“A monument to pseudo-religiosity”: A case against The Poem of the Man-God

Why in all these years have so few readers of The Poem of the Man-God, by Maria Valtorta, noticed it blatant and offensive defects?

Maria Valtorta (1897-1961) In 1918, at age 21, in the uniform of a Samaritan nurse, during the First World Ward. (Image: Wikipedia)

Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, begins at sunset on September 15th this year. It’s the climax of the High Holy Days when the judgments of God are sealed upon unrepentant sinners. So, it seemed a fitting time to honor my father’s people by examining a book riddled with coarse anti-Semitism yet long admired in some pious Catholic circles: The Poem of the Man-God by Maria Valtorta.

The background

Here’s a brief review for those who may not remember Valtorta’s heyday in the 1990s when the Christian world was convulsed with End Times speculations and many Catholics rallied to the apparition of the month. To her supporters, the Poem is a “flawless” expansion of the Gospels that has profoundly improved its readers’ souls. But in 1959, it became the second-to-last publication placed on the Vatican’s Index of Forbidden Books.

Maria Valtorta was born to Lombard parents on March 14, 1897 in Caserta, Italy. Her father was a non-commissioned army officer. Her publisher describes her mother as “callous,” “despotic,” and extremely severe. Valtorta’s mother spitefully curtailed her education and terminated two promising courtships.

After taking private vows in 1931, Valtorta aspired to be a “victim soul” and became permanently bedridden two years later because of a heart condition and an old back injury. Her spiritual director was Fr. Romauld Migliorini, a member of the Servants of Mary. Valtorta was a tertiary in the same order which has never ceased to promote her writings and reputation for holiness.

Valtorta is supposed to have offered God the sacrifice of her intelligence in 1949. She gradually ceased writing as mental aberrations increased over the next decade. By the time of her death in 1961, she had reached what Fr. Benedict Groeschel C.F.R. has described as “as state similar to catatonic schizophrenia.” Illness would suffice to explain her decline without looking for diabolic causes, as some critics have tried. She died on October 12, 1961.

Originally composed as 10,000 handwritten pages between 1943 and 1947, the published Poem is a 4,000-page Life of Christ in which scenes describing visions are interspersed with direct commentary by Jesus and Mary. Valtorta could remember—and later clarify—what she said she saw in her visions but not the dictation she recorded through a process resembling automatic writing. Valtorta’s randomly generated texts were typed and arranged in Gospel chronology by Fr. Migliorini, who began circulating select bits privately.

Sometime after April of 1947, a bound copy of Valtorta’s complete manuscript was sent to Pope Pius XII via the papal confessor. The Pope received Fr. Migliorini and two other Servites in a special audience on February 26, 1948. His polite murmurs about the Poem reportedly included the phrase “publish this work as it is” which the Servites afterwards remembered and interpreted as a “Supreme Pontifical Imprimatur” This alleged oral imprimatur is the only one the publishers of the Poem have ever received—or sought.

Although a pope could in theory grant such an imprimatur and even do it orally, no one has produced a modern instance of this. Surely, so meticulous a man as Pius XII would have made his intentions perfectly clear and not left his words to be construed after the fact by interested parties.

It’s impossible to determine how much of the Poem Pius XII actually read. Given his crushing burdens leading the postwar Church and the many crises he had to face while the Iron Curtain thundered down, how much time could the pope possibly have devoted to reading and evaluating thousands of pages of manuscript?

After a harsh rejection at the Vatican press, the Poem was released by Italian publisher Emilio Pisani. On December 16, 1959 the Poem was condemned by the Holy Office, then headed by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani. Osservatore Romano printed this decree on January 6, 1960 accompanied by a hostile unsigned review of the Poem entitled “A Life of Jesus Badly Novelized.”

Valtorta’s defenders try to blame this and subsequent censures on a secret “Modernist clan” within the Holy Office. They offer no evidence of how “Modernists” could operate undetected by the strictly orthodox Ottaviani nor why Modernist and other anti-Catholic books continued to appear on the Index, 1948-60.

Moreover, as Ottaviani’s successor Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has declared, the 1966 abolition of The Index of Forbidden Books in no way sanitizes previously banned works, including the Poem. In 1994, Ratzinger’s office issued another statement through the apostolic nuncio in Canada reiterating its judgment that Valtorta’s works are simply fiction: “These writings cannot be recognized as being of supernatural origin.” (The Poem’s English edition has been distributed from Canada since 1986 by Editions Paulines of Sherbrooke, Quebec.)

Furthermore, on April 17, 1993, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith directed the Italian Bishops’ Conference to order this disclaimer placed in future re-issues of the Poem: “…the ‘visions’ and ‘dictations’ referred to in it are simply literary forms used by the author to narrate in her own way the life of Jesus. They cannot be considered supernatural in origin.”

Almost from their beginning in 1981, the Medjugorje apparitions became entangled in the Valtorta controversy because pilgrimages to the Bosnia site were major vectors for disseminating the Poem. Two of the seers, Maria Pavlovic and Vicka Ivankovic (who is writing her own “inspired” Life of Mary), were queried on Our Lady’s views of the work and reported a positive response. “Our Lady says that The Poem of the Man-God is the truth” according to Vicka. Several other seers /locutionists/prophets of the time concurred. Is it healthy to treat private revelations as the ultimate arbiters of Catholic belief and practice?

Controversy, popularity, and a fundamental flaw

But not everyone was enchanted by the Poem. By the early 1990s, disputes spread beyond the followers of Medjugorje to the overall Marian movement. The Poem’s prominent defenders included Prof. Leo Brodeur, Bishop Roman Danylak, Fr. Rene Laurentin, and Fr. Stefano Gobbi while Paul Likoudis, Fr. Philip Pavich OFM, Fr. Mitch Pacwa SJ, and Fr. Brian Wilson LC argued against it. But these debates largely centered on how the Poem came to appear on the Index and whether that condemnation was justified. Problems with content got less attention. I, however, wrote a general critique for Catholic International magazine in 2003.

So, who am I to re-enter the fray at this late date? The undying embers of the Longest Hatred—anti-Semitism—are reddening again among some stern Catholic conservatives as they denounce “globalism” and George Soros. I also bring unique credentials. Although I’m a mere laywoman and no theologian, I did receive a traditional pre-Vatican II Catholic education, which I’ve employed in the service of the Catholic press for 38 years. History is my field and, unlike any other debaters known to me, I’ve written, edited, and analyzed fiction professionally. I’ve read the Poem in the five-volume English edition (Centro Editoriale Valtortiano srl. Isola del Lira, Italy, 1986, reprinted 1990) and consulted its online version retrieved from archive.org. (I haven’t examined the latest edition of 2014, The Gospel as Revealed to Me in ten volumes from the same publisher.) Its defenders can’t accuse me of ignorance or taking quotes out of context.

The Poem reached hundreds of thousands of readers across the globe in many languages but its anti-Semitic elements seem to have slipped by unnoticed. These are entwined with other objectionable aspects that ought to have disqualified the work from consideration as serious spiritual literature—much less a heaven-sent account of Our Lord’s life.

