Friday, 13 June 2008

Vassula Ryden

Can anyone please clarify the position concerning one Vassula Ryden, a Greek Orthodox lay woman who claims to have visions in which God directly speaks to her?
The clergy of our diocese have received an invitation to go to Chichester Cathedral to hear her speak in July. The letter implies that the Catholic Church thinks she is super.

Pope Benedict XVI, when he was Prefect of the Congregation for Doctrine and Faith [sic], asked the CDF to dialogue with Vassula Ryden to clarify the concerns they had regarding the teachings contained in the True Life in God Messages. This dialogue lasted from 2002 to 2004. Cardinal Ratzinger then wrote a letter to Catholic Bishops who were asking the CDF its assessment of the TLIG Messages, in this letter Cardinal Ratzinger made a statement that clarified all the concerns that the CDF had concerning the orthodoxy contained in the TLIG Messages. I and my fellow signatories to this letter are also of the opinion that the 'locutions' that Vassula Ryden presents to us, are both authentic and authoritative.
(emphasis mine)

Now, it is not clear what this means. The CDF statement 'clarified all the concerns'—this does not necessarily mean 'approved', simply identified the problems. And I very much doubt whether the CDF would do anything so rash as to declare that any private revelations were 'both authentic and authoritative', though the word 'also' implies it.

The letter comes above the signature of one Gavin Ashenden who is, I believe, the Anglican Chaplain to the University of Sussex. The letter is printed on University headed notepaper, no doubt to add gravitas — I wonder what the University might think of its name being used to bolster something like this. I remember this institution as being notably atheistic in its spirit, despite the large chapel/meeting house at its core.

A specific invitation to Roman Catholic Clergy to an Anglican event that bears no signatures of Catholic Clergy (though five Anglicans) seems to imply to me that they felt that Catholic authorities would not approve.

Can anyone shed light on the current status of Vassula Ryden, or on any other aspect of this?

35 comments:

Londiniensis said...

References to key CDF documents are given below. It appears that the Sussex University chaplain’s letter is seriously misleading, whether mistakenly or mendaciously I leave others to judge.

CDF Notification dated 6 October 1995 The original Notification

CDF Press Release of 29 November 1997 Clarification of attempts by Mrs Ryden’s supporters to twist the import of an interview with Cardinal Ratzinger.

Cardinal Ratzinger's letter of 10 July 2004 Statements by Mrs Ryden’s supporters make hay with this letter, but the letter itself does not bear these interpretations. I suppose it is this letter which the Sussex University chaplain draws on.

Cardinal Levada's letter of 25 January 2007 The current authoritative position.

Unfortunately, the CDF’s section of the Vatican website is rather scant, and the above documents have been copied from diverse sources. It appears on the face of it that the texts are sound, but I wish that in a potentially tangled case like this the Vatican website would publish everything.

Jackie Parkes said...

I'm sure there was a document disproving her...but can't remember where..I used to read her writings...kinda interesting but I think they were theologically flawed..

Fr John Abberton said...

I am "spiritual guide" of TRUE LIFE IN GOD in England. I am a Catholic priest (Leeds Diocese) and a diocesan exorcist.

I was against Vassula for some time and warned other against her. I was re-introduced to her writings by a Catholic hermit who also showed me comments made by Cardinal Ratzinger following questions asked by some catholic bishops.
I not only read some of her writings, but very quickly after this, had the chance to meet her in Rome. This was indispensable to me for the process of discernment. Other exorcists have said that there is nothing "diabolical" in her or the writings. I agree. Some theologians, Catholic and Orthodox, insist that there is nothing in the writings against Church teaching (e.g. a pamphlet written by Fr Edward O'Connor of Notre Dame USA). Fr Rene Laurentin remains convinced that the messages are genuine. Bishop Felix Toppo of India has given the Nihil Obstat to the book (an interview with this Bishop can be accessed through the TLIG web site)

The Vatican documents pose other questions. We have been made to understand that once a statemtn is made at the Vatican it is not rescinded, but passes into the archives. The answers vassula offered to the CDF were accepted but this does not automatically remove the Notification etc (the Vatican does not work like that).

it is interesting that when the answers wwere received, cardinal Ratzinger insisted that they be printed in one of Vassula's books (of the messages). Why did he do this? At the outset he said they should not be printed anywhere else. Was this a cynical attempt to hide those answers from Catholics? Was it a gentle way of saying that we may read the writings if we wish? I prefeer to accept the second suggestion. Vassula was recently in Rome where she met the Pope in a general audience. In front of a witness ( a lay theologian who knows the Pope) His Holiness turned back and greeeted Vassula twice. it does not prove anything, but it's not a sign of rejection!

I am happy to answer any queries anyone may have - if I can. In my view we are free to hear Vassula or read her writings and make up our own minds. (By the way, the letter from cardinal Levada contains factual errors which Vassula has been at pains to correct. This conversation with the CDF is continuing with the help of Canon lawyers and the advice of Fr Prospero Grech who was on the staff of the CDF).

fr. John Abberton

Ottaviani said...

I find that Vassula Ryden encourages religious indifferentism.

