Father Mitch Pacwa
Question: Father Mitch Pacwa from EWTN has been part of a campaign against Maria Valtorta. Are you aware of his 2001 article posted on CatholicCulture.org entitled: "Is the Poem of the Man-God Simply a Bad Novel?"? Furthermore, in 1995 he was a guest on Mother Angelica Live (EWTN), where he was critical of Maria Valtorta and her works.
Name withheld upon request.
Response from Webmaster: In 1948, after eleven months of evaluating the "Poem of the Man-God", Pope Pius XII said: "Who reads it, will understand". While reading Father Mitch Pacwa’s article, it becomes clear that he never read any part of what he critiqued. Therefore, as the Holy Pontiff prophesied, he was unable to understand. This presents a complex predicament, because Father Mitch is a well known, loved, respected TV personality and Theological Teacher.
Immediately prior to the Fatima miracle, witnesses reported how Catholic Priests from the local Parish attempted to disperse the crowd, declaring the apparition of Our Lady a hoax. When the people refused to leave, a Priest attempted to physically pick up the children and carry them away. Again, the crowd prevented it. Likewise, Father Mitch Pacwa may have become overzealous at attempting to protect the flock from something he interpreted incorrectly.
The miracle of Fatima was one of the greatest miracles of all time, for several reasons. It was witnessed by over 100,000 people, even as far as 32 miles away. All who witnessed it were astonished by the spectacular demonstration of the miracle. Not only did they see the fire of the sun detach itself and fall upon the earth, but they felt the intense heat. The flooded grounds and their soaked clothes from the prior torrential rain, dried up immediately before their eyes. Some were up to their ankles in mud, then standing upon dry soil. Moreover, it was the only miracle in the history of the world that God performed at a predicted time and place. As the Holy Mother of God explained: "So that all may believe".
And who believed? The very next morning, the atheist communist Portuguese newspapers that had been ridiculing the children for months, acknowledged the phenomenon as a miracle by God. In contrast, it took a change of Bishops and thirteen long years before the Holy Roman Catholic Church acknowledged the Miracle of the Sun to be of Divine origin. Up until that point, it was an unapproved apparition, the same stigma levied against so many other apparitions, such as Garabandal, Medjugorje, etc. Local Parishioners described how previous to the belated Church approval, Priests who supported the children were transferred far away from the local Parishes. Some witnesses expressed resentment for the years of pulpit reprimands, only to be followed over a dozen years later by a short statement by the Church, that the Apparitions and Miracle were "worthy of belief." (Fatima: "Meet the Witnesses", by John M. Haffert). The question is: Who would have witnessed God's great Miracle of the Sun, if the people listened as they were being advised? How badly we behave in response to great miracles, even back to the times when Moses parted the sea. And yet, we incredulous people wonder why there are so few miracles today. "And He did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief"’ (Matt 13:58).
Persecution of Holy people, such as Maria Valtorta, dates back to the slaying of Abel, the condemnation of Christ by the Chief Priests, the Stoning of Saint Steven, to our present day. Consider how Saul, who was a good Jew, held the coats of those stoning Saint Steven. It is an enigma as to why some good people feel compelled to disparage some of the most wonderful gifts of God, along with those who make these gifts available to us. It is likely that those who condemned Padre Pio and Blessed Sister Faustina felt just as confident they were doing the right thing at the time. The word of God prevails, and at some point in the future, the finger of God in Maria’s writings will be fully recognized.
Is the Poem of the Man-God Simply a Bad Novel?
The Poem of the Man-God is a five-volume "narrative" of the life of Jesus written in the 1940s by a sickly Italian woman named Maria Valtorta.
Comment: "Maria Valtorta was a Pius bed-ridden woman who recorded Private Revelations and Gospel Visions during the times of World War II. Her writings are considered by many to be the most complete and detailed Gospel Revelations ever recorded, fleshing out the day to day life of Jesus and Mary. There are several other visionaries who claimed to have received this gift, but none approach the accuracy and detail of Maria Valtorta's writings. The bulk of Valtorta's writings pertaining to the Gospels were originally published in a ten volume Italian narrative under the title: "The Gospel As It Was Revealed To Me". Soon after her death they were reconfigured into five English translated volumes renamed by the Publisher; "The Poem Of The Man-God".
Maria Valtorta was born in Caserta, Italy in 1897. She was rendered handicapped at an early age by an assailant in 1920's, and eventually became bedridden in the 1930's when her condition became progressively worse. After becoming a third order Carmelite, Jesus purportedly appeared to her during her holy suffering calling her to be his mouthpiece. From 1943 to 1954 she recorded private dictations and detailed revelations of the entire Messianic cycle from the birth of Mary through the Coronation. Her spiritual director was Father Romualdo M. Migliorini and the original editor of her works was Michael Pisani. Maria Valtorta entered Eternal Life in 1961. Her mortal remains are buried under the altar ofThe Basilica of the Annunciation in Florence, Italy. An inscription in her marble headstone reads; "Writer of Divine Things""(1).
"Poem" purports to fill in the details of Jesus' life left blank by the four Gospels. Such narratives have been produced since the second century A.D. Some were written by Gnostic heretics. Some by New Agers and occultists. And some were produced by pious Christians who made up stories about Jesus to edify their readers and listeners.
Comment: This constraining statement prohibits any possibility in which God would be capable of revealing Himself. Moreover, the statement can be proven erroneous, as there are other very similar Gospel Visionaries, such as Saint Bridget of Sweden and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, who similarly recorded extensive divinely inspired truths about Jesus' and Mary’s lives. Mystical theology, like fundamental theology, affirms only this: God can reveal Himself (Karl Rahner, S.J.). "And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions, (Joel 2:28-32 NKJV).