The Poem’s fundamental flaw is its claim to compensate for the inadequacies of the Gospels. As Jesus himself explains to Valtorta, the New Testament needs to be supplemented (I: p. 432) because of the evangelists’ “unbreakable Jewish frame of mind.” Their “flowery and pompous” Hebrew style kept them from writing everything that God wished. (V: p. 947) So nineteen centuries later, he finds a worthy secretary in Valtorta, his “Little John,” to expand what the Apostle St. John and the others wrote. “There is nothing of my own in this work,” she insists. (I: p. 57) She presents herself as a mere transmitter of Divine content.

But Hebrew is no “flowery” language. Neither is the simple and concrete koine Greek, in which at least three of the Gospels were composed. Moreover, the evangelist Luke was Greek, not Jewish. Nevertheless, Jesus denounces future critics of the Poem who dare to search for mistakes “in this work of divine bounty.” (V: pp. 751-52) The Poem is self-authenticating and any discrepancies were put in it by Jesus himself. (V: p. 753)

Valtorta’s own prose, however, is flowery in the extreme. Consider her page long description of newborn baby Mary (I: p. 24-25) wherein her fists “are two rose buds that split the green of their sepals and show their silk within.” Her figures of speech monotonously feature flowers, jewels, and fabric. The literary effect is further hampered by her fondness for exotic words (“noctules” for bats) and translators’ clumsiness (a line of laden donkeys is rendered as an “asinine cavalcade.”)

The Poem also presumes to “correct” the received text of Scripture. Valtorta’s reading of John 2:4 adds a novel “still” to Christ’s remark concerning the wine at Cana: thereby making it a comment on their own relationship: “Woman, what is there still between me and you?” (I: pp. 283-84) But her reading has no basis in the Vulgate or in any translation into a modern vernacular from the original Greek. The Poem presumes to place itself above the Bible and “Little John” beyond criticism.

Despite claiming a purely celestial origin, the Poem somehow incorporates legendary material from the Apocrypha (ex.” The Acts of St. Paul and Thecla), The Golden Legend, The Meditations of Pseudo-Bonaventure, the revelations of St. Birgitta, and other medieval texts. (Is she borrowing from Carmen when Mary Magdalen tries to attract Jesus’ notice by throwing a rose at him?) Valtorta is at odds with the revelations of Maria de Agreda and Bl. Anne Catherine Emmerich in chronology, familial relationships, and details of key events such as the Passion and Assumption. For instance, in the Poem Mary lives and dies in Jerusalem, not Ephesus as the other two visionaries say. The personal stories of the Apostles, however, aren’t traditional. Peter is a short, middle-aged buffoon; Simon is an actual “Canaanite” and not Jesus’ cousin. Judas gets far more coverage than all the other Apostles put together.

A flower-strewn fantasy world and a ranting Jesus

Valtorta supposedly used only the Bible and the Catechism of Pius X as references. There’s no way of knowing what she may also have absorbed earlier from her schooling, reading, sermons, or conversation. What little she knows about first century Palestine and Jerusalem could have come from maps and study aids commonly bound in Catholic Bibles. Otherwise, it’s a flower-strewn fantasy world. Her landscapes, sets, props, and costuming recall soft, gilt-touched Italian holy cards. She is amazingly ignorant of the local living conditions. Her houses resemble Italian farmhouses with fireplaces, porches, and kitchen gardens. The rich enjoy jasmine pergolas and hedged gardens closed with iron gates. The countryside abounds with apple orchards. fields of rye, stands of cactus and agave. Apples are ubiquitous. Dates, figs, and olives seldom appear; lentils, chickpeas, or onions never. People routinely drink fresh milk, even honey-water and cider, but wine scarcely ever appears. The screwdriver and the iron horseshoe are in use, although they were unknown in ancient Palestine.

Valtorta acknowledges her confusion about the layout of the Temple, but still erroneously pictures it as having multiple gilded domes, angel-headed capitals, and a choir of maidens. Not only does Jesus have a bar mitzvah, a ceremony which didn’t yet exist, everything described is false, even to the name of the Bible book he reads as a “test” administered by a bored Temple functionary. Although speaking the Divine Name was taboo, Jesus himself says “Yaweh. “Jehovah”, a word unknown in antiquity, is freely used by other speakers, including Mary and Peter.

But Valtorta’s anachronisms are not nearly as objectionable as her distorted characterizations of Jesus and Mary. They are, of course, fair-haired, blue-eyed, alabaster-skinned and straight-nosed, quite unlike the swarthy Jews around them. A pale complexion—usually but not necessarily—signifies great holiness. (Note that Mary Magdalene and girlish John are fair while Judas is dark.) A hooked nose, however, is always an ominous feature.

Our Lord is a ranting, hypersensitive Mama’s boy whose stripped body “looks like a delicate lady.” (V: p. 564) His last word on the Cross is, in fact, “Mother.” (V: p. 620) Jesus must exercise supreme will power to restrain his aversion toward sinful mankind: “My first contacts with the world had sickened and depressed me. It was too ugly.” (I: p. 432) He would rather touch a corpse than an impure person. “I feel such disgust for lewdness that it upsets me.” (I p. 695-96) “. . . He never laughs.” (I: p.282) (italics in original) He also demonstrates his sublime purity to a prostitute sent to tempt him by trampling a “lascivious” caterpillar underfoot. (IV: p.785) Needless to say, this gesture helps bring her to repentance.

Calling himself the “Man-God,” Jesus openly proclaims his Divinity and Messiahship from the beginning of his public life. He baptizes his Apostles with kisses and preaches every doctrine in the catechism. The Decalogue is the only part of the Mosaic Law that Jesus accepts; all else is priestly accretion. (I: p. 273) But aren’t Leviticus and Deuteronomy books of the Bible? Souls go to heaven before his Passion and Resurrection. (I: p. 263) Incredibly, the wounds of the Risen Christ, his “stigmata,” still hurt and his joints are stiff. (V: pp. 762-64)

His followers are already called “Christians” before the founding of the Church (V: p. 253) despite Biblical testimony to the contrary (Acts 11:26). He even denies that Christian beliefs developed across time because he had already delivered them all, using correct terminology, while on earth. (V: 946) The Poem isn’t “new” revelation added since the death of the last Apostle because it’s just offering material that the Evangelists left out.

Mary, whom Jesus calls “the Second-Born of the Father,” (I: p.7) and “second to Peter with regard to ecclesiastical hierarchy” (IV: p.240) preens over her unique exemption from “the torture of generating.” (I: 115) during her cousin Elizabeth’s hard labor. After the Crucifixion, she rages in morbid hysteria with incestuous overtones (V: pp. 630-59). The grieving Virgin proclaims her hatred of men, who are likened to wolves, snakes, and hyenas. “Man disgusts and frightens me.” (V: p. 640) Yet in the next day’s dictation Jesus praises the Sorrowful Mother’s forbearance and forgiveness (V: 670). Then, in a final twist in his envoi to the Poem, Jesus excuses his Mother’s emotionality by her ethnicity because “…they should consider the nationality of Mary. Hebrew race, eastern race, and times very remote from the present ones. So the explanation of certain verbal amplifications, that may seem exaggerated to you, ensues from these elements.” (V: 947) Valtorta really could not recall what she had written after committing it to paper.

