Bishop blasts Vicka over tennis comments
When local tennis player Ivan Dodig recently beat Rafael Nadal, number 2 in the world, a Croatian newspaper quoted Medjugorje visionary Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic to say that Dodig’s success was “another message of Medjugorje”. One day later Vicka’s comment caused Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar to break his self-imposed public silence on Medjugorje with a polemical article on the official diocesan website.
By the time the last ball was played and tennis ace Ivan Dodig of Medjugorje had beaten double Wimbledon winner and six times French Open winner Rafael Nadal on August 12, Dodig was yet to find out that his biggest triumph ever would soon involve Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar who neither believes in the Virgin Mary’s apparitions in Medjugorje, nor believes in apparitions at all.
The link between Dodig’s 1-6, 7-6, 7-6 triumph in Montreal Rogers Cup and the episcopal palace in Mostar was put in place by the Croatian newspaper Vecernji List. In the printed edition of August 13 the paper quoted Medjugorje visionary Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic to say that Dodig’s success was “another message of Medjugorje”.
“I am glad that these young people have so much success. God bless them, they are talented in tennis and should exploit it. They are another Medjugorje message for the world”, Vicka said in a double reference to Ivan Dodig and Marin Cilic who also hails from Medjugorje and currently ranks 26 in the world, Dodig ranking number 41.
The response from the Bishop came promptly:
“Whence comes, Vicka, the knowledge that this momentary victory is “another Medjugorje message for the world”? From the talk of “another message of Medjugorje”, one might conclude that this “message” has been revealed on the evening of the first victory by the imaginative “figure” that has “appeared” every day for more than 30 years. Or that she, in her imagination, connects the sports event with the other messages that are pure inventions of the “appearances”?”, Bishop Ratko Peric wrote in an article on the official website of the diocese.
“These messages have taken place since 1981 – the themes were those of the ordinary Sunday sermons: the Bible or the Word of God, Penance, Eucharist, Confession, Worship, Peace, Prayer, Conversion, Holiness, Reconciliation, Fasting, Testimony etc. Now, to these Christian key issues you add “another Medjugorje message for the world”, that of the tennis victory of Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig from Medjugorje”, the Bishop continued before striking a note of nationalism:
“However, this euphoria lasted very briefly. Just long enough for the self-styled visionary to send “her message” through the newspaper to the world. In fact, Cilic soon lost the duel with Novak Djokovic 2-0 – the sixth consecutive defeat. Dodig also lost to Janko Tipsarevic 2-0. Two players from Medjugorje lost against two Serbs!”
“One wonders why Vecernji List has not used this occasion to exclusively allow “Vicka, seer of Our Lady”, to send “another message of Medjugorje for the world” of this defeat in tennis? So, if tennis players lose, then the “seer” Vicka does not transform these emotions in sports into “messages of Medjugorje,” and there are no messages of Medjugorje for the world?”, the Bishop concluded.
With his comments the Bishop breaks his self-imposed silence on Medjugorje that he announced in February 2011 “out of respect for the Vatican Commission” assigned to investigate the events of Medjugorje.
EDITORIAL NOTE: It can surely be excluded that Vicka means to add the results of tennis games to the overall message of Medjugorje which is and remains conversion and peace through prayer, fasting, confession, the Mass and the Bible. Most likely she simply refers to The Parable of the Talents in Matthew 25: 14-30 and Luke 19: 12-28. It is also a fact that, from time to another, the success of Ivan Dodig and Marin Cilic has caused sports reporters to ask the players questions about the Virgin Mary’s apparitions in their hometown, thereby turning Dodig and Cilic into messengers of Medjugorje.