Is The Divine Mercy Devotion Catholic?

ImageAs we approach Divine Mercy Sunday, it might be a good idea to reflect on this relatively new devotion and Feast Day in the Church.   Personally, I’ve never been attracted to it at all. I dislike the image which compares very unfavourably, in my view, to the traditional image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and I’m taken aback by some of the things Our Lord allegedly said to Sister Faustina.  However, I realise a lot of faithful Catholics do like the image and pray the Divine Mercy devotions sincerely. This thread is not, in any way, intended to be a criticism of them. 

Two articles are offered here to encourage discussion. The first is  a very honest enquiry on an American blog, entitled Criticisms and Responses to the Divine Mercy Devotion  and the second is the article below, by Fr Peter Scott, a priest of the Society of St Pius X (SSPX)  which is thought provoking.  After reading the articles, please feel free to share your thoughts on the topic proposed for discussion: Is the Divine Mercy Devotion Catholic?

What are we to think of the Divine Mercy devotion?

Many people have certainly received graces from the devotion to Divine Mercy propagated by St. Faustina, and her personal piety was certainly most exemplary. However, this does not necessarily mean that this devotion is from God. It is true that Pope John Paul II promoted this devotion, that it was through his efforts that the prohibition was lifted on April 15, 1978, and that he even introduced a feast of Divine Mercy into the Novus Ordo. However, the fact that good and pious people receive graces and that Sister Faustina was pious do not necessarily means that it is from heaven. In fact, it was not only not approved before Vatican II. It was condemned, and this despite the fact that the prayers themselves of the chaplet of Divine Mercy are orthodox.

Condemned by the Holy Office

There were two decrees from Rome on this question, both of the time of Pope John XXIII. The Supreme Congregation of the Holy Office, in a plenary meeting held on November 19, 1958, made the following decisions:

The supernatural nature of the revelations made to Sister Faustina is not evident.

No feast of Divine Mercy is to be instituted.

It is forbidden to divulge images and writings that propagate this devotion under the form received by Sister Faustina.

The second decree of the Holy Office was on March 6, 1959, in which the following was established:

The diffusion of images and writings promoting the devotion to Divine Mercy under the form proposed by the same Sister Faustina was forbidden.

The prudence of the bishops is to judge as to the removal of the aforesaid images that are already displayed for public honor.

What was it about this devotion that prevented the Holy Office from acknowledging its divine origin? The decrees do not say, but it seems that the reason lies in the fact that there is so much emphasis on God’s mercy as to exclude His justice. Our sins and the gravity of the offense that they inflict on God is pushed aside as being of little consequence. That is why the aspect of reparation for sin is omitted or obscured.

The true image of God’s mercy is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, crowned with thorns, dripping precious blood. The Sacred Heart calls for a devotion of reparation, as the popes have always requested. However, this is not the case with the Divine Mercy devotion. The image has no heart. It is a Sacred Heart without a heart, without reparation, without the price of our sins being clearly evident. It is this that makes the devotion very incomplete and makes us suspicious of its supernatural origin, regardless of Sister Faustina’s own good intentions and personal holiness. This absence of the need for reparation for sins is manifest in the strange promise of freedom from all the temporal punishment due to sin for those who observe the 3:00 p.m. Low Sunday devotions. How could such a devotion be more powerful and better than a plenary indulgence, applying the extraordinary treasury of the merits of the saints? How could it not require as a condition that we perform a penitential work of our own? How could it not require the detachment from even venial sin that is necessary to obtain a plenary indulgence?

Presumption in the Writings of Sister Faustina

The published Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalski (Marian Press, Stockbridge, MA, 2007) also indicates several reasons to seriously question the supernatural origin of the more than 640 pages of voluminous and repeated apparitions and messages. The characteristic of any true mystic who has received supernatural graces is always a profound humility, sense of unworthiness, awareness and profession of the gravity of his sins. Yet this humility is strangely lacking in Sister Faustina’s diary. On October 2, 1936, for example, she states that the “Lord Jesus” spoke these words to her: “Now I know that it is not for the graces or gifts that you love me, but because My will is dearer to you than life. That is why I am uniting Myself with you so intimately as with no other creature.” (§707, p. 288). This gives every appearance of being a claim of being more united to Jesus than anybody else, even the Blessed Virgin Mary, and certainly more than all the other saints. What pride, to believe such an affirmation, let alone to assert that it came from heaven!

In April 1938, Sister Faustina read the canonization of St. Andrew Bobola and was filled with longing and tears that her congregation might have its own saint. Then she affirms the following: “And the Lord Jesus said to me, Don’t cry. You are that saint.” (§1650, p. 583). These are words that most certainly no true saint would affirm, but rather his sinfulness and unworthiness of his congregation. This presumption in her writings is not isolated. She praises herself on several occasions through the words supposedly uttered by Jesus. Listen to this interior locution, for example: “Beloved pearl of My Heart, I see your love so pure, purer than that of the angels, and all the more so because you keep fighting. For your sake I bless the world.” (§1061, p. 400). On May 23, 1937 she describes a vision of the Holy Trinity, after which she heard a voice saying: “Tell the Superior General to count on you as the most faithful daughter in the Order” (§1130, p. 417). It is consequently hardly surprising that Sister Faustina claimed to be exempt from the Particular and General Judgments. On February 4, 1935, she already claimed to hear this voice in her soul: “From today on, do not fear God’s judgment, for you will not be judged” (§374, p. 168). Add to this the preposterous affirmation that the host three times over jumped out of the tabernacle and placed itself in her hands (§44, p. 23), so that she had to open up the tabernacle herself and place it back in there, tells the story of a presumption on God’s grace which goes beyond all reason, let alone as the action of a person supposedly favored with innumerable and repeated mystical and supernatural graces.