The four Gospels do not give a biography of Jesus, or of anyone else in His life. Their purpose is evangelical and theological, to proclaim the Good News that human beings need for their salvation. Thus, for centuries, the "hidden life" of Jesus has been the subject for speculation. The "Poem of the Man-God" is in this tradition of apocryphal literature on New Testament themes. Valtorta claimed that she was the "secretary" of Jesus and Mary, and was setting down the divinely inspired truth about Jesus' life.
Comment: Again: "tradition of apocryphal literature", characterizes Father Mitch Pacwa's concept that God is incapable of revealing Himself. It is increasingly apparent that his primary contention is that this form of divine inspiration is not possible. Saint Bridget recorded nearly 1,000 pages of visions and was canonized by Pope Boniface IX in the year 1391, and confirmed by Pope Martin V in the Council of Constance in the year 1415. The Revelations of Saint Bridget were accorded an exceptionally high degree of authenticity, authority and importance from an early date. Pope Gregory XI (1371-78) approved and confirmed them and judged them highly favorably, as did Boniface IX (1389-1404) in the papal Bull Ab origine mundi, par. 39 (7 Oct 1391). They were later examined at the Council of Constance (1414-18) and at the Council of Basel (1431-49), both judging them to be in conformity with the Catholic faith; The Revelations were also strongly defended by numerous highly regarded theologians, including Jean Gerson (1363-1429), Chancellor of the University of Paris and Cardinal Juan de Torquemada (1388-1468) Furthermore, the very fact that Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich was Beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 3, 2004 is further evidence that the Church does consider this form of divinely inspired truth possible.
The Church has rejected this claim.
Comment: This is an imprecise statement. As there are some in the Church that reject this claim, their authority is inconsequential. Pope Pius XII gave a Papal Imprimatur to Valtorta's writings before her Spiritual Director Father Romualdo Migliorini, two Priest witnesses whom Father Migliorini brought with him, as well as a Vatican Recording Cardinal who accompanied the Pontiff taking notations like a stenographer. The Pope is the highest level of authority in the Holy Roman Catholic Church. As much as others within the Church may disagree with the Papal verdict, it cannot be subverted by lower levels in the Church Hierarchy.
"The Code of Canon Law - Book II, Part II, Section I, Chapter I, Article I - gives the Pope full and supreme power over all levels of the Church and free use to exercise this power. The Papal order came first. Canon law prohibits this Papal order from being reversed by subordinate levels of Church authority. Canon law clearly requires that this Papal order be embraced with unconditional acceptance and submission. First Vatican Council, Session IV, Chp. IV, p.IX: "So, then, if anyone says that the Roman Pontiff has merely an office of supervision and guidance, and not the full and supreme power of jurisdiction over the whole Church, and this not only in matters of faith and morals, but also in those which concern the discipline and government of the Church dispersed throughout the whole world; or that he has only the principal part, but not the absolute fullness, of this supreme power; or that this power of his is not ordinary and immediate both over all and each of the Churches and over all and each of the pastors and faithful: let him be anathema." - Catechism of the Catholic Church, 883 - "The college or body of bishops has no authority unless united with the Roman Pontiff, Peter's successor, as its head (2)."
Nevertheless, Poem has become quite popular, particularly among Catholics as well. Remarkably, the book has grown in popularity in part because its champions claim that high Church officials--including one Pope--endorsed it. They haven't.
Comment: They indeed have! "As Valtorta's Visions were mystical in nature and the Local Bishop Fontevecchia's vision was fading, Father Romualdo M. Migliorini sought Vatican guidance for procedural advice for approval. At the Vatican Father Migliorini encountered Cardinal Augustin Bea (Pope Pius XII's confessor) and Monsignor Alphonse Carini (Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Rites). Cardinal Bea cautioned that Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani (soon to be Head of the Holy Office) was unenthusiastic regarding Private Revelations, and previously attempted to place Sister Faustina Kowalska's Divine Mercy writings on the Forbidden Book list, but Pope Pius XII would not sign the Decree. Father Migliorini took council with Cardinal Bea and Monsignor Carinci, who after carefully review of Valtorta's writings, advised that the most prudent outset would be bypassing Cardinal Ottaviani altogether and presenting the typed manuscript directly to Pope Pius XII, which would be arranged via Cardinal Bea.
Valtorta's writings were presented to Pope Pius XII on April 3, 1947, Who examined the typescripts for eleven months. On February 26, 1948, His Holiness summoned Father Migliorini. Two Priests accompanied Migliorini to serve as witnesses to the supposition of the meeting; Father Corrado Berti (Professor of Dogmatic and Sacramental Theology at the Pontifical "Marianum" Theological Faculty of Rome from 1939 onward, later becoming Secretary of the Faculty from 1950 to 1959, as well as consultant to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council) and Father Andrew M. Cecchin (Prior of the International College of the Servites of Mary in Rome). During the Papal meeting, in the presence of the three Priests, as well as a Vatican Recording Cardinal who accompanied the Pontiff, taking minutes during the meeting, His Holiness ordered: "Publish this work just as it is; he who reads will understand". The three Priests documented the the exact wording of the Papal Order immediately afterwards on a card and later provided signed testimony. The fact that the Pope did grant this audience was historically documented the next day, February 27, 1948 in L’Osservatore Romano Citta Del Vaticano, no. 48, p.1"(3).
