Maria Valtorta's Poem of the Man-God.
#1
Dear Fishies, what do you all think of Italian Mystic Maria Valtorta's Poem of the Man-God, aka "the Gospel as revealed to me". It has been praised by some conservative Catholic writers, like Antonio Socci, who say modern archaeology greatly confirm the Poem's accuracy (Maria Valtorta completed her Poem in about 3 1/2 years, confined to a sickbed). The Poem is like earlier lives of Jesus and Mary given to the Saints and earlier Mystics, like Our Lady's revelations to St. Bridget, to Ven. Mary of Jesus of Agreda, to Bl. Catherine Emmerich etc etc. Traditional Catholic Bishops and Priests like Bp. Williamson and Fr. Robinson also greatly support the Poem. One or two alleged errors of the Poem are frequently quoted, Father deals with that in passing below.

Article from DRBO here: http://www.drbo.org/valtorta.htm Thoughts on the Poem? It now has an Imprimatur from the Church, as the article mentions. A first edition was disapproved by the Holy Office, because it lacked an Imprimatur at the time. A second edition was approved shortly thereafter. God Bless.

"Since this website is about the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the most accurate version of it, it seems appropriate to mention another Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is a much more complete and detailed "life of Christ" than the New Testament.  That book is "The GOSPEL As Revealed To Me", previously called "The Poem Of The Man-God", written by Maria Valtorta, based on private revelations she received from Jesus Christ, in Italy, from 1943-1950.  The new version is ten books which contain some of the most detailed accounts of the life of Christ you will ever hope to find anywhere.  Here is an article written by Fr. Kevin Robinson, which offers new information for those who are skeptical of this book.
THE POEM OF THE MAN-GOD, IS IT APPROVED?
Many conservative and traditional Catholics have been misled by an article circulating since 1992, referring to Cardinal Ratzinger's letter of 1985 and a summary of the seven "reasons" for condemnation of The Poem of the Man God in 1960.  There is a good analysis of this in a new book Fireworks (Kolbe Publications Sherbrooke, Canada, 1996, pp. 78-79, 87-107). It points out (p. 105) that Father Giraudo of the Holy Office in early 1962 reversed the previous decision of that Office to place The Poem on the Index of Forbidden Books.
Since then [1996], acceptance of The Poem has spread widely with imprimatur granted by Bishop Roman Danylak in Rome [1998] for all the approved English translations.  The canonical approval to publish, given by Pope Pius XII has not been seriously challenged.
See Gamaliel's advice, [Acts 5:38-39]
Don't forget, the approval of Pope Pius XII was more than an Imprimatur (permission to publish).  It was an instruction to publish, given at the Vatican before official witnesses on February 26, 1948.
INTERNAL VALUE OF THE WORK
Now for the intrinsic arguments.  Just about all the objections to The Poem involve taking quotes somehow out of context. There are three ways to take a text out of context and thus distort its meaning.
First there is verbal or literal context.  The Bible has these words: "There is no God" (Ps. 52), and "Christ died in vain" (Gal. 2:21).  No one can say that the Bible says (affirms) these statements, because in context we have: "The fool says in his heart, there is no God"; and "If justice comes by the law, then Christ died in vain".  Yet the verbal context could also be made clear somewhere else, (e.g. St. Paul saying "I would wish to be anathema from Christ", in Rom 9:3), can only be understood rightly in the light of verses 38-39 of the previous chapter, and the rest of Chapters 9, 10 and 11.  Likewise with Our Lord's words about cutting off a hand or plucking out an eye (Matt. 5:29 30) in a true verbal context we must understand the literary expression of hyperbole.  It would be wrong to take it too literally.  In the same way, Our Lord has given Maria Valtorta some surprising expressions, which the context makes quite clear.
Second is the cultural and temporal context.  It comes as a surprise for some to realise that Christ our Saviour was truly human, and with other characters of the Gospel, was of quite a different cultural stock (from ourselves).  Jewish first century styles and customs greatly differ from Western twentieth century ones. 
Thirdly, the most important context is the doctrinal or faith context.  This is the norm for interpreting Sacred Scripture consistent with the unanimous view of the early Fathers or the analogy of faith, (i.e. we must always interpret in conformity with the Magisterium of the Church.)  The Vatican newspaper in 1960 hinted at an error in Valtorta's account of the sin of Eve.  Fr. Roschini O.S.M. exposes the falsity of this charge in his book The Virgin Mary in the Writings of Maria Valtorta (Kolbe., Sherbrooke, Canada, 1986, pp. 276-279).  He points out that The Poem teaches precisely what St. Thomas taught: that the first sin was a complex one involving pride, disobedience, gluttony and finally lust ("fuerunt plures deformitates", Summa 1 li 9.82. a.2, ad 1).  He goes on to quote 10 saints and numerous other theologians in support of Valtorta! This is context.
