Home Catholic Church Position Greek Orthodox Church Position Who is Vassula and what is TLIG Negative Elements F.A.Q.

A critical website about Vassula Ryden's True Life in God messages

Frequently Asked Questions

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WB00882_1.GIF (970 bytes)    NEW  Did Father Tardif give his endorsement to Vassula ? (added December 2015)

WB00955_.GIF (961 bytes)    Did the Cardinal of Congo approve Vassula's visit in 2014 ?   (added October 2014)

WB00955_.GIF (961 bytes)     Have you read Vassula's latest book Heaven is real, but so is hell?   (added October 2014)

WB00955_.GIF (961 bytes)    What does the petition "One Date" have to do with Vassula ?  (added in July 2007, updated June 2014)

WB00955_.GIF (961 bytes)   Can Vassula's book "Heaven is real, but so is hell" get on the New York Times bestsellers list? (added March 8, 2013) See also Marketing Vassula (May 2013)

WB00955_.GIF (961 bytes)   Why was the critical website infovassula.ch closed ? (information on the lawsuits)

WB00955_.GIF (961 bytes)   Did the TLIG messages get a nihil obstat and imprimatur ?

WB00955_.GIF (961 bytes)   Did you see the letter that Fr. Abberton sent to the American TLIG Newsletter readers? (added December 29, 2010)

WB00955_.GIF (961 bytes)   Did an Orthodox priest concelebrate Divine Liturgy with a Catholic priest during Vassula's visit to Romania in May 2010? (added in December 2010)

WB00955_.GIF (255 bytes)   Does René Laurentin’s title of Prelate of His Holiness mean that the Pope approves his books on Vassula ? (added in July 2010)

WB00955_.GIF (255 bytes)   Regarding the TLIG pilgrimage in Egypt of April 2008: Is it true that the Orthodox Patriarch of Alessandria and All Africa, Theodoros II, gave Holy Communion to all the TLIG group, including the Catholics and Lutherans ? (added in November 2008)

WB00955_.GIF (255 bytes)   What do you know about Vassula's May 2008 trip to the Philippines ? (added in November 2008)

WB00955_.GIF (255 bytes)   May Vassula Ryden (who is Greek Orthodox) receive holy communion when participating at Catholic Masses ? (added in July 2008)

WB00955_.GIF (961 bytes)   Did the Vatican remove the text of the Notification from its website ?

WB00955_.GIF (255 bytes)   Is the Notification still valid ?

 

 

New FAQs will be regularly added to this section.

 

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NEW The Cardinal of Congo didn't give his consent to Vassula's visit, which was organised unbeknownst to him

Local TLIG associations, particularly in French speaking countries, have been making a lot of buzz around Vassula's visit to Congo in September 2014. Some followers say that it was organized with the approval and support of the Cardinal of that country, Msgr. Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya. In fact, during her conference in the stadium of Kinshasa, Vassula started her speach by thanking the Cardinal (who, it turns out, was not even present!).  We have contacted Msgr. Monsengwo, and here is his response:

"Indeed, Vassula Rydén was in Kinshasa last year, invited by some charismatics, including two priests, all of it unbeknownst to me and without my consent. I was abroad during the preparations of her visit" (Sent by email/iPad on 11 February 2015 - copy of the French original in our archive).

 

UPDATED What does the petition "One Date" have to do with Vassula ?

It has been brought to my attention that during events organized by local parishes, dioceses or the Charismatic Renewal, members of TLIG are circulating a petition titled “One Date”. This petition asks for the unification of the Date of Easter by the Orthodox and Catholic Churches. This petition is not identified as part of  Mrs Ryden’s group, except in some cases for an email address containing the letters “tlig”. Of course, one would have to know what “tlig” means in order to link it with Vassula.

There is a website about this petition: http://www.onedate.org Until the end of 2010, if you navigated thoroughly inside the website, you ended up by finding the reference to Mrs Ryden, presented as a prophet  and put on the same level as Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Catherine of Siena  (see the article as it was in November 2010: https://web.archive.org/web/20101113080714/http://www.onedate.org/inspiration.php? ). But the website was modified, and any reference to Vassula or TLIG has been removed, making it impossible for an uninformed person to link it to them (see article as it is now: http://www.onedate.org/en/inspiration.php).

