On this page we provide a list of refutations/rebuttals of all the major critical articles against Maria Valtorta and The Gospel as Revealed to Me / The Poem of the Man-God in the English language.
To start out, I recommend readers check out the article of Dr. Mark Miravalle, S.T.D. (Doctor of Sacred Theology) where he succinctly explains why The Gospel as Revealed to Me / The Poem of the Man-God cannot any longer be considered forbidden to Catholics and why every Catholic is free to read it. He also refutes some of the most popular (flawed) objections to Valtorta's work. His article can be read here: In Response to Various Questions Regarding "The Poem of the Man-God".
In a discussion of the orthodoxy of Maria Valtorta's work, it is helpful to briefly list the imprimaturs Valtorta's work has received over the years.
1. Pope Pius XII ordered Maria’s main work to be published in 1948 before three eyewitnesses whose audience was documented in the Vatican newspaper the following day. His command to publish her work was corroborated by the testimonies of three ecclesiastical eyewitnesses of notable repute, among them Fr. Corrado Berti, O.S.M. (professor of dogmatic and sacramental theology of the Pontifical Marianum Theological Faculty in Rome from 1939 onward, and Secretary of that Faculty from 1950 to 1959). Fr. Corrado Berti, O.S.M., testifies in his signed testimonial letter written on December 8, 1978, in Rome about Pope Pius XII's command to publish Valtorta's work “just as it is” and his instruction to not remove the references to “visions” and “dictations” when he specifically asked the Pope whether those terms should be removed before publishing.
2. After Fr. Giraudo, O.P., Commissioner of the Holy Office, was handed the signed certifications of three Consultors to the Holy Office, was informed about Pope Pius XII’s previous audience concerning Valtorta’s writings, was given the second critical edition of Valtorta’s work with more than 5,675 scholarly footnotes and appendices by Fr. Berti to explain potentially difficult passages, and after reviewing everything and consulting his superiors, he gave permission for the publication of the second edition in 1961, according to the testimony of Fr. Berti who dealt directly with the Holy Office. Fr. Gabriel Roschini, Consultant of the Holy Office, stated in 1961 that the new critical second edition “was not to be considered to be on the Index, because it was totally renewed, conformed in all to the original, and provided with notes that removed any doubt and which demonstrated the solidity and orthodoxy of the work.”1
3. The official letter of imprimatur of Bishop Roman Danylak, S.T.L., J.U.D., Titular Bishop of Nyssa, for the English translation of The Poem of the Man-God is available here: Official Letter of Imprimatur of Bishop Roman Danylak (Dated June 24, 2001).
Bishop Roman Danylak, S.T.L., J.U.D., stated: “I have studied The Poem in depth, not only in its English translation, but in the original Italian edition with the critical notes of Fr. Berti. I affirm their theological soundness, and I welcome the scholarship of Fr. Berti and his critical apparatus to the Italian edition of the works. I have further studied in their original Italian the Quaderni or The Notebooks of Maria Valtorta for the years from 1943 to 1950. And I want to affirm the theological orthodoxy of the writings of Maria Valtorta.”
It is to be noted that Bishop Danylak has a License in Sacred Theology and Doctorates in both Canon Law and Civil Law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.
4. The Malayalam translation of Maria Valtorta’s work The Poem of the Man-God was granted an imprimatur by Bishop (later Archbishop) Soosa Pakiam M. of Trivandrum, India, on March 17, 1993. A photocopy of this signed imprimatur letter is available here: Official Letter of Imprimatur of Bishop Maria Callist Soosa Pakiam (Dated March 17, 1993).
5. In 1992, seven bishops sent warm letters of congratulations to the publisher of the Malayalam translation of The Poem of the Man-God, all of them heartily approving The Poem of the Man-God and its translation and dissemination. These seven bishops include:
• Cardinal Antony Padiyara of Ernakulam-Angamaly
• Archbishop Gregorous, D.D., of Trivandrum
• Bishop Benjamin of Darjeeling
• Bishop D'souza of Pune
• Bishop (later Archbishop) Kundukulam of Trichur
• Bishop Kureethara of Kochi
• Bishop (later Archbishop) Soosa of Trivandrum
Computer-scanned signed original letters of each of these seven bishops' approvals are downloadable and viewable online here: Maria-Valtorta.net Document Library. In his signed letter, Bishop Kureethara wrote, “No flaws in theological or moral matters are seen. On the contrary, I see this as the best work to study more deeply, understand, and interpret the Gospels.” In his signed letter, Bishop Kindukulam wrote, “There is nothing contrary to faith and morals in this work. Blessings for an extensive circulation of the Malayalam translation of this work.”
