We propose a writing by Father Corrado Maria Berti O.S.M., unpublished since 1980 and never mentioned even incidentally by anyone, therefore probably unknown to many. For those who are unaware of the events that have taken place in the Valtortian world both from 1980 to today, and much earlier, I believe some clarifications are needed. Therefore I add in a different color a critical and benevolent comment of mine – Father Corrado Berti, according to many, died in the concept of holiness – for this purpose. I did not turn it into footnotes because I wanted it to be readable by anyone with simplicity and without unnecessary interruptions, with a style now customary in the world of the web.
Everything is translated into English from the original Italian.
– don Ernesto Zucchini
president of the Fondazione Maria Valtorta onlus
15th october 2021, s. Teresa of Jesus
Original text taken from:
Rivista di Ascetica e Mistica, 1980 – Anno 49°, N. 3 – Luglio-Settembre
Eyewitness testimony on Maria Valtorta1
1After the study of prof. Fabrizio Braccini on the “Valtorta Case”, published in two episodes in our magazine (nos. 3 and 4 of 1979) and now extracted separately – a study that has generally received widespread approval – we are pleased to host now, almost as a complement to it, the transcription of a lecture by Fr.Corrado M. Berti, of the Servants of Mary, whose work is known in noting and publishing with regular Imprimatur [I think it is a mistake because the Opera Valtortiana has never had an imprimatur of sorts] lthe major work of Valtorta, and then the other Valtortian writings published later. Readers will appreciate this testimony, not so much for its here and there repetitive style, but for what he attests and clarifies from direct experience (Ed).
Given the date of the death of Father Corrado Maria Berti, which took place on the night between 14 and 15 December 1980, and the date of publication of this article, July-September (but more September than July), we can read the text as his testament to what he lived with the mystic Maria Valtorta. This is even more true considering what he had written in the seventh volume of the second edition of “The Poem of the Man-God” on p. 1870: “[Two possibilities:] a) either the author possesses a genius similar to that of Manzoni or Shakespeare and a scriptural, theological culture, with a perfect knowledge of the Holy Places, and in any case superior to any living creature today in Italy; b) or ‘digitus Dei est hic‘. […] The first is accused of naive credulity and the second of absolute insufficiency; but, as appears from the prefaces, introductions and annotations, and according to what they intend to assert now explicitly and clearly, they [Father Berti and the heads of the Michele Pisani Typography who acted as editor] do not feel like making any of the two interpretations their own, and the entire judgment to the Competitors for science and authority” [italics in the text]. This declaration of 1964 – very sad for the fear it expresses – made by the editors of the first and second editions of the Poem, will be changed and highlighted only after 16 years, in this writing. We recall, however, that at the time the texts by Jean Aulagnier, Jean-François Lavére, Liberato de Caro, Emilio Matricciani, Fernando La Greca had not yet been written. Father Berti sensed the great wealth of Valtortian writings, but never had the courage to compare and investigate adequately.
In preparing to write an eyewitness testimony on Maria Valtorta, with regret and shame I feel the need to first of all briefly but sufficiently present myself, so that readers or listeners may one day realize the value or nullity of my testimony.
I was born in Florence in 1911 and spent my early youth in the shadow of the Basilica Sanctuary of the SS. Annunziata where now rest, awaiting the glorious resurrection, the bones of Maria Valtorta. At this Shrine, perhaps on the day of my first communion, I felt the call to the priesthood, in the Order of the Servants of Mary. Then in 1928 I went to Rome where I still am (1980) with the only parenthesis of 5 years spent at the Theological Faculty of the Catholic University of Louvain, where I learned to love scientific rigor, while as a young man, staying in Rome, and attending that which was then called the Pontifical Urbaniana University of Propaganda Fide, I learned to think for myself, to have clear ideas and to try to present these ideas with logical rigor.
A fact to be taken into account in order to understand what contradiction he fell into when he got involved in spiritisms and the spiritism. Not that he was. Absolutely not. But he felt the charm of it. The appendix of the seventh volume of the second edition of “The Poem of the Man-God” is proof of this: on pp. 1867-1869 writes “c) To those who then point out that the details of a historical, geographical, topographical, ethnological and archaeological nature, of which the Opera regurgitates, are too many and too detailed to have been learned in books or at least to have been entrusted to paper many years after the supposed reading, the deniers of the supernatural, extraordinary origin of the writings of Maria Valtorta reply that there is no need at all, to explain all those minute details, also accompanied by writings and illustrations, to resort to divine visions and divine dictations, since it is known that there are people who, almost radio receivers and transmitters, pick up, record, amplify and retransmit news concerning very distant realities or concepts not only in space but also in time, given that in the Universe nothing is lost: and they are the so-called “psychics”, who have nothing to do with devils and occult forces of dark origin. And in this direction, the aforementioned supporters cite examples, taken from books and from their own experience, which if they are not comparable in breadth and depth to the phenomenon of the writings of Maria Valtorta, nevertheless deserve to be taken into consideration, even though they too do not come out from the field of hypotheses albeit reliable. […] According to the aforementioned hypothesis of interpretation, therefore, Maria Valtorta would have read the Bible for years, meditating on it, contemplating it, deepening it, almost ruminating, assimilating it, making it become blood of her blood and then, at a certain moment, that is, at the moment of full maturity, he would have, like a torrent, poured it over fifteen thousand and more pages, without checking anything, without a previous draft, without deletions, corrections or revisions of any kind, if not perhaps to retouch the punctuation or trace the words not clearly transcribed”. Evidently Father Berti felt the charm of mediumism, but he did not realize the contradiction he was falling into. To place what Maria Valtorta wrote on the same level as spiritualism is to dream of a perfect identity of views among the scholars – at various levels – of this spiritual current, which in reality is doctrinal confusion without limits, with the perfect homogeneity of what is written by her. Not only that, but it allows the strong suspicion that canonical Revelation or even private / mystical revelations only be placed on the same level with the various spiritisms of Anglo-Saxon or Latin matrix.