The Poem titillates with several invented subplots of “delicate” maidens barely escaping the Fate Worse Than Death and guilt-ridden harlots’ descents into utter degradation. In one especially tasteless moment, Herod tries to tempt captive Jesus with his lascivious African dancing girls who “touch Christ lightly with their nude bodies.” (V: p. 562)

Despite the vaguely homoerotic flavor of Christ’s frequent kisses, cuddles, and caresses of his disciples, Valtorta has an almost Gnostic loathing of sexuality. To Jesus, all humans are nothing but souls. (I: 672) She claims that unfallen humanity would have reproduced asexually. The Primal Sin was Eve’s perverse dalliance with the serpent followed by intercourse with Adam. (I: p. 83) Now sexual satisfaction is “bread made with ashes and excrement.” (I: p. 665) She never acknowledges it can be licit within wedlock.

Jesus’ sermon on the Sixth Commandment, more vehement and accusatory than on the other nine, betrays an uncertain grasp of human reproduction. (I: p.664). Contraception and abortion were not common in New Testament times. Jesus absurdly claims that animals mate soberly, only for the sake of offspring. (I: p. 30) Can the Man-God be unfamiliar with male dogs? He also teaches delayed ensoulment after a human embryo has started to take shape. (I: 635)

Valtorta’s deplorable anti-Semitism

But Valtorta’s worst fault is her deplorable anti-Semitism, both religious and racial, that stains the entire Poem. Contrasted with Roman soldiers, Valtorta’s swarthy, stinking, big-nosed cowards are stereotypes straight out of The Eternal Jew. To Romans, Jewish corpses are “so many snakes the less.” (V: p. 623) Legionaries gleefully insult the Jewish crowd they are dispersing with blows. (IV: p. 804) Pilate’s confrontation with a delegation from the Sanhedrin is an embarrassing exercise in vulgar comedy with Pilate sniffing a flower to ward off the “billy-goat” stench of Jews. (V: pp. 557 ff)

Valtorta repeatedly compares Jews unfavorably with Romans: “Hebrew wombs conceive vile perjurers. Roman wombs conceive nothing but heroes.” (V: p. 790) Mary Salome calls Jews “cowards” but considers their Roman conquerors “just and peaceful.” (V: p. 652) Mary Magdalen speculates that converted Jews won’t be brave enough to be martyrs. (V: p. 663) Gentiles will be better followers of God than Israel was. (V: p. 852) Significantly, Valtorta’s account of Pentecost doesn’t climax with the conversion of 3,000 Jews. Assuming that the first Christians immediately changed their Sabbath to Sunday, she’s unaware of the slow disentanglement of Synagogue and Church related in Acts.

Mary rages that Rome was right to fear this “tribe of killers.” (V: p. 642). She declares: “I am no longer a Jewess, but a Christian, the first Christian. One fictitious Jewish character converts because “the cult of Israel has become Satanism” and promptly breaks the Sabbath.” (V: p. 673) Nicodemus, having shed his Hebrew identity, plans to carve a statue—the future Holy Face of Lucca. (V: p. 903)

Most distressing of all, Valtorta makes Jews Deicides. The Romans weren’t responsible for the Crucifixion—only Pilate. Aside from Christ’s followers, “the whole Jewish people gathering in Jerusalem wanted his death.” (V: p. 293). The entire city pours out to jeer at Jesus like many thousands of “rabid hyenas” (V: p. 566). Longinus and the Roman soldiers try to minimize his sufferings, but executioners with the “clear Jewish profile” (V: p. 563) scourge the Savior and nail him up. Christ’s plea “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” seems to be directed at the squabbling thieves, not at his diabolical Jewish persecutors.”

As his Passion approaches, Jesus complains about Jewish resistance to conversion: “How grievous it was to be so close to death for so few.” (V: p. 64) He detests Jewish worship: “I loathe your solemnities which are nothing but outward appearances. I will abolish my covenant with the stock of Levi….” (V: p. 426) Later, the Risen Christ declares that God has withdrawn from Jewish rites and Judaism is “dead forever.” “Her rituals are nothing but gestures that any histrion could mime on the stage an amphitheater.” (V: p. 831) He scorns Jerusalem as the site where the synagogue received the libel of repudiation from God for its many horrible crimes.” (V: p. 869) To quote thunderous eternal curses against the people and land of Israel as the very words of Our Lord Jesus Christ while the flames of the Holocaust blazed is detestable blasphemy.

Conclusion

Why in all these years have so few readers of the Poem noticed it blatant defects? Did they meekly follow the recommendations of those they admired as spiritual leaders? Surely few in the audience shared the contempt for Jews and Judaism presented in the Poem. Or does this phenomenon demonstrate Reader Reception Theory: people see what they want to see in a text?

Countless fervent testimonials to “this great and glorious work” suggest this might be the case, especially since promoters advised reading it slowly and meditatively. In my opinion, the cult of Maria Valtorta has been a tragic waste of devotional time, treasure, and zeal—as well as an unfortunate woman’s life. The Poem is what Cardinal Ratzinger’s unnamed informant called it: “a monument to pseudo-religiosity.”

To have written such things while fires blazed in Auchwitz is sheer obscenity. Valtorta is a one-woman argument for Nostrae aetate, the Vatican II decree that condemned the notion of collective Jewish guilt.

These are only a small sample of Valtorta’s many and pervasive errors. “Childishness, fantasy, false history and exegesis” make the Poem exactly what an unnamed writer cited by Cardinal Ratzinger said it was: “a monument to pseudo-religiosity.”


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About Sandra Miesel 23 Articles
Sandra Miesel is an American medievalist and writer. She is the author of hundreds of articles on history and art, among other subjects, and has written several books, including The Da Vinci Hoax: Exposing the Errors in The Da Vinci Code, which she co-authored with Carl E. Olson, and is co-editor with Paul E. Kerry of Light Beyond All Shadow: Religious Experience in Tolkien's Work (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2011).

73 Comments

  1. I share the writer’s horror that writings such as this, writings bearing the mark of severe mental illness, would have ever been taken seriously. Other examples exist, i.e. disturbed reflections describing Mary as a person “who once was known as Mary”. These words were prayed, in my presence, by persons of high good will and faith. They honored a picture which placed Mary in front of the Cross of Jesus and saw no contradiction in this, explaining to me that the prayer had been approved by a bishop or archbishop of one European nation.

  2. Excellent article. Well researched. Love the question you present: “Is it healthy to treat private revelations as the ultimate arbiters of Catholic belief and practice?” A question we must all carefully answer when considering any person (or other entity) that claims to be a “transmitter of Divine content” when that content clearly conflicts with Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the Magisterium.

  3. Madame, I leave you to discuss further with other scholars and experts, which I am not. However, when Valtorta wrote her handwritten texts and made her drawings (1943-47) people in Italy and where I live (Lugano, Switzerland) did not have any Bible at home because this was not allowed by the parish (until the 1950s at least, one old lady told me once). Imagine also at war how the situation could have been. Moreover, certainly, those few Catholic bibles around would not hold maps or introduction chapters as we see today. Same for the Cathechism of that time. Please research on that

    Moreover, on the statement “Mary as the second-born of the Father” , I can say that I recently read a text by a Dominican theologian saying the same and so indirectly confirming it. Please look at it with an expert with the same level of preparation. As far as I know, there are no errors concerning neither the Catholic Faith nor the moral behavior in Valtorta’s writing.

