To: All Readers of "Testing the Spirit"

Many of our readers [being kind] have suggested that we should say something about the author of most of these booklets to show what background training he has in mystical theology. Other [less kind] people have said, "What right does he have to question the mystics?" To answer the second type of reader right off the bat, he doesn’t have the right; he has the obligation. We are all commanded to test all spirits in 1 John - Chapter 4. But of course, why should people listen to Rick Salbato rather than Father Rene Laurentin or Michael Brown?

The truth is that truth should stand alone without the need to even know who the author is; nonetheless, it might prove useful to "Test the Spirit" of Rick Salbato and let the chips fall wherever they will fall. If he is to test the spirits of the seers and mystics, let us look into his life and test his spirit. Rick is the author of 9 books, 34 audio tapes, 3 video tapes, and 60 booklets. He has done 4 television programs, and has been interviewed on two radio talk shows.

The truth is [and most people know it] that his life has already been written about in the book, "The Tongues of Satan". He is "Rock" in the story, and except for the fun with the demons in Hell, the story is true. He is the author, known as "The Publican". But for those who have not read his books, we will give an outline of those things that are related to his knowledge of mystical theology and religion.


Rick was baptized "Catholic" at birth, but his parents did not follow the faith. In the seventh grade his parents had problems with him and the school systems. He liked to fight. They had two choices: reform school or Catholic school. And so, he attended Catholic school in the seventh and eighth grades. It was here that he received the other sacraments of Confession, Communion and Confirmation. But all that soon ended as he returned to public school because he was an exceptional athlete, winning trophies and medals in most sports and becoming too popular with the girls. School was easy for him. Money was easy for him to make. Life was easy to live. He became materialistic and atheistic.

His one saving grace was that he loved truth, and could see untruth very quickly. After an injury that kept him from playing for the Saint Louis Cardinals, he wanted to become an Earth Scientist. However, he quickly saw that the theories he was studying were an insult to his logic and intelligence. From a purely scientific perspective he saw that these people had no love of truth whatsoever. Pursuing an independent study, he found that any logical person had to come eventually to the dead end that proved God. The theories of "matter" proved God. The theories of "motion" proved God. The end of "relativity" proved God. Other theories like evolution, black holes, quantum physics, neutrinos, plate tectonics, collapsing stars, and even gravity, he was blowing holes right through.

By the time he decided to look hard into religion he already had a bad marriage with another atheist, three children, and was pursuing his hobbies of money and women. Although still not religious he decided to read the bible. He read it from page one all the way through without skipping around. Being the intellectual egotist that he was, he believed he could prove that the book contradicted itself. He bought an artist’s canvas twenty feet long and four feet wide and began to chart all the people and the genealogies in the bible. He then wrote and charted all the prophecies in the bible and how they came to pass and those that have not yet come to pass.

After seven years of reading over and over (just the one book), without seeking help from the so-called experts of any Christian religion, he came to know that the bible was written by the hand of God, even if it was over the hands of men. He then looked deep into what God was trying to say in this book. What was the primary, bottom line message that God was communicating to man in this history of communication of man to God and God to man? It was obvious that from Genesis and the Tree of Life to Revelation and the Tree of Life, the entire Bible was about one thing and one thing only, The Sacrifice of the God-Man in the Mass. It was clear that God built up a Kingdom with priests, bishops, nuns, and popes in order to perpetuate and keep in the present [I AM] the Sacrifice of Calvary at the Sacrifice of the Mass all over the world and throughout time until the last day of the world. It was also obvious that there was only one Church in the world that met the requirements of this Kingdom called the "Way". It was the Catholic Church. By now he had memorized much of the Bible. He wrote "Dear John" letters to his girl friends and walked into a Catholic Church. "Father, my last confession was 15 years ago."

