In my humble and pious opinion as a faithful Roman Catholic theologian, the claim that the messages of Vassula Ryden of True Life in God (www.tlig.org) are private revelation is a false claim. A list of reasons and examples follows.
Background: Vassula is Greek Orthodox, not Roman Catholic. Her claimed messages begin in 1986 and number in the hundreds. Her messages do not usually capitalize the first letter of a sentence.
1. She claims to have married Jesus, with rings given supernaturally
From the message dated March 23, 1987:
“remember I am One, the Holy Trinity is One. I want that our union be perfect. discern Me carefully. yes, you have seen well, I have with Me two rings.”
“they are out of pure white gold.”
“Yes, I am blessing our union! beloved this act is a spiritual heavenly act, your soul is united to Me, I tell you truly, believe Me, I will sanctify our marriage allow Me to place this ring on your finger, I love you, feel Me, I love you and I bless you....”
“Vassula I have risen you from the dead, I shed My Light on you, I looked after you, and soothed you, leave Me free to continue My works on you daughter, be like soft plaster willing to be shaped up as I wish. leave yourself free in My hands and do not resist Me;”
“My bride, My wretched bride why are you fearing Me? grieve Me not and approach Me, I love you, lean on Me and remember, I it is who sanctified our marriage, do not worry, it is I Jesus, leave your fears and approach Me, I felt your hand do not be; be intimate with Me, just like you are, come, give Me your hand and I will keep it in Mine.”
This claim to have married Jesus, with a supernatural ring given to her, is bizarre. Nothing like this is found in the lives of any of the Saints, even though many of these were religious sisters, even though many of these received true private revelation. Therefore, this is not the way that Christ Jesus treats his female disciples. Furthermore, Christ does not play favorites with his disciples; having a so-called 'sanctified' marriage with one woman exalts her above the other female disciples of Christ. The Virgin Mary has a special role in Christ's plan of salvation, because she is the Mother of God. On the other hand, Vassula claims to have married Christ, or, as it seems in the beginning of this message, to have married the One God who is the holy Trinity. Such a claim is contrary to the roles given to women, even holy women, in the Church and in God's plan for salvation.
False private revelation often exalts the person claiming to receive the messages, but this is an extreme example. And there are further messages which exalt Vassula and speak in an extreme manner about her relationship with the author of these messages.
February 17, 1987: “Vassula why, why were you avoiding calling Me Father? Vassula I love being called Father. I am Father of all humanity.”
May 5, 1987: “daughter, I love to hear you surrendering let Me be your Captor.”
March 22, 1987: “I will make of you My altar, upon which I will place My burning desires of My Heart, My Flame will live within you; be drawing from My Heart and fill your heart. I, the Lord, will keep My Flame ablaze for ever and ever.”
December 23, 1993: “My Holy Spirit, like a Bridegroom, appears in your days, to court you, seduce you and wed you....”
Although she claims to be married to Jesus, she refers to him as 'Father' and he supposedly calls her 'daughter.' The messages also call the Spirit the Bridegroom, whereas Christ is considered the Bridegroom of his Spouse the Church. But these messages replace the Church with Vassula as Christ's Bride.
The use of the term 'Captor' to refer to Christ's relationship with anyone is contrary to all that the Church teaches. God gave us freewill to such an extent that we can even choose serious sin and choose, in effect, Hellfire. Christ is the Captor of no one. He gives grace freely and he does not control anyone, even those closest to Him.
The claim that she is Christ's altar exalts her above the Virgin Mary and above the rest of humanity. Such self-exalting claims are characteristic of false private revelation.
2. False theology about Hell
The message of March 7, 1987, claims that Vassula and Jesus visited Hell together, and that they saw Satan torturing the souls in Hell by throwing lava on their faces. The souls in Hell were tied up. Then Jesus supposedly prevented Satan from throwing more lava on their faces. Then Vassula and Jesus left Hell.
This description of Hell is contrary to the teachings of the Church about Hell. First, the souls in Hell do not presently have bodies, for the general Resurrection (of the just and the unjust) has not yet occurred. So the souls in Hell cannot be tied up, nor do they have physical faces on which to throw lava. Second, neither do fallen angels have bodies, for they are spiritual beings only. And so the devil cannot pick up lava and throw it on the faces of the souls in Hell. Thirdly, Hell is not the domain of Satan; he does not rule there, and he has no power there. The Church teaches that Hell is a place created by the Justice of God. Satan does not torture people in Hell; they suffer in Hell due to their own sins. This message of Vassula again clearly shows that her messages are not from God.