It is perhaps not accidental that Pope John Paul II promoted this devotion, for it is very much in line with his encyclical Dives in Misericordia. In fact, the Paschal Mystery theology that he taught pushed aside all consideration of the gravity of sin and the need for penance, for satisfaction to divine justice, and hence of the Mass as being an expiatory sacrifice, and likewise the need to gain indulgences and to do works of penance. Since God is infinitely merciful and does not count our sins, all this is considered of no consequence. This is not the Catholic spirit. We must make reparation for our sins and for the sins of the whole world, as the Sacred Heart repeatedly asked at Paray-Le-Monial. It is the renewal of our consecration to the Sacred Heart and frequent holy hours of reparation that is going to bring about the conversion of sinners. It is in this way that we can cooperate in bringing about His Kingdom of Merciful Love, because it is the perfect recognition of the infinite holiness of the Divine Majesty and complete submission to His rightful demands. Mercy only means something when we understand the price of our Redemption. Source 

136 responses

  1. “I realise a lot of faithful Catholics do like the image and pray the Divine Mercy devotions sincerely. This thread is not, in any way, intended to be a criticism of them.”

    I was glad to read the above statement in the introduction, because I know quite a few people who have this devotion.

    However, I’ve never felt drawn to it myself, and having read the quotes from Sr Faustina’s diary I’m very doubtful about it. I couldn’t believe it when I read about the Blessed Sacrament jumping into her hands.

    I prefer the image of the Sacred Heart (obviously, it’s my avatar!) and the story of the apparitions to St Margaret Mary are truly edifying. I don’t find Sr Faustina’s writings edifying at all. I have read her diary but not studied it, so I am grateful for this discussion and look forward to what others say before I give a final answer to the topic question. My gut instinct is to answer that it’s not Catholic, but I may be wrong. I’ll wait and see.

  2. Editor,

    Thank you for posting this thread. I was astounded to read that Pope Pius XII placed the Diary on the list of Prohibited Books and that the devotion was condemned twice during the pontificate of Blessed John XIII! And none of this was made known to the faithful when JPII instituted the feast of Divine Mercy?

    The idea of mercy without justice doesn’t make sense. I do think that the institution of the feast – with its promise of writing off temporal punishment due to sin, is not only, not innocuous, it is actually harmful . It lulls the conscience into a false sense of security (and not one of us needs that!); whereas a person might have undertaken some form of penance to make up for sin, he might now feel he can simply say the novena to obtain not just forgiveness for sins but remission of all temporal punishment as well.

    I’ve never known human nature to seek the harder path when an easier one presented itself- except in the case of saints.

    • Jobstears,

      I’ve just re-read your comment and I can’t believe I missed the seriousness of what you wrote (from the Diary) about the writing off of temporal punishment due to sin. How very true, that consciences will be lulled into a false sense of security instead of doing penance for sins. That is really serious.

      I read over the article again a few minutes ago and I think there is so much that is actually contradicting Catholic teaching that it cannot be said to be a truly Catholic devotion. She’s exempt from Judgement after death, she says,and there are other questionable statements from Jesus that it’s easy to see why it was put on the index. It’s hard to believe the Pope set aside a feast day for this devotion.

      • The writings do not dismiss penance and reparation for sin. Indeed, they encourage it.

        Interestingly, the Sabbatine privilege of the Scapular of Carmel promises deliverance from Purgatory the Saturday after ones death. Likewise, the promises of the Rosary of Saint Dominic promise the remission of purgatory to those sufficiently devoted to the Rosary.

        It should be remembered that a plenary indulgence if actually gained, remits all temporal punishment due to sin. It is not my understanding that Indulgences lead the faithful away from penance and the reparation of sin.

  3. I didn’t know too much about the devotion, but I know it is very popular in some circles. There’s a group in my parish that has a “Divine Mercy” Mass every month. They also meet in homes to pray the chaplet. My own grandmother displays the image at her home.

    I have to say that I’m blown away by these revelations. To think the diary was put on the Index and now the Feast of Divine Mercy is growing in popularity! The image itself, I’m not keen on it. I wonder if this devotion is part of the “Diabolical Disorientation”. I’m certain that Medjugorje is diverting attention away from Fatima: could this devotion be diverting attention from the Sacred Heart (which was always described as THE devotion for the ‘end times’)? Could the chaplet of Divine Mercy be distracting from the Holy Rosary?

    I’m astounded by the way Our Lord is supposed to have spoken to St Faustina. I’ve never read anything like it. I think genuine apparitions always have a certain something in common. Certainly a regular feature has been reparation, reparation, reparation! The fact that this has been almost omitted completely from these apparitions is quite telling.

    All in all, I don’t think I would feel confident or competent stating that it is “not Catholic”, but I think there are huge question marks hanging over the authenticity of the apparitions and the value of the devotion. I much prefer to stick with the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

  4. I agree with everyone so far. I don’t feel any interest at all in the Divine Mercy devotion and I really can’t stand the image, to be honest. I love the Sacred Heart image, though.

    I think Jobstears is so right about the need to remember God’s justice as well as his mercy but this stress on the mercy is typical of the modern Church, which I guess may be why Pope John Paul II pushed this devotion.

