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Discernment of Private Revelation

Claims of Private Revelation: True or False?
An Evaluation of the messages of Maria Valtorta and her Poem of the Man-God

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In my humble and pious opinion as a faithful Roman Catholic theologian, the claim that the messages of Maria Valtorta (who also wrote The Poem of the Man-God) are private revelation is a false claim. A list of reasons and examples follows.

1. The poem of the Man-God

This writing is a very long, claimed private revelation about the lives of Mary and Jesus. It covers much the same material as the writings and private revelations to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (beatified by Pope John Paul II). However, what is said in the poem of the Man-God does not agree with the private revelations to Blessed Anne Catherine.

The Poem of the man-God was placed on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1959.

Cardinal Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI, has indicated that he considers it a work of fiction.

The poem of the Man-God:
  • claims that Anne and Joachim had no other child but the Virgin Mary.

    Anne: 'Also I have you. But I have not given you a child... I think I have distressed the Lord, because He has made my womb barren...' (

    On the contrary, Scripture refers to Mary's sister (John 19:25). And Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich describes, at length and in a number of different passages, Mary's older sister.

  • implies that Anne and Joachim conceived the Virgin Mary through marital relations, at their home in Nazareth, in October (

    On the contrary, the revelations to Blessed A. C. Emmerich explain that Mary was conceived miraculously and virginally, in a passageway at the foundation of the Temple of Jerusalem.

    The month of the Immaculate Conception was November. See my book: Conte, Important Dates in the Lives of Jesus and Mary.

  • implies that the birth of the Virgin Mary was that of ordinary labor and childbirth (

    On the contrary, the birth of the Virgin Mary, as described by Blessed Emmerich, was virginal and miraculous, like the Birth of Jesus Christ, a birth befitting a perfect virgin. See also Conte, The Virginity of Jesus and Mary.

  • claims that the birth date of the Virgin Mary was August 24th.

    On the contrary, the date given by the Virgin Mary herself at Medjugorje was August 5th.

  • claims that Joseph was about 30 years old when he married the Virgin Mary (

    On the contrary, Blessed Emmerich states that Joseph was much older, about 30 years older than the Virgin Mary (who was about 14 years of age). Also, tradition generally understands St. Joseph to have been many years older than the Virgin Mary.

  • states false things about the event whereby Joseph was chosen to marry Mary

    “a dry branch which has blossomed miraculously, whereas no other branch on earth is in bloom to-day, the last day of the Feast of Dedication” (

    The Feast of the Dedication (Hanukah) ended in early December in the year before Christ's Birth. The fruit trees in Israel bloom in the winter, which is the only season with appreciable rainfall. The choosing of Mary's husband probably occurred later in December. So, it is not true that no branch on earth would be in bloom on that day, nor is it true that no branch in Israel would be in bloom on that day.

    The ceremony choosing Joseph as Mary's husband was not one in which the Jewish priests expected a miracle. They did not give each man a dry branch (as this poem claims) and then wait for a miraculous flower to bloom. They gave each man a branch with a blossom that had not yet opened. The first to open would be Mary's husband. But then they deliberately gave Joseph a dry branch (being much older than Mary, he was considered to be 'dry,' the male equivalent of 'barren.'). A miracle occurred in that a new blossom issued from the dry branch. So events did not occur at all as this so-called poem claims.

  • the false claim is made that Mary was sixteen years old at the time of her betrothal to Joseph (

    On the contrary, Blessed Emmerich states that Mary was fourteen and a half at the time of her betrothal to Joseph. See Conte, Important Dates in the Lives of Jesus and Mary . There are numerous reasons for giving Mary's age as 14.5 at her betrothal, including the dating of her Immaculate Conception and of the Incarnation.

  • claims that the betrothal of Joseph and Mary was not a wedding, that they planned to have a wedding ceremony later on, but never did so.

    To the contrary, Scripture calls Joseph the husband of Mary prior to the Incarnation of Christ (Mt 1:18-19).

  • claims that, at the Annunciation, Mary asked the Angel Gabriel if she should give up her virginity.

    “Perhaps the Lord God will no longer accept the offer of His maidservant and does not want Me a Virgin for His love?” (

    This very offensive claim contradicts the perfect virginity of Mary, in which she never wavered or hesitated. This sentence attributed to Mary shows doubt about the faithfulness of the Lord (as if He could change His mind and no longer want her to be ever-virgin), and it shows a lack of knowledge of God's will. Both of these qualities could not possibly have been present in the sinless Virgin Mary, who always knew and did God's whole will for her.

  • fictional account of Mary and Christ's life

    Most of what is said in the Poem of the Man-God is nice-sounding, but ultimately uninformative. There are descriptions of conversations between various persons, wherein nothing useful is presented to the reader. There are long descriptions of very ordinary things and events; the details given typically present the reader with nothing concerning faith or morals, nothing eventful or informative. This is one of the characteristics of false private revelation: long rambling and ultimately uninformative passages.