Contrary to Father Mitch Pacwa's assertion, some other high Church officials who endorsed the "Poem of the Man-God" are; Archbishop Alfonso Carinci, 1946 - Secretary of the Congregation of the Sacred Rites: " There is nothing therein which is contrary to the Gospel. Rather, this work, a good complement to the Gospel, contributes towards a better understanding of its meaning." Renowned Mariologist Father Gabriel Roschini, OSM was an outstanding advocate of Maria Valtorta's writings. Pope John Paul II often referred to Father Gabriel M. Roschini as one of the greatest Marioligists who ever lived. He was a decorated professor at the "Marianum" Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Rome, and an advisor to the Holy Office. He wrote over 130 Books on the Blessed Mother, all of which are in the Vatican Library. In his last book (which Father Gabriel said was his greatest, "The Virgin Mary In The Writings of Maria Valtorta"), the first two pages contain a letter of endorsement by Pope Paul VI. Page one displays a photocopy of the original letter in Italian complete with Vatican insignia, and page two contains the English translation. This constitutes a secondary indirect endorsement, in that the Holy Pontiff endorsed a book, that endorses Maria Valtorta’s writings. Additionally there is Blessed Gabriel Allegra, O.F.M. and John Haffert; "That Wonderful Poem" - Founder of the Blue Army of Fatima 25 Million signed members.
In fact, Poem was included on the Index of Forbidden books until the abolition of the Index in the 1960s.
Comment: Saint Faustina Kowalska’s Divine Mercy writings were place on the Index the very same day as Valtorta’s, therefore demonstrating that the Index of Forbidden Books was erroneous. Nicolaus Copernicus' writings were also placed on the Index of forbidden books because he argued that the Earth was round and orbited the Sun.
Sister Faustina Kowalska: "In 1959, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani at the Holy Office included her works on a list he submitted to the newly elected Pope John XXIII. The Pope signed the decree that placed her work on the Index of Forbidden Books and they remained on the Index for over 20 years." It is important to remember that in 1978, a Polish Cardinal petitioned the Vatican to cease the suppression of Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska’s Divine Mercy devotion and to remove her writings from the Index of Forbidden books. The Vatican replied in the negative, upholding the condemnation and suppression. Which we now know was in error, as she is now Saint Faustina and we celebrate Divine Mercy Mass.
No less an authority than Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reiterates the Church's rejection of the claims made for The Poem of the Man-God.
Comment: The key word is "reiterates". Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict did not personally scrutinize Maria Valtorta's writings, he reiterated (simply upheld), Cardinal Ottaviani's verdict, avoiding the undermining his predecessor. “There appears to be multiple English translations of this document circulating on the Internet, some of which contain significant errors in key statements. Upon reading an accurate translation, it becomes immediately evident that Cardinal Ratzinger avoids passing judgment, either positively or negatively, by restating the history of events. Far from being a negative judgment, the Cardinal simply highlights events of history, and states that diffusion of the Poem, at the time, was "not held to be opportune". The final statement, as quoted above, restricts the range of the condemnation further, limiting it to the “more unprepared faithful” (of which one interpretation could refer to those who lack good catechesis, who would attach themselves too strongly to the Poem, effectively elevating a private revelation above public revelation). At most, this text could be interpreted as a cautionary caveat; however a negative judgment it is not.”
How did The Poem of the Man-God come to be, and how has the notion become widely accepted that it contains important religious truth?
Comment: Due to the authoritative endorsements by its advocates, including Pope Pius XII, Pope Paul VI, Cardinal Bea, Cardinal Carinci, Cardinal Edourd Gagnon, Mariologist Gabriel Roshini, Saint Padre Pio, Blessed Mother Teresa, John Haffert (founder of the Blue Army of Fatima - introduced to the Poem by the Bishop of Fatima), etc.
Maria Valtorta, author of Poem, was born in 1897 into a sadly dysfunctional family, where she suffered emotional abuse at the hands of a despotic mother. When she was 23, she was attacked and beaten by a mugger. She was never completely well after that. From 1933 on, she was unable to leave her bed.
Comment: Very few Saints did not suffer persecutions, it indubitably seems to be a prerequisite.
Maria began to receive "dictations" on Good Friday, 1943. In 1947, she handed over 10,000 handwritten pages to her spiritual director, Father Romuald Migliorini, O.S.M. Father Migliorini typed them and Father Corrado Berti, O.S.M. bound them. Fr. Berti, brought them to Cardinal Augustin Bea, S.J., spiritual director to Pope Pius XII. Did Pope Pius read the whole manuscript or parts? If only part, which part?
Comment: Father Migliorini was Maria's Spiritual Director from the beginning, she didn't hand over a lump of handwritten notebooks all at once. Cardinal Augustin Bea presented Valtorta's original handwritten writings to Pope Pius XII in April of 1947. The Pontiff reviewed her writings for ten months. In February of 1948 His Holiness summoned Father Migliorini. At the February 26th meeting, the Pontiff gave his Papal Order to Publish before distinguished witnesses.
Advertisements by the Canadian Central distributors for Valtorta (CEDIVAL) quote Father Bea: "I have read in typed manuscripts many of the books written by Maria Valtorta. As far as exegesis is concerned, I did not find any errors in the parts which I examined." Notice, he read only parts of the books. Which were they?
Comment: Cardinal Augustin Bea, S.J., (Jesuit, rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute, advisor to the Holy Office and personal confessor of Pope Pius XII) testified twice in writing: "I have read in typed manuscripts many of the books written by Maria Valtorta". Hence, clearly most, or nearly all. Father Mitch is using a little sophistry to downplay an exceptionally compelling testimony. The inclusive quote is as follows: "I read several fascicles of the Work written by the lady, Maria Valtorta, attending particularly in my reading to the exegetical, historical, archeological and topographical parts. As far as its exegesis, I did not find any prominent errors in the fascicles examined by me. Further, I had been much impressed by the fact that her archeological and topographical descriptions were propounded with notable exactness. Concerning some particulars less exactly expressed, the author, questioned by me through an intermediary, had modestly given some satisfactory explanations. Here and there some scenes appeared to me too diffusely described, even with many vivid colors. But generally speaking, the reading of the Work is not only interesting and pleasing, but truly edifying. And for people less well informed on the mysteries of the life of Jesus, instructive."
