Venerable Pope Pius XII’s Approval of “The Poem of the Man-God”
Source: https://sites.google.com/site/poemvaltorta/ Scripture enjoins the discernment of spirits: "Do not extinguish the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. But test all things; hold fast that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:19-20) • Maria Valtorta received five dictations from Jesus for Pope Pius XII; • a high ranking prelate handed them personally to Pope Pius XII in 1947; • he also handed him a 12-volume typewritten copy of the Italian original of The Poem of the Man-God; • Pope Pius XII put the 12 volumes in his personal library; • an eye-witness reported that there was a bookmark in them, and it moved over time; • a few Church personalities read some of those typescript volumes at that time, presumably upon Pope Pius XII's discreet initiative; • on February 26, 1948, Pope Pius XII granted a special audience concerning The Poem of the Man-God: • the Pope summoned three Servites of Mary:
• Fr. Corrado M. Berti, the would-be editor of The Poem of the Man-God,
• Fr. Romualdo Migliorini, who had been Maria Valtorta's spiritual director for a few years,
• Fr. Andrea Cecchin, the Servite superior in Rome; • the Pope told Fr. Berti in front of the other two: "Publish this work just as it is"; • the Osservatore Romano of February 27, 1948 reported the taking place of the audience (a photograph of this notice was published in Pisani:192-11). More than an Imprimatur The original Italian edition of The Poem of the Man-God received more than an Imprimatur by Pope Pius XII on February 26, 1948. During an official special audience mentioned the following day in the Osservatore Romano, Pope Pius XII told three Servites of Mary, "Publish this work just as it is." The word Imprimatur merely means "it may be printed." Here the Pope went farther. He said: "Publish this work just as it is." The contents were fine by him. He said: "Publish this work just as it is." Pope Pius XII was a serious, scholarly man who always double-checked everything personally before signing anything or saying anything. He was a pillar of the Church, a staunch defender of Catholic doctrine. If the contents of The Poem of the Man-God were fine by such a great Pope, how come we still find people opposing The Poem of the Man-God? How come various cardinals, bishops and priests have launched various persecutions of The Poem of the Man-God? Pope Pius XII on The Poem of the Man-God On February 26, 1948, Pope Pius XII, during an official special audience mentioned in the Osservatore Romano the following day, had much to say about The Poem of the Man-God. "Pubblicate quest' opera cosi come sta, senza pronunciarvi a riguardo dell'origine straordinaria o meno di essa: chi legge, capira Si sente parlare di tante visioni e rivelazioni. lo non dico che tutte siano vere; ma qualcuna vera ci puo essere." "Publish this work just as it is, without giving an opinion about its origin, whether it be extraordinary or not. Who reads it, will understand. [Nowadays] one hears of many visions and revelations. I do not say they are all authentic; but some of them can be authentic." Pope Pius XII was a very strict conservative who did his utmost to destroy heresies. Also, he had been a Church diplomat and had mastered the art of prudent understatement. Therefore, when he said, in the context of a special audience whose purpose was to discuss the future of The Poem of the Man-God, that some visions and revelations in his day and age could be said to be authentic, he was very diplomatically, very guardedly letting on that he deemed the visions described in The Poem of the Man-God to be authentic. During that special audience, Pope Pius XII spoke as a superior to someone in front of two other witnesses. By the canon law in force then, such an oral statement carried as much weight as a signed document. The fact that he said to publish a typescript just as it is, thus constituted more than an imprimatur. That is because the word imprimatur merely means "it may be printed." Here the Pope did not merely say that The Poem of the Man-God may be printed; he said: "Publish this just as it is." Everyone should respect such an initiative by a Pope, the supreme visible authority in the Church, especially when he was known to be unflinchingly traditional. Un-traditional people do not like Pope Pius XII precisely because he was such a bastion of tradition. For all his efforts as a good practicing Catholic and Vicar of Christ on earth from 1939 to 1958, the beatification procedures for Pope Pius XII were begun by Pope Paul VI on March 12, 1964. 1949: Secret Plot in the Vatican Two years after Jesus first revealed to Maria Valtorta that a priest was chomping at the bit for a chance to harm The Poem of the Man-God, the prophecy sadly came true. It was behind the back of Pope Pius XII that various officials in the Holy Office in 1949 plotted to grab hold of the manuscripts of Maria Valtorta's The Poem of the Man-God and put them in permanent cold storage. The plot was thwarted thanks to providential, quick thinking on the part of Fr. Berti, who documented the Secret 1949 Vatican Plot in writing in 1978. In short, this is what happened. The person legally responsible for Maria Valtorta's writings, Fr. Berti, was summoned by some officials of the Holy Office to a special meeting at their official location in 1949. It is crucial to remember that Fr. Berti is the priest who, in front of two witnesses, was told by Pope Pius XII on February 26, 1948 to publish The Poem of the Man-God just as it was. One year after his favorable special audience with the Pope, Fr. Berti was now being told by the Holy Office not to publish it after all. He was not given the opportunity to defend himself or The Poem of the Man-God. Furthermore, he was to gather all the manuscripts and their typewritten copies and hand everything over to the Holy Office for them to keep indefinitely or even destroy. The meeting was then adjourned. Fr. Berti knew that the Holy Office had proceeded illegally, by denying him the right to defend himself. He would have told them that the Pope, the supreme visible authority in the Church, had told him in front of two witnesses to publish The Poem of the Man-God. But since these Holy Office officials were breaking the rules and going against the