    As for the antisemitism accusation, it’s known that the facts refer to individuals during the events and not the entire Jews forever. Valtorta’s pages are within the same narrative expressed broadly by the Gospels. In the Gospel, Jesus doesn’t hate those individual Jews (nor anyone), but the hypocritical way in which they think to worship God (when they do it). At least this was also my impression when I read some of Valtorta’s pages.

    • Sir, you read “some” of Valtorta’s work. Ms. Miesel has read all of it. I, too, have read some of this work, and I would call erotic spirituality or a type of religious porn. It’s very weird.

      Also, the Dominican theologian (whom you do not name but should) can say whatever he likes but it still is not part of Catholic Dogma.

      • Sir, I’m a 66 year old man, life long Catholic. I read all 10000 pages many times over. What you consider religious porn, I consider as a God send in my life which saved me from my sinful self. Thank God for the Poem of the Man-God!

      • It’s Father Giovanni Cavalcoli, O.P.(https://padrecavalcoli.blogspot.com/p/maria-figlia-del-padre-e-sposa-del-padre.html). Theology is the study of Revelation which is always an ongoing process in deepening (not changing) the Truth and so our understanding. So the Catholic Faith is not made of “dogmas”, but of truths of faith. Dogmas are pontificial documents to establish a Truth when necessary and timely useful.
        I don’t think you need to read all 10 books to express an opinion. Many scholars (and Popes) before me have read them in private, too and found Valtorta absolutely ok.

    • My mother was alive during WWII & I still have a copy of her pre1950 Douay Rheims Bible which has detailed maps of the Holy Land & surrounding regions.
      I don’t know what was going on in Italian parishes but American Catholics certainly had access to bibles in that time period. Whether many lay Catholics made use of their bibles is another issue.

      • Mrs. Cracker,

        Quite true. And the printing on the maps of the late 19th and early 20th century books was usually beautiful.

        It is utter nonsense to say that people were not allowed to read the Bible. Pope after Pope after Pope urged them to do so (some quotes can be found here: https://defendingthebride.com/bb/ and note in particular Popes Leo XIII, Pius X, Benedict XV, and Pius XII, in the late 19th and early to middle 20th centuries.)

  4. The mention of Bishop Roman Danelak as supporting this book is evidence enough it is false. I knew him personally and he promoted every seer and apparition. His credibility was zero due to this. Nice man, a man of prayer, but way off on these.

  5. “… the 1990s when the Christian world was convulsed with End Times speculations and many Catholics rallied to the apparition of the month.” The author writes as if this time has passed. That certainly is not my experience. Maybe the “charismatic” bubble in which I live skews my perception, but I still see false apparitions and fake messages as a major preoccupation – and business venture – of a great many Catholics, including prominent clerics and well-known authors.

  6. “Is she borrowing from Carmen when Mary Magdalen tries to attract Jesus’ notice by throwing a rose at him?” (Miesel). This satirical line, welcome comic relief, sealed the deal. Ottaviani was right.

  7. Ms. Miesel, say what negatives you want about Jesus of the “Poem of the Man-God”, I begin reading these Heavenly Words (yes, I believe every word is from Heaven) 20 years ago, and found my heart burning with love for Jesus while reading the Poem. I am in good company with thousand and thousands of other lowly and unlearned followers of Jesus.

    As to your petty claim of Jesus being anti-semitite, well, Jesus was God, and when he called out the Jewish leadership or other Jews of everyday life, for their hypocritcal behavior, or other blatant sinful behavior, then it was GOD calling them out, and GOD cannot be accused of being anti-semite. I think the author of this article is taken up with something that is irrelevant to the truth of the entire Poem. It’s a classic case of projection, just as the Jewish leaders of Jesus time projected on Jesus that he was a false messiah, a sinner who ate with sinners, etc.

    All I know about the Poem of the Man-God is akin to what the man who was born blind and healed by Jesus, said to the Jewish leaders who interrogated him about who Jesus was. He said to them, “All i know is that I was born blind, and this man Jesus healed me!” Likewise, all I know is that I never truly knew the love of God the Father in Jesus His son, and the beauty and suffering of the Blessed Mother Mary until I begin to listen to the words of Jesus in the Poem of the Man-God. And without any reservation whatsoever, I would recommend the Poem of the Man-God to any and all who have a sincere desire to know who Jesus truly is. Others, far more erudite and knowledgeable and spiritually advanced, have refuted this author’s shallow and misguided criticisms of Jesus in the Poem. But then again, Jesus himself in his day was branded a heretic as well. And the rest is history …..

  8. It’s my understanding that Padre Pio (1887-1968), Mother Teresa (1910-1997), and John Paul II (1920-2005) were all fans of the Poem of the Man-God. I trust their judgement.

  9. Blessed Feasts – of Our Lady of Sorrows and Yom Kippur , grateful for one more thing today – 1 – for having been spared from reading the Poem , being guilty of not having given ‘enough ‘ time for the Scriptures , although grateful for hearing same in The Church
    2- having come across one more of the the good ( ? newer ) bible study talks by
    Frances Hogan on EWTN , blessed in waking up early enough not to miss most of it .
    3 – Yet another good homily of Rev.Fr. Wade , with the ? old / fresh for me joke – ‘ Call your Mother , she has not heard from you in decades ‘ 🙂
    May be the Rosary decades are the antidote to an extent for the concerns raised in the article too ..

    The awarenes that the imagination of the writer is also put to use to an extent and the errors and such in the writings , if in contradiction to the revealled Truth having to be discounted – ? one reason many persons do not raise fuss about such , since The Church could have done a good enough job in promoting that truth .
    ? These errors allowed in these writings to see with mercy , ? the horse / elephant in the room as to how a whole culure that have fallen for such , from having denied The Truth and manifesting the violent effects of same are to be helped by calling The Mother , hoping that the tenderness of her love would help to reveal the hypocrisy that can be in every heart as warned in the gentle admonishing words of our Holy Father .
    Thank God too for the humility and wisdom in The Church that allowed the Diary of Divine Mercy , written with 3rd grade level and needing the help of those called to do so was redeemed from the Index ..and all these info coming into our times even as we can also get pulled into the flood waters of the dragon with far more poisonous themes and lies .
    The Redemptive Mercy at work , at all levels as the Sun Rise of Divine Will , to bring Truth into all dark and distorted ares of all our lives – the tears needed to do so , tears shed ( in a spiritaul manner ), for each of us
    by The Mother and The Incarnate Word right from early days , bringing us the Oneness in the wounds – may same flow in to the deserts of aridity and loss of faith all over .
    FIAT !

  10. Maria Valtorta’s writing is bound to give any hardened Jew a pounding headache.

    What possibly might help such a one is, let him telescope for a brief time, in his mind, the crumbling down of Judaism during and after Solomon and following the Exile. In the era of Jesus the process was already complete and what the temple and other things they later made there from the Herodians, were not Davidic but anti-Messianic. The Saviour came and the authorities rejected Him and reasserted those concoctions.

    What today can the Jews propose? Are they going to find a descendant to David and “rebuild The Temple” and proclaim everywhere that “The Messias” is coming? And that they and their new “True Temple” are the authority of it all? Even though through all these centuries they had no prophet and they wanted for none?