False and distorted theology is characteristic of false claims of private revelation.
3. False claims about the Antichrist
A set of false claims about the Antichrist is perhaps the most common characteristic of false private revelation. As is typical of false messages, these also claim that the Antichrist is in the world today.
Vassula first writes in her own words, in a footnote to the December 23, 1993 message:
“As I said before, Jesus says to us that today already these signs are here: many antichrists, nevertheless, this prophecy of the Perpetual Sacrifice abolished, will come concretely: when the Apostasy and rebellion will be generalized, then the Antichrist, who is already among us will appear openly.”
Jesus then, supposedly, chimes in to agree with what she wrote: “Yes Vassula! (Jesus answered Vassula, approving what she had explained in writing).”
On the contrary, the Antichrist is not in the world today, and he will not arrive for hundreds of years. This conclusion is clear from the Book of Daniel, where, in Daniel's 70 weeks of years, the last week of years is the Antichrist's reign. The 70 weeks of years began in 1948 with the declaration of the State of Israel. So the last week of years is still hundreds of years away.
Furthermore, the claim that the Mass and Eucharist will be abolished is exaggerated and distorted, and thereby falsified. It is true that the Church will be severely persecuted during the Antichrist's reign, and that, as Daniel 9:27 says, halfway through his reign of a week of years, he will try to abolish the holy Mass and the holy Eucharist. However, it is not true that the Antichrist will succeed in abolishing the Mass and the Eucharist. Also, Vassula's messages claims that the abolishment of the Mass and the Eucharist precede the Antichrist's reign. This claim contradicts Scripture. But false private revelation often gets the order of future events mixed up.
The message of March 31, 1995 claims: “I will call and you will be available; the rest of My Messages now will be given to you promptly before the day of the Antichrist's appearance ....”
Over ten years later, and no such appearance has occurred by the Antichrist. The reason for such false statements in these messages is that the devil does not know when the Antichrist will appear, nor does he understand the future as predicted in the Sacred Scriptures.
The above message of March 31, 1995 continues:
Vassula: “How are we to continue when he appears?”
The message: “for just over three days and three nights you shall not be able to continue as you want; but this silence will be broken by My Own Hand upon opening the sixth seal; rejoice, for I shall be with you soon! My Voice will be heard and My enemies will tremble and beat their breasts....”
And a footnote reads: “But this silence will be broken by My Own Hand upon opening the sixth seal.” This will be the end of those three and a half years of the Antichrist's power.”
Again the claim is made that the Antichrist's appearance is imminent, during Vassula's own lifetime. And the order of events is again confused. The Sixth Seal of the Book of Revelation precedes the Antichrist's reign by hundreds of years. Yet this message places the end of the Antichrist's reign at the opening of the Sixth Seal. Also, the Antichrist's reign is one week of years, as Daniel writes, not one half a week of years. Furthermore, in the Letter to the Thessalonians (2 Thess 2:8), Saint Paul states that the lawless one (the Antichrist) is destroyed by the Return of Christ. Yet in these messages, the Antichrist is destroyed at the Sixth Seal, even though the Book of Revelation describes the Seventh Seal as divided into Seven Trumpets, the first six of which occur prior to the Return of Christ.
I will spare you the exact quote, but the message of June 27, 1991 claims that the Antichrist is merely a spirit of rebellion against God. And the abomination of desolation is claimed to be that spirit of rebellion in the 'Temple' of each one of us. On the contrary, Catholic eschatology understands that the Antichrist will be an individual human person, and that the abomination is a false Eucharist set up in actual places of worship, such as churches and temples.
The same message then goes on to claim that “anyone who denies Me is the Antichrist.” So, in some passages of these messages, the Antichrist is not a person but an attitude of rebellion, then in other passages anyone denying God is the Antichrist (not an antichrist), and in still other messages the Antichrist is described as if he were a particular individual.
4. Further false and distorted claims about future events
The descriptions of future events in these messages tend to be long, rambling, and ultimately uninformative. Many dire predictions are made, but in a vague and confused manner. It soon becomes clear, when reading through these messages, that the author of these messages has no idea at all what will happen when. Some events predicted by the Bible in the Book of Revelation are mentioned, but their interpretation is contrary to any interpretation given in the history of the Church and the order of events is mixed up.
April 22, 1990: “I ask you then My beloved ones to pray daily for My Second Coming which is the second Pentecost, pray for the conversion of souls that they may convert before My Coming....”
