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Monday, 6 October 2014

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The Supreme Court unexpectedly cleared the way Monday for a dramatic expansion of gay marriage in the United States and may have signaled that it's only a matter of time before same-sex couples can marry in all 50 states.Rejecting appeals from five states seeking to preserve their bans, the Supreme Court effectively made such marriages legal in 30 states, up from 19 and the District of Columbia, taking in every region of the country.
Challenges are pending in the other 20 states.
Almost immediately, exuberant couples began receiving marriage licenses previously denied to them. "This is the dream day," said Sharon Baldwin, a plaintiff in a challenge to Oklahoma's ban, as she and her partner got their license in the Tulsa County Clerk's Office.
Directly affected by Monday's orders were Wisconsin, Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah and Virginia. Officials in those states had appealed lower court rulings in an effort to preserve their bans. Couples in six other states — Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming — should be able to get married in short order since those states would be bound by the same appellate rulings that have been on hold.
While county clerks in a number of states quickly began issuing licenses to gay and lesbian couples, in some other states affected by the court's action officials did not sound ready to give up the fight. However, their legal options are limited.
Monday's terse orders from the court were contained among more than 1,500 rejected appeals that had piled up over the summer. The outcome was not what either side expected or wanted. Both gay marriage supporters and opponents had asked the court to resolve whether the Constitution grants same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide.
The justices did not explain why they decided to leave that question unanswered for now. They may be waiting for a federal appeals court to break ranks with other appellate panels and uphold state laws defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Or they may see little role for themselves as one court after another strikes down state marriage bans.
Still, the import seemed clear. What the justices did in virtual silence Monday "has to send a signal to the other courts of appeals that the Supreme Court does not think it's so wrong to allow same-sex couples to marry, and that even conservative justices don't think they have a good shot at getting five votes. And that sends a message that this essentially is over," said Jon Davidson, legal director of Lambda Legal, an advocacy group for gay rights.
Leaders of the National Organization for Marriage predicted a backlash in the form of renewed efforts to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
"The notion that the people have nothing to say about this — that unelected judges are going to decide it for us — that's preposterous," said John Eastman, the organization's chairman.
However, efforts to pass such an amendment have gained little traction, even in past years when support for same-sex marriage was less robust. NOM's president, Brian Brown, acknowledged that any renewed efforts would be "long and arduous."
The politics of gay marriage have shifted in the past decade. In 2004, it was a wedge issue: Republicans looking to boost turnout in the presidential election put questions of banning gay marriage before voters in nearly a dozen states.
Ten years later, there are openly gay members of both the U.S. Senate and House. And two openly gay Republicans — Massachusetts' Richard Tisei and California's Carl DeMaio — are running for House seats.
Last November, the Senate approved legislation that would bar workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Fifty-four members of the Senate Democratic majority and 10 Republicans voted in favor of the first major gay rights bill since Congress repealed the ban on gays serving openly in the military four years ago.
But the House, where Republicans have a majority they are all but certain to keep in the next Congress, has not acted on the discrimination measure. And the issue remains a touchstone for many conservatives, especially those in House districts drawn to lean heavily toward the GOP.
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, said Monday that the fight against same-sex marriage "is over" in his state. He said that "it is clear that the position of the court of appeals at the federal level is the law of the land and we're going to go forward enacting it."
But South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said he would continue to fight to uphold his state constitution's ban on gay marriage.
Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, called on the high court to "finish the job" with a national ruling. Wolfson said the court's "delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places."
On the other side, Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, an opponent of same-sex marriage, also chastised the court for its "irresponsible denial of review in the cases." Whelan said it is hard to see how the court could eventually rule in favor of same-sex marriage bans after having allowed so many court decisions striking down those bans to remain in effect.
Two other appeals courts, in Cincinnati and San Francisco, could issue decisions any time in same-sex marriage cases. Judges in the Cincinnati-based 6th Circuit who are weighing pro-gay marriage rulings in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, appeared more likely to rule in favor of state bans than did the 9th Circuit judges in San Francisco, who are considering Idaho and Nevada restrictions on marriage.
It takes just four of the nine justices to vote to hear a case, but it takes a majority of at least five for an eventual ruling. Monday's opaque order did not indicate how the justices voted on whether to hear the appeals.
With four justices each in the liberal and conservative camps and Justice Anthony Kennedy more or less in the middle, it appeared that neither side of the court wanted to take up the issue now. It also may be that Kennedy, with his likely decisive vote, did not want to rule on same-sex marriage now.
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A Necessary Reminder of A False Seer