He immediately became a daily communicant because the one thing he understood was the Mass. He then became a pac-man of Catholic books buying and reading five to seven books a week year after year. He tried several Catholic colleges for a deeper theological study, but found that they were either teaching heresy or they were to slow for him. He gobbled up 2000 Catholic books and became a major apologetic Catholic evangelist, converting hundreds to the faith.

However, during his first years back to the faith, he was attacked by the promoters of the apparitions of the 60s; the Charismatics, Necedah, Wisconsin, The Portavoz of Mexico, St. Joseph’s Hill of Hope in Los Angeles, Father Gino of San Vittorino in Italy, Garabandal of Spain, and many more. Not only did he get all caught up in these things, he became a major promoter. He set up a publishing business, bought a printing press and distributed messages from seers all over America. He became a leader of the Charismatic prayer groups and spoke in tongues. He saw many so-called miracles with his own eyes.

One day he noticed that the messages of one of the seers he was promoting contradicted the messages of another of the seers he was promoting. He began to look closer. Not only did they contradict each other, they contradicted the teachings of the Church and the Bible. But how then were there so many miracles (things beyond nature) and so many fruits (conversions to or back to the faith)? It was then through a miracle of grace that he got his hands on the actual documents of hundreds of exorcism cases. In these documents he learned the power of the demonic. He learned what demons could do that was beyond nature. He also learned what demons could not do. He began to compare the miracles of Church - approved apparitions like Fatima, Guadalupe, the Miraculous Medal, Padre Pio and Lourdes, with these other ones.

He saw a striking difference in the types of miracles. It was then that he received a call from Joe Dwight. Joe’s father and mother moved their entire family unto the site of Necedah, Wisconsin and lived with the seer for six years. His sister met her husband there. After six years, Joe wrote a book against it. The family had lost all their money and had to start all over again, but they saw the light. Rick had been a promoter of Necedah. Joe then went from the frying pan into the fire. He left Necedah and joined the seminary in San Vittorino, Italy - Brother Gino.

Rick drove the 200 miles to Joe’s father’s home and talked with him for over eight hours. Joe gave him the book he wrote. He learned the power of the demonic from the family that lived with the demon. He learned the motive. But most of all, he learned that apparent fruits is not the test of apparitions. "Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid." (2 Tim. 3:4) Even to this day Joe’s family says that the holiest and happiest times of their lives were spent at Necedah because all the people who had moved to Necedah were good, solid, moral Catholics, who prayed a great deal, and loved God and Our Lady. After extensive study of this case, he started looking into all the others.

He got out of the Charismatic movement and wrote "The Tongues of Satan". He dropped his promotion of the other apparitions, and became disillusioned with all of them. He stuck with the Mass and the Rosary, leaving the apparition groupies to their own thing. He had not yet seen the harm, after all there were fruits. He began to go from Church to Church preaching how the Rosary was a Bible prayer and starting Rosary Hours.


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Then in 1972 he saw on the front page of the San Diego Newspaper a picture of the official Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima with a large tear dropping off Her nose. The story said the statue was crying and had cried several times before. "Hogwash!" he said and flew to New Orleans to prove that this too was fraud or demonic.

In New Orleans the custodian had brought the Statue to the Church of Father Romagosa. There were two cures, and the statue had cried several times in his Church. Rick held the tears in his hands but still did not believe. The custodian had let a woman mystic travel with the statue after it first cried because she said the Virgin had appeared to her and told her why the Statue was crying. The tears were sent to a hospital and found to be human tears and 100% free of any impurities, something that is impossible in nature and impossible for the demonic powers. At that point Rick knew that he had held the tears of Our Lady in his hands.

At the same time, though, Father Romagosa resolved to do what Scripture commands us to do, test the seer. He asked the mystic to come to his office and pray to the Virgin for any message She would give to the father. In the meantime Father went to the other side of the room and sat in a chair and read to himself from a prayer book. The seer prayed and prayed on her knees but nothing happened. She continued to pray until she began to tremble and then turned to Father Romagosa with demonic eyes and screamed at him in immoral (truck-driver) language. She threatened him and stormed out of the room and the city, breaking the speed limit. Father was reading exorcism prayers.