A few years ago, our Church called to boycot Amnesty International because of its pro-abortion ideology. It was a reminder that the Christians’ responsibility does not limit itself to supporting positive actions. We must also make sure who is behind them, for our help could be abusively used and even lead others into error.

Many persons who sign the “One Date” petition do not realize that their signatures will be used to promote “True Life in God”. And this happens mainly because those who circulate the petition do their best to avoid it to be easily identified with Vassula Ryden, even though it is her organization who will present the signatures to the ecclesiastical authorities (http://www.tlig.org/en/news/2010-01-18/2109/). If Mrs Ryden wishes to promote her petition, the correct thing is to identify it clearly as an initiative from her organization.

If this petition is circulating near you, it is important to inform your parish or the local bishop, presenting them with a copy of the Notification (http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_19951006_ryden_en.html ). 

 

 

May Vassula Ryden (who is Greek Orthodox) receive holy communion when participating at Catholic Masses ?

Vassula Ryden, who is Greek Orthodox, frequently receives communion when participating at Catholic Masses. In her answers to the questions put by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2002 (http://www.tlig.org/en/testimonies/churchpos/cdf2005/q2a/ ), Mrs Ryden explained her reasons for receiving communion, enumerating the (many) cases in which she participates fully in the Eucharist celebrated in Catholic churches. However this participation is not legitimate for neither the Catholic nor the Orthodox Churches.

From the Orthodox point of view, the Orthodox faithful cannot receive Catholic Communion until all doctrinal differences are resolved. In August 2005, the Metropolite of Glastonbury, His Eminence Abba Seraphim, adressed the matter in a Memorandum on Vassula Ryden to the clergy of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Great Britain (his remarks also reflect the position of the Greek Orthodox Church). He stated that:

"In receiving the sacraments at altars other than those of the Orthodox Church [justifying this by quoting the Decree Orientarium Ecclesiarum of Vatican II], Mrs Ryden is disregarding Orthodox canonical discipline which forbids it" (http://www.pseudomystica.info/tliggreekorthodox.htm)

From a Catholic perspective, the recent Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis of Pope Benedict XVI also gives some important explanations regarding the general question of the participation in the Eucharist by Christians who are not Catholic:

Participation by Christians who are not Catholic

56. The subject of participation in the Eucharist inevitably raises the question of Christians belonging to Churches or Ecclesial Communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church. In this regard, it must be said that the intrinsic link between the Eucharist and the Church's unity inspires us to long for the day when we will be able to celebrate the Holy Eucharist together with all believers in Christ, and in this way to express visibly the fullness of unity that Christ willed for his disciples (cf. Jn 17:21). On the other hand, the respect we owe to the sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood prevents us from making it a mere "means" to be used indiscriminately in order to attain that unity. (172) The Eucharist in fact not only manifests our personal communion with Jesus Christ, but also implies full communio with the Church. This is the reason why, sadly albeit not without hope, we ask Christians who are not Catholic to understand and respect our conviction, which is grounded in the Bible and Tradition. We hold that eucharistic communion and ecclesial communion are so linked as to make it generally impossible for non-Catholic Christians to receive the former without enjoying the latter. There would be even less sense in actually concelebrating with ministers of Churches or ecclesial communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church. Yet it remains true that, for the sake of their eternal salvation, individual non-Catholic Christians can be admitted to the Eucharist, the sacrament of Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick. But this is possible only in specific, exceptional situations and requires that certain precisely defined conditions be met (173). These are clearly indicated in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (174) and in its Compendium (175). Everyone is obliged to observe these norms faithfully. (http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_ben-xvi_exh_20070222_sacramentum-caritatis_en.html#Actuosa_participatio )

The Catechism of the Catholic Churches indicates that:

1399 The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the Catholic Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. "These Churches, although separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all - by apostolic succession - the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still joined to us in closest intimacy." A certain communion in sacris, and so in the Eucharist, "given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged." - http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P42.HTM

