Friday, August 28, 2009

E Michael Jones Responds

The Robert Sungenis-promoted E Michael Jones' response to my article is critiqued below:

BAYLIS: Jones, lacking any direct quotes or statements from Ratzinger HIMSELF, attempts to
manufacture Ratzinger's opinion from something Zanic allegedly said.

JONES: I spoke with Cardinal Ratzinger on three separate occasions and on each occasion, he stated that he did not believe in the authenticity of the apparitions, and that he accepted the
judgment of Bishop Zanic on the matter.

BAYLIS: We'll need some dates for these alleged statements and preferably the actual quotes. Jones doesn't do himself any favours with his nasty habit of quoting in a vacuum. All evidence unmistakably points to Ratzinger not accepting Zanic's conclusions after the completion of his investigations. Zanic concluded "Proven not to be supernatural". The Zadar Declaration said "Not [yet] proven to be supernatural". That doesn't mean anything negative. It's the general classification used for apparitions when they are not concluded and further investigations are likely. The Vatican was waiting at this stage, for a whole number of reasons. So, clearly the pertinent point is that Ratzinger did NOT accept the judgement of Bishop Zanic. So, Jones has some explaining to do.


BAYLIS: He [Ratzinger] believed that Zanic could not be trusted to judge on the authenticity of the apparitions of Medjugorje. After Zanic gave Ratzinger the negative report on Medjugorje, Ratzinger removed the dossier from the hands of Zanic and placed the investigative task in the hands of the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference?

JONES: There is no evidence for this assertion. See my answer to statement 1.

BAYLIS: The evidence is ipso facto the dossier landing in the hands of the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference and ipso facto the Zadar Declaration, which was not Zanic's declaration, but the declaration of the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference! Nevertheless, the evidence is borne out later by this statement from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone in 1999, indicating how things transpire in these cases:

"The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith has asked the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia Hercegovina to take over the dossier of Medjugorje and start again from the beginning. A team of experts will take part in the work."


BAYLIS: When you couple this with his forced loyalty to the Yugoslav communist government who wanted him to cease the apparitions immediately, it is highly unwise to paint Zanic as the most trustworthy of sources.

JONES: The late Bishop Zanic and his successor Bishop Peric are not “sources.” Bishop Zanic was the bishop of the Diocese of Mostar, which is to say, the final authority on the matter of the “apparitions.” He condemned the so-called apparitions as a hoax. Rome has never uttered a word of reproach against him. To deny his judgment is to deny the authority of the church.

BAYLIS: Jones needs to extricate himself from his rose-coloured vacuum. He sounds like a Protestant - once saved, always saved. Zanic WAS the final authority and was given the chance to investigate. Zanic then LOST his final authority, which passed to the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference whose conclusions were accepted by the Vatican and codified in the Zadar Declaration. Zanic INDEED was reproached by the Vatican, officially. Zanic is the source of the letter containing his objections to Medjugorje, which the Vatican ordered him to stop sending. This letter became the source of every conspiracy theory we hear today. Peric continues Zanic's legacy and is the source of further out-of-context quotations which fuel the controversy at time when the Vatican needs all the objectivity and patience it can get. Peric appears to be silenced these days. I didn't deny his judgement or say anything against him. The Vatican did. I'm sorry he brought it upon himself.


BAYLIS: Žanić became so hostile to the events at Međugorje that he wrote a letter denouncing the apparitions and sent it publicly throughout the world [This is the same letter picked up on by E Michael Jones and every other conspiracy theorist you hear today. It is their ONLY source of material].

JONES: My book, The Medjugorje Deception, is based on material from hundreds of books and interviews.

BAYLIS: Jones overlooks Zanic's activities as if they mean nothing and continue to strap his arguments together with quotes from Zanic's illicit objections. Again, why would Zanic bother to risk the ire of the Vatican by spreading this letter if Ratzinger agreed with his views? His views were encoded in that document. They were rejected. And Jones' book promo just fuels my speculation that Jones profits from chaos, as most conspiracy theorists do. If you profit from it, why not fuel it, right?


BAYLIS: By disregarding official Vatican warnings, the Bishop himself appeared to show the same disobedience he accused everyone else of, but apparently that's OK if you're a secular Bishop in Bosnia.

JONES: The bishop cannot show disobedience. There is no authority in the church higher than the bishop.

BAYLIS: If this belief is sincerely held by Jones, then that explains a lot indeed. We have this loose cannon running around creating division in the Church based on absolute garbage.


BAYLIS: Jones puts himself in the league of people who are "familiar with the story". He isn't showing much familiarity at all. Firstly, Vlasic requested the laicisation (see here).

JONES: Did he say, “You can’t fire me. I quit”?