This message confuses the Second Coming of Christ with the Second Pentecost. It also implies, as is asserted more clearly in other messages, that the Return of Christ and the Second Pentecost are imminent, within Vassula's lifetime, which is not the case.
The message of March 3, 1992 claims that the two prophets of Revelation 11 are the hearts of Jesus and Mary. This claim is contrary to well-established Catholic thinking about the future, which hold that the two prophets are actual individuals. Scripture clearly describes these two prophets as individual person, two men, not Jesus nor Mary, who are killed by the Antichrist, and are raised from the dead by God and brought up to heaven by God.
The message of June 3, 1993 claims that the Seventh Seal is opened after the two prophets finish witnessing. This contradicts the other messages that claim that the Antichrist's reign is ended by the opening of the Sixth Seal. How could the Antichrist be around to persecute the two prophets, if he is destroyed at the start of the Sixth Seal and their prophesying continues until the Seventh Seal? And Scripture itself places the prophesying of the two prophets after the first Six Trumpets of the Seventh Seal, not before the Seventh Seal is opened.
The message of June 3, 1993 then further claims that God will make a new heaven and a new earth soon after the Seventh Seal is opened. Yet other messages claim that a new Pentecost will occur when Christ returns (message of March 13, 1988). To the contrary, Scripture states that the opening of the Seventh Seal is followed by a long series of events, followed by the Antichrist's reign and the preaching of the two prophets. And that Christ does not return until the end of the Antichrist's reign.
Furthermore, as Fr. Gobbi explains so well, the Second Coming of Christ is followed by the Second Pentecost, but the general Resurrection and the new heaven and new earth occur over a thousand years after the Second Pentecost. Truly, the order of events and description of events in Vassula's messages are distorted, disordered, and false.
5. Many messages sound like Satan boasting of the harm that he will do
This boasting of evil is a common characteristic of false private revelations. Such false messages and apparitions are typically the result of a deception by the devil, not usually the result of lying on the part of the visionary, and not usually the result of mental illness. Examples follow.
February 12, 1996: “today still My land is being divided, riven, and in My House and My household there is selling and buying; to the prophets I am sending them, they say: 'do not prophesy'; that time I was telling you previously has come, when Cardinal will go against Cardinal, bishop against bishop; priest against priest; the Divider's power has infiltrated like smoke into My House to besiege My land; his destruction work is strong and his favourite targets are My consecrated souls; he turns their thoughts to follow the passions of their hearts; the Rebel, wherever he passes leaves his curse behind .... he has sworn to lift you one against another; he has sworn, in his fury, to sift you all, especially My consecrated ones and plunder them; he has sworn to use you all as his toy; I tell you: anyone whose heart is not upright will succumb, but the upright will live through faithfulness....”
July 16, 1991: “daughter, I, the Most High, had foreseen the betrayal of My Church and the inflictions My Body would receive; today, the sun does not give you daylight nor does the moon shine on you; Satan has covered the entire earth with his smoke; you have apostatised .... you have made out of My Perpetual Sacrifice a mockery, a worthless imitation, a disastrous abomination; you are concealing the Truth with a Lie; you are guilty for blasphemy .... My Holy Presence in My Tabernacle disturbs you so you made out your own law, forcing Me out of My Throne; have you asked My consent before doing so? but these are the signs of the Times; your great apostasy and the spirit of Rebellion, which is the Antichrist in your days and the abomination of the desolation....”
November 24, 1991: “innocent blood is shed of My sons' and daughters' for Satan; this innocent blood is offered like a holocaust to the Evil one; Satan's plan is to strip this world from its creation, annihilate you all and engulf you all in flames; he wants one big holocaust out of all of you; I shout, I cry out, I shed Tears of Blood, but few pay attention....”
December 10, 1995: “Satan's hour is here, but soon Saint Michael will stand up and woe to the unrepentant sinner! now the devil is vomiting his rage over you and over every one of My interventions for your salvation, the sling of iniquity....”
December 24, 1991: “Satan has entered into the hearts of My children, finding them weak and asleep; I have warned the world; Fatima's Message speaks: that in My Day I shall make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight; I will allow the Dragon to bite this sinful generation and hurl a Fire the world has never seen before or will ever come to see again, to burn her innumerable crimes....”
This last message goes so far as to claim that the afflictions that will come upon the world are from Satan, not from God. To the contrary, the Book of Revelation declares that Christ is the only One who can open the Seven Seals, which bring great afflictions on the earth. Such sufferings are sent by God to correct us. These messages are merely the empty and false boasting of the devil. Such messages are not true private revelation from Heaven.
