Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Millenarian

The Church rejects the notion that Christ will visibly reign on earth for 1,000 years following His Second Coming.  Maria Divine Mercy actively promotes this idea.

The term "millenarianism" generally refers to the idea that, at his Second Coming, Jesus Christ will establish a visible kingdom on earth in which he will physically reign during a golden age of peace and prosperity for 1,000 years, at the end of which will occur the final judgment.  This idea was rejected by the Church in 1824, when the Holy Office (the former name for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) condemned a book by a Chilean priest which promoted millenarianism. Later, in 1944, the Holy Office issued a decree in which it stated that "the system of mitigated millenarianism cannot be taught safely taught" (see Denzinger-Schonmetzer 3839 [Denzinger 2296 in the "old numbering"]).  (In the same decree, the Holy Office identified "mitigated millenarianism" as the idea "that Christ the Lord before the final judgment, whether or not preceded by the resurrection of the many just, will come visibly to rule over this world.") And, most recently, the Church reaffirmed this condemnation of millenarianism in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism."  (n. 676)

One of the reasons why the Church rejects millenarianism is because the idea contradicts what the Church professes in the Nicene Creed: "He will come in glory again to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end." Jesus' Second Coming, the resurrection of the just, and the final judgment (which includes the final battle with Satan) will all take place at once and instantaneously: "in the twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:52), as St. Paul puts it (see Matthew 24:29-31; 1 Corinthians 15:20-24, 51-53; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10; Catechism of the Catholic Church 668-677).  Since the Second Coming and the final judgment will happen at the same time, a 1,000-year, visible reign of Christ on earth cannot be foreseen as taking place in between the two occurrences.  And, once the Second Coming, the resurrection of the just, and the final judgment have transpired, there will follow the establishment of that kingdom which will have no end, as we profess, not of that on earth for 1,000 years.

So, when the Book of Revelation speaks of the 1,000-year reign of Christ in Revelation 20:4-6, only an interpretation which takes the 1,000-year time period as being symbolic would coincide with the Church's position on the matter.  One such interpretation, as St. Augustine put forward, suggests that the 1,000-year reign represents the entire stretch of history spanning between Christ's First and Second Comings, during which time he reigns spiritually and sacramentally through his Church (see City of God, Book 20, Chapter 9).

Maria Divine Mercy actively promotes millenarianism.  Following are several quotations in which she has promoted the idea of an actual, 1,000-year time period during which Christ is to reign on earth following his Second Coming:

"Many people believe that My Second Coming indicates that the end of the world has come.  That is not the case, for instead, it will mean the end times when Satan and his followers, who create untold misery in the world, will be banished for 1,000 years." (May 20, 2011)

"The New Paradise on Earth is now being planned for all of My children. It will last 1,000 years on Earth and no one must be excluded, for that would break my Heart." (June 25, 2011, bold print in original)

"John the Evangelist was also told about the Glorious Return of My beloved Son, when he will reign in the new Era of Peace for 1,000 years." (February 23,2012)

"My chosen generation will be with Me for eternity.  This Paradise will offer 1,000 years of peace, love, and harmony.  After this period the second resurrection of the dead will take place."  (February 24, 2012, bold print in original)

"You will live in love, peace and harmony during my Glorious Reign on earth for 1000 years." (April 6, 2012)

"The Era of Peace will take place after the Second Coming of My Son and will last 1,000 years." (April 9, 2012)

(See also August 14, 2011; February 14, 2012; April 29, 2012June 9, 2012; June 21, 2012; October 15, 2012)

And, Maria Divine Mercy makes it clear that this "1,000 years" is not symbolic for some other time period.  She assures us:

"Know that the 1,000 years referred to in the Book of Revelation means just that.  If it was meant to be something different then it would have been given a different time.  My Church, the Catholic Church, has not declared their beliefs because they have not done this yet." (May 28, 2012).

Such a literal understanding of the 1,000 years does not correspond with the Church's position on the matter.  And, it is false to suggest that the "Church, the Catholic Church, has not declared their beliefs because they have not done this yet".  As shown above, the Church has indeed spoken on the matter, and the fact that Maria Divine Mercy knows this is shown in further messages:

"Why do you deny, for example, the existence of the 1,000 years of the New Heaven and Earth?
This revelation is very specific and the truth is there for all to see.
Yet My Holy Word is challenged.
The Book of Revelation, just as the prophecies contained in the Book of Daniel, have been given to you only in parts. Many of you are confused."  (March 22, 2012, bold print in original).