Pope, Fr. Berti rightfully disobeyed them and obeyed the Pope instead. Even supposing that the Holy Office officials had been unaware of the Pope's command, they were still wrong to order Fr. Berti not to publish The Poem of the Man-God without giving him a chance to speak up. Fr. Berti had been given contradictory orders, so he obeyed the orders of the highest authority, namely the Pope. He continued looking for a publisher for The Poem of the Man-God. In 1952, he finally found one who fearlessly respected Pope Pius XII's words before two witnesses: "Publish this work just as it is," realizing that the Pope's words before two witnesses at an official special audience bore greater authority than anyone else's dictates. December 1959 and January 1960: Masterpiece of Deceit and Abuse of Power against The Poem of the Man-God In December 1959, the 1949 Secret Vatican Plotters managed to deal a public blow to The Poem of the Man-God. It was a masterpiece of deceit and abuse of power. They managed to mislead various Church authorities, get their official backing in December 1959, and publish an article in early 1960 to justify their action. This was such a well-orchestrated attack that even now in late 1996, it still frightens various people of good will away from The Poem of the Man-God. The opponents of The Poem of the Man-God misled enough consultors to the Holy Office to obtain a majority vote to condemn it. The Holy Office then issued a decree putting the first Italian edition of The Poem of the Man-God on the Index of Forbidden Books. An article was then published in the Osservatore Romano. A careful study of that article will show that the first Italian edition of The Poem of the Man-God was put on the Index illegally and invalidly. We will quote much from two articles of rebuttal, published by Emilio Pisani: • "L'Opera di Maria Valtorta e la Chiesa," in Boll.:91-92. (This will be referred to as Source 1.) • "L'Osservatore Romano: 1960," in Pisani:63-69. (This will be referred to as Source 2.) The death of Pius XII and the election of John XXIII, who favored a marked decentralization of Church government towards its dicasteries, seemed to give the slumbering hostilities [to The Poem of the Man-God] their strength back. The putting of the Work on the Index came like a bolt from the blue, without [the normal procedure of] a warning. The Holy Office's Decree condemning the Work was published on the front page of the Osservatore Romano of Wednesday, January 6, 1960. (Source 1.) L'Osservatore Romano, founded in 1861, is the "politico-religious daily" of the Holy See, published in Vatican City. On Wednesday, January 6, 1960, the paper reported on the front page the Latin text of the Holy Office's Decree condemning Valtorta's Work and making the arrangements for putting it on the Index of Forbidden Books. On the same page, an article explains the reasons for that measure, which had been decided upon on December 16, 1959. The Osservatore Romano article bears no signature and is not of an official nature. Nevertheless, due to the newspaper publishing it, due to its being published together with the Holy Office's Decree, and above all, due to its purpose of justifying that Decree, the article was bound to become the compulsory point of reference for Church Authorities every time they were asked about Maria Valtorta's Work. It is, therefore, important to read it rationally. We shall stop to comment it after every typographical spacing in the original article. (Source 2.) Let us first comment on the title. The unsigned, column long article was entitled "A Poorly Novelized Life of Jesus." (Source 1.) Now, when you think about it, whether this life of Jesus was poorly novelized or not had strictly nothing to do with putting it on the Index! The only purpose of the Index of Forbidden Books was to prevent the faithful from reading books which contained either heresy or intrinsically immoral passages. A book's literary value was obviously and totally irrelevant. A title like A Poorly Novelized Life of Jesus might have been fine for a literary critique, but not at all for a serious report as to whether a book was fit for religious reading or not. Twenty years later [as of 1981], we can now read that article with a tried and tested serenity. Its contents matched its title, since it did not point out any substantial errors in the Work. (Source 1.) We now quote the first portion of the Osservatore Romano article: In another section of our Newspaper, we have published the Decree of the Holy Office with which it put on the Index a Work in four volumes, by an author who remained anonymous (at least in this printing), a Work published in Isola del Liri [Frosinone, Italy]. Although it deals exclusively with religious subjects, these volumes do not have the "imprimatur" required by Canon 1385, section 1, #2, in the Codex Iuris Canonici [of 1918]. The Publisher, in a brief foreword, writes that the Author, "like Dante, has given us a work in which splendid descriptions of times and places provide the setting for the presentation of countless characters who address each other and address to us their gentle or strong or admonitory words. The result is an unpretentious yet impressive Work: the literary homage of a sorrowing ill person to the Great Comforter Jesus." Instead, to an attentive reader these volumes seem nothing but a long-winded novelized life of Jesus. Apart from the conceit of the comparison with Dante, and even though illustrious personalities (whose unquestionable good faith was taken by surprise) have given their support to the publication, the Holy Office thought it necessary to put it on the Index of Forbidden Books. The reasons are easy to find for those who have the patience of Job to read the almost 4000 pages of close type [in the 1956-1959 Italian edition]. We now stop for our first comments. It is the Work's first edition that was put on the Index. Though consisting of only four volumes it was unabridged. It did not bear the author's name, as she did not want to be known during her lifetime. (Maria Valtorta's name, unlike the title of her Work and the publisher's name, was to remain off the Index.) (Source 2.) The anonymous author of this article noted the lack of the prescribed imprimatur in the publication. (Source 1.) There was no mention of a written imprimatur, because more than an imprimatur had been granted orally by Pope Pius XII. Whereas the word imprimatur means merely it may be printed, Pope Pius XII had said: "Publish this work just as it is.