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