Events of Maria Valtorta's Poem of the "Man-God"
Events of the Poem
Maria Valtorta was a Pius bed-ridden woman who recorded Private Revelations and Gospel Visions during the times of World War II. Her writings are considered by many to be the most complete and detailed Gospel Revelations ever recorded, fleshing out the day to day life of Jesus and Mary. There are several other visionaries who claimed to have received this gift, but none approach the accuracy and detail of Maria Valtorta's writings. The bulk of Valtorta's writings pertaining to the Gospels were originally published in a ten volume Italian narrative under the title: "The Gospel As It Was Revealed To Me". Soon after her death they were reconfigured into five English translated volumes renamed by the Publisher; "The Poem Of The Man-God".
Maria Valtorta was born in Caserta, Italy in 1897. She was rendered handicapped at an early age by an assailant in 1920's, and eventually became bedridden in the 1930's when her condition became progressively worse. After becoming a third order Carmelite, Jesus purportedly appeared to her during her holy suffering calling her to be his mouthpiece. From 1943 to 1954 she recorded private dictations and detailed revelations of the entire Messianic cycle from the birth of Mary through the Coronation. Her spiritual director was Fr. Romualdo M. Migliorini and the original editor of her works was Michael Pisani. Maria Valtorta entered Eternal Life in 1961. Her mortal remains are buried under the altar of The Basilica of the Annunciation in Florence, Italy. An inscription in her marble headstone reads; "Writer of Divine Things".
The sequence of events to "The Poem of The Man-God" can be compiled from Maria Valtorta's autobiography, the written testimonies of those involved, as well as details from communications with Fr. Andrew M. Cecchin, who served as an unbiased witness, who lived into his nineties. Maria recorded her voluminous dictations and visions in glue bound binder school notebooks (preserved by the publisher in the Maria Valtorta Museum in Italy), in which the pages were fixed in place and devoid of any corrections. Her spiritual director Fr. Romualdo M. Migliorini observed that her Gospel Revelations were in sporadic succession, which was impracticable to follow. Upon completion of some fifteen thousand pages, Maria received a vision in which she claimed Jesus detailed the precise chapter arrangement. When Fr. Migliorini began the colossal task of typing the manuscript in the specified sequence, he was startled how her writings miraculously began to flow into a seamless flowing chronology. Realizing that something extraordinary was unfolding, he sought the advice of Fr. Corrado Berti (Professor of Dogmatic and Sacramental Theology at the Pontifical "Marianum" Theological Faculty of Rome from 1939 onward, later becoming Secretary of the Faculty from 1950 to 1959, as well as consultant to the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council) who reviewed the first part of the early manuscript and was convinced that the dictations must have been the product of a Divine supernatural source. Fr. Corrado Berti assisted by providing theological notes.
As Valtorta's Visions were mystical in nature and the Local Bishop Michele Fontevecchia's vision was fading, Fr. Romualdo M. Migliorini sought Vatican guidance for procedural advice for approval. At the Vatican Fr. Migliorini encountered Cardinal Augustin Bea (Pope Pius XII's confessor) and Monsignor Alphonse Carini (Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Rites). Cardinal Bea cautioned that Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani (soon to be Head of the Holy Office) was unenthusiastic regarding Private Revelations, and previously attempted to place Sister Faustina Kowalska's Divine Mercy writings on the Forbidden Book list, but Pope Pius XII would not sign the Decree. Fr. Migliorini took council with Cardinal Bea and Monsignor Carinci, who after carefully review of Valtorta's writings, advised that the most prudent outset would be bypassing Cardinal Ottaviani altogether and presenting the typed manuscript directly to Pope Pius XII, which would be arranged via Cardinal Bea.
Valtorta's writings were presented to Pope Pius XII on April 3, 1947, Who examined the typescripts for eleven months. On February 26, 1948, Fr. Migliorini was summoned to the Vatican by the Pope. Fr. Migliorini chose to bring with him Fr. Corrado Berti (who assisted with the writings), as well as Fr. Andrew M. Cecchin (Prior of the International College of the Servites of Mary in Rome) to serve as an unbiased witness to the supposition of the meeting. During the Papal meeting, in the presence of the three Priests, as well as a Vatican Recording Cardinal who accompanied the Pontiff, taking minutes during the meeting like a stenographer, His Holiness ordered: "Publish this work just as it is; he who reads will understand". The three Priests documented the the exact wording of the Papal Order immediately afterwards on a card and later provided signed testimony. The fact that the Pope did grant this audience was historically documented the next day, February 27, 1948 in L’Osservatore Romano Citta Del Vaticano, no. 48, p.1.