  • contradicts Medjugorje and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich

    As noted above, assertions are made by the Poem of the Man-God which directly contradict statements made by Mary at Medjugorje and by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich in her private revelations. One cannot reasonably believe in the Poem of the Man-God without also rejecting Medjugorje and Blessed Emmerich.

  • I could go on further to compare the true private revelations to Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich with this poor imitation called the Poem of the Man-God. But it would be a waste of my time and yours. It is clear, even beyond the points mentioned above, that this poem is merely a fictional account of Mary and Jesus' lives, in some parts invented by Maria Valtorta in her imagination, and in other parts given to her as false private revelation by the devil, who was jealous of the success of the writings of Blessed A. C. Emmerich.
2. Did Mary at Medjugorje approve of The Poem of the Man-God?

One of the visionaries, Marija Pavlovic, asked Mary about the Poem of the Man-God on behalf of a particular person (a Franciscan friar named Franjo). The question was, “Is this book true?” Mary said in reply only these words: “You can read it.”

Such a statement does not connotate approval. The question was a 'yes' or 'no' question, yet Mary did not answer with 'yes' or 'no.' She did not want to say whether it was true or false. Mary has a particular role to fulfill at Medjugorje. She cannot intervene in every question of the faith. She cannot usurp the role of the Holy See and of the Bishops. For this reason, she did not express approval or disapproval of the Poem.

Her comment has often been interpreted to mean that anyone may read it. However, she was asked this question by one visionary on behalf of one particular person (a religious brother). The primary meaning of her words, then, is that he, the religious brother may read it. The question was his question, so the answer is primarily his answer. And he, being a religious brother, could then judge for himself its contents.

One might infer a secondary meaning from her answer: that other persons who are responsible for teaching and leading the faithful may read it to decide for themselves. However, the conclusion that everyone may read it is not correct.

3. Did Padre Pio approve of Maria Valtorta's writings?

The Valtorta Center in Italy publishes a book about Maria Valtorta, which repeats the claim of a Mrs. Elisa Lucchi, that in the confessional she asked Padre Pio about Maria Valtorta's writings. The alleged response was that he ordered her to read them.

This claim is doubtful for a number of reasons. First, it is made in a book promoting Valtorta's writings, published by an organization dedicated to promoting her writings. Second, the book is not written by the woman making the claim, but merely reports it second or third hand. Third, the alleged response from Padre Pio was in the confessional, so no one could possibly have verified that claim by asking him; he could not have said anything at all about a claim of what he said in the confessional. Fourth, if Padre Pio had believed so strongly in her writings, he would likely have said so outside of the confessional.

4. Lists of people who (allegedly) approve of her writings

It sometimes happens that even holy persons are fooled into believing one false private revelation or another. There are also clear examples of holy persons rejecting true private revelations. Individuals are not infallible in deciding which private revelations are true and which are false. Neither am I infallible.

Now the proponents of almost any false private revelation are able to point to any number of supporters, even among persons who are faithful to the Church, or who are priests or Bishops. For such individuals are fallible. However, if you believe merely because they believe, then why do they believe. Ultimately, a claimed private revelation must be judged on its own merits.

5. Errors in the book: The End Times as Revealed to Maria Valtorta

Maria Valtorta claimed to have received private revelation from God about the future. But her messages about the End Times (as found in the book The End Times as Revealed to Maria Valtorta) are full of errors and of the merciless boasting of the devil. Examples follow.
  • God is merciful, but these messages are merciless.

    For example: “Now the Father is weary, and to make the human race perish He lets the chastisements of hell go wild, because human beings have preferred hell to Heaven, and their Ruler, Lucifer, torments them to make them blaspheme Us so as to make them completely his children.” (from The End Times as Revealed to Maria Valtorta, April 23, 1943)

    The above message contains many errors. First, God the Father does not weary, nor does His Mercy grow weary. Second, God does not cause the human race to perish, for even in the time of suffering in the Book of Revelation, the saints are victorious and the human race continues. God even makes a new heaven and a new earth, so that the human race, even on earth, continues. Third, the devil is not the ruler of the human race, nor of hell, nor is humanity ever completely his children. This message presents the devil as if he were ruler of all people ('their Ruler') and as if he had the ability to torment whomever he wished. The ideas presented in this message are false. Fourth, God does not deliver humanity into the hands of the devil so as to make them blaspheme. Such ideas are entirely contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Therefore, this message and all the many other similar merciless messages of Maria Valtorta are messages from the fallen angels, such as Lucifer, not from God nor from Heaven.