So, according to this message, anyone who "denies the existence of the 1,000 years of the New Heaven and Earth" is simply "confused".  It is presumptuous for Maria Divine Mercy to imply that the Church has been merely "confused" all this time.  And, regarding those of us who would continue to accept the Church's authority over Maria Divine Mercy's, Jesus supposedly told her:

"The prophecies, contained in the Book of Revelation, are only partially known.
No sacred servant in My Church understands the Book of Revelation, yet. They will be informed, and this I will do in parts. It is only for your knowing when I decide the time is right."  (January 27, 2013, bold print in original)

And, regarding the leaders of the Church who continue to teach the Church's teaching, Jesus tells Maria Divine Mercy:

"You must not listen to those, within your ranks, who twist the Truth in relation to the New Era of Peace on Earth.
What motivates your brothers, within My Roman Catholic Church, who deny the Truth?
You have confused My children.
Because of their loyalty to the One True Church, The Roman Catholic Church, you are denying them the chance to prepare their souls for My Son’s Reign in the New Paradise on Earth."  (February 23, 2012, bold print in original)

This message clearly conveys a call "not to listen to those, within [the] ranks" of the Church who put forward a different interpretation than Maria Divine Mercy's regarding the "New Era of Peace on Earth".  And, faithful Catholics' "loyalty to the One True Church, The Roman Catholic Church" is presented as a stumbling block which hinders people from preparing "their souls for [Jesus'] Reign in the New Paradise on Earth".  With these words, Maria Divine Mercy is advocating disloyalty to the Church, especially when the Church teaches something different than what she does.

What should be most telling in these messages is the implication that Maria Divine Mercy is aware that her messages convey a different teaching from the Church's, yet that she will continue to put forward this erroneous interpretation, anyway.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Having it Both Ways with Divine Revelation

Maria Divine Mercy wants to have her cake and eat it, too.
The Second Vatican Council taught that "we now await no further public revelation before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ (see 1 Tim. 6:14 and Tit. 2:13)" (Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation [Dei Verbum], n. 4).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church took up this affirmation (see n. 66) and continued: "Christian faith cannot accept 'revelations' that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment, as is the case in certain nonChristian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such 'revelations'." (n. 67)

We are assured by Maria Divine Mercy that her messages are in line with these standards.  Jesus allegedly tells her: "I call on you now, not to reveal to you new Teachings, as that is not necessary.  You were given the Truth, but now I need to intervene to remind you of the Truth" (July 23, 2013; see also January 14, 2011; May 13, 2011; March 24, 2013; and May 4, 2013).

It would thus appear that, in the area of Divine Revelation, there exists a correspondence between Church teachings and the role of Maria Divine Mercy's messages.  But, we should not take her word for it, because Maria Divine Mercy assigns to her messages a role and status that go far beyond those which the Church has assigned to "private revelation".

The Church assigns the following role to "private revelation": "Throughout the ages, there have been so-called 'private' revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ's definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history."  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 67)

However, Jesus allegedly told Maria Divine Mercy on June 25, 2013: "The only place you will find the Truth is in the Most Holy Bible and in My Holy Word given to you through these Messages." Not only is this statement incredibly conflated, it is also patently false.  The Church teaches that Sacred Scripture and Apostolic Tradition are the only sources of Divine Revelation (cf. Dei Verbum, nos. 9-10, 21; Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 74-83).  Maria Divine Mercy presumptuously inserts her messages among the sources of Divine Revelation, and omits Apostolic Tradition from "the only place you will find the Truth".

Maria Divine Mercy even then leaves the Bible out of the mix when conveying the role that her messages will have in the lives of the "billions" who will convert through them.  As Jesus purportedly tells her, "My Messages will become their daily food and along with My Most Holy Eucharist, they will need nothing more" (April 6, 2013).  Although the Church teaches that the faithful "should be instructed by God's word and nourished at the table of the Lord's body" (Second Vatican Council, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy [Sacrosactum Concilium], n. 48; cf. Dei Verbum, n. 21), Maria Divine Mercy presents that her messages would replace Scripture in this role of sustaining the faithful alongside the Holy Eucharist.  And, if these messages do not nourish us now, Maria Divine Mercy assures us, "Many of you will devour these Messages when you are starved of the Truth" (May 24, 2013).

Perhaps the most brazen way in which the role of Maria Divine Mercy's messages is exalted is through the very exaltation of Maria Divine Mercy's own person as the one who delivers the messages.  Her person is amplified by the florid language Jesus uses when he purportedly tells us:

"I guide My daughter Maria. She has been chosen as the end time prophet. I speak through her. Her voice becomes Mine. Her sorrow and pain are Mine. Her Love for others is My Love. Her joy comes from My Sacred Heart. Her hand is being guided by Mine. Her understanding as to how I wish My Word to be heard comes from Me." (February 23, 2013)

Maria Divine Mercy is also assigned the lofty titles of "end time prophet" (January 17, 2012; February 8, 2012; February 12, 2012; February 18, 2012; February 19, 2012; February 21. 2012; February 23, 2012; March 8, 2012; April 24, 2012; July 13, 2012; July 15, 2012; August 13, 2012; August 21, 2012; September 6, 2012; October 7, 2012; April 6, 2013; July 19, 2013; July 27, 2013), "last prophet" (October 16, 2012; December 7, 2012), and "final prophet" (May 25, 2013; July 19, 2013).  Never mind the fact that Sacred Scripture and Catechism of the Catholic Church identify John the Baptist as the last prophet (Luke 1:67, 7:26; Matthew 11:13, CCC n. 523).