The Spirit of the Prophetess

Vassula Ryden: A Case Study in Discerning the Spirits
byMitchell Pacwa
From the days of Moses and Miriam, Deborah and Samuel, to the prophets of the Book of Acts, the people of God have been presented with those who claim, “Thus says the Lord.” The Church has had its share of visionaries and seers who give what they claim are revelations from God and messages to his Church—some of these prophets have been recognized by the Church as genuine. Others ultimately have been dismissed as frauds. These visionaries and the messages often attract a following. The hierarchies of the churches are called to verify the authenticity of spiritual experiences, whenever that is possible. In many cases no stamp of approval can be given.
One of our modern visionaries is Vassula Ryden, who has spoken around the world in many churches with prophetic messages about church unity that she alleges are from Jesus Christ. Does she speak for “ecumenical orthodoxy”?
TouchstoneContributing Editor Fr. Mitch Pacwa was asked by Ryden to examine and critique her writings. (Her five-volume notebook is published asTrue Life in Godby Vassula Ryden, Independence, Missouri: Trinitas, 1991.) The study of the five volumes—which are not typeset but retain the handwritten text—was a daunting task and required careful work and sifting. The following article, based on Pacwa’s lengthier critique published inCatholic Twin Circle(August 1, 8, and 15, 1993)is the result of the theological aspect of “discerning the spirits” and is presented as an instructive look at this process. It also serves as a reminder of and evidence for the ongoing and vital need for spiritual discernment. (Editor)
On January 18, 1942, Vassula Ryden was born to Greek parents in Egypt. She has lived in many countries because of her first husband’s job. She worked as a model, and later became tennis champion of Bangladesh. Presently living with her second (though some say third) husband in Switzerland, she claims that Jesus, the Virgin Mary, and angels literally write through her hand.
Vassula’s experiences began in November 1985, when she felt a “kind of supernatural vibration that was flowing through my hands . . . the pencil was too strong for me to control.” The writer identified himself as her guardian angel, Daniel, preparing her for conversion. In February 1986 “Jesus” began to write through her hand. Eventually, the “Blessed Virgin Mary” and “St. Michael” wrote through her, too. Since then, Vassula, who is Greek Orthodox, has travelled around the world talking to church groups about these messages.
Getting Involved
Vassula had asked me to examine all five volumes of her published notebooks for problematic statements. She suggested that notes could be added to later editions to correct any confusing or imprecise statements about Christ. I read her books, wrote my notes, and in the fall of 1992 sent them to her spiritual advisor, Fr. Michael O’Carroll, C.S.Sp., for his response.
I then received a call from Fr. O’Carroll, who was then promoting a trip by Vassula. Father O’Carroll strongly suggested I not publish my findings. He said I showed “not one single sign of Christian charity” in my comments, that I ignored the “immensity of her conversion” with its prayer life and apostolate, and that I applied a piecemeal approach to Vassula’s writings in my analysis.
What I particularly did not like about Fr. O’Carroll’s subsequent letter was its spiritual threat (which also appears in Vassula’s writings): “Since your article and the distress, the real hurt, it inflicted on Vassula, God the Father has spoken to her. He is very severe on those who oppose her. This [book] will be published. If you go ahead with your article, and people apply this to you, they will not challenge Vassula’s right to defend herself and they may think much on the One who takes up her defence.” Fr. O’Carroll also informed me that I “am meant for higher and greater things than this.” I wrote this article to correct Vassula and to warn her followers of serious misstatements of theology, allegedly authored by Jesus. The truth of the gospel is my sole concern, and I trust that is the case with everyone involved.
What is most crucial is whether Vassula’s teachings are true to the Catholic and Orthodox faith which we have received from our Lord through the Apostles and the Tradition of the Church. My first concern in evaluating her messages was that nothing contradict the New Testament, the Councils, or authoritative Church teaching.
Ryden discounts any assertions that she is “influenced by the subconscious, or by evil spirits, by psychological disturbances.” Some theologians claim to find many good fruits in her writings. What does she teach? What are the doctrinal strengths and problems? This article is based on reading the first five published volumes of photocopied notebooks written by and (she alleges)throughVassula. (Please note: The grammar, punctuation, spelling, emphasis, and capitalization are quoted directly from Vassula’s notebooks. I put “Jesus” in quotation marks to refer to the one that Vassula claims is writing through her.)
Attractive Elements