- The fact that he uttered his command orally to Fr. Berti in front of two witnesses, made it just as binding as a command in writing, according to the 1918 Code of Canon Law, which was in force in 1948, when Pope Pius XII addressed Fr. Berti and the two priests with him. However, the present writer ignores whether the original Italian edition (1956-1959) of The Poem of the Man-God mentioned this command by Pope Pius XII or not. If it did, then we may wonder why the author of the Osservatore Romano article under scrutiny left it out of the picture. If it did not, then of course it left itself open to criticism, but even so, had the Holy Office given the customary warning to the publishers, they would have had a chance to inform the Holy Office about Pope Pius XII's command, which was stronger than an Imprimatur. The Work's literary value, which the anonymous author sarcastically underestimated, cannot be grounds for an ecclesiastical censure. (Source 2.) He [the anonymous author of the Osservatore Romano article] alleged that the good faith of the famous personalities who supported it had been taken advantage of. (Source 1.) In fact, this was a mere supposition. The illustrious personalities who gave their support to the publication are left unnamed, although their names are known because of the testimonials they issued. It is difficult to understand who could have deceived them and how. (Source 2.) As a matter of fact, those illustrious personalities voluntarily read significant portions of, or all of, the original Italian typescripts of The Poem of the Man-God and some of them even met Maria Valtorta personally. Thus they were able to make up their minds about The Poem of the Man-God without any outside interference. Let us name some of those personalities, all of whom wrote testimonials in favor of The Poem of the Man-God: • Most Reverend Alfonso Carinci, former Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, which dealt with the causes of the saints, and as such he was very conversant with the discernment of the spirits; • Giorgio La Pira, university professor of Roman Law three-times mayor of Florence, whose cause for beatification was introduced in 1986; • Lorenzo Ferri, artist and sculptor, commissioned by the Sanctuary of Cave, Rome, to sculpt a low-relief bronze door narrating the life of Mary in the light of The Poem of the Man-God; • Fr. Agostino Bea, Rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, confessor of Pope Pius XII, a Cardinal in 1959; • Nicola Pende, world-renowned endocrinologist; • Vittorio Tredici, mineralogist, president of the Corporation of Metallic Minerals in Italy, vice-president of the Italian Corporation of Mining Industries, and president of the Italian Potash Society; • Camillo Corsanego, Dean of the Consistorial Lawyers, professor of comparative criminal law at the Pontifical Lateran University, past National President of Italian Catholic Action. The reviewer's lack of enthusiasm in undertaking to read "the almost 4000 pages of close type" gives an indication of the superficiality (which will be confirmed below) of his examination. (Source 2.) Part two of the Osservatore Romano article "begins to deal with the contents of the Work." (Source 2.) First of all, the reader is struck by the length of the discourses attributed to Jesus and to the Most Blessed Virgin, and by the never-ending dialogues between the numerous characters who fill these pages. The four Gospels present us Jesus as humble and reserved; His discourses are unadorned and clear-cut, yet of the greatest effectiveness. Whereas in this sort of novelized story, Jesus is very talkative, almost self-advertising, always willing to proclaim Himself Messiah and Son of God and to give theological lectures in the very words which a professor would use nowadays . In the account of the Gospels we admire the humility and silence of the Mother of Jesus; instead for the author of this work the Most Blessed Virgin has the readiness of speech of a modern saleslady, is always present everywhere, and always willing to give lectures of Marian theology, an extremely up-to-date Mariology including even the latest studies by present-day  specialists on the matter. The story is slow and almost gossipy. In it we find new facts, new parables, new characters and many, many women following Jesus. Moreover, some episodes are rather troublesome and call to mind certain descriptions and certain scenes from modern novels, like, to give just a few examples, the confession to Mary of a certain Aglae, a woman of loose morals (vol.1 [of the 1956-1959 Italian edition], pp.790ff), the unedifying story on pp.887ss of vol.1 [of the 19561959 Italian edition], and a dance, certainly not a modest one, performed in front of Pilate, in the Praetoriurn (vol.IV [of the 1956-1959 Italian edition], p.75), etc. At this point a particular thought occurs spontaneously: the Work, by its very nature and in accordance with the intentions of the author and of the Publisher, could easily fall into the hands of nuns and the girls in their boarding schools. In this case, the reading of passages of the same kind as those referred to, could hardly be done without spiritual danger or damage. Maria Valtorta's Work could not have been put on the Index for long-windedness (a very debatable allegation to say the least) and not even for its portrayal of Jesus as "self-advertising" and the Virgin Mary as a talkative "sales-lady" - huge distortions of Valtorta's text that amount to falsehoods (cf. Sources 1 and 2). Had there been any doctrinal errors the Work could have been condemned. But instead, the reviewer found "theological lectures in the very words which a professor would use nowadays " and "lectures of Marian theology, an extremely up-to-date Mariology including even the latest studies by present-day  specialists on the matter." Had it been contrary to good morals, the Work could have been condemned. (Source 2.) Here the censor begins with an insinuation, when he casually mentions "many, many women following Jesus." In the context of a text purporting to justify a condemnation of Maria Valtorta's Work, this mention of