BAYLIS: Jones tacitly admits he twisted the report and/or allowed others' twisting to go uncorrected. The fact is that he requested laicisation. But, even if it was at the Vatican's instigation, something very interesting shows up - the Vatican allows even humble priests to save face. Imagine what face-saving measures were afforded to Zanic and Peric. Going by their activities here and during the Herzegoninian and Mostar Affairs, they might have considered themselves pretty lucky. The second interesting point is moot in this controversy, i.e. there are many who believe that Ratzinger is cleaning up Medjugorje in preparation for Shrine status. That would back up this comment by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith:

"For the moment, one should consider Medjugorje as a Sanctuary, a Marian shrine, in the same way as Czestochowa."


BAYLIS: Thirdly, and most telling, Vlasic's involvement with Medjugorje ended in 1985, more than twenty years ago, when the visionary Marija recanted and refused to acknowledge his claim that the Virgin endorsed his plan.

JONES: Since Vlasic has been on his own for years, no one can say whether his involvement ended or it didn’t. The dossier issued by the bishop of Mostar indicates that it did not. Beyond that, the incident mentioned needs elaboration. Marija Pavlovic issued a statement claiming that the Blessed Mother endorsed the co-ed religious community Tomislav Vlasic created in Parma with the German woman Agnes Heupel. Shortly after a reporter for Fidelity showed up at the palazzo housing the community, Marija Pavlovic issued a statement in both Croatian and Italian admitting that her alleged message from the Blessed Mother did not correspond to the truth and that she had made it under pressure from Tomislav Vlasic. That, according to the criteria for evaluating private revelations should have been the end of the story.

BAYLIS: If Jones can't say whether his involvement ended or not, then why does he keep reiterating as fact the accusation that Vlasic was in it with Zovko for the money. Jones feels that the apparitions should have been condemned on the spot based on these events. Again, this snapshotting of everything, "cherry-picking" as apologists call it. Imagine if Christ snapshotted Jones' life at its worst and used that for the basis of his eternal judgement. Anyway, I think we are generally agreed to stop bringing up Vlasic's name every time we want to tar other Franciscans, visionaries and an entire apparition with the same brush. Zanic has already been shown to lack trustworthiness, so the sooner Zanic quotes from the 1980's stop coming, the better. Medjugorje is cleaned of Vlasic. Expect to see perhaps more of this cleaning.


BAYLIS: It was Zanic who first referred to Vlasic this way. To say he was the "creator" implies he was around to see the actual creation - the illicit fruits - the "booty" as it were.

JONES: “Creation” means, “at the beginning,” not years later.

BAYLIS: The accusation was that an income stream was allegedly created from a scam, that income stream being attributable to Vlasic and Zovko, being the "creators" thereof. With Zovko in jail and Vlasic out of the country a year or so later, the "creation" part seems fuzzy as would the "collection" part. All Zovko needed to say to the police was "Yes, I will try to stop the apparitions" and he would have avoided jail and been free to pursue his "dastardly criminal endeavours". We all know that souvenir vendors scored big (as happened at Fatima, Guadalupe and elsewhere) and that Ivan probably gets a fee for speaking and the other visionaries take lodgers, but where is the real booty? Where is the reward that made it all worthwhile. NOWHERE! Vlasic obviously still has a conscience, otherwise he probably would accept a million dollars from Phil Kronzer or other rich anti-Medjugorje campaigner to do an expozee. Jones, here's your challenge: See if Vlasic is open to this. I can't think of a faster way to vindication and wealth for you. Put your money where your mouth is.


BAYLIS: Secondly, anyone who has taken the time to read the early testimonies will know the irony that Zanic originally wanted to approve the apparitions but that Zovko thought the children were lying.

JONES: Is this another way of saying that Bishop Zanic had an open mind at the beginning? If so, I agree. Secondly, it leaves out the fact that Jozo Zovko did in fact suspect the children of lying but asked them to have the apparitions in the church anyway, a sign that the Franciscans were eager to manipulate the “apparitions” for their own benefit.

BAYLIS: Zovko was already a believer right after receiving his locution to "Protect the Children". He willingly chose jail over freedom for this conviction. On that basis, how does allowing them to have apparitions in the Church indicate a desire to manipulate them?


BAYLIS: Zanic appeared to change his tune quite soon after that meeting.

JONES: By portraying Bishop Zanic as a tool of the communists, our Medjugorje defender commits the sin of calumny. There is no evidence to back up this charge.

BAYLIS: Some things just stare you in the face and you're forced to conclude the obvious. The facts are:

  1. If you cross communists, there's trouble for you and for your flock, especially as the apparitions began at the height of disintegrating relations between Church and state.
  2. Both Zanic and Zovko were called in for the same reason, i.e. call off the apparitions or face jail. Zovko went to jail but Zanic did not. 1 + 1 = 2.