And, the consequences for not accepting Maria Divine Mercy or her messages fall way outside the bounds for the role that private revelation may play in the lives of the faithful.  As the Church expresses, private revelation is not part of the deposit of faith, or the whole body of public revelation which was completed in Christ.  One would wonder then, why such warnings would be applied to those who do not accept Maria Divine Mercy or her messages:

"They refuse to believe that My Father could possibly send into the world, in their time, His final prophet. By doing so, they are denying the Holy Gospel of God" (May 25, 2013).

"And while My Word may seem like heresy today, as it was during My times on Earth, many of you will devour these Messages when you are starved of the Truth, when the antichrist will control your nations. You will crawl on your stomachs and scream out for Me. You, who blasphemed against Me, will want to cut out your tongues, for you will realise then how your words have insulted Me. I await this day patiently, but should you stand before Me and prevent Me from reaching out to souls, I will cut you down. Should you continue to blaspheme against Me, by declaring My Messages to be the work of the devil, then you will never be forgiven. For this is the greatest sin against God."  (May 24, 2013, bold print in original)

It is outrageous that such scare tactics are being used to manipulate people into clinging to the messages of Maria Divine Mercy.  One cannot be denying the "Holy Gospel of God" or "never be forgiven" for not accepting any private revelation, since such do not belong to the deposit of faith.  And, in claiming such status for themselves, the messages ironically betray themselves, because they contradict Church teaching by saying that such calamities would befall individuals for rejecting private revelation, which, according to the Church, no one is required to believe.

Besides the clear contradictions of Church teachings, perhaps a more indicative sign of the fraudulent nature of the messages of Maria Divine Mercy are the way in which the messages exalt themselves.  Whereas St. Faustina spoke of God's mercy and Our Lady of Fatima spoke of the importance of conversion, Maria Divine Mercy cannot seem to complete a message without reminding the reader of her or her messages' importance.

While Maria Divine Mercy tries to assure her readers that her messages fall within the bounds of private revelation in that there is "nothing new" about them (see January 14, 2011; May 13, 2011; March 24, 2013; and May 4, 2013; and July 23, 2013), she nonetheless assigns them the status proper to the public revelation which was completed in Jesus Christ, and of which, the Church assures us, we await no further public revelation (see Dei Verbum, n. 4).  But, Maria Divine Mercy can't have it both ways.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Maria Divine Mercy's Problem with Vatican I

Maria Divine Mercy contradicts the First Vatican Council; Pope Pius IX is not amused.

According to the messages of Maria Divine Mercy, the papacy apparently ended as of March 20, 2012, on which date we were allegedly told by the Virgin Mary, "The keys of Rome have been handed back to my Father, God the Most High, who will rule from the Heavens".

In Scripture, it was the "keys of the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 16:19) that Christ gave Peter when instituting the papacy, not the "keys of Rome"; nonetheless, the messages of Maria Divine Mercy convey a correspondence between the handing back of "the keys of Rome" and the end of the papacy of Benedict XVI - whom Maria Divine Mercy calls "the last true pope" ( April 12, 2012, February 19, 2013, and March 21, 2013) - and thus the end of the papacy.  The messages connect the handing back of the keys with Benedict's then "immanent departure" (June 6, 2011), his "danger of being exiled from Rome" (March 20, 2012), and, finally on February 17, 2013, with his "departure".  A purported message from Maria Divine Mercy's "Christ and Savour" [sic] then informs us that "after Pope Benedict, you will be led by me from the heavens" (May 7, 2012), and then, from the "Mother of Salvation", that "anyone else who claims to sit on the Seat of Peter is an imposter" (July 22, 2013).

In any case, Maria Divine Mercy presents that the papacy has ended, or will end, at which point God the Father "will direct his Church, the true believers, from the heavens" (April 7, 2012).  There are serious problems with these implications.

The First Vatican Council declared in its First Dogmatic Constitution on the Church of Christ (Pastor Aeternus), Chapter II, Sections 1 and 5:

Section 1: "That which our Lord Jesus Christ, the prince of shepherds and great shepherd of the sheep, established in the blessed apostle Peter, for the continual salvation and permanent benefit of the church, must of necessity remain for ever, by Christ's authority, in the church which, founded as it is upon a rock, will stand firm until the end of time."
Section 5: "Therefore, if anyone says that
  • it is not by the institution of Christ the Lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole church; or that
  • the Roman pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy:
     let him be anathema."