6. False claim of a fulfilled prediction.
It is abundantly clear, from reading many of these messages, that the author of these messages has no idea what the future holds for humanity. However, as is often the case with false claims of private revelation, some vague statements in messages are later interpreted to be 'predictions' of particular events. Vassula even claims that one message predicted the felling of the World Trade Towers on September 11, 2001.
September 11, 1991: “the earth will shiver and shake - and every evil built into Towers will collapse into a heap of rubble and be buried in the dust of sin! above, the Heavens will shake and the foundations of the earth will rock! pray that the Father's Hand will not come down in winter; the islands, the sea and the continents will be visited by Me unexpectedly, with thunder and by Flame....”
This message is clearly referring to an earthquake that destroys buildings. Predictions of future earthquakes are common in false private revelation because earthquakes are common events; they occur in many places every year. So it makes for a good false prophecy. In this case, by sheer luck, the word 'Towers' was used concerning a vague prediction of earthquakes. Also, this prediction clearly claims that such an event is accompanied by the severe sufferings of the tribulation, as indicated by the words asking people to pray that it will not occur in winter (cf. Mt 24). Yet the event of September 11 was not an earthquake and did not occur in winter and is not part of the severe sufferings of the tribulation.
As to the fact that a message was given on September 11th, there are very many messages claimed by Vassula, covering, over the course of many years, nearly every date in the calendar. Other false prophecies have tried to make something of the fact that one of their messages had a date of September 11th, but then they have so many messages on so many different days of the year that such a coincidence is more likely than not.
(added January 16, 2006)
Some persons claim that Vassula's claimed marriage to God is no different than that of St. Catherine or of nun's in general, who are called Brides of Christ. Not true. Vassula's claimed marriage to God differs substantially from that of St. Catherine and from the general idea of a nun being a Bride of Christ. The language that refers to her relation with God is very nearly obscene (I have spared the reader from the full force of this language in the quotes above, but read it yourself if you must). The messages portray a sensuous attraction and make God seem controlling and intrusive. It does not portray a pure spiritual marriage of the Church to Christ. This portrayal of a supposed marriage to God is nothing like the spiritual and metaphorical marriage of a nun to Christ, or of the Church to Christ.
Vassula's claimed marriage to God shows the general confusion of ideas that is found in false private revelation. She claims to be married to Jesus, but also claims to be married to the Trinity. She calls Jesus 'Father,' (instead of calling the First Person of the Trinity the Father) and He supposedly calls her daughter. Yet they are supposedly married. Then the Holy Spirit is called her Bridegroom, whereas she is supposedly married to Jesus, or to the Trinity, as it seems in other passages.
The messages in general exalt Vassula in a way that makes her claim very different from that of various Saints and true private revelation. True private revelation, such as that to St. Catherine,
is humbling, not exalting. There are ways in which we individual Christians can be said to be temples
of the Holy Spirit, etc. However, the particular expression of Vassula's claims (such as to be the altar of God) far exceeds what can be applied to any Christian. Her messages exalt her far above other persons and other women, including Mary.
The description she gives of Hell contradicts Catholic teaching. Other descriptions of Hell, such as given by various Saints, do not. So Vassula's claims are similar to things said by faithful Christians, except that her claims are a very distorted version of what the faithful have said. A distorted version of the Faith is offered in place of the true Faith. False private revelation in general offers a distorted version of the Catholic Faith. If these offered something totally different from the Faith, few would be fooled. But with a distorted version of the Faith, it seems similar enough to the truth to fool the weak and ignorant.
Finally, the claim is completely false that the Vatican or the CDF gave some kind of approval to Vassula Ryden's claims. The CDF asked, in a critical manner, why a non-Catholic, such as Vassula, would claim to be teaching and leading Catholics. Vassula and her supporter have used these communications with the CDF as a way to falsely claim approval or an on-going discussion with the Vatican that is non-existant.
The claimed private revelation to Vassula Ryden is very clearly and thoroughly shown, by the above examples to be false. Such messages cannot come from God or from Heaven. They have all the characteristics of false private revelation, and they do not resemble those true private revelations accepted by the Church.
Much more could be said about these messages, for they are very many. But this should be sufficient to show that the messages of Vassula Ryden of True Life in God (www.tlig.org) are not true private revelation from Heaven.
by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Oct. 17, 2005
updated Jan. 16, 2006