In 1945 I began to attend some hospitals in Rome and I attended them, as long as my health allowed me, for over 30 years. In 1946 a pious priest of the Order of the Servants of Mary came to Rome, therefore a brother of mine, Father Romualdo Maria Migliorini. He was sent to Rome, almost as punishment, also because he ceased to take care of Maria Valtorta and instead in Rome he found in me his most affectionate and faithful assistant.
Father Berti is extremely benevolent and tries to downplay the drama – and the actual punishment – in which Father Migliorini found himself involved. He had been expelled from Viareggio with the obligation not to return there again, for any reason. He obeyed, while looking for certificates from various people who could rehabilitate him, but there was nothing to be done: he remained nailed to Rome until his death. It remains true that Father Berti esteemed Father Migliorini, even writing: “he was her spiritual director and support from 1942 to 1946: but this father, although very intelligent, cultured and fervent, was by now consumed by the long years of parish ministry in Canada and missionary in Africa, very busy and sick, and in any case did not influence the writings of Mary but rather suffered the influence, as unequivocally appears from the notes of sermons found at his death, who therefore was only the tireless and faithful typist of the Infirm, who received the completed notebooks, copied them and quickly returned them “(idem, p. 1866). And here we begin to highlight how much there is still to discover about Maria Valtorta and her writings. The formula used, “from the notes of sermons found at his death”, seems almost an invitation to research and deepen these writings.
In 1945 I began to attend some hospitals in Rome and I attended them, as long as my health allowed me, for over 30 years. In 1946 a pious priest of the Order of the Servants of See how the Lord, when He allows a tribulation or a humiliation, He always does it for the purpose of good; therefore in 1946 I met with his father Romualdo Maria Migliorini. Notoriously, he was the spiritual director and then the humble typist of Maria Valtorta.
Father Migliorini was old and above all he was ill. He asked me to help him and I, not out of fanaticism, not to associate myself with what they called the spiritual director of the Viareggio Spokesperson, but only to help a sick friar, I joined him and became his faithful and hardworking helper.
I am therefore an eyewitness of Maria Valtorta. Why? Because Father Migliorini could not, because he was forbidden, set foot in Tuscany again. Who therefore began to go to Maria Valtorta, in 1946, was me. From 1946 to 1961, at least once a month, I went to Maria Valtorta. I assert that when I arrived I was never left outside the door, but immediately invited to enter.
Father Berti is extremely benevolent and tries to downplay the drama – and the actual punishment – in which Father Migliorini found himself involved. He had been expelled from In reality, even father Berti must have received from the Servite Order, of which he was a member, the command not to go to Viareggio and not to approach Maria Valtorta. In fact, it is well known that he disguised himself as a plumber so as not to be recognized when he went to her house. Useless disguise because he made smile those who knew him. Father Berti was an eyewitness and was present at least once a month in Viareggio. We therefore speak of at least 192 times. Several! Then the question becomes inevitable: his memories, letters, writings, where have they ended up? Why, in fact, has nothing been published? Can they really be considered insignificant documents, when every memory or note concerning Maria Valtorta has great value? Could it be possible that a person with such a deep and lucid knowledge of Maria Valtorta was put aside?
Upon entering, I never found the sick Maria Valtorta with her legs out of bed; she never sat on a chair, never at a table, never with a book in her hand, but always in bed, sitting or semi-reclining.
I have observed her for 16 years; I never found her studying, I never found her, reading books on theology or in any case books that could somehow be used to compose the great works that she then composed. Maria Valtorta therefore wrote over 120 notebooks, but never after consulting books; I am an eyewitness of this.
Father Berti is extremely benevolent and tries At least 192 times Father Berti saw and spoke with Maria Valtorta who was sick and bedridden. And then the usual – for me – question: where is the suitcase kept under her bed containing drug prescriptions, lists of medicines and medical reports written in at least 34 years, as Marta Diciotti expressly reported? Is it possible that it is lost? If so, wouldn’t it at least be possible to know what happened to it?
One day a Franciscan friar came to see me and said: “I want to see the eyes that saw Maria Valtorta”. I took off my glasses and said: “Look at these eyes, green like those of cats, these eyes have seen Maria Valtorta, just as these ears have heard Maria Valtorta”.
This desire belongs to anyone who has read her life and work. The green eyes of Father Berti through his writings would allow us to get even better and more profitably closer to those who painfully wrote 13,193 pages of notebook, plus letters, sheets, leaflets and short writings.
And I start right away with a statement that I think is very important. Especially in recent times the articles or reviews on the writings of Maria Valtorta have multiplied. I have not read the articles written by Prof. Fabrizio Braccini of the University of Salerno yet because I am ill, as I will say; I have not read them yet but I have heard, from prepared, honest and competent people, that they are well done and, in his time, reading them or having them read, I too will want to get to know them personally.
Others, on the other hand, are scary because they are frighteningly superficial. For example, there are those who say, (like the articles that are nit-picking, those that appear furiously in the magazine Chiesa Viva, of Brescia) say that the writings of Maria Valtorta are a badly fictionalized life of Jesusan eyewitness of this.
“A badly fictionalized life of Jesus” is the title of the article by L’Osservatore Romano dated January 6, 1960 which clumsily attempts to justify putting the Poem on the Index (Maria Valtorta was never condemned). The magazine Chiesa Viva of Brescia attacked the writings of Maria Valtorta head-on, but didn’t get it right. This is typical of this conspiracy and anti-Semitic magazine, which today ended up in the darkest drifts of a conspiracy without value, reason and common sense. With the curious situation that orthodoxy often claimed by Chiesa Viva, it was often defended by precisely those writings that were pointed out as fictionalized and badly written. The impression is that it is a question of clerical prejudice of which this magazine was an iron bearer, also due to the fact that Maria Valtorta could not be controlled by any member of the clergy. It is evident that for them a lay woman, seriously ill and unable to move, could not have written those things so well and convincingly. And these are the typical preconceived clerical positions.
First of all, the writings of Maria Valtorta, in my opinion, are not a novel at all.
The Poem could perhaps also be called a novel as a presentation, but a beautifully fictionalized life of Jesus, not badly fictionalized, whoever said this expression for the first time; if anything, it should be said beautifully fictionalized, excellently fictionalized, artistically fictionalized, not badly fictionalized.