(Someone's being "anathema" is an old way of saying that he or she is banned or excommunicated from the Church.)

The problematic nature of what the messages of Maria Divine Mercy are saying can be seen by looking especially at the bulleted points of Section 5 of the above citation.

According to the first point, it is heresy to say that Christ's institution of the papacy would not entail that "Peter should have perpetual successors".  And, Maria Divine Mercy states that Benedict is the "last true pope" (April 12, 2012, February 19, 2013, and March 21, 2013), that, "after Pope Benedict", the Church will be "led by [Christ] from the heavens" (May 7, 2013), and that "anyone else who claims to sit on the Seat of Peter is an imposter" (July 22, 2013).

According to the second point, it is heresy to say that "the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of Peter in his primacy".  On the day of Pope Francis' election, an alleged message from Christ to Maria Divine Mercy states: "I have not appointed this person, who claims to sit in my name" (March 13, 2013), and again on the following day: "The imposter, who sits on my throne, does not come from me" (March 14, 2013, see also June 7, 2011).  In addition, not only is Pope Francis an "imposter" according to Maria Divine Mercy (see also April 10, 2012; May 26, 2012; August 2, 2012; February 25, 2013; March 3, 2013; March 8, 2013;  and March 28, 2013), he is also the "False Prophet" (January 21, 2012April 10, 2012; April 12,2012May 26, 2012July 10, 2012August 2, 2012; February 17, 2013February 18, 2013; February 25, 2013; February 28, 2013; March 12, 2013; March 16, 2013; and July 25, 2013), and "the beast" (April 10, 2012).  We can safely say that Maria Divine Mercy presents what the second point identifies as heresy, that "the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of Peter in his primacy".

It is worth noting that the most solemn form of Church teaching is such as that cited from the First Vatican Council: a formal constitution by an ecumenical council*, and a "Dogmatic Constitution", no less (see First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith [Dei Filius], Preface, n. 2 and Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church [Lumen Gentium], n. 22).  So, we see here that Maria Divine Mercy presents, on two points, what is identified as heresy by the most solemn form of Church teaching.

The permanency of the papacy was also reinforced by the Second Vatican Council - the latest ecumenical council - in its own Dogmatic Constitution on the Church: "And in order that the episcopate itself might be one and undivided, [Jesus Christ] placed Blessed Peter over the other apostles, and instituted in him a permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion." (Lumen Gentium, n. 4)

And, in Maria Divine Mercy's world, it is not as if we have now entered a period - with the end of the papacy and all - that Church teaching is no longer valid.  Another alleged message from Christ to Maria Divine Mercy has stated that, despite "the departure of my dearly beloved Holy Vicar, Pope Benedict XVI...the Teachings of the Catholic Church, based on its formation by My Apostle Peter, remain infallible" (February 17, 2013, see also May 23, 2011).  However, despite Maria Divine Mercy's assurance that the teachings of the Church remain infallible, she nevertheless contradicts them in her messages.

* - The Catechism of the Catholic Church defines an ecumenical council as follows: "A gathering of all the bishops of the world, in the exercise of their collegial authority over the universal Church. An ecumenical council is usually called by the successor of St. Peter, the Pope, or at least confirmed or accepted by him."  (See Catechism of the Catholic Church; Glossary; "Council, Ecumenical")

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Playing Hot Potato with the 'Keys of Rome'

[The comparison of the teachings of the First Vatican Council with Maria Divine Mercy's messages, which was previously a part of this post, has been made into its own post: see here.]

Maria Divine Mercy's messages depict the "keys of Rome" as a symbol of the papacy (see here), (though it was the "keys to the kingdom of heaven" which Christ gave Peter when instituting the papacy, not the "keys of Rome").  Throughout the past couple of years, the messages have oddly depicted a sort of game of "hot potato" with the "keys of Rome" between Benedict XVI, God the Father, and Chris Jesus:
  1. First of all, it took eight months for them to get the game going.  Although we were allegedly told by Christ on June 6, 2011 that "the keys of Rome will now be handed back to God the Almighty Father" by Benedict, we were finally told by the Virgin Mary on March 20, 2012, "The keys of Rome have been returned to my Father," then
  2. On February 17, 2013, Christ tells us, "The keys of Rome are now within my hands having been passed to me by my Father," then
  3. On February 19, 2013, Christ tells us, "The keys of Rome are now under the command of my beloved Father", indicating that he had apparently passed them back to the Father, and...
  4. To top it all off, we were recently told on July 22, 2013 by the "Mother of Salvation", "There can only be one Head of the Church on Earth, authorised by my son, who must remain Pope until his death." So apparently the keys have been handed back to Benedict XVI, who, according to the message, must still be pope since he hasn't died yet.
But, in all seriousness, it is contradiction of both Church teaching and Benedict XVI himself to say that he must remain pope until his death.

