“Let the Holy Spirit live in the hearts of all nations that they may be preserved from degeneration, disaster and war.”
So runs the second petition of a prayer, which – according to reports already available in the 1950s – had issued forth from Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin in the Netherlands.
Degeneration, disaster, war – Valentin Tomberg expressed profound concern for these things during the 1950s and indeed throughout his life. For one finds continual expression of this, in both his pre-Catholic and Catholic writings.
Now in his Catholic works, such concern is perhaps nowhere more apparent than his little known 1940′s legal-political theses. Therein he continuously emphasised the degeneration of human society in recent centuries and predicts catastrophe – unless Christian Order can be re-established in the West, at least.
Later in his 1960s Catholic works, an explicit invocation of catastrophic danger is far less apparent (although it is not absent).
However, there remains the continued concern with degeneration: for a world “drowned in utilitarianism, materialism, industrialism, technologism, biologism and psychologism” as he writes in his Magnum Opus, for a world becoming ever more automatic and mechanical in spirit.
Now these 1960s works also repeatedly emphasise Tomberg’s devotion to the Blessed Virgin.
Given Tomberg’s profound concern with degeneration and his veneration of the Virgin, it is unsurprising that he should take a particular interest in reports of the Virgin warning of ‘degeneration, disaster and war’.
Moreover, the Virgin appeared to speak in terms consonant with Tomberg’s legal-political thrust: the need to re-establish Christian Order. And indeed, the need for Rome to act in order to re-establish Christendom in the world.
And so it happened that around 1956, Valentin Tomberg made a trip to the Netherlands to investigate the nature of these Apparitions.
And in a 1956 letter to his ‘brother of the heart’ Ernst von Hippel, he reported his conclusions – from which we offer a rough translation:
‘In short: we made sure at this place, that it is a matter of a genuine and real revelation of the Holy Virgin and that the message and reports conveyed there are genuine and true …
I understand – after everything – this, in such a way that, as at that time in Lourdes the ‘Immaculate Conception’ brought a healing source for the individual illnesses of humans to effectiveness, now it is a matter for the development of a healing source for the diseases of the peoples by the “Mother of all peoples”.
There is much concern around peace in the world, but where is the power, the substance of Peace? Now it streams out into humanity: She is the Mother of all peoples. Therefore, it is not a matter of political or other measures, but a – how shall I say it? – magical action of peace, as a direct contrast to Moscow´s measures to bring about peace and everyone, who participates in this action with thought and prayer, helps the flowing, spreading-out of its effect.”
We shall turn in much more depth to the Apparitions in the Netherlands, but before we do, let us note once more Tomberg’s ongoing concern for the threat to peace. While the words above come from 1956, we find the same concern repeated in correspondence from the late 1960s (that we also recently quoted here):
‘Peace is in great danger. The nature of this danger is not so much rampant China, the embittered Arabs, the plans of Russia … the aimless war of Vietnam – no … Is not the whirlwind which was caused by [de Gaulle’s pro-Quebec declarations] an unmistakeable sign that the inclination to see and judge clearly is vanishing … A drunken anger has suddenly spread everywhere.
An atmosphere of drunkenness exists … And this is the danger. This atmosphere is what makes Maria [Tomberg's wife] and myself ill. We are not well health-wise – like with poisoned people.’
Here Tomberg is speaking of feeling poisoned by the revolutionary atmosphere of the late 1960s and this may help to give the reader further context for his conversion to Catholicism:
‘It is thanks to the Church that we have air to breathe and that we have a place of shelter and refuge in this world of materialism, imperialism, nationalism, technologism, biologism and psychologism …
It is in so far that the Church lives that we live. The church bells once reduced to silence, all human voices desiring to serve the glory of God will also be reduced to silence. We live and we die with the Church.
Because in order to live, we need air to breathe; we need the atmosphere of piety, sacrifice, and appreciation of the invisible as a higher reality.
This air, this atmosphere in the world, exists in the world only by grace of the Church. Without it Hermeticism —indeed, every idealistic philosophy and all metaphysical idealism —would be drowned in utilitarianism, materialism, in- dustrialism, technologism, biologism and psychologism. Dear Unknown Friend, imagine to yourself a world without the Church.
Imagine a world of factories, clubs, sports, political meetings, utilitarian universities, utilitarian arts or recrea- tions—in which you would hear not a single word of praise for the Holy Trinity or of benediction in its name. Imagine to yourself a world in which you would never hear a human voice say: “Gloria Patria, et Filio, et Spirtui Sancto, sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum“, or “Benedicat vos omnipotent Deus, Pater, Filius et Spiritus Sanctus“.
A world without worship and without benediction . . . how deprived of ozone the psychic and spiritual atmosphere would then be, and how empty and cold it would be!”
Yes, the spectre of a degenerated world – ever more cold and mechanical – looms across the entirety of Tomberg’s corpus of writings.
