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Cardinal Ratzinger: Maria Valtorta’s Written Works are ‘Fiction’

David Martin | The Daily Knight

Is it conceivable that an alleged mystic who calls herself “The Fifth Apostle” and who says she was commissioned by God to correct and compensate for deficiencies in the Gospel could be authentic?

Such was the claim of Italian writer Maria Valtorta (1897-1961) whose works have been dismissed as fiction by legitimate Church authority. Her book The Poem of the Man-God has been hailed by some as a “flawless” expansion of the Gospels that has improved its readers’ souls, but in 1959 it was placed on the Vatican’s Index of Forbidden Books.

Originally composed as 10,000 handwritten pages from the years 1943 to 1947, the Poem supposedly is a 4,000-page Life of Christ in which scenes describing visions are interspersed with direct commentary by Jesus and Mary. While Valtorta could remember what she saw in her visions, she could not remember the dictation she recorded. This dictation without being conscious of what is said is known as automatic writing, which the Church holds to be diabolical. This is similar to what we find in the “speaking in tongues” of the Charismatic Movement.

Progressive Mental Illness

After 1949, Valtorta gradually ceased from writing as mental aberrations would increase for the next 11 years. By the time of her death in 1961, she had reached what Fr. Benedict Groeschel C.F.R. has described as “a state similar to catatonic schizophrenia.”

Prior to 1949, Valtorta’s texts were typed and arranged in Gospel chronology by a Fr. Migliorini and his fellow Servite Fr. Corrado Berti, who both began circulating selected excerpts privately. The two priests approached their contacts in the Vatican with the typed manuscript and in February 1948 the future Cardinal Augustin Bea, S.J. facilitated a private audience for them and their Prior, Father Andrea Checchin, with Pope Pius XII. The pope’s polite murmurs about the Poem reportedly included the phrase “publish this work as it is,” though this has never been verified. A man as meticulous as Pius XII would surely have made his words perfectly clear in writing and not left to be misconstrued or abused later by ambitious parties.

In 1949, the Holy Office under the direction of Pope Pius XII summoned Fr. Berti and ordered him not to publish the work. It should be noted that Cardinal Bea who was influential in securing the “approbation” of Maria Valtorta’s book was an enemy of the Church who was chiefly responsible for inviting members of the Kremlin and the heads of other religions to Vatican II. He and those working with him claimed that Pius XII read and approved the Poem, but with Bea in the mix why should anyone believe this?

Given Pius XII’s crushing burdens in leading the postwar Church and the many crises he had to face with the Iron Curtain thundering down, how much time could he have devoted to reading and evaluating thousands of pages of manuscript? Fathers Migliorini and Berti and others immediately interpreted the alleged words of Pius XII to be a "Supreme Pontifical Imprimatur" or approbation of the book, but the truth is that Pope Pius never issued anything in writing about the book.

Poem Blacklisted

Because of its manifold errors and its inconsistencies with the Gospel the Poem was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books on December 16, 1959, at which time Cardinal Ottaviani declared the book: "A Life of Jesus Badly Novelized."

The Index of Forbidden Books was abolished in 1966, but this did not change the Church’s judgment on previously blacklisted books. Ottaviani's successor Cardinal Ratzinger declared in 1985 that the abolition in no way sanitizes previously banned works, including the Poem. “The Index retains its moral force despite its dissolution."

In 1994 Ratzinger’s office (CDF) issued another statement through the apostolic nuncio in Canada reiterating its judgment that Valtorta’s works are simply fiction: “These writings cannot be recognized as being of supernatural origin.”

Tied to Medjugorje

This is not to mention that the Poem of the Man-God is backed and promoted by the followers and "seers" of the condemned Medjugorje visions. The September 14, 2021, issue of The Catholic World Report has this to say.

“Almost from their beginning in 1981, the Medjugorje apparitions became entangled in the Valtorta controversy because pilgrimages to the Bosnia site were major vectors for disseminating the Poem. Two of the seers, Maria Pavlovic and Vicka Ivankovic (who is writing her own “inspired” Life of Mary), were queried on Our Lady’s views of the work and reported a positive response. “Our Lady says that The Poem of the Man-God is the truth” according to Vicka. Several other [false] seers /locutionists/prophets of the time concurred.”

Poem Claims to Compensate for Gospel Deficiencies

The Poem’s fundamental flaw is its claim to compensate for the inadequacies in the Gospels. Jesus supposedly explained to Valtorta that the New Testament needs to be supplemented (I: p. 432) because of the evangelists’ “unbreakable Jewish frame of mind” and their "flowery and pompous" Hebrew style kept them from writing everything that God wished (V: p. 947). This reflects the typical lingo of mockers who refer to the Gospels as "pretty language" or "little stories written by men." Even the title Poem of the Man-God alludes to the idea that the Gospels are mere poems or fiction.