6. Archbishop Alberto Ramos of Belem, Brazil, granted the imprimatur to an anthology of The Poem of the Man-God that was published in 1978.2
7. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has in recent times given permission to the publisher to publish it and the faithful to read it (something the Holy Office would not do if it was still “forbidden”). The original placement of the first edition of her work on the Index is now outdated because the latest pronouncement by the Holy Office (a.k.a. CDF) is that the publication of her work is allowed, thus effectively nullifying any moral binding force of the original placement of the first edition of the work on the now suppressed Index.3
Archbishop Nuncio Apostolic Monsignor Pier Giacomo De Nicolò said in his homily on October 15, 2011 for the 50th anniversary of Maria Valtorta’s death in the Basilica of the Annunciation in Florence, Italy:4
...the work of Maria Valtorta – which is free from error of doctrine and morals as noted by multiple parties – recognizes for more than half a century, a wide and silent circulation among the faithful (translated in about 30 different languages) of every social class throughout the world and without any publicity in particular. The grandeur, magnificence, and wisdom of the content has attracted numerous good fruits and conversions: even people immersed in the whirlwind of life and far from the Christian Faith, but nevertheless yearning to get in touch with solid truths, have opened their hearts to a meeting with the Absolute, with God-Love, and they have found full confirmation of the 2,000-year-old teaching of the Church. [emphasis added]For the most in-depth examination of all things concerning Maria Valtorta and her work I recommend the e-book A Summa and Encyclopedia to Maria Valtorta's Extraordinary Work, which can be downloaded here: A Summa and Encyclopedia to Maria Valtorta’s Extraordinary Work.
This e-book contains information on the statements and actions of the Popes, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Holy Office), and the Vatican Newspaper on Valtorta's work and has a timeline of the major events of the approval of Valtorta's work for publication and much more.
In the above e-book is also included a list of all the imprimaturs Maria Valtorta's work has received over the years as well as the list of all the Bishops, Doctors of Theology/Divinity/Canon Law, Saints/Blesseds/Venerables/Servants of God, university professors, and noteworthy lay faithful who have approved and endorsed The Gospel as Revealed to Me / The Poem of the Man-God. In fact, this e-book shows how:
Testimonies, statements, and documentation for every one of the above listed clerics and lay faithful are provided in A Summa and Encyclopedia to Maria Valtorta’s Extraordinary Work in the sub-section of the e-book entitled “Proof by the Testimony of Countless Trustworthy Clerics, Authorities, Experts, Scientists, and Pious Lay Faithful and the Tremendously Good Fruits Produced in Individuals and in the Church as a Whole”.
Now we get to the list of the refutations/rebuttals of all the major critical articles against Maria Valtorta and The Gospel as Revealed to Me / The Poem of the Man-God in the English language. On the Internet there are three main articles from established publications/writers that critique The Poem of the Man-God in a negative light and which has as its conclusion that the work is not from God. To each of these three main critical articles, there are one or more articles assessing these articles and refuting them.
The best site to see these three main critics’ articles and the responses to them is here: Maria-Valtorta.net: Response to Notable Critics.
At the above site, you can gain access to website links where you will see the critic’s articles and a response to the critic with in-line text in a different color. This is the best way to assess two different articles that oppose each other. The website contains a refutation of articles written by Fr. Mitch Pacwa of EWTN, Colin B. Donovan of EWTN, and Fr. Benedict Groeschel and Mark Slatter.
In addition to the above articles at Maria-Valtorta.net, it may be helpful to read Bishop Danylak’s letter to EWTN about a seriously flawed “Question and Answer” about the Poem written by Bill Bilton of EWTN. Bishop Danylak’s letter is viewable here: Letter to EWTN by the Most Rev. Roman Danylak, S.T.L., J.U.D.
