Other Irish newspapers seem to have missed this story or to think it unimportant.
I commend the Mail for reporting it.
The Daily Mail article is headlined: "Rebel Priest banned from Medjugorje."
The article begins: "The Pope has begun a crackdown on the world's largest illicit Catholic shrine - by suspending the priest at the centre of claims that the Virgin Mary has appeared there more than 40,000 times."
I believe the Daily Mail is incorrect in its use of the term "illicit shrine" to describe Medjugorje.
The church has not made any formal pronouncement on the authenticity of the purported visions at Medjugorje.
There have been limitations placed on some of the devotions there.
Some clerics, including some Bishops, have a negative view of the purported visions.
Their view has not been endorsed by the church.
I believe the Daily Mail is incorrect in its statement that Father Tomislav Vlasic is "at the centre" of claims that the Virgin Mary has appeared in Medjugorje.
I believe Father Vlasic is incidental to those claims.
In fact, the purported visionary Marija dissociated herself from Father Vlasic in 1988.
Marija issued a written dissociation of herself from Father Vlasic and his activities.
Father Vlasic was indeed associated with the six visionaries as spiritual director in the early years of the claimed visions which are supposed to have commenced in 1981.
I would contend that this is not the same thing as being at the centre of the claims.
I believe the Daily Mail is incorrect in stating that the Pope is cracking down on Medjugorje.
The Pope has simply and solely authorised a decree of "interdict" against Father Vlasic.
The decree relates simply and solely to Father Vlasic.
My assessment is that this decree does not relate to Medjugorje.
The Pope may in the future pronounce approval or disapproval for the Medjugorje apparitions.
I believe the Daily Mail's extensive list of allegations against Father Vlasic is not contained in any church or legal document. The Daily Mail writes: "He has been accused of the diffusion of dubious doctrines, manipulation of consciences, suspected mysticism and disobedience towards legitimately issued orders, and is suspected of heresy and schism."
Accused by, and suspected by, whom exactly? I have no acquaintanceship with, and only a little knowledge of, Father Vlasic. I am disquieted by what I do know of him. I am not in a position to defend or condemn him. But this general and unattributed list of accusations and suspicions smacks of innuendo.
My analysis of the church actions against Father Vlasic, is that the Vatican is concerned by his role in a coeducational establishment he has founded in Italy. There are fears it may have cultic attributes.
To sum up.
I have a certain sympathy for the Medjugorje visionaries and their claims.
I want them to be true.
I am deeply touched when I consider certain aspects and testimonies from Medjugorje.
1. An atheistic doctor who came to Medjugorje to study the visionaries had a conversion experience. He told Rolling Stone writer Randal Sullivan that he came to believe in God, not because of any of the more spectacular phenomona associated with the site, but because each evening at the moment of the supposed visions, thousands of birds would be singing in the trees around the church, and as the visions were supposed to be starting, he had witnessed the birds falling silent.
2. The visionaries claim they asked the Virgin Mary to show them a saint in their own town. She indicated the elderly Muslim woman Pasha.
3. Heather Parsons is Ireland's most successful magazine editor ever in terms of sales of the publication she edited. In 1985 she was sent by one of Ireland's national newspapers to report on Medjugorje. She was standing outside the church on the evening of her arrival. She says she saw the sun begin to dance around the sky. She says she saw a figure she instantly knew to be the risen Christ in a fountain of light above the sun.
4. My Uncle Jim runs one of County Kildare's oldest and most successful businesses. He says he saw the host (the bread Catholics believe becomes Christ during the Mass ceremony) rising out of the sun at Medjugorje.
5. I pray to Father Slavko Barbaric as a saint. He is a priest who was associated with the Medjugorje visionaries up until his death in the year 2000. I have obtained what I believe to be a signal grace from the Lord through the intercession of Father Slavko.