KNOWN AS: "Vassula Ryden"; "My Angel Daniel"; "True Life in God"__________
ALLEGED SEER: Vassula Ryden
YEARS: 1991 - Present
STATUS: On October 6, 1995, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a public release which stated, "the alleged 'heavenly messages' are merely the result of private meditations."
It further added, "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 Diocese for the dissemination of her ideas. Lastly, the Congregation invites all the faithful not to regard Mrs. Vassula's writings and speeches as supernatural and to preserve the purity of the faith that the Lord has entrusted to the Church." (View Document)
In December, 1996, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reaffirmed its position when it stated "the faithful are not to regard the messages of Vassula Ryden as divine revelations, but only as her personal meditations." (View Document)
ALLEGED REVELATIONS AND CONCERNS: The above statements from the Congregation of the faith highlight:
1) "An imminent period when the Antichrist will prevail in the Church."
2) "In millenarian style, it is prophesied that God is going to make a final glorious intervention which will initiate on earth, even before Christ's definitive coming, an era of peace and universal prosperity.
3) "The proximate arrival is foretold of a Church which would be a kind of pan-Christian community, contrary to Catholic doctrine.
4) "By habitually sharing in the sacraments of the Catholic Church even though she is Greek Orthodox, Mrs. Ryden is causing considerable surprise in variouso circles of the Catholic Church. She appears to be putting herself above all ecclesiastical jurisdiction and every canonical norm, and in effect, is creating an ecumenical disorder that irritates many authorities, ministers and faithful of her own Church, as she puts herself outside the ecclesiastical discipline of the latter.
5) "Her marital status is not yet clear, being divorce, and which we (the Roman Catholic Church) is studying."
Addressing two major concerns that are found in Mrs Vassula Ryden's earlier writings, it can be concluded: 1) Her personal meditations, at one time, promoted contrary to the Words of Jesus that are found in the Holy Bible, that the gates of Hell would prevail against the Church. Jesus said,
"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it." [Mt. 16:18]
The question at hand is, "Are we to believe the Sacred Words of Jesus or the words of Mrs. Vassula Ryden? The Church is the final authority in determining what is the truth and what is not the truth!
2) The Catholic Church has always condemned the teachings of a secular messianism in "millenarian style" as some of Mrs Vassula Ryden's writings have prophesied. On this subject, it is sufficient to quote the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
# 675 "Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh."
# 676 "The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism."
3) Mrs Ryden's habitually sharing in the Sacraments of the Catholic Church even though she is Greek Orthodox, has misled some of the Roman Catholic to become indifferent to their living faith, believing that in the spirit of ecumenism, all Churches are equal, each one being a different way that leads to salvation.
In its release of the document "Dominus Iesus" on August 6, 2000, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Roman Catholic Church condemned this belief that all Churches are equal or can lead to salvation. (See Document)
THE END RESULT IF BELIEVED
In consideration to the fact that Mrs. Ryden's personal meditations are NOT divine revelations as stated by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to continue to read such material can endanger the faith and morals of the faith Catholics.
By this, it is meant that when proper discernment is not applied, the faithful can be led towards embracing false teachings of:
1. The Antichrist will prevail in the Church;
2. A millenarian style secular messianism;
3. A kind of pan-Christian community;
4. Ecumenical disorder.
Because of the potential risk of endangering one's faith and morals by reading Mrs Vassula Ryden's material, it is recommended that the faithful avoid reading it UNLESS they have access to a QUALIFIED Spiritual Director who is prepared to guide the faithful through the readings while pointing out the doctrinal errors.
In 1995, the Catholic Church's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) published a Notification (a message from the Holy See) on the writings of Rydén, saying her communications should not be considered supernatural, and calling all Catholic bishops to prevent Rydén's ideas from being spread in their dioceses.
In a letter dated January 25, 2007, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada, following continued requests for clarifications on the writings and activities of Rydén, wrote to the Catholic hierarchy around the world stating that "the Notification of 1995 remains valid as a doctrinal judgment" of the writings, which should be seen as her own personal meditations and that Catholics should not take part in prayer groups established by Rydén.
In 2011, the Greek Orthodox Church officially disapproved of Rydén's teachings, instructing their faithful to disassociate from Rydén.