With Valtorta, as with the canonical Scriptures, there are difficulties that are easily resolved by distinction from Thomistic philosophy such as: general vs. specific, strictly vs. broadly, properly vs. allegorically, in fieri vs. in facto esse, ad esse vs. ad melior esse, simpliciter vs. quodammodo.  These distinctions are usually not needed for the simple faithful as the context gives them the truth without danger.
A MOST QUOTED ERROR
It has been described as blasphemous that Our Lady could say what is recorded in pages 37-42 of The Poem.  There the Blessed Virgin is three years old, talking with her parents.  She expresses her great desire to see the Saviour, Who She knows will come for sinners.  She asks a logical question: "Can I be more saved and loved by Christ if I become a big sinner?"  The question shows that even with Her infused knowledge, Mary was ignorant of the great gift of Her Immaculate Conception, which St. Joachim then explains to Her with a beautiful comparison.  There is no dispute in Catholic theology about Mary's Immaculate Conception (since 1854) but there is a lawful and traditional disagreement about the extent of Her infused knowledge.  On these disputed questions of theology, no one has the right to call the other opinion blasphemous.  Nor should Our Lady's statement be taken out of context to condemn the whole work.
Thus you have the answer to the main objections.  The writings of Maria Valtorta are in no way opposed to the Catholic faith or morals; they were never put on the Index of Forbidden Books for any valid reason, and they continue to edify the Church resulting in many conversions and vocations.  Valtorta's writings were specially given by Christ Our Lord as a gift to His priests, to support the work of His Vicar St Pius X to combat Modernism (see The Poem. vol. 5, pp 946), and to reveal the truth of the Gospel in a special way.  They fill in the gaps.  They put you in the picture.  They amplify the sacred text, (e.g. the Passion may be five pages in your Gospel, it is 100 pages in The Poem.)
If The Poem at times seems sentimental, it is really the remedy of sentimentalism in matters of faith.  It is no more sensual than the works of St. Ignatius, who encourages the use of all five senses, plus imagination, in his Spiritual Exercises.  Valtorta always leads from the senses to the spiritual, the sublime and the supernatural.
It is a masterpiece of sacred literature, unlike anything ever written.  In some ways it is like being in the first seminary, trained by the Master Himself.  A professor and sculptor friend of Maria Valtorta wrote in 1965: "(her works) have completely transformed my inner life.  The knowledge of Christ has become so total as to make the Gospels clear to me and make me live them in everyday life better" (Lorenzo Ferri). All those among our parishioners who have read Valtorta say the same thing.
WITH POPE PIUS XII, I SAY "HE WHO READS WILL UNDERSTAND"
Remember that her major work on the Life of Christ, THE POEM OF THE MAN GOD, was condemned by the Holy Office in Rome mistakenly ONLY for the same reasons and the same time frame (2 years) as was the Saint Padre Pio condemned thirty years previously.
Only one Biblical Scholar of the twentieth century, has been recognised and beatified for his learning AND holiness; Blessed Gabriel Allegra. He first put the Bible into Chinese, and his latter years were spent reading, studying and promoting the Poem.
Fr. Gabriel Roschini, a famous Mariologist who also promoted Valtorta until his death in 1976, considered her writings greater than anything he has ever read on Our Blessed Lady. He wrote over 125 totally orthodox books!
St. Pius X granted an apostolic blessing for those who read "True Devotion".  One day (perhaps) a traditional pope will grant a similar reward for reading Maria Valtorta. When you have read the Poem, read the Notebooks.
Fr Robinson
April 25 2006
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#2
Whilst I admit it may have changed, the last time I checked the so-called 'imprimatur' had been granted by a retired UGCC Bishop with no Ordinary jurisdiction. The Canons require approval be given by the local Ordinary, and I believe by 'local Ordinary' is meant either the Ordinary of the author's domicile or of the site of publishing.

IOW, unless things have changed, it doesn't have 'Church approval'. . It has the approval of one retired Bishop with no authority to grant such approval. Hardly the same thing.
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#3
The work is full of quasi-heretical statements and near blasphemous treatment of Our Lord and Our Lady.

Every SSPX priest I know absolutely condemned the work as evil. I recall one of my seminary professors taking us through some of those erroneous and blasphemous statements. He was one of the smartest men I have ever known and a brilliant scripture scholar. He was unequvocal on this.