Besides, why call it a novel? Doesn’t Maria Valtorta deserve to be esteemed, doesn’t she deserve to be considered, especially today with the much heralded respect for the human person?
True claims. Absolutely to share. Lavére in “L’enigma Valtorta” supports the idea that it would be a historical novel. That the Opera can be seen “also” as a novel, I can also accept it. Personally, however, I believe that it is a different genre. Before defining what specific genre it is, for now it is important to get out of the novel genre, because thinking in this way it seems difficult to avoid the stumbling block of devotion. Those who think only of devotions would want it that way and would gladly reduce it to this, but the Gospel is neither a novel nor a historical novel. “Illustration” of the Gospel is the terminology used by Jesus in the “Quadernetti”. Behind this there could be “mystical comment” or rather “mystical (private) revelation”. However, it is not a novel tout court.
The visionaries of Lourdes, the visionaries of La Salette, the visionaries of Monteberico, the visionaries of Fatima, the visionaries of Guadalupe were listened to and considered; why shouldn’t we also listen to Maria Valtorta?
It seems that Father Berti, an academic, doesn’t know his colleagues! Maria Valtorta entered the exegetical, theological, archaeological and scientific contention, touching on an impressive variety of sciences and with the stringent claim of being right despite the fact that she did not have any academic or research qualifications. The least that could happen to her was the… crucifixion! Exactly like Jesus… Father Berti’s argument is not convincing, however, because in the cases cited it deals with a quantity of arguments not comparable to the Valtortian ones and in addition there are striking facts, that is miracles that can be ascertained by all without much research, comparisons and studies. In the Valtortian case it is necessary to pass from a simple reading that spiritually warms the heart to a study – at least initial – of the contents.
The visionaries of Lourdes, theLet’s we listen to her for a moment, let’s you listen to her, hanging from the lips of an eyewitness. Maria Valtorta has always said that what she wrote was the fruit of supernatural visions or supernatural dictations.
Why exclude these repeated statements, perpetually repeated by Maria Valtorta? Why exclude them? Don’t even take them into consideration, why?
Usual, evangelical and ancient response: “Others said: ‘This is Christ!’ Others said: ‘Does Christ come from Galilee?’“ (Jn 7:41); “They replied: ‘Are you also from Galilee? Study and you will see that no prophet arises from Galilee” (Jn 7:52). If they thought about it and said it to Jesus, imagine if they don’t say it for Maria Valtorta. You have disturbed those who consider themselves the only ones capable of commenting on the Gospels and building theologies on it. It’s impossible for them to accept her. Unless it can be demonstrated, scientific data in hand, that these writings are such a great miracle that they cannot stand comparison with others… Our Foundation follows this line.
And then, even if we wanted to affirm that the Poem of the Man-God is a beautifully fictionalized life of Jesus, we cannot at all assert, in any way, that the other Works, that is: “The Book of Azaria” is a novel, it has nothing fictional about it; “I Quaderni del 1943” are a novel, they have nothing fictional about them; “The lessons on the Epistle of Paul to the Romans” have nothing romantic about them; the volume that is about to come out: “I Quaderni del 1944” will not have anything romantic; the last volume that will come out, God willing, in a few years, which will consist of a “Miscellany of Valtortian writings” [Quadernetti], written between 45 and 53, a volume that will not have anything fictional; therefore the Valtortian phenomenon cannot be explained by presenting it as a novel, even beautifully designed. Can not be done.
We have no statistical data on the sale of the Poem / Gospel with respect to the four books called Quaderni, but we suspect that there is an abyss. Therefore it is true that the vast majority of readers when they talk about Maria Valtorta are referring only to “The Gospel as it was revealed to me”.
Because it is necessary, with respect, if not to accept, at least to ponder the words always repeated by Maria Valtorta: “What I wrote is due to supernatural visions, it is due to supernatural dictates”. I am a witness of this, in some way, not because I saw supernatural manifestations standing next to Maria Valtorta, no! But because sometimes, reading the writings of Maria Valtorta and going to her I would say to her: “Miss, but this sentence is not too clear”. She looked at it, checked her notebooks and sometimes said: “Yes, it is not clear why you typed wrong; the notebook says so and so, you have put a ‘no’ in it and with this ‘no’ you have brought out an error or an obscurity”.
Or Maria Valtorta said: “Yes, the sentence is not clear, please make it clear that you are a theologian”; she could not clarify that sentence. Why?
Because she said: “As long as the light of vision and dictation is lit I am able to write; but when that little light of vision and dictation, when that light goes out, when that voice dies out, then I no longer know how to write”.
How many times has she told me this! Now, therefore, from here on, it will be necessary to remember this affirmation of Maria Valtorta, that her phenomenon is explained by visions and dictations; and this affirmation of Maria Valtorta can be excluded only after having demonstrated that it is certainly not a question of visions and dictations.
Father Berti tries to validate the thesis of the supernaturality of the Valtortian Opera – but we are from 1979 – leaving to others the demonstration that what she wrote does not derive from God. It is a dialectical game, but is against logic. Whoever proposes a thesis, it is he who must prove its truth, and it is not up to others to prove the contrary. This logical distortion also prevented Father Berti from studying the Valtortian writings, showing the scientific reasons for them with certain and happened facts and with equally indubitable verifications. Lavère, on the other hand, has done just that, and the Valtortian treasure chest has opened making it clear the greatness of the contents. Father Berti unfortunately missed a great opportunity.
Perhaps someone in Maria Valtorta’s books will find imperfections, will also find some errors and will say: “Here it is not dictated by God, here it is not shown by God because there is a darkness, that darkness; there is an error, that error “. But to be able to say this first of all it will be necessary to be competent in the individual branches of knowledge, because a dogmatic theologian will not be able to judge in the liturgical field and a hagiographer will not be able to express himself in the biblical field.
