We are truly sorry that once again we must put the word calumny into the title of an article, hence we apologize to our respected readers. Yet how else can we describe this renewed malicious attack against the Bishops of Mostar, the late Pavao Žanić and the current Ratko Perić? Despite our previous reply, considered not only by us but also by many who have read our answers, to be a reasoned rebuttal of all the lies and calumnies, the defamers and their leaders have not stopped. These past few days (this time without the famous request for $ 4.99 through the social media and some of the local and "national" web sites), the public has been offered another defamatory film that slanders the shepherds of the Church in Mostar. Unlike the first "movie" authored by a certain Drozd and Bezael, which was "supported" by Nazareth production, this latest work has as its only character the same General Maksimov from the film "From Fatima to Medjugorje" and a lady "journalist" without a name. This half-hour conversation repeats all the rubbish that was spread in the previous "movie" without providing even a single piece of evidence or a document. Although there is no signature of the author or the producer, it is clear where the wind is blowing from and what the aim is. In the absence of arguments to contradict the spirit guiding the spiritual shepherds of Mostar defending God's truth, the dignity of the Madonna and the image of the Church, they are resorting to a malicious attack ad hominem – to the man, that has no connection with the truth or human honesty.
The latest film of General Maksimov in fact, provides nothing new except that he met six times with bishop Perić in Rome, in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008. Later on we will deal with this, yet for a better understanding, we point out to our readers our previous replies: Suradnici Udbe i KGB-a ("Collaborators" of the UDBA and KGB), Calumnies in Film and Sedlar's Calumnies.
Everyone who has even superficially followed this media lynching of the Bishops of Mostar and our answers can clearly see that this latest "cinematic" enterprise is a reaction to our replies. However, in the absence of arguments to reject the Truth, lies are repeated. This seems to follow one of Goebbels' sayings: "A lie repeated 100 times becomes true". However, every lie remains a lie, while the truth will always come to light: "The more you try to hide it, from where you never would have thought, exactly there it comes more to light" as Marin Držić (a famous Croatian author) said during his time.
General Maksimov wants to present himself as a truthful man, a conscientious task-maker, with no other interests than the protection of order: Our services are not "notorious", for we did not deal with "lies", we were very thorough in our processing of individuals or groups. Of course, we were known to be unpleasant, but this was all in the interest of the defense of communism. According to his own words, he entered the service of the KGB [Soviet secrete service] to defend communism in 1966 on the recommendation of his father who also "spent his entire life in various positions in the KGB". Only three years later, in 1969, after having spent only a year in "Czechoslovakia", he was honored with the rank of colonel. We all know what Czechoslovakia suffered and survived at that time. Would it now be considered improper to pose the question of how not just individuals and minor groups, but also entire national groups of both Czechs and Slovaks were "unpleasantly" treated, that a thirty-year-old, after only three years of service could become a colonel? Related to this topic and a cause for concern to us is: how can the "testimony" and "truth" of those who sent millions of people to death become so unquestionable that - with this irrefutable proof – they use this to attack those who have devoted their entire lives to the Truth and who have suffered in their lives due to various “truths” of the UDBA [Yugoslav secret police] and KGB? This question begs for a serious psychological study. However, we do not need any studies to prove the truth on bishops Pavao and Ratko of Mostar. Similarly, as we have said in the previous replies, we are not writing this response in the hope of arguing against the defamers and false witnesses, but to strengthen in the truth and that which is good, those whom this type of cinematic poison can bring discomfort to the heart.
Regrading bishop Žanić, the general reiterated the same previous slanderous claims, yet for the second time in his media address to the public, he does not provide even a single letter of the "incriminating document" that made the Bishop reject the "gift from heaven", that is, the appearance of the Blessed Virgin in his own diocese! He cannot truly think that his empty words are sufficient and that an objective and reasonable viewer and reader will think that the secret services would only have one copy of the "document" which they surrendered in full trust to the Vatican and remained without any material evidence of their allegations? By reading the available documents from the archives, it is apparent that each document was made in multiple copies and delivered to higher instances at various addresses. They were also kept in the archives of the secret services that was operative, as well as in the file of the examined person. In these documents, at least amongst those that were kindly opened to us upon our request to Sarajevo, there in the brackets beside the name of bishop Žanić, there was never written a "S" for suradnik - collaborator, but exclusively OO for operativno obrađen - "operationally processed" with the note at the end of the document that he is an "enemy activist", often under the ordinal number 1. To have in front of you this kind of documentation and to claim that bishop Žanić was a collaborator of the UDBA since 1981, is nothing but diabolical slander, the fruit of those who have surrendered their minds and hearts, their names and services, to the father of lies. In this "Year of Bishop Žanić", which we commenced on 19 May last, in his native place - Kaštel Novi, in Croatia, and which we will conclude, God willing, on the hundredth anniversary of his birth, on 20 May 2018 in Mostar, we will write extensively about his relationship to state authorities and his behavior both during communism and during the democratic changes of the nineties of the last century.