Therefore, the full participation in the Eucharist of our Orthodox brothers is admitted only when special circumstances have been approved by Church authorities (generally the Ordinary of the place). However, Orthodox faithful should also obtain the authorization from their own Church authorities before receiving Catholic Sacraments, in accordance with their own canonical discipline (see also: http://www.pseudomystica.info/tliggreekorthodox.htm)

Vassula Ryden’s trip to The Philippines – May 2008

(http://www.tlig.org/en/news/2008-09-24/2081/ ) 

During this trip, Mrs Ryden was received by the President of the Philippines, who is a well-known reader and supporter of TLIG, and was the “special guest” of the Charismatic community’s annual Pentecost celebration in Cebu. Vassula also visited Archbishop Arguelles, who gave the Imprimatur to the TLIG books. Two comments:

  1. Although Mrs Ryden has many supporters in The Philippines, she does not have the support of Episcopal conference. Indeed, in the official website of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the 1995 Notification is one of the few documents present in the pages belonging to the Conference’s Commission on the Doctrine of the Faith (http://www.cbcponline.net/doctrine_faith/for_info.html ).
  1. The Imprimatur granted by Archbishop Arguelles to Vassula’s books is based on an “illegal” nihil obstat given by Bishop Felix Toppo of India. In a recent interview made available on-line through the official TLIG video website, Bishop Toppo reveals that when Vassula asked him to give the nihil obstat to the TLIG messages, he consulted a famous canonist who clearly told him that according to Canon Law he “could not do it”.

In fact, when I submitted the same question last year to the Vicar General of my own diocese (*), he told me that since there was a valid Notification in force from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), one could not approve of any gesture going against that clear position of the Apostolic See. 

Since both Bishop Toppo and Bishop Arguelles are long-time supporters of Mrs Ryden, and given the circumstances in which the nihil obstat and Imprimatur were given (see: http://www.pseudomystica.info/tlignihilobstat.htm ), it is obvious that they are abusive. Their scope is not to protect the faithful from wrong doctrines, but to facilitate the promotion of Vassula’s books among the Catholic faithful, in spite and in contempt of the warnings issued by the CDF, which include a negative doctrinal judgement.  This way of proceeding is frequent among TLIG followers, including members of the clergy, who are often put by Mrs Ryden in a position where they have to choose between her and their Church.

(*) He is also the diocese’s Censor, i.e. the person appointed by the Bishop to examine before publication those writings which are subject to the Church’s supervision.

 

Regarding intercommunion during the April 2008 Pilgrimage of TLIG in Egypt and the position of the Patriarch Theodoros II  (http://www.tlig.org/en/spirituality/pilgrimages/egypt2008/ and http://www.udfordringen.dk/art.php?ID=13396)

 

During this pilgrimage, the whole TLIG group was received by the Orthodox Patriarch of Alessandria and All Africa, Theodore II. During the Orthodox Mass, the Patriarch is reported to have given Holy Communion to the whole TLIG group, including Catholics and Lutherans (1). The Patriarch is said to be a reader and admirer of Vassula. 

After being informed of the above, a Greek Orthodox person living in Egypt (and under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa) personally contacted the Patriarchate and presented the document on Mrs Ryden’s case issued by the Committee on Heresies of the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church (http://www.pseudomystica.info/tliggreekorthodox.htm ). He was told that they had been unaware of Mrs Ryden’s situation. I would add that similar circumstances have also occurred in Catholic settings (for instance (http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/vassula.htm ).

Regarding the intercommunion, both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches have a valid Sacrament but advise against intercommunion until the doctrinal differences are resolved (a process well under way). The Orthodox Church though tends to be stricter than the Catholic Church. Orthodox clergy generally refuse Holy Communion to Catholics, but there are exceptions. For instance, several years ago the Patriarch Bartholomew celebrated Holy Liturgy in Ravenna (Italy) and gave Orthodox Holy Communion to the Italian Catholics present. It was however a “luminous” exception, and was strongly criticized in some Greek Orthodox circles .

So, Patriarch Theodore’s gesture in Egypt should be seen in this light for what regards the Catholics present during the ceremony. In general Lutheran communities do not have a valid Eucharist, so they cannot be admitted to Holy Communion by either the Catholic or Orthodox Churches, except for some very rare exceptions and extraordinary circumstances (for instance the case of Frère Roger of the Taizé Community who received Holy Communion from the Pope).  You will find more on intercommunion here: http://www.pseudomystica.info/tligfaq.htm#mayvassula .

