Fr Prospero Grech, Consultor of the Congregation writes a letter to Vassula
Collegio Sta Monica
Via Paolo VI, 25
4th April 2002
Dear Mrs Ryden,
On the 6th of July 2000 you addressed a letter to His Eminence Cardinal Ratzinger regarding the "Notificazione" of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concerning your writings. His Eminence has taken note of your letter and, together with his collaborators, has decided to give you the opportunity to clarify the meaning of some assertions contained in your publications. For this purpose I have been delegated to contact you personally both in conversation and in writing so that the Congregation may have a clearer idea of the exact interpretation of these assertions. I wish to make clear from the very outset that not being a Roman Catholic you do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Congregation and that yours is not a personal censure. However, as many Catholics follow the "True Life in God" they too have a right to know where they stand regarding points of doctrine and practice prompted by your writings. We are also aware of your works of charity, your efforts to lead all Christians towards unity with the Bishop of Rome, of your great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, of your presentation of God as the God of Love even to non-Christians and of your antagonism to rationalism and corruption among Christians. Your latest books, too, seem to have laid aside some ambiguous expressions contained in your earlier ones. This notwithstanding I would be grateful if you can reply, as clearly as possible, to some questions to help the Congregation to obtain a clearer idea of what you are doing.
1. You know very well that, for both Catholics and Orthodox, there is only one Revelation, that of God in Jesus Christ, which is contained in the Holy Scriptures and in Tradition. Within the Catholic Church even accepted "private" revelations as in Lourdes or Fatima, although taken seriously, are not matters of faith. In which sense, therefore, do you consider your writings as revelations and how should they be accepted by your hearers and readers? (Read the answer)
2. You belong to the Orthodox Church and often exhort priests and bishops of that faith to acknowledge the Pope and to make peace with the Roman Church For this, unfortunately, you are not welcome in some countries of your own persuasion. Why do you take up this mission? What is your idea of the Bishop of Rome and how do you foresee the future of Christian unity? One sometimes gets the impression in reading your works, however, that you stand above both Churches without being committed to either For example, it seems that you receive communion in both Catholic and Orthodox churches but in your marital status you follow the custom of oikonomia. As I have said already, these observations are not meant as a personal censure as we have absolutely no right to adjudicate your conscience, but you understand our concern about your Catholic followers who may interpret these attitudes in a relativistic manner and are tempted to disregard the discipline of their own Church. (Read the answer)
3. In your earlier writings, as observed in the "Notificazione", there was some confusion of terminology regarding the Persons of the Holy Trinity. We are sure that you subscribe to the teaching of your Church. Do you think you could help us to clarify these expressions? When dealing with matters of faith would it not be useful to follow the official terminology of standard catechisms to avoid confusion in the minds of the readers of "True Life in God"? (Read the answer)
4. There are also some difficulties regarding protology and eschatology. In what sense does the soul have a "vision of God" before being infused into the body? And how do you envision the place of the New Pentecost within the history of salvation in relation to the parousia and the resurrection of the dead? (Read the answer)
5. What is the real identity of the "True Life in God" movement and what does it require of its followers? How is it structured? (Read the answer)
Dear Mrs Ryden, we are sorry to disturb you with these questions and you may rest assured that we appreciate your good works and intentions. However, in answer to your letter to Cardinal Ratzinger, we felt it was our duty to clarify some ambiguities in your writings which might have escaped you. We owe this to your Catholic readers who might experience a conflict of conscience in following your writings. Please take your time to answer; it would be better if you and I could meet and have a few informal chats before you put anything in writing. Pray that the Holy Spirit may illuminate you, and consult any spiritual director or theologian you can trust. We are certain that our queries will also help you to understand the deeper implications of your writings to render them more acceptable to both Catholics and Orthodox. I shall personally be at your disposal to clarify their meaning.
His Eminence sends you his regards and trusts that you will provide a satisfactory answer to ease his task of complying with the requests in your letter.
Yours sincerely in Christ,
Fr Prospero Grech, OSA