Cardinal  Vinko Puljic, president of the Bosnia-Hercegovina Conference of Bishops, has confirmed to Spirit Daily that no new commission will be set in place to investigate the apparitions at Medjugorje -- a task his conference has been given by the Vatican.

"There is no need for a new Commission about Medjugorje seers as long as they claim Our Lady continues appearing to them regularly or from time to time," said a statement issued by the cardinal through his vicar. "When the events stop, a new commission can be nominated."

In the meantime, said the cardinal, the local bishop in Mostar, Ratko Peric, is "in charge of pastoral supervising of Catholic liturgy and other devotions in the Medjugorje parish."

Cardinal Puljic, who thus far has a negative view of Medjugorje, denied criticizing the apparitions at the Vatican last month despite a report to that effect by CW News. "In his intervention during the Synod of Bishops in Rome he never mentioned Medjugorje," claims the statement issued to Spirit Daily and dated November 19, 2001, from the Sarajevo archdiocese.

The cardinal declined further comment.

Meanwhile, there will be memorial ceremonies and prayer at Medjugorje November 24, commemorating the first anniversary of the death of a parish priest, Father Slavko Barbaric, who died last year at 3:30 p.m. on that date after leading the Way of the Cross on Mount Krivevac. According to the parish, he felt pain, sat on a rock, then lay on the ground and lost consciousness near the top of the famous mountain.

Since that time there have been claims of healings and other miracles associated with the Franciscan priest, who served at Medjugorje between 1982 and 2000. Born March 11, 1946, in Dragicini, Bosnia-Hercegovina, he was a member of the Hercegovina Franciscan Province and was sent to Medjugorje because of his serious, scrutinizing, and often intellectual manner. He was very close to all six seers and served as their spiritual director. The day after his death, in her monthly message, the Virgin told seer Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti "I rejoice with you and I desire to tell you that your brother Slavko has been born into Heaven and intercedes for you." Since that time, there have been reports of just such an intercession. Last month a pilgrim claimed to see him behind the church. Meanwhile, visionary Ivan Dragicevic reportedly saw the priest during an apparition, as we reported at the time. At a conference last September Marija said there have been so many miracles that they should be formally investigated for possible future beatification.

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