In 2012, the Church of Cyprus said that Rydén's teachings were heretical.
Important update regarding Church position (March 2005): The TLIG association is claiming that the Church has recently modified it's position regarding the writings of Mrs Ryden and suggesting that the Notification is no longer valid. This is not true. Please read our updated "Church Position" page, which includes the text of Card. Ratzinger's July 2004 letter as well as our correspondence with the Conference of Swiss Bishops confirming that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has NOT modified it's position regarding TLIG and that the 1995 Notification remains valid.
The True Catholic Church's position regarding
the Vassula Ryden's "True Life in God" messages.
(January 2006): The Los Angeles Cathedral decided to withdraw the invitation to play host to a Christian unity conference that would have been under the auspices of Vassula Ryden's "True Life in God" organization. Msgr. Devin Kostelnik, pastor of the Cathedral of Los Angeles declared that the decision was "final and not subject to change" and that the withdrawal had been done with the approval of Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, Archbishop of Los Angeles. Kostelnik also wrote that the organizers' argument that the Vatican had cleared Ryden's writings was "a serious misrepresentation of the current Vatican view of Mrs Ryden's speeches and writings" and that the 1995 and 1996 Vatican warnings remained in "full force".
Official Position of the Catholic Church:
Notification of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Cardinal Ratzinger's 1996 Press release regarding the Notification
The Catholic Church's official position regarding the TLIG messages and Mrs Vassula Ryden is contained in the 1995 Notification, issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
The Notification is a very severe warning regarding the errors and negative elements contained in the messages. It requests Bishops not to authorize the promotion of TLIG in their dioceses. It advises the faithful not to consider the messages as of divine origin.
Since it's publication in 1995, the Notification has not been modified nor cancelled, and therefore is a valid document which figures in the Vatican website, in the list of doctrinal documents issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/doc_doc_index.htm).
We are of course aware that Mrs Ryden's official website presents an impressive list of documents affirming the exact contrary, including letters from some Bishops and priests, most of whom are long-time supporters of TLIG. We do not doubt of their good faith. However, the evidence we present hereunder clearly indicates that, although the CDF did exchange correspondence with Vassula from 2002 to 2004, the result was not a modification nor a reversal of the Notification.
Recent developments (February 2005): The Conference of Swiss Bishops confirms to us that the July 2004 letter is NOT a modification of the CDF's position.
When Mrs Ryden moved to Rome some years ago, she started approaching several congregations of the Holy See in order to try to regularize her situation with the Catholic Church and obtain a revision of the Notification. Her efforts were kindly welcomed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which addressed her five questions for her to answer by writing. The questions concern some of the points contained in the Notification. A copy of this exchange of letters can be consulted in the TLIG official website http://www.tlig.org/cdf.html
In addition to the above, the CDF requested Bishops around the world to give their own opinion regarding the messages and Mrs Ryden's activities.
In January 2005, the TLIG association announced that former Cardinal Ratzinger - now Pope Benedict XVI - had written a letter dated July 2004 addressed to the Presidents of 5 Episcopal Conferences (Switzerland, Uruguay, France, Canada and the Philippines) who had voiced concerns regarding the writings and activities of Vassula Ryden. A copy of this letter was given to Mrs Ryden, but it has not been published by the CDF. The TLIG association affirms that the letter contains a positive modification of the CDF's position regarding Mrs Ryden's writings, and some have even suggested that the Notification is no longer valid. We requested to see a copy of this letter, but different TLIG sources have systematically refused it to us, saying that it is at this time the decision of Mrs Ryden to provide it only to bishops and priests, together with other documents that "help" understand the meaning of the letter. At a later date, the booklet with all these documents would be sold to all those interested in having it. (Update September 2005: In the meantime, on September 8, 2005, the text of the July 2004 letter was finally published on the official TLIG website, together with the other documents of the booklet).
We have therefore written to the Episcopal Conference of Switzerland asking for confirmation of the above. Here is the answer we received from the Secretary General of the Conférence des Eveques Suisses (CES) on February 23rd, 2005 (the original email is in French):
I willingly answer your question of February 16th.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith maintains all it's reservations regarding the writings and actions of Mrs Ryden. The past July 13th, the CDF did indeed write to the President of the Conference of Swiss Bishops (CES) to request him to remind the Catholic faithful that their participation in the "ecumenical" prayer groups organized by Mrs Ryden has to follow the directives of the Diocesan Bishops.