    I just know I’m not going to bother with it, it doesn’t appeal at all and the quotes from her diary have made me really doubt the whole thing. It’s not just the quotes that I’ve read here that make me doubt, I have always doubted this devotion. It’s just a kind of feeling I’ve had about it, and the little I’ve read about it.

  5. There are some very good points here already, early in the life of this thread, so thanks folks.

    I received an email soon after posting the thread from a lady who follows the blog but hasn’t signed up to comment.

    She tells me that she is 100% convinced that the Divine Mercy devotion is Catholic, and when I asked if she’d actually read the blog introduction/articles, she replied “yes” she had.

    This lady is no teenager. She’s a grandmother, so she’ll have been taught about the non-contradictory nature of the relationship between Faith and Reason.

    My simple mind (say nothing 😀 ) finds it difficult to reconcile Faith with Common-Sense here. If, for example, Our Lord actually did say to Sister Faustina: “I am uniting Myself with you so intimately as with no other creature.” then we must, surely, honour Sister Faustina above Our Lady, and certainly above all the other saints?

    Doesn’t make (Catholic) sense. But, hey, who am I to judge? If anyone can square the circle for me, I’ll admit my wrong-headed judgment. Right now, I’m remembering the old litmus test for private apparitions – if anything therein contradicts doctrine, it’s not from God.

    Correct me, please, someone, if I’ve got it wrong. And don’t feel bad about it. I’m bound to be wrong some day…

      • Father Scott gives the source for that quote, and I don’t think he would take it out of context anyway. He went to some length to say he wasn’t taking away from Sr Faustina’s sincerity, even her “personal holiness” although my personal opinion is different from his on that score.

  6. I have always been wary of the DMD. I am convinced that it has drawn attention away from devotion to the Sacred Heart. This was confirmed when I heard a priest (now a bishop) — widely esteemed for his apparent orthodoxy and outstanding education — who once said at a private dinner, “what is the difference between the Sacred Heart and the Divine Mercy”. I am not criticising him. It is quite possible, if I recall his intonation, that he himself was admitting that the DMD ‘blurs the lines’. This is problematic. Is not the Sacred Heart a ‘compulsory’ devotion, along with devotion to Our Lady, specifically the Holy Rosary?

    I was also concerned, because the DMD appeared to me to be most assiduously practiced and promoted by those persons who were devoted to Medjugorje or were involved in the Charismatic movement. Essentially, I perceived that this devotion attracted those with an ’emotionalist orientation’.

    I too am not altogether keen on the particular image above. I got the impression that this was the official icon of the DMD.

    Low Sunday is an ancient part of the liturgical calendar. You can’t just rename it! That seems to be the case in the Novus Ordo. Ought not the feast be a day of particular commemoration to the Divine Mercy, confined rather to ones personal piety? That seems more reasonable. I have not read the stipulation in the writings, but I would be interested to know what it really says.

    However, I have tried to be as fair and open towards the DMD as possible. I am not totally closed to it.

    I spoke to one traditional priest of the SSPX. He was neutral, although he expressed reservations. I spoke to another traditional priest of the SSPX. He warned against it, “at all costs”, and said firmly it was “modernist”. I spoke to another traditional priest who is associated with the SSPX. He himself believes in the merit of the DMD and intimated he believes in its supernaturality. I offer some of the points he made, which he made in response to the question I presented. I write the following based on contemporaneous notes of the conversation. They are worthy are consideration, I think:

    Before council the DMD was promoted by some priests and bishops of a traditional orientation. Indeed, the devotion originated before Vatican II.

    There are suspect elements within the writings of St MFK, but this is common to many ‘saint writers’, i.e. many saints have said rather outrageous things about their own sanctity, predestination, special character etc.. Saints are different, after all.

    He himself has found great benefit from the ‘DMD’. And that it had been “powerful”. This is in spite of his traditional formation as a priest, and his reputation as a priest of good spiritual and intellectual character among Traditional minded Catholics. I didn’t get the impression he was experience any cognitive dissonance arising from a conflict from the two.

    In regards to the DMD image above, and other similar common ones… The merits of this devotion do not come from any one particular representation. Rather, the graces promised in the writings are associated with the proscribed outline of a representation in the writings, i.e. the DMD concerns the iconography in general, not one particular picture. The one above just happens to be the most popular. We needn’t use it, or like it. Also, it must be remembered that many representations of the Sacred Heart are woefully deficient in their theological and artistic value. In fact, most are rubbish aren’t they?

    Although Medjugorje devotees and many Charismatics are comitted to the DMD, they are admittedly also devoted to the Rosary.

    It would be better to form our opinion on the DMD based on promotional literature from before the council.

    The devotion to the Sacred Heart of St MMA is not the exclusive revelation of divine merciful love, although this is perhaps the preeminent one. Throughout history there have been several. Is not the DMD just a continuity? Optional, not in competition, but complementary?

    It was noted that the DMD has and always will remain below the alliance of Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the precedence of devotions.

    Although John XXIII suppressed the DMD, Pius XII approved it (I have not verified this claim, I simply repeat what was told me by this reliable source. The reader should investigate its veracity.) This is interesting.

    Finally, he said that the proper ecclesial authorities at the moment are untrustworthy, and that we will have to wait for a reliable ‘verdict’ on the matter. John Paul II was ‘disorientated’, logically we cannot fully trust his judgement. However, this will not always be the case in the Church. In the future, things will be more clear.