Traditional Catholic teaching quite clearly states that unity is already found in the Catholic church and that it up to those who are outside this unity (Protestants, Orthodox, etc) to come back. Why do none of the "locutions" of Vassula ever mention this?

Anonymous said...

Ottaviani - at the risk of stating the obvious, maybe none of the locutions of Vassula ever mention this silly old piece of Roman Catholic egocentric nonsense, because it isn't true?

Remember the old joke about the walled-off section of heaven, where the RCs have to spend eternity in isolation to preserve their personal myth that nobody else has made it to the eternal mansions?

The millions of practicing Christians (Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican, etc) who know full well their relationship with God, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit, and experience day by day the transforming grace of God in their lives through a participation in the sacramental life of their own churches, may just have something to teach you? That includes Vassula herself.

I hate to burst any bubbles, but in my experience, the vast majority of faithful Roman Catholic laity also totally reject any notion that in the modern age the RC Church has a fullness of Christian unity within itself, without reference to other denominations. The vast majority are sensible enough to realise that if you drop a milk jug and it smashes into 100 pieces, the only way to mend it properly and regain its integrity, is to gather up ALL 100 pieces and glue them back together. The handle can proclaim over and over that it is not just the handle, but somehow myseteriously preserves the fullness of the entire milk jug, but that poor handle is sadly deluded.

Londiniensis said...

I must gently chide Father Abberton - ever so gently as I have great affection for Heckmondwike and also for St Mary's Bradford - but he must know (1) that the reported "comments made by Cardinal Ratzinger", disseminated by Mrs Ryden's supporters, which so clearly influenced him, were officially denied/clarified in the CDF Press Release I have referred to in my first post and that (2) the "factual errors" in Cardinal Levada's letter only really amount to a confusion over dates of letters and a mistake calling volume 12 of Mrs Ryden’s collected writings volume 10.

And Father Abberton really cannot get away with his assertion that Mrs Ryden's clarifications were accepted by the CDF - Mrs Ryden did indeed offer clarifications regarding her writings and activities, but it was not enough to reverse the doctrinal judgement of the 1995 Notification which remains valid. It is mischievous of Mrs Ryden's supporters to make exaggerated claims based on perverse readings of private correspondence with the CDF - if there had ever been a reversal of the CDF's position it would have been been published officially to the whole Church (pace Father Abberton's comment, that is the way the Vatican works). Cardinal Levada's 2007 letter makes the position crystal clear.

gemoftheocean said...

I *distinctly* remember a priest in our high school religion class telling us we were not obligated to believe in ANY private revelation. So it strikes me as hokey that anyone would put this sort of "authentic and authoritative stamp on it." I don't care WHO says it. I think it's wise to keep a healthy sense of skepticism. I don't approve of cynicism either in these matters, but anyone telling me I have to accept a private revelation as "authentic" much less authoritative gets a cold shoulder from me. Such a thing isn't prudent, much less wise.

Anonymous said...

Father, the letter to which you refer has been sent (as far as I am aware) to all Sussex-based parochial clergy of the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox denominations.

From the tone of your comment I am guessing that you do not know the five Anglican priests who have signed the letter, so by way of clarification, here are the details:

1) The Rev'd Canon Dr Gavin Ashenden (who, like yourself, resides in the lovely Adur Valley) is indeed the senior Chaplain of Sussex University, an office he has held for almost 20 years. He is a published author, and academically qualified across a range of disciplines (LLB, BA, MTh, DPhil).

2) The Rev'd Canon Andrew Robinson is an assistant chaplain at Sussex University, and has been for about 30 years, as well as being a parish priest (since 1980) in one of the Brighton suburbs.

3) The Rev'd Canon Beau Brandie is one of the central Brighton parish priests, his parish being the one which takes in the geographical area of many of the main university buildings. He is the leading figure in Chichester Diocese in the traditional Anglo-Catholic wing of the Church.

4) The Rev'd Dr John Twisleton, who was for many years the Area Missioner of Edmonton Episcopal Area in London, has been since 2001 the full-time Diocesan Advisor for Mission and Renewal in Chichester Diocese.

5) Fr Gregory CSWG was for 35 years the Superior of the Community of the Servants of the Will of God, an Anglican Religious Order following the Benedictine Rule, but not a part of the Anglican OSB because of deliberate alterations in the style of their monastic living to incorporate elements of eastern monasticism and spirituality. They have a particular work of prayer for the reunion of western and eastern Christendom. Fr Gregory is now very aged, and spent several weeks in hospital during Eastertide after falling and breaking a hip, and in view of his health has recently stood down as Superior. The community has elected Fr Colin CSWG as its new Superior. One of the brothers, Brother Andrew CSWG, has for several years been studying the locutions of Vassula and writing spiritual reflections upon them.

Vassula's visions have repeatedly included an image of three metal bars (Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism) melting and merging into one another. It is a vision of Christian unity which has captured the attention of many thousands.

Angelo said...