True, but here there is the usual academic deviation. If you are not in this number of intellectuals, you are not allowed to speak. Even if there is a part of the truth, anyone must still be allowed to study and achieve skills equal to and superior to academics and therefore to pronounce themselves. Still Lavére is a reference model. Chemical engineer – and not exegete, theologian, historian and least of all archaeologist – he studies all the contents of Maria Valtorta’s writings, learning skills that perhaps he did not have before, but which he acquired and used by studying. It should also be remembered that often if the specialization is excessive, one ends up losing the real knowledge itself.
In the writings of Maria Valtorta, it will always be necessary to remember that there is no person on the face of the earth who is always infallible. Even the infallibility of the Pope and the infallibility of the Ecumenical Councils have just limits well defined by theology, as well defined by the Dogmatic Constitution of Vatican Council I on the primacy of the Pope and his infallible Magisterium. Even the Pope himself is not infallible in everything; for example, the Pope cannot one day look out of his window and proclaim the immaculate conception of St. Joseph, so to speak. He is infallible in interpreting Divine Revelation and in defining Divine Revelation; but these are very clear limits; and why want Maria Valtorta to be infallible always and in everything?
Father Berti does not distinguish. One thing is the clerical error, the spelling or grammatical error, another thing is the doctrinal aspect. If what she sees and writes comes from Heaven, there can be no doctrinal, historical or geographical errors. Otherwise Heaven would be wrong, but this cannot be. The truth that disproves the truth cannot be accepted: at least one of the two is false. So if materially Maria Valtorta can be wrong, otherwise not, otherwise it would mean the absence of divine intervention. Having said this, it is also evident in this case that Father Berti did not verify the precise data that are in her writings. The physical skies, so to speak. Father Berti never understood or even suspected that these physical skies showed scientific data (but also gematrìaci) that lead to determine the dates of Jesus’ earthly life
I believe that Maria Valtorta has been very much preserved from errors, but we cannot assert that she has been preserved always and in everything, because Maria Valtorta could also see badly, could understand badly, could write badly, could describe badly. The one who moved the hand (I think it can be said) was God, but the pen (She called itself the pen of Jesus) the pen could also sometimes be rusted by disease, by tiredness, by the night, by the fatigue of writing, This pen could have been, at times, even rusty.
True, but without exaggerating, especially in the second part. Maria Valtorta, perpetually in a state of agony, has been continuously helped by Heaven and strengthened even in her human qualities, but we can only allow material errors and very small oversights. Otherwise it would not even be possible to discern what she wrote. Refusing her communications would then be a duty.
In addition we have some exemplary experiences of Maria Valtorta who is corrected for having seen, understood and written badly. We can suppose that if she had made serious doctrinal errors, Heaven would have intervened again (cf. I Quaderni del 1944, pp. 54.285).
Therefore, those who, with frightening superficiality, seem to assert that Maria Valtorta must have been infallible make a great mistake. Instead of hunting for hair in the egg, we are struck by this Work of wisdom and mercy which is “The Poem of Man-God” and which is the complex of Valtortian writings; and we think that this Valtorta wrote in bed; she wrote in little light; she wrote at any time of the day or night; you have also been writing for many hours and therefore you may, at times, also have made some mistakes especially in describing or writing.
However, if she has mistaken or confused stones with bricks, one flower with another, one plant with another, we can also grant it, but no confusion in the supernatural. If there are any oversights they must be small, very small, otherwise everything is invalidated. Scientific validation is not looking for a nit, but the correct verification that prudence requires before taking everything as true just because it inflames the heart.
Who is infallible in writing? Who can instead of “me” not write “not”? Who can never get caught up in writing? It would be an extraordinary miracle if Maria Valtorta had never been wrong; an extraordinary miracle would be.
However, this note shows the error due to the haste with which the first edition was put together, in four large volumes: “When, while going on or revising the drafts, we came across sentences that we felt we had to eliminate because they seemed not to as ideas or as form, the system was invariably identical: prompt amputation or arbitrary correction “(The Poem of the Man-God II ed. p. XLI). It seems that haste devoured the editors and among them also Father Berti, himself, who was an academic. And here comes a little suspicion. Maria Valtorta was absent from this world in 1955. But the first volume (out of four) came out a year later, and the last one in 1959. Although the textual and typographic composition works began in the early 1950s, it can nevertheless be assumed that if had she been conscious and had visited the limits imposed on her writings, would she have blocked the attempt to make ends meet, according to the ideas of the editors?
What am I saying about the Valtortian phenomenon? I want to express myself with the greatest serenity, with no fanaticism. I hate fanaticism. I want this absolute lack of fanaticism to be in me also with regard to Maria Valtorta; especially since I only served Maria Valtorta. I have not been her spiritual director, as some have mistakenly said; I have not been her confessor.
In reality, Father Migliorini’s idea was precisely that: to convince the brother to take over from him in everything, including spiritual direction. Maria Valtorta refused the offer in the name of freedom of conscience, which is indispensable also in this field.
This makes my testimony worth a little less and a little more. A little less because the testimony of someone who did not know the spiritual background of the soul of Maria Valtorta. This is a bit of an inconvenience, a bit of my weakness, but it is also my strength because I am not bound by any priestly or professional secret; I can freely speak of Maria Valtorta because I have not directed her soul, I have not listened to her virtues and her sins. I have not been her spiritual director and I have not been her confessor. What then did I do for Maria Valtorta? I have read the writings only once.
Incredible but true, because evidently a real mountain of things escaped him and, instead of deepening them, although academic, he waited for others to do it. The case of “Galen” is the most eloquent example: “In confirmation of this interpretation, it is pointed out, from a historical point of view, that if in volume 2, on p. 597, one should really read “Galen”, and in vol. 7th on p. 1792, if it were Hermogenes “philosopher”, who both lived a few centuries after Christ, we would find ourselves in the presence of two impressive anachronisms, which would constitute a twofold argument perhaps decisive against the extraordinary supernatural origin of the Opera; since if it is not very credible that Jesus cites future authors, it is absolutely incredible that the interlocutors know them, identify them and call them by their name “(seventh volume of the second edition of the Poem of the Man-God, p. 1861). To solve these and other problems, it tooks Prof Fernando La Greca of the University of Salerno, with his text “Jesus and the Greek-Roman world”, to unravel the riddle.