Fr. Philip Pavich, O.F.M., a priest who was once stationed in Medjugorje, wrote an article arguing against The Poem of the Man-God. His article is no longer available anywhere online. However, a direct response and refutation of the above article is written by Bishop Roman Danylak, S.T.L., J.U.D., who is the bishop who issued the imprimatur of the English translation of The Poem of the Man-God in 2001. His article is available here: In Defense of the Poem by the Most Rev. Roman Danylak.
There are refutations of an anti-Valtorta article written by Fr. John Loughnan and one written by Ronald Conte Jr.:
Refutation of Fr. John Loughnan's Article
Refutation of Ronald Conte Jr.'s Article
There is a refutation of the anonymous letter published in L'Osservatore Romano in 1960: A Critical Analysis of the Explanatory Letter Published in 1960.
A more detailed and thorough refutation of the anonymous L'Osservatore Romano article is also available in A Summa and Encyclopedia to Maria Valtorta's Extraordinary Work, which can be downloaded here: A Summa and Encyclopedia to Maria Valtorta’s Extraordinary Work. In the just-mentioned e-book, there is also a refutation of an anti-Valtorta write-up that was proposed for publication but was never actually published. However, the refutation is included in the e-book because it strengthens the defense of Valtorta's work. The refutation is in the section of the e-book entitled “An Analysis and Refutation of Other Objections".
Perhaps the longest anti-Valtorta article/compilation is the one written by Br. James. A Salesian brother named Brother James went through all of The Poem of the Man-God volumes and took sentences and phrases out-of-context and used these out-of-context quotations to insinuate theological or moral errors in the Poem. Anyone who takes even a modest amount of time and effort reading the Poem in context can readily see that the “hack-job” Brother James did is so false that it is tantamount to lying. One can take almost any book (including the Holy Scriptures) and use Brother James’s method to make it sound bad. His compilation is riddled with falsehoods, wrenching of statements out of context with false unsubstantiated insinuations, deficient theology, poor research, ignorance of too many relevant facts, distortions and sweeping generalizations, lack of objectivity, and an obvious unjustified bias against the Poem. A complete refutation is available in the e-book in the section entitled "A Refutation of Brother James’s Article".
We have thus far addressed the top anti-Valtorta articles coming from what you could call mainstream Catholic publications. Now it is time to address the anti-Valtorta articles coming from traditional Catholic publications. First it is important to note that there are many learned traditional Catholic priests and lay faithful who are avid readers and defenders of Maria Valtorta's writings. Notable among them is the first spiritual director of the SSPX Econe seminary who had 40 years experience giving Ignatian retreats and who wrote the book entitled Rules for the Discernment of Spirits in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola used extensively in all SSPX Ignatian retreats. This prelate was also a renowned retreat master and a professor at the SSPX Econe seminary. He was a very close friend and a confessor of Archbishop Lefebvre (whom many traditional Catholics revere). This man I'm referring to is Fr. Ludovic-Marie Barrielle, FSSPX. You can find a write-up of his on the SSPX seminary website here: Do I have a Vocation? By Fr. Ludovic-Marie Barrielle.
What is interesting is that he is known for instructing the SSPX seminarians to read Valtorta's work and he often said to them, “If you wish to know and love the Sacred Heart of Jesus, read Valtorta!”5 Archbishop Lefebvre talked about Fr. Barrielle in one of his sermons wherein he said, “Father Barrielle was very much in favor of this book of Maria Valtorta. He was convinced that it was absolutely true, that it could not be not true.”6 What is interesting is that on a holy card for the Requiem Mass of Fr. Barrielle, Archbishop Lefebvre wrote, “To dear Fr. Louis Marie Barrielle, our model spiritual guide, with our affectionate assurance of our faithful prayers”7 (signed Archbishop Lefebvre, 1983). Hence, the leading bishop and champion of traditional Catholics (Archbishop Lefebvre) called one of the highest and most revered clerics in traditional Catholic circles (Fr. Barrielle) “our model spiritual guide”, the latter of whom was an avid promoter of Valtorta's work and believed in its authenticity. Many traditional Catholic priests and lay faithful share the sentiments and theological opinion of Fr. Barrielle, FSSPX.
However, some do not (and, in particular, those connected to a traditional Catholic website which is associated with a group that broke away from the SSPX). This website is called TraditioninAction.org (TIA), and they have posted several anti-Valtorta articles on their website: one by Marian Horvat and three by Anselmo de la Cruz (a blogger whose Spanish blog postings were translated into English and reposted on TIA).
