Failure to Fact Check and Too Trusting of Poor Critics Who Are Ignorant of the Subject Matter They Are Writing About:
How TraditioninAction.com is Responsible for Reposting Articles Containing Serious Theological and Methodological Errors and is Guilty of Misinformation and Calumny
By Stephen Austin, January 2016Tradition in Action (www.TraditioninAction.org) is a traditional Catholic website which is associated with a group that broke away from the SSPX. 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 their website).
I want to first give you the links for the refutation of each of these articles for those who want to jump right to the chase and see the refutations. After I post the links, I will then provide commentary about these articles and Tradition in Action as it pertains to this subject.
A refutation of Marian Horvat’s anti-Valtorta article is available here: A Refutation of Horvat’s Anti-Valtorta Article.
In late 2015, Tradition in Action also reposted on their website English translations of three anti-Valtorta articles by Anselmo de la Cruz, 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.
There is also a thorough refutation of the anti-Valtorta article posted by the Resistance Dominicans entitled, “What should we make of the book The Poem of the Man God by Maria Valtorta?”
For a long time, I did not consider it worth my time to write a refutation of this Resistance Dominican anti-Valtorta article, partly because they represent such a minority of traditional Catholics, who themselves represent a minority among the body of those who identify themselves as Catholic. However, because I was asked by several priests and multiple lay people what I thought of their article, I decided to write a refutation of it and expose the truth and objective facts so that those of good will who are interested in the truth will know what to think of their claims and article based on objective evidence and facts. I also think that writing this refutation can serve to strengthen the defense of Valtorta’s work in general and can be handy as a reference to give people to answer specific concerns or objections.
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?"
EWTN: A Network Gone Wrong) and the refutations of their anti-Valtorta articles speak for themselves and are readily available here: An Analysis and Refutation of All the Top Anti-Valtorta Articles.
However, I do feel the need to address traditioninaction.com because, since they are a traditional Catholic media outlet, they are considered by some traditional and conservative Catholics to ordinarily be more trustworthy than many organizations of the mainstream Catholic media. On some topics and in certain cases, this is true. Unfortunately, on this particular topic, they have proven not to be trustworthy or reliable as my refutations of their anti-Valtorta articles and this article demonstrate.
In fact, one of the priests who holds the same general position they hold (Resistance), wrote to me, “I once went to meet Atila Guimaeres [who works at TIA] 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.”
Another traditional Catholic priest contacted them politely informing them about a refutation of Horvat’s anti-Valtorta article hosted on their website and his concerns about the clear errors in their article. In response, someone at TIA (whose name will be withheld out of charity) responded in a somewhat condescending, ill-natured way (which surprised me because he was addressing a priest in good standing) with words that indicated to me that he appears to not be interested in the truth and that perhaps he might be motivated too strongly out of close-mindedness and subjective emotions.
A traditional Catholic retreatant also has experienced similar sentiments with some of the articles they host. After reading my refutation of Horvat’s article, she wrote, “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.” Many others have reported to me similar reactions after reading my refutation of Horvat’s highly flawed anti-Valtorta article.
If something is from God and is true and is free of error in faith and morals, then any attempts to discredit it or to demonstrate error in faith and morals will necessarily be flawed (take, for example, Catholic dogma, Scripture, or authentic revelations from God such as the message of Fatima). The only thing that opponents of the true work of God could do would be to try to discredit it through errors, falsehoods, methodological and logical fallacies, distortions and misrepresentations, unsubstantiated subjective accusations, and similar tactics. The evidence and the analysis of Valtorta’s person and work by renowned theologians and bishops strongly indicates that it comes from God and is free from error in faith and morals (see the chapter of my e-book entitled, “A Detailed Analysis of Maria Valtorta and Her Writings According to the Traditional 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia’s Thorough Criteria for Assessing Private Revelations”). I have analyzed just about every major anti-Valtorta argument and article in the English language and have either referred to another person’s refutation or wrote one myself which demonstrates that the arguments and articles in question are based on errors, falsehoods, methodological and logical fallacies, distortions and misrepresentations, unsubstantiated subjective accusations, and similar tactics. Likewise, in analyzing the anti-Valtorta articles posted on traditioninaction.com, I have found the same thing (as a matter of fact, the level of quality and honesty in the methodology in these TIA articles are oftentimes below that of EWTN and other organizations).