    If I knew for sure this devotion was ‘legit’, I myself would find much value in it. I suspect the writings are bland at times. But true or false, the content is spectacular, that cannot be denied. She claimed an apparition of Our Lord after all, and the promises attached to this devotion, if real, are great indeed.

    Sorry if I have offended anyone, but the blog post prompts discussion.

    • I forgot to mention:

      Although Pope John XXIII ruled that the “supernatural nature of the revelations made to Sister Faustina is not evident”, he did not determine that the devotion contained anything contrary to faith or morals per se. There is a difference.

      I do mean that this is any justification whatsoever that Pope John XXIII’s ruling is should be disregarded. I also do mean to affirm the supernaturality of the DMD. Neither do I believe that the DMD is ‘good’ per se. I just think we should be as objective as possible.

    • Miles Immaculatae,

      I am very interested in this quote from a priest associated with the SSPX.

      “There are suspect elements within the writings of St MFK, but this is common to many ‘saint writers’, i.e. many saints have said rather outrageous things about their own sanctity, predestination, special character etc.. Saints are different, after all.”

      I would ask him to quote exactly from saints who said “rather outrageous things about their own sanctity etc.” I’ve read a lot of lives of saints and I can’t think of one who was as arrogant as Sister Faustina.

      Can you ask him for examples?

      • I don’t know any examples on a par with what St MFK wrote. I haven’t read much of the saints. I would feel awkward telephoning him again. It would feel like I was testing him.

        Here are some I have found:

        When I die, I will send down a shower of roses from the heavens,I will spend my heaven by doing good on earth. — Saint Therese of Lisieux.

        I suppose this demonstrates a conviction of her own (small ‘s’) sainthood. That sounds rather proud to us. But then again, she was Saint Therese of Lisieux.

        As to the rest, there is laid up for me a crown of justice, which the Lord the just judge will render to me in that day — Saint Paul (DR)

        Likewise, this demonstrates the Apostle’s conviction in his own predestination. Other translations are more explicit:

        From now on there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day KJV

        I am not sure if these quotes support my argument, but it is the best I could do.

        • Miles,

          I’ve yet to catch up with everything on this thread but the saints who spoke/wrote as you quote are not, in my view, at all in the same category as the writings of Sr Faustina, who is quoting Our Lord’s words about herself.

          From my reading of the saints, when they speak about their own salvation, it is always in the context of showing (ironically, given this discussion!) the great mercy of God and their own unworthiness. For example, elsewhere, St Therese speaks of taking nothing when she meets God, relying solely on His mercy – by which she meant that, no matter what any of us does that may seem good and holy, it is nothing compared to God’s holiness and justice. We have no “right” to Heaven, in other words. She doesn’t write in a puffed up manner about herself. You won’t find anything in her writings suggesting she’s slim, glamorous, witty, clever etc… 😀

          St Paul is the same. His awareness of his own unworthiness is crystal clear in his writings. Not so, it seems to me, in Sr Faustina’s quotes from the lips of Our Lord. However, I’m reserving the right to change my mind if proven to be wrong. From what I’ve read so far, however, I think I’m correct in my interpretation of her writings, and, if I may say so in all humility, that is in keeping with my track record of never being wrong 😀

          For the record, one other thing – I have read your post about Wikipedia and while I agree that it can be an excellent source, it’s certainly not – in my personal experience – policed in the way you suggest, at least, not the page to which I contributed a couple of years ago. I spotted a (typically anti-Catholic) error on a page about the Reformation (can’t quite remember the details) and signed up so that I could correct it, which I did. Then when I checked it later, my correction had been removed. I re-submitted it, Same thing happened again. I’ve never taken Wikipedia as a final source since then. I always double check everything. I take the view that it’s useful as a first port of call but if I quote it as a source, I only do so if there is a further citation.

          Finally, I note you say somewhere that you hope you don’t get “abuse” for taking the investigative stance you have taken towards the Divine Mercy Devotion. I’m astonished that you would think you would be “abused” – that would never be tolerated here. Please email me if you consider yourself to be abused at any time on this blog. Nobody should blog here until they’ve read our house rules in the About Us section where it is made clear that no personal remarks (beyond obvious humour) should be directed at other bloggers. I can see from what I’ve read just now, that you have made very important contributions to the discussions. Many thanks for that.

          Indeed, thanks to all who have contributed so far – I’m concentrating on finishing the May newsletter now, so can’t participate too much today but I look forward to studying all comments asap.

          • I’ve never received abuse here. I wouldn’t expect to. I used the word ‘abuse’ in a hyperbolic way to refer to some people’s attitude (in general, not on this blog) to me quoting from Wikipedia. I mentioned it here pre-emptively because I didn’t want to be irritated if someone brought it up. One of my old flatmates made a silly sarcastic comment about it once. People are inclined to say stuff like that. For example, I once had a flatmate who went to the Glasgow School of Art who said, in all seriousness, “if you’re a creative person you do something creative with your hair”, implying at the time that because I didn’t have ‘creative hair’ I wasn’t a creative person. Likewise, I would find the comment “if you’re an intellectual person you wouldn’t quote from Wikipedia”, implying I am not an intellectual person, just as asinine.

