivan once again had to consult with the “apparition” about where the unlucky envelope or envelopes and the description of the promised sign must have gone. Friar Slavko writes: “This apparition was on the hill. Vicka was also present. She confirms that Ivan asked something on the hill, but that he did not receive any answer.”
Maybe the Madonna is retiring?
But the pressure, no longer on the part of the Commission, but on the part of Friar Slavko, is becoming ever stronger. Now all the “seers” ask the “apparition” one after the other about this envelope, empty or written, and about this sign of his or of theirs.
The psychologist Friar Slavko has posed a professional question. What do we need to do now in the situation created by Ivan? Alleged responses rained down from the “apparitions”.
Vicka had the vision on 13 March 1985. Here is her answer: “The Gospa said: Pray, pray, pray. Only with prayer can you free yourself from the mistake committed by Ivan, and there was no need to go to that (e a questo non si doveva arrivare).” Vicka added her speculation for them. “The look and the displeasure of the Gospa told me what he wrote anyway: It was not necessary to do this. He should have said so right away so that he wouldn’t make doubts about us among all of you.”
So according to Vicka, or rather her “apparition”, we need to pray, pray, pray. In addition, the lady clearly recognizes that Ivan has made a mistake, formally wrote and didn’t have to write; told lies and didn’t have to. The look of the “Gospa” has shown discontent on account of Ivan’s conduct.
The “apparition” of Jakov the next day, 14 March 1985, thus: the “Gospa” said this: that for this you need to pray, and that Ivan didn’t have to do that…”
So the Gospa once again recommends prayer and is not happy that Ivan has done this. Why? Because he has written, or because he has lied saying that he had not written? Or because in the course of time he has “mixed up” everything, to borrow the expression from Vicka? [the term “mixed up” (“imbrogliato”) is connected with the original quote but is not present in the Italian version of Bubalo’s book.]
Marija reported a brief response from her “lady” [information is missing]: “Only pray.”
In such a confused situation nothing really is left except to pray to God that something worse doesn’t happen. And furthermore, when our “seers” don’t know what to say, when they find themselves in difficulty, then they realize that we must pray to God. But we know this whether through Divine Revelation or from our human weakness, even without the alleged private “revelations and apparitions” they attended, invented “messages”, apocalyptic “signs”. and supposedly miraculous “secrets”!
Mirjana, who has been having “apparitions” only on her birthday [18 March], has verified Ivan’s truthfulness in her “vision”. She only wrote at the beginning of April 1985 in her letter, addressed to Friar Petar Ljubičić: “Then I asked about Ivan regarding his case (She has certainly felt for him, regarding the secret, or, that is, the sign, in that letter). She said that the priests have to be with us, to help us because she has put a heavy weight on us and that their doubt makes her suffer. Then she said that Ivan has not done anything bad. She said that she reproached him enough, and that there’s no need to scold him any more. That it is a good thing that he had written it that way.”
The “Gospa” of Mirjana is then a special phenomenon and a real contradiction: Besides the fact that her “Gospa” acknowledges having burdened the “seers” with a heavy weight, and because of that the priests have to help them, she says that Ivan “has not done anything bad”, she has “reproached him enough” for it, which is why he did not do anything bad, and finally the “vision” corrects itself and says that what Ivan wrote is fine. That’s how you make sense of this “great sign” of Medjugorje, if you can!
Ivanka was not able to ask “because the Gospa, at the time, was telling her the problems of the world and the Church.”
It’s understood that the childish fables about the envelope are not comparable to the enormous problems of the world and of the Church! But anyway the mix-ups about Ivan’s little envelope and the “great sign” will be resolved simultaneously, not to mention the great problems of the world and of the Church.
Then on 16 March 1985 Friar Slavko invited all the “seers” – Mirjana is in Sarajevo – to the parish office for a “spiritual renewal” on the “love of truth, humility, and simplicity”. He asked all of them about what Ivan had written. And each of them was supposed to answer if that was the kind of sign, or if we need to wait for another. Here are the answers of the “seers” about their “sign” and that of Ivan.
Vicka: “The sign is visible, permanent, and indestructible on the site of the apparitions. The Gospa made it manifest!”
Then, the “Gospa” has already revealed it! It is visible, stable, and indestructible, and moreover, on the site of the apparitions. How manifest, visible, and permanent, if no one has seen it in about 29 years? What does it consist of? Is that one of the ten invisible secrets?
Ivanka: “The Gospa will leave a permanent, visible sign!”
So it hasn’t been manifested, at least not to us mortals, but it will be in the future! One has to wait. When it appears, it will be visible and lasting! A little more patience! – the lady would say that in the first year of her “apparitions”, and now we are in the 29th year of daily “apparitions”!
