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Vassula Rydén: the reasons of the Church

by François-Marie Dermine O.P. (continuation - Part 2 of 4)

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I will now examine some of the reasons that, from my personal point of view, may explain why the Church has maintained its fundamentally negative judgment: I do it in the most concise way, hoping that this will contribute to enlighten those for whom the attraction of the extraordinary still prevents them from opening their eyes.


Disappearance, cancellation, censuring and modification of the messages

(2a) The pages that follow are taken mostly from one of my articles published in the Italian magazine Jesus of October 1996 and entitled Quando Dio si fa correggere [When God is corrected]. They deal with a point that is not mentioned in the Notification but which is serious enough, in my opinion, for the revelations to lose any credibility whatsoever; I am referring to destructions, deletions, and corrections that Mrs. Ryden introduced into her very own messages:


1. Destructions

The messages of the first ten months are in fact completely missing. It is an astounding gap when one considers that the first revelations always represent the introduction and the first fruits of an extraordinary supernatural phenomenon. Mrs. Ryden explains: «Generally I burned them because I really had so many of them» written on loose sheets and not yet in notebooks. This is a rather irreverent way of treating messages that she regarded as divine revelations… René Laurentin, while defending his protégée, does not hesitate to contradict her: «According to her accusers, Vassula had destroyed the messages received in the first months with the sole determination of hiding the gross errors which they contained. In truth Vassula did not destroy anything! She did not publish these first messages, but has plans to do so». These contradictory explanations do not predispose towards trust, and all the more so when after ten years, their announced publication is still supposed to come.


2. Omitted or deleted messages

When we compare the photocopies of the manuscripts which, in the beginning, the protagonist had freely circulated, with the facsimile editions (also known as the "handwriting edition") printed later on, some cutttings show up. The most obvious cuttings are explained as: «At Vassula’s request portions of page X have been deleted».

This discovery has to be attributed to Father Philip Pavich O.F.M., an American of Croatian origin. In September 1991, during a five year stay in Medjugorje, where he was carrying out the ministry of reconciliation, Fr. Pavich received a copy of the original messages that had been corrected by the "seer" herself with the help of her collaborator Erwin Schlacher, and where the many deletions and modifications could be seen. The Franciscan priest made public these photocopies by circulating them and comparing them with the printed "handwriting edition".

These photocopies were sent to Elena Carvalho - the Brazilian translator of the revelations into Portugese. She was disconcerted by these photocopies and requested explanations. Mrs Rydén wrote a fax to her on October 14, 1993, in which she justified herself by asserting that the passages:

"were taken out with God's guidance. In two words, God gives me private messages plus very symbolic ones. In the beginning I photocopied ALL things out. Later, when God's work had to be printed, God made me understand that the private messages and the very symbolic that people might not understand, should not be printed. (...) I have 2 notebooks, one I call the private notebook (...). Then I have what I call the 'official' notebook, the one that should be printed. God removes from the private notebook all what should be diffused and re-writes the message in the official notebook."

She also states that at the beginning, she had made everything public, but God did not want that. At the end of the fax (photocopy 1 shows one a passage of the fax), Mrs Rydén announced that René Laurentin would give a detailed response to all the "calumnies". However, Laurentin did not write this response, and Mrs Rydén had to take the matter into her own hands, formulating argumentations that, according to our opinion, complicate even further her already precarious situation and clash with indisputable facts.

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Photocopy 1 - An extract of the fax sent by Vassula Rydén to Elena Carvalho, justifying the elimination of passages and indicating that she has two sets of notebooks.


A close examination of the complete original photocopies (extracts reproduced hereunder, each one indicated with the number of the notebook, the page and the date of the message) allows one to verify that the parts removed from the printed edition normally correspond to some unfulfilled prophecy or to some fact resulting in disappointment for the protagonist. In photocopy 2, for example, the original version of the message dated April 14, 1988, asks Vassula and her "entourage" to write to Don Stefano Gobbi of the Marian Movement of Priests. In photocopy 3, the cuttings appear clearly.  The same treatment was reserved to the message of June 10, 1988 (photocopies 4 and 5), where the “Virgin Mary”, intending to perform a consolidation between her messages to Don Gobby and those of Jesus to Vassula Rydén, announces that she had arranged a meeting between the two. This meeting, because of Don Gobbi’s reluctance, did not take place. The same procedure of “cutting” was applied to a part of the message dated July 29, 1988 that mentions a meeting to take place in Switzerlandwith Fr. Schwitzer S.J. The “Virgin Mary” had directed Vassula, her “most beloved one”, to him for spiritual direction. In the meantime, the priest did not want to assume such a responsibility because he attributed the messages to a « spirit of dubious origin ».

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Photocopies 2 and 3 - Photocopy 2 shows the original message of April 14, 1988 with the passage refering to Don Gobbi that was later cancelled by Vassula Rydén in the published version. Photocopy 3 shows how the message was published in the "handwriting edition" of the notebooks.


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Photocopies 4 and 5 - Photocopy 4 shows the original message of June 10, 1988 with the passage refering to Don Gobbi. Photocopy 3 shows how the message was published in the "handwriting edition" of the notebooks with the cutting.


There were also other messages that were either partially or totally removed (cf. November 8-18,1987; December 6-12-28-31,1987; January 7-10-18-31, 1988; February 3-26, 1988; May 4, 1988, etc.). In these messages Vassula Rydén and her two « witnesses » are told to seek a private audience with the Pope, to go to him barefooted to wash his feet, then to do the Way of the Cross together with him and present to him these heavenly revelations which the Pope will already have known about and be waiting to receive. Photocopies 6, 7 and 8 document this request. The sentencess struck through are those that were removed from the printed version of the messages.

