It is John’s first interview with a major prelate: the Bishop of Mostar. He doesn’t feel up to it, but there he was, face to face with the bishop. After the formalities and cordialities, still full of jitters, he asks the first question: “Do you believe in Lourdes?”
The bishop must have thought that was a very good question. So good, that, after slamming his fist on the table, he screamed “NO!” John is ecstatic. What a clear and concise answer! Something he could only dream of obtaining, if say, interviewing the Holy Father.
Thus encouraged, John, with ears still ringing, asks the second question: “Do you believe in Fatima?” Again, the bishop responds with a forceful “No!” After uncovering his ears, John thinks: “This is a piece of cake.”
But then apprehension overwhelms him. The last question regards Medjugorje: an apparition he ardently believes in. The bishop no longer has the authority to judge the case. Yet, it would be discouraging to hear a negative response. So taking courage, and putting in ear plugs, he asks: “Do you believe in Medjugorje?” Again, the self-same answer, clear as a fog horn.
Mission accomplished, but John is now thrown into turmoil. He struggles to maintain a professional composure regarding the bishop’s answer. But his emotions eventually win out. From the double-negative testimony, a deep sigh of relief escapes his lips: “Whew!”
The bishop, however, is visibly annoyed. It is the third reporter this week to respond like that; and besides, his hand is sore. Surmising John believes in all three apparitions, he demands: “Are you going to impute my discernment is consistently wrong?”
John is in a pickle. The bishop is glaring at him fiercely; he has no idea what to do. But finally, eventually, unexpectedly, he slams down his fist and shouts: “YES!”
The interviewer persona is fictional. But Father John Chisholm had a conversation with Bishop Ratko Peric in which he asked the Lourdes and Fatima questions. The fist slamming and yelled “No” was his actual response. Moreover, Bishop Peric apparently doesn’t believe in any apparitions. This is quite curious, but not everyone is given the grace to believe, and private revelation is optional.
However, for the task of determining the supernatural character of an apparition, Bishop Peric is about the least qualified person on the planet. The correct answer is yes or no depending on the apparition: he only knows how to say “no.” The rational stance for Bishop Peric would be to humbly excuse himself from such discussions.
On the contrary, he has repeatedly been outspoken against Medjugorje. In turn, elements of the Catholic media portray the “Bishop of Medjugorje” as a guiding light, but don’t report he is essentially against all apparitions. The great irony is, with his discernment track record of Lourdes and Fatima, Bishop Peric squarely places Medjugorje in pretty good company – exactly because of his ranting and raving.
Though a message from the Queen of Peace is worth recalling. She said something to the effect that some of the worst detractors will eventually be the strongest supporters. Let us pray that Bishop Peric will be of that number.
For as late as July 23, 2018, Bishop Peric stated the apparitions are “not credible.” These recent statements came through the Diocese. It seems the Diocese should be fined for using the official office apparatus to make personal statements for the Bishop. For as such, this apparatus has no credibility.