Many good Roman Catholics, clergy and laity, are attracted to several things in Vassula’s writings. She frequently invites readers to devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. She teaches that the Christian should die to oneself so that Jesus can be within. She calls readers to peace, love, and conversion from sin and unbelief, much like she has epxerienced. This conversion includes a call to holiness and strong faith in the Eucharist. She promotes belief in Scripture and a return to authentic Christian faith. Central to her message is the call for unity among the churches, which can only come from God. This unity should be under the petrine office embodied in the pope—this comes from a Greek Orthodox Christian, not a Catholic! Many Roman Catholic readers, amazed that someone untrained in theology could write such Roman Catholic doctrine, naturally accept it as strong evidence of her claim to be taking authentic dictation from Jesus Christ.
Christological Confusion
The main problems of her writings are her confused teaching about Christ and the Blessed Trinity. She views the unity of God as the model or image of unity within the Church, yet her version of unity in the Blessed Trinity is muddled, if not heretical.
The confusion about Jesus Christ begins in Volume One where “Jesus” writes: “. . . learn that God and I am [sic] one, I am the Father and the Son, now, do you understand? I am One, I am All in One.” After Vassula protests that this is difficult, “Jesus” adds: “. . . the Holy Spirit comes from Me . . . All in One. The Holy Trinity is One, you can call Me Father, too. Wisdom comes from Me, I am Wisdom, too.” He “yearned to be loved by you, to hear you call Me Father,” and asks her to call him “Spouse and Father.” He says, “Lean on your Holy Father, Spouse, Companion and God.” However, in a passage where “Jesus” distinguishes himself from the Father, he asks, “Why were you avoiding calling Me Father? Vassula, I love being called Father. I am Father of all humanity.”
In Vassula’s own handwriting (the handwriting in the notebooks changes depending on who is speaking) she calls Jesus the Father, and so does “Jesus” on numerous occasions. He also says “I am your Holy Father,” and writes, “Little one call Me Abba” and in Greek, “call Me Baba”; “say, Abba to Me every now and then”; and “Come in your Father’s arms.” “Jesus” instructs people to pray to him, “You are the-One-God-and-Only, the Just One, you are indeed the Lamb, Youareour Heavenly Father.” Still more problematical are the times “Jesus” writes statements like “the Father and I are One and the same.”
“Jesus” responds to those who would criticize Vassula for calling him Father: “If they accuse you because you call Me Father it is because they have not understood that the Spirit of Love you received and speaks through you, brings you peace and love to cry out: Abba!” This fails to answer the objections about calling Jesus “Father” or to remove the confusion among the divine Persons which Vassula introduces.
“Jesus” answers this objection again: “If a ‘sage’ now and then accuses you of calling Me Father, remind him that today a Child is born and His Name is Wonder-Counsellor [sic], Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, and Prince of Peace [Is. 9:5]; pray for those who call themselves doctors of the Law, that their spirit becomes a humble and poor spirit.” In other words, the titleEternal Fatherin Isaiah’s messianic prophecy allows for calling JesusFather. Critical theologians are the problem, according to “Jesus.” The weakness of this retort is that the New Testament does not refer to Jesus asEternal Father, precisely to avoid the confusion between Father and Son that Vassula teaches. Theologians are duty-bound to clarify the Christian faith and test the teachings of locutionaries, visionaries, etc. Vassula’s response inadequately turns aside proper criticism.
Special confusion about the relationship between Father and Son appears at two points. First, in Vassula’s own script, she writes, “I love You, Father, beyond words.” The response is: “I love you daughter. My sufferings I will make you feel, when My crucifixion comes nearer, I will come to you leaving My nails and thorned crown, I will give you My Cross, beloved share with Me My sufferings.” Is it the Father or Jesus who suffers? If it is the Father (as Vassula’s words indicate), then she is teaching an old heresy called Patripassianism, the belief that the Father suffered on the Cross. The Church rejected Patripassianism because the Son suffered on the Cross, not the Father. Perhaps Vassula means Jesus suffered, but the text is unclear.
The second odd attribution to the Father of something proper to Jesus concerns the Eucharist. “The Father’s Voice, full of joy resounded through all Heaven, ‘Ah . . . I shall now make her penetrate My Wounds [Vassula notes that the Son is speaking] and let her eat My Body and drink My Blood.’ This sounds as if Jesus teaches that the Son is the Father, and the Father has wounds and offers His Body and Blood as much as Jesus does. This also sounds like Patripassianism.
Incorrect Statements Regarding the Holy Spirit
Jesus Christ, inJohn 16:13, describes the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity as “the Spirit of truth, who will guide you into all truth.” Vassula’s “Jesus” says, “I am the Spirit of Truth who speaks.” “Jesus” distinguishes himself from the Holy Spirit in one paragraph but identifies himself as the Holy Spirit in the next: “I am the Spirit of Love.” Still more explicitly, “Jesus” writes, “Anyone who rejects the Works of My Holy Spirit is rejecting Me, for the Holy Spirit and I are One, and the same!” Sometimes Vassula sees the Holy Spirit as distinct from Jesus and sometimes the same as Jesus. Such confusion must originate in her, not the real Jesus Christ.
