Forty years after the first appearance of the
"Ciudad de Dios" the great universities of Europe
were called upon to give their opinion about this
great work. All the faculties, except the Jansenistic
members of the Sorbonne at Paris, published highest
recommendations. At the same time the learned men
and teachers of each religious order that maintained
institutions of learning in Europe, were asked to con
tribute their opinions. The following religious orders
complied: The Augustinians, Benedictines, Carmelites,
Dominicans, Jesuits, Cistercians, Basilians, Trinitarians,
Mercedarians, Minims, Hieronymites, Premonstratensians,
Reformed Augustinians, Theatines, Minors of the
Regular Clergy, all unanimously endorsing the favorable
decision previously published by the University of Sala
manca. To the approbation of nearly all the Univer
sities and Religious Orders, were then added the high
eulogiums of other learned men, great divines, bishops
and princes of the Church and of the Popes and the
Roman Congregations. As a sample of what these wit
nesses said concerning the wonderful "Ciudad de Dios,"
we here select the official approbation of the University
of Louvain, one of the great Universities of Europe,
After pointing out that God s power of giving private
revelations to whom He chooses, must not be circum
scribed, and after referring to some general rules in
regard to private revelations, the document proceeds to
"Now, while abiding the decision of the Church con
cerning the revelations, which are given us under the
title of The City of God, we, having read the whole
work, say and are of the opinion, that the faithful can
read it without danger to their faith and without damage
to the purity of morals ; for there is not found anything
within it, which could lead to relaxation or to indiscreet
rigor; but on the contrary, we have come to the conclu
sion that it will be most useful for enlivening and aug
menting the piety of the faithful, the veneration of the
most holy Virgin, and the respect for the sacred
"The strong and the weak, the wise and the ignorant,
and in fine, all the world will gather richest fruit from
the reading of these books: for they contain what is
most sublime in theology and in a style so simple, easy
and perspicuous that, in order to enter deeply into an
understanding of the holy mysteries, no more is necessary
than to read them with sound judgment."
"Combined with this simplicity are found many doc
trines and valid proofs, free from contradictions and not
easily found in other writings. This History explains
more than a thousand difficulties in holy Scripture, in
a manner equally natural and wonderful. At every step
are encountered exquisite interpretations, until now un
known, and which had been hidden beneath the mere
letter, but are laid open in these writings and brought
to the light. In short, the whole work is a beautiful
web of scripture passages which, though spun from its
different books, are directly and specially woven into a
whole for the purpose intended by the Venerable Mother/
"In addition thereto the instructions given by the most
holy Virgin at the end of each chapter contain the purest
morality, instruct, entertain, and at the same time sweetly
inculcate the love of virtue and abhorrence of vice, paint
ing them in the most vivid and natural colours. They
do not only convince the intellect, but they contain such
a special unction, that they enkindle a sacred ardor in the
soul. In meditating upon them one certainly will expe
rience a delight not met with in ordinary writings; and
the more they are read the greater is the delight expe
rienced. Finally, the whole work contains something so
unwonted and attractive that, once begun, the reading of
it can scarcely be relinquished."
"The novelty and variety found in these writings
delight and recreate the reader beyond all that is pleasant
in the world, at the same time instructing him and in
spiring him with new fervor. All can easily persuade
themselves that, if the interior life of Christ our Lord
and of the most holy Virgin was not just as described in
these books, it could certainly have been like it ; and that
it would have been well worthy of Them, if it was as it
is there depicted. All that is there said is befitting the
majesty and humility of Christ, and in correspondence
with the holiness of the Virgin and the dignity of the
Mother; since there is found nothing in the whole work
which was not worthy of both one and the other.
"Notwithstanding all this, we should not at all won
der if the book met with men who are disposed to be
critical ; for what book is there which can hope to escape
the opposition of the people of our times? God has not
even provided that the sacred Scriptures should be free
from such attack among the greater part of the learned
of this world. The whole philosophy of the pagans
causes them to join the number of those who are opposed
to the cross of Christ crucified ; and among that number
are also the libertines of our day."
"Of course there are certain points in this work which
might give rise to apparent difficulties, and some of them
occurred, and do occur, to us. But, in accordance with
what we have said of the excellence and usefulness of
this work, we have come to the conclusion that these few
passages must not hinder us from giving it the com
mendation already given; besides, we must confess that
we might possibly be ourselves mistaken in making these
This seemed to us the most reasonable course, since
in this book there is something more than human. Any
thing so excellent and sublime cannot be ascribed to an
over-excited imagination, since the whole work is con
sistent throughout. Nor can it be believed to be the
work of a perverted mind, for, with a constant equa
nimity, it treats of the most deeply hidden and abstruse
matters without involving itself in any contradictions;
though often also it descends to innumerable minute and
"There are contained in this work such noble, such
devout circumstantial and pertinent discourses, as cannot
be the result of mere discursive thought. Nor can it be
attributed to the demon; for, from beginning to end, it
suggests and breathes nothing but humility, patience and
endurance of hardships."
"Therefore, just as Ciudad must without a doubt be
attributed to the venerable Mother of Agreda, who is
claimed as its author, so she cannot have composed it
without particular help from on high. Our conclusive
opinion is, that the City of God, for the good of the
public, and for the advantages to be derived therefrom,
should be brought forth to the light. This is our judg
ment, which we submit entirely to the supreme decision
of the Holy See, to whom alone belongs the right of
finally judging such writings."
Louvain, 20th of July 1715.