many women must have been calculated to give the impression that there was something improper in the fact that many women followed Jesus. However, if that is the case, then St. Luke's Gospel was improper too (cf. Source 2): "With Him were the twelve apostles, and certain women, whom He had freed from evil spirits and from sicknesses, Mary who is called Magdalen, who had had seven devils cast out of her, and Joanna, the wife of Khuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, who ministered to Him with the means they had." The Greek original text for and many others uses the feminine, so these many others are undeniably women. Attempting to establish grounds for immorality, the censor expediently refers to "some" episodes that are "rather troublesome" and gives "just a few examples." Since only "some" episodes are incriminated from that point of view, one may hold that there are no other examples apart from the three referred to. The censor pauses on these "rather troublesome" episodes. Neglecting to take into account that the purpose of those pages is to condemn corruption and to advocate redemption from sin, he is concerned with a particular category of readers that might be harmed by them: nuns and the girls in their boarding-schools. One may deduce that [according to him] the Work could be put on the Index because of a few debatably troublesome episodes whose reading could harm nuns and school-girls. However the reading of a Work inserted in the Index of Forbidden Books is understood to be forbidden to all Catholics, except for some with a special permission. Behind the condemnation of Valtorta's Work, instead, there may have been the intention to forbid it to only one category of Catholic readers. The confirmation of this hypothesis came in 1985, [on January 31,] in a letter by Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal Siri: Maria Valtorta's Work was condemned "in order to neutralize the harm which such a publication may cause to the most unprepared faithful." (Source 2.) That was a very charitable hypothesis and very charitable confirmation thereof by Cardinal Ratzinger. There are many grounds, however, for upholding a Modernist plot to silence The Poem of the Man-God, precisely because the main reason Jesus gave for bestowing that Work on the Church was to help the Church combat Modernism. Modernists, of course, would not want an open confrontation, so they had to come up with excuses, among which the nuns and their school-girls. Part three of the Osservatore Romano article "tackles more resolutely the contents of the Work." (Source 2.) Specialists in biblical studies will certainly find many blunders pertaining to history, geography, and the like. But since this is a... novel, these inventions obviously increase the book's picturesqueness and imaginary nature. Amidst such flaunted theological learning, one can pick a few... gems that certainly do not sparkle with Catholic orthodoxy. A rather odd and inexact opinion is expressed here and there about the sin of Adam and Eve. On p.63 of vol.1 [of the 1956-1959 Italian edition], one can read this title: "Mary can be called the second-born of the Father"; this affirmation is repeated in the text on the following page. The explanation restricts its meaning, avoiding genuine heresy; but it does not remove the justified impression that the intent is to create a new Mariology, which easily exceeds the limits of propriety. On p.772 of vol. II [of the 1956-1959 Italian edition] one can read: "Paradise is Light, perfume, and harmony. But if in it the Father were not to be happy in contemplating the All Beautiful Woman who turns Earth into a paradise, but if Paradise were in the future not to have the live Lily in whose bosom the Three fiery pistils of the divine Trinity are, then the light, perfume, and harmony of Paradise would be reduced by half." This expresses a cryptic concept, which fortunately is extremely confused, because if it were to be taken literally, it would not escape a strict reprimand. Last of all, let us mention another strange and imprecise affirmation, which says of the Virgin Mary: "You, for the time you remain on earth, second to Peter as to ecclesiastical hierarchy...' (the emphasis is ours. Editor). Let us take up our commentary again. (Source 2.) Again, the anonymous author of the Osservatore Romano article throws a red herring at the reader: The 'blunders pertaining to history, geography, and the like," if only they were established in the first place, could not come either within the reasons for an ecclesiastical condemnation, which must take into account only of what is against faith and morals. It may be for this reason that the author spares himself the trouble of ferreting them out, delegating the search to the "specialists in biblical studies." Finally, the censor concentrates on doctrinal matters, but his investigation seems to lose its way "amidst such... theological learning." By using those words, again he unwittingly praises the Work, despite his opinion that "such... theological learning" is "flaunted." Amidst it, he manages to "pick a few... gems that certainly do not sparkle with Catholic orthodoxy," and he gives four examples. (The proportion is one to every thousand pages of close type.) The first example is "a rather odd and inexact opinion": it is therefore not false. (Source 2.) If it is merely "inexact," it is not heretical, and therefore it does not justify putting the Work on the Index. The second example is an affirmation whose "explanation restricts its meaning, avoiding genuine heresy": here too there is no heresy, only an impropriety, and even its improperness would fall if one did not have "the justified impression that the intent is to create a new Mariology." (Source 2.) Again, no heresy; hence no grounds for putting the Work on the Index. The third example is "a cryptic concept, which fortunately is extremely confused, because if it were to be taken literally, it would not escape a strict reprimand": well, "fortunately," it is safe from a strict reprimand. (Source 2.) And so again this example provides no grounds for putting the Work on the Index. The fourth and last example is "another strange and imprecise affirmation": but not necessarily false. (Source 2.) Besides, the author only quoted the affirmation (as Source 1 points out), and thus