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A critical website on Vassula Rydén and True Life in God

Vassula Ryden's "Response to Cardinal Levada"

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Added September 19th, 2007

Minor edits: September 20 and October 24th, 2007


On August 31st, 2007 the official website of Mrs Ryden’s True Life in God organization, circulated an article signed by Vassula titled Response to Cardinal Levada’s letter of January 2007, which I copy at the end of this page (Vassula's response was published in the official TLIG website www.tlig.org, but it was removed during the month of October, cancelled from the Archive of Newsletters and erased from the official TLIG Discussion List. Without any explanation.)

In this article, Mrs Ryden accuses Cardinal Levada of writing a “confusing” and contradicting letter, containing “grave” and “serious errors”, misinforming, implying that “prayer is harmful” and of violating Catholics’ “ecumenical rights and duties”. She affirms that the conclusion of her “dialogue with the CDF was positive” (a sentence she repeats several times in the article) and that this positive conclusion “was to be held ‘low key’, and hence there would not be a new Notification to eliminate the old one.”

She ends her article inviting her readers to choose: believe her version of the facts or follow Cardinal Levada’s “confusing at best” communication.

Very far from being confusing, Cardinal Levada’s internal communication of January 2007, sent to the Presidents of all Bishops conferences, is a very clear document, which explains the results of the CDF’s dialogue with Mrs Ryden. The essence of the text is that Mrs Ryden did indeed offer clarifications regarding her writings and activities, but it was not enough to reverse the doctrinal judgement of the 1995 Notification which remains valid, and advises against the participation of the faithful in the TLIG prayer groups. Regarding the reading of the writings, it should be limited to persons who are able to understand that they are not divine revelation but personal meditations (God is not the author of the words attributed to him in the TLIG books).You can read the complete text of the communication here: http://www.pseudomystica.info/tligchurchposition.htm

Cardinal Levada also indicates that this communication was made necessary because the CDF “continues to receive requests for clarification in relation to the writings and activities of Mrs Vassula Rydén”, in particular regarding “the import of the Notification”. The reason why the CDF continues to receive these requests is that since January 2005, Mrs Ryden’s organization has been spreading all over the world a booklet titled “Clarifications with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”, in which the reader is made to believe that Mrs Ryden was approved by the CDF. Her conclusions are based on a letter dated July 2004 sent to five episcopal conferences by Cardinal Ratzinger (for details, see: http://www.pseudomystica.info/tligchurchposition.htm#july 2004 letter ).

So, was she ever approved by the CDF ? And was Cardinal Ratzinger’s July 2004 letter an approval ? Just a few facts: 


  • February 2005: We wrote to the Swiss Conference of Bishops - who was one of the recipients of the July 2004 letter - and asked them if it was true that Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter was a reversal of the Notification. The Secretary of the Conference answered to us: “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith maintains all it's reservations regarding the writings and actions of Mrs Ryden.”( http://www.pseudomystica.info/tligchurchposition.htm#Swiss bishops ). Efforts to post this information on the discussion list of the official TLIG website were met by a systematical removal of the information by the moderator. Moreover, since the publication of Vassula's response, the official TLIG website has been proposing as "message of the day" those messages that deal with persecution.
  •    September 2005: A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland warned people against going to Vassula's September 11th meeting in Edinburgh. Mentioning 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." (http://news.scotsman.com/edinburgh.cfm?id=1898192005)
  • January 2006: The Archdiocese of Los Angeles (USA) after having promoted for several weeks a unity meeting with Vassula Ryden to be held at the Cathedral, suddenly canceled the event. Mgr Kostelnik, pastor of the Cathedral, explained to the press that he had been assured by the organizers that Ryden's writings 'have been cleared by the Vatican'.” But he later found out that the organizer'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' (http://www.ourladyswarriors.org/vassula.htm ).
  • February 2006: One of the official blogs of TLIG (publicized on their website http://www.tlig.org/en/news/2006-01-26/1970/ but no longer available online) published an article dated January 16, 2006 titled “Vatican removes text of Notification” in which they affirmed that "the congregation removed the original text of the notification [from the Vatican website] as the questions they posed to Vassula they felt clarified the previous issues they had.” We consulted the CDF and asked them if this was ture. We received the following answer from the person in charge: “The fact that some documents appear without a link in the web site of the Congregation does not mean that they are no longer valid. Simply it means that the relative text is not yet available in electronic format. That is the only reason, and that is why most documents without a link are the oldest ones”. It was also pointed out to us that the Notification continued to be a valid document, could be found in the the AAS and had not been annuled. We later provided David Armitage, webmaster of Mrs Ryden’s official website, with a copy of this information. He maintained that the text had nevertheless been on the Vatican website, implying that we and our source were being untruthful. However, as a correspondent brought recently to our attention, if you go to the Wayback Machine (Internet archive), and look up the doctrinal documents page of the CDF, you will see that it is traced back to February 2002 (before the dialogue with Mrs Ryden), and that it NEVER included a link to the complete text of the Notification. You cannot remove something that was never there... (see: http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/doc_doc_index.htm  )