“Jesus” writes more confusion: “Remember that I am Spirit, and all I have I share with your spirit, you and I are one, linked in union of Love.” He writes, “I who is [sic] the Spirit of Love, have taught you, how to love Me and how to grow in this love.” He also writes, “I Am the Holy Trinity all in One, I Am the Spirit of Grace.” He writes again, “I am Spirit and I desire you to worship Me in spirit and truth.” “Jesus” also writes, “And I, the Holy Spirit shall descend upon her to reveal to her the Truth and the depths of Us [Vassula’s note: “Us” is the Holy Trinity].”
Orthodox Teaching on the Distinction of Divine Persons
Catholics and Eastern Orthodox Christians already possess strong agreement in faith that the one true God is a Trinity of three distinct Persons. What follows are just a few of the many statements by Greek and Latin Church Fathers that the Christian cannot confuse the divine Persons.
Tertullian wrote inAgainst Praxeas(2,1), “. . . the present heresy [of Praxeas] . . . supposes that one cannot believe in the one only God in any other way than by saying that Father, Son, and Spirit are very selfsame Person. As if One were not All even in this way, that All are One—through unity of substance, of course!”
St. Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria, wrote inDiscourses Against the Arians(3,4):
They [the Father and the Son] are one, not as one thing now divided into two, but really constituting only one; nor as one thing twice named, so that the same becomes at one time the Father and at another His own Son. This latter is what Sabellius held, and he was judged a heretic.
Pope St. Damasus I, at the Council of Rome in A.D. 383, declared, “We anathematize those also who follow the error of Sabellius in saying that the same one is both Father and Son” (Tome of Damasus, Decree 2). Vassula’s desire for unity under the papacy is most commendable, but this requires accepting his teaching. Her “Jesus” contradicts the authoritative teaching of Pope St. Damasus I.
Fr. O’Carroll objected to my article, quoting our Lord’s words: “He who has seen the Father has seen the Son” (John 14:9). I respond with the teaching of St. Cyril of Jerusalem’sCatechetical Lectureson the same passage:
Whoever sees the Son, sees the Father: For the Son is like the begetter in all respects. . . . The Father, having begotten the Son, remained Father, and did not become other than He was. He begot Wisdom, but did not Himself become unwise. He begot Power, and was not weakened. He begot God, but lost not His own divinity. He neither lost anything of Himself by diminution or change; nor is there anything lacking in Him that was begotten. He that begot is perfect; and perfect is He, the Begotten. He that begot is God; and God is He that was begotten. (11,18).
The Church Doctors, East and West, show thatJohn 14:9is not interpreted in the manner of Vassula’s “Jesus.” Rather, it refers to Jesus Christ having the same nature as the Father. (See alsoOrigen,Contra Celsum, 7,43; St. John Chrysostom,On John, 74,1; and Bishop Victor of Vita,History of the Persecution in the Province of Africa, 2,63.) Vassula makes a mistake in claiming that Jesus and the Father share the same identity. God the Son is of the same nature as the Father, but he is a distinct Person. Vassula blurs that distinction in her writings. This can only bring disunity and confusion to those who accept her erroneous theology.
According to this evidence, it would be incorrect and heretical for a Christian to follow Vassula’s confusion of the Son with either the Father or the Holy Spirit. Her false teaching can never be the basis of unity between Latin and Greek Churches since both reject such confusion about Jesus Christ and the Blessed Trinity. If anything, her Trinitarian teachings would divide the Churches further.
Her Orthodox Statements on the Trinity
Vassula correctly states: “I am Jesus Christ beloved Son of God and Saviour.” She correctly distinguishes the Father and the Son on 85 pages, usually where the Son teaches Vassula to pray to the Father. Most of her references to the Holy Spirit, over 160 by my count, appear aptly to distinguish Jesus from the Holy Spirit. No one need dispute these acceptable statements on the Trinity. Neither can one avoid correcting erroneous or confusing statements, lest the faithful be led astray by false teachings alleged to be from the hand of Jesus Christ.
Trinitarian Problems
“Jesus’” version of the Trinity stands in need of serious correction. First, Vassula writes: “Here I was wondering if it was Yahweh or Jesus.” “Jesus” answers, “Vassula, I am One, I am One! . . . the Holy Trinity is One, I am One.” “I am the Alpha and the Omega, I, the Holy of Holies, the Holy-Trinity-all-in-One,The Authority.” “I am God, the Living God, your Creator; I am Love, I am your Father who speaks to you now, I am the Most Holy Trinity.” “You are in your Father’s Arms; I the Holy Trinity am One and the Same.” In addition to calling Jesus the Father, now Jesus is the same as the Holy Trinity!
“Jesus” writes, “I, your Lord Jesus Christ, is heaving My Sighs of Love upon your forehead and with Great Love I bless each one of you to unite and be one as the Holy Trinity is One and the Same.” One and the Same what? Being or substance, yes, that would be orthodox. However, to believe that Father and Son are one and the samepersonis heterodox.