            I think if you change an article it is likely it will always get undone, they do this to stop vandalism. The best way to go about it is to enter the discussion page about the article and present your reasons for changing it. If there is consensus you are then less likely to have your stuff deleted by the Wikipedia police. Although in your case, it could just be bigotry. But the there is bigotry in all publications. For example, in terms of the Reformation for a very long time the narrative has been anti-Catholic, in Britain at least. Only relatively recently have revisionist historians like Eamon Duffy changed the consensus among historians on the Reformation in England. It has taken a very long time, but now his book ‘The Stripping of the Altars’ is considered the most authoritative. At school I was taught about Bloody Mary and all that. The truth is, Elizabeth I and her father where the bloody, Machiavellian, tyrants who caused all the trouble, but how many history books say that?

            I quoted those saints, only as an example. I couldn’t answer Josephine’s question very well, because I myself did not have any examples. That was the best I could do with the knowledge I had. It was the priest I spoke to who said it, and at the time he didn’t give examples, and I didn’t think to ask.

            • Miles,

              Thank you for your reassurance that you have never felt “abused” here. That is quite a relief. I keep hearing from people who read the blog a lot that they love its friendly atmosphere, so I’d hate that to change. Obviously, we have robust debates and sometimes disagreements by the truck load, but that should not be equated with nastiness. Only an inexperienced debater, someone with poor communication skills, is unable to disagree and debate in a courteous, if forthright, manner. So, thanks again for that reassurance.

              I apologise for the delay in your post appearing, but for some mysterious reason it went into SPAM and I have been a member of the non-blogging community for most of the day, so didn’t check the SPAM page until now. Sincere apologies. There’s no apparent reason why your post did not go straight up, but, be assured, it was well worth the wait !

      • Josephine:

        That was exactly my thinking. I’ve never, ever read any other saint writing in this way. It just doesn’t seem right.

        Miles makes a valid point about the possibility of the quotes being taken out of context. I note Miles’ responses below from various saints. They are interesting; but I still think the writings of St F are quite odd. The quote from St Therese (God bless that wonderful saint) is endowed with imagery and poetry and give the sense of an aspiration rather than a certainty she was saved.

    • Pius XII did not approve it. He placed the diary on the index of forbidden books. That is stated in the first link on the blog article – not Fr Scott’s article, the other one.

  7. “What was it about this devotion that prevented the Holy Office from acknowledging its divine origin? The decrees do not say, but it seems that the reason lies in the fact that there is so much emphasis on God’s mercy as to exclude His justice. Our sins and the gravity of the offense that they inflict on God is pushed aside as being of little consequence. That is why the aspect of reparation for sin is omitted or obscured.

    Compare this with the following from John XXIII’s opening speech at VII:

    “The Church has always opposed these errors [the opinions of men]. Frequently she has condemned them with the greatest severity. Nowadays however, the Spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity. She consider that she meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations.”

    This devotion fits right in with the Conciliar mindset, I’d say.

  8. May I give some explanation about my assertion above that Pius XII (allegedly) ‘approved’ the DMD.

    Here is an extract from Wikipedia*.

    I am not saying I believe or agree with anything quoted below. I mention it here only to aid discussion. And to determine the truth, to get some clarity on the matter. Neither do I reject that Pius XII put the writings of St MFK on the Index per se. Although, as I mention, I was sure a tradiitonal priest of the SSPX had said to me Pius XII believed in the devotion. I maintain that Pius XII’s opinion on the DMD ought be investigated further in the discussion here. Does anybody else have any information that corroborates the claim in the link above that Pius XII put it on the Index? Again, I must assure you, I do not per se deny that he did, I just want to ascertain the truth, and do what every good student does… never stop asking questions.

    On 24 June 1956, Pope Pius XII blessed an Image of the Divine Mercy in Rome, the only one blessed by a Pope before the Second Vatican Council.[30] In 1955, under Pope Pius XII, the Bishop of Gorzów founded a religious order called the Congregation of the Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ, Merciful Redeemer, to spread devotion to the Divine Mercy.[31][32] Under both Pope Pius XI and Pope Pius XII, writings on devotion to the Divine Mercy were given imprimaturs by many bishops, making it an approved devotion.[33][34][35][36] Cardinals Adam Stefan Sapieha and August Hlond were among those who gave their approval.[37][38] During the papacy of Pope Pius XII, Vatican Radio broadcast several times about the Divine Mercy.[39] …

    After a failed attempt to persuade Pope Pius XII to sign a condemnation, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani at the Holy Office included her works on a list he submitted to the newly elected Pope John XXIII in 1959.[43][44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58][59] On 6 March 1959, the Holy Office issued a notification, signed by Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty as notary, that forbade circulation of “images and writings that promote devotion to Divine Mercy in the forms proposed by Sister Faustina” (emphasis in the original).[60] The negative judgement of the Holy Office was based both on a faulty French[61] or Italian[37][62][63][64][65][66] translation of the diary, and on theological difficulties such as the claim that Jesus had promised complete remission of sin for certain devotional acts without specifying whether the forgiveness would be obtained directly or through undertaking reception of the sacraments, and what may have been thought to be excessive concentration on Faustina herself.[62]

    I am fully aware that this could have been influenced by propaganda from DM enthusiasts. It certainly appears the article has been mainly written by pro DMD persons. But let us constructibility dismiss with recourse to the facts. If this information is indeed false, to do so can only be for our benefit.

    I would like to reiterate that I personally do not currently have a devotion to the DMD. At the moment I lean toward suspicion. I just think we should be as fair as possible.

