Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Medjugorje priest Jozo Zovko banned from speaking at the National Shrine in DC

Organizers said they had expected more than 3,000 people to turn out to hear the Rev. Jozo Zovko, a prominent supporter of claims that the Virgin Mary has appeared to six teenagers in the Bosnian village of Medjugorje, where he was once a pastor.

The Rev. Walter Rossi, director of pilgrimages at the National Shrine, said officials there decided to prohibit Zovko from saying Mass and speaking publicly about the Virgin Mary after they received a letter from his bishop describing Zovko as a "disobedient Franciscan" who has been stripped of "every faculty" to serve in public ministry since 1989.

The letter from Ratko Peric, the bishop of Mostar, did not explain the reasons for Zovko's original censure, which was imposed by Peric's predecessor, now deceased. But the letter said that despite the loss of his faculties, Zovko had continued to hear confessions, a violation of church law that resulted in further penalties in 1994.

"Though unaware of what precipitated this action, or of any credible allegations against Father Zovko, the National Shrine must abide by Canon Law," Peter Sonski, a spokesman for the Shrine, said in a written statement. "Since he is under censure and may not exercise his priestly ministry, Father Zovko cannot take part in this event as planned."

...Zovko, who began a speaking tour of the United States on Nov. 5, has not been blocked from appearing anywhere but Washington, which was to be his final stop, according to Petta. He said the prayer service would still take place this evening, but that Zovko's Bosnian translator would speak in his place.

Here's the question: the guy has been stripped of his faculties. What is any Catholic group doing sponsoring his public activities????

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