Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
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 of Monday/Tuesday, October 23/24, 1995, page 2, regarding the writings 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 has ready stated, the faithful must not take the messages of Vassula Ryden as divine revelations, but only as her personal meditations;With regard to the spreading of texts of presumed personal revelations, the Congregation makes it clear that:
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.
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.