Father Mark Slatter


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     A reader notified us that Catholic.com features an article by Fr. Mark Slatter, which includes an apparent unethical character assassination of the renowned visionary, Maria Valtorta (author of: "The Poem of the Man-God").

     A quote from an Article by Fr. Mark Slatter: "On the other side, there is the case of Maria Valtorta, author of "The Poem of the Man-God."  Her personal life raises serious questions. In the words of Father Benedict Groeschel, who happens to be a trained psychologist: "Miss Valtorta was a very devout and intelligent person. She spent the last ten years of her life in complete catatonic schizophrenia, unable to speak to anyone. This disease came on her gradually. It's important to realize that the progress of a disease like that may take many years before the acute symptoms occur".

"I'm aware of the unjust scarlet letter associated with mental illness. Still, we are irresponsible to ourselves if we discount these facts."


     Response from Webmaster:  Owing to the apprehension of not being politically correct, even agnostic atheists possess the fundamental moral principles necessary to verify information publicized as "facts". Notwithstanding, it is perplexing how some Catholics are so comfortable with touting unsupported fabrications and utter falsehoods against their brothers and sisters in Christ as verified "facts".  It took considerable detective-work to uncover how this sequence of events became so bungled, as nothing in the article was properly cited. It starts from an apparent misquote by Reverend Mark Slatter, taken from Father Benedict J. Groeschel’s book "A Still, Small Voice: A Practical Guide on Reported Revelations" (Ignatius Press, 1993 ISBN 978-0898-70436-5). Groeschel writes, starting at the top of page 59; "Recall that Maria Valtorta is described in the Preface (of "The Poem of the Man-God") as having spent the last decade of her life in a state similar to catatonic schizophrenia" (exact quote). At the outset, it is crystal clear that Father Benedict Groeschel did not examine Maria Valtorta in any way, shape or form.  The foundation of his prognosis is solely derived from The Poem of the Man-God's introductory Preface.  The Preface of the Poem by Pisani actually reads that she became withdrawn and went into: "psychological isolation", starting in 1956, note that Maria Valtorta died in 1961. Groeschel’s math is considerably off, that’s 5 years, not 10 "the last decade". Fr. Groeschel makes a very generalized reference to the Preface, amplifying the interpretation of the symptoms "psychological isolation" into "a state similar to catatonic schizophrenia", presumably to paint a converse picture to what the author imparted.

Dr. Pisani believed that Maria Valtorta succumbed to Alzheimer's disease in her final days, which affects 1 in 85 people towards the end of their lives. Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease are commonly described as withdrawal, as well as psychological and social isolation.  Rev. Mark Slatter writes: "Her personal life raises serious questions". Because she had Alzheimer’s? Following this line of reasoning, are we now to consider the "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall" speech to be the ravings of a crazy person? Are we to start questioning the life works of former President Ronald Reagan, Charlton Heston, Rita Hayworth, etc.?

Charlton Heston & Ronald Reagan

     Father Mark Slatter further embellishes by pointing out that Father Benedict Groeschel is a trained psychologist, which could lead the reader to presume that Father Benedict Groeschel personally gave Maria Valtorta a physical and determined that she was in "a state of complete catatonic schizophrenia", but Father Groeschel essentially took the liberty of making a highly exaggerated prognosis from two words in the Preface (just as he inflated the years, by doubling them). It’s reminiscent of when a group of youngsters line up and whisper a message to each other in a chain to ascertain the extent of the original communication being altered. "Psychological isolation" (Preface/Pisani) becomes "catatonic schizophrenia" (Father Benedict Groeschel), which then becomes "a state of complete catatonic schizophrenia" (Rev. Mark Slatter). Next we have people running around claiming that a trained psychologist determined that Maria Valtorta was a schizophrenic maniac. All this distorted from the words "psychological isolation" while on her death bed. It gives the appearance of a series of uncharitable attempts to tarnish the reputation of a Holy person. It is important to remember that unethical cynics insulted Jesus to His face when he was alive and walking. Now they insult deceased Holy people by diagnosing them with whatever they like without ever meeting them. Notwithstanding that "The Catholic Herald" (Britain’s Leading Catholic Newspaper) touts Saint Therese of Lisieux as "The Greatest Saint of Modern Times", unethical cynics took the liberty of writing books performing psychological analysis of the Saint's character, concluding that she was mentally ill and neurotic.

Ida Friederike Gorres, "The Hidden Face: A Study of St. Therese of Lisieux", page 83, London, 2003

Karen Armstrong, "The Gospel According to Woman: Christianity’s creation of the Sex War in the West", page 234, London, 1986.

Monica Furlong, "Therese of Lisieux", page 9, London, 2001.