I think traditioninaction.com (on this particular topic) is another case of an organization that “doesn’t want to be confused with the facts” due to preconceived bias, lack of willingness to adequately research the topic in hand, failure to consult all the relevant sources and facts, and not wanting to admit they were responsible for reposting objectively highly flawed and erroneous articles. Even if Valtorta's writings contained dogmatic error, their articles still contain many objective methodological errors and falsehoods which have yet to be corrected. The ends do not justify the means.
I thoroughly analyzed Horvat's article and wrote an in-depth refutation of it. 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. 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.
Pope St. Pius X said: “God’s works have no fear of opposition. Opposition implants them more deeply” (Pie X, Jérôme Dal-Gal, Paris, Éd. St. Paul: 1953, p. 412). The same has happened with Valtorta’s writings: the more that anti-Valtorta articles are written and exposed and refuted, the more the orthodoxy and greatness of Valtorta’s revelations shine forth and her work becomes more known, particularly when the attempted refutations are very flawed, hypocritical, and weak.
Antonio Socci agrees. Socci is a leading Italian journalist, TV show host, author, and public intellectual in Italy. He is well known among traditional 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:
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.
If Anselmo de la Cruz was prosecuting Valtorta’s work in court, the judge would have grounds to declare mistrial. Anselmo affirms statements about Valtorta’s text that are factually incorrect and cannot be substantiated when the text is examined closely. An examination of the actual text shows that these affirmations are false and their affirmation in his article can be classified as academic dishonesty.
Anselmo claims several times that the Church teaches something which the Church does not actually teach. Not only does Anselmo fail to support these claims with relevant sources or quotes, but one of his claims is actually heretical and in direct contradiction to Scripture. He also confuses several theological principles and fails to make necessary distinctions, thus misleading his readers.
Anselmo leaves out significant and relevant context that is necessary to consider in doing an analysis of what Valtorta actually wrote on many of the topics in hand. Thus, his article twists and misrepresents Valtorta’s writings and is not a fair and valid objective analysis of what is actually written. When her writings are read in their proper context and all of the aspects are properly considered, the passages are always morally and theologically correct, and have been declared as such by many competent theologians and ecclesiastical authorities (who, by the way, are far more learned than Anselmo and who employ an honest, thorough, and correct methodology in analyzing her work, with a scholarly level leagues above Anselmo’s articles).
Lastly, Anselmo’s accusations and subjective insinuations are not supported by relevant and irrefutable proofs, let alone by clear, unmistakable moral and theological criteria.
After reading the analysis and facts laid out in my refutations of his articles, it becomes very clear that the articles by Anselmo present so many errors and irregularities that it is difficult to understand how it can be accepted in Catholic milieus, including traditionalist ones. Because of the theological errors and methodological flaws it contains – and other adjoining negative aspects – I do not understand how it could be accepted by traditional Catholic media outlets, such as Tradition in Action.
Either they did not carefully read the writings of Maria Valtorta and fact check Anselmo’s article themselves, or they naively trusted Anselmo as a trustworthy, unbiased, objective analyzer of her work, while at the same time, neglecting to consult the commentaries and theological studies of her writings done by undeniably trustworthy and highly scholarly theologians, such as Fr. Gabriel Roschini, O.S.M., who was a Consultor of the Holy Office and the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and who is considered by many to be the greatest Mariologist of the 20th century, who published a 395-page Mariological study of her writings, or 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, who studied her work for decades and provided extensive theological and biblical annotations of her work totaling over 5,675 footnotes.