On Feb. 26, 1948, Fathers Migliorini, Berti and A. Cecchin enjoyed a private audience with Pope Pius XII, as listed in L'Osservatore Romano's daily announcement of audiences. Standing in St. Peter's Square after the audience, Father Berti wrote down Pope Pius' words as he remembered them. These words were "not" printed in L'Osservatore Romano, but Father Berti remembered the Pope saying: "Publish this work as it is. There is no need to give an opinion about its origin, whether it be extraordinary or not. Who reads it, will understand. One hears of many visions and revelations. I will not say they are all authentic; but there are some of which it could be said that they are."
Comment: The three Priests wrote down the exact wording of the Papal Order together immediately after the meeting. Each later provided signed testimony for accuracy. Because of the ensuing controversy, in 1987, one of the Priest witnesses was able to convince Cardinal Edourd Gagnon residing at the Vatican to find and evaluate the minutes from the original meeting in February 26, 1948 (jotted by the Vatican Recording Cardinal accompanying Pope Pius XII). Afterwards, Cardinal Gagnon resolutely wrote from the Vatican, that Pope Pius XII's action was "the kind of official Imprimatur granted before witnesses by the Holy Father in 1948, an Official Imprimatur of the Supreme Authority of the Church". Cardinal Edouard Gagnon served as Peritus (Expert Theologian Advisor and Consultant) during the second Vatican Council. He had a Doctorate in Theology and taught Canon law for ten years at the Grand Seminary. Cardinal Edouard Gagnon was one of the most qualified Vatican Cardinals to determine the true validity of the Papal Imprimatur (4).
CEDIVAL calls this a "Supreme Pontifical Imprimatur," where "he took upon himself to pass the first official judgment on these writings." CEDIVAL glues this inside the cover, though the publisher does not print a imprimatur. The reason: it has none!
Comment: The Supreme Pontifical Imprimatur is supported by signed testimony from Maria Valtorta's Spiritual Director Father Romualdo M. Migliorini, as well as signed testimony of two distinguished Priest witness, logged by an official Vatican Recording Cardinal and verified in writing by Vatican Cardinal with an impeccable expertise in Canon Law.
The statement by Father Pacwa: "The reason: it has none!", is entirely untrue. In addition to the Supreme Papal Imprimatur, an Archbishop as well as Several Bishops have given their Imprimaturs, such as Archbishop Soosa Pakiam of Trivandrum (for the Malayalam translation prepared in India. Note: If the Vatican thought that the Archbishop of India made an error in judgment, it would have him remove his Imprimatur. Nonetheless, the Vatican has let his Imprimatur stand). Furthermore an Imprimatur was given by Bishop Roman Danylak (Titular Bishop of Nyssa Rome, Italy). A Nihil Obstatfrom Msgr. Luigi Lovazzano, Vicar-General, Albano, Italy, and Imprimaturs from Bishop Bonicilli, from the same diocese. Evidence that Father Mitch may not have performed adequate fundamental research before making such proclamations.
Confident of papal approval, Father Berti brought the books to the Vatican press. However, in 1949, two commissioners of the Holy Office, Msgr. Giovanni Pepe and Father Berruti, O.P., condemned the Poem, ordering Berti to hand over every copy and sign an agreement not to publish it.
Comment: This statement misrepresents the particulars. This meeting took place after Cardinal Ottaviani realized he was bypassed in the approval process. According to the Priest’s testimony in 1949, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani who then headed the Holy Office, summoned Father Corrado Berti and Father Andrew Cecchin to the Holy Office. Furthermore, during this meeting both Priests were forbidden to speak or communicate in any way immediately before the meeting. Monsignor Pepe and Father Berruti, officials of the Holy Office, were entrusted with reading the new judgment to both Priests (authored by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani), which reversed and undermined the Papal Imprimatur. Monsignor Pepe and Father Berruti had no role in condemnation itself. The order of silence cleverly restricted Father Berti from informing Monsignor Pepe and Father Berruti of the Papal Imprimatur given by Pope Pius XII.
"As a litmus test of integrity, it may be prudent to consider how Cardinal Ottaviani authored the infamousSecret 1962 Vatican document that mandated the excommunication of children victimized by pedophile priests in the event they sought help from authorities, as uncovered by CBS News in 2003. This same Cardinal purportedly had several notorious tantrum incidents. While giving a protracted harangue at the pulpit, a technician resorted to switching off his microphone, which resulted in a standing ovation by the congregation. In another similar incident, the Priests listening to him one by one started turning their chairs around, facing away from him" (5).
Father Berti returned the manuscripts to Valtorta and handed over only his typed versions. Despite his signed promise, in 1952 Father Berti went to publisher Emiliano Pisani. Though aware of the Holy Office's opposition, Pisani printed the first volume in 1956, and a new volume each year through 1959.
Comment: Although Father Berti brought all the typescripts in his possession; he could not deliver all the copies, because some were in the possession of other people who declined to be deprived of them. The Holy Office, headed by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, forbade the publication of these writings and threatened to place them on the Index of forbidden books in the event of a publication. The reversal of the Papal Order by the Holy Office was in direct violation to Canon Law. Again, the Code of Canon Law: Book II, Part II, Section I, Chapter I, Article I, gives the Pope full and supreme power over all levels of the Church and free use to exercise this power. Canon law clearly requires that this Papal order be embraced with unconditional acceptance and submission. This is why Father Berti was so persistent in assisting in the publishing of Maria's works, despite the later persecutions he suffered at the hands of his superiors. The Church was in violation of Canon Law for putting it on the index in the first place.
When volume four appeared, the Holy Office examined the Poem and condemned it, recommending that it be placed on the Index of Forbidden Books Dec. 16, 1959. Pope John XXIII signed the decree and ordered it published. L'Osservatore Romano, on Jan. 6, 1960, printed the condemnation with an accompanying front-page article, "A Badly Fictionalized Life of Jesus," to explain it.