there is no specific accusation. Had there been a specific heresy here, you should think the anonymous author would have pounced on it. That's all. Supposing that the most impeachable passages had been chosen as examples, one can well imagine how innocent the omitted examples must have been. (Source 2.) The fourth and last part of the Osservatore Romano article "begins with a contradiction and an unclear statement." (Source 2.) The Work, therefore, would have deserved to be condemned even if it had been only a novel, at least on the grounds of irreverence. In reality, the intention of the author claims more. Skimming through the volumes, one can read here and there the words "Jesus says," "Mary says," or "I see" and the like. In fact, towards the end of volume IV [of the 1956-1959 Italian edition] (p.839), the author turns out to be a woman who writes that she witnessed the whole messianic period and that her name is Maria. These words call to mind that about ten years ago [from the writing of the Osservatore Romano article], a few voluminous typescripts were going around, which contained alleged visions and revelations. It is known that the appropriate Ecclesiastical Authority back then had forbidden the printing of these typescripts and ordered that they be withdrawn from circulation. Now we notice that they are almost entirely published in the present Work. Therefore, this public condemnation by the Supreme Sacred Congregation is all the more so fitting, on account of serious disobedience. The contradiction, which we mentioned before, consists in suddenly saying that the Work is not only a novel, whereas earlier, the author had affirmed: 1) that "to an attentive reader these volumes seem nothing but a long-winded novelized life of Jesus"; 2) that the Work is a "sort of novelized story"; 3) that some episodes "call to mind certain descriptions and certain scenes from modern novels"; 4) that "since this is a... novel, these inventions obviously increase the book's picturesqueness and imaginary nature"; [and 5)] the article's title states at the very start: "A Poorly Novelized Life of Jesus." The unclear statement, then, is found in the allusion to "grounds of irreverence," which are not specified. One may suppose that the censor is referring to his consideration, in part two of the article, on the "many, many women following Jesus." (Source 2.) We dealt with that when commenting on part two. And now a bit of history. About ten years earlier [from the writing of the Osservatore Romano article], "the appropriate Ecclesiastical Authority back then had forbidden the printing of these typescripts and ordered that they be withdrawn from circulation." (Source 2.) That's what we (the Maria Valtorta Research Center) referred to as the Secret 1949 Vatican Plot. That, however, was an order given to Fr. Berti personally: not to Maria Valtorta, not to the publisher that later on printed those typescripts in the present Work. Nevertheless, "this public condemnation by the Supreme Sacred Congregation is all the more so fitting, on account of serious disobedience." (Source 2.) Here we think that Source 2 is trying very hard to put forth a very charitable hypothesis as to the nature of the opposition to The Poem of the Man-God. Maria Valtorta was not given that order for the simple reason that her identity was unknown; on the other hand, all publishers in the world had been implicitly forbidden not to publish the Work, because Fr. Berti was threatened that should the Work be published, it would be put on the Index. It's all a matter of the letter vs. the spirit. Though the letter of the prohibition may have applied to Fr. Berti only (and thus Source 2 would be right), the spirit of the prohibition applied to the Work. It's the Work that the Secret 1949 Vatican Plot was deliberately after, despite Pope Pius XII's command to publish it. Summary. The whole business of this putting of The Poem of the Man-God on the Index is so shady, and the article in the Osservatore Romano explaining why is so full of red herrings, that the previous analysis bears repeating. We will do this by quoting the conclusions of Source 1: Thus we have disassembled the article, focusing on all the essential passages. Now let us make the following remarks: 1. In almost 4000 pages of close type, the anonymous author did not manage to find one single genuine, clear-cut error. All he could find was: "a few... gems that certainly do not sparkle with Catholic orthodoxy"; "a rather odd and inexact opinion"; an affirmation whose "explanation restricts its meaning, avoiding genuine heresy"; the "justified impression that the intent is to create a new Mariology"; "a cryptic concept, which fortunately is extremely confused, because if it were to be taken literally, it would not escape a strict reprimand"; "another strange and imprecise affirmation"; "grounds of irreverence." 2. He let slip words of praise which any religious author would envy: "theological lectures in the very words which a professor would use nowadays "; "lectures of Marian theology, an extremely up-to-date Mariology including even the latest studies by present-day  specialists on the matter"; "such flaunted theological learning." 3. He writes falsehoods when he says that Jesus, in this Work, "is very talkative, almost self-advertising... " and that "the Most Blessed Virgin has the readiness of speech of a modern saleslady, is always present everywhere..." 4. He proves his superficiality or incompetence in literary criticism, which could have been done without, since it cannot be part of the grounds for a Church censure. 