I remember that a dear friend of mine Dom Franco Bertolotti, a monk of Subiaco, knows that there is a person who has read the Poem and all the writings 18 times; I am very small, an ant, I have read only once all the writings, to serve, to annotate. I wrote the first necessary notes in 1959 and then wrote all the notes starting from 1960 until today 1980; 20 years of work; 15 of intense work from morning until night.
Indeed this is his human glory, and it should be acknowledged. Unfortunately, his clash – precisely on the notes – with the publisher Emilio Pisani caused such a break as to eliminate all his work on the texts, to the point of completely ousting it and making it forget without replacing it with a similar work. This, too, speaks to the depth and harshness of their differences.
In recent years, now suffering from serious illnesses, I work less and above all I never work alone but with an assistant, because after the illnesses I will talk about I needed to be helped, and a nucleus of confreres helped me and are helping, together with some lay people to whom I am very grateful. Among these helpers I remember Father Maggi, Father Choote, Father Crociani, Father Tartamella, Father Maggioreni, Father Lai, Father Curti Vay. They helped me. I made the theological notes, especially the biblical notes and I noticed 2 very important things:
Only by reading “The Book of Azaria” (first edition), can one understand the depth of the notes of these revered Servants of Mary. One is in awe of it and feels a certain deep dismay at the thought that all this laborious work has been thrown away, having eliminated it in subsequent and current editions.
1) Maria Valtorta in her writings is always in harmony with the faith, she is always in harmony even with the best and most accredited Catholic doctrine, always in harmony with Divine Revelation, always in harmony (or at least not in disharmony) with the best Catholic doctrine. Maria Valtorta’s books can be read easily, they illuminate, they inflame, they never distance you from the Faith, never distance you from the Church, never distance you from what we believe to be the most solid, the most serious, doctrine accepted in the Catholic Church, even in this time for pluralism (as they say).
This affirmation is certainly important, but it has been made to forget rather than to excessively expand it, so that it could be recognized by all and in particular by the authorities of the Church. The hunters of doctrinal errors, often quirky, in the various Valtortian texts, have always failed in their research. Even the article by the Osservatore Romano – already cited – speaks of “historical, archaeological oversights, etc.” (but it left to posterity to verify it) without ever mentioning some doctrinal error. In a critical article in the most prestigious newspaper in the Catholic world, we would have expected this, but they found nothing against Maria Valtorta and her work. And I repeat, nothing. An oversight in the Valtortian writings would have been enough for them to shout their reasons, but they never found it or, most likely, unfortunately not even looked for it.
2) Another important consideration. I have read only once, as I said, the writings of Maria Valtorta, but to annotate them; so I read them by studying them, I read them by penetrating them, I read them weighing them, I read them by filing them, hunting for difficulties, points to be clarified and being impressed by the wonderful pearls or of greater clarity, or even, in some way, of completion of what we knew but did not know with such completeness. I remember an ancient saint, great protector of Valtortian writings, the over 100-year-old Archbishop Alfonso Carinci, who said: “I have never read such a perfect and clear and profound writing on Purgatory”.
Very good Mons. Carinci. His testimony is great, but when Cardinal Ottaviani moved, he too could not do anything, he had to suffer in silence and who knows with how much pain.
He, who used to say, believing in Maria Valtorta’s fallibility: “The daughter may have misunderstood, may have seen badly, may have written badly”. You see, admiration and balance. These are the men who understood the writings of Maria Valtorta and these are the men who were able to speak with competence of the writings of Maria Valtorta.
But it wouldn’t have been bad if he put in something positive said or written by him. Instead everyone seemed, at that time, possessed by the desire to look for errors in the Valtortian text. Instead of the enormous positive present to be explored, confronted, welcomed, excavated, they stop at the dreaded errors, perhaps trying to justify them. Instead of defending her from malicious interpretations they should have shouted out the many important details discovered. They could have shown why and how they are important, why these texts are wonderful and true (even if they always need careful discernment). Jesus uses the title “doctors of the Quirk” four times to these lovers of doctrinal clarification and which is well suited to many of Maria Valtorta’s contemporaries.
I said, humbly and with truth, that I had read the writings of Maria Valtorta to serve them; but I have an advantage over all others; I have read all the writings of Maria Valtorta, even those previously unpublished. A good volume will soon be published: I QUADERNI DEL 1944; I have read them, only once, to write them down, but I have read them.
In 2 years, perhaps the last volume of Maria Valtorta’s mystical writings will come out, a volume of “miscellany” of writings between 1945 and 1953. I have read them; no one has read them. Likewise, there is the correspondence between Maria Valtorta and Prof. Ferri.
Prof. Ferri, a great sculptor, painter and draftsman, my dear friend, I introduced him to Maria Valtorta and Maria Valtorta, in 1950, began to receive him at home and read a passage, or told the content of a passage or told a done or explained by a person and guided by Prof. Ferri.
These are things that are written here and there but then are all condensed in the letters that I have read. Well, Maria Valtorta led Prof. Ferri.
Here is the first big news revealed here: there is a Valtorta-Ferri correspondence of which nothing is known. It could be very important, in the contents, that “they are condensed in the letters”. We hope, like Father Berti himself, for the rapid publication of this correspondence as well.
Monsignor Cerri, of Neptune, has published a beautiful book entitled “The Holy Shroud and the mystical intuitions of Maria Valtorta”. But when, God willing, the volume of the Valtorta-Ferri correspondence comes out, it will be necessary for Mons.Cerri to make a new recast edition of his beautiful book, because in the Valtorta-Ferri correspondence and vice versa he will find many elements both concerning the Shroud, such as concerning the Passion of Jesus, the Apostles and other characters. Just think, in these letters you will find the description of the Apostles’ noses and ears, to say the minutiae.
Valtorta guided Prof. Ferri in the minutiae and then told him: “Stop, don’t touch anymore, or you’ll spoil everything” and Ferri returned to Rome and when he was in Rome, so he writes, he was no longer able to work as well as when he worked in Viareggio, next to the bed of Valtorta, illuminated and guided by the spirit and words of Valtorta herself.