Jean Francois, "La Verdadera Infancia do Teresa de Lisieux: Neurosis y Santidad, Passim, Spain, 1976

If Maria Valtorta was mentally ill, was it her illness that allowed her to accurately transcribe in 1945 what planets and stars were in the night sky on specific days 2,000 years ago (verified by a Harvard educated Theoretical Physicist - link loads slowly) without the assistance of modern complex astronomical computer algorithms? Was her illness that gave her knowledge of first century Palestinian geography, towns and villages (nine of which were unknown before her death) that were not available in any published atlases or journals during her lifetime? Was it her illness that enabled her to write 647 chapters (15,000 pages) in random order in glue bound binder notebooks (with no corrections), at the conclusion (when Jesus purportedly gives the chapter sequence) unfolds from a well-shuffled deck of cards into a perfectly seamless flowing chronology (that only materialized when her work was typed and could be sequenced to the key), in which Jesus traverses the land of Palestine from one end to another in five cycles (some 4,000 miles), ministering in 343 named locations in proper order (that have been route mapped) without error?  All this while paralyzed from the waist down for 28 years in a bed? The Harvard Educated Physicist concluded: "These impossibly exact details "tax the credulity of even the immovable atheist more than the alternative that Jesus showed it to her.  In the words of Sherlock Holmes, when you eliminated the impossible, that which remains, however merely improbable, must be true" (Professor Lonnie Lee VanZandt).

Quote from Article by Fr. Mark Slatter: "Cardinal Ratzinger referred to it as "a lump of theological absurdities.""

     We conducted numerous Google and Yahoo searches incorporating several key words, including: "Cardinal Ratzinger" & "lump of Theological absurdities", the only resulting direct hits are Reverend Mark Slatter’s article as exhibited on several sites. Perceptibly, this is another stretcher, as there were numerous little mistakes pertaining to other visionaries in the same article.

It is likely that the article is attempting to slant a 1985 Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) letter: "There appears to be multiple English translations of this document circulating on the Internet, some of which contain significant errors in key statements. Upon reading an accurate translation, it becomes immediately evident that Cardinal Ratzinger avoids passing judgment - either positively or negatively - by restating the history of events. Far from being a negative judgment, the Cardinal simply highlights events of history, and states that diffusion of the Poem, at the time, was "not held to be opportune". The final statement, restricts the range of the condemnation further, limiting it to the “more unprepared faithful” (of which one interpretation could refer to those who lack good catechesis, who would attach themselves too strongly to the Poem, effectively elevating a private revelation above public revelation). At most, this text could be interpreted as a cautionary caveat; however a negative judgment it is not".

Quote from Article by Fr. Mark Slatter: "Likewise, we do well to note, says Groeschel, that The Poem of the Man-God was on the list of "forbidden books and has never been given papal approval, contrary to popular belief." A challenge, therefore, should be issued to the "uncritical ease" with which this book and others like it have made deep inroads into Catholic living."

Consider that Saint Faustina Kowalska’s Divine Mercy writings were likewise placed on the Forbidden book Index (the very same day as Valtorta’s), therefore demonstrating that the Index of Forbidden Books was erroneous. According to the signed testimony of the three Priests seeking Church approval (as the local Bishop was going blind) in 1947, the Priests were intercepted at the Vatican by Cardinal Augustin Bea (Pope Pius XII's Confessor) who advised them to bypass Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani (Head of the Holy Office).  Cardinal Bea informed the Priests that Cardinal Ottaviani had an aversion to Private Revelations and attempted unsuccessfully to gain Pope Pius XII’s signature for the condemnation of Sister Faustina Kowalska’s Divine Mercy writings. Cardinal Bea gave Maria Valtorta's writings to Pope Pius XII on April 3, 1947.  Pope Pius XII had Maria Valtorta's writings in His possession for eleven months before summoning her Spiritual Director Father Romualdo M. Migliorini.  The second meeting took place February 26, 1948 in which Pope Pius XII ordered: "Publish this work as it is. There is no need to give an opinion about its origin, whether it be extraordinary or not. Who reads it, will understand."  Cardinal Ottaviani realized he was bypassed when the daily announcement of audiences appeared in L'Osservatore Romano reporting the Papal meeting the next day, February 27, 1948 (Citta Del Vaticano, no. 48, p.1).  Cardinal Ottaviani did everything he could to thwart the publishing, but eventually resigned to waiting for Pope Pius XII’s death.  In 1959, Cardinal Ottaviani presented the condemnations for both Saint Faustina Kowalska's and Maria Valtorta's writings to the very next Pope, John XXIII for signature after he took Office. Soon afterwards an unsigned article appeared in L'Osservatore Romano condemning Valtorta's writings as ‘A Badly Fictionalized Life of Jesus", the article was purportedly written by Ottaviani himself.