The author of A Summa and Encyclopedia to Maria Valtorta's Extraordinary Work thoroughly analyzed Horvat's article and wrote an in-depth refutation of it. Ordinarily Horvat is seen by some in traditional Catholic circles to be a reputable and trustworthy Catholic writer. However, a respected and well-learned traditional Catholic priest and theologian who is, in fact, currently of the same milieus and holds the same general position as Horvat on most things, wrote to him regarding Horvat saying, “I once went to meet Atila Guimaeres and Marian Horvat when I was on a visit to California. They are both good people, and are fighting for the Faith, but their judgements are not always reliable, especially on Maria Valtorta.” Atila (just referred to) works at TraditioninAction.org which posted Horvat's article. More details and commentary about these articles and Tradition in Action is provided here.
In reading the refutation of her article, it is not difficult to see very quickly that her article does not stand up to scrutiny, and is in fact filled with serious methodological errors. Someone commented, after reading the refutation of her article, saying, “I am blown away. I find TIA [Tradition in Action] sometimes a bit too stuffy at times, but I did not think that they would have done such a poor job on the Poem.” Unfortunately, it appears that they trusted Horvat too much, which was a mistake because Horvat displays a notable level of ignorance on the subject she is writing about and her article is riddled with falsehoods, deficient theology, wrenching of statements out of context with false unsubstantiated insinuations, poor research, ignorance of too many relevant facts, sweeping generalizations, lack of objectivity, and an obvious unjustified bias against the Poem. It is readily apparent from her article that she carried out a cursory, non-in-depth investigation into Maria Valtorta’s writings and based most of her article on only one source (Br. James's article: a source which has proven to be highly uncredible). After accounting for her falsehoods and false insinuations which are easily shown as wrong, most of her remaining arguments are based on unsubstantiated subjective impressions which are contradicted by those of greater learning and authority than her. A complete refutation of her article is available here: A Refutation of Horvat’s Anti-Valtorta Article.
In late 2015, Tradition in Action also posted on their website three anti-Valtorta articles by Anselmo de la Cruz, who is a Spanish-speaking blogger. Complete refutations of all of his articles are available here:
How the Orthodoxy of Maria Valtorta’s Work Shines Even More Brightly and Exposing the Methodological and Theological Errors of Anselmo de la Cruz: A Complete Refutation of Anselmo's Flawed Anti-Valtorta Article Entitled “Errors against the Faith in the Work of Maria Valtorta”
A Complete Refutation of Anselmo's Flawed Anti-Valtorta Article Entitled “A Generalized Sexual Obsession”
A Complete Refutation of Anselmo's Flawed Anti-Valtorta Article Entitled “Poem of the Man-God: Dangerous & Unacceptable for Catholics”
Also available are succinct summaries/overviews of the full refutation of Anselmo's articles. The purpose of these summaries is to provide a shorter article for those who want it. These summaries are available below:
A Summary of the Refutation of Anselmo's Flawed Anti-Valtorta Article Entitled “Errors against the Faith in the Work of Maria Valtorta”
A Summary of the Refutation of Anselmo's Flawed Anti-Valtorta Article Entitled “A Generalized Sexual Obsession”
A Summary of the Refutation of Anselmo's Flawed Anti-Valtorta Article Entitled “Poem of the Man-God: Dangerous & Unacceptable for Catholics”
Spanish translations of all of the above articles are available here.
A traditional Catholic religious order which identifies themselves as “the Resistance Dominicans” posted an anti-Valtorta article entitled, “What should we make of the book The Poem of the Man God by Maria Valtorta?” The refutation of their article is available here: A Complete Analysis and Refutation of the Resistance Dominican’s Flawed Anti-Valtorta Article Entitled “What should we make of the book The Poem of the Man-God?"
The e-book entitled A Summa and Encyclopedia to Maria Valtorta's Extraordinary Work also addresses many other types of objections and provides lots of additional information for those who want more.
Also helpful is the following website providing excellent answers to 13 of the most common questions and misconceptions about the Poem: Answers to Common Questions and Misconceptions about the Poem.