These are very important elements, unknown to almost everyone; few people, eyewitnesses like me, are aware of these details, but to others are not known. We cannot therefore summarily judge the Valtortian phenomenon which is grandiose and of which we, even as Italians, must be proud.
In the 1980s a reverend priest from Turin wrote a frightening text of useless and wrong criticisms against the person of Maria Valtorta. Unfounded and preconceived criticisms, precisely because he was based only on part of her writings. If the texts that Father Berti declares to exist and still unpublished today had been published, we probably would not have had to suffer this aberration as well.
I remember that when some unenlightened people wanted to put an end to the Valtortian phenomenon, destroy all manuscripts, destroy all typescripts, I went to the President of the Italian Republic Luigi Einaudi and said to him: “Excellency, save, with your power as President of the Republic, save this Italian literary and spiritual national monument which is the complex of the writings of Maria Valtorta “. Actually, he welcomed me very kindly, but then he did nothing.
Well done, Father Berti. He turned the world upside down in order to re-emerge the writings of Maria Valtorta from the two black holes in which they had driven her: the indexing and the attempt at devotional reductionism of the texts. It is also true that the spiritualist garment that he too had sewn on her, contributed not a little to this overshadowing. In any case, his efforts did not help to get her out. It would be decades before something very serious and true emerged. On the other hand, Jesus himself said it to Maria Valtorta: “The truth, which must be said, is that the work cannot triumph because men, once again, do not want Jesus”.
But the Lord provided, and little by little the writings of Maria Valtorta, were not only hidden and preserved but were also published by the Pisani Publishing House – Isola del Liri – near Frosinone, in Italy, and now they are widespread it can be said a little in all nations, because in all nations of the world there are priests who have studied in Italy and in all nations of the world there are Italian emigrants. Millions of Italian emigrants are scattered all over the world; and everywhere, it can be said, the writings of Maria Valtorta have spread.
This was the providential tool used by the Good Lord to make the Valtortian texts known. Then the various translations would come. But this is a particular chapter that Father Berti does not deal with. If translating texts is good, there is still the problem of the value of the translation. If this is erroneous more than a translation it can become a real betrayal.
And now I want to tell you about my latest work. Forgive me, it is my testimony, excuse me if I speak of what I know.
In 1979 I was inspired, let’s say, to write my Valtortian Memoirs, also given my poor health (two heart attacks, one thrombosis, two cataracts, four times in the emergency room) I always thought that the Lord could call me back from a moment to the next and I thought about writing my Valtortian Memoirs that I wrote last year. A volume of about 400 pages; they are not full pages, there are many empty spaces, because I wrote it in the form of a Dictionary reserving a page for each person, even if I could only write 4 or 5 lines on that person. Four hundred pages. Now I am studying this work to see if to make some supplements and I have found, for now, other 27 items to add and slowly I am adding them.
This dictionary of Valtortian people, how many beautiful expressions it contains; I remember one: Professor Giuseppina Azzaro, scholar of Santa Caterina da Siena, that great Doctor of the Church.
Poor Father Berti. Nothing more can be said. These four hundred pages of memoirs would be useful above all to the “experts” to understand the world of Maria Valtorta and herself, but they seem to have disappeared, when the Church itself is interested in knowing this very important testimony. With Father Berti, an important part of the environment that surrounded our writer was crushed and silenced, making it impossible to get to know it. This also damaged Maria Valtorta, leaving us to imagine that her bed / cloister was half a meter from the ground, separated from the world and without relations with it.
One day I went to listen to a lecture by Prof. Azzaro and her husband the Hon. Avv. Giuseppe, Undersecretary for Finance. Both spoke, in separate conferences, of Saint Catherine of Siena. After the conference I approached the lady to pay her a compliment, to please them, because they had really been excellent, but then also to talk about Maria Valtorta, I said: “Professor, now in the Church we have another Doctor of the Church, she is Maria Valtorta; a second Catherine “. The Professor replied: “No, father, Maria Valtorta is not a second Catherine, Maria Valtorta is unique, she is a unique phenomenon”. Many of these expressions are found in my book of Valtortian Memoirs.
Even better than the co-patroness of Italy, Saint Catherine of Siena! Wonderful phrase because it is said by a specialist in the subject, and without being forced to do so. This too, together with many other testimonies, have ended up in oblivion: a real tragedy.
This book is now secret, let’s say, because I have made very few copies of it and I have given them to the people I respect most in the Valtortiano field and who would also be well advised to write their own testimony, as I am doing; his own eyewitness testimony on Maria Valtorta.
One is Miss Marta Diciotti, who lived for about 30 years next to the invalid Maria Valtorta, one meter away, or one centimeter away because Marta’s bed was perhaps not even a meter away from Maria’s, and she helped her in everything, except one thing, she never helped her in one thing: she never helped her in writing, because Marta never gave Maria Valtorta a book to study, to copy.
The very small and despicable, one could say, Maria Valtorta’s library (two or three hundred booklets) was locked and the key kept by the terrible mother.
Another irrefutable testimony of Marta Diciotti’s sacrifice and at the same time that the books of the Valtorta house, until October 1943, were unusable by her because they were locked. She then used them freely and increased them, but without changing their genericity. That is, it remained a generic, family library, with no particular interests. Today, after a booklet has been made on the list of these books (unfortunately not completely clear on the number), we have absolute certification that there is no relationship between those books and what she wrote.
Maria Valtorta therefore could not read anything for this; she could not get out of bed and Marta did not give her books because it was forbidden to give books as it was forbidden to open the small shelf of books. All beautiful things that many do not know; and it is said in four words that the Valtortian phenomenon is a phenomenon of novel writing only, or something similar. Which novel? But when the great Manzoni wrote, he corrected and corrected. Valtorta wrote straight away and in mystical writings she never corrected; in her personal letters, yes, there are many corrections, but in mystical writings there are no corrections.
Precisely the extraordinary difference when she wrote for herself – the letters – and when she acted as an active spokesperson (the descriptions are hers) for Heaven, are an indication that what she wrote did not come from her.
The great Pius XII, that very wise Pope, so favorable to Maria Valtorta, said to me, I have heard it with my ears: “Publish this work as it is. Who reads will understand!”.
