Q: What is the stand of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith regarding the writing and messages of Mrs. Vassula Ryden? What are the regulations regarding publication of presumed private revelations?

A: Due to the many questions we receive regarding private revelations, we publish here a communiqué received from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), dated November 29, 1996:

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has received diverse questions relative to the value and authoritativeness of the notification by this same congregation on October 6, 1995, published in the L'Osservatore Romano on Monday/Tuesday, October 23/24, 1995, page 2, regarding the writing and messages of Mrs. Vassula Ryden, attributed to presumed revelations and spread in Catholic milieux throughout the world.

In this regard the Congregation intends to make it clear that:

1. The notification addressed to the pastors and faithful of the Catholic Church maintains all its force. It was approved by the competent authorities and will be published in the official organ of the Holy See, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, with the signatures of the prefect and secretary of the congregations.

2. With regard to the news spread by several members of the press concerning a restricted interpretation of such a notification made by His Eminence, the cardinal prefect in a private conversation with a group of persons to whom he wished to give an audience, which took place in Guadalajara, Mexico, on May 10, 1996, the cardinal prefect wishes to make it clear that:

a. As he had already stated, the faithful must not take the messages of Vassula Ryden as divine revelations, but only as her personal meditations;

b. In such meditations, as the notification already made clear, next to the positive aspects, there are negative elements in the light of Catholic doctrine;

c. For this reason, pastors and faithful are invited in this regard to a serious spiritual discernment and to preserve the purity of the faith, morals and the spiritual life, without counting on presumed revelations, but following the revealed Word of God and the directives of the Magisterium of the Church.

With regard to the spreading of texts of presumed personal revelations, the Congregation makes it clear that:

1. The interpretation by some people of a decision approved by Paul VI on October 14, 1966, and promulgated on November 15 of the same year, by virtue of which writings and messages coming from presumed revelations might be freely spread within the Church, is absolutely not valid. This decision actually referred to the "Abolition of the Index of Banned Books," and said that--once relative censures were lifted--the moral obligation in any case not to spread or read those writings which endangered faith and morals still remained.

2. A reminder, therefore, that for the diffusion of texts of presumed private revelations, the norm of the Code in force, Canon 823, para 1, which gives pastors the right "to demand that the writings of the faithful which touch faith or morals be submitted to their own judgment before publication," remains valid.

3. Presumed supernatural revelations and writings which regard them are in the first instance subject to the judgment of the diocesan bishop and, in particular cases, to that of the Episcopal conference and the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.

For more information see: Additional comments by Cardinal Ratzinger. This links to the homepage of Vassula Ryden and needs to be read with caution.

Addendum:

One of our readers, Maria Laura Pio, provided us with the following English translation of an internal communication dated 1/25/2007 from the CDF addressed "to all Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences" regarding Mrs. Ryden and her writings:

Your Eminence / Your Excellency,

Requests for clarification on the writings and activities of Mrs. Vassula Ryden continue to arrive at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in particular regarding the validity of the Notification of October 6, 1995 and the criteria that should be followed in defining the provision of local Churches regarding the advisability of spreading the writings of Mrs. Vassula Ryden.

At this regard, the Congregation wishes to specify as follows:

1) The Notification of 1995 remains valid concerning the doctrinal judgment on the writings examined (cf. attachment 1).

2) Following a the dialogue which has taken place with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Mrs. Vassula Ryden has however provided clarifications on certain problematical points which appear in her writings, and also on the nature of her messages, which do not present themselves as divine revelations but, rather as personal meditations (cf. attachment 2: Letter of April 4, 2002 published in True Life in God vol. 10). From the normative point of view, then, after the above mentioned clarifications, it is advisable to make a prudent evaluation, case by case, taking into account the concrete possibilities for the faithful in reading these writings within the framework of such clarifications.

3) Finally, it is reminded that the participation of Catholics in prayer groups organized by Mrs. Vassula Ryden is not advisable. In the cases of ecumenical encounters, the faithful should comply with the provisions given by the Ecumenical Directory, the Code of Canon Law (can. 215; 223 §2, 383 §3) and the diocesan Ordinaries.

In sending you this information, I am sincerely yours in devotion to the Lord.

Cardinal William LEVADA

Prefect

(two attachments)

To all the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences

In addition, Ms. Pio informs us that "Recently, the Mrs. Ryden's official website has published a copy of the internal communication in English" which may also be viewed on her website."


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