The True Life in God messages
were first published in 1991 and, despite being made known only by word of mouth, the books were an immediate success. This success continued for the next four years during which time Vassula visited many countries witnessing the messages to ever larger audiences.
Although the persecution of Vassula and the messages had begun almost as soon as the first books appeared, it was only in 1995 that the spread of the messages was checked by a Notification from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican (CDF) whose head at the time was the then Cardinal Ratzinger, later to become Pope Benedict XVI.
The publication of the Notification was curious in that it was published unsigned and was issued without any prior contact between the Vatican and Vassula. (see the Bishop Terra video
It became clear early on, despite the protestations of those opposing Vassula, that the Notification was not intended as a condemnation. This can be seen from the words of Cardinal Ratzinger to a group of Mexican readers of TLIG on 10 May 1996:
"On the basis of what you have told me in your letter about testimonies and conversions, that is very good. We only want you to proceed with discernment, - do not take as the word of God what is considered, for the moment, only human and personal. What we have said is that she should not witness in churches (inside the church) because she is an Orthodox and her marital status is not yet clear, being divorced, - and which we are studying. "You may continue to promote her writings, but always with discernment."
('The Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Writings of Vassula Rydén'
, SF Editores, Mexico, February 2004, pp. 153-154)
The Cardinal's words were confirmed three years later in January 1999 in an interview published in the Italian magazine, 30Giorni
, where Cardinal Ratzinger replied to a query as to whether the Notification was a condemnation of the True Life in God
"You have touched on a very problematical issue. No, the Notification is a warning, not a condemnation. From the strictly procedural point of view, no person may be condemned without a trial and without being given the opportunity to air their views first."
Three years later, Cardinal Ratzinger decided to give Vassula an opportunity to clarify the points which the CDF had felt needed clarification. Vassula was asked to supply three copies of all the original handwriting volumes of the messages, to be read by three inspectors. Vassula was also invited to respond to a series of five questions put to her on behalf of the Cardinal by Fr. Prospero Grech, Consultor to the CDF (made Cardinal in 2014 - see below *
). Vassula's responses were well received by the Cardinal and he requested Vassula to include them in future printings of the True Life in God
books. The conclusion of the investigation was positive and Vassula was invited to meet the Cardinal in his office in the Vatican in November 2004 (see photo above
). The CDF's questions and Vassula's answers can be read in full HERE
In 2004, Cardinal Ratzinger had earlier sent a letter
to the Presidents of the Episcopal Conferences of five countries who had previously expressed concerns about Vassula's activities. The Cardinal's letter informs the presidents of Vassula's 'useful clarifications' to the CDF's concerns. All the documentation surrounding this matter can be viewed HERE
. When asked how the CDF would respond if asked about the Notification, Cardinal Ratzinger's response was "The situation has been modified"
In 2005, the True Life in God
messages were granted a Nihil Obstat
Unfortunately, 2007 saw another unwelcome development when a letter from the newly appointed head of the CDF, Cardinal Levada, leaked on to the internet. The letter, sent to Catholic bishops around the world, gave a less than clear presentation of the Catholic Church's apparent attitude to Vassula and True Life in God
. The letter seemed to indicate a position by Cardinal Levada which was at variance with that held by Cardinal Ratzinger, later Pope Benedict XVI.
In 2014, Cardinal Propsero Grech, who had been asked to act as intermediary for the CDF in its dialogue with Vassula in 2002, wrote a review of Vassula's book, 'Heaven is Real but so is Hell'
A full, detailed account of the Vatican's dialogue with Vassula
(2001 - 2004) has been compiled which details all the exchanges and meetings.
The photograph on the right was taken at a General Audience in the Vatican in 2008 when Vassula was able to present to the Holy Father a copy of the complete True Life in God
messages. (Larger images HERE