Ask a Question - or - Return to the Faith and Spirituality Forum Index

Question Title Posted By Question Date
Vassula Ryden Michael Wednesday, December 8, 2004

Question:

Dear Brother,

If you can spare a little more time with regard to my question concerning the validity of Vassula Ryden's writings I would be most appreciative. Would you mind having a look at the following link to an interview with Cardinal Ratzinger and provide a little feedback.
http://www.tlig.org/ratz.html


And also more recently correspondence between Vassula and the congregation for the doctrine of the faith (April/June 2002) at the following link.
http://www.tlig.org/cdf.html

Thank you Brother.
Michael.



Question Answered by Bro. Ignatius Mary, OLSM

Dear Michael:

The Notification from the SCDF in 1995 stated:

Given the negative effect of Vassula Rydén'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 Rydén's writings and speeches as supernatural and to preserve the purity of the faith that the Lord has entrusted to the Church.

A year later the SCDF issued a Press Release to clarify the issues since many people were asking for clarification. That press release states:

I. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has received various questions about the value and authority of its Notification of 6 October 1995, published in L'Osservatore Romano on Monday/Tuesday, 23/24 October 1995, p. 2 (L'Osservatore Romano English edition, 25 October 1995, p. 12), regarding the writings and messages of Mrs. Vassula Rydén attributed to alleged revelations and disseminated in Catholic circles throughout the world.

In this regard, the Congregation wishes to state:

1) The Notification addressed to me Pastors and faithful of the Catholic Church retains all its force. It was approved by the competent authorities and will be published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official organ of the Holy See, with the signatures of the Prefect and the Secretary of the Congregation.

2) Regarding the reports circulated by some news media concerning a restrictive interpretation of this Notification, given by His Eminence the Cardinal Prefect in a private conversation with a group of people to whom he granted an audience in Guadalajara, Mexico, on 10 May 1996, the same Cardinal Prefect wishes to state:

a) as he said, the faithful are not to regard the messages of Vassula Rydén 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, Paters 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.

II. Regarding the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, the Congregation states:

1) The interpretation given by some individuals to a Decision approved by Paul VI on 14 October 1966 and promulgated on 15 November of that year, in virtue of which writings and messages resulting from alleged revelations could be freely circulated in the Church, is absolutely groundless. This decision actually referred to the "Abolition of the Index of Forbidden Books", and determined that -after the relevant censures were lifted-the moral obligation still remained of not circulating or reading those writings which endanger faith and morals.

2) It should be recalled however that with regard to the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations, canon 823 §1 of the current Code remains in force: "the Pastors of the Church have the ... right to demand that writings to be published by the Christian faithful which touch upon faith or morals be submitted to their judgement".

3) Alleged supernatural revelations and writings concerning them are submitted in first instance to the judgement of the diocesan Bishop, and, in particular cases, to the judgement of the Episcopal Conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

There has been no reversal of the decision that Rydén's writings are not from a supernatural source.

The 1999 interview with Cardinal Ratzinger also did not reverse the negative decision about Rydén's writings, it merely pointed out that "technically" her writings are not condemned because "...from the strictly procedural point of view, no person may be condemned without a trial and without being given the opportunity to air their views first." What we say is that there are many things which are not clear.

The Cardinal continues, "Her writings contain many good things but the grain and the chaff are mixed up. That is why we invited Catholic faithful to view it all with a prudent eye and to measure it by the yardstick of the constant faith of the Church."

The communication between Rydén and the Vatican is seeking to clarify Rydén's views in light of the "yardstick of the constant faith of the Church." To date, however, the negative decision as to the legitimacy of her writings having a heavenly source as not be rescinded. The warning of the 1995 Notification remains in force.

Technically, however, we should not use the term "condemned" but rather that the Vatican says that her writings and speeches are not from a supernatural source. This essentially closes the lid on her being a legitimate "visionary." In addition to this, her writings and speeches even as her private thoughts have some credibility issues in terms of doctrinal and theological problems. That is what the communication with the Vatican is about -- to clarify those issues.

Even if the doctrinal and theological questions are resolved, this does not mean that her notions are from a heavenly source. And, as already mentioned, as it stands at the moment, the judgment of the Vatican is that her writings are NOT from a supernatural source.


 

Update: (August 27, 2013)

In 2007 Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith (SCDF), issued a Letter saying, "The Notification of 1995 remains valid as a doctrinal judgment of the writings examined." The Cardinal went in to affirm, "...her messages which are presented not as divine revelations, but rather as her personal meditations." Finally, the Cardinal declared, "...it remains inappropriate for Catholics to take part in prayer groups established by Mrs Rydén. Concerning the question of ecumenical meetings, the faithful are to follow the norms of the Ecumenical Directory, of the Code of Canon Law (canons: 215; 223, §2 and 383, §3) and of Diocesan Ordinaries."  

In 2011, the Greek Orthodox Church officially disapproved of Rydén's teachings, instructing their faithful to disassociate from Rydén. (Rydén is Orthodox, not Catholic).

In 2012, the Church of Cyprus said that Rydén's teachings were heretical.

The Bottomline:

  • Miss Rydén is not a visionary as her writings have been determined by the SCDF to be "personal meditations" and not "divine revelations."
  • There remains serious questions of theology in Miss Rydén's writing.
  • Miss Rydén's behavior has also been questioned, such as her frequent reception of the Eucharist in Catholic Mass.
  • One of the greatest departures from the behavior of true visionary is that Rydén sued a website critical of her and her writing for using her name "Vassula" claiming that the name is a trademark. No true visionary would take anyone to the secular courts.

Thus, we have no less than four statements from the SCDF warning the faithful about Rydén and stating that no Catholic is to attend her prayer meetings.

  • Notification from the SCDF in 1995; [followed by affirmations and statements that the 1995 Notification is still in force]:
    • 1996 SCDF Press Release
    • 1999 in interview with Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
    • 2007 a Letter to bishops from Cardinal William Levada, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

We also have to condemnations from her own Greek Orthodox Church in 2011 instructing the "faithful to disassociate from Rydén," and  also the Church of Cyprus, who in 2012, declared Rydén's teachings were heretical.

What more do we need?

God Bless,
Bro. Ignatius Mary


Footer Notes: This forum is for general questions on the faith. Topics involving Spiritual Warfare, demons, the occult, and such need to be asked on our Spiritul Warfare Q&S Forum.
Liturgy Questions go to our Liturgy and Liturgical Law Q&A Forum
Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office) Questions go to our Divine Office Q&A Forum
Defenfing the Faith Questions go to our Defending the Faith Q&A Forum
Church History Questions go to our Church History Q&A Forum