    Jesus Christ fulfilled the ancient promise to the Jews and to mankind. If you are a Jew what you have to accept is that the old is dead and the new is already far advanced in the love meant for heaven that only Jesus Christ can afford and share.

    What is there in any of it that suggests Jesus Christ will not embrace Maria Valtorta?

  11. I applaud the many illuminating passages offered as evidence for the writer’s assertions.

    Argument seems a lost art these days, whereas slander, invective and calumny are ubiquitous.

    I have known good, devout people who love this work. I was never tempted to read it, since I am wary about replacing the mental imagery I have collected over a lifetime of exposure to scripture. But now I certainly, decidedly, definitively will not.

    • My dear Brineyman, if there is ever a time for you to read the Poem, it is now! Don’t let the negative words of others hinder you from that which will make your heart burn with love of God and others. The images of God’s love in Jesus that you have been blessed with over a lifetime will only become more crystal clear when you read the Poem. Yes, the Poem is the work of the Holy Spirit and you will not be disappointed.

      • I’ve read a fair amount of it. It is dreadful. And it certainly bears little or no resemblance to Sacred Scripture. Worse, it is quite contrary to it, as Sandra Miesel explains very well.

        • Because of my academic position, I receive a LOT of unsolicited emails from all sorts of people who communicate urgent spiritual messages to me. A few years ago, some fellow started sending me long passages from Valtorta’s “Poem.” I had never heard of it or her before, so I read through some of it casually. It was frighteningly deranged. In these chaotic times (like all times in Church history) a lot of good people are drawn to such “visions.” For most of them, it is harmless. But not for all. I have known Catholics absolutely paralyzed with fear and suspicion based on a the loopiest “revelations.” I wish the Church was a little more forceful in addressing these heresies, for that is what they are: heretical writings by people who should never have undertaken to put pen to paper.

          • “It was frighteningly deranged.”

            That was also my impression in places. For the life of me, I don’t get it. (Well, I do. But I don’t.)

        • Carl,

          You find it dreadful, just as so many in our Lord’s day found him dreadful, too, especially when Jesus proclaimed that, “Unless you eat my body and drink my blood you will have no life in you”. But, it’s your choice to take or leave Jesus in the Poem. What you found dreadful and unappealing, countless others find incredibly beautiful and life giving, and very much true to Sacred Scripture. And that’s the mystery of our Catholic Faith, that our Heavenly Father provides nourishment in some ways that are often mysterious through the saints of our times. Too many Saints during their time, and before they have left for their Heavenly reward, have been crucified with white martyrdom, because some felt that the Holy Spirit really was not evident in their lives. Heaven vindicated them, as recent events of St. Joan of Arc, St. Faustina, St. Pedro Pio, and so many others have shown.

          Carl, I take your take on the Poem as a sincere one; it’s simply not your cup of Catholic Tea, and I understand that. It wasn’t mine either, until I opened my mind and heart to it, and then I discovered the great Poem Pearl, and my Catholic Faith life has not been the same since.

          • Charlie: I don’t recognize the Christ described in the “Poem” as the same Christ depicted in the Gospels. Gonna go with the Gospels.

            “…just as so many in our Lord’s day found him dreadful, too, especially when Jesus proclaimed that, ‘Unless you eat my body and drink my blood you will have no life in you’.”

            I’ll just quickly note that one of the key reasons I became Catholic in 1997, after growing up in a Fundamentalist home and attending an Evangelical Bible college was because of John 6. I could not escape those words, nor how the Church has understood them from the beginning.

      • Fr. Mitch Pacwa has written thus on the Church’s condemnation of the Poem:

        “Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, present head of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly the same office that condemned the “Poem”), informed Cardinal Siri in 1985 of the “Poem’s condemnation:

        “After the dissolution of the Index, when some people thought the printing and distribution of the work was permitted, they were reminded again in L’Osservatore Romano (June 15, 1966) that “The Index retains its moral force despite its dissolution.”

        “More recently (April 17, 1993, Prot. N. 144/58i), he wrote:

        “The ‘visions’ and ‘dictations’ referred to in the work, “The Poem of the Man-God,” are simply the literary forms used by the author to narrate in her own way the life of Jesus. They cannot be considered supernatural in origin.”

        “The best that can be said for “The Poem of the Man-God” is that it is a bad novel. This was summed up in the L’Osservatore Romano headline, which called the book “A Badly Fictionalized Life of Jesus.”

        “At worst, “Poem’s” impact is more serious. Though many people claim that “Poem” helps their faith or their return to reading Scripture, they are still being disobedient to the Church’s decisions regarding the reading of “Poem.” How can such disregard for Church authority and wisdom be a help in renewing the Church in these difficult times?

        “When Catholics insist on reading “Poem,” despite Church condemnation, I make these requests: First, read three hours of Scripture for every one hour spent in the “Poem.” The Church guarantees that the Bible is God’s Word, inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Church has judged the “Poem” to be a poorly done human work. Second, read solid Catholic theology books in addition to Scripture. G.K. Chesterton, Frank Sheed, Archbishop Sheen’s “Life of Christ” and many other works are excellent starts. Third, maintain a strong prayer life, drawing closer to Christ Jesus, Our Lord, at Mass and at eucharistic adoration, and to our Blessed Mother Mary, especially in the Rosary.

        “If sheep insist on bad pasturage, at least let them take antidotes.”

        NOTE: Prefect of the CDF Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger condemned the reading of the book. Reading it manifests a disobedience to Church direction. I wonder: Do you think ‘Pope’ Francis walks on water? Did the Pope Emeritus? Why or why not?

        • Merion,

          Remember now, the Church authorities of their time treated the works of St. Faustina and St. Pedro Pio the same way as they are now treating Maria Valtorta and Heaven’s work in the Poem. Yes, Heaven will vindicate her just as Heaven has vindicated so many other saints who underwent white martyrdom. It’s true.

          • Charlier,

            What WORKS of Faustina or Padre Pio has the Church condemned? The Church has condemned Valtorta’s work of the Poem.

    • I will not read it because so many of the people who recommend it are so frothing-at-the-mouth determined that one must, must, MUST read it.

      Ummm, no, there’s no “must” about it.

  12. “Reader Reception Theory: people see what they want to see in a text.” Amen!

    Church has a more ancient & poetic description: Quidquid recipitur ad modum recipientis recipitur “whatever is received, is received according to the condition/mode of the receiver.”

    Ms. Miesel does not escape the same judgment.

    But so is it in all of human life, most persons see what they want to see rather than what is actually there. True seeing is an act of grace.

    Still, it remains for her to overturn the affirming witness of St Theresa of Calcutta, St Padre Pio, Blessed Gabriele Allegra (sole beatified scripture scholar of the 20th century), and Blessed Mother Maria Ines Teresa, who all read and affirmed the Poem in the positive.

    Her 3,439 word effort here, which is limited to only select controversial points while overlooking the vast inexplicable rest of the document, will simply have to do much more, especially to overcome the work of Stephen Austin ‘s 1,362 page 100,000+ word defense which addresses practically everything already mentioned here.

    Anti-semitism? OK. But Christ was not about gentile or jew, but children of light. That’s all that matters, then and now. Free-will to cling to a tribe, but that’s not the kingdom.