Two of several CDF memos warning Catholics not to particpate in Vassula Ryden events:

1) Given the negative effect of Vassula Ryden's activities, despite some positive aspects, this Congregation requests the intervention of the Bishops so that their faithful may be suitably informed and that no opportunity may be provided in their Dioceses for the dissemination of her ideas. Lastly, the Congregation invites all the faithful not to regard Mrs. Vassula Ryden's writings and speeches as supernatural and to preserve the purity of the faith that the Lord has entrusted to the Church.

Vatican City, 6 October 1995

2) Rome, Aug 9, 2007- In recent memo sent to the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of the world, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said the participation of Catholics in prayer groups organized by alleged Orthodox visionary Vassula Ryden was not opportune.

In the internal message dated January 25, 2007, and published by various internet sites, Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the CDF, said his dicastery continues to receive letters asking for clarification on the writings and activities of Ms. Vassula Ryden, especially as concerns the weight of the notification of October 6, 1995 and the criteria that should be followed in defining the positions of the local Church about the convenience of spreading the writings of Ms. Vassula Ryden.

The Notification of 1995 continues to be valid with regards to the doctrinal judgments about the examined writings, Levada said.

He noted that after Ryden met with the CDF, she clarified certain problematic points that appeared in her writings and also about the nature of her messages, which are presented not as divine revelations but rather as her own personal meditations.

Therefore, from the normative point of view, and after these clarifications, a prudential case-by-case evaluation, taking into account the concrete possibility that the faithful have to read the writings in the context of the aforementioned clarifications, the memo indicated.

Lastly, the memo reiterates that it does not seem opportune that Catholics participate in prayer groups organized by Ms. Ryden. Regarding eventual ecumenical encounters, the faithful should follow the dispositions of the ecumenical Directory, of the Code of Canon Law (C. 215; c. 223, &2; c. 383, &3) and of the diocesan Ordinaries.

The above statements of the CDF and that of londiniensis should suffice to convince Catholics to avoid VR events.

Fr John Abberton said...

Following the comments of "londiniensis":
Many thanks for your gentleness. However, you will see, if you look again, that there is actually NO comment from the CDF on any meeting Cardinal Ratzinger had with bishops OR a reply he sent to anyone. The claim that these comments have been officially denied is false. The Cardinal's comments are on paper and are dated and are a matter of record. it would be most odd for the Vatican to deny such a thing.
The claim (I checked on the pertinent web site) is made by someone who is personally against Vassula and spends a great deal of her time attacking her and "True Life in God". This person is well-known to the Swiss group of TLIG (to which she used to belong).

As to the factual errors in the Letter of Cardinal Levada I shall return to this when I have reread the Letters so that I can accurately answer this point. Even if the errors are as simple as claimed, it suggests a kind of carelessness on the part of the CDF. The fact that Vassula has written twice and received only the barest acknowledgement - with no recognition of ANY errors is also worrying.

Further, my information about how the Vatican works regarding documentation came down the line from someone who has studied in Rome (a lay theologian) and who knows people in the Vatican. Enquiries about these things were also made to the Vatican web site. Perhaps londiensis knows more than I do. Of course, the point is well made that the Notification remains in force, but it was Cardinal Ratzinger himself who said, in answer to a question from Vassula, that when the CDF is asked for an opinion about her the answer will be, "the situation has been modified". it is also important to know that the Notification is not a "ceondemnation" since ther was no formal hearing in the presence of Vassula. The status of the Notification is therefore that of a "warning" and is not a condemnation of either Vassula or her writings. I advise anyone who wants to to try and contact the ex-CDF member of staff who has helped Vassula, Fr Prospero Grech, since he not only has more information than I do of how the Vatican has worked in relation to Vassula, but I suspect he will be both more accurate in remembering things than I am, and be able to express the truth with greater clarity.
I will return with more information.
Could I also say this. I am getting a bit fed up with people suggesting (however gently) that those who accept TLIG etc are somehow being a bit dishonest. I can assure londiensis - and others - that I am not being dishonest although like anyone else I do make mistakes sometimes, when trying to avoid them. Though I am a sinner, I am certainly NOT trying to present a false picture of TLIG or Vassula and I resent the subtle suggestion that I am.

Anonymous said...

JOHN 10: 1- 5

“I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. 2The man who enters by the gate is the shepherd of his sheep. 3The watchman opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. 4When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. 5But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."

* For over 15 years in this age of the Internet and electronic communication Vassula has promoted her writings globally in many languages. Given the Scripture above, if Vassula’s writings were of Christ, should not His sheep the world over have been flocking to those writings?
* If Christ had new information to give to mankind would He choose a method of communication, automatic writing, that has a long prominent history of use in the Occult.
* Would Christ take away the free will of someone by controlling their body to write in a script not their own? The Devine Words of Christ are heard by His sheep regardless of the script.
* Would Christ be so incredibly verbose, repetitive, ambiguous, wandering in focus, and given to expressing Himself on mundane matters set within narrow time frames?
* Count the Words of Christ in Scripture, then compare to the huge volume of Vassula writings. How could He ‘forgotten’ to say so much; and this after He cried “ IT IS FINISHED.”
* Would Christ want to create an organization (TLIG) that was outside the Church, and give His ‘new revelation’ to an individual who becomes the main focus in the lives of the organization’s members?
* Would Christ communicate in such a cryptic way that one needed to be privy to TLIG interpretations to be able to understand His words?
* Would a Christ created organization exhibit the classic hallmarks of: a charismatic leader dispensing mystical/esoteric knowledge to an insular group of “enlightened” people who see any criticism from outside as being evil?
* IF CHRIST WERE COMMUNICATING THROUGH VASSULA WOULD HE NOT BE TELLING US THAT THE SALVATION OF MAN IS NOT COMPLETELY FOUND IN SCRIPTURE AND SACRED TRADITION?