    *(Please readers, I do not wish to receive any abuse because this is from Wikipedia, as some insufferable ‘academic’ types are inclined to do. Wikipedia is edited by persons via the internet. So what? All publications are edited. Even those published by universities, believe it or not. And believe me, as someone used to reading academic writing, I can tell you, they aren’t half susceptible to baloney. Wikipedia is sometimes more objective! It is ‘policed’: All editorial matters for each article are discussed and many of its contributors are experts. Some contributors might not be able/welcome to write in formal academic circles, but that in my opinion gives Wikipedia more value. Academia is as we all know incestuous. Wikipedia is an excellent tool, and all academics use it, they just don’t always admit it. One senior lecture at my university even quoted from Wikipedia at a lecture of French literature. Contrary to popular belief, you can’t just write anything on Wikipedia and get away with it. It is termed ‘vandalism’ and is likely to be deleted by the ‘Wikipedia police’. Wikipedia have good editorial standards, and readers are warned in advance about problematic entries. Wikipedia is the only thing of its kind that comprehensively links to many sources on the internet. This is incredibly useful. I mention all this because of one fool (a student peer of mine) who once sarcastically trashed a comment I made about something I once learned on Wikipedia. Wikipedia is perhaps the best website on the internet. Of course one must read it critically. But is there much you wouldn’t read critically? You can’t read it North Korea, that’s for sure. Rant over.)

    • Since writing the above, I have just read further sources that state Pius XII never placed the writings associated with the DMD on the Index.

      I do not have the competence to determine whether Pius XII placed the writings on the Index or not. Does anybody know how? In the meantime I will be looking at archived documents on the Vatican website.

      The first link does not give a source for this.

      The Fr Scott article does not mention Pius XII.

  9. Concerning Pius XII’s alleged entry of St MFK’s writings on the Index:

    Since the last time I posted, I have not managed to find a copy of the Index on the internet apart from this once:

    This claims to be a copy of the last published edition of the Index during the reign of Pius XII. That is, the 20th edition of 1948.

    There are two problems:

    a) I do not know if Pius XII authoritatively amended the Index after the publication of the 20th edition. This was the last publication of the Index during his life. If he did amend the 20th edition, then I require the last amended edition of the Index at the moment of his death. This will be hard to obtain.

    b) This is not an authorised copy of the Index, it therefore may be unreliable. I have not been able to find an authorised copy of the elsewhere on the internet, including the Vatican website.

    If however Pius XII did not amened the 20th edition, and if the above copy of the 20th addition is reliable, then it would appear that Pius XII did not put St MFK on the index.

    • This link states that Pius XII did not put St MFK on the Index. The only time she was put on the index was by John XXIII in 1959.

      Even though the last edition of the Index was 1948, the article in the link says that John XXIII amended the Index 1959. If that is true it would suggest Pius XII may also have amended the index after 1948, which means he may have put St MFK in the index.

      This link is not reliable. It is somebody’s private blog. However, it is no more unreliable than the link above that states Pius XII put St MFK on the index, because that also is a blog and she doesn’t give her source.

      At the moment, I would bet Pius XII never put St MFK on the index. This would support what the SSPX priest I spoke to who said Pius XII supported the devotion. This is important, and needs to be considered in the following discussion.

  10. Miles,

    You have made such a huge contribution to this thread and it has helped me understand the issues more clearly.

    It’s interesting that the Traditional priests you spoke to all said different things. I think this shows that it is clearly very difficult to say with any great level of conviction that it’s not “Catholic”.

    However, I must admit that it just doesn’t feel right for me. It doesn’t “feel Catholic”. I know that’s quite a modern thing to say, but I think the Catholic sense gives us an immediate impression of these things. I get the same feeling about Opus Dei if I’m honest.

    I think the fact that Pope John Paul II promoted this devotion and instituted the feast is enough to make any sensible Catholic wary of it. If he approved it, the Church will have to examine it again when we have a truly Catholic pope.

    • I don’t think it’s modern at all, it is prudent to go with your gut.

      I can’t determine what my gut is saying with this one, so I will rely on my default, which is cautious. If DMD is authentic, I think it has temporarily become victim of the conciliar disorientation.

      My gut always told me Opus Dei was iffy. I was a little bit involved with them. They make an idol out of papal obedience, to the point of ridiculous. More like masochism, servility. North Korean Ultramontanism. You get the impression they would lick the floor is they were told do so in the name of ecclesial obedience. I think it probably has something to do with that in Josemaria Escriva’s diocese, 88% of all diocesan priests were murdered during the Terror Rojo.

        • The gentleman who helped Escriva hide the recording devices was Monsignor Vladimir Felzmann, who recalls that Escriva once said “Hitler couldn’t have been such a bad person”.

          Then there’s that letter several of Escriva’s former “intimate” acquaintances wrote to the Vatican before his canonisation which stated they could “testify to his […] evil character”. Under the reformed canonisation process, they were unable to give evidence before the congregation.

          • I’m no fan of Opus Dei, but Mgr Felzmann is not to be trusted either. He was the one who was up to his neck in those blasphemous ‘rave’ Masses in the Westminster diocese some years ago.

            • Perhaps not, but there is no reason to think he is a liar. I believe him about that bugging. I think its hilarious, does anybody else? Damian Thompson calls him the Nixon of the Catholic Church. Weird or what? Do they not wonder why people think they’re creepy? Has the penny not dropped?

          • I must say, Miles, I support Opus Dei, but with certain. I certainly appreciate their doctrinal nature, along with their devotion to the Rosary and Our Lady, not to mention sanctification of ordinary life. However, I have criticided Pope Francis for his bizarre and off-the-cuff comments that seem to challenge doctrine, and they blanch. They impulsively attempt to reconcile the Pope’s comments with orthodoxy and fail, in my eyes.