The Poem of the Man God was in the "Hell" section of the library with Martin Luther's works, to be read only by those in major orders with the explicit permission of the Rector and only for a very specific reason.

I was not aware that Fr Kevin Robinson said such a thing! I have lost a great deal of respect for him, and will certainly not be approaching him for advice, confession or listening to any of his sermons.
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#4
(03-19-2021, 06:34 AM)XavierSem Wrote:
Fr. Roschini O.S.M. exposes the falsity of this charge in his book The Virgin Mary in the Writings of Maria Valtorta (Kolbe., Sherbrooke, Canada, 1986, pp. 276-279).  He points out that The Poem teaches precisely what St. Thomas taught: that the first sin was a complex one involving pride, disobedience, gluttony and finally lust ("fuerunt plures deformitates", Summa 1 li 9.82. a.2, ad 1).

Just to point out the problem with Fr Robinson's article, or at least his reliance on Fr Roschini :

The Summa reference (I:II q.82 a.2, ad 1) does not say "and finally lust" which is the defense of Valtorta's writing. She suggests that the real Original Sin was a sexual sin. St Thomas does not say this at all. He writes :

Quote:Article 2. Whether there are several original sins in one man?

Objection 1. It would seem that there are many original sins in one man. For it is written (Psalm 1:7): "Behold I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother conceive me." But the sin in which a man is conceived is original sin. Therefore there are several original sins in man.

...

Reply to Objection 1. The employment of the plural—"in sins"—may be explained by the custom of the Divine Scriptures in the frequent use of the plural for the singular, e.g. "They are dead that sought the life of the child"; or by the fact that all actual sins virtually pre-exist in original sin, as in a principle so that it is virtually many; or by the fact of there being many deformities in the sin of our first parent, viz. pride, disobedience, gluttony, and so forth; or by several parts of the soul being infected by original sin.

Notice that St Thomas says that there were many deformities here, but he never says "lust". He says "et alia huiusmodi". Either Fr Robinson, or Fr Roschini has added this false attribution.

In fact St Thomas in ST II:II q.163 a.1, suggests that the first sin was not a sin of the flesh (emphasis mine) :

Quote:Wherefore it was not possible for the first inordinateness in the human appetite to result from his coveting a sensible good, to which the concupiscence of the flesh tends against the order of reason. It remains therefore that the first inordinateness of the human appetite resulted from his coveting inordinately some spiritual good. Now he would not have coveted it inordinately, by desiring it according to his measure as established by the Divine rule. Hence it follows that man's first sin consisted in his coveting some spiritual good above his measure: and this pertains to pride. Therefore it is evident that man's first sin was pride.


In the same article in the objections St Thomas explains how disobedience, glutton and an inordinate desire for knowledge were part of the sin of pride, but never mentions lust. The closest we have to this is in two questions later ST II:II q. 165 a.2 ad 3 when St Thomas explains that the devil used the serpent because he was had the "lust of deceit", and in ad 4 when St Augustine uses the phrase 'Those shall belong to thee, whom thou shalt deceive by earthly lust' signifies all sinners who inordinately desire earthly things.

In short, St Thomas does not suggest in any way that the Original Sin was a sexual sin, in fact, he suggests exactly the opposite.

Only someone who was quote-mining to try to support his theories would find and edit a quote from St Thomas to prove the point he had already decided was true.
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#5
(03-19-2021, 07:41 PM)jovan66102 Wrote: Whilst I admit it may have changed, the last time I checked the so-called 'imprimatur' had been granted by a retired UGCC Bishop with no Ordinary jurisdiction. The Canons require approval be given by the local Ordinary, and I believe by 'local Ordinary' is meant either the Ordinary of the author's domicile or of the site of publishing.

IOW, unless things have changed, it doesn't have 'Church approval'. . It has the approval of one retired Bishop with no authority to grant such approval. Hardly the same thing.

This bishop was Msgr Roman Danylak. He was a very controversial figure. He was appointed as Administrator of the Toronto eparchy in 1992, but due to concerns about him the eparch refused to retire. Eventually in 1998, an agreement was made for the eparch to retire, Msgr Danylak to be moved to Rome as a Canon of St Mary Major, and a new eparch ordained.

Immediately upon his assignment in Rome, Msgr Danylak began promoting questionable apparitions and miracles including one in Naju in Korea which the local ordinary condemned and forbid people from promoting.