Fr John Abberton said...

"Anonymous" has clearly not read the messages and does not know about those who have studuied the actual writings. It is NOT automatic writing re. the occult. This point was made forcibly by the French exorcist, Fr Curty who specialised in this kind of thing. The handwriting of Vassula (in the books) was also given to one of Europe's top experts in handwriting analysis.
In the messages we are told that there is nothing "new". There is no claim that these messages are above or alongside Scripture. The comment about the size of the book or the number of messages when compared to the Scriptures is interesting considering that the Jerome Commentary is much bigger and yet no complaints are raised about that. A spiritual commentary on Scripture (which these messages could be) may surely be bigger than the Bible given that most commentaries are.
These messages speak for themselves. Anyone may get a copy and read them. You do not need me or anyone else to interpret them for you, If you find them useful - fine. if you cannot accept them - fine. We are free to make up our own minds.
As for the people of the world flocking to these messages, I can only say that there are many Catholics and Christians of other denominations who do not "flock" to Church in spite of the fact that they often declare they have faith. Free will remains, whether in the case of Vassula (who is NOT "taken over")or those who read the Scriptures or anything else.

Anonymous said...

if Vassula’s writings were of Christ, should not His sheep the world over have been flocking to those writings?

A surprisingly large & growing body of lay Christians priests and Bishops across the Churches think they are.


* If Christ had new information to give to mankind would He choose a method of communication, automatic writing, that has a long prominent history of use in the Occult.

Well, like all prophesy, it isn't new. It's all in Scripture and tradition. It seems to be a wake up call because the Church isn't actually doing what our Lord commanded it to.I agree the writing is a bit odd. But then Ezekiel was odd. Shouldn't you be looking at the content of the writing?

* Would Christ take away the free will of someone by controlling their body to write in a script not their own? The Devine Words of Christ are heard by His sheep regardless of the script.

You don't seem to know the situation you are commenting on. He doesn't take away the free will. Whatever gave you the impression this is what happened to Vassula?

* Would Christ be so incredibly verbose, repetitive, ambiguous, wandering in focus, and given to expressing Himself on mundane matters set within narrow time frames?

You don't seem very much on top of the material. It's not just our Lord, it's the Holy Trinity, and the Blessed Virgin et al. People who read it find that it is exceptionally moving and speaks to their heart like Scripture does. it induces a very profound repentance and humility in a good many clergy for example. You may not like the style, but that isn't really the point is it? It's what it says that matters. How can that be bad?!


* Count the Words of Christ in Scripture, then compare to the huge volume of Vassula writings. How could He ‘forgotten’ to say so much; and this after He cried “ IT IS FINISHED.”

This is a bit of a non sequitur. The Lord has been murmuring to his Church through mystics and prophets and others since He left. "I have much more to teach you but you cannot bear it now.." if you want to match quote with quote.

But isn't the point that the Church is not unified either in spirit or organic structure, and it does not appear to love either the Lord or its neighbour very much or well? If these writings stimulate that to happen, why is it such a problem for you. (and they do).


* Would Christ want to create an organization (TLIG) that was outside the Church, and give His ‘new revelation’ to an individual who becomes the main focus in the lives of the organization’s members?

But your facts are wrong again. TLIG is not 'outside the Church' it comprises of those who ARE the Church. And it is scarcely an organisation; not in the way you are suggesting. Those who read the Messages are just people who go to Mass and say their prayers! It has very occasional pilgrimages for Orthodox, Catholics and Anglicans together.

* Would Christ communicate in such a cryptic way that one needed to be privy to TLIG interpretations to be able to understand His words?

Goodness, he was a bit of a tease in the parables!
He does seem to enjoy using metaphors both in the Gospels and in a similar idiom in the Messages.But the issue is still 'what is He saying' and what happens when people listen and are obedient? This is what you really ought to be addressing as the task of discernment.

* Would a Christ created organization exhibit the classic hallmarks of: a charismatic leader dispensing mystical/esoteric knowledge to an insular group of “enlightened” people who see any criticism from outside as being evil?

O but really, you go too far now. None of this is true.
Vassula is not a charismatic leader in any sense as you imply. This begins to like like just denigration for the sake of it.
And it isn't esoteric knowledge; any more than the Gospels are. There is no insular group of enlightened people; just communicant Christians who say their prayers and rather think they hear their Lords voice - which deepens their repentance and their love. Is this really such a problem for the Church?


* IF CHRIST WERE COMMUNICATING THROUGH VASSULA WOULD HE NOT BE TELLING US THAT THE SALVATION OF MAN IS NOT COMPLETELY FOUND IN SCRIPTURE AND SACRED TRADITION?