Since the letter is an internal correspondence, I cannot give you a copy of it. However you must know that the position published by the CES some years ago (and that we are sending you by post), and that already reflected a notification of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, keeps all it's value.
Hoping to have helped you, I present you my distinguished greetings.
Abbé Agnell Rickenmann - Secretary general.
Some days letter I received the position of the CES, which was a copy of the 1995 Notification.
Latest update (March 2005): Text of the July 2004 Letter signed by (former) Card. Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
Shortly afterwards, the text of the July 2004 letter was sent to me by a person who had obtained a copy of it. (Note: the July 2004 letter was not published in the TLIG official website until September 2005. Before that date, it was only given or sold to people approved of by the TLIG association). As the Swiss Bishops indicated above, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) does not indicate that it has modified nor intends to modify it's position. In fact, the CDF refers to the 1995 Notification and mentions the dialogue it had with Mrs Ryden at her request, which concluded with the publication in the latest TLIG book of her letter of April 2002, containing explanations regarding several points mentioned in the Notification. Cardinal Ratzinger refers to these clarifications as "useful".
I copy hereunder the text in English of the July 2004 letter as it has been published by the TLIG association:
Palazzo del S. Uffizio, 10 July 2004.
To the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of France, Switzerland, Uruguay, Philippines, Canada.
As you know, this Congregation published a Notification in 1995 on the writings of Mrs Vassula Ryden. Afterwards, and at her request, a thorough dialogue followed. At conclusion of this dialogue, a letter of Mrs Ryden dated 4 April 2002 was subsequently published in the latest volume of "True Life in God", in which Mrs Ryden supplies useful clarifications regarding her marital situation, as well as some difficulties which in the aforesaid Notification were suggested towards her writings and her participation in the sacraments (cf. Attachment).
Since the aforementioned writings have enjoyed a certain diffusion in your country, this Congregation has deemed it useful to inform you of the above. Concerning the participation in the ecumenical prayer groups organised by Mrs Ryden, the Catholic faithful should be called to follow the dispositions of the Diocesan Bishops.
In communicating to you the above, I use the occasion to assure you of my lasting and profound esteem.
(signed) Joseph Card. Ratzinger
We would also wish to add that the CDF did not make the above letter public. This was indicated to us by the Conference of Swiss Bishops (see above), which refers to the letter as an "internal correspondence".
When Vassula received a copy of the July 2004 letter, it was accompanied by a letter signed by the Under Secretary of the CDF Fr. De Noia, in which he indicated that he was sending her a copy of the letter for her information. The use that the TLIG association is making of the correspondence with the CDF, presenting it as a reversal of the Church's position regarding Mrs Ryden's writings, is clearly abusive. If the CDF had reversed it's position, it would have informed the Universal Church (and not only 5 episcopal conferences) through a publication in one of the official media of the Church, such as L'Osservatore Romano (where the Notification was originally published in 1995) or the Acta Apostolicae Sedis (AAS).
Some recent comments regarding the Catholic Church's position on TLIG
NEW Archdiocese of Los Angeles (USA): extracts from the article "L.A. Cathedral disinvites Christian Unity Event" published in the Los Angeles Times, January 10, 2006: "Msgr. Kevin Kostelnik, pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, said that what had been represented by sponsors as a Christian unity conference had turned out to be largely a forum for Vassula Ryden (...). Kostelnik said that the decision to withdraw the cathedral's invitation to play host to the conference was 'final and not subject to change'. He said that the meeting was turning into something different than originally proposed. Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Los Angeles, had earlier agreed to offer welcoming remarks at the conference, but now approved the withdrawal, Kostelnik said. (...)
A leading Greek Orthodox priest said Monday he previously had also pulled out of the Jan. 28 conference. "Everything is very suspect. That's all I'm going to say", said Very Rev. John Bakas, dean of St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Los Angeles. A publicist for the conference said a second Greek Orthodox priest, from Brooklyn, had also decided not to attend.