She means that what Ivan has written does not describe the sign! Marija answers decisively and categorically.
Jakov: “I cannot say anything!”
It remains a secret, if the sign was, or exists now, or will be! Jakov has to remain silent. That is safer. Otherwise he’ll impeach himself like Ivan.
Again, nothing! It wasn’t that kind of sign!
And then what? Whose leg is Ivan pulling? And whose leg is Friar Slavko pulling?
And when it will be established that instead of a “great sign”, it has been a great big deception and a lie all along, then we’ll need to be silent and keep going again, as if everything had been a great truth! Maybe the “seers” and the other manipulators expect to win with this “sign”? Or maybe we will content ourselves with Laurentin’s affirmation that “Ivan wept for his sin like St. Peter his denial.”
From the Italian broadcaster “Radio Maria”, about the sign
Lastly let us go to the Italian sources about the sign of Medjugorje, in the passing of the former millennium to this one:
24 September 1999: In a radio conversation, Fr. Livio Fanzaga, program director and director of “Radio Maria”, asks Jakov Čolo: “And what is the third secret about? The other seers have been able to reveal something, speaking of a sign that the Madonna will leave on the mountain of the apparitions”; the “seer” responds: “Yes, I can say that the Madonna has promised to leave a sign on the mountain of the apparitions, that it will be permanent and visible to everyone.”
3 August 2000 in an interview with Vicka the same Fr. Livio, a Piarist, asks the “seer” about the sign: “Have you already seen it?”
Vicka: We have already seen it and when the time of peace comes, the sign will be here on the mount of the apparition (…) In order to see it, it will be necessary to come to Medjugorje.
P. Livio: Will you still be alive when the sign comes?
Vicka: I don’t know. But I hope so.”
P. Livio, like Friar Janko Bubalo 17 years earlier: “And will I be living?
Vicka: But, Father, you’re not too old yet. But I think so.” 
Today Fr. Livio is 69 years old and Vicka 45. Vicka thinks that both she and Fr. Livio will see the sign anyway. Whoever lives long enough will see if it comes true!
About the sign, from Corvaglia’s blog
The systematic Italian scholar of the Medjugorje phenomenon Prof. Marco Corvaglia writes on this blog (www.marcocorvaglia.blog.lastampa.it) under the title “But where is the sign?”:
“Now nearly thirty years have passed in which the great sign has been promised, and still nothing has been seen. Just as nothing has been seen of the Great Miracle promised in 1961 by Conchita Gonzalez, the Spanish “seer” of Garabandal, who, now half a century ago, wrote in her diary (by which they must been inspired in Medjugorje).
“As very great as the chastisement that we deserve will be, the miracle will be immensely great […] The Holy Virgin told me the date of the miracle and of what it will consist. I have to communicate it eight days in advance, so that the people will come.”
And Corvaglia concludes: “And therefore, one lives in this continual and trustful waiting.”
The latest news
In the newspaper in Mostar we recently read about Vicka’s sign: “I don’t speak much about the secrets which the Gospa has entrusted to me, but some people say, with prayer, they are already somewhat mitigated. The seventh secret has been mitigated with prayer. The Gospa invites us to mitigate, with our prayers, the other secrets that are coming too. The third secret is the secret of the visible sign. The Gospa will leave a visible and lasting sign that everyone will be able to see on the place of the apparitions, convincing them of the validity of the apparitions.”
We have seen above how Mirjana affirms, as early as 7 November 1983, that the “seventh secret” has been totally averted. And Vicka declares, on 16 November 2009, that it is “somewhat mitigated”. Which “seer” to believe?
And one more classic contradiction: Mirjana has affirmed, on 7 November 1983 (see above) that the three secrets will be in fact the warnings that will happen before the sign. So three secrets – probably the first three secrets – as warnings and then the sign! And Vicka has affirmed in the same year 1983 in conversation with Fr. Bubalo (see above) that the “sign is a special secret, but also one of the ten secrets.” She has recently, 16 November 2009, revealed to us more closely that the third secret is properly the secret of the visible sign! And so now:
these three secrets of Mirjana will be verified as warnings, and then the sign comes,
–or rather, the third secret of Vicka is that sign,
–or rather, the sign of Vicka is a “special secret”, apart from the ten secrets,
–or rather, the sign of Vicka is at the same time, one of the ten secrets:
So – if you want to – that’s how you make sense of the contradictions!