Yes, he does. That's the point. Of course Salvation is found only in Him, and within Scripture and Tradition. So the messages say. What led you to think otherwise? You have created a false target, and think that by knocking it down you have taken the process of discernment further. I don't think you have.

Fr John Abberton said...

In reply to "Angelo" I have to say that the situation regarding Cardinal Levada's letter is not so clear. The fact is that, however we interpret it, the answers given by Vassula to the original Notification were described by Cardinal Ratzinger as "useful clarifications". He then asked for these answers to be published IN VASSULA'S BOOKS! This is just a simple fact.
The Cardinal himself in answer to a question put to him said that the Notification is not a condemnation. There was no formal hearing of the kind required by Canon Law. A dossier was on its way to the Vatican - prepared by the late Fr Michael Carroll - when the Notification was released without warning. No one connected with "True Life in God" was consulted about the Notification and Fr Carroll was amazed since he was in the process of preparing a dossier.
Fr Edward O'Connor of Notre Dame wrote a pamphlet on the Notification and the messages. The fact is, that if people read both the Notification AND the answers that Vassula gave (and it is clear that this was the Cardinal's intention) they will see that the anxieties expressed in the Notification are groundless.

So, the question is why did the Cardinal issue that letter? It seems to contradict the statement made by Cardinal Ratzinger that "the situation has been modified". How could the CDF have allowed Fr Propsero to work so closely with Vassula and liaise with them if they had already made up their minds?
Also, one of the quite serious factual errors in his letter is that the messages are presented as Vassula's meditations. She has never presented them in that way. She has written to the Cardinal to make this clear. There is no record anywhere of Vassula saying anything like that or writing about the messages in that way.

That point reminds me of an incident concerning Don Stefano Gobbi. On retreat in San Marino some years ago, someone arrived from the Vatican asking Don Gobbi to sign a statement saying that the messages he had received ("To the Priests; Our Lady's Beloved Sons") were simply his private meditations. In humility he was about to sign it when the priests present on the retreat objected and begged him not to sign. He didn't, and the Vatican has never insisted on it since (although he was made to change the title of the book!).

There are two other points I would like to make, as charitably as I can. First of all, I have often noticed that when Vassula or "True Life in God" are discussed, there is an assumption (on the part of some) that what her readers say is suspect, whereas what her critics say is often just taken as read. With regard to the web sites, there seems to be an assumption the the TLIG site is not to be trusted but those which argue against her are. Why is this? Surely a balanced discernment would accept the possibility that both groups and web sites etc are liable to contain errors, mistakes etc since we are all fallible human beings capable of being over enthusiastic or not doing enough research etc.

I notice that no one has recommended the TLIG web site. Why is that? So, let me recommend it for the sake of a balanced view: tlig.org.
many thanks.

Londiniensis said...

Dear Father “in Valle” I hope I am not straining the hospitality of your Blog if I you would allow me to ask Father Abberton a few further questions:

I am grateful to Father Abberton for his replies. However, I remain confused – and troubled – by the fog which surrounds Mrs Ryden's dealings with the CDF – fog not mitigated by the publication of part, but not all, of this correspondence on the TLIG website. In particular, I would be grateful to source the then Cardinal Ratzinger’s allegedly reported comment – after Mrs Ryden’s answers to the five questions – that “the situation has been modified”, in its full context. Fr Abberton states that “the Cardinal's comments are on paper and are dated and are a matter of record” but after much trying I have been unable to track them down.

It is curious, to say the least, that most theologically problematic statements occur in the earlier revelations – this was specifically noted in the original Notification and was the subject of one of the Questions put to her by the CDF. To me, Mrs Ryden’s (or, possibly, her adviser’s) answer to Fr Grech’s third question doesn’t hold water. If we are to pardon confused language in certain of the revelations because God is sending His message through the untutored intellect of Mrs Ryden, then what trust can we place in the wording of any of them?

Also troubling are the numerous deletions and corrections which occur between the manuscripts and the published editions of the earlier revelations. If we are dealing with genuine divine revelations, then, to my mind, any and every explanation offered for these deletions and corrections only opens the door to further insurmountable problems.

Anonymous said...

She is excommunicated by the Orthodox Church, which was ratified by Constantinople. Therefore as she is not in good standing with her own Church, she cannot be so with Rome.

In Athens priest members of her movement disrupted Mass in the Cathedral.

Auriel Ragmon said...

I respectfully refer you all to this website:
http://www.infovassula.ch/
It has lots of information on Vasula and her teachings. Further than that I will not say, except caveat emptor.

Rdr. James Morgan

Auriel Ragmon said...

I would respectfully refer you to this website:
www.infovassula.ch
It has lots of information about Vasula and her teachings.
Further than that I will not say.

Rdr. James Morgan
Orthodox Christian

Hilary said...

by the same argument, the Catholic Church thinks Tony Blair is "super".

Beware people announcing themselves as prophets. Especially women.

Londiniensis said...

