Father Miguel Contardo SJ
In defense of Vassula Rydén,
regarding an article of “L’Osservatore Romano“(no 44),
dated November 3, 1995.
The Lord warned Vassula, on several occasions, that she would have many detractors, both Catholics and mainly Orthodox.
Father Gobbi, Director and Founder of the “Marian Movement of Priests”, talked to us of the “Ecclesiastical masonry”, as the “Beast coming out of the sea”, referred to in the Revelation, and that it’s influence penetrates the social communication means, even within the Vatican.
John XXIII and Paul VI talked about “the smoke of Satan” inside the Church, regarding infiltrations on the Vatican Council II.
“Notification” does not mean “prohibition”, but “warning” or “careful look”, so as not to be deviated by false interpretations.
The Holy Father, John Paul II, on several occasions, has blessed and encouraged the activities of Vassula, such as Cardinal Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has done.
Great Catholic theologians, such as Father René Laurentin, Fernando Umaña, Michael O’Carroll, etc., etc., have studied and analyzed in depth the writings of Vassula, and have praised them, recommending the same to the faithful. Had they found any error in the writings, they would have warned about them and would not have risked to their publication.
Vassula has as spiritual Director, a virtuous and wise Irish priest, who accompanies her in her journeys, approved by the Holy See.
The article of “L’Osservatore Romano” does not have the signature of Cardinal Ratzinger. It is published as one more piece of news given by some member of said Congregation, and such member is not the Congregation. As such, it does not have value of “Document”, but is simply a piece of news or mere opinion of some member of the Congregation. There is nothing official.
It is not the first time that the aforementioned journal, “L’Osservatore Romano“, publishes something, not only without the authorization of the Holy Father, but even, in contradiction with his way of thinking.
We must know how to “read between the lines” and not to be scandalized too much by the opinions of men who are subject to error. Neither should we be so “determinant” to believe that the opinion given by a journal, even a religious one, constitutes almost a truth of faith. Consequently, we should not submit blindly to what is said. We must know how to “discern correctly”, asking the Holy Spirit for His Light.
We will try to examine objectively what is said in the article published in such journal. For better clarity, we will carefully analyze each paragraph or issue of the same.
The second paragraph states: “A calm, attentive examination of the entire question…”. The examination is neither calm nor attentive, but quick and superficial.
The third paragraph states: “…it is necessary to underscore several doctrinal errors…”. Which are those doctrinal errors? If they are so important, the article should point them out and refute them. However, mention is only made to the same, without naming or enumerating them.
Fourth paragraph: “…ambiguous language is used in speaking of the Persons of the Holy Trinity, to the point of confusing the specific names and functions of the Divine Persons“. There is no such confusion, since the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are One and Only God, no more. Vassula treats the Father as “Abba” (Daddy, dear Father), as Jesus Himself taught us when He talked with His Father, issue that scandalized the Pharisees of His time. And in this way, Vassula talks to the Eternal Father, Who during a long time taught her the “Our Father” prayer. She treats the “Son” as God and elder brother, trusting Him like a friend, and the Holy Spirit, as the Love between Them, and the inspirer of Their thoughts.
Now, if someone wants to find error with inquisitive eyes, he will also find errors in the writings of many Holy Fathers. And when acting in bad faith, he could search for errors even in the Holy Scriptures. For example, if a phrase said by Our Lord, is read trivially, such as: “I have come to bring fire to the earth”, it could easily be deemed, simply interpreted, as praise to the pyromaniacs. Or when He says: “I have come to divide the mother in-law from the daughter in-law”, this could be the subject of sacrilegious and tasteless jokes.
The same fourth paragraph continues: “In millenarian style, it is prophesied that God is going to make a final glorious intervention which initiate on earth even before Christ definitive coming, an era of peace and universal prosperity“. The phrase “millenarian style” seems esoteric and occult. And such phrase, wrongly used or distorted, can in fact induce to rejection and error. Vassula does not talk of the “millennium” in such way, as the person who read “attentively and calmly” tries to convey. This coming of Christ in Glory and Majesty is a phrase of the Holy Scripture, which has been carefully examined by many Doctors of the Church.
Further on, the same paragraph indicates: “…the proximate arrival is foretold of a Church which would be a kind of pan-Christian community, contrary to Catholic doctrine.” Never in the writings of Vassula does she mention a pan-Christian Church. This is a terrible interpretation of the desire of Christ to form “One Church” or “One Flock under One Shepherd”. This is what Vassula says, such as Our Lord wants it, and not as a mixture of Churches, like such article interprets it. Consequently, the author of the article in “L’Osservatore Romano” says things that Vassula has not said and interprets, in a twisted way, her writings.
“The fact that the aforementioned errors no longer appear in Ryden’s later writings is a sign that the alleged “heavenly messages” are merely the result of private meditations.” Such errors do not appear in any writing of Vassula, errors that the critic in question insistently wants to find.
“Moreover, by habitually sharing in the sacraments of the Catholic Church even though she is Greek Orthodox…” So what does the fact that she was born Greek Orthodox has anything to do with this? Are the Sacraments of the Greek Orthodox Church not valid and recognized by the Catholic Church?
Further on, it is stated: “She appears to be putting herself above all ecclesiastical jurisdiction and every canonical norm…” This expression is what is called a pharisaic scandal, a twisted interpretation, in an almost ridiculing way.
The text continues: “…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.” It is logical that Vassula annoys some Orthodox clergy, “by touching the open wound”, since Our Lord tells them that they must obey Peter, that is the Pope, and that now such Peter is John Paul II. Our Lord has told Vassula that she would encounter the major difficulties, precisely, form the Orthodox ecclesiastical authorities, since they will not want to obey the Pope as Sovereign Pontiff.
The sixth paragraph says: “Given the negative effect of Vassula Ryden’s activities, despite some positive aspects, this Congregation requests the intervention of the Bishops…”. This is a request or petition, not an order or command.
It goes on: “…so that their faithful may be suitably informed…” Inform, explain, so that there are no error through their own misinterpretation, like it happens with all private revelation or movement of the Church. (For example, the Charismatic Renewal, the Schoenstatian Movement, Cevex, etc.). Furthermore, “suitably” means in a prudent, intelligent and mature manner.
The writer continues: “…and that no opportunity may be provided in their Dioceses for the dissemination of her ideas“. This refers to the dissemination of their misinterpreted ideas, like in any movement or private revelation.
“Lastly, the Congregation invites all the faithful not to regard Mrs. Vassula Ryden’s writings and speeches as supernatural…” . And if they are supernatural, as we believe they are, what right do they have to dare dogmatize something that is still in the process of being studied and that is respected and meditated by great and solid theologians of the Catholic Church, including Cardinal Ratzinger himself, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith and His Holiness, Pope John Paul II himself?
The article further states: “…and to preserve the purity of the faith that the Lord has entrusted to the Church“. We are all in agreement with this.
Consequently, the conclusions are obvious. There is no prohibition to read these writings; however, we must be careful to analyze them with due prudence, previously invoking the Holy Spirit so that He illumines our minds and encourage our will to always do the Will of God.
Father Miguel Contardo SJ