The guidance given to Fr. Migliorini by Cardinal Bea and Monsignor Carinci to bypass Cardinal Ottaviani was not without consequence. As the responsibility of discerning the nature of Private Revelations was the onus of the Holy Office, Cardinal Ottaviani considered this circumnavigated Papal approval an evasion of the authority of the Magisterium. As any person in a bureaucracy is well aware, going over an Administrator's head to the CEO can often have dire consequences. While attempting to Publish Valtorta's writings via the Vatican Polyglot Printery in 1949, Cardinal Ottaviani summoned Fr. Corrado Berti and Fr. Andrew Cecchin to the Holy Office. Furthermore, during this meeting both Priests were forbidden to speak or communicate in any way. Monsignor Pepe and Fr. Berruti (officials of the Holy Office) were entrusted with informing both Priests of a new inverse judgment that undermined the Papal Imprimatur. This reversal commanded Fr. Berti to deliver to the Holy Office all of Maria Valtorta's manuscripts and typescripts to be destroyed or kept shut away forever. Although Fr. Berti complied by forfeiting all the typescripts in his possession; he could not deliver all the copies, because some were in the possession of other people who declined to be deprived of them. The Holy Office, headed by Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, forbade the publication of these writings and threatened to place them on the Index of forbidden books in the event of a publication. The order of silence cleverly restricted Fr. Berti from informing Monsignor Pepe and Fr. Berruti of the Papal Imprimatur given by Pope Pius XII.
Persistent attempts by Fathers Berti, Cecchin and Migliorini to gain another audience with Pope Pius XII was strategically and tightly blocked by the Holy Office. After exhausting every recourse, eventually they concluded that the Papal Order to publish took precedence over lower levels of the Church Hierarchy. Furthermore, they deduced that it would be impossible for Cardinal Ottaviani to make good on his threat of placing Valtorta's works on the Forbidden Book List, as it would require a Papal signature. Ostensibly, Pope Pius XII could not be expected to sign a Decree against His own Supreme Papal Imprimatur.
When Fr. Migliorini completed preparing the manuscripts, "The Gospel as it was Revealed to Me" they were published via the Pisani Publishing Company in 1956, with Pope Pius XII Imprimatur and statement boldly affixed to the inside cover. Aside from idle threats, there was little Cardinal Ottaviani could actually do. As long as Pope Pius XII was alive, the Poem could be published with the Papal Imprimatur, unchallenged. When Pope Pius XII past away on October 9, 1958, the circumstances altered. After the next Pontiff, Pope John XXIII, took office, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani presented Him with prepared condemnations of Maria Valtorta and Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska's Divine Mercy writings (which Pope Pius XII previously refused to sign). Cardinal Ottaviani could now kill two birds with one stone, Pope John XXIII signed the decrees. Perceptibly, the close sequence events demonstrates that the new Pontiff did not personally have the required time necessary to read Maria Valtorta’s 15,000 pages of Private Revelation and Saint Faustina’s Life works.
As a litmus test of integrity, it may be prudent to consider how Cardinal Ottaviani authored the infamous Secret 1962 Vatican document that mandated the excommunication of children victimized by pedophile priests in the event they sought help from authorities, as uncovered by CBS News in 2003. This same Cardinal purportedly had several notorious tantrum incidents. While giving a protracted harangue at the pulpit, a technician resorted to switching off his microphone, which resulted in a standing ovation by the congregation. In another similar incident, the Priests listening to him one by one started turning their chairs around, facing away from him.
After this tremendous setback, still feeling subject to acceptance of, and submission to, the original Papal order that they heard with their own ears, the Servite priests gathered a huge amount of support to present to the Vatican. This backing included certifications of Maria Valtorta’s writings from The Secretary Of The Sacred Congregation Of Rites Archbishop Monsignor Alphonse Carinci, from Fr. Bea, S.J., from The Dean Of The Lateran Theological Faculty and Consultant To The Holy Office Monsignor Lattanzi, from The Dean Of Consistorial Counselors for the Holy See and a teacher at the Lateran Professor Camilo Corsanego and from the renowned Mariologist Of The Pontifical "Marianum" and Lateran Theological Faculty Fr. Gabriel Roschini, OSM. (As a note, Pope John Paul II called Fr. Gabriel M. Roschini one of the greatest Marioligists who ever lived. He was a decorated professor at the "Marianum" Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Rome, and an advisor to the Holy Office. He wrote over 130 Books on the Blessed Mother, all of which are in the Vatican Library. His last book, which Gabriel said was his greatest, was "The Virgin Mary In The Writings of Maria Valtorta", in which the first two pages contain a letter of endorsement by Pope Paul VI. One page is a photocopy of the original letter complete with Vatican insignia, the other is the English translation.