    • I’d like to have some proof of these “endorsements” of the Poem. I don’t believe they exist. They are probably like the dubious Medjugorje endorsements: “The fruits seem good.”

      • Spending a few minutes on internet, searching for said ‘endorsements,’ I found only ‘hearsay’. Persons other than the saints have reported that the saints said such and thus.

          • Meiron,
            From the article, “two of the seers, Maria Pavlovic and Vicka Ivankovic (who is writing her own “inspired” Life of Mary), were queried on Our Lady’s views of the work and reported a positive response. “Our Lady says that The Poem of the Man-God is the truth” according to Vicka. Several other seers /locutionists/prophets of the time concurred.”
            I don’t know if you believe the seers at Medjugorje related to all the things they’ve said, but if you do, why do you not believe they said that Our Lady said the Poem of the Man-God is the truth? How can you randomly pick when you believe the seers? You criticize groups that support the Poem, but probably only because you are of a group that does not believe it. I believe I would trust what the seers said.

          • Dear Dan,
            That seers of one private revelation authenticate another private revelation is not the same as ‘The Church’ approving private revelation. Many (?most?) saints within the RCC underwent severe trials, tests, and serious suffering at the hands of the Church. The Church may purposely ‘cross’ seers in order to test their docility and obedience to the Church.

            Jesus required his disciples to follow his commandments as he followed the command/will of His Father. True disciples in the Church will follow the will of Church authorities (fair or just or not). 1Peter 2:13 says to “submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme…” Jesus said to render to Caesar and to God…
            He knows everything to which we are subject, and He and His permissive will allow all for His greater glory and His good.

            Sure, it seems a double bind, a “Catch-22” for those who see themselves edified by private revelations, to think it unjust that they and their beloved seer suffer at the hands of the Church. But that is what the Church traditionally has required to lead her to approve private revelation. There is no resurrection without the cross.

            I found this article helpful. https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/public-and-private-revelation-12423

      • That’s what struck me, too – the only places you find mention of these alleged endorsements are on the sites that are pushing the book, and the documentation appears to be skimpy if not nonexistent.

  13. Catholics should feel free to ignore any and all private revelation, as none of it is constitutive of the Catholic faith. You can believe certain “approved” private revelations if you want to, but you don’t have to. There is absolutely no basis for the claim that any of it is from the Holy Sprit.

    • I agree, within reason. But even private acceptance and study can go much too far. I once knew a Catholic who studied the Quran for knowledge of the Blessed Virgin, on the theory that private revelations to Mohamed could be accepted if judged useful or orthodox!

  14. I’m only responsible for my own opinions. “Quid scripsi, scripsi.” Theological and literary questions aside, the POEM’s wild inaccuracies about everyday life should be enough to discount it as an accurate rendering of New Testament Palestine. Compare the words of Jesus reported by Valtorta with those in St. Faustina’s DIARY–very different in tone and content. In my rush to meet the deadline, I couldn’t locate a significant quote from one of Valtorta’s notebooks in which she quotes Jesus condemning the whole Jewish people as a “race of Cains,” cursed everywhere forever. Is that the Christ we worship?

  15. “…4,000 pages…the sacrifice of her intelligence…mental aberrations…randomly generated…catatonic schizophrenia…

    I’m not sure which of these is the most alarming. What could possibly go wrong?

  16. “For instance, in the Poem, Mary lives and dies in Jerusalem, not Ephesus as the other two visionaries say.”

    I never read the “Poem of the Man God,” so I have no idea of its contents, but I recently finished reading “City of God” by Mary of Agreda, and I have read the contents of Anne Catherine Emmerich’s visions in the past.

    Mary of Agreda and Anne Catherine Emmerich contradict one another regarding Our Lady’s last days and death. Emmerich has Our Lady living at Ephesus for 9 years and dying there, after which She was entombed there.

    https://biblehub.com/library/emmerich/the_life_of_the_blessed_virgin_mary/index.html
    Chapters XVIII and XIX.

    However, according to Mary of Agreda, the Blessed Virgin lived in Jerusalem until AD 40 (The Coronation, Book Two, Chapter I, para. 366), lived in Ephesus for 2.5 years with Saint John (The Coronation, Book Two, Chapter V, para. 465), and then returned to Jerusalem, where She lived at least another 3 years (The Coronation, Book Two, Chapter XVII, para. 699). Our Lady then died in Jerusalem and was entombed there (The Coronation, Book Two, Chapter XIX, para. 732, et seq., para. 754).

    https://sensusfidelium.us/meditations/the-mystical-city-of-god-venerable-mary-of-agreda (uses different book/chapter designations from what is cited above).

    • Contradictions in last known, earthly mailing address, but not to diminish the witnessed Assumption and Mary’s final “place” beyond the empty tomb(s), e.g., Emmerich:

      “As this vision, becoming ever clearer, streamed down upon the rock, I saw a shining path opened and leading up to the heavenly Jerusalem. Then I saw the soul of the Blessed Virgin, which had been following the appearance of Jesus, pass in front of Him, and float down into the tomb. Soon afterwards I saw her soul, united to her transfigured body, rising out of the tomb far brighter and clearer, and ascending into the heavenly Jerusalem with Our Lord and with the whole glory. Thereupon all the radiance faded again, and the quiet starry sky covered the land.”

  17. If the CDF has determined (over the course of decades) that these words are not of supernatural origin, then the case is mostly settled.

    Of course, one may receive consolation and benefit from all sorts of pious works, some of which have an Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat. This does NOT mean that they have a supernatural origin, much less some sort of quasi-inspiration in the truest sense.

    It’s great if this work led people to Jesus. All sorts of imperfect people and works do. But if you defend the work, you must be willing to counter Ms. Miesel’s arguments, which are compelling. She raises serious historical and scriptural concerns. Can they be answered sufficiently?

  18. There is nothing to stop the Church looking again at Maria Valtorta but more now with the predilection that may be due to her. If I am right, the Lord kept Fr. Benedict alive long enough to see it happen here and include him into it, with perspective.

    Thomas More wrote UTOPIA. This novel is not the basis for his sanctity and if it were weighed more than his sacrifice, it make the novel something it is not. UTOPIA is very wordy and reading is hard-going so that the kernel does not readily appear.

    • One interpretation of More’s “Utopia” (NoPlace) is that it simply portrays the best kind of world that is possible if based on reason alone (e.g., the ease of divorce, euthanasia and both married priests and female priests).

      As for Miesel’s most welcome demolition of Valtorta’s imaginings, in one detail (only), we might pause. Miesel writes “She claims that unfallen humanity would have reproduced asexually.” I am prepared to be corrected, but I do seem to recall reading, somewhere, that this view did hold some sway in early theology. If so, take a close look at Michelangelo’s creation of Adam on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Adam’s still-unused tools seem remarkably diminutive and unfunctional! And then, again considering visual metaphor as a wonderful artistic language, also take a close look at Adam’s left calf…a few (I think perceptive) art critics see here the female torso–still bone of Adam’s bone and flesh of Adam’s flesh (Genesis 2:23).