I have just re-read carefully the above correspondence and am mortified that Father Abberton should have gained the impression (post of 14 June) that I think him dishonest. I would like to unreservedly apologise to Father Abberton if I gave that impression in anything I wrote. I do however have genuine concerns about the TLIG phenomenon and would be grateful for further dialogue.

Fr John Abberton said...

I completely understand that there is confusion surrounding Vassula. As I said in my original post I was against her - very much so, and told people to burn her books! I was following the advice of a priest I respected and admired (and still do), but on this matter I now believe he was wrong.

As to the comments of Cardinal Ratzinger I suspect most of them can be found on the tlig web site. I will check. The anti web site that most people are recommending was set up by a Maria Pio who used to be in a tlig prayer group in Switzerland. It is almsot impossible to dialogue with her. More than that I will not say. People must, in the end, make up their own minds - especially by reading the messages.

I understand the point about the bits that seem to be missing, but it is not unusual for mystical writings to be edited in accordance with the spiritual director's instructions. The same happened to Fr Gobbi. On one retreat he told us that his director had held back some of the writings. There are other reasons for holding things back or taking them out - and these are sometimes difficult because they concern other people. There are several gaps in the tlig messages of that are of this kind (I know at least one of the persons involved - references to him have been removed).
I also know something about this question because I have been a spiritual director to a mystic for over 25 years. This is at my Bishop's request (my former bishop, who told me to "look after her" and draw her into a group so that there could be proper discernment). I won't go into that area because it will distract us from Vassula - just to say that two booklets have been published of my directee's writings (seent to Cardinal Ratzinger in 2000)- which I edited and chose. This is not at all unusual in these cases.

As for the early writings of Vassula, I must confess that I do not really understand the point being made. I have some of the earliest books, and I cannot find anything wrong with them. Just what is supposed to be missing? The problems with language are partly down to the fact that some people do not understand mystical writings of this kind. Mystical theology is not a branch of theology that is well-known, even by many theologians. Also, there is a question of just which branch of theology should be dealing with modern prophecy (which this is). If anyone is interested I recommend the new book by Dr Neils Hvidt, "Christian Prophecy". The book has a forword by Cardinal Ratzinger (before he became Pope)and uses Vassula as an example of a possible modern "prophet". Both Rene Laurentin and Edward O'Conner (as well as the late Fr Michael O'Carroll)have written about the problems that can arise with mystical writings, but all of these theologians (as well as others including Fr Velinsky a Russsian Orthodox theologian) have found nothing in her writings that are against the teaching of the Church. If there are still some people who claim that there is something "heretical" there, then the onus is on them to prove it by reference to the books. No books have been hidden, and Vassula has always said that she is willing to show anything to the Vatican.

I note the slight suggestion that Vassula was somehow schooled into writing her replies. I think this has to proven. I know Vassula and I know how much she has studied since all this began. It is true that she has asked advice - (is that wrong?) - but it is also true that she has read well (e.g. some of the works of John of the Cross). Although she was certainly theologically illiterate when all this began, over 20 years have passed, and she is certainly able to hold her own with most except perhaps professional theologians. If you doubt that, why not come to hear her and perhaps have a chance to speak with her? The proof of the pudding etc.

I would be grateful for more detail about the earlier writings so that I can track this down. Also, I can say that Vassula has the support of her own Patriarch. She was born in Egypt and I was with her in Alexandria (with 65 others)to celebrate Orthodox Easter. We had an audience with the Patriarch (Theodosius 11) who said regarding tlig, "the doors of this patriarchate are always open" and welcomed Vassula back to Alexandria. he has read some of the messages and has asked Vassula if he may accompany her if she ever travels in Africa again (he is Gk Patriarch of all Africa).

I am as sorry as anyone else that there is so much confusion about these matters, but in my limited knowledge, no genuine prophet, locutionary or visionary ever escaped confusion, misunderstanding or persecution.

Once again, I invite people to simply read the messages for themselves and to consult the tlig web site. It is surely important to do all we can to clear away the confusion and to do all in justice and charity.

Many thanks

Clare A said...

A friend lent me the notebooks some years ago and I read them quickly. I found them principally to be about Vassula herself and how much Jesus loves her. This is all well and good for Vassula but it isn't particularly edifying for me.

As I see it the messages are personal to her and bear little relevance to the world in general. I've never been able to understand the interest she generates.

Fr John Abberton said...

Hello again,

I have been trying to find more information - of a substantial kind - regarding the TRUE position of Vassula in relation to the CDF, Cardinal Ratzinger (now His Holiness), theological investigation etc. Here below is a very good site giving a video of Bishop Terra of Brazil speaking about some of these things. I was present when the Bishop made these comments. He worked for 10 years as a consultor on the Papal Biblical Commission and worked closely with Cardinal Ratzinger. When Vassula's works were being discussed he was one of those who was reading them. He says on this video that the Notification was "anonymous" and did not come from the Cardinal. Furthermore he says that he personally spoke with the Cardinal about Vassula. I leave you now to see it for yourselves. There is also other information on this site, relating to comments made by the Cardinal to Mexican lay-people who asked for guidance. This was given BEFORE the dialogue with Vassula through Fr Prospero which led to the submission of her answers to the CDF. Even before this dialogue you can see the amount of freedom the Cardinal allowed. As we know, the concerns about her marital status and other matters have been "clarified". You can also see a reference to a question reported in the magazine "Thirty Days" where the Cardinal's answer about the status of the Notification is recorded.

