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A critical website on Vassula Rydén and the True Life in God messages

The Catholic Church's position regarding

Vassula Ryden's "True Life in God" messages

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  1. 1995 - Notification of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). The Notification is a severe warning regarding the errors and negative elements contained in the messages. It points out the "suspect nature" of the way the messages are received and the ecumenical disorder caused by Mrs. Rydén's sacramental practices. It requests Bishops not to authorize the promotion of TLIG in their dioceses and advises the faithful not to consider the messages as of divine origin. The Notification's validity was immediately challenged by Ryden's promoters, claiming that it had not been signed by the head of the CDF Cardinal Ratzinger and that it was a mere "opinion" and could be ignored [http://www.pseudomystica.info/tlignotificationsreTLIG.htm].

  2. 1996 Cardinal Ratzinger's 1996 Press release regarding the Notification The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith confirms the validity of the Notification against Vassula and announces its publication in Acta Apostolicae Saedis with Cardinal Ratzinger's signature. Regarding the declarations that were attributed to him during a trip to Mexico, Ratzinger denies downplaying the value of the Notification and repeats that the TLIG writings contain elements that are "negative in the light of Catholic Doctrine" and that the faithful should not rely on alleged revelations but follow "the revealed Word of God and the directives of the Church's Magisterium".

  3. 1999 Cardinal Ratzinger's 1999 Interview by Dr.Christian Hvidt. Again, this interview was presented by Ryden's supporters as a denial of the Notification's validity. However, Ratzinger clearly states again that although the writings contain positive elements, the "grain and the darnel" are mixed and that "unlimited trust should only be placed in the real Word of the Revelation that we encounter in the faith transmitted by the Church."

  4. 2002-2004 Dialogue with the CDF Following the lobbying efforts of Ryden's long time supporter Dr. Christian Hvidt's, the CDF gave Mrs Rydén the possibility to provide clarifications regarding some of the points raised in the Notification, which she did by writing. Although referred to as "the dialogue", this procedure consisted only in two letters: one from the CDF asking questions, and the other from Mrs. Rydén answering them. The result was a third letter dated July 2004 sent to only five Episcopal conferences informing them of the clarifications provided by Mrs Ryden. However, the Notification was neither cancelled nor modified. In spite of this, Ryden's promoters did their best to present the 2004 letter as a reversal of the Notification, but with limited success.

  5. At the end of 2004, Mrs Rydén requested an audience with Cardinal Ratzinger, who granted her a "semi-official" meeting, during which a photo of her with the Cardinal was taken by Dr. Hvidt. As told by Hvidt himself, Ratzinger accepted to be photographed with Vassula under the condition that the photo would not be used for "cheap propaganda". But Hvidt wrote a report of the "dialogue" which was put on-line together with the photo. Moreover, he authorized the photo's public use through Wikimedia Commons. The photo gives the false impression that Vassula enjoys Cardinal Ratzinger's endorsement, and is used to this day to promote Ryden's meetings and books.

  6. 2007 Circular Letter to the Presidents of the episcopal conferences regarding the writings and activities of Mrs. Vassula Rydén. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - 25 January 2007. The letter presents the true conclusion of the 2002-2004 "dialogue" with Mrs Ryden. The CDF concludes that her writings are not "divine revelations" but only her "personal meditations". In spite of the clarifications given by Mrs. Rydén, the Notifications negative doctrinal judgment is re-confirmed and the participation of Catholics in TLIG prayer groups is considered "inappropriate". Mrs Ryden sent a public letter of protest to the CDF, but again to no avail.

  7. The situation today: Websites and publications favourable to Mrs Ryden continue to give an imaginative interpretation of the above documents as "positive", in order to maintain a Catholic following. In general, Catholic dioceses do not allow Mrs Ryden's events to be promoted in their parishes. In 2011 and 2012 several French dioceses have issued public warnings regarding Ryden's meetings and teachings, based on the above Vatican documents.




January 2007  Circular Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the writings and activities of Mrs. Ryden


To the Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops Presidents of the Bishops Conferences

Photocopy of original in English made available by Mrs Ryden's official website on August 31st, 2007, although she had it in her possession since at least May of 2007.

levada.jpg (100729 bytes)

Note: In May 2007 Mrs Ryden wrote to the CDF questioning this letter. She received an answer from Msgr Angelo Amato, the number 2 of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in which he confirmed that Card. Levada's letter "was expressly written with the purpose of informing all the Catholic Bishops of the dialogue" that had taken place in 2002-2004 between Vassula Ryden and the CDF (reported by Mrs. Ryden in an open letter dated August 2007: see Related Topic: Vassula Ryden's Response to Cardinal Levada ). Archbishop Amato was the Secretary of the CDF from December 2002 until July 2008, which includes the period of time during which the dialogue with Mrs. Ryden took place and its outcome. He has recently been appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.


 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.cdf-tlig.org/dialogue.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):

Dear Madam,

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 Conference of Swiss Bishops, which was a copy of the 1995 Notification.



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 (click here to see the image of the original in Italian):

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.

Your Eminence's/Excellency's

Most Devout


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).

In repeated occasions, several persons have tried to post the above information in the public discussion list of the official TLIG association website. All those posts were immediately removed by the moderator with the following explanation: "The degree of freedom allowed to open minds to raise valid concerns cannot be extended to those who are committed to harming God's wonderful gift to us." (see: http://www.tlig.net/newphpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=784).

The explanations given by Vassula to the CDF were "useful", but apparently not satisfying or thorough enough to clarify ALL the doctrinal and theological questions TLIG raises, nor to reverse the CDF's opinion that the writings are not to be regarded as supernatural. Finally, former Card. Ratzinger precises in his letter that the dialogue with Mrs Ryden concluded with the publication of her letter of April 2002 in the latest volume of TLIG messages.

Thank you for passing on this information to whoever reads the TLIG messages.

Maria Laura Pio

15/03/2005 & minor edits 30/11/2005


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Some comments regarding the Catholic Church's position on TLIG (2004-2006)


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.ourladyswarriors.org/vassula.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 was at: http://news.scotsman.com/edinburgh.cfm?id=1898192005 but is no longer available on-line.)


EWTN website - 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 website: 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%."  


Bro. Ignatius Mary from the Website 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 website - 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." Read more at www.christianorder.com/features/features_2004/features_oct04.htm and www.christianorder.com/features/features_2005/features_jan05_bonus.html Please keep in mind when reading this article, that the Notification is not technically speaking a condemnation, but a warning (see our article on validity of the Notification).