            I also worry about the cult of personality around St Josemaria Escriva. He was certainly paranoid, as evidenced by the bugging and wiretaps. Not to mention he had a volatile temper, and swore and cursed at Maria Del Carmen Tapia (b. 1925) a leading Numerary, calling her a ‘pig’ and a ‘bitch’ when she left the ‘Work’.

            Miles, did you ever go to Greygarth in Manchester? What did you think of it and Xavier the Director? I thought it was odd, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

              • They are not ‘saturnine’ at all. Opus Dei people generally are very friendly and warm. The centre I have been to has peculiar atmosphere, which I can’t put my figure on, but I enjoy going.

                • We are bound to have different experiences. I like the people I met at the Opus Dei centre near me.

                  There was one holy cross priest I find saturnine. I find the writings of Escriva saturnine. I find the whole ethos of OD very saturnine.

                  • I’m puzzled as to what you mean by ‘saturnine’. Obviously I know what ‘saturnine’ means, but how does this relate to the writings of St Josemaria? I’ve always found ‘The Way’ quite edifying.

                    • CC,

                      I agree. I don’t find The Way saturnine. I watched videos of him taking questions from the crowd n the Opus Dei website a few years ago and found him quite warm and encouraging.

                    • We have different tastes, personalities and histories. I can’t justify my sentiments, they are as they are. You find them edifying, that’s good. I don’t wish to dispute that.

      • “My gut always told me Opus Dei was iffy. I was a little bit involved with them. They make an idol out of papal obedience, to the point of ridiculous.”

        That probably explains Michael Voris and Co.

  11. I’m really glad you had this thread, Editor, as I’ve long had concerns about the Divine Mercy devotion and have always wondered if it is a distraction from the Sacred Heart devotion, but it’s become almost a heresy in certain circles to raise doubts about it. Sr Lucia of Fatima once asked Jesus why He would not convert Russia without the Holy Father making the Consecration of Russia. Jesus replied to her:- “Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that Consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, so that it may extend its cult later on, and put the Devotion to My Mother’s Immaculate Heart beside the Devotion to My Sacred Heart.” A Divine Mercy devotion was never mentioned.

    I have often noted a ‘signs and wonders’ tendency among members of the Divine Mercy movement and Medjugorje is frequently promoted alongside it, so instead of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart devotions requested by Our Lord, Divine Mercy and Medjugorje seem to take precedence. There seems to be an general lack of discernment among some of the Divine Mercy promoters – note the recent fiasco of inviting Fr Timothy Radcliffe to speak at a Divine Mercy conference in Ireland (having had the Medjugorje-spawned alleged ‘seer’ Anne the Lay Apostle as a speaker on a previous occasion).

    I read criticisms about the Divine Mercy devotion on a sedevacantist website some years ago, which made some alarming allegations about certain things written in St Faustina’s diary. As it was a sedevacantist site, I wanted to check if the allegations were correct. When I got a copy of St Faustina’s diary and checked it, these allegations were indeed correct. On page 23 of the book Divine Mercy in My Soul (The Diary of Sr. Faustina), it says: “… and the host came out of the tabernacle and came to rest in my hands and I, with joy, placed it back in the tabernacle. This was repeated a second time, and I did the same thing. Despite this, it happened a third time…” (Marian Press, Stockbridge, MA, 1987). On page 89 of the book Divine Mercy in My Soul, it says: “When the priest approached me again, I raised the host for him to put back into the chalice, because when I had first received Jesus I could not speak before consuming the host, and so could not tell him that the other host had fallen. But while I was holding the host in my hand, I felt such a power of love that for the rest of the day I could neither eat nor come to my senses. I heard these words from the host: I desired to rest in your hands, not only in your heart.” Holy Communion in the hand? This is most odd.

    There is a great book called ‘The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus’ by Fr John Croiset SJ (TAN books ISBN: 9780895553348). The cover states that this book “is not ‘just another book on the Sacred Heart devotion’, but it can be truly said to be THE book on this devotion. Written by the spiritual director of St Margaret Mary, the book comes from the pen of a man intimately familiar with every aspect of the revelations given by Our Lord to this famous saint; thus the book is actually the ‘key’ to understanding the importance and the centrality of the Sacred Heart devotion for our lives as true Catholics.

    But even more than being THE book on the Sacred Heart devotion, Fr Croiset’s work is a revelation to us all just why so few people become great saints, just why so few Catholics – despite going frequently to the Sacraments – fail really to grow in the life of grace and make great progress in the spiritual order. ‘Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus’ was actually commissioned by Our Lord Himself through St Margaret Mary, and as the author neared completion of it, the Saint told him that Our Lord said it was so completely in accord with His wishes, that it would never be necessary to make any change in it. Later she revealed to Fr Croiset that it was Our Lord Himself who had inspired him with the ideas in this book and that it was so pleasing to Him that ‘none other but Himself could have arranged everything so much to His wishes . . . ”

    I can’t remember the exact wording in the book as I don’t have a copy with me at present, but it definitely states somewhere in it words to the effect that Our Lord said that the Sacred Heart devotion was the last help that He Himself was holding out to mankind. I took this to mean that He Himself would not be making any more appearances with new devotions to help mankind, because obviously, He sent His Mother to Fatima in 1917. And bear in mind that Our Lord had told St Margaret Mary that it would never be necessary to make any changes to this Sacred Heart book. So Our Lord confirmed by saying that, that the Sacred Heart devotion was the final one being held out by Him for mankind. How does that square with the Divine Mercy devotion?