Canon Law is very clear that imprimaturs must be given by someone with Ordinary jurisdiction, such as a diocesan bishop, vicar general of a diocese with delegation, major superior of a religious congregation, or such. A titular bishop has no power to give an imprimatur or approve any work.
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#6
To be honest, I have problems with Mary of Agreda's City of God as well.  Last year I read all four volumes, which remain on my desk.  There are a number of strange things, such as Jesus talking as a newborn.  Also, Our Lady is taken up into heaven multiple times during her life.

Mary of Agreda was insistent that the work was received through private revelation.

I maintain an open mind about the work, but I do have difficulties. It does have an imprimatur.

I wonder if these massive extra-biblical works are really necessary when we have the Gospels.
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#7
(03-22-2021, 03:26 PM)Evangelium Wrote: To be honest, I have problems with Mary of Agreda's City of God as well.  Last year I read all four volumes, which remain on my desk.  There are a number of strange things, such as Jesus talking as a newborn.  Also, Our Lady is taken up into heaven multiple times during her life.

I haven't read City of God.  That said, I'm not sure either of these things are necessarily bad.  Jesus talking as a newborn might be a bit strange but I'd need to read the scene in context.  Our Lady going up to Heaven multiple times isn't really all that strange.  IIRC, St. Paul is believed to be referring to himself in 2 Cor. 12:2 about being taken up to Heaven, though he seems to indicate it might have been a visionary experience rather than a literal trip.  And, of course, St. John in the Apocalypse has some kind of Heavenly visit or vision.  So, perhaps there's nothing unusual about the prospect of Our Lady having similar experiences during her earthly life.

Quote:Mary of Agreda was insistent that the work was received through private revelation.

I maintain an open mind about the work, but I do have difficulties.  It does have an imprimatur.

I wonder if these massive extra-biblical works are really necessary when we have the Gospels.

Strictly speaking, they aren't necessary.  Since no Catholic is obligated to believe in a private revelation, they can't be necessary in the strictest sense.  Frankly, I take all private revelations with a grain of salt, even well regarded ones like Fatima.  That isn't because I disbelieve in them but because I've noticed what I consider a concerning tendency among some Catholics, particularly some traditionalists, to place too much emphasis on them and any purported prophecies that come from them.
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"Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: That all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity."
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#8
I don't disagree with you.

I read City of God on the recommendation of Bl. Solanus Casey, who had a great devotion to the work.  He would read it on his knees.  He recommended it to everyone. He even got into some trouble for that, because the four volume set was expensive.
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#9
(03-22-2021, 04:41 PM)SeekerofChrist Wrote: Strictly speaking, they aren't necessary.  Since no Catholic is obligated to believe in a private revelation, they can't be necessary in the strictest sense.

This technically true, but it is so frequently misinterpreted as open season for people to air their aversion to devotions or Marian veneration...
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#10
I had an email exchange with Fr. K Robinson some time back. Father seems a very good and holy Priest to me. I know the Poem is controversial, but still. Father pointed me to this evidence of the SSPX's traditional support for the Poem:

"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!”6 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.”7 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”8 (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." http://www.valtorta.org.au/refutation-of...icles.html

The same link also shows numerous others who have approved the work. Pope Pius XII, 4 Cardinals, 14 Archbishops, 24 Clerics/Doctors of Theology etc.

Bishop Williamson has highly recommended it both to Fathers of families to read to their children, and to seminarians studying for the Priesthood etc.

I don't know the answers to some of the objections raised, like on original sin and what it consisted of etc. I'll have to study those issues more to respond.

But I trust those who have approved the work. That includes St. Padre Pio, who told a spiritual daughter of his, "I don't permit you. I order you" to read.

That's documented by Steven Austen in a detailed PDF here. Pope Pius XII also gave a verbal approval to publishing it without determining its origin.

Antonio Socci wrote: "It was precisely for our very own generation that this exceptional gift was given. It is a work of ten volumes, about 5,000 pages – literally awe-inspiring – where it is re-lived, day by day, as though broadcast live, the adventure of Jesus of Nazareth, the God-Man who overturned human history. There are hundreds of topographical names and details and descriptions of places, which were unknown to almost everyone and which only the latest research and archaeological excavations have brought to light. Maria Valtorta’s work – The Gospel as Revealed to Me – is, in truth, inexplicable by merely human means. 
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"My dear Jesus, before the Holy Trinity, Our Heavenly Mother, and the whole Heavenly Court, united with Your Most Precious Blood and Your Sacrifice on Calvary, I hereby offer my whole life to the Intention of Your Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.  Together with my life, I place at Your disposal all Holy Masses, all my Holy Communions, all my good deeds, all my sacrifices ... https://marianapostolate.com/life-offering/
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