Often the participants of different denominations who participate in TLIG pilgrimages and retreats are encouraged to practice intercommunion as a way of expressing unity. I would like to recall here the words of the Holy Father Benedict XVI regarding this matter:

“In this regard, it must be said that the intrinsic link between the Eucharist and the Church's unity inspires us to long for the day when we will be able to celebrate the Holy Eucharist together with all believers in Christ, and in this way to express visibly the fullness of unity that Christ willed for his disciples (cf. Jn 17:21). On the other hand, the respect we owe to the sacrament of Christ's Body and Blood prevents us from making it a mere "means" to be used indiscriminately in order to attain that unity. The Eucharist in fact not only manifests our personal communion with Jesus Christ, but also implies full communio with the Church.” (Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, n. 56, February 2007)

 

(1) As reported in the Danish paper “Udfordringen” in an article dated August 20, 2008 on the TLIG pilgrimage in Egypt and written by two persons who participated in the pilgrimage (http://www.udfordringen.dk/art.php?ID=13396 ). In the section titled “No discrimination between denominations” we can read: I modsætning til almindelig katolsk eller ortodoks praxis, der strengt forbeholder nadvertildelingen til menighedens medlemmer, blev gruppen, der var ledsaget af Vassula, modtaget ved de ortodokse messer uden diskrimination mellem de repræsenterede trosretninger, lutheranere, katolikker og ortodokse. På den måde blev den kirkelige enhed tydeligt demonstreret ved en fri og åben nadver (eukaristi)“.  Free translation from Danish: “Contrary to the usual Catholic or Orthodox practice which strictly reserves the giving of communion to the members of the congregation, the group accompanied by Vassula was received at the Orthodox mass without any discrimination between the denominations they represented: Lutherans, Catholics and Orthodox. In this way the Church unity [sic!] was clearly demonstrated by a free and open communion (Eucharist)”.

Does René Laurentin’s title of Prelate of His Holiness mean that the Pope approves his books on Vassula ?

The Prelate of Honour of His Holiness is an honorific title. Its granting is ruled by the Istruzione sul Conferimento di Onorificenze Pontificie (1), a document issued by the Vatican Secretariat of State on May 13, 2001. The document states that the diocesan bishops may ask for a papal honorific title to be conferred to a member of their clergy or to lay people of their diocese as a sign of appreciation and recognition for their work. The request must be first sent to the country’s Apostolic Nuncio, who after examining it and giving his nihil obstat, will submit it to the Vatican Secretariat of State. (Often these titles are requested by bishops on the occasion of important anniversaries, such as the 50th anniversary of a priest’s ordination). 

The Istruzione lists the various honorific titles which can be requested, as well as the conditions that have to be met. The Prelate of Honour – which is a title above that of Chaplain of His Holiness and below Protonotary Apostolic Supernumerary – may be conceded to members of the secular clergy who are at least 45 years of age and have accomplished at least 15 years of priesthood. For each diocese, the total number of Chaplains, Prelates and Protonotaries must not exceed 10% of the clergy. These are therefore honorific titles which are frequently granted.  

The Prelates of Honour have the right to use the title « Monsignor » and to wear some clothes and accessories commonly used by bishops, although they are not consecrated as such. However by no means can this title be interpreted as a “sanctification” of the person’s ideas or writings. 

In René Laurentin’s case, the request and granting of this honorific title was more than due: He is well past 90 years old, and has been a priest for more than 60 years. He was an expert at Vatican Council II and spent all his life at the service of the Church (regardless of the polemics he raised). However, it is not an implicit approval of his writings, in particular those in which he argues in favour of apparitions and private revelations, many of which have been given a negative judgement by the competent Church authorities. 

(1)The text of the Istruzione sul Conferimento di Onorificenze Pontificie in Italian can be found at the website: http://nobilta.blogspot.com/2008/06/istruzione-sul-conferimento-di.html Unfortunately, an English version cannot be found on the Internet.