(They have the appearance of good but not the power. 2 Tim. 3:4)


From this experience Rick learned that Satan wants to confuse true miracles and apparitions with the false ones in order to drown out the true ones. An example can be seen if you take a speck of salt and place it on the table (true apparition). Then take a speck of sugar (false apparition) and place it next to it on the left and then on the right and then at the top and then at the bottom. Now find the salt. They are totally different in every way except appearances. To find the salt it must be tested. Rick saw the dangers of false apparitions. He started his avocation in 1972 with the tears of Our Lady on his hands to "Test the Spirit" of every apparition that he could. From 1972 on he traveled to 28 countries and over 40 states seeing with his own eyes the seers and the preternatural and supernatural miracles.

He saw how great people, even saints, were losing their souls and their obedience to the Church by falling for direct revelation from so-called mystics. He saw how these false mystics were dividing people from their bishops. He saw how good and honest people were preferring the messages of seers to the teaching of the Church and the Bible.

He saw how the reputations of saints and true mystics were destroyed by falsely being associated with false apparitions. Examples would be the stigmatists Padre Pio and Rose Farran

of New York, miracle workers like Father Aloysius Ellacuria of Los Angeles, mystics like Mirna Nazzour, saints like Blessed Father Di Francs, and general apparitions like Betania. He saw how Fatima was being systematically forgotten and prayers like the prayer of the angel regarding the Eucharist were unknown. Even well known prayers like the Rosary or the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary were being changed by the new seers.

What disturbed him the most was the false Mary’s, who in some cases were demons pretending to be Mary. What does the Holy Spirit think about our very sincere prayers to a demon? Even if we totally believe the demon to be Mary, what does Her Son think about all this? We know from Job that the demons are probably laughing at God for being able to fool us. This is especially true if the revelations are absurd like Vassula.


One of Rick’s friends was Father Robert Fox, the Fatima Priest. And he was promoting brother Gino. However, another of Rick’s friends was Joe Dwight, and he was living with Gino. A call from Joe’s sister sent Rick to Italy in time for the investigation into allegations of homosexual activity by Gino with the seminarians, 26 cases documented. Also exposed was the fact that Gino had no stigmata as claimed, and in fact, was forming a cult and brainwashing the order of nuns that he had founded. Rick stayed 22 weeks at the monastery throughout the investigation. Gino had gathered over an eight million following with claims of the stigmata, and the use of cult techniques No one bothered to check his hands under his gloves. He fooled the seminarians, the nuns, the priests, and even some bishops in the Vatican.


During Rick’s trip to Rome in 1987-88 he also went to Damascus to investigate Mirna Nazzour, although that was not his original reason for going there. He spent 10 months in Damascus going almost every day to her home until he knew all the priests, the bishops, the Nuncio, her father, mother, husband, and friends. He had all the messages translated into English be three separate translators. He was given stacks of documents in French, Arabic, and in English. These also he had translated. He witnessed miracles himself, and saw the films of the stigmata. But it wasn’t until the tenth month that he came to believe in Mirna and Our Lady of Soufanieh. His final test was on the day he was leaving. On that day he told Mirna that he believed in Our Lady of Soufanieh and would work for the unity of all Christians until the day of his death. This is what the messages are all about. He also told her that if anyone was going to write a book, he would give them the documents that he had. But he, himself, would not write about it because his avocation was false apparitions and not true ones. The true ones belonged to someone holier than he was. Mirna laughed and said that God had other plans. She was right. Six months later Rick had written the entire book, "The Miracle of Damascus" although his intention was simply to put the documents in order, into his computer, and give them to someone else to write the book.