5. He states in his conclusion that the action taken by the Holy Office was above all disciplinary. Though as Catholics, we were saddened by the proscription Decree from the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, we were reassured by the article explaining the grounds for it. The Church was striking Maria Valtorta's work with a form of discipline which is legitimate but outside its infallible Magisterium. We sensed at once that the Church was but repeating its own history: several times in the past, it was mysteriously allowed by God to condemn people and writings, who and which later turned out to be its glory. We accepted this in silence. (Source 1.) Thus, as the reader can ascertain for himself, the Osservatore Romano article which gave the reasons for putting [the first Italian edition of The Poem of the Man-God] on the Index of Forbidden Books failed to mention one single heresy or one clear-cut example of an immoral passage that would be intrinsically bad to read. Even the alleged instances of potentially immoral passages were admitted to be potentially bad only for specific types of people: nuns and girls in boarding schools were used as examples. Upon closer inspection, however, those passages are not immoral, because they purport to blame evil and extol redemption. If the critics are still not satisfied, perhaps they could explain why there are some rather filthy passages in the Holy Scriptures, namely various stories of rape, incest, sodomy, and adultery? If, then, in the original Italian edition of The Poem of the Man-God, there is not one single heresy and not one single passage that could be called intrinsically immoral, then there were no grounds whatsoever for putting the original Italian edition of The Poem of the Man-God on the Index of Forbidden Books. That "the action taken by the Holy Office was above all disciplinary" (Source 1) does not salvage its operation, because the Index of Forbidden Books was not meant as a mere disciplinary measure, it was meant for books containing heresy or intrinsically immoral passages. Furthermore, the disciplinary measure itself was uncalled for. It was the long-looming outcome of an event that took place about ten years before the writing of the January 6, 1960 article. "It is known that the appropriate Ecclesiastical Authority back then had forbidden the printing of these typescripts and ordered that they be withdrawn from circulation." This refers to the action taken behind Pope Pius XII's back which we called the Secret 1949 Vatican Plot the operation designed to put The Poem of the Man-God in cold storage indefinitely or to destroy it. We have shown how illicit and invalid that 1949 clandestine act was. Both the Secret 1949 Vatican Plot and the Public 1959-1960 Vatican Injustice went hand in hand. It took the plot ten years to bear its venomous fruit. The saintly Pope Pius XII, who protected the Work and said to publish it just as it was, had to die first. Spreading around the World despite Opposition - Early 1947. Jesus warns Maria Valtorta of false friends whose real motive is to destroy the Work. - April 28, 1947. Work completed. - February 26, 1948. Pope Pius XII approves it without any restrictions whatsoever. He says: "Publish this work just as it is." - 1949. Secret Vatican Plot to put the Work in cold storage indefinitely. Plot thwarted by Fr. Berti. - 1956-1959. First Italian edition, published by Knight Michele Pisani's house in Isola del Liri, Frosinone, Italy. Welcomed in Italy and by various Italian missionaries. - 1958. Pope Pius XII, the Work's protector, passes away. - December 1959. Secret Vatican Plot breaks out publicly. Ranks of Consultors to Holy Office infiltrated by enemies of The Poem of the Man-God. Majority vote to condemn it, though contains no heresies, no immoral passages. Cardinal Prefect of Holy Office brings decision to Pope John XXIII, who signs decree to put The Poem of the Man-God on Index of Forbidden Books. - January 6, 1960. Osservatore Romano announces condemnation. Anonymous article attempts to justify decision. Fails to mention one single heresy or immoral passage, which proves putting on the Index was illegal. - Early 1962. Fr. Giraudo, member of Holy Office, reverses previous decision of Holy Office. Presumably to save face, reversal not published. - 1961-1967. Second Italian edition, published by Knight Michele Pisani's son Emilio Pisani, with footnotes by Fr. Berti to explain difficult passages. Welcomed in Italy and by many Italians around the world. - 1978. Anthology published in Portuguese, with imprimatur by Archbishop of Belem, Brazil. - 1993. Volumes 1, 2, and 3 of the Malayalam translation receive Imprimatur by Bishop of Trivandrum, India. Seven Bishops of India Favorable to The Poem of the Man-God Seven Bishops of India have sent warm letters of congratulations to the publisher of the Malayalam translation of The Poem of the Man-God. One of them, the local Bishop, gave it his imprimatur. Testimonials Here are the words of Father Gabriel Allegra (1907-1976), Biblical scholar, famous for translating the entire Bible into Chinese, (Boll.:115.) and declared VENERABLE by Pope John Paul II in 1994. [He was subsequently beatified in 2012.] “For a book so engaging and challenging, so charismatic, so extraordinary even from just a human point of view as is Maria Valtorta's Poem of the Man-God--for such a book I find the theological justification in the First Epistle to the Corinthians 14:6, where St. Paul writes: "If I come to you, brethren, speaking in tongues, how shall I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or doctrine?" In this Work I find so many revelations which are not contrary to, but instead complete, the Gospel narrative. I find knowledge: and such knowledge in the theological (especially Mariological), exegetical, and mystical fields, that if it is not infused I do not know how a poor, sick woman could acquire and master it, even if she was endowed with a signal intelligence. I find in her the charism of prophecy in the proper sense of a voice through which Valtorta exhorts, encourages and consoles in the name of God and, at rare times, elucidates the predictions of the Lord. I find in her doctrine: and doctrine such as is sure; it embraces almost all fields of revelation. Hence, it is multiple, immediate, luminous.” St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Revelations of Valtorta St. Ignatius of Loyola, in the Fourth Week of his Spiritual Exercises, presents a Contemplation to Attain Divine Love, and Three Methods of Prayer. These methods are not ignored in Maria Valtorta's Works. Ignatian Meditation and The Poem of the Man-God: According to St. Ignatius in his Spiritual Exercises, a fundamental aid to meditation is sight. The very first exercise of the First Week begins with a preparatory prayer and a mental image. With the mind's eye, one is to see the physical place where the object of the meditation is. For instance, if we meditate on the calming of the sea, we must try to picture a storm-tossed sea. Then and only then, can we