According to the Code of Canon Law, a pope may indeed resign from the papacy and thus, upon the effective date of his resignation, not be pope anymore though still alive: "If it happens that the Roman Pontiff resigns his office, it is required for validity that the resignation is made freely and properly manifested but not that it is accepted by anyone" (Canon 332, Section 2).  Since a pope cannot resign once he is dead, it must be assumed that a pope would resign his papacy while he is still alive, and, thus, upon resigning, is both no longer pope and still alive.

When he announced his resignation on February 11, 2013, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI made it clear that he would no longer be pope upon the effective moment of his resignation:

"Well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter, entrusted to me by the Cardinals on 19 April 2005, in such a way, that as from 28 February 2013, at 20:00 hours, the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect the new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked by those whose competence it is."  (Declaratio, February 11, 2013)

This is yet another circumstance in which we are faced with taking Maria Divine Mercy at her word or Benedict at his.  Because according to Maria Divine Mercy, Benedict "must remain Pope until his death".  But Benedict stated that as of the effective moment of his resignation on February 28, 2013 at 20:00 hours, "the See of Rome, the See of Saint Peter, will be vacant and a Conclave to elect a new Supreme Pontiff will have to be convoked."  And, as before, this is an instance in which we should take Pope Emeritus Benedict's word over Maria Divine Mercy's.

UPDATE [2-25-14]: Benedict himself recently wrote that any speculations that he was still pope were "simply absurd".  (See here.)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Maria Divine Mercy and the Amazing Retroactive Prophecies

Elvis Presley gets hip with the Mass in 1969's Change of Habit
A couple recent prophecies of Maria Divine Mercy concern how, "in the name of modernity" (July 20, 2013), changes are to be made in the Mass and how crosses are constructed. Here is the first one concerning changes to be made with crosses and other symbols:

"Your churches will see new crosses emerge where the head of the beast will be embedded within them; your altars will see new crosses emerge and will mock me.  Every time you see new and unusual symbols in My Church, look carefully because the beast is arrogant and he flaunts his wickedness, by displaying signs, which honour him."  (Message from July 15, 2013; text bolded in original; see also April 30, 2013)

A second "prophecy", provided by Maria Divine Mercy from a few days after the one cited above, also indicates changes to be made in the Mass:

"You must know that when the Cross of my Son is amended to look different, and when the way in which the Sacrifice of the Mass is adapted in the name of modernity, then you will see the dirsrespect for my Son in which these things are presented."  (July 20, 2013)

First of all, I think it is a bit too convenient that we do not know exactly what the head of the beast is supposed to look like, thus making it anyone's guess whether this or that cross has the head of the beast embedded in it.

New, modernized, and "artful" objects have been finding their way into churches and the liturgy since the '60's.  And, even modernized crosses "amended to look different" have been previously seen, like that of the crozier used by Popes Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II, and then for some time by Benedict XVI:

Anti-Catholic (and ultra-traditionalist) theorists have lined up to equate the curved horizontal stylus of this crozier as a perversion of the true cross, and some anti-Catholics have gone so far as to say that the curved stylus is some sort of proof that the Catholic Church is the Whore of Babylon or something (see here, for example).  It is concerning that Maria Divine Mercy's prophecies about the head of the beast being embedded in crosses would be so akin to the warnings of these anti-Catholics.

The fact of the matter is that such modernization of the cross and other symbols has been going on for quite some time, so it is not accurate to imply, as Maria Divine Mercy does, that we are just now supposed to start seeing the "adaptation" of such symbols. Here is a particularly egregious crucifix from St. Gregorius Church in Aachen, Germany:

And, here is an in-your-face, blatantly nontraditional image of Our Lady, which stands above the main entryway to Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles, California:

With regard to Maria Divine Mercy's prophesied changes in the Mass, the way in which the Mass has been celebrated has also been adapted and made "relevant" according to the so-called "spirit of Vatican II" for decades.  

For example, the so-called "Folk Mass" is a vestige which has influenced the modernization of the Mass in the United States since the '60's.