If I can find other information I will pass it along.

Many thanks.

http://www.davidtlig.org.uk/notification.html

Fr John Abberton said...

More on Vassula and Cardinal Ratzinger. I asked the former web master of the TLIG web site if he could track down information for me. This is what he sent:

"Cardinal Ratzinger Confirms his Position on Vassula Ryden's True Life in God:


The Portuguese religious magazine [Annunciai a Boa Nova, 140 (November 1997) pp. 565-567.] has just published the following item:


On October 10, 1997, in a prayer meeting organized for Vassula in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, the auxiliary Bishop raised the question of the position of the Church regarding her writings. His Excellency, Bishop João Terra spoke to a crowd that numbered in the thousands. He introduced his remarks with these words: "I would like to say a word of thanks, as auxiliary Bishop for the joy that we are experiencing by the presence of Vassula here in Brasilia. Certainly it is an extraordinary grace."


The bishop then went on to speak of the Church's position:

This year we had the regional meeting of bishops with the Holy Father. I asked at that time about Vassula. Cardinal Ratzinger said "I have been getting a mountain of letters from Cardinals."
Bishop Victor Tielbeek from the diocese of Formosa (Brazil) then asked him "But Cardinal, am I supposed to completely change (my support for her)?" Cardinal Ratzinger answered "Continue as you have been doing until now, just be prudent"


The magazine footnotes this comment with the remark that "this answer of Cardinal Ratzinger is perfectly in harmony with the order he gave in Mexico in May 10 of 1996: 'You may continue to promote her writings, but with discernment ....'

My search continues.

Fr John Abberton said...

In reply to Clare:

The earliest writings of Vassula, which may have had more to do with her own spiritual development, are only a small part of the whole. Over 25 years have passed since she first began to write these "messages". Both she and they have developed. Some of them are strikingly sublime, and there is much here to do with the needs of the world, and especially Christian Unity. In fact most of the messages are concerned with much more than her own spiritual life. As I have pointed out, Dr Hvidt, a lay theologian, has used Vassula as an example of modern Christian prophecy in his recent book "Christian Prophecy".

The only way to see what I am talking about, is to go back to the writings and look at them again. Since Christian Unity is one of the main purposes of the messages and so much that follows from them, they obviously have a much wider and more important purpose than simply encouraging the writer.

Londiniensis said...

I am grateful to Father Abberton for responding to my questions. I am aware that both the theological questions relating to the earlier revelations (raised by the CDF) with the response by Mrs Ryden, as well as the selective deletions from the manuscripts of some of the earlier revelations, are grounds for differences of opinion. However, there are two matters where a certain degree of precision may be needed:

The “pre CDF questions” comments made by the then Cardinal Ratzinger in Mexico on 10 May 1996 were clarified in an official CDF Press Release of 29 November 1997, to which also I linked in my first post, above. Unfortunately Bishop Terra did not choose to quote from this: “the same Cardinal Prefect wishes to state: a) as he said, the faithful are not to regard the messages of Vassula Ryden as divine revelations, but only as her personal meditations; b) these meditations, as the Notification explained, include, along with positive aspects, elements that are negative in the light of Catholic doctrine; c) therefore, Pastors and the faithful are asked to exercise serious spiritual discernment in this matter and to preserve the purity of the faith, morals and spiritual life, not by relying on alleged revelations but by following the revealed Word of God and the directives of the Church's Magisterium.

Most importantly, I would dearly like to nail one fact. In respect specifically to the then Cardinal Ratzinger’s alleged comments made after Mrs Ryden’s responses to the CDF’s six questions, Father Abberton has stated in his post dated 14th June that “the Cardinal's comments are on paper and are dated and are a matter of record.” Extensive searching by me has not uncovered any transcript of these comments, indeed the only words cited, in reponse to an (anonymous) question “what will your office reply if anybody asks if the notification is still valid?”, undated and without without any further context, is “the situation has been modified”. I would be very grateful if Father Abberton could supply the missing information, to which he referred in such concrete terms.

Anonymous said...

Re: Anonymous said...

"5) Fr Gregory CSWG was for 35 years the Superior of the Community of the Servants of the Will of God, an Anglican Religious Order following the Benedictine Rule, but not a part of the Anglican OSB because of deliberate alterations in the style of their monastic living to incorporate elements of eastern monasticism and spirituality. etc."

Two points - 1st Fr Gregory CSWG is not 'very aged' he's 78 in November, hardly 'very aged'. 2nd. CSWG is an Anglican monastic community - made of individuals, some of whom have become interested in TLIG and Vassula Ryden. However this is NOT a corporate expression of the community, rather it is an interest of a few (though admittedly vocal) brethren. I would not be so sure, with the change of superior that the community will continue to appear 'corporately' to be identified with Vassula Ryden in the same way.