Bishop Roman Danylak, S.T.L., J.U.D. (who granted the imprimatur for the English translation of the Maria Valtorta's work in 2001) wrote:8
To continue the scurrilous witch-hunt against Maria Valtorta and her writings reminds me of the theologians and canonists who burned Saint Joan of Arc at the stake, of those who excommunicated Saint Thomas Aquinas, of the detractors of Blessed [now Saint] Padre Pio. It reminds me of the high council or synedrion [Sanhedrin] of the Jews who condemned Christ. Unfortunately one of the failings of the offices of the Church is the fact that these offices do not make formal retractions of their own accusations when it has been brought to their attention that they have made mistakes. This is a common failing of bishops and pastors and of many in authority.
This is what happened with Maria Valtorta. The Osservatore Romano was made aware of the falsity of the innuendos of writers maligning Maria Valtorta in their articles, published in the Osservatore in 1961. They were informed by the Servite fathers who had presented the volume of the Poem of the Man God to Pope Pius XII. Pope Pius XII commended her writings: "Publish them as they are, taking nothing away, nor adding to them. Who will understand, will understand." The Osservatore stopped printing negative comments. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of others.
There is a notable dictation (and prophecy) which Our Lord told Maria Valtorta in The Notebooks: 1945-1950, p. 490, March 30, 1949, about how His Work will not perish despite the opposition of some members of His Church. Our Lord said when reassuring Valtorta about the opposition from some during her day:
“No, the Work [The Gospel as Revealed to Me] has not perished, though men have perfectly served Satan's intentions to make it perish. I tell you: it has not perished. It cannot perish. I and My Mother watch over it. They will perish, those who protected it badly and judged badly; but the work is not perishing. Men may prevail with their impure sentiments but cannot destroy the work of God. Punishment will befall those who have sinned and sin. But the work does not sin, and you have not sinned. Therefore, it shall not perish.”Antonio Socci agrees. Socci is a leading Italian journalist, TV show host, author, and public intellectual in Italy. He is well known among many English-speaking Catholics because of his book The Fourth Secret of Fatima, which is one of the most prominent books about Fatima (in particular, the Third Secret of Fatima) in recent times. Recently, Antonio Socci wrote an article about The Gospel as Revealed to Me / The Poem of the Man-God that was originally published in an Italian newspaper and which he also published on his blog on April 7, 2012, in which he highly praises it, saying:9
For twenty years, after having laboriously stumbled through trying to read hundreds of biblical scholars’ volumes, I can say that – with the reading of the Work of Valtorta – two hundred years of Enlightenment-based, idealistic, and modernist chatter about the Gospels and about the Life of Jesus can be run through the shredder.
And this perhaps is one of the reasons why this exceptional work – a work which moved even Pius XII – is still ignored and “repressed” by the official intelligentsia and by clerical modernism.
In spite of that, outside the normal channels of distribution, thanks to Emilio Pisani and Centro Editoriale Valtortiano, the Work has been read by a sea of people – every year, by tens of thousands of new readers – and has been translated into 21 languages.
We at the Maria Valtorta Readers' Group believe that during the coming era of peace that will arrive after the full consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Valtorta's opus will be propagated as strongly (if not more so) by the prophesied coming Holy Pope as The Mystical City of God was promulgated by Popes in previous centuries.
We have learned not to be surprised that her work (and all of God's authentic works, including the full message of Fatima, Our Lady of Good Success, La Salette, etc.) receive opposition, for the reasons Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich wrote:
“Owing to the spirit of the world and tepidity, if the Savior returned to earth today to announce His doctrine in person, He would find as many opponents as He did among the Jews.” [i.e., His own countrymen]Another way of looking at it: if He returned to the earth today to announce His doctrine in person, He would find as many opponents among Catholics and Christians as He did among His own nation and His own contemporaries 2000 years ago.
A compilation of excerpts that Our Lord told Maria Valtorta says it all (Christ speaking):14
Will all this be understood by today's society to which I give this knowledge of Myself, to make it strong against the always stronger assaults of Satan and the world? Do you know, Mary, what you are doing? Or rather, what I am doing, in showing you the Gospel? Making a stronger attempt to bring men to Me. I will no longer confine Myself to words. They tire men and detach them. It is a fault, but it is so.
