"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Goodwill mysticism: Still promoting Vassula Ryden?

Ezkioga, Northern Spain
Don't forget all of the false apparitions of the early 1930's.

To consider any expression of the private revelations as dogma or propositions near of faith is always imprudent. - St. Annibale Maria Di Francia

Recently Charlie Johnston came under scrutiny by the Archbishop of Denver, who advised "the faithful to exercise prudence and caution in regards to Mr. Charlie Johnston’s alleged divine visions and messages."  The Archdiocese went so far as to declare: "Mr. Johnston will also not be approved as a speaker in the Archdiocese of Denver."

Mr. Johnston accepts the decision, laying some emphasis on the 'cautionary' tone regarding the prophetic dimension of his message, while noting that: "'They' explained that not being an “approved speaker” simply means I can’t use Church property in the Diocese as a venue."  Essentially, that about covers it and allows Charlie to continue his work.

Archbishop Aquila's concern is expressed in this statement:  "As has been demonstrated with other alleged apparitions, the danger exists of people placing greater faith in a prediction than in Christ’s words and promises."

I mention this precaution regarding Charlie Johnston after discovering there are still supporters and defenders of Vassula Ryden online, intent upon spreading her messages.  Catholics have been warned several times since 1995 against her 'doctrine', as summed up at the end of this CDF Notification:
Given the negative effect of Vassula Ryden’s activities, despite some positive aspects, this Congregation requests the intervention of the Bishops so that their faithful may be suitably informed and that no opportunity may be provided in their Dioceses for the dissemination of her ideas. Lastly, the Congregation invites all the faithful not to regard Mrs. Vassula Ryden’s writings and speeches as supernatural and to preserve the purity of the faith that the Lord has entrusted to the Church.
Vatican City, 6 October 1995. - Full text here.
I lifted that text from an excellent study of the self-proclaimed mystic, titled: Vassula Ryden - The Reasons for the Church's Negative Reaction, by Francois-Marie Dermine, O.P..  The article should be read in its entirety, it is very informative - not only regarding the Ryden case, but all such private revelations and apparitions which spring up here and there around the world, especially now while wars and rumors of war, and terrorism threatens from every side.   Even priests grasp onto this type of phenomena in times of great stress, some claiming locutions themselves.

Charity believes all things, hopes all things, but is not deceived.  One must be careful.  A kindly priest recently wrote a favorable piece on Vassula Ryden and her interview with the CDF, suggesting the problems pretty much have been resolved and any discernment is up to the local diocesan bishops.  (Perhaps similar to how Aquila reviewed the Charlie Johnston case?)  Yet the CDF Notification was not nearly as approving as the author of the post suggests here:
Following this successful dialogue, the Cardinal said that Vassula's answers were "a useful clarification" and insisted that her answers be printed in the books of her writings. - Source
There are so many 'ifs, ands, and buts' regarding private revelations and their supporters, who frequently cling to this stuff as if it were dogma, disputing clear statements made by the magisterium against such things, while they in turn manipulate words and phrases to suit their particular cult.  It seems to me worse today with media confusing remarks and statements made by the pope and bishops to suggest heresy and liberalism, opening the way for self-interested parties to bait ordinary believers into following dubious mystics, locutionists and seers.

Priests especially should be cautious, perhaps following the precautions of Saint Annibale Maria Di Francia:
“Conforming to prudence and sacred accuracy, people cannot deal with private revelations as if they were canonical books or decrees of the Holy See. Even the most enlightened persons, especially women, may be greatly mistaken in the visions, revelations, locutions, and inspiration. More than once the divine operation is restrained by human nature. For instance who could ratify in full all the visions of Emmerich and St. Brigid, which show evident discrepancies? I love very much the private revelations of holy persons, but never I accept them in full!" - Source

Faith is hard - the science of the Cross is tough going...

Even if an angel of light appears with a different Gospel - do not follow.


  1. I saw Vassula Ryden almost 20 years ago up in Sacramento. The bishop at the time was very supportive and celebrated Mass before she gave her talk. I was supportive too and bought her books and read them but something seemed off to me as I look back. I was putting her before the gospel. After she was in Sacramento, she traveled to L.A. and that's when I heard strange things about her.

    Thanks be to God I lost interest as I could no longer believe anything she claimed and I found my way back to the truth. She did help me though so I took the good and turned once again follow the Lord Jesus instead of her.

    I thought she was long retired and had retreated to Greece but it seems she still makes the news. Ah well...

    1. Well the argument in her favor is that if her message leads people back to God, to the sacraments and the Church - it should be fine. The problem develops when people wait for the next message, the next sign, and they adhere to her rather than to Christ. Then they interpret Catholic teaching to suit their message, they interpret what the Church says - saying things like "Well she wasn't condemned." or "Pilgrims can still go there." or, "What they meant was wait and see."

      Every day the Spirit speaks to the Church in daily Mass. Every day the Lord is present in the Eucharist. This is the faith of the Church - this is God's will and message for the world.

    2. Amen! Like Mother Teresa used to say, "the happiest place on earth is before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament."

      What I do remember when I used to read her messages, was crying lots in the beginning because the messages moved me to see the beauty of Christ. To experience his tenderness and to love him for it. Whenever she spoke of the Lord it was always with such love so I will pray for her from now on.

      It is a good thing to have remembered after so long these things. Thank you Terry.

  2. So many seers and visionaries and so little time! Who can keep up with them all. I sometimes wonder why God in all his Majasty and power would chose to speak to or thru these various people? Makes me kinda mad that it is some guessing game and I am supposed to know the reason and the answer. There is so much outright fraud, mental instability and self delusion. How am I, or anyone, supposed to sort through all of this. Why doesn't God just go on the radio or television and clearly say, "OK, I have had enough." Then my intellectual self and faith tells me these are all unnecessary. I know what God wants, expects from me. We all have our own messages. It is our personal Twitter called conscience. Yet, I still look for the "real genuine seer or seers. I cannot seem to help myself. Is Garabandal real? What about Merjurgorie? Akita? Now the Belgium apparitions of the 1930's. This visionary is a new one for me. There always seems to be another new one on the horizon. I am really perplexed with this business. It seems to lead to dead ends or just confirm each other. The messages are all the same. Prayer, penance and turning to God's mercy. Nothing sensational about that. I was taught that in grade school. Yet, I still get drawn in by these people. It seems to me it is a manifestation of that first original sin of wanting to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge and know what God knows. I am thinking it cannot be good for this life or the next.


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.