This past week a number of so-called visionaries have come to mind….I didn’t know if I should write about them or not and have been silent this past week trying to discern this matter. We have always had false prophets, and there seems to be an abundance of false prophets out there – we just need to weed them out and find out who is false and who is truly from God. I happened to come across some information last week that truly surprised me. Even though I was not interested in these visionaries, I did not know that they may be false.
On the one hand, I certainly don’t want to slander anyone, and on the other hand I don’t want innocent people following false visionaries.
I was actually going to write about one of them when I decided I better do some checking on that person first….what I found out was not very heartening. I decided not to write about that particular visionary. Another visionary came to mind, so I decided to check that person out, and same thing….very disturbing information was being circulated about that person as well.
A third visionary came to mind, so I checked out her credentials as well. Another shock. All three of these visionaries have enjoyed a huge following throughout the last 20 some years and longer. With the exception of one of them, I have read their books, prophecies, etc.
I have friends who are intimately involved with two of these visionaries and swear by them.
A person really has to sift through lots of information to determine who is speaking truth and who is speaking lies. It is very difficult. However, I know I mentioned this before and this comes to my mind now. “By their fruits you shall know them”.
From thinking about this all week I have come to the conclusion that we must look at the person’s behavior as well as the messages. A persons true character usually surfaces under stressful conditions. No one can pretend to be holy forever.
We simply are not smart enough to always root out the deception in the messages by themselves. The reason being is that often times 99 percent of what is being said is true and a mere 1 percent is false. So to find the 1 percent of untruth is like finding a needle in the haystack. If there is even a one percent of untruth in a message, they are false. Remember, satan knows scripture very well and so if we do not know or totally understand scripture we are going to be deceived. satan knows how to deceive us through scripture.
One case in point is Vassula Ryden of Greece. Her books are the “True Life In God” books. Like I said, I have a friend of mine who is closely associated with the “True Life in God” organization and works tirelessly to promote her books. When I was first given a book in 1998 I was very new to this sort of thing and took the book and read it. However after a few years I gradually became disinterested in her. I no longer had any desire whatsoever to read her messages. I assumed she was legit, but just had this vague sense of distrust in her because of her behavior. She always seemed to be yelling at others if they didn’t believe as she did or they weren’t doing enough to get her messages out there, etc. etc. So, I dismissed her. The final straw was when I read her book “Heaven is real but so is Hell”. This book was horrible, in my opinion. I threw it in the garbage. It was all about her and all of the gifts God had bestowed upon her. It was so prideful I could barely read it. Even though I assumed she was legit, my heart was telling me something else. she simply could not be from God.
Some of the information I found is listed below.
Latest update In 1995, the Catholic Church’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) published a Notification (a message from the Holy See) on the writings of Rydén, saying her communications should not be considered supernatural, and calling all Catholic bishops to prevent Rydén’s ideas from being spread in their dioceses.
In a letter dated January 25, 2007, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal William Levada, following continued requests for clarifications on the writings and activities of Rydén, wrote to the Catholic hierarchy around the world stating that “the Notification of 1995 remains valid as a doctrinal judgment” of the writings, which should be seen as her own personal meditations and that Catholics should not take part in prayer groups established by Rydén.
In 2011, the Greek Orthodox Church officially disapproved of Rydén’s teachings, instructing their faithful to disassociate from Rydén.
In 2012, the Church of Cyprus said that Rydén’s teachings were heretical.
Important update regarding Church position (March 2005): The TLIG association is claiming that the Church has recently modified it’s position regarding the writings of Mrs Ryden and suggesting that the Notification is no longer valid. This is not true. Please read our updated “Church Position” page, which includes the text of Card. Ratzinger’s July 2004 letter as well as our correspondence with the Conference of Swiss Bishops confirming that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has NOT modified it’s position regarding TLIG and that the 1995 Notification remains valid.
CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH
January 25, 2007
Prot. N.: 54/92 – 24945
Your Eminence / Your Excellency,
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith continues to receive requests for clarification in relation to the writings and activities of Mrs Vassula Rydén. These requests address in particular the import of the Notification of 6 October 1995, and the criteria to be considered by the local Church in judging whether the writings of Mrs Vassula Ryden may appropriately be disseminated.
