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Can the Index of Forbidden Books be Completely Ignored?
ABOLITION OF THE INDEX and POPE URBAN VIII's ALLEGED STATEMENT
A BRIEF REFUTATION OF APPARITIONIST DECLARATIONS
A recent search of the Internet, using the GOOGLE Search Engine produced some 63 "hits" for the
combined terms "urban viii" AND "better to believe", thus:
Most of the sites have disclaimers, quoting Pope Urban VIII, Vatican Council II's "Lumen Gentium," and
Pope Paul VI's abolition of the Index of Prohibited Books in 1966.
TED FLYNN/MAXKOL/SIGN OF THE TIMES add a further "cop-out":
"Note: The reader will need discernment in deciding whether or not the messenger and messages
are true. Many of the events foretold in these messages are CONDITIONAL and depend upon
PEOPLE'S RESPONSE to Heaven's warnings. Please ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in judging their
authenticity and importance in your life." MaxKol
|In other words: "Don't blame me is any of the phenomena are false (even diabolical!) We will not
take any responsibility, for we are only gatherers of information for YOUR discernment. Good luck! Have a nice day."
Fr. BRIAN WILSON, L.C.
from ENVOY MAGAZINE replied - specifically in respect of
Maria Valtorta's "Poem of the man-God", but the principle applied universally:
Some promoters of Maria Valtorta's works will claim that Pope Pius XII, in a private audience in
1948, praised the work and encouraged its publication. There is no way to verify this. What we
can verify, though, is that pope's official opinion of the work as it was declared publicly through
the Holy Office, the Vatican department responsible directly to the pope himself for analyzing and
commenting on theological works. The Poem was presented to the Holy Office in 1949 for approval.
The response was not what the proponents of the work had hoped for. The two priests from the
Holy Office who were given the task of studying the volumes and issuing a verdict condemned
Valtorta's writings and went so far as to secure an agreement that they would not be published.
However, those involved did publish it in 1956. The response was swift and predictable. In a
decision signed by Pope John XXIII - a holy man of great personal piety, and, just coincidentally,
the Vicar of Christ - the Holy Office placed it on the Index of Forbidden Books.
The Index has long since been abolished, but contrary to what the book's supporters say, it
"retains its moral force despite its dissolution." In other words, the work was judged gravely
deficient after serious examination by highly competent and faithful theologians, and it didn't
become a pious marvel just because the Church stopped publishing a list (the Index). Asked
about it again in 1993, Cardinal Ratzinger reaffirmed this judgment.
But isn't it possible there's some good in it? Well, it would be practically impossible for there not
to be some good in it. Nothing on this earth is totally bad.
If I were starving and had nothing else at hand, I would no doubt take my chances with a piece
of meat that had a distinct whiff of being well past its sell-by date. But I would be just plain
foolish to do so if there were an abundance of fine, fresh, tender cuts on hand just waiting to
be slapped on the grill. There are excellent "Life of Christ" volumes available that have none of
the drawbacks of the Poem and provide great spiritual nourishment.
RICK SALBATO's REPLIES on the same subject:
3. Publishers claim that they can publish without an imprimatur since the index was done away with. Is that true?
Publishers often post the following disclaimer inside their books.
"Since the abolition of Canon 1399 and 2318 of the former Canonical Code by Pope Paul VI in AAS 58
(1966), publications about new appearances, revelations, prophecies, miracles, etc., have been allowed to be
distributed and read by the faithful without the express permission of the Church, providing that they contain
nothing which contravenes faith or morals. This means no imprimatur is necessary."
While a book may not require an Imprimatur it is not true (nor never has been) that books on unapproved
apparitions may be distributed. On October 23, 1995, the Vatican reaffirmed in the official journal of the Holy
See, the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, that circulation of books on unapproved apparitions are forbidden.