1. The miraculous sign. “The sign” has to be, and may indeed be, the most splendid weapon of the “seers” of Medjugorje and of the propagandists of the “apparitions”. The same “seers”, from the beginning, have asked the lady that appeared to them for it. They asked for it and “begged” for it, as we have seen. Then, through the “seers”, followed whole floods of lies, contradictions, promises, speed-ups, slowdowns, falsehoods, uncertainties. And if such a visible, permanent, and indelible sign had appeared in the first weeks, months, or years, as was described in the cassette of one of the collateral “seers”, Mara Jurković of Medjugorje, everything would have taken a different course. She says, “that one day on the hill of the apparitions, a great shrine of the Madonna will rise up, through the extraordinary intervention of God and of the Madonna. A whole, beautiful church will rise up, before which there will be a large statue of the Madonna. Before it will be a large lake, surrounded with white and red roses. From the church there will be stone steps going down to the village!”  So if some of this fantasy had come true here, a new church, a large statue, white and red flowers, stone steps, or if a clear new stream had welled up from Medjugorje down to Široki Brijeg and beyond, the bishop would have been the first to take himself to Medjugorje in order to declare the apparitions authentic. But is that how things stand?
2. The seal of the Church. After the failure of the Commission’s effort that the “seers”, in May 1982, would write and seal the announcement of the “promised sign”, its place and time, the bishop did not abandon the idea that it could be providential for the proof of the apparitions. As the young people have insisted, in the “visions”, speaking of being able to see the “sign”, so the bishop insisted, asking the young people to describe that sign and put it under ecclesiastical seal. When the prophecy appears, the seal will be opened – the truth will speak! The young people, as we have proved above, instigated by T. Vlašić, refused to cooperate regarding the sign, both with the Bishop and with the Commission. In his Position of 1984 Bishop Zanić writes: “Then, on 3 August 1982, the Bishop called all the “seers” to Mostar. Before several members of the Commission he asked them separately, to describe the sign, indicate the date of its manifestation, put it into only one envelope, seal it with the seal of the Curia, and each of them could take his envelope home, without leaving a copy at Mostar. And when such a “sign” appears, the envelopes will be opened, and it will be seen if the prophecy corresponds to the facts. But the “seers” refused to do this. Then the Bishop asked I. Dragićević if the Madonna had reproached him for having made the description of the “sign” at Visoko. He answered: “No!” This was another untruth, on top of so many other lies.
And now we all are supposed to believe such contradictions and untruths that have been said to this day, with which the “Medjugorje phenomenon” is surrounded and permeated!
Ratko Perić, bishop
Sources and literature
Kronika ukazanja u župi Međugorje, 1981.-1983. Pisao T. Vlašić (La Cronaca delle apparizioni nella parrocchia di Medjugorje, 1981-1983, curata da T. Vlašić).
Prvi dnevnik Vicke Ivanković (Il Primo diario di Vicka Ivanković), 1981. Il diario è attribuito a Vicka, lei l’ha negato in un primo momento, poi ha riconosciuto che quello è suo diario, e difatti in esso sono due scritture, ma non quella di Vicka.
P. Žanić, La Posizione attuale (non ufficiale) della Curia vescovile di Mostar nei confronti degli eventi di Medjugorje, Mostar 1984.
R. Laurentin, Medjugorje à l’heure de la desinformation, 2, Paris 1985; Medjugorje nell’ora della disinformazione, 2, Brescia 1985.
R. Laurentin, Dernieres nouvelles de Medjugorje, 4, Paris 1985; Ancora su Medjugorje, 4, Brescia 1985.
S. Barbarić, Slučaj s kuvertom Ivana Dragićevića (Il caso della busta di Ivan Dragićević), Medjugorje, giugno 1985, dattilografo, pp. 1-9.
J. Bubalo, Tisuću susreta s Gospom u Međugorju, Jelsa 1985.; 2a edizione Međugorje 1998 (Mille incontri con la Madonna a Medjugorje, Padova 1986).
Biskupski ordinarijat Mostar, Ogledalo Pravde, Mostar 2001. (La Curia diocesana di Mostar, Lo Specchio della Giustizia, Mostar 2001).
Lj. Rupčić i V. Nuić, Još jednom ISTINA O MEĐUGORJU (Ancora una volta la VERITÀ SU MEDJUGORJE), Zagreb 2002).
N. Bulat, Istina će vas osloboditi. Nepouzdanost izvora i nedoličnost poruka, Mostar, 2006. (La verità vi farà liberi. L’inaffidabilità delle fonti e l’indecenza dei messaggi).
M. Corvaglia, Medjugorje: è tutto falso, Torino 2007.Anche web site: www.marcocorvaglia.blog.lastampa.it sotto il titolo: Ma il segno dov’è?