“Jesus” also writes, “I your Holy Father love you. I Am The Holy Trinity, you have discerned well!” He writes, “You are in your Father’s Arms; I the Holy Trinity am One and the Same.” “I-Am-He-Who-Saves, I Am your Redeemer, I Am the Holy Trinity all in One, I Am the Spirit of Grace.” “I am the Holy One, the Most High, I am the Most Holy Trinity.” These statements bring all the Persons of the Blessed Trinity into the one Person of Jesus! This is a grievous mistake for “Jesus” to make!
“Jesus” instructed Vassula to “pray with Me to the Father: Father, though night still covers this earth, I know that above me, Yahweh, who sees His children in darkness will take pity on them.” However, “Jesus” already had said, “I am Yahweh,” so why does “Jesus” distinguish between himself and Yahweh? Is Jesus other than Yahweh? Later “Jesus” writes, “I Yahweh, am your Father.” These texts confuse the issue of identity in the Blessed Trinity beyond what the mysteries already contain.
In her own handwriting, Vassula writes: “Jesus in this whole passage mentions the Father Himself as the Son and the Holy Spirit showing the action and the presence of the Holy Trinity.” Since Vassula holds an incorrect view of the Trinity, one suspects that she is the source of the heretical Trinity teaching when “Jesus” takes over her hand to write.
Church Teaching on the Trinity
In contrast to the teachings of Vassula and her “Jesus,” let us examine the Trinitarian teaching of the Church. Pope St. Dionysius wrote to Patriarch Dionysius of Alexandria in A.D. 262 : “For [Sabellius], in his blasphemy, says that the Son is the Father, and vice versa.” St. Athanasius wrote:
[The Lord] having already said, “The Father and I are one” (John 10:30), adds quite reasonably, “I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me (John 14:10).” He shows thereby the identity of the Godhead and the unity of essence. They are one, not as one thing now divided into two, but really constituting only one; nor as one thing twice named, so that the same becomes at one time the Father and at another His own Son. This latter is what Sabellius held, and he was judged a heretic. On the contrary, they are two, because the Father is Father and is not His own Son; and the Son is Son, and is not His own Father. Their nature is one, because the Offspring is not unlike its Parent, and in fact is his Image; and all that is the Father’s is the Son’s. (Discourses Against the Arians, 3,3–4)
The Eleventh Council of Toledo (A.D. 675 ) taught:
Although these three are one, and the one is three, there remains to each one of the persons his own personal property; for the Father has eternity without birth, the Son has eternity with birth, and the Holy Spirit has procession without birth but from eternity.
The Council of Florence issued a decree for the Jacobites (1442) to set forth the orthodox Trinitarian doctrine as the basis for harmony between the Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholics:
There is one true God, all-powerful, unchangeable, and eternal, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, one in essence, but three in persons. The Father is not begotten; the Son is begotten of the Father . . . . The Father is not the Son or the Holy Spirit; the Son is not the Father or the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is not the Father or the Son. Rather, the Father is only the Father; the Son is only the Son; and the Holy Spirit is only the Holy Spirit.
The teaching of Vassula’s “Jesus” does not conform to these normative statements of faith taught by pope, patriarch, and council. In the face of this contradiction, we must reject Vassula and cling to the orthodox, catholic faith on which the Greeks and Latins already agree. To do otherwise would drive the churches farther apart.
Church Unity & the Trinity
The basis for unity in the Church in Vassula’s teaching is based on the type of unity in the Blessed Trinity. “I desire unity, I want My children to unite, I am One God and they must understand that the Holy Trinity is all in One! The Holy Spirit, the Holy Father and Jesus Christ the Son are all three in One.” “I am the Holy Trinity all in One and the Same who with My Salvation Plan is preparing you all to unite into one holy single fold.” He writes, “Unite! unite and be one, as I and the Father are One and the Same.” Also, “In a short timeallof you will learn how to live aTrue Life in Godand be one with Me as the Holy Trinity is One and the same, because all Three of Us agree.” Vassula writes to “Jesus,” “Father, may we be united with one Faith and one Baptism under Your Holy Name; may we be one in You as You Jesus is one with our Father.” “Jesus” agrees with this principle in a prayer given to Vassula. Interestingly, the proper distinctions are made among the Three Persons, except when it says, “We shall all be one in You as the Holy Trinity is One and the same; we shall not differentiate ourselves under Your Name anymore.”
Problems with Her Teachings about the Church
Vassula’s mission is Church unity, as “Jesus” says at least 100 times. He claims that uniting the Church is “Mywork,” indicating a reasonable theology of grace. Yet, “Jesus” asks, “Vassula, for My sake, will you unite My Church?” The union of the churches is a most worthy goal and every Christian should pray that our Lord accomplish it. My problem is with Vassula Ryden trying to unite the Churches on the basis of her revelations, rife with heretical teachings on Jesus Christ and the Blessed Trinity.
