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Testimonies of Clergy from All Branches of Christianity...
Archimandrite Eugene Nicolau
I will not belabor the point that these writings are scripturally intact and correct. Nor will I dwell on the fact that those who approach these messages with skepticism will remain skeptics. Nor will I try to explain why God has chosen Vassula to convey to us His word, once more. No "new" Good News are being announced, yet, God's children hear the voice of their Father and know that it is He who speaks. He speaks to remind us of His eternal truths and to explain those things of His Word that have been ignored or miscalculated. The effects of His message and the impact of His words to His children are extraordinary. They are transforming. They are rejuvenating. This is what I want to talk about -albeit briefly- in this note.
I want to let everyone who reads this to know of a remarkable event. It is my experience that those that read and follow the messages of True Life In God behave as if they have been reborn into Christ! They have put on Christ as if to be enveloped by Him. They embrace their faith with a fire that is akin to that of the early neophyte Christians! They are even more attracted to their Church and follow Church Traditions and Sacramental Life with a rare devotion! From what I have observed, they live a life that is a true life in God!
What else could I as a pastor want from my flock of God? If these messages make them better Christians; if as a result of their reading of True Life In God they flock back into the Church and its Sacraments; if they not only understand their faith better, but are totally focused on living a Christ-like life; if they overflow with love for God and their neighbor; if they embrace an intimacy with God that resembles those of the Saints; if they submit their will to God and become examples for others; if the True Life In God messages cause such transformations, what more could I ask of my spiritual flock and congregation?
This transformation I have witnessed is without a doubt a "good fruit" of the Holy Spirit and hence the messages themselves must come from God (Matt. 7:20). I therefore will continue to study and draw from the Spirituality I have found in True Life In God.
Archimandrite Eugene Pappas, Greek Orthodox Church, New York, USA February 20, 2001
Cardinal Napier ofm
Our conversation made it clear that her calling to be a mouth-piece whom Jesus Christ is using took place in extraordinary circumstances. But what is even more challenging is her relationship with the Catholic Church.
In 1995 the Holy See made it known that it had serious doubts about the authenticity of the revelations published by Vassula. In 2004 in response to a request by Vassula the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made a thorough investigation. Cardinal Ratzinger then Prefect of the Congregation stated in a letter that Vassula had answered satisfactorily the questions put to her. However the matter was confused anew by Cardinal Levada's 2007 statement which reaffirms the 1995 notification but totally ignores the 2004 statement.
It was therefore with keen interest that I awaited the opportunity to engage her in conversation. What struck me from the start and what remains a lasting impression is her total openness - especially when asked to explain what happened to her or why it should have happened to her at all. She is just as puzzled why she should have been chosen since she had completely lapsed from the practice of her Greek orthodox faith.
Another matter of interest is her relationship with the Holy See. She enjoys cordial relations with many of the top officials at the Vatican who are anything but negative towards her.
It is therefore reasonable to state categorically that as far as the Church is concerned Vassula poses no threat to the Catholic Faith whatsoever. Indeed the messages which are communicated through her are consistent with the Church's own call to repentance and a return to the basics of the faith - in particular the basic prayers such as the Rosary and other devotions once so common in Catholic family and parish spiritual life.
The message of the Cardinal was printed in the Catholic News Bulletin of the Archdiocese of Durban, June 2009, No.464. It is also available on the diocese website.
Archbishop Frane Franic
This critic of Vassula, about whom I read in the review I have mentioned, was Mrs. Darija Klanac, nee Skunca. I had the honor to meet her on her way as a pilgrimage leader from Canada to Medjugorje . She visited me in Split, in St. Peter's Co-Cathedral, where I have lived since 1983. I spoke in French to the pilgrims about the Medjugorje messages of peace. Mrs. Klanac also talked with great zeal about Our Lady. I was very happy that Mrs. Klanac, one of our Croatians married in Canada, had such a high reputation among the Catholics of that country. Later on, when she had difficulties with the review I have mentioned because they supported Vassula, I noticed with what respect they wrote of her personality, that is, the experts working for them. This pleased me.