Comment: Canon 1385 (Index of Forbidden Books) requires a Papal signature to validate the decree, obviously it would not be possible for Cardinal Ottaviani to obtain a signed condemnation decree from Pope Pius XII against His very own Papal Imprimatur. The unsigned article that appeared in L'Osservatore Romano condemning Valtorta's writings as ‘A Badly Fictionalized Life of Jesus", was purportedly written by Ottaviani himself.
The key question: Why did Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani wait till volume four (almost three years later), to act? The Gospel as it was Revealed to Me (The English version; The Poem of the Man-God, came much later), was published in 1956 with Pope Pius XII Imprimatur and statement affixed to the inside cover. This must have made Cardinal Ottaviani livid, but he had no choice but to wait, his hands were tied. Placing the Poem on the Index of Forbidden books would require a Papal signature, which would be impossible to obtain. Pope Pius XII would certainly not sign a decree against His own Imprimatur, and the three Priests were well aware of this. As long as Pope Pius XII was alive, the Poem could be published with the Papal Imprimatur, unchallenged. When Pope Pius XII passed away on October 9, 1958, the Lion was finally out of the way. As soon as the next Pontiff, Pope John XXIII, took office, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani's first and foremost action was to have Maria Valtorta’s and Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska’s writings formally condemned on the Index of Forbidden Books, (Pope Pius XII would not sign the condemnation of Sister Faustina’s writings). The condemnation decrees could now be placed before the new Pontiff, who signed the decrees at the request of Cardinal Ottaviani. Obviously just taking Office, Pope John XXIII did not have the personal time and luxury of reading Maria Valtorta’s 15,000 pages of Private Revelation and Saint Faustina’s Life works.
There is a major difference between the actions of these two Popes. Pope Pius XII personally examined the writings for 10 months, Pope John XXIII’s signing was a common authorization formality to Cardinal Ottaviani’s final judgment.
The article complained that the Poem broke Canon Law. "Though they treat exclusively of religious issues, these volumes do not have an "imprimatur," which is required by Canon 1385, sect. 1, n. 2."
In addition to the Supreme Papal Imprimatur, an Archbishop as well as Several Bishops have given their Imprimaturs, such as Archbishop Soosa Pakiam of Trivandrum (for the Malayalam translation prepared in India. Note: If the Vatican thought that the Archbishop of India made an error in judgment, it would have him remove his Imprimatur. Nonetheless, the Vatican has let his Imprimatur stand). Furthermore an Imprimatur was given by Bishop Roman Danylak (Titular Bishop of Nyssa Rome, Italy). A Nihil Obstat from Msgr. Luigi Lovazzano, Vicar-General, Albano, Italy, and Imprimaturs from Bishop Bonicilli, from the same diocese. Evidence that Father Mitch may not have performed adequate fundamental research before making such proclamations.
Second, the long speeches of Jesus and Mary starkly contrast with the evangelists, who portray Jesus as "humble, reserved;
Comment: This is in conflict to scripture, "And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves". (Matthew 21:12). "You serpents, you brood of vipers" (Matthew 23:33).
His discourses are lean, incisive." Valtorta's fictionalized history makes Jesus sound "like a chatterbox, always ready to proclaim Himself the Messiah and the Son of God," or teach theology in modern terms. The Blessed Mother speaks like a "propagandist" for modern Marian theology.
Comment: If the discussions were so shallow, how could noted Authors and Biblical Scholars have written articles and books on the dialogues? (Blessed Gabriel Allegra, Monsignor Vincenzo Cerri, Brendan Whiting, John Haffert, Mariologist Father Gabriel Roschini, etc).
"A Critique of Maria Valtorta's "Poem of the Man-God", by Blessed Gabriel M. Allegra, OFM.
"The Holy Shroud and the visions of Maria Valtorta", by Monsignor Vincenzo Cerri
"The Shroud Story", by Brendan Whiting - In 2006 he successfully debunked the 1988 14th Century radiocarbon date and demonstrated that the Shroud of Turin is actually from the first Century. His motivating drive was that Jesus told Maria Valtorta that the Shroud was authentic. The book was highly praised by the British Shroud of Turin Society and makes many confirmations and references to Maria Valtorta's writings. Brendan presents evidence that the Shroud fabric edges were repaired in medieval times via a meticulous re-weaving process which rendered an incorrect carbon 14 dating. The dated samples were taken from the outside edge. Whiting holds that reports detected that fibers from an area of cloth directly adjoining the tested sample had a gum coating not found on fibers from the main part of the shroud. "He identified the coating as most probably gum arabic, noting that it was common practice for gum arabic to be used during weaving repairs, to hold the threads," Whiting said. He said Rogers found cotton fibers in the tested sample area of the cloth but no cotton fibers in a sample taken from the main part of the shroud during extensive examination back in 1973. Whiting said this fact had not been discovered by the coordinators of the tests because, although the original protocol had called for the chemical analysis of the samples prior to their destruction during testing, the three testing laboratories did not perform the analysis.
"That Wonderful Poem", by John M. Haffert - Founder of the Blue Army of Fatima (25 million signed members).
"The Virgin Mary in the writings of Maria Valtorta", by Fr. Gabriel M. Roschini, OSM - Was originally commissioned to discredit Valtorta's works.
Third, "some passages are rather risqué," like the "immodest" dance before Pilate (vol. 5, p. 73).
Comment: The Bible has a references to an immodest dance before Herod (dance of the seven veils / discards all seven veils one at a time), why would this be impossible before Pilate?
There are "many historical, geographical and other blunders.