And, more recently, there is this simultaneously hilarious and sad amalgamation of liturgical dancing AND big puppets.  Though this video was taken in 2010, here we see a "prophecy" of Maria Divine Mercy's from 2013 being fulfilled retroactively: "This will be the day when My Holy Mass will be changed beyond recognition" (March 17, 2013):

Finally, here is a photo of part of the ceremony of the blessing of the new altar of Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral, which took place on September 2, 2002:

So, Maria Divine Mercy is "prophesying" circumstances which are supposed to just now or soon begin happening, but which we have already been witnessing for the past 40 or so years, and, unfortunately, will likely see here and there for some time.
If these sorts of changes had not yet happened, her "prophecies" might mean something, since they would then be actual prophecies. But prophesying something that has already been going on for decades and will likely linger for some time is not really prophesying at all.  It's like prophesying that the sun will come up tomorrow. Since our experiential knowledge tells us that the sun will very likely come up tomorrow, when the sun does rise following our "prophecy" that it would, then our "prophecy's" value in foretelling the future still amounts to nothing, since most everyone's (notwithstanding eternal cave dwellers') experiential knowledge tells us the same thing.

Maria Divine Mercy's prophecies about the changes in the Mass, crosses, and other symbols thus try to fool us into forgetting that these sorts of things have been happening already, and for quite some time. Blindly abandoning ourselves to this sort of collective amnesia can be dangerous. In doing so, we create a foothold in our own individual lives and in the life of the Church which the devil, the "father of lies" (John 8:44), can use to get us to believe all sorts of absurdities.  Because in pushing aside our collective memory built on truth, we negate the knowledge against which we compare new information, thus severely inhibiting our ability to "test all things" and "hold fast to what is good" (1 Thes. 5:21).

In closing, it is worth quoting at length the words of Pope Francis' new encyclical (which are very likely Benedict XVI's own words) about the importance of our collective memory as a Church:

"Persons always live in relationship. We come from others, we belong to others, and our lives are enlarged by our encounter with others. Even our own knowledge and self-awareness are relational; they are linked to others who have gone before us: in the first place, our parents, who gave us our life and our name. Language itself, the words by which we make sense of our lives and the world around us, comes to us from others, preserved in the living memory of others. Self-knowledge is only possible when we share in a greater memory. The same thing holds true for faith, which brings human understanding to its fullness. Faith’s past, that act of Jesus’ love which brought new life to the world, comes down to us through the memory of others — witnesses — and is kept alive in that one remembering subject which is the Church. The Church is a Mother who teaches us to speak the language of faith. Saint John brings this out in his Gospel by closely uniting faith and memory and associating both with the working of the Holy Spirit, who, as Jesus says, "will remind you of all that I have said to you" (Jn 14:26). The love which is the Holy Spirit and which dwells in the Church unites every age and makes us contemporaries of Jesus, thus guiding us along our pilgrimage of faith. "  (Lumen Fidei, n. 38)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Exile that Wasn't

Pope Emeritus Benedict pleasantly sits by as Pope Francis addresses the populace.  Together, the two popes consecrated Vatican City to the protection of St. Michael the Archangel on July 5, 2013.  Photo Source: The Catholic World Report

A recurrent prophecy of Maria Divine Mercy's concerns the supposed exile which Benedict was to have undergone upon being "forced out" of the Vatican (see messages from June 6, 2011; July 16, 2012; and May 26, 2012). Last year, we were exhorted to "pray for Pope Benedict XVI who [was] in danger of being exiled from Rome" (March 20, 2012). Others were to "oust him from the Sea of Peter using devious means" (May 26, 2012) and Pope Benedict would be "forced to leave the Vatican" (June 6, 2011 and July 16, 2012). Following this departure, Benedict was to have at some point entered into a "place of exile" (March 29, 2013).

Maria Divine Mercy refers to Benedict as the "last true pope", the "innocent, beloved last Pope on Earth, Benedict XVI" (February 19, 2013). It doesn't make sense then, that this "innocent" should lie to the world by saying that it was for reasons of health that he was resigning. Whom are we to take at his or her word: Pope Benedict or Maria Divine Mercy? Because if we are to take Maria Divine Mercy at her word, Benedict was "forced out", "he, who was maliciously and deliberately plotted against" (February 19, 2013 and March 13, 2013) by others "behind closed doors in the Holy See" (May 26, 2012, see also February 12, 2012).

Benedict described his internal process of discernment over resigning on February 27, 2013, when he told the crowds who attended his final General Audience at St. Peter's Square: “In these last months I have felt my energies declining, and I have asked God insistently in prayer to grant me his light and to help me make the right decision, not for my own good, but for the good of the Church. I have taken this step with full awareness of its gravity and even its novelty, but with profound interior serenity. Loving the Church means also having the courage to make difficult, painful decisions, always looking to the good of the Church and not of oneself."

Benedict thoughtfully prayed over and discerned the matter, looking to no one but God's guidance in making the right decision; he was not "plotted against" and "forced out" by others.