When he arrived back in the United States, after writing the book in Rome, he had no way of knowing that Mirna and his husband had come to California ahead of him. When he arrived at the airport, Mirna was there to meet him. He traveled around the country with her telling her story in English and then stepping aside to let Mirna’s prayers do the rest. A group was formed called "The Messengers Of Unity" to help promote the messages. Rick agreed to give them the book he had written provided they could get an Imprimatur from Mirna’s Bishop. and that they would not change a single word in the book. He helped them produce three videos. He stayed with the corporation without pay for half a year and then left to write more books and go back to work. He never became a member of the Messengers of Unity and never accepted any pay for his work. To this day not one penny has ever crossed his hands for the work with Our Lady of Soufanieh.


The reason that Rick insisted that the book have an Imprimatur from the local bishop was the fact that this is the law of the Church. Even though he knew that the local bishops and the Nuncio had approved the miracles, they had not approved his interpretation of the story. The law of the Church was and still is that any book on private revelation must have the approval of the Church. Rick would not sin against obedience by publishing it.

It took the corporation almost two years to get the Imprimatur but Rick would not let them publish it without it. They finally had to send someone to Damascus to find out why the bishop was not giving the Imprimatur. It turned out that Father Elias Zahlaoui, Mirna’s pastor, had never given the book to the Bishop because his friend, Claire Monsour, was also writing a book. Mirna, herself, took the book to the bishop and received the Imprimatur in only one week.

In the meantime a book by Claire Monsour was already published. Rick, who had not read her book, thought this was good because the more books about a true apparition the better. However, later he found that this book was mixing Mirna up with Medjugorje and Vassula Ryden. It had no Imprimatur and had very poor translations of the messages. In fact, it was a book more about Dr. and Claire Monsour than about Our Lady of Soufanieh. But Rick did not know this at the time. He was working on a new book about the Pope. He knew the only thing that separated the Greek Orthodox from the Catholic was the concept "Pope of Rome". He knew that he could prove that the Pope of Rome was always held as the single authority of the Church even by the Eastern Catholics of the first four Centuries. He knew he could prove this by the subject of the "See of Constantinople" and he set out to prove and write about it. While he was writing up in the mountains something was happening that he knew nothing about.


The Messengers of Unity were not doing well in promoting the book and the videos mostly because they didn’t know how to do it. Father Robert Fox offered to help them by giving a feature article in his magazine "FATIMA FAMILY MESSENGER" with an excellent book review on the book, "THE MIRACLE OF DAMASCUS" by The Publican. When Claire Monsour found out that Father Fox was going to promote the book, she called, wrote, bribed, and then threatened him. She then got all the Medjugorje centers that she personally knew (and there were many because they were carrying her book), to attack Father Fox. She did the same thing to Andree Crehan, editor of "Mary’s People", a "Twin Circle" publication. Andree took the side of the book and was forced to resign. According to Andree the Monsour’s money bought off the support of "Twin Circle", namely Francis X. Mater, editor of "The National Catholic Register".

The reason the centers were willing to attack the book, was that five times in the book it states that the local bishop (and only the local bishop) has the lawful right to approve or disapprove an apparition. It also states that no book on private revelation can be published without an Imprimatur. There is also the statement in the introduction that states:


They could not attack the book on these grounds because they would have to face the truth that they knew Rick could produce, but the book convicted the distributors of un-approved private revelations. They called Mirna’s priest in Damascus, Father Elias Zahlaoui, who had never read the book and, in fact, tried to stop the book in the first place. Father Elias Zahlaoui is a priest who reads from "The Marian Movement of Priests", and tried three times to get Mirna mixed up with Medjugorje. He, himself, wrote a book about Mirna that includes Medjugorje. Father Malouli, a very holy priest, who is really the heart and soul of Soufanieh, also had never read the book and, in fact, could not read English. Mirna also had never read the book. Claire and Father Zahlaoui told Mirna and Father Malouli that the book advocated that the Pope step down from his office for the sake of unity. Father Malouli, a Roman Rite Catholic priest with a great love of the Pope, wrote a condemnation of the book and got Mirna to sign it. Mirna denies ever signing it or even ever knowing about it, however, we have the letter with her signature. How she signed it without knowing what was in it, we don’t know. No one had ever read the book, they simply took Claire and Father Zahlaoui’s word for what it said.