I will have recourse to visions, also of My Gospel, and I will explain them to make them more attractive and clear. I gave it because it was My wish to make it known. But what happens with the Pharisees, happens also with this work. My desire to be loved – to know is to love – is rejected by too many things. And that deeply grieves Me, the Eternal Master imprisoned by you. My fatherland was full of My manifestations. And they take place even now. But, as in the past, the world does not accept them. Instead of kneeling down and blessing God, Who has granted you this knowledge [in The Gospel as Revealed to Me / The Poem of the Man-God] – the only thing to be done – the majority will take books, new ones and old ones, will check, measure, look against the light, hoping, hoping, hoping. What? To find discrepancies with other similar works, and thus demolish, demolish, demolish. You repeated My words only, and difficult doctors turned up their noses. You added your descriptions to My words, and they find faults with them. And they will find more to object. In the name of (human) science, of (human) reason, of (human) criticism, of the three times human pride. How much of holy works is demolished by man, to build with the ruins edifices that are not holy. You have removed the pure gold, poor men. The simple and precious gold of the Wisdom. Poor Thomases, who believe only what you understand and what you feel in yourselves! The good among you will receive a holy joy from this work. The honest scholars a light. The absent-minded, who are not wicked, a pleasure. The wicked a means to give vent to their evil science. I give you the comfort of seeing [visions of My Gospel]. I give everybody the possibility of wishing to know Me. Today also, twenty centuries later, there will be contradiction among those for whom I reveal Myself. I am once again a sign of contradiction. Not of Myself, but in regard to what I stir up in them. The good: those of good will, will have the good reactions of the shepherds and the humble. The others, will have evil reactions, like the scribes, the Pharisees, the Sadducees and priests of that time. Each gives that which he has. The good that comes into contact with their evil, unleashes a boiling up of greater evil in them.
And a judgment will already be made upon men, as it was on that Friday of the Parasceve, according to how they shall have judged, accepted, and followed the Master, Who, with a new attempt of infinite Mercy, has made Himself known once again. And if it is of no avail, and if like cruel children they should throw away the gift without understanding its value, you will be left with My present, and they with My indignation. I shall be able once again to repeat the old reproach: "We played for you and you would not dance; we sang dirges and you would not weep" [Luke 7: 31-32]. But it does not matter. Let them, the inconvertible ones, heap burning coals on their heads and let us turn to the little sheep seeking to become acquainted with their Shepherd. It is I, and you are the staff leading them to Me. To as many as will open their eyes and recognize Me and say: "It is He! – Was this why our heart burned in our breast while He talked to us and explained to us the Scriptures?" [Luke 24:32] – My peace to them and to you, My little, faithful, loving [Maria].
This English translation of Fr. Berti’s testimony is translated from a photostated copy of Fr. Berti's original signed Italian typescript which is in possession by Dr. Emilio Pisani in Isola del Liri, Italy. A photocopy of his original signed Italian typescript is viewable and downloadable here:
Click Here to Jump Back to Footnote 1 in the Text
2. Fireworks: Sunrise of Truth Encyclopedia, Vol. 1. The Maria Valtorta Research Center. Kolbe's Publications: Sherbrooke, Canada. 1996. p. 106. ISBN: 2920285009. This book is also available online here:
Click Here to Jump Back to Footnote 2 in the Text
3. “The original placement of the first edition of her work on the Index is now outdated because the latest pronouncement by the Holy Office (a.k.a. CDF) is that the publication of her work is allowed, thus effectively nullifying any moral binding force of the original placement of the first edition of the work on the now suppressed Index”:
The placement of a work on the Index was not an infallible act, and, contrary to popular belief, was not always done because a book had an error against faith or morals or was obscene. Other reasons for why books were placed on the Index of Forbidden books were for disciplinary reasons or because it was judged that the book might be dangerous for groups of people at that time in history (and when the conditions changed such that such dangers were no longer present, these books could be removed from the Index). During the pontificate of Pope Leo XIII, the pontiff revised the Index of Forbidden Books and dropped about a thousand books from it. He also overhauled the rules at that time, something done by Popes multiple times during the history of the Index, with the last one being the abolishment of the Index by Pope Paul VI in 1966.
In the case of the first edition of Maria Valtorta’s main work, The Poem of the Man-God, it is clear from the explanatory letter which accompanied the notification of its placement on the Index that the reason for its placement on the Index was not due to any errors against faith or morals, but because of a disciplinary matter due to allegedly grave disobedience by an unspecified person (presumably Fr. Berti).