It is also important to take note, that during all this period of time, major Catholic websites (such as EWTN, www.catholic.net, www.aica.org, etc.) have always affirmed that the Notification was valid and in full force.

So, the only ones who kept on saying that Mrs Ryden was approved, were Vassula herself and her long-time supporters, who took her word for it and simply decided to ignore any kind of information that proved them wrong.

I cannot end this article without commenting some other points Mrs Ryden raises in her article in response to Cardinal Levada:

1. We learn that Mrs Ryden had a copy of Levada’s internal communication since at least May of 2007, but did not care to share it until August 31st, when it had already been all over the Internet for three weeks. Moreover, when at the beginning of August, we sent by private mail a copy of Cardenal Levada's communication to some of the participants to the discussion list of the TLIG official website, we were accused of "spamming" and told that we would "have to answer to the Lord one day for fighting the Holy Spirit" (http://www.tlig.net/newphpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=122 )

2. Mrs Ryden blames Cardinal Levada for “three grave errors” contained in his communication, which I comment hereunder:

-    Cardinal Levada “puts into my [Vassula’s] mouth words I never said, and these words are: ‘that the messages are not divine revelations but my own personal meditations’”. The communication does not really say that those words were pronounced by Mrs Ryden. We understand it as saying that the ensemble of clarifications and explanations Mrs Ryden gave were examined and the CDF concluded (on their own) that her writings were not divine revelations, but rather personal meditations.

-    Cardinal Levada mixed up the date of Vassula’s letter (26 June 2002) with Fr. Grech’s letter (4 April 2002). Well, in fact, the real author of the mistake is… Cardinal Ratzinger! He was the first to mix up the dates in his famous letter of July 2004 to the five Episcopal conferences (see:  http://www.pseudomystica.info/tligchurchposition.htm#july 2004 letter ), and that is the origine of the error. Mrs Ryden herself has Cardinal Ratzinger’s July 2004 letter published on her website and on her promotional booklets with this “grave error”( http://www.tlig.org/en/testimonies/churchpos/cdf2005/ratzletter/ )

-   Cardinal Levada referred to volume 10 instead of volume 12 of the TLIG books. Well, what can we say ? Errare humanum est…

3. Mrs Ryden supposes Cardinal Bertone to be “probably very disappointed at seeing his work belittled” by Cardinal Levada. Cardinal Bertone’s work was… the 1995 Notification! And at the time, he was accused in a very similar way by TLIG supporters as Cardinal Levada is now. He was even accused of having acted behind Card. Ratzinger’s back… The reader can refresh his memory here: http://www.pseudomystica.info/tlignotificationsreTLIG.htm Moreover, Cardinal Bertone left the CDF in February of 2003 and became Bishop of Genova, until he was named Secretary of State in June of 2006. 

4. Mrs Ryden recalls that the essential theme of the TLIG messages is the restoration of unity among all Christians. To restore unity, one should start by restoring one’s own unity with one’s own Church. It is not a secret that Mrs Ryden has a very difficult situation with the Greek Orthodox Church, to which she says to belong. According to several declarations made by representatives of the Orthodox faithful, the main problem is the way she acts (see: http://www.pseudomystica.info/tliggreekorthodox.htm ). In 2001, the Committee on heresies of the Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church published their decision regarding Vassula Ryden. In substance, they declared that Mrs Ryden has de facto left the Greek Orthodox Church, although she presents herself as a member of it. (Some translations on the Internet use the word “excommunicated”. The difficulty is the word ekpései, which has many possible translations. The text seems to say litteraly that she “threw herself out” of her Church. The original text in Greek can be consulted in the official website of the Church of Greece. See: http://www.pseudomystica.info/tliggreekorthodox.htm ).


