A laicized priest who had been the spiritual director to six people who said they experienced visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Bosnian town of Medjugorje has been excommunicated.
Tomislav Vlasic, who had been a Franciscan priest until he was laicized in 2009, was excommunicated July 15 by a decree of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican. The excommunication was announced this week by the Diocese of Brescia, Italy, where the laicized priest lives.
The Brescia diocese said that since his laicization, Vlasic “has continued to carry out apostolic activities with individuals and groups, through conferences and online; he has continued to present himself as a religious and priest of the Catholic Church, simulating the celebration of sacraments.”
The diocese said Vlasic has been the source of “serious scandal to Catholics,” by disobeying the directives of ecclesiastical authorities.
When he was laicized, Vlasic was forbidden from teaching or engaging in apostolic work, and especially from teaching about Medjugorje.
He was in 2009 accused of teaching false doctrine, manipulating consciences, disobeying ecclesiastical authority, and of committing acts of sexual misconduct.
A person who is excommunicated is prohibited from receiving the sacramentals until the penalty has been lifted.
Alleged Marian apparitions in Medjugorje have long been a subject of controversy in the Church, which have been investigated by the Church but not yet authenticated or rejected.
The excommunication of someone linked so closely to an alleged Marian apparition — especially one that has garnered so much worldwide attention and popularity — may well be unprecedented.
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