go on with the meditation. The same methodology is followed by Jesus in The Poem of the Man-God. Nearly every vision begins with a sometimes lengthy description of the place where the action is about to take place. When did Jesus Die and Rise Again? • The traditional answer is A.D. 33: Jesus was born on December 25, 1 B.C., He was thirty-three when He died and rose again, therefore, He died and rose again in A.D. 33. • Most modern scholars think that Jesus died in A.D. 30: that means His public ministry began in early A.D. 27, and since He was born in about six B.C., He was thirty-three years old when He began His public ministry (this does not necessarily contradict Scriptures, because Luke 3:23 says Jesus was about thirty then). • The opinion of Professor Van Zandt is that Jesus died and rose again in A.D. 34: Jesus was born in late 1 B.C., He was about thirty when He began His public ministry in late A.D. 30, His public ministry lasted three complete years and a few months, so that He was crucified and rose again in the spring of A.D. 34. The traditional answer that Jesus died and rose again in A.D. 33 is actually poor arithmetic. If Jesus was born in December of I B.C., then He turned 33 in December of A.D. 33. So far, so good. However, Scripture says Jesus was crucified the day before the Jewish Passover, which always fell in March or April. Therefore, for Jesus to have been crucified when He was 33 years old means that He must have been crucified in March or April of A.D. 34, when He was 33 years and a few months old. Thus the date advanced by Professor Van Zandt satisfies the traditional data for Jesus' age when He died and rose again. Once again, the revelations of Viareggio agree with Tradition, Professor Van Zandt's Astronomical Discovery In 1992, Professor Van Zandt read Maria Valtorta's vision of A Night in Gadara (pp.459-468 in volume 3 of The Poem of the Man-God, that inadequate title for The Poem of the Man-God). He noticed that Maria Valtorta mentions seeing Venus, Mars and Jupiter in a dark sky, before the moon rose. Professor explains: "As it turns out, having these three objects all visible at once is quite uncommon." The following visions show that this took place about three weeks before Passover that year. (Passover always fell in March or April.) Having Venus, Mars and Jupiter all visible three weeks before the Passover (some time in February or March) would be even more uncommon. And this happened one year before Jesus died and rose again. Astronomical calculations show that Venus, Mars and Jupiter were visible in the same night sky in February or March before moonrise in A.D. 31 and A.D. 33. They had not been seen together like that in February or March for quite some time before; they were not to be seen together again in February or March for quite some time afterwards. Rather a remarkable "coincidence." Other visions in The Poem of the Man-God enabled Professor Van Zandt to eliminate the A.D. 31 possibility. There remained only A.D. 33. Since that vision took place the year before Jesus died and rose again, then His death and resurrection had to take place in A.D. 34. And it so happens that this date fits perfectly well with Tradition, which always maintained that Jesus was born in December of 1 B.C. and died at the age of 33. In December of A.D. 33, Jesus turned 33. By April of A.D. 34, He was 33 years and a few months old. Maria Valtorta did not have a computer to figure out the positions of the planets in the sky during Jesus' lifetime. She was not talented in arithmetic and mathematics and could not have performed the tricky calculations on her own. How could she have imagined such a detail, a detail that escaped the attention of thousands and thousands of readers until 1992, 31 years after she died? Archeological Surprise Father Francois Dreyfus, O.P., a theologian at l'Ecole biblique et archeologique francaise de Jerusalem, said he was very impressed when he found the names of at least six or seven towns in Maria Valtorta's The Poem of the Man-God which are absent in the Old and the New Testaments. "Only experts know these names, from non-biblical sources. How could she have known these names, if not through revelations?" (Translated from a letter he wrote to Jean Aulagnier in 1986. Fr Dreyfus wrote a book entitled Did Jesus Know He Was God? And he answered: "Yes.") A Life of Mary and a Complete Course in Mariology Fr. Roschini's book The Virgin Mary in the Writings of Maria Valtorta is so full of quotations from The Poem of the Man-God and from Notebooks that it reads like a marvelous life of Mary, and at the same time, it is a complete course in Mariology The Most Fascinating Writings Ever Written about Mother Mary If anyone knew about Mother Mary, it was the faithful Marxologist Father Roschini (pronounced Ross-KEE-nee), O.S.M. (1900-1977), professor at the Pontifical Lateran University of Rome; advisor to the Holy Office; philosopher, theologian, writer of saints' lives and above all Marxologist of great renown. Fr. Roschini's long career was extremely productive: he wrote over 790 articles and miscellaneous writings, and 130 books, of which 66 were over 200 pages long. Most of his writings were devoted to Mariology. Some volumes in Latin are found in the SSPX seminary of Holy Cross in Goulburn NSW, Australia. Towards the end of his life, Fr. Roschini wrote a book entitled The Virgin Mary in the Writings of Maria Valtorta in its English translation. As the original Italian edition was being prepared, he told the publisher, Emilio Pisani, that of all the books he had written, that was his most important one. In the book itself he explained why: I have been studying, teaching, preaching, and writing Mariology for half a century already. To do this, I had to read innumerable works and articles of all kinds on Mary: a real Marian library. I feel, however, that I must candidly admit that the Mariology found in all of Maria Valtorta's writings - both published and unpublished - has been a real discovery for me. No other Marian writings, not even the sum total of everything I have read and studied, were able to give me as clear, as lively, as complete, as luminous, or as fascinating an image, both simple and sublime, of Mary, God's Masterpiece. It seems to me that the conventional image of the Blessed Virgin, portrayed by myself and