Anyway, since Mrs Ryden has clearly indicated that she does not wish to become a Catholic, but on the other hand does not act as an Orthodox, then she has indeed chosen to be in a denominational “no-Church’s land” with the the approval of her “Jesus”, for whom “all are the same” (message of October 27, 1987 http://www.tlig.org/en/messages/182/ ), and this suggests a lot about her idea of unity.

Maria Laura Pio

The original article of Vassula Ryden, as it was published and circulated by www.tlig.org in September 2007 :


To TLIG readers worldwide:

Response to Cardinal Levada’s letter of January 2007.

By Vassula Ryden  

Dear friends,

Recently the new prefect of the CDF in Rome , H.E. William Cardinal Levada, has sent a letter dated January 25th 2007, to Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops and Presidents of Bishops Conferences worldwide. This stirred considerable unrest amongst our readers, especially those of Roman Catholic faith. I attach his letter for you to be fully informed.

I am sorry that once again there is much confusion, and thank you for the many letters of support and prayer for the continuing propagation of the TLIG messages. I am writing to clarify this confusion and to sharpen your memories.

The letter is confusing and contradicts itself. At one moment it sounds negative and at another favorable! It appears to have been composed in a rush since it contains several errors and misinformation. I have written to his Eminence and asked him to kindly correct those errors, but I have not yet received a response from him.

The conclusion to my dialogue with the CDF was positive. This positive conclusion was to be held “low key”, and hence there would not be a new Notification to eliminate the old one. However, as Card. Ratzinger said, the situation had now been modified in the sense that the messages should now be read in the light of my clarifications. For exactly this reason, Cardinal Ratzinger formally requested of me that my dialogue with the CDF be published in the new editions of my books, a request I heeded when the dialogue was published in the latest Volume, Volume 12, and subsequent new editions of the messages. All this is contained in the points 1 and 2 of Card. Levada’s letter and this is positive.

Thus, point 3 in the letter remains ever more surprising since Cardinal Levada uses this positive conclusion to produce a negative statement, i.e. that Catholics are not advised to participate in TLIG prayer groups. More seriously, the negative recommendation in this third point was published without further consultation with me and contrary to the normal canonical procedures, namely that any person accused should be heard before being accused:

 “Before issuing an individual decree an authority should seek out the necessary information and proofs, and also hear those whose rights can be injured, in so far as this is possible” (Canon 50). Although I had written to the CDF that I was prepared to continue in dialogue if they might have any further questions, I did not receive any reply, nor was I called in to any conversation, which would have been only right since I had engaged in dialogue with them, trusting them and entrusting myself to them! I furthermore wrote that I would be willing to make clarifications in footnotes to the messages if they believed anything needed clarification. I was not asked to make any such comments to the messages which is one more confirmation that the outcome of the dialogue was positive.

With the new conclusion in Cardinal Levada’s letter he is thus rejecting the study and the dialogue that the then Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope), and Cardinal Bertone (now Secretary of State) had with me during a period of two and a half years, during which time many inspectors, theologians, Bishops and Cardinals, after study, had to give their final opinion as well and that, as you all know, was positive.

The letter refers the reader to two canons: Canon 215 and 223.

Can.215 The Christian faithful are at liberty freely to found and direct associations for purposes of charity or piety or for the promotion of the Christian vocation in the world and to hold meetings for the common of these purposes.

Can.223§ 1. In exercising their rights, the Christian faithful, both as individuals and gathered together in associations, must take into account the common good of the Church, the rights of others, and their own duties toward others

These canons confirm that the Catholic faithful are free to form and gather in prayer groups. How is it then that such canons are quoted to say that it is not advisable to participate in TLIG prayer groups?

Furthermore, the letter contains three grave errors.