This letter was sent to Claire but not to the author or The Messengers of Unity. It was sent around to all the Medjugorje centers, and all the Catholic books stores. Long after all the damage was done, Rick found out about the letter which said that the Imprimatur was illegal. He ordered the book removed from the market until the truth could be found out. The Messengers of Unity sent two men to Damascus with letters written by Rick Salbato to the Nuncio and to the Bishop, asking if there is anything wrong with the book or the Imprimatur. Mirna was afraid to give the letter to the Bishop because Father Elias Zahlaoui was mixed up in the entire affair with Claire and she felt he would be in a lot of trouble. Instead she took both letters to the Nuncio to the Vatican and asked him to read the entire book, which he did. The Nuncio told her that there was nothing wrong with the book or the Imprimatur and it did not say that the Pope should step down. Mirna and Father Malouli wrote a retraction to their condemnation to the book, but the damage was done.

Even armed with this retraction it was a waste of time. The major distributors were afraid of the book. The book, itself, convicted the book stores of selling books on private revelation without an Imprimatur. Rick’s attempt to keep Our Lady of Soufanieh from being mixed up with Medjugorje and Vassula failed. Since Claire was the number one promoter of Vassula and had the only book in the stores on Mirna, everyone assumes that they are connected. Vassula is demonically possessed according to a top mystical theologian in Puerto Rico. Mirna has seen and touched the real Virgin. The two have been mixed up together and there was nothing that Rick could do about it. A more complete accounting of this story was printed in Fidelity Magazine, Vol. 12, No. 4, March 1993. Copies are still available from Fidelity Magazine, 206 Marquette Ave., South Bend, IN 46617. Fax (219) 289-1461


In August of 1995 Rick met with Mirna in San Jose and talked for over nine hours about the problems of the Imprimatur, the book, Claire, and Father Zahlaoui. It became apparent to Rick that Mirna would do nothing that would damage the reputation of Claire, Father Zahlaoui or anyone else. She knew the truth, but felt that it was not her place to say anything, even true, that would harm the reputation of anyone. There is more to this nine hours than this, but Rick is not willing to reveal all because it would hurt the reputation of Our Lady of Soufanieh.

But after this nine hours, Rick (who holds the copyright to both the book and the videos) closed all the Messengers of Unity down, removed his book from the market, and stopped all references to his book in his own talks. He still believes in Our Lady of Soufanieh but would rather stop promoting Her than mix Her or himself up with demons.


For ten years Rick had supported his mother and she had died in his arms on May 1, 1995. The Messengers of Unity were closed. He had no family. He had four unpublished books. His mother’s cancer, and other family problems had made him totally broke. It was bad timing, but Rick decided it was time to work full time for God. He put out a resume asking for any job, anywhere, any pay, that was God’s work full time. St. Joseph’s Communication, Inc. hired him for room and board and $1000.00 per month to give lectures on apologetics for the future Scott Hahns of America. Although he tried and tried to keep all conversation on the Bible and the Teaching of the Church, everyone in every class was caught up in these apparitions all over the world. Nowhere in the world was there any real counterattack against them in the publishing world except for E. Michael Jones. Since 80% of the Catholics in America, including the Daughters of St. Paul, Mother Angelica, and the National Catholic Register believe in Medjugorje and many other apparitions, St. Joseph’s Communication was not willing to take them on. It would hurt Scott Hahn’s great work, who is not exactly against Medjugorje and the Charismatics. Rick felt is was right and proper for them to stay out of the fire, and although they try, things creep into their apostolate without them knowing it because there was nowhere for them to have it tested, and no time to do it themselves.