Another problem is Vassula’s indifferentism about the various denominations. She once asked “Jesus,” “Which Church Lord, which do You mean?” He responds, “All areMyChurches they are all Mine, they all belong to Me and Me only. I am the Church, I am the Head of the Church . . . You can come to Me anytime in any Church, do not make any distinction like the others. They all belong to Me.I am One Godand haveOne Body.” We should love and respect Christians of all denominations, but each church’s claims to truth must be examined in the light of Sacred Scripture and Tradition in order to determine which church is most authentic.
Vassula’s indifferentist behavior also appears when she receives Holy Communion in Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and Anglican churches. She “love[s] receiving Holy Communion” from the Church of England because they kneel when they receive. However, her behavior is not in accord with the canons of those churches. Receiving Holy Communion in all these churches would transgress the conscience of members who hold mutually exclusive Eucharistic theologies.
“Jesus” Spiritual & Sensual
“Jesus” writes, “Vassula, I have no physical body, I am Spirit, since I am Spirit I have no physical pain, but My Soul suffers intolerably, as well as the Soul of your Holy Mother when we see our children heading straight into Satan’s traps.” This appears to deny the physical resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is certainly an error, even though elsewhere Vassula criticizes those clergy who deny the resurrection. How does this statement fit with “Jesus’” writing, “My Cross is heavy and, ah! I need to rest now and then.”
Frequently “Jesus” says He has feelings: “I God feel, I feel all;” “I God exist and I feel.” It might be infelicitous expression when “Jesus” says, “I, God love you to distraction,” but it sounds inappropriate. He asks her, “Feel My holiness.” How is holiness felt?
A further oddity is “Jesus’” saying, “Child, come and feel My Heart, My Heart desires to be loved. Come and feel My Heart with your mind. Vassula, are you ready? feel Me.” How does a person feel with one’s mind? On the same page “Jesus” says, “You need not be embarrassed feeling My Heart, I am your God who asks you this, allow Me to use you like I wish. Allow Me to kiss you.” Vassula responds: “(I got suspicious, thinking it evil trying to make me fall into sin).” “Jesus” remains persistent in his desire to kiss her. Still later, “Jesus” says, “Love Me, love Me, feel Me, feel My insatiable love for you, I thirst for your love, I require more love from you Vassula, hear My Heart beats.” Vassula’s addition in her own handwriting, “Jesus was passionate.” seems inappropriately sexual. Likewise “Jesus” writes, “Vassula by being timid you infatuate Me.” Perhaps Vassula’s limited vocabulary is the problem with this last statement, but it is quite odd in its sexual overtones. This also is true when “Jesus” writes, “Come, feel Me, synchronize with Me, be One, annihilate in Me, let Me possess you entirely and reign over you, let Me thrust you in My Heart.”
The emotions of “Jesus” range to the negative side of the spectrum, as when Vassula writes in her own hand, “Jesus was feeling sad and was longing to be consoled.”
Perhaps this is the most telling statement of all: “Let Me edit what I wrote. It is I, Jesus.” Why does Jesus need to edit what He Himself has written down? Does he not trust her? or himself? This is true, despite his claim on the same page, “I gave you this charisma so that you learn directly from My lips.” “Jesus’” need to edit is inconsistent with Vassula’s adamant insistence that God is the sole author of these writings. In fact, the notebooks are indeed edited. Words are changed and pages are blanked out, removing embarrassing, wrong doctrines. Comparing later editions with the first edition proves this.
All the Proof There Is
Vassula, in her own handwriting, admits that “therearefalse apparitions, even revelations.” “Jesus” then promises to “unveil them and show that these are false.” He will not leave her “exposed in those dangers” but will “rush to you to reveal you the truth.” Unfortunately, this “Jesus” has not always taught Vassula the truth. She must submit to the authentic teachings of the Church to learn that truth. “Jesus’” warning against the “many who claim to hear Me” but “rave with prophecies that are not pronounced by Me,” may well apply to Vassula herself. And when Vassula asks for signs and proof of her revelation, “Jesus” answers, “All that I will give them is you yourself, child.”
Vassula herself remains unconvinced that she provides “positive proof,” but nothing more is given. I am not convinced either.
Rev.Mitchell Pacwa, S.J., is Professor of Scripture at Loyola University in Chicago.He travels widely, lecturing on Catholic apologetics, the New Age, and cults. In the fall of 1994 he did extensive lecturing in Australia andNew Zealand. His book,Catholics and the New Age(Servant Publications: Ann Arbor, 1992), was reviewed in the Summer 1992 issue ofTouchstonebycontributing editor Donna Steichen.
Letters Welcome:One of the reasonsTouchstoneexists is to encourage conversation among Christians, so we welcome letters responding to articles or raising matters of interest to our readers. However, because the space is limited, please keep your letters under 400 words. All letters may be edited for space and clarity when