And thus he issued a powerful call to turn to the Church. And thus also, he encouraged devotion to the Blessed Virgin.
And writing in the 1960s, here is how he spoke likewise of the Apparitions of Fatima, Lourdes, La Salette, Beauraing – as well as more recently, the Netherlands:
“There is not a shadow of doubt for anyone who takes the spiritual life of mankind seriously, even if he is short of authentic spiritual experience, that the Blessed Virgin is not an ideal only, nor a mental image only, nor an archetype of the unconscious (of depth-psychology), nor, lastly, an occultistic egregore, but rather a concrete and living individuality – like you or I – who loves, suffers, and rejoices.
It is not only the children of Fatima, the child Bernadette at Lourdes, the children of La Salette-Fallavaux, and the children of Beauraing in Belgium, who have witnessed the “Lady”, but also innumerable adults across the centuries, including our own.
Numerous meetings still remain intimate and undivulged (I know of three series of such meetings, including one in Tokyo, Japan), but one series of meetings with the Blessed Virgin took place recently in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, where the Blessed Virgin manifested herself as the “Lady of All nations” (de Vrouwe van alle Volkeren) and inaugurated a prayer movement with a special prayer, with a view to saving all nations from “degeneration, disaster and war” …
I may add that I went to Amsterdam in order to make as scrupulous an investigation as possible, and the result of this investigation there (confirmed subsequently by experiences of a personal nature) was complete certainty, not only with respect to the authenticity of the experiences of the seer (a woman forty years of age) but also with respect to the authenticity of the subject of these experiences.
In writing of these things, I can only agree with the sentiment expressed by Rabbi Simeon in the Zohar, who exclaimed:
‘Woe to me if I tell and woe to me if I do not tell!
If I tell, then the wicked will know how to worship their master; and if I do not tell, then the companions will be left in ignorance of this discovery! ‘
Woe to Valentin Tomberg, if he tells. This admission alone may give one much pause for reflexion.
Be that as it may, we have decided to offer a certain exploration of the matter of the Lady of All Nations at this site and of the Dutch seer that Tomberg encountered in the Netherlands: Ida Peerdeman.
Ida Peerdeman lived in Amsterdam. She reported Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin from 1945 to 1959 (and one final time in 1981).
After the Apparitions ceased in 1959, Peerdeman also reported a series of mystical visions and experiences that she had during the Holy Mass. These have been simply called her Eucharistic Experiences – though within those experiences she still hears the Voice of the Lady, even if she no longer sees her.
Two books feature Ida Peerdaman’s visionary experience.
The Messages of the Lady of All Nations covers the period from 1945 till 1959 when the principal Apparitions occurred.
Eucharistic Experiences covers her later experience – which particularly interests us for the degeneration she sees in the post-Vatican II Church.
We offer in-depth reviews of each book, with extensive quotation.
We hope that this quotation can serve to illumine Valentin Tomberg’s own concerns – and why he both took trouble to travel to the Netherlands in 1956 and to publicly report his experiences there, yet saying woe to me if I tell …
As I say, there is hope to illumine Tomberg’s concerns. As we have said above, Tomberg’s political thought runs very much in tandem with the message of the Apparitions
That political thinking stresses the notion that Christianity is endangered by the degeneration of modern thinking.
Indeed Tomberg’s first legal work was called Degeneration and Regeneration of Jurisprudence and the core idea is that jurisprudence has degenerated through being stripped of Divine and Natural Law.
Tomberg writes that regeneration through reintegration of Divine Law is desperately needed and will go so far as to call for legal and political structures to defend Christianity and Christian Order.
The modern mind is likely to be bowled over by the notions expressed in Tomberg’s legal works. But from Tomberg’s perspective, this was a mind which had all-too-frequently already succumbed to a crippling degeneration.
In any event, the reader who carefully compares Ida Peerdeman’s reports of the Virgin’s warnings regarding degeneration with Tomberg’s legal-poltical thought may find striking accords between them.
I confess to hoping that some people will read them in that order and make the comparison I suggest.
As a final note, I should say I have principally addressed this weblog entry to those familiar with Valentin Tomberg.
But that is simply the limited perspective that we take in this particular isolated entry. Many other perspectives are of course possible – for I believe that Ida Peerdeman’s experiences have much to say to people who have never heard of Tomberg.
Indeed, I believe they have much to say to Catholic Traditionalists – even if many such traditionalists are suspicious of these Apparitions, which were only recently approved by the modern Church in 2002.
And so while my focus here is mainly on Tomberg, I hope that other readers unfamiliar with Tomberg will consider these reviews.
And I would say this particularly to Traditional Catholic, for some of these will may find very much of interest indeed – particularly in the Eucharistic Experiences which has much to say about the currents of degeneration that occurred within the Second Vatican Council and its aftermath.