1. The gravest damage is caused by a false statement in the Cardinal’s letter. He states and puts into my mouth words I never said, and these words are: “that the messages are not divine revelations but my own personal meditations!” This is NOT TRUE! I never said anything of the sort, ever! This is a very serious and fundamental error. I am reluctant to believe that this misrepresentation was deliberate, rather than due to negligence, but the effect is the same. A false statement has been published to the Bishops and indeed the world.

2. In clause no. 2 of the letter, the faithful are guided to read my dialogue with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in vol. 10, instead of in vol. 12. This is an unfortunate mistake that can, nevertheless, be corrected. There is nothing in vol. 10 of the said dialogue. If it is not corrected the Catholic faithful will be unable to look for themselves and read my letter with the answers.  

3. In that same clause, no. 2., the letter writes about “my letter” dated 4 April 2002. However, it was Fr. Prospero Grech’s letter, that was dated 4 April 2002. My replies were published in my letter of 26 June 2002. This, also confuses the faithful.

Last May I wrote to Cardinal Levada about these serious errors, giving copies to the Holy Father, and several Bishops and Cardinals. I received, almost immediately, a letter of acknowledgment from Cardinal Bertone, (probably very disappointed at seeing his work belittled). Fr. Prospero replied saying: “I thought the matter was closed and would not turn up again”. Obviously, the Bishops writing to the CDF wanted a clear answer, a “yes” or a “no”, regarding the Notification. Cardinal Levada’s letter is not a clear “NO” either. As I understand it, it does not prohibit the faithful, it discourages, on the basis of some doubts the Notification might contain.”

Recently, I also received an answer from Archbishop Angelo Amato who is the Secretary of Cardinal Levada [Note from this website: Archbishop Amato is not the personal secretary of Cardinal Levada, but the Secretary of the CDF, in other words the number 2 of the Congregation]. His short note says, that Cardinal Levada’s letter was expressly written with the purpose of informing all the Catholic Bishops of the dialogue, (which as you know was positive) that took place between me and the CDF so that they might know how to direct the Bishops as to how they should compose themselves. He has not mentioned anything else contained in the rest of the letter and avoids the question of the errors in the document.

In the letter of Card. Levada, his Eminence tells his faithful that to gather and pray in TLIG prayer meetings is “inappropriate”. Are we really serious? Are we now to believe that prayer is harmful and therefore inappropriate, and against what the Church teaches us?? Well, I do not believe that! Nor does God, nor any sensible believer because it is NOT an act done against God and against God’s Will, or against the Church to turn to God in prayer and adoration, but the contrary!

In October 1978 the late Holy Father John Paul II, speaking to a delegation from other Christian Churches stated “The commitment of the Catholic Church to the Ecumenical movement such as was solemnly expressed in the Second Vatican Council, is irreversible”

Five years later, the Holy Father promulgated the Code of Canon Law which promotes Ecumenism.   One of its provisions is very clear

“It is within the special competence of the entire College of Bishops and of the Apostolic See to promote and direct the participation of Catholics in the Ecumenical Movement whose purpose is the restoration of unity among all Christians, which the Church is bound by the will of Christ to promote”.

You will see that this special task, to ensure that Catholics participate in the Ecumenical movement, is given to the highest authorities of the church, including the Congregation for Doctrine and Faith.  This obligation is imposed by the strongest possible mandate which is the will of Christ himself.  As you all know, the essential theme of the TLIG messages is the restoration of unity among all Christians.

No Catholic should be discouraged from gathering in prayer groups in the pursuit of their ecumenical rights and indeed duties that form the entirety of the meetings, when the recitation of the Holy Rosary, the reading of the Scriptures, the prayers of the heart and the making of intercessory prayers are the essence of these prayer meetings. To discourage people from attending prayer meetings is truly against God’s Will and it remains utterly incomprehensible how a Prelate of the Church can go against Christ’s urge to his disciples: “That we should pray at all times”. 

So my dear friends, I leave it up to you to choose: You can either follow the positive result after the dialogue I had with the then Cardinal Ratzinger, which gave us our freedom to continue reading TLIG and evangelizing with love for love, guiding God’s people back to his church and to union in the church, or follow the dispositions of the letter signed by Cardinal Levada that does not say “yes” or “no” and is confusing at best.

We all know that when God speaks, He speaks with clarity and “not in dark corners.” I wish us, as people of God, to do as much.

In Christ,


August 2007