Londiniensis said...

Three months have now passed and Father Abberton has not chosen to provide a concrete reference for Cardinal Ratzinger's alleged comment after Mrs Ryden’s answers to the five questions – that “the situation has been modified”, in its full context, although he confidently claimed in his post dated 14th June that “the Cardinal's comments are on paper and are dated and are a matter of record.”

Further comment by me is superfluous.

Steve Hayes said...

We Orthodox have a word for the "revelations" of Vassula Ryden: Prelest.

Maria said...

Are you aware that the series of books Vassula has written, True Life in God, have been granted Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur? You can see the letter at the bottom of the article at: http://catholicism.suite101.com/article.cfm/true_life_in_god_revelations_for_our_times

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote: "CSWG is an Anglican monastic community - made of individuals, some of whom have become interested in TLIG and Vassula Ryden. However this is NOT a corporate expression of the community, rather it is an interest of a few (though admittedly vocal) brethren. I would not be so sure, with the change of superior that the community will continue to appear 'corporately' to be identified with Vassula Ryden in the same way."

More than a year since that change took place, how does it look? A monk from the community joined the TLIG 'ecumenical' rally on a luxury cruise liner this year. Another monk writes continually on the TLIG website. The CSWG monastery bookshelf is filled with Vassula Ryden's 'scriptures' - in a more prominent position than the old community's 'One Tradition' series, which was their main pitch for decades. And the intercessions of the community feature regular prayer support for this woman and her sect. Looks fairly 'corporate' to me!

As for Ryden, she is supposedly 'Orthodox' (though not entirely popular, even in her own tradition!) so the CDF has to tread carefully with its judgment on her. But in any case, the CDF presently has bigger fish to fry: e.g. and the scam at Medjugorje - or 'Majorforgery' as it may well come to be known - and its disgraceful OFM Franciscans. (Ryden is - incidentally - out of the same dodgy stable, when you explore the history and the key apologists.) When the CDF finally takes the time to completely demolish Mrs Ryden and her spooky - but very trite - writings, a small struggling Anglican community like CSWG would so easily be made a complete laughing stock. That would be a shame.

They need to wake up and dump this embarrassing esoteric nonsense and get back to what they used to be good at before Father Gregory became enfeebled in his last years and gave his surprising support to this nonsense. He acquired at the same time a taste for Harry Potter books and films, which the rest of the community also enjoy by emulation of their revered superior. So, when the Ryden balloon goes up, they could instead turn the monastery into a Hogwarts theme park.

The main spiritual influence behind CSWG was Fr Gilbert Shaw. He was once infatuated by the occult and Alastair Crowley in particular, while at Cambridge. But he soon realised that was the dark side of the spiritual world, rather than the Gospel, and he snapped out of it.

The present CSWG dabblings with the occult - in the shape of Mrs Ryden - have gone on too long. Before it's too late, they should get themselves proper spiritual advice, disinfect the library, and find their way back to the noble monastic desert Tradition they once quietly followed, without dabbling in such dangerous silliness.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I wrote: "CSWG is an Anglican monastic community - made of individuals, some of whom have become interested in TLIG and Vassula Ryden. However this is NOT a corporate expression of the community" however I agree with the my fellow anonymous - reading the drivel in CSWG's Advent journal from some pilgrimage to self-delusion (all expenses paid by those who have supported given to CSWG over the years).

The community wants a 'back to basics' makevoer and a remembrance of Fr Robert & Fr Gilbert's vison of the community. The problems come when supposidly contemplative communities think they are in a position to teach the Church; this is foolish - contemplative monastic communities are there to live a life of prayer not jaw on about writing reames of self-congratulatory essays and articles when they would be better ditching their word processors and returning to their first love. How they were sucked in by Ryden is beyond me... Perhaps she was just a welcome distraction to the boredom of living at CSWG Hove (where the interest began; whatever this interest in all things TLIG is marring the witness of the community. When I wrote the above I had not visited the community for a year or so. However on my last visit I was shocked at just how much TLIG stuff was visable and how it cropped on at Sunday Tea, where brethren chatted about it freely.

A pity and something that has made me look elsewhere for my annual rereat.

Anonymous said...

In the midst of all these arguements {however polite} I see the spirit of the divider who has found home in this generation also.

Being of the mystic tradition myself,I am aware of a continual force that is actively in opposition to the Church, and any who aspire to re-build its Earlier Unity. Thus either for or against Vassula, the divisions made in the argument are but a soothing balm to that which hates Our Lord, and All of His Church.

Anonymous said...

Vassula is not catholic,she is not orthodox (she has been excluded from her proper church ,by the heresies of the saint synode 2001) Who is she?

To what church she belongs?

She wants a mixed church whith "her Jesus"...it is called "a sect"!

The best site to understand, know everything about Vassula is

WWW.INFOVASSULA.CH

Is somebody can give me the address
of her chirurgical surgeon?!!!

Anonymous said...

The critical site of Maria Laura Pio infovassula.ch
has changed its name, and you w'll find at this new address :

www.pseudomystica.info

or

Welcome to a critical website on Vassula Ryden's True Life in God