One who is desperate enough to align Maria Divine Mercy's prophecies with reality may go so far as to say that Benedict was "forced out" by his own health problems.  But the messages make it clear that Benedict was to have been plotted against by others and nefariously forced out of the Vatican by them.  Again, if we were to take Benedict at his word, as we should, the reasons that Maria Divine Mercy provides are not those for which he resigned.

UPDATE [2-25-14]: Benedict himself recently wrote in a letter, "There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry...The only condition for the validity of my resignation is the complete freedom of my decision. Speculations regarding its validity are simply absurd."  (See here.)

Upon concluding his papacy on February 28, 2013, Benedict left for Castel Gandolfo where he began his retirement, living there for a couple of months until May 2.  He then returned to the Vatican where he lives now in the Mater Ecclesiae Monastery.  So, if we were to interpret his "exile" as having immediately started upon his having been "forced out" of Vatican, then this apparent "exile" did not last too long.  As a matter of fact, it makes much more sense to say that he took a short vacation before returning to his permanent residence at the Vatican.  In addition, there was no consistent contact with others while Benedict stayed there so as to "guide God's children from his place of exile" (March 29, 2013, see also February 19, 2013). It also wouldn't make sense for Pope Francis to go visit, pray, and exchange gifts with him if he were in "exile" at Castel Gandolfo:

Since it doesn't make sense to consider Castel Gandolfo as Benedict's "place of exile" (March 29, 2013), could it be then that the monastery in the Vatican itself is this so-called "place of exile"?

Though Benedict has seldom entered the public eye since retiring, it would again be a stretch to try and justify the monastery as a place of exile.  Pope Francis is said to regularly visit Benedict (see here).  In addition, the two popes recently made a public appearance together to consecrate Vatican City to the protection of St. Michael the Archangel:

[On a side note, from the perspective of the messages of Maria Divine Mercy, it would also seem odd that Pope Francis, often referred to as the "False Prophet" (see, for example, January 21, 2012April 12,2012May 26, 2012July 10, 2012February 17, 2013February 18, 2013), would commend himself and the Church to St. Michael the Archangel.  According to Maria Divine Mercy, "Masonic forces" within the Vatican, of whom Pope Francis is a part (see February 17, 2013), have "proclaimed a series of lies including the refusal to acknowledge the power of St. Michael the Archangel" (May 7, 2012).  Why would Pope Francis then consecrate Vatican City to St. Michael if he were one to refuse to acknowledge his power?]

At any rate, it would be extremely difficult to see Pope Benedict's current monastic residence as a place of exile.  Granted, he lives in a monastery; yet, it is not in keeping with living in a monastery to make too many public appearances, if any at all.  And, it must be kept in mind that such a life was one to which Pope Benedict aspired before he was Pope, when, while functioning as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he submitted his resignation three times to Pope John Paul II.  (Then Cardinal Ratzinger first submitted his resignation to Pope John Paul II in 1991; what may be an "exile" in Maria Divine Mercy's world is a reprieve sought after for over 20 years in Benedict's.)  In addition, as referenced above, Pope Francis often visits Benedict and receives the former pope's counsel.  And, finally, as is seen in the collaborative consecration of Vatican City to St. Michael, Francis still works together with Benedict.

Pope Francis just published his First encyclical, Lumen Fidei, which was almost entirely written by Benedict, as Pope Francis attests in paragraph no. 7 of the document, stating that Benedict "had almost completed the first draft of an encyclical on faith".  Prior to Benedict's announcement of his resignation, it had been reported by the Vatican last November that Benedict had for some time been working on the document; some were asking upon Pope Benedict's resignation what would become of the then unfinished encyclical. For Francis to uphold and publish Benedict's writing with his own papal authority attests to an interwoven collaboration between the two popes.

In a sense, Pope Benedict may indeed still be guiding the faithful, especially as the faith of the Church is illumined by his words present in Francis' encyclical, but it cannot be further from the truth to say that he is doing so from a "place of exile".  Furthermore, it would seem odd that the "False Prophet" Francis would be cooperating so closely with the "last true pope".  In such a case, the "False Prophet" would be curiously disseminating the "last true pope's" teaching, and at the authoritative level of an encyclical, no less.  Rather, they are working together so closely, that each pope's contribution has thus far come together to form a united act of guiding God's children.

UPDATE [9-28-13]:

And, here is a video with images of Pope Emeritus Benedict having a Mass and visit with former students of his on September 1, 2013, which even continues to be an annual tradition for him.  This could have easily been an event that the Vatican quietly prevented had Benedict actually been in "exile".

UPDATE [2-22-14]:

Benedict participated in the consistory of cardinals which took place today.