BAYLIS: E Michael Jones needs to sit himself down in front of a mirror and ask himself where his hatred and irrationality comes from. He is apparently a Catholic who thinks the 8th Commandment does not apply to him. Does he think it's compelling racey "journalism" to create these fantasies at the expense of the reputation of innocent people? Save it Michael. But, if we were to bother to refute this accusation, it might go along the lines of this: After 28 years of apparitions, might it not be highly probable that at least one of the six visionaries, or thousands of others close to the visionaries, would expose the fraud. I dare say they have been offered handsomely to do so.

JONES: Our apologist needs to read my answer to point 10. He is calumniating a courageous bishop who has gone to his eternal reward and cannot defend himself against these lies. As to the “racey” [sic] journalism, does our Medjugorje apologist deny that Tomislav Vlasic fathered an illegitimate child by a nun? Does he deny that he was guilty of repeated sins against the Sixth Commandment as well as trafficking in spirits, as the bishop of Mostar’s dossier maintains?

BAYLIS: I have provided the facts, wherever I see them. Unfortunately, this unsavoury task has landed in my hands because of Jones' successful efforts to con everyone into believing that the only person with any authority is the local Bishop. Jones appears even to be anti-ROME in this assertion, denying the authority of all those superior to the local bishop, including the Pope himself. I have presented counter-evidence and provided further insight into why we should NOT necessarily rely on the local Bishop for anything official, but instead rely on the cool objectivity of Rome. And this isn't some personal anti-bishop crusade. This stance originated from the Vatican after the faithful felt bullied by the bishop and wanted clarification. This clarification came from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone who said "Yes, you may pilgrimage to Medjugorje" and "No, don't consider the opinions of the local bishop as Vatican opinion"


JONES: Ivan Dragicevic has been banned from the Diocese of Joliet. That is a fact, no “belligerent craziness.” The letter has been posted on the Medjugorje apologist’s own website.

BAYLIS: The "belligerent craziness" refered to the shameless accusation that Ivan is a conman out to fleece everybody. Regardless, no, he wasn't "banned" in the sense Jones tries to create. This is another Jones twist. Readers are invited to read the actual letter in the comments section, at the bottom. Joliet is an example of a parish taking a very cautious approach to apparitions that are still under investigation, which they are entitled to do. The letter even indicates that it is not a reflection on the visionary or their message.


BAYLIS: Zanic cried and complained so much that they watered down the conclusion to allow Zanic to save face.

JONES: So our apologist admits that the Croatian bishops issued a negative statement on Medjugorje.

BAYLIS: Not at all. By "watering down", I mean going from approving the apparition to giving it the classification that leaves it open to further investigation, i.e. "non-constat de supernaturitate". But, what we have here instead is Jones' admission that Zanic's authority, as far as judging on the authenticity of the apparitions, was removed and handed to the Yugoslav Bishops' Conference.


BAYLIS: E Michael Jones has been at the forefront of twisting the Zadar Declaration into becoming something it never was intended to be.

JONES: There is no twisting. It said exactly what I said it said. See response to 14 for our apologist admitting the same thing.

BAYLIS: Jones has capitalised on the inconclusive nature of the Zadar Declaration. In just his last comment, he said "Croatian bishops issued a negative statement". The Declaration was not meant to be equated to "disapproval" or "condemnation", which is what Jones has been attempting to portray all along. The Declaration was limited in its negativity to the proven nature of the supernaturality of the apparitions. That conclusion was left open to further investigation. It's simply nothing Jones wants it to be. Simply hope for future resolution.


BAYLIS: Warning: If you have been a supporter of Zanic and Peric, be prepared to be disappointed, unless you are a lover of truth.

JONES: Who’s disappointed now in the wake of the defrocking of Tomislav Vlasic?

BAYLIS: Does he think I'm disappointed? On the contrary, all objective appearances are that Benedict is adopting John Paul II's opinion on Medjugorje and cleaning the house for imminent shrine status. I get this impression from official vatican communications and easily verifiable interviews with those whose opinions actually matter - e.g. Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. I get that opinion also from the screeds of undeniable unofficial evidence from literally hundreds of cardinals, bishops and priests who believe Medjugorje to be true. I actually read reports properly with an open mind, not scan them for quotes I can pick out of context to serve my purpose. My analysis of the Herzegovinian and Mostar Affairs is testimony that I take both sides of the story. That would have been an easy one to sway completely against the Bishops.



  1. where can we find Jones's response or was it in private correspondence with you?

  2. Robert Sungenis' website is carrying the response.


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