Comment: This contention is unsupportable. What were once geographical blunders before Valtorta's death, are now geographical wonders. Geologist and Mineralogist Dr. Vittorio Tredici points out how Maria Valtorta described and correctly named several towns and villages that were not even discovered until after her death. David J. Webster posted a landmark 31 page article that fundamentally proves the authenticity of Maria Valtorta's writings. The "Poem of the Man-God" may be the very first Private Revelation ever to be scientifically proven genuine. David meticulously and methodically examines Maria Valtorta’s strikingly accurate descriptions of first Century Palestine for every piece of topographical evidence. He then compares this evidence with currently known facts that are only now being proven authentic. "Over thirty percent or 79 (all entries marked with* and **) of the 255 geographical sites in Palestine mentioned in the Poem were not listed in the 1939 International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) Atlas. 62 (all**) of these 79 were not even listed in the 184 page Macmillan Bible Atlas (MBA) published in 1968. [Maria Valtorta died in 1961] Where did Maria Valtorta get all these names? For a first century eye-witness to include so many obscure and unknown names would, of course, be expected. And most surprising is that these names, obscure and unknown in the 1940’s, are only now being proven authentic. 52 of these 62 have no biblical reference whatever, and 17 of these with no biblical reference have been either indirectly confirmed as authentic by recent "ancient external sources" found in the Macmillan Bible Atlas (1968) or actually listed in the HarperCollins Atlas of the Bible (1989). This makes a total of 29 confirmations since the 1939 ISBE atlas listing. Also among those 62 sites are mentioned the ruins of 6 ancient Palestinian cities some corresponding to the modern consensus on location. In addition, Valtorta’s precise descriptions of the natural topography of Palestine from numerous locations and the information about the outside pagan world of that day, including people, places, customs, Greek and Roman mythology, related in the conversations of that day, are strikingly correct."
Astronomical details in Maria Valtorta's writings were proven accurate. Theoretical Physicist Professor Lonnie Lee Van Zandt upon reading the Poem observed that in March of year 0033 Valtorta recorded in one of her visions seeing Jupiter, Mars, Venus and "stars of Orion: of Rigil and Betelgeuse, of Aldebaran, of Perseus, Andromeda and Cassiopeia and the Pleiades" along with a waning moon in the night sky. Using a complex Astronomical computer program, he conducted a stellar excursion into the distant past and discovered that this was only possible for two days in March of 0033. This astronomical scenario doesn't occur for many decades before and after those two days. Moreover, he discovers several other similar astronomical conformations. It would have been impossible for anyone in the 1940's to determine these astronomical alignments. These impossibly exact details "tax the credulity of even the immovable atheist more than the alternative that Jesus showed it to her. In the words of Sherlock Holmes, when you eliminated the impossible, that which remains, however merely improbable, must be true."
And Yet, Father Pacwa overlooks the most definitive, and perhaps the most incontestable proof. The 10,000 pages of Divine Revelation were given by our Lord in completely random succession. Maria records the visions in simple bound school note books, with no corrections, in the random order as they were given. On the surface, the complete work appeared as a well shuffled deck of cards. Towards the end, Jesus provides the proper sequence, the key, which could not be realized until the mammoth task of typing the manuscript was completed, allowing the individual pages to be sequenced in the specified succession. When finally placed in the correct progression, the puzzle materializes into a seamless perfect flowing chronology. Maria Valtorta keeps perfect track of Jesus, Mary and over 500 additional personalities. None of which are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Jesus is appropriately in Jerusalem and Judea for Passover and Pentecost in all four spring seasons, and at the Tabernacles in all three fall seasons of His ministry. Jesus traverses the land of Palestine from one end to another in at least six cycles (some 4,000 miles), ministering in some 350 named locations, including places in Palestine known only to specialized archaeologists. A fundamental proof of divine influence.
Many objections disputed that Maria Valtorta is the only visionary who described Jesus as havinggolden blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Furthermore, the Church universally accepted, that Jesus being a Jew, had dark skin, dark eyes, and dark hair. Remarkably, in 1964, a tablet from Pontius Pilate to Tiberius Caesar was recovered in a archeological find (a copy of this letter is in the Congressional Library in Washington, D.C.) which describes Jesus' physical appearance. It describes Jesus as having golden colored hair. Another unearthed description by Publius Lentrelus describes Jesus' eyes as bright blue. Maria Valtorta is the only Visionary to get this right!
While reviewing the evidence of the Shroud in 1999, Dr. Gilbert Lavoie presented another intriguing discovery, that the body had light blond hair.
"For instance, Jesus uses screwdrivers (Vol. 1, pp. 195, 223), centuries before screws existed.
Comment: The Encyclopedia Britannica credits Archytas of Tarentum as the inventor of the screw years before the birth of Christ. Again, this only shows that Father Mitch may have not performed fundamental research. Furthermore, a 2,100 year old mechanical computing device (Antikythera Mechanism), was recovered from a Roman shipwreck that had very complex mechanical parts. Erich Von Daniken wrote a book based on it (Chariots to the Gods), mistakenly believing that it was left by Ancient Astronauts. In 2004, a team including British, Greek and U.S. scientists used specially developed X-ray scanning and imaging technology to analyze the corroded bronze, revealing hidden machinery including fine bronze gears, screws and springs.
Fr. Pacwa argued on EWTN that horseshoes appeared in the Poem on several instances, and that there are no records of horseshoes in the first century. Again, Maria Valtorta got it right, ancient horseshoes were discovered that dated as far back as 400 BC:
Additionally, on the Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs (Season 1, Episode 8), about 20 minutes in, Mike Roe interviews a horse shoeing expert. The specialist explained that iron horse shoes with nails were first used 2,000 years ago by the Romans.
There are theological errors, as when "Jesus says" (vol. 1, p. 30) that Eve's temptation consisted in arousing her flesh, as the serpent sensuously "caressed" her. While she "began the sin by herself," she "accomplished it with her companion." Sun Myung Moon and Maria Valtorta may claim the first sin was sexual, but Scripture does not.
