|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:
(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, 2012; April 10, 2012; April 12,2012; May 26, 2012; July 10, 2012; August 2, 2012; February 17, 2013; February 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")