General Maksimov once again as a nonsensical soldier states: "Yes, I was introduced to Ratko Perić immediately in December 1982. Comrade Kuznjecov brought me to a meeting with him. From then, we met 7 times up until 1989." To the question of the “journalist”: How often did you contact Ratko Perić after 1989? Maksimov replied: "I saw him personally one time in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2008." We have already written about the alleged encounters from 1982 to 1989 in the replies entitled “Suradnici” Udbe i KGB-a – “Collaborators” of the UDBA and KGB and "Calumnies in Film", but also in “Sedlar's Calumnies”. Therefore, we do not consider it necessary to discuss this any further, however, since the general expanded the time frame and doubled the number of meetings, we should briefly look at these new shameless calumnies of the general.
Even though Maksimov tells the journalist that before filming the interview he had refreshed his memory: "Before I came to this filming, I looked at my personal diary in which I always wrote everything, so that I could do a more faithful report on my service," he does not consider it useful despite all the media hype when it comes to the Bishops of Mostar, to confirm his claims, if not with documents, which obviously do not exist, then at least with his own diary records, in which he “always wrote everything”. But he obviously is a "craftsman" who knows that specific dates, times and places of encounter, when fictitious - and in this case they are - can easily be challenged. Because he himself knows that "the very intelligent and highly educated man", as Maksimov describes bishop Ratko, keeps his own diary as well as the institution he serves. Starting from the assumption that Catholic Bishops often travel to Rome - specifically to the Vatican, especially the bishop of Mostar, he mentions off the top of his head, a list of years of meetings in Rome from 2000 to 2008. For the time being, let's just say this: regarding the years listed, bishop Ratko did not even go to Rome for two of these years! This was because the "Herzegovinian case" was resolved in principle already in the year 2000! Which precise years Msgr. Perić was not in Rome we will keep to ourselves, until Maksimov stirs up as much military courage as he has of defamatory boldness, and instead of facing the camera without documents, he stands in front of the Bishop with the papers, which the Bishop publicly invited him to do in the reply "Calumnies in Film".
With a refreshed memory in the new film, the general recalls the names, dates, places and topics during the meetings with the representatives of the Vatican, as well as the “comrades” from the Yugoslav secret services. Yet the identity of the “common friend” who was the contact person all along - the mediator and organizer of the meeting with the rector and bishop Ratko, is not mentioned at all. We believe that to those who desire to come to the truth it remains unclear why the general is hiding the dates, documents and identity of the key person. With his own words he has sown a great amount of evil. From a man who claims his service and of course he himself of not being "infamous" and "never lying", after our description that all his words are nothing but blasphemous calumny, the least one would expect would be for him to bring to the light of day the documentation on the basis of which he makes his claims and to invite witnesses.
In answering the journalist’s question whether he possibly blackmailed or forced the Bishop to collaborate with him, the general replied: “We did not blackmail him with anything. He came to us to do the ‘business’ that no one else could do. He had been convinced into this by the priest in Rome who connected us. No blackmail, just pure business.”
And that “pure business”, as we had already written earlier, according to the general’s claims consisted of: You destroy the Franciscans in Herzegovina, and I will destroy Medjugorje. We have previously responded on how the “business” ran up until 1989. But what is interesting is the fact that from the last meeting in 1989 until 2000, there is no contact between the two. Everyone, even someone who is only somewhat familiar with the circumstances in Herzegovina knows that many things happened exactly during that time and that, if there was any “collaboration”, it would have only intensified. After the democratic changes, a war broke out in this region which in its worst forms did not spare Herzegovina. It was a war which was supported by the secret services, even the one that general Maksimov was a part of. How is it that the powerful general did not intervene, if he could not protect all of Herzegovina from war, at least to save the Chancery and the Cathedral, into which the long anticipated “business partner” was meant to move into, be consecrated and, empowered by episcopal ordination, and put into practice the “deal”? How is it that he did not “protect” him from a violent removal from his own apartment and long-hour shameless detention in captivity in the neighbourhood of Cim in Mostar in 1995? These would be reasonable arguments for rational minds, but Maksimov with his calumnies has parted with rationality!