In one of his articles, Anselmo posits the speculation about Maria’s spiritual director and the Spanish translator of her work that they might have been “accomplices in spreading a work that has serious errors in matters of the Faith.” Considering that hundreds of thousands around the world have derived tremendous spiritual benefit from her work and that dozens of highly learned, trustworthy traditional theologians and many bishops have affirmed her work is free from error in faith and morals, truly from God, and that she is a true victim soul, it seems just that his own supposition be applied back to himself: perhaps Anselmo is an accomplice in trying to discredit a true work of God (cf. Acts of the Apostles 5:39). This possibility appears all the more credible or substantiated when we consider that his anti-Valtorta articles contain a number of theological errors, basic methodological flaws, and often contain subjective accusations that are a misrepresentation of the text and qualify as academic dishonesty. Like a modernist, many of the errors in his articles are logical fallacies, confusion of principles, and failure to make distinctions. These problems I just mentioned are in addition to his subjective claims that are a clear distortion and misrepresentation of the text. However, in charity, I presume that he is of good will and that his “witch hunt” against Valtorta is merely because of wrong information, lack of research, or perhaps innocent or unintended intellectual blindness or incompetency. I hope my refutations will open your eyes even if organizations like Tradition in Action don’t want to be “confused with the facts”. I encourage humble, honest, open-minded Catholics to recognize and thank God for this gift of this mystic’s writings rather than fall into a pharisaical, close-minded, ill-disposed mindset, which disposes one to not want to be “confused with the facts” or properly research things and reject one of God’s greatest gifts to our generation.
All of the supposed “proof”, “evidence”, and arguments that Anselmo has posited in all of his articles to try to substantiate his groundless and often unsubstantiated subjective accusations against Valtorta’s work has been entirely and thoroughly refuted, and he is shown for what he is: a critic who has theological incompetency in many areas, makes poor arguments and commits many methodological flaws, makes faulty presumptions, who distorts and misinterprets Valtorta’s text, brings in an obvious unsubstantiated subjective bias and a lack of objectivity, makes unsubstantiated, sweeping, generalizing statements, and in several places displays a type of methodology and procedure that reminds one more of the Pharisees or someone unhealthily paranoid rather than a good theologian.
I want to note that I am pleased that Anselmo wrote his articles because, having a chance to analyze his strongest arguments against Valtorta, it can now be seen that even this supposedly “trustworthy” traditional Catholic blogger and vehemently anti-Valtorta critic cannot satisfactorily provide objective valid evidence to indicate that Maria Valtorta’s work should not be read by contemporary faithful Catholics. This further substantiates that traditional Catholics are justified in sharing the sentiments and theological opinion of SSPX seminary professor Fr. Ludovic-Marie Barrielle, FSSPX, whom Archbishop Lefebvre called “our model spiritual guide,” the former of whom declared, “If you wish to know and love the Sacred Heart of Jesus, read Valtorta!” Fr. Barrielle’s position is also shared and substantiated by leading pre-Vatican II theologians who are more learned than most priests and layman (including this critic), especially in the areas needed to judge mystical writings, and who furthermore studied it in much further depth (not to mention that many of them actually personally knew, investigated, and communicated at length with the author of the work in question). These theologians also exhibited a healthy open mind free of presumption and prejudice, humility, and a healthy understanding of and balance in the area of emotions and affections, all of which served to make their theological examination of the author and her work all the more credible, trustworthy, and objective.
It is well known that the saints and the Church have historically more clearly explained or defined Church teaching when presented with objections of skeptics, critics, or heretics – thus making the truth shine even more brightly. In like manner, I am pleased to use this critic’s objections to more clearly show the strength of the Valtortian position and that it is worthy of faithful Catholics of good will to read her work, to benefit from it, and not only recognize that it is free of error in faith and morals, but also has accordance with Sacred Scripture and tremendous spiritual benefit for Catholics for generations to come. God works all things together for good. Just as God uses heresy to bring about a greater clarification of true doctrine, so God can take the misguided conclusions of critics to show forth the truth of the complete orthodoxy of her work and its great benefit to souls of good will.
The Pharisees and scribes rejected Christ because they did not want to know the truth. They did not want to be “confused with the facts.” I hope my e-book will serve humble, honest Catholics of good will who want to know the truth about this private revelation and this great gift of God for our generation. Heaven indeed did not waste its time in giving this great gift! “Extinguish not the Spirit. Despise not prophecies; but test all things, and hold fast that which is good.” (The Great Apostle St. Paul to the Thessalonians, 1 Thessalonians 5: 19-21)