    To the contrary, God is merciful and forgiving. There are fallen angels in the world, but God limits what fallen angels can do; this lesson is clearly taught in the Book of Job. In addition, all of Scripture clearly teaches that God continues to be merciful throughout all of human history, even during the worst afflictions, which are sent by God's Providence and Power, not by the devil. The Book of Revelation present the sufferings of the Seven Seals as very grave afflictions, but also as events that are brought about by the Lamb of God, Jesus, who is the only one who can open the Seals. This indicates that the afflictions of the tribulation are not the work of hell or of the devil, but are just and merciful chastisements sent by God.

    Some further examples of merciless messages, that could not possibly be from Heaven follow, from the same book by Valtorta. These messages are supposedly from Jesus.

    (June 1, 1943) “I look at My flock... My flock? Not anymore.... I no longer have a flock.”
    (June 3, 1943) “You fools with your heads full of a thousand useless rumors and wicked thoughts....”
    (June 5, 1943) “But My second coming will be a coming of stern, inflexible, general Judgment, and for the majority of you, it will be a judgment of punishment.”

    Do these messages sound like Jesus the merciful Christ, who died out of love for us?
    No! Jesus does not speak in this way; these are the words of the evil one.

  • God, and especially Jesus Christ incarnate, is portrayed as weak and ineffective

    Again, the words are supposedly those of Jesus speaking to Valtorta.

    (April 23, 1943) “...I, the divine Redeemer, on Calvary, at the hour of My immolation, of all the thousands of persons present at My death, I managed to save the thief, and Longinus, and very few others.”

    On the contrary, the Passion and death of Christ on the Cross, as well as His whole life's sufferings, words, and deeds, are very effective at saving even the worst sinners.

    The reference to Longinus is a reference to the writings of Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, wherein she describes the conversion of Cassius Longinus, the soldier who plunged his spear through the side of Christ. The writings of Valtorta are a perverse imitation of the writings of Blessed Emmerich, for the devil became jealous at the success of her writings.

    (June 7, 1943) “In truth I tell you that over two thirds of the human race belong to the category that lives under the sign of the Beast. For them I died uselessly.”

    Again, this message has Jesus speaking as if He were weak and unable to save, except for a few. By contrast, the messages of Medjugorje say that most persons are saved, going first to Purgatory, then to Heaven. Also, this message of Valtorta again is really a message from the devil, who is boasting that two thirds of humanity is, supposedly, under his sign.

    (March 23, 1944) “The hour shall come when I can no longer move a finger or say a word to work a miracle. The world shall be void of My force.” (April 9, 1944) “Powerless, I witness this rush of all mankind into spiritual death.”

    In truth, there are very many messages that show the same characteristics: presenting Christ as if he were powerless and merciless. There are very many examples in Valtorta's messages of words that are nothing more than the lying boasts of the fallen angels, vicious words threatening all of mankind and provoking fear and despair. I will spare the reader further examples, for they are very many.

  • False claims about the future

    Valtorta's messages claim that Revelation 11:17-18 refers to World War II (message of August 5, 1943). This assertion is absurd. Chapter 11 of the Book of Revelation refers to the last half of the Antichrist's reign, that is, to a time period of 3.5 years. But Paul clearly taught (2 Thess 2:8) that the Antichrist (the lawless one) will be destroyed at the end of his reign by the Return of Jesus Christ. And Daniel (9:27) also teaches that the Antichrist has a reign of seven years, with the last half being the worst. Yet the Antichrist did not reign, nor was he in the world, during the time of World War II, nor did Christ return at that time.

    Moreover, before verses 17 and 18, the two prophets prophesy for 1260 days, then the two prophets are killed, their bodies lie in the streets for 3.5 days, then they are raised from the dead and assumed into Heaven. All of these things happen in Revelation 11 prior to verses 17 and 18. Yet none of these events happened during World War II, nor since that time. Therefore, these messages of Valtorta are false messages.

    Later on (August 21, 1943), the messages talk about the two prophets as if they are merely symbols of every holy leader of the faith. This claim is also absurd because Revelation plainly describes the two prophets as two individuals: they are killed, they are raised from the dead, they are assumed into Heaven. Such a description cannot be merely a metaphor for all the faithful leaders of the Church.

    There are numerous messages about the future in Valtorta's writings. These are all very vague, with no specific dates and with a very confused order (or disorder) of events. As with most false private revelations, every message about the future is long rambling confused, with grandiose wording, but ultimately uninformative.
6. Sites with more information:

In Conclusion

These messages of Maria Valtorta are full of references to the power of Satan. And they present Christ and God as merciless and full of vile talk about everything. Such is not the case with the true private revelations. There are many examples in these messages of these same kinds of errors, repeated again and again. But this should be sufficient to show that the messages of Maria Valtorta and the book called, The Poem of the Man-God, are not true private revelation from Heaven.

by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
December 9, 2005

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