Because the placement of the first edition of The Poem of the Man-God on the Index was not due to any errors against faith or morals, the reasons for why it was placed on the Index were deemed by the Holy Office in 1961 as no longer applicable and they approved its publication. In more recent times in 1992, a letter from Cardinal Ratzinger, then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, also gave permission for its publication. Even if critics wanted to pretend or try to argue that the placement of The Poem on the Index was due to an error against faith or morals, approval for publication of the second edition implicitly negates the placement of the first edition of the work on the Index. These points may help illustrate this fact more clearly:
1. Normally, in the days that the Index was maintained, after the first edition of a work had been condemned due to an error against faith or morals, the approval of the second edition of that work did not automatically reverse the condemnation of the first edition: that statement of normality assumes the normal functioning of the index used for its purpose of forbidding the reading of something heretical or immoral. If the condemnation of the first edition of something had been validly done because of proven heresy or immorality, there is nothing that could ever be done afterwards to exonerate that first edition from condemnation.
2. In the case of Valtorta’s Work, however, it has been demonstrated that the putting on the Index of its first edition was not done for heresy or immorality, because even the article in the Osservatore Romano purporting to explain why the work had been put on the Index failed to list even one heresy or one passage that promoted immorality. The end of the article revealed the real reason for the alleged putting on the Index: it was a “punishment” due to allegedly grave disobedience. However, the article did not tell the whole story nor did they even mention a name of who was supposedly disobedient. The facts are that Fr. Berti chose to obey the order of Pope Pius XII who had commanded him to publish the work in 1948. The two officials in 1949 who called him to a private meeting the year after the Pope commanded him (in front of two other eyewitnesses) to publish it refused to let him speak so that he could tell them the Pontiff’s command to publish it. The Pope had higher authority and jurisdiction than these two officials. He was given contradictory orders and so he obeyed the orders of the highest authority (the Pope). Even in that meeting with those two officials, besides silencing him, they tried to get him to hand over the typescripts and manuscripts of the work to them so that they could bury them forever. Fr. Berti testified that Msgr. Pepe even verbally admitted that this was his intention, when the latter exclaimed, “Here they will remain as in a tomb.” But, even if Fr. Berti had been guilty of disobedience, the putting on the Index of the work on merely the grounds of disobedience, even grave disobedience, would not have been because of any error against faith or morals and thus is easily overturned by subsequent authorities in the Holy Office. When all of the facts (especially concerning Pope Pius XII’s command to publish the work) are brought to light, even the pretext of punishment for alleged disobedience could not justify the putting of the first edition on the Index, but even this question is a moot point at this point in history because the work has since been permitted for publication.
3. Now, what is very interesting is that the text of the first edition was not modified in any substantial way in the second, third, or fourth editions of the work. The only changes were fixes of very minor typographical mistakes or misreadings of very secondary words that had no theological or moral impact on the text. The second edition did see the addition of many footnotes and some appendices, but the underlying text was not changed as far as the theological or moral meaning went.
4. The second edition was approved for publication, which meant that the Holy Office did not consider that it contained any theological or moral errors in either the underlying text (which was substantially the same as in the first edition) or the added footnotes or appendices.
5. Because the text of the second edition contained all the contents of the first edition with no alterations that might have impacted the Faith or moral contents of the work, that means that if the text of the second edition was approved for publication, the text of the first edition was implicitly approved by the officials who approved the second edition. 6. Thus the approval of the second edition, in the particular case of Valtorta’s work, amounted to an implicit discreditation of the placement of the first edition on the Index.
7. For those who claim the placement of the first edition on the Index was due to a demonstrated error against faith or morals (which a careful examination of the explanatory letter shows it was not), were it not for the fact that no change in wording between the first and second editions of the work had an impact on its Faith and moral meaning, then one could not say that the approval of the second edition had implicitly reversed the alleged condemnation due to faith or morals of the first edition. Had there really been heresy or immorality in the first edition, then the second edition would not have escaped condemnation, because no changes had been made to the passages that would have been heretical or immoral. But because no changes with a theological or moral impact were made and the second edition was approved for publication, then the first one, logically, should have been approved for publication as well (if the true reason for its placement on the Index was because of errors against faith or morals). The only other possible reasons why the first edition could have been placed on the Index would be due to disciplinary reasons or because it was judged that the book might be dangerous for groups of people at that time in history. By allowing publication of the second edition, these reasons are no longer considered an issue. Thus, regardless of the reason the first edition was placed on the Index, the placement of the first edition on the Index of Forbidden Books was implicitly repealed by those who approved the second edition.
