CM writes: “Is it okay for Catholics to join True Life in God prayer groups and can you tell me if there’s anything New Age about them?”
True Life in God prayer groups are not New Age, but they are associated with Vassula Ryden, a member of the Greek Orthodox church and author of True Life in God which she claims contain messages from God.
However, the Church reviewed her work and a ruling was made against it by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1995 that remains in effect to this day.
“Given the negative effect of Vassula Ryden’s activities, despite some positive aspects, this Congregation requests the intervention of the Bishops so that their faithful may be suitably informed and that no opportunity may be provided in their Dioceses for the dissemination of her ideas,” the ruling states. “Lastly, the Congregation invites all the faithful not to regard Mrs. Vassula Ryden’s writings and speeches as supernatural and to preserve the purity of the faith that the Lord has entrusted to the Church.”
The Greek Orthodox Church (which is not in union with the Pope) also condemned her teachings in 2011 and the Church of Cyprus did the same in 2012.
True Life in God prayer groups are comprised of people who gather together to pray and reflect upon her messages. Confusion about whether or not the faithful can participate in them came about as a result of a posting on Ryden’s website which displays a letter allegedly written by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in 2004 saying that participation in her ecumenical prayer groups should be left up to diocesan bishops.
However, Cardinal William Levada, prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith confirmed as recently as 2007 that the 1995 notification against Ryden was still in effect and that “it remains inappropriate for Catholics to take part in prayer groups established by Mrs Ryden.”
This blog, which describes the methods by which Ryden received the messages, also points out other serious issues that should be considered by anyone who is considering joining a True Life in God prayer group.