      • Peter D. Beaulieu, the insight for UTOPIA could be helpful but whenever I approach More’s pages there is such a thick of words and contexts thrown together that I find it difficult to continue. It could be I have a lazy understanding and a diminutive memory! But on the other hand, if I read sections of Valtorta it’s not that hard to continue on really. Perhaps with More it has to do with the era and its stylizations and it’s not the fault of the author’s. In those days the only other media would have been music and theatre and the like available mostly at a distance; people could allocate a lot of undisturbed time for reading. More was early known for early taking part in local plays, acting. I do not know ALL where and when Valtorta meditated or wrote, perhaps her eventual confinement was quite difficult for her and yet she could bring it together with literary merits according to her own mastery?

        To me the Adam’s calf depiction would go against Michelangelo if he did it deliberately; and whoever wants to have that appreciation. If it started with Michelangelo I wouldn’t be surprised. Not artistic enough.

        The bone was from Adam’s side. Borrowing Valtorta’s imagery, this was asexual creation. So Valtorta would have begun the Genesis story and a teaching on man’s sexuality that he can attain, at a point that is quite true.

        Poetic licence and modesty would have constrained her to using the vocabulary. The only Jew and only other person that could have taught her this is Jesus Christ.

        • Some scholars observe or at least say that the Aramaic word for “side” is the same as for heart, but I am not qualified to say. Similarly, the word for “camel” is apparently the same as for rope, which makes a lot more sense–without affecting the meaning–when we read of a “rope” passing through the eye of a needle.

          And, as for Michelangelo, in his depictions of muscular backsides, I have read that he was “artistic enough” as to invent something like eighteen muscles that do not exist.

          • We are made in God’s image and likeness. In terms of physical image and likeness to God, Eve was made from a rib of Adam. Adam and Eve were of one substance, one flesh. They were physically consubstantial. This was also the case in the virgin Incarnation of Christ in Mary’s womb. This points to, and anticipates, the Nicene Creed.

        • More precisely, this from Pope St. John Paul II:
          “It is interesting to note that for the ancient Sumerians the cuneiform sign to indicate the noun ‘rib’ coincided with the one used to indicate the word ‘life.’ As for the Yahwist narrative according to a certain interpretation of Genesis 2:21, God rather covers the rib with flesh (instead of closing up its place with flesh)and in this way ‘makes’ the woman who comes from the ‘flesh and bones’ of the first man (male)” (“The Original Unity of Man and Woman,” General Audience of Nov. 7, 1979, fn. 4, part of the later compendium “Theology of the Body”).

  19. Obviously, there’s controversy. And clearly Ms Meisner has justification. I might add if saints had absurd faults it’s likely the saintly would. If Maria Valtorta is held in esteem by many, a few with credentials there’s the presumption of value in her work. For example: “Publish it just as it is. There is no need to give an opinion as to whether it is of supernatural origin. Who reads it will understand.” (Pope Pius XII on February 26, 1948 to Frs. Berti, Migliorini, and Cecchin, after reviewing the Poem of the Man-God for a year). “I don’t advise you to [read Maria Valtorta’s books] – I order you to!” (Saint Padre Pio’s answer to a long-time spiritual daughter of his, Mrs. Elisa Lucchi, in 1967). “When His Holiness Pope Paul VI was Archbishop of Milan, he read one of the books of The Poem of the Man-God. He told me how he appreciated it, and had me send the complete work to the Library of the diocesan Seminary.” (Msgr. Pasquale Macchi, Private Secretary of Pope Paul VI 1963). With no familiarity I read a piece that exhibits a high degree of intelligence and a true sense of the inner workings of human thought portrayed in poetic form. A form that gives liceity to suggest and improvise. The following is a sample: “Follow Me? But do you know where I am going? No, Master, but certainly to glory. Yes. But not to a glory of this world. I am going to a glory which is in Heaven and is conquered by virtue and sacrifice. Why do you want to follow Me? He asks them again. To take part in Your glory. According to Heaven? Yes, according to Heaven. Not everybody is able to arrive there. Because Mammon lays more snares for those yearning for Heaven than for the others. And only he who has strong will power can resist. Why follow Me, if to follow Me implies a continuous struggle against the enemy, which is in us, against the hostile world, and against the Enemy who is Satan? Because that is the desire of our souls, which have been conquered by You. You are holy and powerful. We want to be Your friends. Friends! Jesus is silent and sighs. Then He stares at the one who has spoken all the time and who has now removed the mantle-hood from his head, and is bareheaded. He is Judas of Kerioth. Who are you? You speak better than a man of the people. I am Judas, the son of Simon. I come from Kerioth. But I am of the Temple. I am waiting for and dreaming of the King of the Jews. I heard You speak like a king. I saw Your kingly gestures. Take me with You. Take you? Now? At once? No. Why not, Master? Because it is better to examine ourselves carefully before venturing on very steep roads. Do You not believe I am sincere? You have said it. I believe in your impulsiveness. But I do not believe in your perseverance. Think about it, Judas. I am going away now and I will be back for Pentecost. If you are in the Temple, you will see Me. Examine yourself” (Live for the Destination not for the Journey Vol 1 54. Jesus meets Judas. Maria Valtorta).

  20. If Maria Valtorta is meant to be a saint, her life has to be examined for heroic virtue. It not only makes sense, it is the ordinary and usual way. Then if she is declared venerable, she will be 2 miracles short of becoming a canonized. It takes a lot of humility to read her work and therefore in the event of what I am suggesting, likely even more humility to be able to perceive how she might be -how she is- holy. But look at it this way: if you start with her life first and Divine Providence reveals what is so pleasing about it, God will humble us more than enough to then be able to read what she had written without becoming hardbacks and sticklers for it.

    Canonized means -: truly beautiful.

    • Elias, you state it well. It’s only due to Sandra Miesel’s article that I first peered into Valtorta’s writings. Aside from the inconsistencies to sanctity shown by Miesel, my brief readings of Maria Valtorta’s visions show a charm that someone might well find an attraction to faith in Christ. If I may, hoping to avoid being tiresome, note the following, poetic, somewhat flowery, exaggerated but possessing that charm, The Annunciation 16: “What I see. Mary, a very young girl: She looks fifteen years old, at most. She is in a small rectangular room: a room most suitable for a girl. Along one of the longer walls, there is a bed: a low bed, without bedstead, covered with thick mats or carpets. Her beautiful young face is slightly bent forward and She is smiling gently as if She were caressing or following some sweet thought. There is a great silence in the little house and in the kitchen garden. There is a great peace both on Mary’s face and in the surrounding place. There is peace and order. Mary begins to sing in a low voice, then She raises Her voice slightly. But She does not sing loudly. Still, it is a voice vibrating in the little room and one can perceive the vibration of Her soul in it. I do not understand the words as they are spoken in Hebrew. Mary’s face, flushed and girded by the plaits She wears rolled up like a crown round Her head, seems a beautiful flower, as it emerges from Her plain white dress. The song changes into a prayer: “Most High Lord God, do not delay any longer in sending Your Servant to bring peace to the world. Grant us the favourable time and the pure and prolific virgin for the coming of Your Christ. Father, Holy Father, grant Me, Your servant to offer My life for this purpose. Grant Me to die after seeing Your Light and Your Justice on earth and after knowing that our Redemption has been accomplished. O Holy Father, send the Promise of the Prophets to the earth. Send the Redeemer to Your maidservant, so that in the hour of My death, Your abode may be opened to Me, as its gates have already been opened by Your Christ for all those who have hoped in You. Come, come, O Spirit of the Lord. Come to the faithful who are expecting You. Come, Prince of Peace!…” Mary remains absorbed thus…The curtain moves fast, as if someone behind it ventilated it or shook it to draw it. And a pearl white light mixed with pure silver makes the slightly yellow walls clearer and makes the colours of the cloths brighter and Mary’s raised face more spiritual. And in such light, while the curtain is still drawn on the mystery to be accomplished, the Archangel prostrates himself: Hail, Mary, full of Grace, Hail! The voice is a sweet arpeggio as of pearls thrown on a precious metal plate. Mary is startled and lowers Her head. And She is even more startled when She sees the shining creature kneeling at about a metre from Her and looking at Her with infinite veneration, his hands crossed over his chest. She subconsciously presses Her hands against Her breast hiding them under Her large sleeves. She stoops, endeavouring to conceal Her body as much as possible. An attitude of gentle modesty. No. Do not fear. The Lord is with You! You are blessed amongst all women!” (Maria Valtorta March 1944).