Therein, the Church wrote:
"The Interpretation given by some individuals to a Decision approved by Paul VI on 14 October 1966 and
promulgated on 15 November of that year, in virtue of which writings and messages resulting from alleged
revelations could be freely circulated in the Church, is absolutely groundless. This decision actually referred to
the "abolition of the Index of Forbidden Books" and determined that -- after the relevant censures were
lifted -- the moral obligation still remained of not circulating or reading those writings which endanger faith and
It should be recalled however that with regard to the circulation of texts of alleged private revelations,
canon 623 #1 of the current Code remains in force:
`The Pastors of the Church have the right to demand that writings to be published by the Christian faithful,
which touch upon faith or morals, be submitted to their judgment'.
Alleged supernatural revelations and writings concerning them are submitted in first instance to the judgment of
the diocesan Bishop, and , in particular cases, to the judgment of the Episcopal Conference and the Congregation
for the Doctrine of the Faith."
The following is paraphrased from Catholic Replies by James J. Drummey (The Wanderer: July 30,
The writings of the Popes are published in a variety of forms: Apostolic Letters, Briefs, Bulls, Constitutions,
Decrees, Decretals, Encyclicals, etc. They acquire their force by publication in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis,
the official journal of the Apostolic See. Since these writings are the official pronouncements of the Magisterium
or teaching office of the Church, Catholics are not free to disregard them. In the case of the Acta Apostolicae
Sedis, the Second Vatican Council stated, a "religious submission of will and of mind must be shown in a
special way to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking Ex Cathedra
Now, these Catholic bookstores, Marian Centers, and publishers are violating the law of the
Church, per the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, by promoting books and tapes in favor of
Medjugorje, [and any other unapproved or false mystical phenomemon. F.J.L. ]
and refusing to have any opposing point of view in their stores.
To make an even greater sin, they even refuse to have approved private revelation of Our Lady in their stores
with the proper Imprimatur, as in the case of The Miracle of Damascus by this author. Why? Because this author
made it very clear in the book, that he would not have published the book if the local bishop had not only
approved the seer but also his interpretation of the story of the apparition. That being the case, acceptance of a
book on the true Virgin Mary had to be suppressed in order to protect the money and customer base created
by the millions of dollars in the Medjugorje deception.
Booklets, leaflets, pamphlets, films, or books may not be used to promote an apparition or miracle that is under
an interdiction of any kind. Contrary to what many will tell you, the abrogation of Canon Laws 1399 and
2318 do not permit the publication of apparitions unless no action or decision has been made by the local
bishop. Any action that has been taken by the bishop must be obeyed. It matters not if he is a good or bad
bishop, just as it does not matter if the seer is good or bad. God can use good or bad.
[And just as certainly, the Bishops of La Salette (and the Holy See), the Bishops of
Garabandal, and the Bishops of Medjugorje (to mention just some of the Bishops in which mystical phenomena
have been alleged!) HAVE taken action, and they MUST BE OBEYED by faithful Catholics. F.J.L.]
4. Please comment on the statement of Pope Urban VIII (17th Century), "It's better t
o believe than not to believe."
The promoters of un-approved apparitions and private revelations, appeal to two false conclusions from past
Pope's statements, and in both cases they take statements out of context. As the Vatican has already clarified in
their Nov. 1996 statement,
"The interpretation given by some individuals to a Decision approved by Paul VI is
And regarding Pope Urban VIII, this also is taken out of context. He was referring to a private revelation that
was under investigation but no conclusion was reached yet, for as he said, "and if it should prove to be
false". The question you should ask is "prove to be false" by whom? By the promoters, the sheep, the bishop
of the mystic, or by Rome.
The doctrine of the Church is "to the judgment of the diocesan Bishop". Of course, there must be a period of
time before the diocesan Bishop comes to a conclusion, and during this period of time one is not held responsible
for a false belief. If, however, you continue to believe in a mystic that the local Bishop has "proved to be false",
will you still "receive all the blessings as if it were to be true"? No! Because then you have violated the Fourth
Commandment. "Honor your Father and your Mother" because no one can have God for their Father without
having the Church for their Mother.
The important thing about this statement of Christ is that the person was surprised, he thought he was doing the
will of God, and he thought that the power he had to perform miracles and give prophesies was also from God.