(Signed) HERMANN DAMEN,
Doctor, Professor Ordinary ar.d
Regent of the Theological
Faculty, Don of Saint Peter,
President of the College of
Arras, Censor of Books, etc.
Doctor, Professor Ordinary,
Regent of the Theological
Faculty, President of the Great
College of Theologians, etc.
The first Pope officially to take notice of "Ciudad
de Dios" was Pope Innocent XI, who, on July 3,
1686, in response to a series of virulent attacks
and machinations of some members of the Sorbonne,
known to be Jansenists, issued a breve permitting- the
publication and reading of the "Ciudad de Dios." Similar
decrees were afterward issued by Popes Alexander VIII,
Clement IX and Benedict XIII. These decrees were
followed by two decrees of the Congregation of Rites,
approved by Benedict XIV and Clement XIV, in which
the authenticity of "Ciudad de Dios" as extant and writ
ten by the Venerable Servant of God, Mary of Jesus, is
officially established. The great pope Benedict XIII,
when he was archbishop of Benevent, used these revela
tions as material for a series of sermons on the Blessed
Virgin. On Sept. 26, 1713, the bishop of Ceneda, Italy,
objecting to the publication of the "City of God," was
peremptorily ordered by the Holy Office to withdraw his
objections as interfering with the decree of pope
Innocent XI for the universal Church.
The process of canonization of Mary of Agreda was
promoted by the Spanish bishops and other eminent men
of the Church soon after her death in 1666. It has re
sulted so far in securing her the title of Venerabilis, thus
clearing the way to her beatification, for which, let us
hope, God will soon raise a promoter among the many
pious and eminent men who hold in esteem her writings
and have learned of her holy life and of the miracles
wrought at her tomb.
The Redemptorist Fathers published a new German
translation in 1885, which was approved and highly
recommended by the Bishop of Ratisbon in the follow
"We take pleasure in giving our episcopal approba
tion to the annotated translation of the Spanish original
"Ciudad de Dios" of Mary of Jesus and recommend this
book, which will surely edify all readers and be the occa
sion of great spiritual blessings."
Ratisbon, September 29, 1885.
iji IGNATIUS, Bishop of Ratisbon.
Notable is the high recommendation of the Prince-
Archbishop of Salzburg, Apost. Legate, Primate of Ger
"According to the decrees of Pope Innocent XI and
Clement XI the book known as Ciudad de Dios written
by the Venerable Servant of God, Maria de Jesus, may
be read by all the faithful."
"A number of episcopal approbations, the recommen
dations of four renowned universities, namely, of Tou
louse, Salamanca, Alcala and Louvain, and of prominent
members of different orders, coincide in extolling the
above-named work. The learned and pious Cardinal
D Aguirre says that he considers all the studies of fifty
years of his previous life as of small consequence in com
parison with the doctrines he found in this book, which in
all things are in harmony with the Holy Scriptures, the
Holy Fathers and Councils of the Church. The Ven
erable Superior-General of St. Sulpice, Abbe Emery,
adds: "Only since I read the revelations of Mary of
Agreda do I properly know Jesus and his Holy Mother."
"We therefore do not hesitate in granting our epis
copal approbation to "Ciudad de Dios" and wish to
recommend it to the faithful and especially to our
Archiepiscopal Chancery, Salzburg.
September 12, 1885.
A more recent official approbation of "Ciudad de Dios"
is from the Bishop of Tarazona, prefacing the new edi
tion of 1911-1912.
"We, Dr. James Ozoidi y Udave, by the grace of God
and of the Apostolic See, Bishop of Tarazona, Admin
istrator Apostolic of the Diocese of Tudela, etc., etc.
Having charged the priest Don Eduardo Royo,
chaplain and confessor at the convent of the Immacu
late Conception of Agreda, carefully and exactly to
compare the manuscript which is to serve as copy for
the printing of the new edition of the "City of God"
now about to be published by the religious of the abovenamed
convent, with the authenticated autograph
manuscript of that work there preserved, and hav
ing ascertained by a personal revision of a great part
of the manuscript that the said priest has diligently
and faithfully fulfilled this charge imposed upon him
We now therefore certify that this present edition
of Ciudad de Dios, with the exception of a few mere
orthographic modifications, is entirely conformable to
the autograph of that work as composed and written
by the Venerable Mother Mary of Jesus of Agreda.
Tarazona, April 7, 1911.
[Diocesan Seal] *&JAMES, Bishop of Tarazona.
Finally follows the official approbation of the Right
Reverend Bishop of the Fort Wayne Diocese, where this
English translation is published.
Rome City, Ind., Aug. 24, 1912.
The Rev. George J. Blatter,
Dear Rev. Father :
My Imprimatur is herewith granted to your English
translation of the work entitled Ciudad de Dios. Wish
ing you every blessing, I remain,
Devotedly in Domino,
. J. ALERDING, Bishop of Fort Wayne.
The author has made use of capital letters in the text slightly at
variance with common usage, in order to avoid complication and se
cure greater clearness. The paragraph numbers are those of the
newest Spanish edition of "Ciudad de Dios" in 1912. In the abridg
ment they vary slightly.
City of God is divided into three Parts and eight Books. Part I
contains Books 1 and 2. Part II contains Books 3, 4, 5 and 6. Part
III contains Books 7 and 8. As circumstances compel a serial publi
cation of the four volumes, the author judged it best to head these
divisions as follow :
THE CONCEPTION, Books 1 and 2.
THE INCARNATION, Books 3 and 4.
THE TRANSFIXION, Books 5 and 6.
THE CORONATION, Books 7 and 8.