Rick left Saint Joseph’s Communication without a penny in his pocket but very good credit because of the large income he had made over the years. He sent out a letter to all the people he had worked with at the Messengers of Unity and his friends asking for monthly donations for at least the first year. He received not one single penny. He opened anyway and survived. Unity Publishing reaches very few people compared to the large network of Marian Centers, but we are making a little noise. Maybe someday we can convince people to be more cautious, and then the true messages of Our Lady of Soufanieh will be known.


To damage one’s reputation, even if the truth, without cause is a sin against the commandment of God, "Thou Shall Not Kill". The only justification in moral theology is if what that person is doing is causing the loss of souls or faith in true doctrine. In this case, according to St. Thomas, we have an obligation to shout out the sin and reprimand him publicly. The first three Spiritual Works of Mercy are: To admonish the sinner, instruct the ignorant, and counsel the doubtful. That being said, when we try to do these things with love, we sometimes make errors that cause damage to one’s reputation without cause. If this happens, it is our obligation, no matter what the cost, to correct the damage. In a book Rick wrote 15 years ago, he inferred that if a saint advocated drugs he was no saint. Because this statement damaged the reputation of this saint, even though his name was not used, we have published a retraction in our booklet, "How To Destroy a Saint - Father Aloysius Ellacuria - The Fatima Saint". We have also resolved, as a way to make up for this, to work towards his canonization. Rick believes it is not enough to be sorry for an error, you must correct it publicly to restore the damaged reputation.

If someone is in error, but it is not a public error, they should be admonished privately. Rick has sinned in this also, and it took a great deal of time and effort to correct it. However, to explain this would cause more damage to the person.


The one complaint that most people have about our books and booklets, is misspelled words and the uncharitable way in which Rick writes. All our staff is unpaid. No one comes at a regular time. Often there is no one to answer the phones. We know we must go through the books and clean them up but sometimes all we can do is get the mail out.

Regarding Rick’s uncharitable writing style, we have resolved to soften them up, and Rick agrees that it should be done. However, in his first draft (often that is all the time there is), he writes very fast. As he starts he wants to be kind to the uncausious people and even to the seers. But when they say, "Our Lady said," and he knows that Our Lady did not say any such thing, he knows they are blaspheming against the true Mother of God, as predicted in the message of Fatima about the Five First Saturdays. To attribute to Mary the works of the demonic, the psychos, the pious imagination of people in prayer, and to the frauds, is to blaspheme against the Mother of God. Rick’s anger comes out because of his love for His Mother and his obligation to protect Her. His favorite devotion is the Five First Saturdays taught at Fatima and reemphasized by Our Lady of Nicaragua in 1984. The prime reason for the Five First Saturdays is blasphemy. To blaspheme against the Holy Spirit or His Bride is to attribute to demons the work of the Holy Spirit or His bride; or to attribute to the Holy Spirit or His Bride the work of demons.

This does not excuse the use of words like "stupid, gullible or crazy" people. Sometimes it is very difficult to use any other words, considering the total lack of logic by the followers. To believe that God would have someone fall to the ground and bark like a dog, is a little crazy. To believe that a future Pope will be the antichrist shows a total lack of knowledge, or worse yet, makes Christ out a liar. When you know that God cannot contradict Himself, and you see contradictions within the same writings, it does make you wonder where people’s brains have gone. Today, it seems, all you have to do is say, "Mary said," and no matter what you write a publisher will pick it up and you will sell millions of copies, without any charity to the local Bishop. Some of the accusations against local Bishops go way beyond the lack of charity. One writing accused Cardinal Ratzinger of being influenced by Masons, another says we should not follow any Bishop because they are all bad.

A year ago a lady wrote a fictitious dialogue between herself and Christ to reflect on what she thought Christ might be thinking about her. She gave a copy to her priest to see if her thinking was correct and to get his spiritual advice. She told the priest that she just made it up, but he decided it was an inter-locution and sent it off to be published. She had to sue the publishing company to get it stopped. This is crazy. These same people who want us to talk kindly object to the Church using the words "separated brethren" instead of "heretics". That being said, we will try harder.