The meeting was to have been under the auspices of Ryden's True Life in God organization and sponsored by the New Jerusalem Foundation, headed by Claire and Antoine Mansour. (...) In a handwritten Oct. 7 letter to Kostelnik, Antoine Mansour assured the pastor that Ryden's writings 'have been cleared by the Vatican'. But Kostelnik wrote Monday [Jan. 9] that Mansour's assurance was 'a serious misrepresentation of the current Vatican view of Mrs Ryden's speeches and writings'. He said 1995 and 1996 Vatican statements cautioning Catholics against following Ryden remained 'in full force'. (...)
Critics have challenged the authenticity of Vassula's supposed messages from God because she has changed some of them over time. Vassula (...) told The Times in a 1995 interview that God gave her permission to make such changes. She said it was possible for a perfect God to regret something he said, just as he regretted creating a race that would fall from grace." (Read the complete article at: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-visionary10jan10,1,4003585.story and also www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/news/13593558.htm )
The Catholic Church in Scotland warns about Vassula (September 6, 2005): A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland has warned people against going to Vassula's September 11th meeting in Edinburgh. Refering to the 1995 Notification, he said Vassula "certainly did not" operate with the approval of the Church and that "the advice to Catholics is not to attend her gatherings due to the suspect nature of her alleged revelations, which contain doctrinal errors." The complete article can be read at: http://news.scotsman.com/edinburgh.cfm?id=1898192005
EWTN - Catholic Q&A: Answering two questions regarding the Church's position on Vassula Ryden (March and October 2004), EWTN expert Colin B. Donovan answered: "Despite efforts and claims by her supporters and promoters that these judgements [1995 Notification and 1996 Press Release] are under review, or no longer apply, the Holy See has not changed its position on her writings, nor its instructions to bishops regarding her conferences and activities, which must NOT be hosted or promoted by Catholic entities or officials." He also pointed out that "The CDF issued the Notifications publicly (in L'Osservatore Romano and the Acta Apostolicae Sedis) and would have to just as publicly rescind them." (Read the whole answers at: http://www.ewtn.com/vexperts/search.asp?source=/vexperts/conference.htm indicating as keyword "Vassula" and year "2004").
Catholic Apologetics International: Extract of M. Forrest's answer to the question: "Was Vassula condemned by the Church?" (February 2005): "In this day and age, wherein the Vatican has adapted a very liberal, accepting posture toward the world, other religions, etc, I think wisdom and prudence would dictate that, if anything, we should AMPLIFY the implications of such Vatican warnings, rather than look for ways to mitigate them. There seems to be very little that is rejected as unacceptable these days. In my opinion, until such time as the Church tells us that Vassula's writings are perfectly safe, we ought to view them very skeptically, as potentially dangerous, if we bother to view them at all. 98% or 99% safe is just not good enough. The Adversary works most effectively in that little 1-2%." Read the whole answer at: http://www.catholicintl.com/qa/2005/qa-feb-05.htm#Question%2069
Brother Ignatius Mary of the Order of the Legion of Saint Michael, answering a question regarding the validity of the Notification (December 2004): "There has been no reversal of the decision that Ryden's writings are not from a supernatural source. The 1999 interview with Cardinal Ratzinger also did not reverse the negative decision about Ryden'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." (...) To date, however, the negative decision as to the legitimacy of her writings having a heavenly source has not been rescinded. The warning of the 1995 Notification remains in force." Read the whole answer at: http://www.saint-mike.org/qa/FS/ViewAnswer.asp?QID=355
Christian Order - Article by Father Peter-Joseph of Wagga Wagga, Australia, has a doctorate in dogmatic theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, and is currently the Chancellor of the Maronite Diocese of Australia. Here's an extract from "Apparitions True and False" (January 2005): "From my article, the reader should realise that Cardinal Ratzinger’s private, or public comments - even if authentic - cannot undo a decree of the Holy Office. Only a new decree can undo an old decree – not an interview given to the press! Even the Pope’s personal opinions and beliefs have no authority, and cannot be cited to override Church law or doctrine. As I said in my article, the Church is governed by public statements and promulgated laws, not by personal interviews or private communications. Even if there is further, or a new investigation, all Catholics are still held to the only official judgement hitherto given, which is negative."