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Once a Franciscan priest, he had already been laicized in 2009, but he has continued with apostolic activities.

 

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith excommunicated the former priest Tomislav Vlasic, as announced on October 23, by the diocese of Brescia, Italy, the territory in which the former Franciscan continued to carry out some apostolic activities, despite having been reduced to a lay state in 2009. In March 2009, Benedict XVI signed a decree reducing to the lay state the Franciscan Tomislav Vlasic, spiritual director of the visionaries of Medjugorje. He had asked to be released from his priestly duties after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith began an investigation against him in 2008 “for the spreading of dubious doctrine, manipulation of consciences, suspicious mysticism, disobedience to legitimate orders” and for adultery as well.

On July 15, 2020, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a decree of excommunication against the former Croatian religious and transmitted it a week later to the bishop of Brescia, the diocese in which the former priest continued, against the advice of Rome, certain pastoral activities.

“Unfortunately, over the years, Mr. Vlasic has never respected the prohibitions imposed on him in the canonical penal precept issued against him by the same Congregation on March 10, 2009,” reads the statement from the Diocese of Brescia.

“He has continued to carry out his apostolic activities with individuals and groups, both through conferences and by computerized means; he has continued to declare himself a religious and priest of the Catholic Church, simulating the celebration of invalid sacraments; he has continued to cause a serious scandal among the faithful, carrying out acts seriously prejudicial to ecclesiastical communion and obedience to ecclesiastical authority,” the document goes on to say.

By this excommunication, Rome forbade him, among other things, to receive the sacraments. In the case that “Mr. Vlasic” attempts to participate in the celebration of the Eucharist, “the liturgical action must be interrupted, unless a serious cause opposes it,” specifies the Congregation.

The then-Franciscan had spiritually accompanied the six “visionary” children of Medjugorje, located in Bosnia-Herzegovina. While the Church has never pronounced itself on the purported Marian apparitions, the first of which dates back to June 1981, in May 2019 the Vatican authorized the faithful to go there on pilgrimage.

Raphael Benedict

Raphael Benedict

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