To keep things in perspective, about a year and a half ago, Maria Divine Mercy "prophesied" about Benedict: "Very soon he will be forced to flee the Vatican."  (July 16, 2012)  It appears the opposite is true: they keep inviting him back!
[UPDATE 4-27-14]: Here is Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI at the canonizations of Sts. John XXIII and John Paul II.  It would seem odd that a pope in "exile" would be included in such a celebratory event.
[UPDATE 8-20-14]: Here is a link to an article reporting how Pope Francis visits with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI before all international trips.

Friday, July 12, 2013

A Response to Kelly Bowring

So, here is a link to an article which appeared on a website,

The article details an exchange with Dr. Kelly Bowring, who defends Maria Divine Mercy as he responds to points posed to him by Cheryl Dickow.  Bowring claims that it is not heresy to claim as Maria Divine Mercy does that Pope Francis is not the pope.  He also does not accurately represent Maria Divine Mercy's promotion of an idea condemned by the Church called millenarianism.

Here is a response of mine to Bowring's points:

It is indeed heresy to teach that the pope is not the pope.  The First Vatican Council taught in its dogmatic constitution on the Church of Christ, Pastor Aeternus:

"Therefore, if anyone says that it is not by the institution of Christ the lord himself (that is to say, by divine law) that blessed Peter should have perpetual successors in the primacy over the whole Church; or that the Roman Pontiff is not the successor of blessed Peter in this primacy: let him be anathema."  (Chapter III, Paragraph 5)

Furthermore, Bowring dances around what Maria Divine Mercy actually says about millenarianism.  The entry on Maria Divine Mercy's website for May 28, 2012 states: "Know that the 1,000 years referred to in the book of Revelation means just that."  Apparently oblivious to the book of Revelation's use of metaphorical language, Maria Divine Mercy continues: "If it was meant to be something different then it would have given a different time."  As if the book of Revelation in its complex imagery would not present something as something else with an apparently paradoxical meaning; tell that the the lion who is a lamb (Rev. 5:5,6), and to the robes which are white upon being washed in red blood (Rev. 7:14).  And, then, conveniently unclear about the contents of the referred to "beliefs", Maria Divine Mercy states: "My Church, the Catholic Church, has not declared their beliefs because they have not done this yet."  This is false; the Catechism of the Catholic Church no. 676 states: "The Church has rejected even modified forms of the falsification of the kingdom to come known as millenarianism".  Bowring correctly writes: "But, in the Book of Revelation (20:1), it does speak of an end-time thousand year period of peace. This period of “a thousand years” is symbolic, biblical language for a long period, but not necessarily a literal thousand year period of time."  However, Bowring then misrepresents what Maria Divine Mercy says about the subject when he continues: "The messages of MDM concur as much and thus on this point remain in good standing."

The messages of MDM do not concur as much and thus do not remain in good standing.  Maria Divine Mercy presents "the 1,000 years referred to in the book of Revelation" as meaning "just that", stating that, "if it was meant to be something different then it would have given a different time".  And, her message from March 22, 2012 states: "So many chose to ignore the truth contained in the Holy Bible.  How can you deny, for example, the existence of the 1,000 years of the New Heaven and Earth?"

Maria Divine Mercy presents the 1,000 years as being an actual 1,000-year time period, not a metaphorical one.  She thus promotes millenarianism, which idea has been condemned by the Church, as evidenced in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph no. 676, cited above.

Maria Divine Mercy  has often applied the label "False Prophet" to Pope Francis (see messages from January 21, 2012; April 12, 2012; May 26, 2012; July 10, 2012; February 17, 2013; and February 18, 2013; among other instances) but she has made, and continues to make, false prophecies herself.  Nothing came of her prophecy about the supposed "sacrilege" that the pope was to have committed during Holy Week (message from March 14, 2013); her prophecy about the "pompous splendor" with which Benedict's successor was to sit on the Throne of Peter (February 18, 2013) does not correspond to the consistent simplicity and poverty of Pope Francis; and the prophecies about how Benedict was to have been in danger of being exiled from Rome (March 20, 2012), and, once being exiled, was still to have guided Jesus' true followers from his "place of exile" (March 29, 2013, see also February 19, 2013 and March 13, 2013) are so far from reality that one wonders whether whether anyone really believes such things in all seriousness.  A continuously updated post which may be found HERE outlines many of the instances in which Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has made public appearances while supposedly being in exile.

Francis regularly receives counsel from Benedict himself (see article here), and when they have made their rare public appearances together, they do so as a united front (as when they recently together consecrated the Vatican to the protection of St. Michael the Archangel).  One week ago, Pope Francis published his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei, the text of which is almost entirely written by Benedict, as Francis himself attests in paragraph no. 7 of the document.  One wonders how exactly a supposed "false prophet" would make so widely known the "true pope's", Benedict's writings.  Are we inexplicably seeing a false prophet disseminate a true pope's teachings, or could it be that the present pope and the former pope are working together harmoniously?