In 1961, Fr. Berti was able to secure an audience with Pope Paul VI's private secretary Monsignor Pasquale Macchi. Monsignor Macchi informed Fr. Berti that Pope Paul VI, when he was Archbishop of Milan, had read the first volume of the Poem and was impressed enough to have Maria Valtorta's works sent to the Milan Seminary library. Fr. Berti gave Monsignor Macchi a copy of the Second edition of the Poem for review. Later that year, Fr. Berti was summoned to the Holy Office by Fr. Mark Giraudo O.P., Commissioner of the Congregation. Fr. Berti informed the Commissioner of Pope Pius XII’s order to publish the Poem in 1948. Monsignor Macchi directed Fr. Berti "Continue to publish this second edition. We will see how the world receives it." In 1966, Pope Paul VI took the action of suppressing the Index of Forbidden Books, which liberated the Poem from ecclesiastical restriction. There are many proponents who argue that this action was taken specifically to liberate "The Poem of the Man-God", allowing Church compliance to the original order by Pope Pius XII.
Furthermore, owing to the ensuing precarious Church controversies, Fr. Andrew M. Cecchin hoped the notations transcribed by the Vatican Recording Cardinal who accompanied Pope Pius XII during the 1948 Papal meeting could eventually be utilized to verify their testimony, as well as corroborate the Papal Imprimatur. Fr. Cecchin was very cautious, as he considered that those hostile to "The Poem of the Man-God" might be inclined to destroy the minutes from the 1948 meeting, as those at the Vatican had already confiscated Valtorta's works for destruction. In 1987, Fr. Cecchin had a window of opportunity when Vatican Cardinal Edouard Gagnon became involved in the pursuit of the Beatification of visions concerning Maria Valtorta:. Michelini was a respected Archbishop who passed away in 1979, who also received visions of Jesus and Mary, which he likewise recorded. Cecchin set up a meeting with Cardinal Gagnon at the Vatican and informed him of one of the Archbishop's recorded
In the 1980's, the Medjugorje apparitions were gaining wide popularity. Fr. Cecchin also reminded Cardinal Gagnon how Our Holy Mother confided to several of the Medjugorje visionaries that "The Poem of the Man-God" is a factual account of the Gospels. According to Fr. Cecchin, Cardinal Gagnon was originally skeptical, but after some arduous persuading, he capitulated and assured Fr. Cecchin that he would attempt to find the minutes from the 1948 Papal meeting. A few weeks later Cardinal Gagnon made a complete reversal, resolutely writing from the Vatican, that Pope Pius XII's action was "the kind of official Imprimatur granted before witnesses by the Holy Fr. in 1948, an Official Imprimatur of the Supreme Authority of the Church". Cardinal Gagnon was so enthusiastic, he later became an editor of http://www.MotherOfAllPeoples.com, a website that has exhibited articles defending "The Poem of the Man-God".
Cardinal Edouard Gagnon served as Peritus (Expert Theologian Advisor and Consultant) during the second Vatican Council. He had a Doctorate in Theology and taught Canon law for ten years at the Grand Seminary. Cardinal Edouard Gagnon was one of the most qualified Vatican Cardinals to determine the validity of the Papal Imprimatur. The Code of Canon Law - Book II, Part II, Section I, Chapter I, Article I - gives the Pope full and supreme power over all levels of the Church and free use to exercise this power. The Papal order came first. Canon law prohibits this Papal order from being reversed by subordinate levels of Church authority. Canon law clearly requires that this Papal order be embraced with unconditional acceptance and submission.
Nevertheless, there has been a long-standing zealous controversy regarding Maria Valtorta's writings, particularly "The Poem of the Man-God". There are many supporters as well as opponents. The most fitting response we can offer is that the sheep know the Master’s voice.
From: Poslusney Vernard, Prayer, Aspiration and Contemplation1978 (Imprimi Potest Paul T. Hoban, O. Carm. Nihil Obastat Msgr. John H. Koenig / Imprimatur + Peter L. Gerety Archbishop of Newark January 17, 1975)
Bishop Roman Danylak Imprimatur
[Pulsing Cross courtesy of Promise of God site]