In this regard, the Congregation wishes to state de following:
CIRCULAR LETTER TO THE PRESIDENTS
OF THE EPISCOPAL CONFERENCES
REGARDING THE WRITINGS AND ACTIVITIES
OF MRS VASSULA RYDÉN
From the Vatican, 25 January 2007
1) The Notification of 1995 remains valid as a doctrinal judgment of the writings examined (see Enclosure 1).
2) Mrs Vassula Rydén, however, after dialogue with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has offered clarifications on some problematic points in her writings and on the nature of her messages which are presented not as divine revelations, but rather as her personal meditations (see Enclosure 2: Letter of 4 April 2002, published in True Life in God, vol. 10). From a normative point of view therefore, following the aforementioned clarifications, a case by case prudential judgment is required in view of the real possibility of the faithful being able to read the writings in the light of the said clarifications.
3) Finally, it remains inappropriate for Catholics to take part in prayer groups established by Mrs Rydén. Concerning the question of ecumenical meetings, the faithful are to follow the norms of the Ecumenical Directory, of the Code of Canon Law (canons: 215; 223 §2 and 383 §3) and of Diocesan Ordinaries.
Thanking you for your attention and with sentiments of esteem, I am
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Cardinal William LEVADA
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.
Vassula Ryden: A Case Study in Discerning the Spirits
by Fr. Mitchell Pacwa
From the days of Moses and Miriam, Deborah and Samuel, to the prophets of the Book of Acts, the people of God have been presented with those who claim, “Thus says the Lord.” The Church has had its share of visionaries and seers who give what they claim are revelations from God and messages to his Church—some of these prophets have been recognized by the Church as genuine. Others ultimately have been dismissed as frauds. These visionaries and the messages often attract a following. The hierarchies of the churches are called to verify the authenticity of spiritual experiences, whenever that is possible. In many cases no stamp of approval can be given.
One of our modern visionaries is Vassula Ryden, who has spoken around the world in many churches with prophetic messages about church unity that she alleges are from Jesus Christ. Does she speak for “ecumenical orthodoxy”?
Touchstone Contributing Editor Fr. Mitch Pacwa was asked by Ryden to examine and critique her writings. (Her five-volume notebook is published as True Life in God by Vassula Ryden, Independence, Missouri: Trinitas, 1991.) The study of the five volumes—which are not typeset but retain the handwritten text—was a daunting task and required careful work and sifting. The following article, based on Pacwa’s lengthier critique published in Catholic Twin Circle (August 1, 8, and 15, 1993) is the result of the theological aspect of “discerning the spirits” and is presented as an instructive look at this process. It also serves as a reminder of and evidence for the ongoing and vital need for spiritual discernment. (Editor)
On January 18, 1942, Vassula Ryden was born to Greek parents in Egypt. She has lived in many countries because of her first husband’s job. She worked as a model, and later became tennis champion of Bangladesh. Presently living with her second (though some say third) husband in Switzerland, she claims that Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and angels literally write through her hand.
Vassula’s experiences began in November 1985, when she felt a “kind of supernatural vibration that was flowing through my hands . . . the pencil was too strong for me to control.” The writer identified himself as her guardian angel, Daniel, preparing her for conversion. In February 1986 “Jesus” began to write through her hand. Eventually, the “Blessed Virgin Mary” and “St. Michael” wrote through her, too. Since then, Vassula, who is Greek Orthodox, has travelled around the world talking to church groups about these messages.
Vassula had asked me to examine all five volumes of her published notebooks for problematic statements. She suggested that notes could be added to later editions to correct any confusing or imprecise statements about Christ. I read her books, wrote my notes, and in the fall of 1992 sent them to her spiritual advisor, Fr. Michael O’Carroll, C.S.Sp., for his response.
I then received a call from Fr. O’Carroll, who was then promoting a trip by Vassula. Father O’Carroll strongly suggested I not publish my findings. He said I showed “not one single sign of Christian charity” in my comments, that I ignored the “immensity of her conversion” with its prayer life and apostolate, and that I applied a piecemeal approach to Vassula’s writings in my analysis.
What I particularly did not like about Fr. O’Carroll’s subsequent letter was its spiritual threat (which also appears in Vassula’s writings): “Since your article and the distress, the real hurt, it inflicted on Vassula, God the Father has spoken to her. He is very severe on those who oppose her. This [book] will be published. If you go ahead with your article, and people apply this to you, they will not challenge Vassula’s right to defend herself and they may think much on the One who takes up her defence.” Fr. O’Carroll also informed me that I “am meant for higher and greater things than this.” I wrote this article to correct Vassula and to warn her followers of serious misstatements of theology, allegedly authored by Jesus. The truth of the gospel is my sole concern, and I trust that is the case with everyone involved. More here.