But this power was not from God. Christ goes on to say what the rules are. "He who
hears my word" means all his words. Read HIS WORDS in Matt. 18:17 which states, "And if he
will not hear them [witnesses or the facts] tell the church. And if he will not hear even the Church, let him be to
thee as the heathen and the publican."
- "But, Lord, I believed with all my heart." (Matt. 7:21=24)
"Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into
the kingdom of heaven. Many will say to me in that day,
`Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in
And then will I profess unto them, `I never knew you, depart from me, you that work iniquity.' Every one
therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon
"We are of God. [the bishops] He that
knoweth God, heareth us. He that is not of God, heareth us not. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the
spirit of error." (1 John 4:6)
When John wrote his three Epistles he was over 100 years old and all the other apostles had already
been martyred. Where he says "we" he means the descendants of the apostles,
Please also view the file The Urban Myth - Pope Urban VIII, that is!
Here follow the "Declarations" from Miguel de Portugal's M+G+R Foundation
These "Declarations are typical of the 'lying lips' which proclain fidelity to the Pope, but which,
in fact, are the very opposite owing to their practical by-passing of any "system" [read that as being the local
Bishop who possesses the charism of discernment for his particular Diocese!!!] which declares contrary to the apparitionists'
pet project or projects.
A. What Does Canon Law Tells The Faithful About The Belief And Dissemination Of
Information On Marian Apparitions?
"Since the abolition of Canon 1399 and 2318 of the former Canonical Code by Pope Paul VI in
AAS 58 (1966) 1186, publications about new appearances, revelations, prophecies, miracles, etc., have
been allowed to be distributed and read by the faithful without the express permission of the Church,
providing that they contain nothing which contravenes faith and morals".
[This means that no IMPRIMATUR is necessary.]
In "Lumen Gentium", Vatican II, CH. 12, we read:
"Such gifts of grace, whether they are of special enlightenment or whether they are spread
more simply and generally, must be accepted with gratefulness and consolation, as they are
specially suited to, useful for, the needs of the Church... Judgments as to their genuineness and their
correct use lies with those who lead the Church and those whose special task is not to extinguish
the spirit but to examine everything and keep that which is good. (confer 1 Thess 5, 19-21)"
["Extinguish not the spirit. Despise not prophecies. But prove all things; hold fast that which is good". (1 Thess 5, 19-21)
His Holiness, Pope Urban VIII (1623-44) declared:
"In cases like this (apparitions), it is better to believe than not to believe, for, if you believe, and it
is not proven true, you will be happy that you have believed, because Our Holy Mother asked it. If you
believe, and it should be proven false, you will receive all blessings as if it had been true, because you
believed it to be true."
Note from the writer: The above is part of the Church law and tradition. Anyone that impedes
the constructive dissemination of information from Private Revelations that do not
contravene faith and/or morals could be, unknowingly, in disharmony with the dictates and opinions of the
[Not only is Miguel de Portugal and M+G+R Foundation wrong in their beliefs, but they have
"committed a 'double negative' " above in the Urban VIII alleged quote! John Loughnan]
Most (if not all) promoters of private revelation provide the above Urban VIII alleged quote
However NONE of the "promoters" provide the actual source of the alleged quotation. None!
It is just like saying: "Mary Poppins said that she likes strawberry jam", and asking all and sundry
to believe an irresponsible statement.
How can the alleged quote be justified, when the source (document) is not produced for verification?
The spoken word goes in one ear and out the other, sometimes, in a different form and with a
Why do the promoters parrot (simply) another parrot?
Can ANYONE produce a reference to a verifiable document?
And, even if it is true - does it possess the same authority, for example as (and I paraphrase) Pope
Urban VIII's advice to Mr Gallileo that it would be better if HE did not believe?
A REQUEST - AND A CLUE!
Is anyone able to produce to me an English translation of Pope Urban VIII's decree "Sanctissimus Dominus Noster"
given on 13th March 1625 against those who publish asserted revelations without
the permission of ordinaries. This is the decree specifically cited in the Decree of
21st December, 1915, in which "SECRET OF LA SALETTE" was officially (and once again) prohibited.