But I am on Vassula's side, especially since I was given three books of her messages in Italian, entitled Peace and Love. A group of Italian pilgrims on their way to Medjugorje stopped in Split and visited St. Peter's. They invited me to Italy. So, on September 23,1992, I celebrated Holy Mass in a large church in Como. The church was full and there I met Vassula. Before Mass she gave a testimony about her mystical experiences and messages, which, with the greatest conviction, she attributed to Jesus. I gave the homily on the Gospel of the day. I spoke about private revelations, and the importance they have for the Church and today's world. I added some words of support for Vassula, leaving the final judgment to the Church. I always use this precaution when I talk publicly about the Medjugorje messages.
On the other hand, when I talk privately I express my constant conviction of the authenticity of the Medjugorje apparitions and messages; I rely on the Gospel test which says that a good tree may be recognized by good fruits. This is especially true of religious conversions, miracles in the moral order, and, most frequently, experiences in Medjugorje. This happens also through Vassula, who herself is a miracle, an object of wonder. True, she does not cause wonders in the physical sense, for she makes no claim to a charism of healing.
I was given a copy of the fourth book of Vassula's messages by the translator personally. I was delighted to note that the preface was by Fr. Rene Laurentin, whom I value highly; I have met him many times in Split on his way to and from Medjugorje.
As I read Vassula's books, my first impressions of her were very much confirmed. Her messages, actually for me Jesus' messages, are alive and authentic. These messages can help us toward a better understanding of Jesus' messages in the Gospel, and also help us experience them in a personal way. These must always remain the authentic criteria in judging private messages, in recognizing healthy mystical experience. There always have been, always will be, mystical experiences in the Church. These we must not minimize, but we must leave the final judgment to the church.
When I met Vassula in Como, on 23rd September, 1992, I had the feeling that she was under attack by many critics; they wrote disparagingly about her. This is understandable as through Vassula, Jesus is passing judgment on extremist theologians of our time, who distance themselves from divine revelations by too great proximity to the world. This, Pope Paul VI found out, a short time before he died; he began to speak of the "devil's smoke" which had entered the Church and clouded fundamental truths of God's revelation.
It seems to me the more I understand these things, that Vassula's main charism is to show the PURITY OF THE INTEGRAL REVELATION OF GOD. Nothing must be taken from, nothing added to the Revelation; there must be no yielding to the world and to the permissive civilization of our time, which penetrates even into the Church, causing disorder in her saving mission.
Ecumenism will, through its Calvary, have its resurrection. It seems that this is the core of all the messages that Jesus is giving us through Vassula Rydén, Greek Orthodox, living now in Switzerland.
Frane Franic, Retired Archbishop of Split
Immediately after the Notification in 1995, the Archbishop wrote the following in a letter to Patrick Beneston:
"Before God I declare that Mme Vassula has not deserved condemnation for her books but praise, because of the integrity of the faith contained in her books, especially as to the complete primacy of the Roman Pontiff, about the Blessed Virgin Mary, the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the sacred Hearts of Christ and of the Immaculate Blessed Virgin Mary; I have not been able to find any false doctrine in what are now seven volumes of the series entitled True Life in God, which I have read carefully. I am embarrassed to read that such a worthy person has been condemned by the Holy See, and that without being given an opportunity to defend herself. For this reason I humbly beg the Holy See, if the condemnation in question is authentic, that it be withdrawn, or be declared inauthentic as soon as possible so that the confusion arising among the faithful be averted"
Since the writing of this letter, Cardinal Ratzinger has made it clear that Vassula has not been condemned in any way. For more information, please see Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Cardinal Ratzinger in the Background Information section
Reverend Sverker Trônet
Perhaps I could say that I recognized the voice, I was very moved and had tears in my eyes. Since then I have read the messages and I have never come across anything that sounded strange or foreign to what I have learned from the Bible and the tradition of the Church. What has meant most to me is of course the intimacy of the messages. The important position of Mary. The centrality of the unity of the Church around the Pope and also the admonitions to be one with John Paul II. As you may have understood, I think I have seen instances of that apostasy, which Jesus has spoken of in the messages. What is not unimportant to me is also the fact of Vassula not being formally a Roman Catholic, but living a Catholic life and having the catholic faith. That is my situation also and with me many in the Church of Sweden.
This talk was given to the international gathering of True Life in God in Jerusalem, May 1998