Hence, Valtorta is saying that the Gospels were not written under inspiration, i.e., they’re not the infallible word of God, but are the mere works of men whose defects blocked God from adequately communicating His message through them. According to Valtorta, Christ left us with a defective Gospel for nineteen centuries and nineteen centuries later he found a worthy secretary in Valtorta, his “Little John” who calls herself "The Fifth Apostle," to correct and expand upon what St. John and the other Apostles wrote.

This is not to imply that there isn’t a need for prophets to sometimes communicate with man. Christ indeed has sent us seers and mystics through the centuries to edify and enlighten the flock, but never once has a saint or mystic claimed to supply for detrimental omissions in the Bible. The messages they brought were in the category of private revelation to simply provide men of a certain period, because of the circumstances of that period, a course for human action. The prophetic messages of Fatima and La Sallete fall into this category.

“These writings cannot be recognized as being of supernatural origin” Cardinal Ratzinger

As for the Gospels being written in a “flowery” Hebrew style, Hebrew is no “flowery” language as neither was the common koine Greek, in which the four Gospels were penned. Nor was the evangelist St. Luke Hebrew, but Greek, yet Valtorta says the evangelists displayed a “flowery and pompous” Hebrew style. She should have looked to her own ‘florid pomp’ while she had the chance but instead, she denounced future critics of the Poem who would dare to search for mistakes “in this work of divine bounty.” (V: pp. 751-52)

Examples of Errors

Unfortunately, there are loads of mistakes. According to Valtorta, Our Lord was a ranting, hypersensitive Mama’s boy whose stripped body “looks like a delicate lady.” (V: p. 564) His last word on the Cross supposedly was, “Mother.” (V: p. 620) Christ’s last words before expiring in fact were, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” (Luke 23:46)

Valtorta’s reading of John 2:4 changes and adds “still” to Christ’s words after His Mother expressed concern at Cana that they had no wine, thereby making it a comment about their relationship. “Woman, what is there still between me and you?” (I: pp. 283-84) This is an apparent attempt to separate Christ from Mary. The correct wording from the Greek text is: “Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come.” (John 2:4)

in the Poem Mary dies in Jerusalem, not in Ephesus as the approved mystics Mary of Agreda and Anne Catherine Emmerich relate. Nor are the personal stories of the Apostles in line with tradition. According to Valtorta, Peter is a short, middle-aged buffoon, a “Canaanite,” and Judas gets far more coverage than all the other Apostles put together.

Christ Had Evil Within Himself?

As we know, Christ and His Mother were not subject to the results of original sin. Neither had temptations of impurity or vice arising from their own humanity, yet Valtorta paints up Christ as a man just like any other who had to struggle with uncleanness. Below Valtorta has Our Lord speaking about his supposed temptations of impurity.

“Satan was anxious above all to drag me into impurity.... Satan's attempt aimed at this capital point in order to conquer Me” (p. 285).

In this same illusive episode, Judas says to Christ: “Jesus, have you ever sinned?”

“I never wanted to sin. … I am 30 years old, Judas, and I have not lived in a cave or on some mountain, but among men. And even if I had lived in the loneliest place in the world, do you think temptations would not have come to Me there?... We all have within us good and evil. We all carry everything within us.”

Note here that Christ is presented as mere man, who has within himself the seed of evil springing from Original Sin.

Judas asks:

“Have you ever yielded?” “No, never.” “How did you manage?” “I said, ‘Father, lead Me not into temptation.’” “What? You, the Messiah Who works miracles, and You ask for help from Your Father?" “Not only for help: I ask Him not to lead Me into temptation."

Note Valtorta’s distortion of the Gospel. In none of the four Gospels do we read about additional temptations other than those experienced by Christ in the desert. These were not temptations of his own but attempts of the devil to try to tempt him. Christ was moved by none of it and he floored the devil with his impeccable responses, especially the last one: “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (Luke 4: 12)

Note also the insidious attempt to make the Lord’s Prayer petition applicable to Christ. Valtorta subtly recalls the words of the Our Father taught to us by Christ, “Lead us not into temptation,” as if the “us” included Christ. The petition to not be led into temptation refers to us, not to Christ. It is we and not Christ who must implore the Father for this grace. Christ needs no grace or deliverance. He is God, the Maker of all things who delivers sinners (John 1:3).

Poem Assists Modernists

The Poem indeed flirts with heresy and exhibits bad taste and assists post-conciliar modernists by including their humanistic doctrines, theories and heresies and it favors Judaism AD, employing many of the same terms used by Vatican II to incline Catholics to “love Israel.” Valtorta gives us a course on Judaism as found in the New Catechism.

Needless to say, the Church judged correctly in 1959 by blacklisting the Poem of the Man-God. In the name of Paul VI, the Church’s enemies later did away with the Index of Forbidden Books to make it easier for heretics to infiltrate the Church with their writings, so this is all the more reason to hold to the Church’s previous prohibition of forbidden books.



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