On Thursday, 4 April 2013, the Diocesan Chancery office in Mostar received an e-mail message written in capital letters, sent from the e-mail address of Zdenko Vego, but signed by Marijana Vego. Marijana’s precise message follows in full, along with the Bishop’s response:
LETTER TO BISHOP RATKO PERIĆ
DEAR BISHOP RATKO,
I’M ADDRESSING YOU IN THE NAME OF ALL CATHOLIC MOTHERS WHO ARE PREPARING THEIR CHILDREN FOR THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY CONFIRMATION ON SUNDAY.
THE CONFIRMATION WILL BE ON 7 APRIL 2013, IN THE PARISH CHURCH OF ST. FRANCIS IN ČAPLJINA. (WHITE SUNDAY OR DIVINE MERCY SUNDAY).
MAY GOD BLESS YOU BY THE MODEL OF DIVINE MERCY AND MAY YOU ACCEPT THIS INVITATION SO THAT OUR CHILDREN CAN, WITHOUT ANY DUALISM, RECEIVE THIS HOLY SACRAMENT IN PEACE AND HUMILITY - I INVITE YOU IN THE NAME OF JESUS AND HIS LAWS OF LOVE WHICH SHOULD NOT SUBSIDE IN OUR UNIVERSAL CATHOLIC WORLD. FOR IF WE ACCEPT THE HOLY GOSPEL, THEN IT’S CLEAR THAT WE WILL BE JUDGED BY LOVE.
I BELIEVE THAT THIS INVITATION WILL NOT BE REFUSED, BUT ON THE CONTRARY, BE ACCEPTED - BECAUSE WE ARE ALL GOD’S CHILDREN MADE IN HIS IMAGE.
DEAR MONS. RATKO, I BELIEVE THAT THE FEELING OF LOVE WILL ALSO PREVAIL IN YOU TOWARDS OUR YOUTH WHO ARE AT VARIOUS TURNING POINTS IN THEIR LIVES. HENCE, LET’S NOT ALLOW THIS KIND OF UNIVERSAL CONFUSION TO ALSO REIGN IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH, THAT MAY MAKE THEM GO ASTRAY FOR WE KNOW THAT EVERY HUMAN ORDER WITHOUT GOD IS AN AWFUL ERROR WHOSE INSTIGATOR IS THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS.
MAY THE LIGHT OF THE RISEN JESUS CHRIST SHINE UPON YOU WITH A CLEAR BRIGHTNESS – WISHING YOU A HAPPY AND BLESSED EASTER FROM THE PARISH OF ST. FRANCIS, ČAPLJINA.
THE BISHOP’S RESPONSE TO MARIJANA VEGO, ČAPLJINA
Thank you for the Easter wishes that you sent to me yesterday by e-mail.
I agree with you that we have to do whatever we can to deter young believers from universal confusion that can lead them astray. If we agree on this, I think we will then agree about these other points that follow.
1 – The Lord Jesus instituted the Church and entrusted it to the care of the Apostles with Peter as its head. Their successors, the bishops, in communion with the Pope, lead the Catholic Church. Since in this world we are imperfect, the Church therefore, besides love requires laws and a canonical order. According to the teachings and Canon Law of the Catholic Church “A parish is a certain community of the Christian faithful stably constituted in a particular church, whose pastoral care is entrusted to a pastor (parochus) as its proper pastor (pastor) under the authority of the diocesan bishop" (Can. 515 §1).
2 – The parish of St. Francis in Čapljina, as a community of faithful in the diocese of Mostar-Duvno, has a temporary parish office and liturgical space in the city of Čapljina, located on G. Šušak Street, in the part of the city called Peline. It also has an official parish priest, Father Ivan Kordić, who is assisted by Father Dragan Filipović. At the beginning of this school year about 50 pupils in the 8th grade presented themselves to the parish priest, Fr. Ivan, to be confirmed this year. In our dioceses in Herzegovina, we do not encourage confirmation in the lower grades. Upon the invitation of the parish priest, I agreed that with God’s help, I will confer the Sacrament of Confirmation in that parish on Sunday, 16 June 2013, (Službeni vjesnik, 3/2012., str. 278; http://www.cbismo.com/files/file/Vjesnik_2012_3.pdf).
3 – Unfortunately, the parish church of St. Francis, the parish house and rectory in Čapljina are still being unlawfully usurped by three suspended priests, who have been dismissed by Franciscan Order due to their disobedience. They and the community that gathers around them are not in communion with the particular or the universal Church, commonly known as Catholic. We have invited those suspended priests to resolve their priestly status and placed the Chancery Office at their disposal in order to mediate in this matter (Vrhbosna, 2/2004., pp. 180-181), and that the parish rectory and property be handed over to the legitimate parish priest, thereby putting an end to the division that exists in Čapljina. They have however, remained obstinate in their disobedience.
4 – In the Catholic community we wish to develop, it is the right and the duty of parents to register their children as candidates for holy Confirmation with the parish priest. It is the right and duty of the parish priest to teach those candidates properly. It is the right and duty of the parents and godparents to guarantee that their children are ready to take on the obligations regarding their Christian life and to grow in maturity. It is the right and duty of the bishop to make sure that those children receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
5 – If you accept this, then it is obvious that Christian mothers, individually or in a group; or the suspended priests in the parish of Čapljina, cannot schedule any celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Therefore, I invite you and the other mothers in whose name you are writing, to contact your parish priest, Father Ivan Kordić. The preparation for this sacrament as a rule, usually takes a full school year. However, if we all make an effort, with God’s assistance, why not celebrate a lawful and valid Confirmation this year of all those in the 8th grade on 16 June as has already been officially scheduled?
6 – As your bishop I ask and beg you, by the Divine Mercy of the Father in Heaven: do not call upon the Holy Gospel to say that we are acting against the Gospel of Christ the Lord and his Church – which is one, holy, catholic and apostolic! It is precisely this that creates a “dualism” and takes away “peace and humility” from us!
In the name of the Crucified One, who Died, and has Risen and who will judge us, please do not organize an unlawful and invalid rite of “confirmation” in Čapljina on 7 April or at any other time.
I plead with you by the gifts of the Holy Spirit which the candidates receive in a lawful and valid Confirmation, that you not support the ecclesiastical disorder in Čapljina, especially because you are aware that: “every human order without God is a awful error whose instigator is the Prince of Darkness.” If this is the case with “human order”, how will it be then when dealing with church disorder?
By the love of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron of the parish of Čapljina, please do not take part in this kind of unlawful and invalid “confirmation”, nor invite or expect me to bless this scandalous and schismatic situation.
Thank you for your message which has helped us once again to explain this tragic “dualism”, intolerable “confusion” and schismatic “situation”, so that the people cannot justify themselves by saying that they did not know.
To you and to the other Catholic mothers in Čapljina, I wish and I pray to God, that you all be enlightened with the light of the Risen Christ and that the Spirit kindle in you love for peace and unity in the Church!
Mostar, 5 April 2013
+ Ratko Perić, Bishop