Comment: Firstly, it is surprising that Father Mitch Pacwa was unaware that theCatechism of the Catholic Church states in Part 1, Section 2, Chapter 1, Paragraph 7, part 390; "The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents." htttp://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p1s2c1p7.htm
One of the most influential Catholic Theologians Saint Augustine (Bishop of Hippo) argued that original sin had its beginning in sexual desire, and that the Eden account should be taken both literally and symbolically.
Saint Bridget of Sweden wrote nearly 1,000 pages of Private Revelations with full Church Approval, which also clarify the fall of Adam and Eve. Saint Bridget's descriptions sound very much like Valtorta's: "Sensually the devil aroused them".
Secondly, why is this considered of any importance, since the Vatican website now sadly teaches us that there was never an Adam or Eve; "However it is to be explained, the decisive factor in human origins was a continually increasing brain size, culminating in that of homo sapiens. With the development of the human brain, the nature and rate of evolution were permanently altered: with the introduction of the uniquely human factors of consciousness, internationality, freedom and creativity, biological evolution was recast as social and cultural evolution." That is certainly not what the Bible says.
Therefore, Maria Valtorta's writings can be considered more Catholic than the Vatican, in that her writings hold that there was a real Adam and a real Eve. VATICAN CITY (CNS) - "While apes evolved naturally into pre-human creatures, it was the will and desire of God that turned them into humans, an article in the Vatican newspaper said. "The formation of human beings necessitated a particular contribution by God, though it remains that their emergence was brought about by natural causes" of evolution, it said." Hence, the Vatican embraces that Darwin was right, that we all descended from monkeys, that there was no apple, no Adam, no Eve, no serpent, etc. Who is really in theological error?
In Maria Valtorta's descriptions, the serpent didn't caress Eve in a physical sense, it was done with sinful ideas, putting thoughts and temptations in her mind. Catholic Schools have been teaching our children for years that there was no actual Adam and Eve, that Genesis was an allegory or parable describing how Man and Woman fell into sin. Coupled with the underlying lesson or message being; that human sin is followed by punishment, but the last word in the story is one of grace from God. Maria Valtorta’s writings hold that there was a real Adam and a real Eve, this makes her writings to be more Biblical than what the Church even teaches.One of the foremost theologians of Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, Christopher West, has advanced precisely this point; that the first sin of Adam and Eve was a sexual sin resulting from lust.
Vol. 1, p. 7, oddly claims, "Mary can be called the 'second-born' of the Father . . ." Her explanation limits the meaning, avoiding evidence of an authentic heresy; but it does not take away the basic impression that she wants to construct a new Mariology, which simply goes beyond the limits of propriety."
Comment: In his book "The Virgin Mary In The Writings of Maria Valtorta", Renowned Mariologist Father Gabriel Roschini, OSM praises the Poem’s perfect Mariology. The following is one of his quotes: "A Madonna in perfect harmony with the ecclesiastical Magisterium, particularly with the Second Vatican Council, with Scripture and ecclesiastical Tradition. No other Marian writing has ever been able to give so clear, so living, so complete, so luminous and so fascinating an idea of the Madonna: [an idea] at once simple and sublime." (Pope John Paul II often referred to Father Gabriel M. Roschini as one of the greatest Marioligists who ever lived. He was a decorated professor at the "Marianum" Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Rome, and an advisor to the Holy Office. He wrote over 130 Books on the Blessed Mother, all of which are in the Vatican Library). Father Gabriel Roschini's analysis would be more plausible than Father Mitch Pacwa's, who is not a Mariologist.
Another strange and imprecise statement" made of Mary (vol. 4, p. 240) is that she will "be second to Peter with regard to ecclesiastical hierarchy." Our Lady surpasses St. Peter's holiness, but she is not in the hierarchy, let alone second to St. Peter.
Comment: Same as above.
Further, Valtorta did not claim to write a novel, but called herself a "secretary" of Jesus and Mary, so, "in all parts on reads the words 'Jesus says.' or 'Mary says.' The Church takes this claim to revelation very seriously, since it has the God-given duty to discern what is or is not truly from the Holy Spirit. In Valtorta's case, the Church decided against Divine inspiration.
Comment: The Approval of two Popes is being demeaned. As well as countless other endorsements by well respected authorities.
Finally, Poem is condemned for reasons of disobedience. Competent Church authority had prohibited the printing of Valtorta's work.
Comment: Those who condemned the Poem were in disobedience. Pope Pius XII Ordered the publishing before three witnesses. The Code of Canon Law: Book II, Part II, Section I, Chapter I, Article I, gives the Pope full and supreme power over all levels of the Church and free use to exercise this power. Canon law clearly requires that this Papal order be embraced with unconditional acceptance and submission.
Pope John's approval of the condemnation of the Poem of the Man-God should have ended the issue, but it did not.
Comment: Saint Faustina Kawalska's Divine Mercy was condemned on the same day, it didn't end that issue. Now we have Divine Mercy Sunday Mass. Pope John did not personally review Maria Valtorta’s writings. The Holy Office under Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani did, and placed it before Pope John for procedural signing upon taking office.
The publishers printed a second edition of 10 volumes, which the Church condemned in another front-page article in L'Osservatore Romano, Dec. 1, 1961. This second Italian edition was later translated into German, French, Spanish and English. CEDIVAL asserts that a "modernist clan in the Church, surreptitiously attempted to seize the manuscripts and destroy them," claiming "firsthand documentation on this." These "enemies" included Msgr. Pepe and Father Berruti, the Holy Office censors. I asked the head of CEDIVAL, Prof. Leo Brodeur, for evidence that Msgr. Pepe and Father Berruti held any modernist heresies, but he had none. He assumed they were modernists because the "Poem" claims "to help the Church fight against the terrible heresy of modernism." If the Poem's enemies are modernists, Msgr. Pepe and Father Berruti must be modernists, too. Such assertions are unacceptable. Accusations of modernism or any other heresy without proof is slander.