I think you will find this article interesting on how she markets her books and what she expects of all of her volunteers in marketing such books. read here.
The second visionary I checked out was Christina Gallagher. Another good friend of mine has been interested in her for some time, although she doesn’t really follow her. She asked me what I thought about her and so I did some checking. This is what I found:
House of Prayer (Christina Gallagher)-interesting articles on Christina, apparently she has a few mansions even though she says she has no property. Much to read here.
Statement Regarding the Work of Mrs. Christina Gallagher at the House of Prayer at Achill
Most Rev. Michael Neary
Archbishop of Tuam
Statement of Archbishop Neary, February 29th, 2008
The Tuam Diocesan Office has recently received a considerable number of media enquiries regarding this matter. In 1996 I established a diocesan commission of enquiry to investigate certain claims regarding and emanating from this work. In 1997, acting on foot of a report from the commission, I issued a lengthy public statement to the effect, in essence, that no evidence of supernatural phenomena had been observed but that the persons involved gave every evidence of good faith. Arising from that, I proposed a basic canonical structure that would gradually integrate the work of the House into the life of Achill Parish and the Archdiocese. While this was then attempted by the Archdiocese, I became increasingly perturbed by an apparent absence of enthusiasm on the parts of Mrs Gallagher and her associates. The relationship deteriorated to the extent that Mrs. Gallagher, in July, 1998, closed the ‘House of Prayer’ at Achill, expressing to the media at the time a sense of having been harshly treated by the Archdiocese. In order to clarify the issue for the faithful I issued another statement, regretting the development and expressing grave misgivings as to the wisdom with which Mrs Gallagher had been advised and had acted in the matter.
Diocesan efforts to integrate this work ended in July, 1998 when it was closed by Mrs. Gallagher. Celebration of the sacraments and reservation of the Blessed Sacrament at the ‘House of Prayer’ are not permitted. Any work carried on since then has been entirely of a private nature and has no Church approval whatever. Neither, for reasons given above, does such work enjoy the confidence of the Diocesan authorities. Nothing has been brought to my attention to indicate that I should change from this position in the future. Over the years since then, the Tuam Diocesan Office has clearly and consistently replied to enquiries in respect of this work, which Mrs. Gallagher recommenced.
I respect the faith and devotion of many people who have been impressed by this work in the past, some of whom have expressed their sadness at my stance. Finally, I wish toremind all Church members that they should not hesitate to enquire, as a matter of course, at local diocesan offices regarding the standing of any work describing itself as Catholic, should they be in doubt.
In summary the ‘House of Prayer’ has no Church approval and the work does not enjoy the confidence of the diocesan authorities.
Copies of my public statements are available on www.tuamarchdiocese.org/news.
+ Michael Neary
Archbishop of Tuam
29th of February, 2008
Provided Courtesy of:
Eternal Word Television Network
5817 Old Leeds Road
Irondale, AL 35210
Maria Divine Mercy messages have been found to be a fraud
And, I was also checking out Anne marie from Texas who says she is receiving messages. She operates under the green scapular.org site.
The green scapular is approved by the church….however, her messages have not been approved by the church. What is disconcerting for me is that if she is not a true visionary, she is doing great harm by operating under an approved sacramental.
When I went to her website I found two disturbing factors: One, she said that she visited conyers, Ga where a woman was claiming to receive messages from the Blessed Mother. She stated that it was at this place where she started receiving messages. The so-called visionary from Conyers, Ga has been condemned by the church. Second, she had a notice on her website that Jesus told her Maria Divine Mercy was authentic and she should follow her. Maria Divine Mercy has been found out to be a total fraud and her website is now off the web. So, how can Anne Marie be authentic????
The Lord will always bring the truth into the light. Sometimes it takes awhile, but eventually we will be shown the truth. One of the reasons the Church asks us to be obedient is because they are the ones who must discern the validity of these so-called visionaries to protect us from frauds. When they say they are condemned, we must be obedient so we are not led astray. However, there have been cases where visionaries have been condemned and then later on they have been approved, such as St. Faustina’s writings. So, I guess, we just need to be obedient no matter what. God’s will shall be done in the end. He is in charge.