      • Fr. Morello,

        Thank you for your providing that very poignant episode of the Poem for readers to see the beauty of the Poem.

        This beautiful scene of of our Blessed Mother being visited by the Archangel is truly touching!. Many people such as Ms. Meisel and others who are antagonistic towards Maria Valtorta and the Poem, can say what they want. All I know is that this work of great Love for the Catholic Church, drew me deeper into the Life of C Christ. The blind man given sight back by Jesus, told the Temple authorities, “Look, all I know is that I was born blind and now I see because of this man named Jesus!” So, too, do I similarly say, “For so long I hungered more fully to know the Life of Jesus and Mary, and after being blessed with the Poem, I, too, now see.

  21. This distinctive Catholic inclination to read devotional books of visions, dreams, and apparitions of and about Jesus and/or Mary more than the Bible can be directly linked, I dare say, to inadequate formation, training and love on the part of most Catholics for the intentional and sustained reading, study, prayer of the Bible. Added to this should be the official endorsements given by the highest church leaders to devotional books like these. Look at the Diary of St. Faustina, who knew about her and her book before the papacy of Polish compatriot St. John Paul II? Had there been a recent Italian Pope very sympathetic to her and her book, Maria Valtorta could be a canonized saint and The Poem of the Man-God could surpass St. Faustina’s Diary in diffusion. Who knows?

  22. Sandra Miesel’s objections are largely embarrassments – to her – I would remind her that the work was originally written in Italian. Also, Miesel’s obsessive focus on Jews and their deaths in WWII ignores the far, far larger number of Christians who perished – many in the Jew-led Bolshevik slaughter earlier in the century. About the value of the book, i think it is immense, As revealed in the text, the supplementation to The Gospel is a concession to the truculent ignorance and cosmically shameful under appreciation for Jesus’ redemption. So many critics snarkily jibe at God’s belated revelations – and thus prove themselves in dire need of spiritual refreshment as is revealed in The Gospel as Revealed to Me. I was elevated by every single page, and have grown in my love for the Triune God’s dispensation, the horror and beauty of the divine condescension to torture, misunderstanding and death for our sakes, has grown greatly with this writing, as has my veneration for Our Lady.To all, especially you, Carl Olson, all I would do is what I have done – pass around the first one or two volumes with my commendation and encouragement to “tolle, lege.” They don’t realize I am willing to purchase the rest of the set for them – though some have. Brutalize the work, desecrate it, revile it – but it remains the most powerful Christian writing in centuries.

    • “Also, Miesel’s obsessive focus on Jews and their deaths in WWII ignores the far, far larger number of Christians who perished – many in the Jew-led Bolshevik slaughter earlier in the century.”

      I think that’s all we need to know.

      “Brutalize the work, desecrate it, revile it – but it remains the most powerful Christian writing in centuries.”

      Lord have mercy.

    • “As revealed in the text, the supplementation to The Gospel is a concession to the truculent ignorance and cosmically shameful under appreciation for Jesus’ redemption.”

      Say what, Bro?

      “Also, Miesel’s obsessive focus on Jews and their deaths in WWII ignores the far, far larger number of Christians who perished – many in the Jew-led Bolshevik slaughter earlier in the century.” Vladimir Lenin was baptized in the Orthodox
      church. Joseph Stalin was a student at an Orthodox seminary. It’s true that Trotsky and other Bolsheviks were Jewish but they were weeded out of the party and frequently condemned in Stalin’s show trials. After the defeat of the Nazis, German anti-semitism was totally ignored in Soviet writing about the war and the Shoah was denied into the 1980s.

  23. I’ve never read Valtorta, Emmerich, or Agreda…. and I never will. I believe Medjugorge, Bayside, and Necedah are bullocks. I take Lourdes and Fatima with a grain of salt. None of these supposed “revelations” or “apparitions” make up or are part of the Deposit of Faith and assent to them is not required for salvation. But obedience to Church Authority is required. And given this Poem thingy was on the Index and condemned by the CDF, every Catholic is morally bound not to read it under pain of, at least, venial sin.

  24. I owned “Poem of the Man-God” back in the 80s. I loaned it to someone and never got it back which is just as well. I recently found “Poem of the Man-God” in the bookcase of our Perpetual Adoration chapel. At my request, the book was removed. I then stumbled across two websites that praised Valtora’s work, and I felt a twinge of guilt that I had perhaps been judgemental. Thanks to Sandra Miesel’s article, I know that I did the right thing.

    I am forever baffled why Catholics do not read the Sacred Scriptures and turn instead to writings like “The Poem of The Man-God”. I don’t understand the aversion to the Word of God. When I encouraged one woman to read the Bible, she replied that she received her spiritual food from “Commonweal” and actually stated that she had no interest in the Bible. Others I know turn to Richard Rohr for their primary spiritual enlightenment while never cracking open the Sacred Scriptures.

    One private revelation that I have read is the “Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena”. I am moved by Catherine’s emphasis on the Blood of Christ and the paramount need for humility.

  25. Fr. Peter Morello, it’s truly beautiful. I can’t get any of the credit for it! And even so she ought to be canonized on her own merits and I do not find any cause not to pray for it, while the attraction to pray for it increases.

    If I wanted to be less polite about Michelangelo I would have said “revelry” and/or “devilry” and explain the “un-artistic” more explicitly in those terms.

    Some comments above are to do with condemnations of writings. Saints got into all kinds of troubles, writings condemned, confinements, personal rejections, harassments and hounding. Think of some, Teresa Avila, John of the Cross, Rita. In more recent times there is Rosmini and as it turns out Rosmini’s very work redeemed the onslaught against it and cleared up the detractions/contumely people accumulated for Leo XIII.

    • St. Teresa of Avila, a Doctor of the Church, did her writings at the command of her superiors, under obedience. Her writings were subject to Church review. She had spiritual direction. St. Faustina had spiritual direction. Her Diary entry 939 says in part: “A soul that will not fully submit its inspirations to the strict control of the Church; that is, to the director, shows that a bad spirit is guiding it.”

  26. I’ve heard about this so called “poem” that it is something like Anna Katharina Emmerich. But there is no comparison. That poem is from hell in my opinion. And I’m impressed by the amount of propaganda that this or that Saint liked it. This is all false statements.

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