The times lived by Pius XII saw him denigrated in every way: he, who was a true mystic guilty ostracized by the intelligentsia of his time (and after), and defenseless perhaps due to the cowardice of his own, had understood the mystical value of Maria Valtorta. Same thing for the global value of his writings about her, for which he tried to defend her as much as she could. Probably he had perceived that these were not inventions of a sick mind, but not being able to go beyond a certain authority he only made this invitation. Unfortunately, even of this important meeting, although reported several times, we do not have an “official” report.
The very wise Pius XII corrected and rectified, and confided to his friend Mons. Alfonso Carinci: “Your Excellency, sometimes, to choose a word I spend an hour on it”. Valtorta was not on it for a minute. On each word there was the time strictly necessary to write that word; she did not reflect; if she was interrupted she would start again. “Miss, what should I give to the shoemaker who resoled the shoes? – Give two thousand lire “, then she immediately began to write her mystical writings again. Who is capable of this? “Miss, how do you make fish soup? – So and so”; and then she went back to writing.
I have lived in a Theological Faculty among professors, for 50 years, and sometimes I go knocking on the door of a professor and I find him immersed in his studies and he says to me: “Go away, go away, I lose my thread, you made me lose the thread”. Maria Valtorta never lost the thread, and she never corrected. But this is a phenomenon! That must be studied! You cannot explain or believe you are explaining by throwing out any sentence. She was someone who had the talent of a novelist. I think I have explained everything. It’s not true! First of all because I said that not all Valtortian production is of a romantic nature; if anything, the Poem is a beautifully, wonderfully romanticized life of Jesus, but the rest cannot be explained in this way; absolutely cannot be explained that way. And we must take into account what Maria Valtorta said, that she was an honest person, a humble person, who did not boast, who did not speak of herself, or if she spoke of herself, she did not speak of his gifts; she talked about it as much as it was strictly necessary: “The Lord tells me; for goodness of him he tells me; I’m not involved; He told me so; I felt so; I write like this because I felt like this”.
But it is not just writing straight away and without corrections that says the extraordinary nature of the writings, but the fact of the complexity of the situations and characters together with the homogeneity of the whole, without ever showing meaningless gaps. This powerful interweaving and the amount of time used shows that it is not just a writing of her. It takes an external and far superior cause to give reason for all this at the same time.
It is necessary to take into account these humble confessions of Maria Valtorta, and not to exclude what in the Church of God is not excluded, because it is not excluded that many shrines were born following an order from Our Lady, it is not excluded! Why, if it is not excluded that Our Lady spoke in that place or that other, it must necessarily be excluded that she spoke in this other place, to this other person? This way of acting is not scientific, it is not scientific! It’s superficial! It is good only for those who are satisfied with everything, but it is superficial, it is not scientific, it is not rigorous, it is not humble, it is not that it takes into account the dignity due to every human person.
Interesting and very nice that he is talking about the scientific method, that is, rigorous. Perfectly shareable of course. But how did he seriously listen to the mediumistic / spiritualist world? Enigma that will probably only be discovered in Heaven.
I’ll go back a moment. Earlier I had talked about the Valtorta-Ferri Letters and vice versa; I am reminded of the Bottai-Valtorta Letters and vice versa.
Who was this Bottai? He was a state railroad official; very fussy, and in his letters he subjects Maria Valtorta to a pressing interrogation. For example, he asked her, “How many times have you seen our Lord Jesus Christ?” And Maria Valtorta replied, I don’t know how she did it: “720”; perhaps she had reminded her of the Inner Admonisher, what She called Inner Admonisher, that is, her Guardian Angel of her, Azaria. However, you may be saying: “I have seen Jesus 720 times” very simply.
Maria Valtorta was very simple and it cannot be ruled out that She was truthful since we know (at least we eyewitnesses know) that She didn’t tell lies; if not, perhaps, almost unwillingly, if sometimes she missed one, like a bit of all mortals.
her enigma arises on the archive: what does it contain? How large is it? Where did it go? Who holds it? Why has nothing been published despite sixty years have passed since her death?
I said that I wrote my Valtortian Memoirs which, for now, are closed, because I have made a few copies and I have given them: to Prof. Albo Centoni of Viareggio, because it concerns them, especially from the literary point of view, removing any literary errors or horrors; I gave another copy to Marta Diciotti, aforementioned, who, having lived alongside Maria Valtorta for about 30 years, knows everything about Maria, so she is able to complete my shortcomings and correct any errors I may have; another copy was sent to M.T.M., a mysterious person who loves very much to remain in the shadows and that we must leave in the shadows; she is a cloistered nun, a close friend of Maria Valtorta.
I don’t know if this M.T.M. will read, because she is old, because she is sick; I don’t know if she will read my memoirs and correct them; anyway, out of respect and in consideration of her value, I have made her have them too so that, if possible, these memories of mine will be filed out, completed and perfected..
The monastery of the Poor Clares of Camaiore (LU) therefore preserves this text by Father Berti. Even from here, however, it never came out. The importance of Mother Teresa Maria, of whom two books of letters have been published, is great in the life of Maria Valtorta and in particular from 1946 onwards. Remembering her and remembering it is a duty and useful for understanding the holiness of Maria Valtorta.
I don’t know if one day they will be published, but I do know that Prof. Albo Centoni foretold questioned all the eyewitnesses; he recorded the depositions of all the eyewitnesses on a tape recorder and prepared the volume with the depositions of all the eyewitnesses. Who knows, maybe one day even this volume of mine will be able to see the light, I don’t know, however, even that work has been done.
I also gave the predicted volume of my memoirs, in a copy, to Dr. Emilio Pisani, very deserving, because his father, Cav. Michele Pisani set about publishing Maria Valtorta’s books when they were, so to speak, sentenced to death. He did a great work of faith and trust.