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The Persecution Stage LAST

I knew this would happen. I am not surprised.

Persecution for Catholics, dioceses, clergy, bishops, cardinals in America beginning of the last stage...

Much Needed Advice from An Older Mum

Sometimes, God makes it clear to me that I need to write on a specific topic, when several readers bring up the same doubts or direct questions.

I have been thinking of writing on parental roles in discerning children's vocations for a few days, and had two people bring this up in different parts of the country.

Please consider what I have to share here.

First of all, young parents, and by young I mean under fifty, lack confidence in their parenting. Society has beat confidence to pulp by undermining the role of the parent in the formation of the child. Governments now want and do take over the formation of children, which is not only in contradiction to the teaching of the Church, but natural law.

Parents are the first, primary and God-given teachers of their children.

Second, parents are given graces in the sacrament of marriage for raising children. Part of the raising of children is the formation of virtue, which some of you have read in my long series last summer of 2013.

Third, parents are given gifts, insights into guiding their children to the specific vocations to which God is calling them.

Finding out one's vocation is not great hidden secret. Indeed, in times past, parents not only saw the gifts of their children clearly but guided them directly into various vocations.

Which leads me to the next point. Parents not only are given gifts to help their children discern their vocations, but parents have a duty to do so.

Why parents are so reluctant to guide directly their own children is a mystery to me. And, if someone is giving advice to the contrary, those people are just plain misguided.

Parents have  duty to ask God specifically what a child is called to do and to help that child fulfill that vocation.

Any parent who neglects prayer and guidance is not fulfilling the role and authority given to them by God. A parent who neglects his duty to raise a child in holiness, guiding that child to the vocation God has in Mind, may lose his salvation for thwarting God's plan.

Now, here is the rub. The parent must be objective and holy to see clearly what God has in mind for the children. A parent cannot merely want a child to be a doctor, for example, because of pride and status, or money and security.

A parent cannot push a child to live out the faded and unfulfilled dreams that the parents once had but lost.

A parent cannot push a child away from a vocation to the priesthood or religious life because that parent wants the child in his life, or wants grandchildren, or the name of the family to be carried on in posterity.

No, no, no...

God will genuinely show the parent who is sincere about seeing God's plan for their children's lives. God will show the parent what to do, how to plan the child's life, education, formation.

This is the natural plan of God, to work with the parent so that the child becomes the man or woman God intended them to be. God even calls children to be and to do things from the womb.

Jeremiah 1:5Douay-Rheims 

Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee: and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and made thee a prophet unto the nations.

Why young parents back off from this important role is a mystery to me. Children need and deserve guidance from holy parents who want the child to be what God desires.

Some saints had excellent parents who cooperated with God's plan. Some did not. One thinks of the excellent parents of St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who are both recognized as being holy-his mother is a blessed-, and the awful, selfish parents of St. Thomas Aquinas, who are not blesseds.

Catholic parents must pray daily for knowledge and to push this responsibility totally on a youth, no matter how old, is irresponsible.

Whether a child is called to marriage, a religious vocation or the priesthood, that child needs the direction of holy parents

Some parents pray that God would show the child his or her vocation, when the prayer should be that God would show the parents and the child the vocation to which God has called that child.

God gives many hints and even large indications as to what He wants a child to do and to be. And, if a child rebels against holy parents who have sought out the will of God, woe to that child. Disobedience and rebellion are not normal.

Pray and pay attention, parents, as that is your role.

Fear Mongering

I myself would add, "and a toothbrush". However, I did not come up with the idea of not panicking in space. But, people are beginning to panic as they have to face, perhaps, death.

Ancient peoples understood that all people die. They saw people succumb to disease, war, poverty. In modern societies, death seems to be avoided. Great lengths are taken to hide death. Deceit about disease, war, poverty minimize risks. But, one must face death. We all do.

Some Americans are panicking because of the Ebola outbreak. There are true dangers which could be lessened by smart governmental policies. But, where are the leaders?

War is also a danger for the entire Western world. Old enemies of the West and new ones want to destroy our civilization.

Poverty is still hidden in the United States. Many old people face undernourishment, lack of heat, and necessary medicines. As one who has had to choose in the past between food and meds, I know how painful this situation can be.

But, despite the reality of so many threats, what is on the news is the purposeful creation of a fear culture.

Governments create fear in order to control people.

In older days, governments created fears about minorities, fanning ancient prejudices. So, history witnessed the Holocaust.

Fear mongering creates passivity among citizens, who feel overwhelmed, helpless, feelings which allow tyrants to control passive peoples.

This is exactly what is happening. To live in fear is not to be Christian.

We live in hope, knowing that death is not the end.

How interesting that it is those who do not have real faith are those who are panicking.

Panic not.

The British won the war...

to be continued......................................

Globalization of Disease

To Love The Church

When I first was re-converted, in 1971, I clearly was given a gift of a great love of the Church. The Church is my love along with Christ my Bridegroom. But, God warned me, saying, "The Bride of Christ is the Whore of Babylon." I was shocked but soon learned that I had to love the good and the bad, the faults and the virtues of those in the Church. I have never forgotten those words.

One reason I love even "fallen clergy" is that God has given me His love for these men. I love those who have fallen because I fell and there but God's grace go I. They must fact justice, but also mercy. The Church must be preserved in love and in truth.

Perhaps, some of my little sufferings can be reparation when I am finally perfected and not merely suffering for my own sins. But, I have suffered from bad monks, bad nuns, bad priests, which are all in stories involving those who betrayed me and abandoned me when I stood up for truth at a famous university, a famous seminary, a high school, an elementary school and other places. I suffered the hatred of those who hate the real Church because I love Her. Most who hated me and the truth were clergymen and nuns, as well as supposedly Catholic laity. Some people have said to me, "I am surprised you stayed Catholic after...." 

I know where God is. I know where the Truth is. I know wherein is my salvation.

