il Cardinale Joseph Ratzinger

The unpublished letters of Joseph Ratzinger

Pope John Paul II appointed Joseph Ratzinger Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Holy See’s body responsible for overseeing the correctness of Catholic doctrine. Cardinal Ratzinger maintained his stance on the Valtorta issue until he made the decision to personally investigate the matter. Geneviève Esquier, a journalist from L’homme Nouveau, provided valuable testimony regarding the letters written by Cardinal Ratzinger at that time.


“I have a significant memory related to Maria Valtorta, whom I discovered during my time as a journalist for L’homme nouveau, a bimonthly Catholic newspaper. This memory holds great significance to me. I solemnly affirm, on my honour, that my testimony is true and accurately reflects the events as I remember them.

Unfortunately, I do not recall the precise date of the events I am about to recount, but they occurred between the years 1990 and 1994. During this time, we published highly favourable articles about Maria Valtorta and sold her books in our bookstore. However, our course of action changed when we received a letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at that time. The letter, addressed to Marcel Clement, the editor of the newspaper, requested that we temporarily halt publishing articles about Valtorta and suspend the sale of her books. The reason provided was that her writings required further examination.

Cardinal Ratzinger had expressed concerns about the orthodoxy of Maria Valtorta’s writings, particularly in relation to the theology of marriage. He suspected the presence of possible Jansenist influences and deemed it necessary to thoroughly study her writings.

In response to his request, the journal, under the guidance of Marcel Clément, decided to comply and temporarily ceased publishing any content related to Maria Valtorta. Additionally, the decision was made to discontinue the sale of her books for an indefinite period.

It is worth noting that Cardinal Ratzinger, who was fluent in French, was a regular reader of our newspaper. Approximately one year later, Cardinal Ratzinger once again corresponded with Marcel Clément. During our daily meeting for the rosary after the workday, Clément shared the contents of this letter with us. The cardinal expressed his gratitude for our obedience and informed us that, following his thorough review, we were permitted to resume publishing articles about Maria Valtorta and selling her works. He emphasized that nothing in her writings contradicted the principles of faith and morality. Consequently, we enthusiastically resumed writing about Valtorta and resumed the distribution of her books.

Unfortunately, I do not possess a copy of the letter in question, as it may be among Marcel Clément’s papers, which have been passed down to his grandson and are not available in the magazine’s archives. However, I personally witnessed and heard the letter being read. I hereby grant authorization for the use of my testimony in accordance with its contents.

Geneviève Esquier.


By sharing this information in writing for the first time, Geneviève Esquier has made this fact, which was previously known mainly to scholars of the work, more widely accessible to the general public in a detailed manner.

It is unfortunate that the official correspondence remains untraceable to this day. However, there is hope that in the future these letters will be discovered and made available for publication.



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