In May controversial 'messenger of God' Vassula Ryden visited Durban where she spoke to a number of groups. Because some of the following questions were being asked about her – whether her 'revelations' are regarded as genuine; whether she is orthodox in her writings; and what her standing is with the Catholic Church - I invited her to the Chancery for a conversation over lunch.
Our conversation made it clear that her calling to be a mouth-piece whom Jesus Christ is using took place in extraordinary circumstances. But what is even more challenging is her relationship with the Catholic Church.
In 1995 the Holy See made it known that it had serious doubts about the authenticity of the revelations published by Vassula. In 2004 in response to a request by Vassula the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made a thorough investigation. Cardinal Ratzinger then Prefect of the Congregation stated in a letter that Vassula had answered satisfactorily the questions put to her. However the matter was confused anew by Cardinal Levada's 2007 statement which reaffirms the 1995 notification but totally ignores the 2004 statement.
It was therefore with keen interest that I awaited the opportunity to engage her in conversation. What struck me from the start and what remains a lasting impression is her total openness - especially when asked to explain what happened to her or why it should have happened to her at all. She is just as puzzled why she should have been chosen since she had completely lapsed from the practice of her Greek orthodox faith.
Another matter of interest is her relationship with the Holy See. She enjoys cordial relations with many of the top officials at the Vatican who are anything but negative towards her.It is therefore reasonable to state categorically that as far as the Church is concerned Vassula poses no threat to the Catholic Faith whatsoever. Indeed the messages which are communicated through her are consistent with the Church's own call to repentance and a return to the basics of the faith - in particular the basic prayers such as the Rosary and other devotions once so common in Catholic family and parish spiritual life.