• A Summa and Encyclopedia to Maria Valtorta’s Extraordinary Work. By Stephen Austin. Sub-Chapter: The Position of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the Holy Office).
• In Response to Various Questions Regarding "The Poem of the Man-God”. By Dr. Mark Miravalle, S.T.D. April 15, 2006.
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4. The full homily is printed in: Per Maria Valtorta Nel Cinquantenario Della Morte (1961-2011). By Fondazione Maria Valtorta CEV Onlus. March 2012. Viale Piscicelli 91 03036, Isola del Liri (Fr) Italia. English translation of excerpt provided in: Maria Valtorta’s Readers’ Group Newsletter Bulletin No. 66, June 2012. p. 1. Translated by Catherine Loft, who was also in attendance at his Mass.
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5. Valtorta Reveals How Gamaliel’s Notes Compared to the Book of Hebrews Resolves the Issue of the Origin on This Book. By Fr. Kevin Robinson, FSSPX. June 29, 2011. p. 30.
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6. A Summa and Encyclopedia to Maria Valtorta’s Extraordinary Work. By Stephen Austin. Sub-Chapter: Archbishop Lefebvre’s Words About the Poem of the Man-God.
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7. A Summa and Encyclopedia to Maria Valtorta’s Extraordinary Work. By Stephen Austin. Sub-Chapter: Fr. Ludovic-Marie Barrielle, FSSPX: His Approval of and Comments About the Poem of the Man-God.
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8. Bishop Roman Danylak Letter to EWTN. 2002.
Note that Bishop Danylak was paraphrasing Pope Pius XII’s words which primarily included two components: (1) The command to publish her work and (2) his answer to Fr. Berti’s question as to whether they should remove the words “visions” and “dictations” from the work before publishing it. Pope Pius XII’s words: “Pubblicate quest’opera così come sta, senza pronunciarvi a riguardo deII’origine straordinaria o meno di essa; chi legge capirà.” Pope Pius XII spoke these words during a papal audience granted to Fr. Berti, Fr. Migliorini, and Fr. Cecchin (all of them Servites of Mary) on Feb. 26, 1948. Frs. Berti, Migliorini, and Cecchin documented the Pope’s words immediately afterwards. This audience was recorded in the Osservatore Romano of Feb. 27, 1948 which can be viewed online here. The Pope’s words were quoted by Fr. Berti, editor of Il poema dell’Uomo-Dio, in Il poema dell’Uomo-Dio, vol. VII, Appendix, pp. 1870-1871 and in his signed testimony which can be viewed online here. Father Berti testifies: “I asked the Pope if we should remove the inscriptions: ‘Visions’ and ‘Dictations’ from The Poem before publishing it. And he answered that nothing should be removed.”
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9. A wonderful gift to our generation: "The Gospel as was revealed to me" by Maria Valtorta. By Antonio Socci. Blog of Antonio Socci. April 7, 2012. Accessed online April 2013. Translated from the original Italian.
A full English translation of Socci’s article is viewable here:
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10. Blessed Padre Pio: A Man of the XXth Century Who Suffered for the Church and from the Church. By Father Dominique Boulet. November 1999. Society of St. Pius X District of Canada.
Note: The original URL above became dead in 2013, but an archive of it can still be viewed here:
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11. Common Questions and Misconceptions. Maria-Valtorta.net.
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12. Condemnations of 1210-1277. Wikipedia. Accessed online September 2012.
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13. In Defense of the City of God: Part Two. Daily Catholic.
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14. The Poem of the Man-God, excerpts from Volume 1: pp. 245-246 (ch. 45), p. 768 (ch. 140); Volume 3: p. 126 (ch. 296); Volume 4: p. 828 (ch. 538); and Volume 5: pp. 752-753 (ch. 624). The Gospel as Revealed to Me, excerpts from Volume 1: p. 292 (ch. 45); Volume 2: p. 434 (ch. 140); Volume 5: pp. 22-23 (ch. 297); Volume 8: p. 371 (ch. 540).
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