Comment: In 1949, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani who then headed the Holy Office, summoned Father Corrado Berti and Father Andrew Cecchin to the Holy Office. Furthermore, during this meeting both Priests were forbidden to speak or communicate in any way. Monsignor Pepe and Father Berruti, officials of the Holy Office were entrusted with informing both Priests of the new judgment that reversed and undermined the Papal Imprimatur (They had nothing to do with the actual condemnation). The order of silence cleverly restricted Father Berti from informing Monsignor Pepe and Father Berruti of the Papal Imprimatur given by Pope Pius XII.
Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, present head of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the same office that condemned the Poem), informed Cardinal Siri in 1985 of the "Poem's condemnation: After the dissolution of the Index, when some people thought the printing and distribution of the work was permitted, they were reminded again in L'Osservatore Romano (June 15, 1966) that "The Index retains its moral force despite its dissolution."
Comment: If this statement was true, then the Ecclesiastic Hierarchy still believe the Sun orbits the Earth. The condemned diary of Saint Faustina Kowalska was also liberated from ecclesiastic restriction with the abrogation of the Index. Now parts are quoted from the Pulpit on Divine Mercy Sunday. Another example would be how Roman Catholic Church hierarchy placed Galileo’s writings on the forbidden book list. Galileo was interrogated on April of 1633 before the Inquisition. For over two weeks he was imprisoned in an apartment in the Inquisition building. Facing torture and being burned at the stake, Galileo agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for a more lenient sentence. On June 22, 1633 Galileo was sentenced to prison for an indefinite term. Seven of ten cardinals presiding at his trial signed the sentencing order. Galileo signs a formal recantation of the Sun being the center of the Solar System. In 1992 Pope John Paul acknowledged that the Roman Catholic Church erred in condemning Galileo for asserting that the Earth revolves around the Sun.
More recently (April 17, 1993, Prot. N. 144/58i), he wrote: "The 'visions' and 'dictations' referred to in the work, The Poem of the Man-God, are simply the literary forms used by the author to narrate in her own way the life of Jesus. They cannot be considered supernatural in origin." The best that can be said for The Poem of the Man-God is that it is a bad novel. This was summed up in the L'Osservatore Romano headline, which called the book "A Badly Fictionalized Life of Jesus."
Comment: This is a standard formality, although Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich’s writings were approved, the Church still required her books display the same wording posted in the inside cover: "cannot be considered supernatural in origin". "Badly Fictionalized"? That was an unsigned article written by a Cardinal who was angry over being bypassed in the Church approval process. The same Cardinal who tried to persuade Pope Pius XII to sign a condemnation to Saint Faustina Kawalska's Divine Mercy, but the Pontiff refused.
At worst, Poem's impact is more serious. Though many people claim that Poem helps their faith or their return to reading Scripture, they are still being disobedient to the Church's decisions regarding the reading of Poem.
Comment: When addressing Valtorta’s writings on EWTN Fr. Pacwa stated: "But still, people come to me and say: ‘that it brings them closer to God’". Jesus taught us that we will know the tree by it’s fruit; "So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits, (Matthew 7:17-20). So if we take Jesus literally, since the fruit is good (as Father Mitch attests), the tree must be good.
After healing the sick and casting out devils, the Chief Priests, Pharisees and Scribes said: "He hath Beelzebub". Jesus replied: "If satan were to rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end" (Mark 3:25). Jesus essentially told them that satan is not in the salvation business. The devil does not lead souls to God.
How can such disregard for Church authority and wisdom be a help in renewing the Church in these difficult times? When Catholics insist on reading Poem, despite Church condemnation,
Comment: How can lower levels of the ecclesiastical bureaucracy overturn a Papal order? The Papal Order to publish came first. According to Canon Law, it is not subject to a reversal by lower levels of the Church Hierarchy.
I make these requests: First, read three hours of Scripture for every one hour spent in the Poem. The Church guarantees that the Bible is God's Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Church has judged the Poem to be a poorly done human work.Comment: "Poorly done"? Again, not according to the experts, two Popes (Pope Pius XII and Pope Paul IV), Blessed Gabriel Allegra, OFM (the only Scripture scholar beatified by Pope John Paul II - His Eminence was well aware that Father Gabriel Allegra was most noted for being an outspoken supporter of Maria Valtorta’s writings. Quite possibly another indirect Papal endorsement of Pope John Paul II.), Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, noted Priests, Padre Pio, Mother Theresa of Calcutta, etc.
Second, read solid Catholic theology books in addition to Scripture. G.K. Chesterton, Frank Sheed, Archbishop Sheen's Life of Christ and many other works are excellent starts.
Comment: Father Vernard Poslusney declared Maria Valtorta's Private Revelation to be the most authentic he ever read. "Father Vernard Poslusney is considered by many people throughout Austria, Rome and the United States to be one of the greatest Roman Catholic orators that ever lived. He served as a Carmelite retreat director, conducting numerous Conferences, Days of Prayer, Homilies, Lectures, Retreats, Seminars, Sermons, Teachings and Workshops. Some of these were with Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen in the 1970's. His stratospheric religious discernment and wisdom has enlightened many on the spirituality of Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Therese of Lisieux, as well as public and private revelation. He was an advisor to the Holy Office, as well as the author of three time-honored books: (Attaining Spiritual Maturity for Contemplation), (Prayer, Aspiration and Contemplation) and (Union with the Lord in Prayer)."
Third, maintain a strong prayer life, drawing closer to Christ Jesus, Our Lord, at Mass and at Eucharistic adoration, and to our Blessed Mother Mary, especially in the Rosary. If sheep insist on bad pasturage, at least let them take antidotes.
Comment: "Antidotes"? As Father Mitch pointed out, Maria Valtorta's writings reinvigorates our faith and compels us to spend more time reading scripture. That would make the Poem it's own antidote.