Father Mark Slatter claims that the "Poem of the Man-God" has; "never been given papal approval".  The valid Papal Imprimatur is supported by a Roman Catholic Priest's signed written testimony as well as the signed written testimonies of two Priest witnesses he brought with him (on display at Valtorta's home, which has been converted into a museum by the Publisher).  The Papal meeting was recorded in L'Osservatore Romano (proving the date), and a Vatican Cardinal with ten years of experience teaching Canon Law at the Grand Seminary looked up and verified the 1948 minutes from the original Papal meeting transcribed by the Vatican Recording Cardinal that accompanied the Pontiff, responding in writing that "Pope Pius XII's action was the kind of official Imprimatur granted before witnesses by the Holy Father in 1948, an Official Imprimatur of the Supreme Authority of the Church".  What evidence does Father Mark Slatter, Father Benedict J. Groeschel, Father Mitch Pacwa, or any other Valtorta challenger offer to support their opposition to a valid Papal Imprimatur?  Nothing.

The key question is: Why did Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani wait till volume four (3 years later), to act? The Gospel as it was Revealed to Me (The English version; The Poem of the Man-God, came much later), was published in 1956 with Pope Pius XII Imprimatur and statement affixed to the inside cover. This may have made Cardinal Ottaviani incensed (as he was circumnavigated in the approval process), but he had no choice but to wait, his hands were tied. Placing the Poem on the Index of Forbidden books would require a Papal signature, which would be impossible to obtain. Pope Pius XII could not be expected to sign a decree against His own Imprimatur, and the three Priests were well aware of this. As long as Pope Pius XII was alive, the Poem could be published with the Papal Imprimatur, unchallenged. When Pope Pius XII passed away on October 9, 1958, the circumstances altered. When the next Pontiff, Pope John XXIII, took office, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani's moved to have Maria Valtorta’s and Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska’s writings formally condemned on the Index of Forbidden Books. The condemnation decrees could now be placed before the new Pontiff, who signed the decrees at the request of Cardinal Ottaviani.

Saint Faustina Kowalska: "In 1959, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani at the Holy Office included her works on a list he submitted to the newly elected Pope John XXIII. The Pope signed the decree that placed her work on the Index of Forbidden Books."  It is important to remember that in 1978, a Polish Cardinal petitioned the Vatican to cease the suppression of Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska’s Divine Mercy devotion and to remove her writings from the Index of Forbidden books. The Vatican replied in the negative, upholding the condemnation and suppression.  Which we now know was in error.

Although we admire Father Mark Slatter's wonderful work at St. Maurice Parish, in downtown Ottawa as well as Ottawa Theology on tap, we feel his article overcomplicates Private Revelation, notwithstanding the significant loss of credibility from the ostensive doctoring of quotes necessary to support the contentions. The core of Rev. Mark Slatter's article is to purport that Private Revelations elicit expressly "optional adoption". Conversely, we tend to consider that the core philosophy concerning Private Revelations may be much simpler, as we consider them essentially gifts from God. Recall when a parent gives a loving child a gift, the child eagerly opens it and is appreciative, subsequently causing the parent to be happy. Conversely, if a parent gives a callous child a gift, and the child insolently tosses it in the garbage, the parent becomes saddened. When God gives us these gifts, we can behave like the loving child or the callous child. Why would God not feel like the giving parent? Isn’t it logical to presume that God can be pleased or saddened by the way we regard His loving gifts. Is it sinful to toss these gifts aside?  Yet we describe sin as offending God. God showers us with these loving gifts, yet it seems we are being advised to put up an umbrella to repel his copious consultations.

Saint Padre Pio (Pietrelcian, Italy), Saint Hildegard (Bingen, Germany) and Blessed Anna Maria Taigi (Siena, Italy) are among many Saints and Mystics who affirmed the 3 Days of Darkness. In a letter written by Saint Padre Pio on February 7, 1950, the Saint prophesies: "My angels, who are to be the executioners of this work, are ready with their pointed swords! They will take special care to annihilate all those who mocked Me and would not believe in My revelations". The Miracle of the Sun was the only Miracle that took place at a predicted time and place, as Our Holy Mother said: "So that all may believe" (Evidently, the Mother of God hasn't adopted the "Optional Adoption" hypothesis).  Our Holy Mother choosing the simplest of devotees (children) for the Fatima Apparitions likewise serves as a compelling message; that you don't have to have a PhD for God to grant discernment.  The Chief Priest, Doctors of the Law, Pharisees and Scribes failed to discern God Incarnate, whereas poor fishermen, tax collectors and a prostitutes recognized what the highly educated failed to see. "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children" (Luke 10:21). "All that the Church is allowed to conclude about Fatima, Lourdes, or any other apparition is that the messages and associated experiences contain nothing that is contrary to faith" (Father Mark Slatter).  The approach of "criticizing the messenger" is often applied when there is nothing to criticize in the message.

Sincerely, Webmaster


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