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A critical website on Vassula Ryden & True Life in God
Vassula Ryden: a new attempt to silence her critics
A few months ago, Father François-Marie Dermine o.p. received a strange mail from Dr. Niels C. Hvidt - a well-known promoter of Mrs. Ryden - praising his writings (!) and requesting a meeting to discuss an urgent theological matter. The mail was so weird, that Father Dermine declined the request for a meeting.
A few weeks later, Fr. Dermine was informed by his Provincial Superior that Mrs. Ryden had visited the General Superior of the Dominican Friars in order to complain about him, in particular regarding his 2008 article on her messages. She presented several documents, including an article by Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, who travels often with Mrs. Ryden to her international meetings. The exchange of mails with Dr. Hvidt was also included.
This was an opportunity for Fr. Dermine to provide his
superiors with some information. In fact, Fr. Dermine commented:
I'm sorry about Vassula Ryden's visit to our General Superior because of the inconvenience caused to him, but I'm also honored: Although in the past years I haven't written nor said anything about her, my writings published on the pseudomystica.info website continue to bother her greatly... Evidently, that visit reveals the unstoppable weakening of a phenomenon that, in the nineties, counted with the support of hundreds of thousands of followers, thousands of priests, many bishops and a few cardinals, thanks partly to the support of the mariologist Mons. René Laurentin...
Currently Vassula Ryden pursues a campaign to convince priests and bishops that the Church has changed its negative stance on her. There are two main arguments. The first is the alleged reversal of the 1995 Notification, which was against her, thanks to the 2003 clarifications she presented to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and to then Cardinal Ratzinger. However, Mrs. Ryden and her "theologians" refrain from mentioning the 2007 Circular Letter to the Presidents of all Episcopal Conferences regarding the writings and activity of Mrs. Vassula Ryden (during Benedict XVI's pontificate) and signed by Cardinal Levada, then Prefect of the CDF. This Letter, while acknowledging the above mentioned "clarifications on some problematic points", is peremptory in confirming that the 1995 Notification "remains valid as a doctrinal judgment of the writings examined", specifying that Vassula Ryden's alleged divine revelations are mere "personal meditations"... and stating that "it remains inappropriate for Catholics to take part in prayer groups established by Mrs. Ryden". The second argument is the Imprimatur and Nihil obstat given by two of "her" bishops, in spite of the CDF's contrary position...
A history of intimidating critics
Mrs. Ryden's True Life in God messages and publications attribute to the devil any type of criticism or opposition, and refer to critics as "enemies" who apostatize, agents of the "ecclesiastical freemasonry", "persecutors of the Holy Spirit", "jackals working by night", etc. (see for instance note of the message of March2, 1993)9. Mrs. Ryden's visit to the Dominicans' General Superior is the latest of a series of attempts to silence those who publicly express reservations or criticism regarding her "messages". The same procedure was already used (in vain) in the nineties:
Father Philip Pavich o.f.m., a Franciscan priest who made known the original version of Mrs. Ryden's messages with the modifications that had been made before publication, was accused by Vassula's then spiritual director Fr. O'Carroll of "teaching rubbish" and threatened to be denounced to his superiors in Rome. 1,2
Father Mitch Pacwa s.j., a Jesuit priest and well-known EWTN anchor, who evaluated the doctrinal content of the TLIG messages upon Vassula's request, suffered a similar sort. When he informed Vassula's spiritual director of his negative conclusions regarding the orthodoxy of the messages and of his intention to make his conclusions public, Fr. O'Carroll tried to silence him, accusing him of lacking "one single sign of Christian charity" and later sent him a letter stating:
"Since your article and the distress, the real hurt, it inflicted on Vassula, God the Father has spoken to her. He is very severe on those who oppose her. This [Vassula's book] will be published. If you go ahead with your article, and people apply this to you, they will not challenge Vassula's right to defend herself and they may think much on the One who takes up her defence...) You are meant for higher and greater things than this."
Pacwa also told in a December 1995 Angelica Live program, that the threats were followed up with a letter sent to the Jesuits' Father General accusing him falsely of having published his article without consulting them and of trying to destroy the Catholic and Orthodox unity.3,4
In 2000, Vassula Ryden filed a lawsuit for slander and libel against the Greek Orthodox magazine "Dialogos" and Fr. Kyriakos Tsouros, Secretary of the Greek Orthodox Synodal Committee on Heresies, who had published a critical article on her writings. Two days before the hearing, Mrs. Ryden withdrew the complaint. The following year, the Committee on Heresies published its decision regarding her, stating that: "The Committee, having examined the evidence, has reached the conclusion that Vassula Ryden has expelled herself from the Orthodox Church, although she still presents herself as its member".5,6
In 2012, Maria Laura Pio, the founder and owner of the a website entirely dedicated to Ryden's messages and activities from a critical point of view, announced that she was closing the website because she was unable and unwilling to face another lawsuit from Mrs. Ryden and her Foundation for True Life in God. In 2011, Pio – who is a former TLIG follower and lives in Switzerland - had been sued in Belgium because she had written an article on her website referring to the Patriarchate of Constantinople's announcement as an excommunication of Ryden on the basis of information published on Orthodox websites. After that lawsuit was dismissed, Pio received a letter from Ryden's lawyers announcing their intention to sue her in the United Kingdom for using their client's registered trademark "Vassula" in her website's name (infovassula.ch). Thanks to the intervention of the Catholic association GRIS, the contents of Pio's website were relocated to www.pseudomystica.info, guaranteeing its survival and the continuation of its activities.7,8
As stated in the Welcome to Pseudomystica.info, it is well-known that many claimed seers are used to entrusting the defence of their cause to lawyers rather than to God.
1. SULLIVAN Randall, The Miracle Detective, Atlantic Montholy Press, New York, 2004, pages 275-279.
2. DERMINE François-Marie, Vassula Ryden: the reasons of the Church, published on the Internet, 2008, pages 10-13 and 21. http://www.pseudomystica.info/dermine.htm
3. PACWA Mitchell, The Spirit of the Prophetess, Touchstone magazine, Chicago, Winter 1995. Available on-line: http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=08-01-017-f
4. Transcript of audio registration of Mother Angelica Live, Topics: The Dish Network/Visionaries, Guest: Fr. Pacwa, December 12, 1995. http://www.pseudomystica.info/tligangelicalivepacwa.htm
5. Greek Orthodox Syonidal Committee on Heresies, Rulings of C.S. on sects for Vasoula Ryden and Panagiotis Toulatos, Dialogos, n.25, page 32, 2001. http://www.pseudomystica.info/tliggreekorthodox.htm#Rulings
6. TSOUROS, Kyriakos, Vasoula Ryden...complains, Dialogos, n.17, page 21, 1999. http://www.pseudomystica.info/tliggreekorthodox.htm#complains
7. PIO, Maria Laura, Another lawsuit against Infovassula.ch, this time in England http://www.pseudomystica.info/tliglawsuit2.htm
8. DERMINE, François-Marie, Welcome to Pseudomystica.info. http://www.pseudomystica.info/tlighome.html
9. RYDEN, Vassula, True Life in God message of 2 March 1993, http://www.tlig.org/en/messages/783/