The reality however, is completely different. Even before he was ordained a Bishop in 1992, Monsignor Perić, like everyone else, could read the April 1991 Zadar declaration that denied the supernatural nature of the events of Medjugorje. We repeat once again: There is no document or public statement of Rector Perić in which his viewpoint of the Medjugorje phenomenon can be seen. And regarding the Herzegovinian case, this developed as follows: Just after taking over the administration of the dioceses of Herzegovina in 1993, bishop Perić, exclusively and according to the Church plan, in accordance with Canon law and the directives of the Holy See, initiated talks on the implementation of the 1975 decree entitled Romanis Pontificibus. Nothing more and nothing less than what was decided by the Decree. The talks were held without the mediation of anyone outside the Church, involving only those persons and institutions that were responsible for the matter. These meetings were held in Herzegovina and in the Vatican up until 2000. Therefore, all this during the time frame when there was no contact between the Bishop and the general. We therefore rightly ask: does general Maksimov wish to suggest that he influenced some other parties in the Church conversations: from the Franciscan Provincial administration in Herzegovina or the Franciscan General Curia in Rome or the Congregations of the Holy See or even the members of the Franciscans’ General Chapter held in Assisi of 1997 where it was decided that the Romanis Pontificibus decree should be implemented instantly and in full, after which, through the mediation of the General Curia and the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, the concrete implementation of the Decree with all the decisions of the Curia and the Holy See was agreed? Even if for an instant we were to believe in the authenticity of Maksimov’s claims, how could one not ask: if bishop Ratko was not blackmailed by anything and it was all just a job to be done on the basis of “you give me – I give you”, what could then make all the other interested parties under pressure from the KGB and UDBA, succumb under the “unreasonable hatred of bishop Ratko towards the Franciscans”? This is a dangerous and poisonous theory that is the foundation of the film and the interview and which we consider that even the masterminds behind the defamatory film “From Fatima to Medjugorje” did not count on. Therefore, we consider this attack on the Bishops of Mostar not just an attack on them personally but on the Church as well; not just in Herzegovina but the universal Church, no matter how often some insist on saying that “two Bishops are not the entire Church”.
Our Lord Jesus was diabolically slandered by the Pharisees that he exorcized demons out of people with the satanic power of Beelzebub (Mt 12:25-29). Jesus very simply did, however with divine strength, exorcize the possessed people he met or those that were brought to him. He only could not exorcize the Pharisees who intentionally sinned against the Holy Spirit with their diabolical slander. It is not entirely clear why general Maksimov joined in the action of offering his “help” to tear down a Province of around two hundred Herzegovinian Franciscans instead of jealously guarding his Soviet imperialistic system. And yet it collapsed like a house of cards in 1989-1990! Possibly due to Pope Saint John Paul II and the Holy See, with whose clerics general Maksimov, as he brags, maintained contacts up until his almighty SSSR helplessly and irretrievably disintegrated!
During the opening address at the seventieth regular meeting of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Banja Luka on 13 July this year, the President of the Conference, Cardinal Vinko Puljić, among other things, said: “We know all too well the old UDBA method of creating division and distrust among people. To succeed in this, they accuse an individual Bishop as a collaborator of the UDBA as they did with the late bishop Pavao Žanić and the current bishop Ratko Perić in Mostar. Likewise, some authorities want to ‘silence’ bishop Franjo (Komarica of Banja Luka) to not to point out the injustices and therefore they find it easier to accuse him. The tactics of old UDBA cronies has always been the same: a good offence is the best defence”.
But the best defence is the Truth that the Mostar Bishops have always been preaching, fighting for and ready to make a greater sacrifice for than the vicious attacks of the authors of defamatory film scenarios, the masterminds behind it all and the protagonists themselves. Our intention with this statement is to refute these lies with the truth. We repeat once again: We are not so naïve to believe that with this reply we will bring the unscrupulous liars to the Truth. Our wish has always been and remains, to faithfully encourage our respected readers who are disturbed by this type of blasphemous calumny and invite them to always stand by the Truth that will set us all free.
Fr. Željko Majić