Thanks to those who have saved the Valtortian writings are always a must, by all those who understand the spiritual and revealing value of the texts themselves. If Michele Pisani, Emilio Pisani and Father Corrado Berti had not exposed themselves publicly, probably all of Maria Valtorta’s manuscripts would lie in some basement of the Holy See or some convent, from which it would be impossible to get them out. But in this way Divine Providence did not want it, and the whole work was saved. From this moment on, therefore, things change: the manuscripts and their contents are not the problem, just copy and print them as they are. From now on, the concern will concern the drafting, editorial and typographical methods. So we must understand why not even Emilio Pisani published this certainly important work. The inferences could be many. We just need to report the difficulty hoping for a quick solution.
I still remember that I predicted to cav. Pisani the catastrophe, but Fr Migliorini interrupted me and said: “By now you have warned him 3 times, that’s enough!”. And I shut up. Cav. Pisani, in 1950, began to prepare the drafts of the first edition. Since 1960, whoever deals with the Writings of Maria Valtorta is the son of cav. Michele, that is the well-trained Doctor of Law, Emilio, who made sure that the volumes in the second and subsequent editions were all strictly conforming to the Valtortian originals; therefore the volumes that we have let us read them quietly; they represent, with all the perfection allowed to the people of this world, of course, they represent the Work as it came out of Maria Valtorta’s pen, as it is contained in the autographed notebooks of Maria Valtorta.
This would be the certification that the printed texts show exactly what Maria Valtorta painstakingly wrote. However, as we have reported above, the first edition was not so adherent. The later ones, perhaps. The movements made, the cuts in Father Berti’s notes, the different divisions of the books into the various editions, give rise to some doubts. A real academic certification is lacking and this creates problems for those who read Maria Valtorta.
Marta lends the notebooks to Dr. Pisani and he has them reproduced exactly in the drafts and then in the press. Even Dr. Emilio Pisani, therefore, I begged him to review my Valtortian Memoirs, especially because he knows all the echo that these books produce in thousands and thousands of readers, with whom he keeps in close relationship.
These lines show the personal holiness of Father Corrado Maria Berti. After the break with Dr. Pisani could somehow have railed and taken revenge with harsh and harsh words. Instead he followed Jesus to the cross: “Father forgive them for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34). Silence and more silence together with kindness and, therefore, forgiveness. To understand its depth, I invite you to read and compare these words with what Emilio Pisani writes in “For and against Maria Valtorta”, 20176, pp. 17-52: “Dedicated to Father Berti”. The supernatural silence of Father Berti is exemplary. Since he wrote this text a few months before dying and appearing before the Lord, I believe that his capacity for forgiveness, a sign of supernatural love in which he was possessed, earned him so much eternal glory.
I would really like these Valtortian Memoirs of mine to be filed, perfected and completed and in the future they could also be published, but together with all the other Valtortian Memoirs, so that to future scholars nothing lacks, not only having them all the literary production but also everything what in any way can help in thousands and thousands of readers, with whom he keeps in close relationship.
I can only sincerely hope that this will happen as soon as possible. Moreover, just now that we know – because it has been proven and established – the unique value of the Valtortian texts, we hope that to anyone who studies Maria Valtorta will be given free access to the entire archive, without such a supernatural treasure being subjected to even arbitrary and – I say this as a benevolent provocation – economic limitations.
From what we have said it appears that in order to write about Valtorta one must be well informed and not proceed superficially. To realize the complexity of the phenomenon, especially from the historical, geographical and doctrinal point of view, it may be useful to consult the indexes, particularly the geographical map carefully prepared by Mr. Hopfen, a German engineer of the FAO, with about 25 editors.
This text, still on the market, is still valid for the geographical map still attached to the text, but the index was made on an edition of the “Poem of the Man-God” which is no longer either printed or sold. Since 1993 it has been replaced with “The Gospel as it was revealed to me”. Consequently, even the reference pages are no longer the same. A general revision of the second part of the text is obviously desirable.
Also of him, consult the accurate index for the Poem of the Man-God. For the other Valtortian books, on the other hand, the indexes prepared by Dr. Emilio Pisani should be taken into account.
To get an overview and also a detailed idea of the Valtortian doctrine, consult the Index of the notes to the Valtortian Writings published up to the end of 1975, prepared by P. Corrado M. Berti O.S.M.
All things outdated, and never renewed.
I’ll be short and terse. A few lines.
In philosophy there was and perhaps still is a severe principle of metaphysics: “Effectus non est maior sua causa”, that is, the effect cannot be superior to its cause. Now, Maria Valtorta was intelligent, a writer by birth and well educated. But her culture or her preparation, both remote and proximate, were certainly far inferior to that which manifests in His spiritual or doctrinal or mystical production as you prefer (10 volumes of the Poem and 5 of other various theological or spiritual topics).
Only the Autobiography and the other epistolary and autobiographical writings are explained by Valtortian expertise and culture; but the 15 doctrinal volumes cannot be explained only with such expertise and culture, otherwise the effect would be superior to the cause, which is metaphysically impossible and absurd.
Therefore, as Enrico Medi said, a natural cause is not enough to explain the effect of the Valtortian doctrinal production, we must go in search of a supernatural cause.
And, as for other similar people, it seems only right and respectful to accept the cause that Maria Valtorta indicates, because she was a humble, honest (if not holy) and truthful person.
Now, the higher cause indicated by Maria Valtorta to us eyewitnesses and to all readers consists of supernatural visions and dictations; visions that she described at the same time with her innate skill as a writer, but not endowed with inertness or infallibility; dictations, which she transcribed, while she heard them, with the fidelity allowed to every human instrument, not endowed with that inerrancy or infallibility granted only to the authors of the Bible or to the Popes and to the defining Ecumenical Councils. And this human fallibility explains any errors that can be indicated by truly competent persons placed only at the service of truth and charity. Not therefore by jealous and bruised opponents.
Finally, Father Berti accepts the Valtortian Opera as supernatural and in this way cancels some of its aberrations that occurred years earlier. Father Berti has done a lot, he has tried to do a lot, it is only to be hoped that his ostracism will cease completely and his notes, his memos, his remarks, his schemes, will all be published and entirely.
Rome, 20th february 1980
father CORRADO M. BERTI.
of the Order of the Servants of Mary
International College S. Alessio Falconieri, Avenue Trenta Aprile, 6 – Rome