my fellow Mariologists, is merely a papier-mâché Madonna compared to the living and vibrant Virgin Mary envisioned by Maria Valtorta, a Virgin Mary perfect in every way. ... whoever wants to know the Blessed Virgin (a Virgin in perfect harmony with the Holy Scriptures, the Tradition of the Church and the Church Magisterium... ) should draw from Valtorta's Mariology. If anyone believes my declaration is only one of those ordinary hyperbolic slogans abused by publicity, I will say this only: let them read before they judge! Gabriel M. Roschini, O.S.M. The Main Stumbling Block The main reason why some people oppose Maria Valtorta's writings is that they simply cannot bring themselves to believe that they are supernatural revelations. • Some rashly reject the possibility of any private revelations at all. In so doing, they go flatly against the spirit of Scriptures and Tradition. • Others claim that we can never tell exactly if a private revelation really comes from God or one of His angels or saints: according to them, we can tell only if there's nothing against faith or morals in it. But this attitude too does not seem to be in complete agreement with the spirit of Scriptures and Tradition. • Others have no difficulties believing that for instance the message of Fatima really comes from Mother Mary, not from some kind of "subconscious event" in the three children's minds, but they routinely reject visions on the life of Jesus for a false reason. They think that if an alleged vision on our Lord's life contains the slightest scientific or historical inaccuracy, it cannot come from God. Private Revelations in Scripture Several passages of Scripture mention private revelations made to individuals. They tell us that these people acknowledged these private revelations as coming from God. Scripture, in relating those events, also acknowledges that they came from God. In other words, Scripture did not approve those private revelations "negatively," by only saying they contained no errors against faith or morals. Scripture approved them "positively," by saying they came from God. Miracles and Private Revelations The Dogmatic Council of Vatican One issued dogmatic decrees which were infallible and binding on the faith of every Catholic at all times since. Vatican One decreed that "If anyone says... that miracles can never be recognized with certainty... let him be anathema" (which means, "let him be cursed"). In other words, the Church can recognize a miracle with certainty. She can determine when God supernaturally acts against the normal course of nature to give an external sign of His existence or prove the truth of His Catholic teachings. If the Church can determine when God acts in a miracle, why couldn't she determine when God speaks in a private revelation? Especially if at least one authenticated miracle accompanies it? Discernment of Spirits St. Ignatius of Loyola taught in his Spiritual Exercises how to discern whether something is from God or not. And some people would have us believe that the Church, the Bride of Christ, would be unable to discern whether a private revelation comes from God or not? The Proper Relationship between Church Hierarchy and Private Revelations The key is found in Scripture: “... you are citizens with the saints and members of God's house. hold: you are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief corner stone. In Him the whole structure is closely fit together...” (Eph 2:19b-21a.) The foundation of the Church is the Apostles and the Prophets. The context shows that the Prophets mentioned here are the New Testament Prophets. The apostles' successors are the Pope and Bishops. The successors of the New Testament prophets are... the recipients of authentic "Private" revelations! It is the Pope's role to lead the entire Church and the Bishops' role to lead the local churches (dioceses). As such, if and only if they follow the time-honored rules of discernment of the spirits, they can discern whether a private revelation is of God. If they find one that is of God, then they must proclaim it as such and should impose it on the faith of the faithful by ecclesial faith. Not only that. If God has spoken through a New Testament prophet, a recipient of a private revelation, and the Church hierarchy has acknowledged it, then the Church hierarchy is duty bound to obey God's will as revealed through that Prophet. Ecclesial faith goes hand in hand with ecclesial obedience. Thus "in Christ the whole structure is closely fit together." An alleged Prophet must submit to the judgment of the Church hierarchy, and in turn once the Prophet has been tested and proves to be God's spokesman, then the revelations to the Prophet must be obeyed by the Church hierarchy. And both Hierarchy and Prophet obey Christ. (Ste. Marie 19:). Recipients of private revelations often demand belief in the private revelations entrusted to them, but some people find that troubling. But if the Church has determined that those private revelations are authentic, that they do come from God, then everyone in the Church must believe in them by ecclesial (not Divine) faith and obey them, even the Pope. Thus the recipients of authentic private revelations are right to demand belief. However, the obligation for all to believe in those revelations begins when and only if two conditions are met: • the Church has judged them according to the time-honored criteria of the discernment of the spirits; • the Church has approved them. If a Pope or a Bishop over-hastily approves a revelation, the hasty judgment is only as good as the hierarch passing it - which may not be very good. But if the time-honored criteria are followed, the resulting judgment will be trustworthy. Until explicit approval following proper discernment, belief in a private revelation is optional. Some people are overly cautious and never believe until Church approval, while others are suckers and believe in everything. People must practice the virtue of prudence which, if it is really a virtue, will be balanced. It is unfortunate that the Church is sometimes unduly slow to judge an alleged revelation. If it is authentic, it should be approved as soon as possible, to God's greater glory. If it is false, it should be condemned as soon as possible, again to God's greater glory and to prevent the harm done by falsehood.