One could really say that the watchword of this year’s Valtortian Conference was “novelty”.
The presence of the illustrious professors La Greca, Matricciani and De Caro is now traditional, but always very welcome and surprising for the gems that continue to draw from the treasure of Valtortian writings. This year the first two exhibited their studies on the tomb of St. Peter: they started from the visions of the Prince of the Apostles had by Maria Valtorta, also recently collected in the book of the same name “The tomb of St. Peter”. From here, through history, archeology and geometry they have obtained some interesting clues that converge in the possible burial places of Peter (it seems there were three!): a mystery still unsolved. Even the relics venerated today in the Basilica have not been subjected to scientific verification and may belong to other Christian martyrs, while the remains of the first Pope – which Maria Valtorta saw to be uncorrupted – could be found in the Catacombs called ‘of Saints Marcellinus and Peter’. Perhaps further investigations will confirm or deny the study; for now it is noted that «the eventual actual discovery would be an extraordinary event for the whole Church, to rediscover the faith, rediscover the spirit that animated Peter, and for a renewed evangelization, in which “The Gospel as it was revealed to me” could finally have a recognized and important role».
Professor De Caro underlined the importance of the scientific ‘effort’ on Maria Valtorta and what she did: investigating and discerning is difficult, but it shows that there is no only human explanation, according to the very words that Jesus addressed to her: «… Everything that I reveal to you or tell you is a great gift. You don’t know its value. Not the spiritual value. That for you is infinite. The cultural value… historical. They are gems of price… You, like a child,… love them for their varied color, but you don’t know how to give them any other value… Others, on the other hand, more learned… observe them and study them”(9 August 1944). The example illustrated, among many possible, was that of the historical dating of the birth of Our Lord and his death on the cross, where astronomy plays a fundamental role. Also on this issue Maria Valtorta is never wrong, and the data she reports all converge in confirming the tradition. Once again, paraphrasing Pope Francis, «Reason is not the light that dispels every mystery. The more he guides us in all knowledge, the more the mystery sends us further. Thus a profound amazement is born. And this is enough for the journey».
The afternoon opened with an unprecedented guest, prof. Abramo Reniero, who dealt with the theme “Science and faith”. As a teacher he is – both at the high schools of Massa (MS) and at the Theological Training School of the relative diocese – he approached the subject in a way that was customary for him, that is, philosophical, theoretical. Also difficult, of course, but indispensable to face so that Maria Valtorta’s texts are correctly understood as an intertwining of a communication concerning faith (private and mystical revelation) and facts concerning science. In a brief historical excursus, the path that saw the union first, and then a slow and inexorable contrast between faith and science was recalled; last but not least, the attempt by many to totally devalue the faith, leaving it to science alone to answer every question, without even stopping in front of questions that intrinsically go beyond it. Finally, he showed the need for reconciliation, offered both by talented philosophers and by the magisterium of the Popes.
Then there was the interview with Andrea Carabelli, leading actor of “Io sono Giuda”, the feature film produced by the Maria Valtorta Foundation onlus, directed by Matteo Bonanni, the screenplay by Giampiero Pizzol and with music by Ivano Conti – famous for giving sound to ‘Gelsomino della notte’ (Jasmine of the night). The film, also previewed with a short video, combines the depth of the dialogue typical of theater with the audiovisual breadth of cinema. It is inspired by the Valtortian texts, to tell the story of the darkest of the apostles from an unprecedented point of view: simply realistic, alive and true like every page of “The Gospel”, illustrating the double aspect of the Iscariot as a common man, with passions and tendencies that could affect anyone, and at the same time unique for the free choice of evil and perversion to the extreme; above all, there remains the presence of Jesus, who loves and loved Judas more than any other. “Do you want to know […] which apostle I loved most? He is Judas of Kerioth. Don’t widen your eyes, don’t flinch. So it is. I loved most of all Judas of Kerioth. And now I’ll explain, and you’ll understand “(May 16, 1947).
Finally, it was the turn of the opening of the 1st “Maria Valtorta” Literary Competition, an initiative created to involve all Valtortian readers; to bring out the literary depth of the Opera through a purely cultural and artistic proposal; to give an opportunity to witness the gifts that have been received from them; so that “Maria Valtorta, person and work” can be an inspiration to talents that may have been hitherto hidden. The papers – which must be original texts and can belong to any literary genre: story, short story, interview, poem, etc. – must be sent by 30 June 2022; the winner will win a rich prize of 500 €, which will be awarded at next year’s conference.
The Conference is now an annual appointment, a meeting place but also a renewed starting point for all the activities of the Foundation, which aim to involve as many people as possible, to bring everyone – and absolutely everyone, not just someone or those who already know them and appreciates – Maria Valtorta and her writings. Our effort is great, but to God’s praise, and we like to thank Him particularly in considering that not even a pandemic, like the one we are going through, has stopped us. Finally, see you next year for the XIII Valtortiano Convention: God willing, see you again in Viareggio for Saturday 22 October 2022.