I have lost patience with those Catholic journalists both on and off the Net who are caught up in the adversarial spirit, which is not from God. One must transcend hatred and failure and love.

When all falls apart, we only have ourselves to blame, not others. 

Here is Garrigou-Lagrange on St. Catherine:

One of the characteristics of heroic charity is to bear with great generosity the sufferings that come from those one loves. Thus saints who, like St. Catherine of Siena and St. Joan of Arc, had a great love for the Church, have also had to suffer particularly from the faults of churchmen. This suffering was in the nature of reparation.

God may ask some of you to suffer in, with, for the Church. I have said yes to this many times, but I still pray that I have the courage and strength to face the last battle.

Garrigou-Lagrange on St. Catherine and St. Joan's Hope

When she offered herself for the reformation of the Church, the Lord gave her the following counsel for herself and her spiritual children: "You ought to offer to Me the vessel of many fatiguing actions, in whatever way I send them to you, choosing, after your own fashion, neither place, nor time, nor actions. Therefore the vessel should be full, that is, you should endure all those fatigues with affection of love and true patience, supporting the defects of your neighbor, with hatred and displeasure of sin. . . . So, endure manfully, even unto death, and this will be a sign to Me that you love Me; and you should not turn your faces away and look askance at the plough, through fear of any creature or of any tribulation; rather, in such tribulations should you rejoice. . . . After your sorrow I will give you most sustaining consolation, with much substance in the reformation of the holy Church." (24)
The Lord sustains the hope of His saints by words like those He addressed to Joan of Arc in her prison: "Do not fail to esteem your martyrdom; as a result of it, you will finally come to the kingdom of paradise." The saints place their trust more and more in helpful omnipotence, saying to themselves: "God is stronger than all"; and their immolation itself is a triumph which configures them to our Savior. With Him they thus win the victory over sin and the devil. To persevere in the struggle, they ask the Lord to give them the sincere desire to share in His sacred humiliations, and in this desire to find strength, peace, and occasionally joy that they may revive the courage of those about them.
In the same proportion as charity grows, the fear of suffering diminishes and that of sin increases without weakening trust. The more closely we are united to God by charity, the more we fear sin, which would separate us from Him, and the more we trust in Him who loves us and draws us to Himself.(25)

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More from Garrigou-Lagrange: Signs of The Unitive State

In The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena, the Lord says: "This true and holy hope is more or less perfect, according to the degree of love which the soul has for Me, and it is in the same measure that it tastes My Providence." (19) This spiritual taste is greatly superior to sensible consolations. In fact, not only does the perfect soul believe in Providence, but more and more discovers its manifestations where it least expected them. It tastes Providence by the gift of wisdom which shows it all things in God, even painful and unforeseen events, making it foresee the higher good for which He permits them.

In the same chapter of The Dialogue we read: "Those who serve Me disinterestedly, with the sole hope of pleasing Me, taste My Providence more than those who expect a recompense for their service in the joy which they find in Me. . . . Perfect and imperfect are the object of My attentions; I shall not fail any, provided they have not the presumption to hope in themselves." (20)
The more disinterested we are, the more we taste Providence see it in the course of our life, abandon ourselves to it and to the direction of our two great Mediators, who do not cease to watch over us. With trust in our Lord grows that in Mary, universal Mediatrix. She, who at the foot of the cross made the greatest act of hope when all seemed lost, merited to be called Mary Help of Christians, Our Lady of Perpetual Help. We know that frequent recourse to her is a special sign of predestination.


That the heroic confidence of the saints revives the hope of their companions is particularly evident in the lives of the founders of religious orders. When they had neither money nor human support, when vocations were lacking or slow in coming, when they met with scarcely anything but mistrust and contradiction, they placed their confidence in God and lifted up the hope of their first sons, who remained faithful. (21)

On more than one occasion miracles have rewarded their trust. When there was only a loaf of bread for the brethren of the convent of Bologna, St. Dominic gave the loaf to a poor man asking for alms. The saint put his trust in God, and angels came from heaven to bring the necessary bread to the religious.

Blessed Raymond of Capua relates that St. Catherine of Siena "was accustomed to say to us when some one of my brethren and I feared some peril: 'Why do you concern yourselves? Let divine Providence act. When your fears are greatest, it is always watching over you and will not cease to provide for your salvation.'" (22) Such is perfect, entirely trustful abandonment, united to sustained fidelity to daily duty.

The Lord Himself said to St. Catherine of Siena during very trying times: "My daughter, think of Me; if thou dost so, I shall unceasingly think of thee." (23) This trust in God enabled the saint to restore the courage of her companions during the exceptional mission entrusted to her of bringing the pope from Avignon to Rome, a mission which she accomplished in the midst of the greatest difficulties. The Sovereign Pontiff's entourage did everything possible to discredit the saint; in spite of this almost incredible opposition, the daughter of the dyer of Siena, trusting implicitly in our Lord, succeeded perfectly in her task.