This event, which Jesus himself is said to have foretold through a certain prophecy of Pope John XXIII as can be seen in photocopy 9 with the usual cancellations, was never fulfilled. At the very most, the protagonist, while being a part of the crowd during two public audiences (August 3, 1988 and November 6, 1993), succeeded in inserting a letter behind the sash of the Pope and handing him some of her publications.

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Photocopies 6, 7, 8 and 9: Cancelled passages of several messages in which "Jesus" asks Vassula Rydén and her two "witnesses", James [Fannan] and David, to seek an audience with Pope John Paul II, present him with the messages and do the Way of the Cross with him. This event, which "Jesus" himself is said to have foretold through a certain prophecy of Pope John XXIII as can be seen in photocopy 9 with the usual cancellations, was never fulfilled.


Later on she tried to give a purely symbolic value to these messages, thereby completely contradicting both the letter and the spirit of them. In fact, several times the “heavenly” entity had explicitly demanded her to try to get a private audience. Even the demand to go barefoot can only be understood in the literal sense. It is connected, in fact, with the messages (deleted) of October 14 and 15, 1987, of November 18, 1987, of February 26 and May 7, 1988 (photocopies 10, 11, 12 and 13) where “Jesus” binds his well-beloved with a vow to walk barefoot at the appointed time. He therefore habitually calls her « my barefoot bearer ». In sections (also deleted) of the messages of October 15-16, 1987 and reported in photocopy 12, we read the following words of Jesus: « I will remind you to pull away your shoes ». To avoid any misunderstanding, the message concretely emphasizes the penitential character of the request by adding: « seek no comfort, whether you will walk on snow or hot sands, you will rid of your shoes are you willing to do this? ». In the message of November 8, 1987, the entity says explicitly to the frightened protagonist: « do not refuse Me this! I want! I want to do it ». He exhorts her not to fear (photocopy 15, cancelled). It is affirmed that John Paul II will recognize the messenger when she will present herself before him (photocopy 16, cancelled). Without doubt we are faced with some proper and real prophecies, to be understood literally and that never came true.

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Phototopies 10 to 16: Cancelled messages where "Jesus" binds Vassula with a vow to walk barefoot at the appointed time and to go wash the feet of the Pope.


3. Compromising and obvious changes of some messages

Here are two very significant examples. In photocopy 17 the astute and rudimental treatment inflicted on the message of April 18, 1988 is all too painfully clear. In the top section the sentence reads as it was in the original text: « O come Peter! take My Hand, Satan has digressed you from the Truth! take My Hand and I will guide you… ». In the middle section, arrows indicate on the original how the words should be moved around for correction. At the bottom the final “corrected” version appears for publication: « Satan has digressed many of you from the Truth! Take My Hand Peter and I will guide you ». Now being misled by Satan no longer refers to the Pope, but to others.

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Photocopy 17 - Example of the modification of a message in order to change its meaning: In the top section, the original message. - In the middle, the arrows show how the words should be moved around for correction and which words to add. - At the bottom, the final corrected version that has been published.


Photocopy 18 contrasts the message of October 10, 1987, where it is written twice to "worship" the Virgin Mary: « I will bend their knees and they will worship and honour My Mother » with the corrected version (photocopy 19) where then appears « they will venerate » instead of « they will worship » : one of the corrections is done with Vassula's writing and the other with the "hieratic" writing. The Virgin Mary, in fact, is not adored, but rather venerated. This correction was theologically obligatory, just as was the one about the Pope…

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Photocopies 18 and 19 - In the original message (photocopy 18), "Jesus" says that his Mother should be "worshiped". The published message (photocopy 19) has been corrected in order to replace "worship" with "venerate", a correction that was theologically obligatory.


So then, we have to ask ourselves, would the second Person of the Holy Trinity have used a language so improper or even so wrong? Moreover, the reader will have noticed that the corrections and additions have been made with writing that the sympathizers of the protagonist call “hieratic” or holy or divine. In other words, God would have corrected himself with his own writing…

In a lengthy note published in Belfast in 1994 (A Note from Vassula Ryden), the visionary attempts to respond to some objections regarding these changes, by referring them back to a most disturbing message of October 12, 1986 in which the “Eternal Father” says literally: « Peace be with you. Every word that you feel is not right and that bothers you, feel free to correct it. I, God, give you that feeling. Vassula, are you happy? » This message (and also another one of March 5, 1987) shows an “Eternal Father” subject to accidental inaccuracies, errors or second thoughts and practically hands over the revelations to the “feelings” and arbitrariness of the visionary. Moreover, it contradicts another message of July 14, 1992: « Repeat only the words that I myself have given you; do not add nor subtract; be dedicated to Me ».



At this point we may conclude that the reason behind the modifications is simple: the True Life in God messages, particularly in their initial phase, did indeed contain some non-fulfilled prophecies as well as obvious errors, including theological ones. These errors, which betray the presence of an undivine spirit, were corrected or removed, not on the basis of a supernatural feeling, but rather thanks to the intervention of a person that was called in to revise the messages together with the protagonist. In favour of this interpretation or hypothesis, we refer for instance to photocopy 18. Above the struck through word "worship", the word "venerate" has been written with a handwriting that is neither Mrs Rydén's nor the "hieratical" one...



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