 Ogledalo Pravde. Biskupski ordinarijat u Mostaru o navodnim ukazanjima i porukama u Međugorju (La Curia diocesana di Mostar sulle presunte apparizioni e messaggi di Medjugorje), Mostar 2001, pp. 102-108.
 Lj. Rupčić i V. Nuić, Još jednom ISTINA O MEĐUGORJU, (Ancora una volta la verità su medjugorje), Zagreb 2002., pp. 77-78.
 J. Bubalo, Mille incontri con la Madonna, Edizioni Messaggero Padova, 1986, p. 25
 J. Bubalo, Mille incontri con la Madonna, cit., p. 35
 J. Bubalo, Mille incontri con la Madonna, cit., p. 39
 J. Bubalo, Mille incontri con la Madonna, cit., p. 169.
 J. Bubalo, Mille incontri con la Madonna, cit., pp. 59-60.
 N. Bulat, Istina će vas osloboditi, (La verità vi farà liberi), Mostar 2006, p. 38.
P. Žanić, La Posizione…, Mostar, 30. X. 1984., pp. 5-6.
 Ogledalo Pravde, pp. 115 e 120-121. Nella Cronaca delle apparizioni fra Tomislav Vlašić scrive sotto la data del 16 dicembre 1981: “A Jakiša e Vicka la Gospa è apparsa questo giorno due volte. Prima nella casa di Jakiša verso le 16,00. Mentre suonavano e cantavano (c’erano ragazzi e ragazze), lei rideva. Poi ha preso la gamba di Ivo Jurčić togliendo la parte plastica sotto il ginocchio ed è apparsa la gamba sana nello stesso posto. Lui ha sentito che qualcuno lo toccava alla testa.” Purtoppo questo miracolo descritto non è affatto avvenuto (v. la spiegazione sotto la data del 4 gennaio 1983.
 J. Bubalo, Mille incontri con la Madonna, cit., p. 5: „La messa a punto del libro, che riassume l’enorme materiale registrato, si è conclusa ufficialmente il 10 marzo 1984, ma ulteriori precisazioni sono state apportate anche in seguito, fino all’estate del 1986.”
 J. Bubalo, Mille incontri con la Madonna, cit., pp. 183-184.
 J. Bubalo, Mille incontri con la Madonna, cit., pp. 170-171.
 R. Laurentin, Medjugorje à l’heure de la desinformation.Supplement No 2, 1985, p. 36: “Mais il avait seulement écrit: Rien, rien, rien!”; Medjugorje nell’ora della disinformazione, 2, Brescia 1985, p. 40.
 S. Barbarić, Slučaj s kuvertom Ivana Dragićevića (Il caso della busta di Ivan Dragićević), giugno 1985, dattilografate 9 pagine, una copia dell’originale croato in Curia, citato: p. 3.
 Il Verbale della seduta della Commisione di Medjugorje, riunitasi a Mostar il 7 e 8 marzo 1985, pp. 1-23, citato: pp. 11-12. Il Verbale redatto e firmato da fra Ljubo Lucić [deceduto il 20 dicembre 1995].
 Il Verbale dell’apertura commissionale della lettera di Ivan Dragičević, custodita nell’Archivio della Curia diocesana a Mostar, il 7 marzo 1985. Tredici firme.
 La nota risposta della Pizia: „Ibis redibis, numquam peribis in bello” = Andrai, ritornerai, mai perirai nella guerra. Oppure, se si sposta la virgola: Andrai, ritornerai mai, perirai nella guerra.
 S. Barbarić, Slučaj s kuvertom Ivana Dragićevića (Il caso con la busta di Ivan Dragićević), tutti i citati a p. 5.
 Tutti i citati a p. 6.
 Ivi, p. 7.
 Ivi, pp. 7-8.
 R. Laurentin, Dernieres nouvelles de Medjugorje, no 4, Paris 1985., p. 23: „Ivan a pleuré sa faute comme saint Pierre après son reniement”; edizione italiana: Ancora su Medjugorje, 4, Brescia 1985, p. 24.
 La mia giovinezza con la Madonna. Intervista di padre Livio ai microfoni di Radio Maria, Camerata Picena, 2000, p. 182.
 La Madonna è nostra madre. Intervista di padre Livio ai microfoni di Radio Maria, Camerata Picena, 2002, p. 283-284.
 Journal de Conchita, N.E.L., 1979, pp. 79-80, citato nel blog di M. Corvaglia.
 Dnevni list (Il Giornale), Mostar, 16. XI. 2009., p. 13.
 P. Žanić, La Posizione, p. 6.
 P. Žanić, La Posizione, p. 6.