  12. This probably sounds silly, but the name “Faustina” is certainly evocative of “Faust,” i.e. the old German legend of the scholar who, bored with his life, made a pact with the devil to sell his soul in exchange for various magical powers and worldly pleasures.

  13. I agree that divine mercy without justice does not make sense. Justice requires us making use of the Sacrament of Penance and making reparation for those sins committed. I know of one or two people who believe in the Divine Mercy devotion. And, like Westminsterfly, have noted that these people also are interested in Medjorgje. This devotion has never appealed to me.

    The Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I do think, go hand in hand with each other.

  14. I personally have said the Divine Mercy Devotion on many occasions, and I must say that it has brought me a great deal of comfort and succour in hard times. I always thought it was very spiritual, especially when I gazed at the image of Jesus. I did not however, see the similarities between the Sacred Heart and the DMD, i.e Christ pointing at his heart/chest. However, I think it’s stretching the blanket to say that it is replacing the Rosary. Could one not say the same about the Chaplet of St Michael or the Holy Wounds Chaplet? After reading the text above, I’m struck by St Faustina’s arrogance concerning her relationship with God, and that she would not be judged. I’m pretty sure that she’s covered both the sins of presumption and pride there.

    • Catholic Convert,

      Some very interesting points there. I don’t think the Divine Mercy chaplet replaces the Holy Rosary, but it can divert attention from it. I agree, however, that you could say that of any devotion.

      Personally I have never been attracted to any of the chaplets. I’ve got no real interest in them. That’s just a personal thing.

      Although this thread isn’t about recommending devotions, I’d like to highlight the “Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. It dovetails very nicely with the Rosary and Brown Scapular. It’s liturgical and historical. I’m strongly attracted to Carmelite spirituality (although I’m a million miles away from ever coming close to understanding and practising it properly) so this devotion has that Catholic ethos that I find missing in DM.

      • Good call, Petrus. St. Louis de Montfort recommends saying the Little Office daily, I believe, for those who have completed the Consecration to the Immaculate Heart.

  15. Some years ago I went to Poland. I was rather disillusioned with the church here in Scotland and had heard of the great devotion in all respects shown by the polish people. I was seeking and hoping that there was in fact a European country where the Catholic faith was alive and true.
    Now I know this was a few years ago and since then the great steam roller of secularism might have rolled forward into Poland and things may be a bit different now.
    I was stunned by the reverence of the Polish people; young children, teenagers, adults and the elderly; it made no difference. The conviction and devotion were palpable. In Krakow on Sunday there were something like eight masses and all of these were busy.
    I had no knowledge of St Faustina whatsoever until I went there. The reverence and humility of those who came to the Divine Mercy Shrine is something I will never forget. In particular the joy and sweetness of the sisters of the order to which St Faustina, hundreds of them in their habits, so different from whT we see of the modern nuns,say, in the USA, was a revelation to me.there was a great deal more: round the clock confessions, adoration, Mass many times during the day.
    I know this is not proof that the Divine Mercy is all it claims to be. But I would question how a devotion bearing such rich fruits can be any thing other than what it’s followers say it is.
    Also, I would say,why does an attachment to a certain devotion of necessity become a rival devotion instead of an enrichment?

    • Spero,

      Interesting post. My problem with certain aspects of your post is that the arguments you suggest for Divine Mercy are the same arguments used by the proponents of Medjugorje. I’ve found that devotion to Medjugorje and Divine Mercy often, not always, go hand in hand.

    • Spero,

      The proponents of Medjugorje make the same ‘rich fruits’ argument. If the devil can’t tempt people to sin, then he will try and get them to do the least good thing, and attachment to a counterfeit devotion would certainly be more preferable to him than attachment to a genuine devotion. Not that I am saying Divine Mercy is counterfeit. I simply have unanswered queries and reservations about aspects of it.

      However, some Catholics have turned Divine Mercy into some kind of super-dogma and question the Catholicity of those who have doubts about it, which is quite wrong. A person I know said to me ‘where are you doing the Divine Mercy devotions this year?’ When I replied that I wasn’t, they were shocked, as if I’d told them I’d lapsed from the Faith.

      Another person sent me the You Tube link that I posted above and seemed far from pleased when I suggested that the solar effects I saw on the film clip were more likely due to atmospheric conditions than anything else.

      People will argue that it is approved, but the Holy See approved the Legionaries of Christ movement and its monstrous founder, Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado. The Holy See has also approved the heretical ‘Neocatechumenate’ sect, with all its liturgical and doctrinal shenanigans. With all these post-conciliar aberrations gaining approval, can you wonder at people having doubts about things like Divine Mercy? We live in confusing times!

      The quote that I made earlier about the Sacred Heart devotion being the last help – I can’t find it in the book that I mentioned (which is 344 pages long!) but I found the quote from St Margaret Mary on the internet:- “And He showed me that it was His great desire of being loved by men and of withdrawing them from the path of ruin into which Satan hurls such crowds of them, that made Him form the design of manifesting His Heart to men, with all the treasures of love, of mercy, of grace, of sanctification and salvation which it contains, in order that those who desire to render Him and procure for Him all the honour and love possible, might themselves be abundantly enriched with those divine treasures of which this Heart is the source. He should be honoured under the figure of this Heart of flesh, and its image should be exposed…He promised me that wherever this image should be exposed with a view to showing it special honour, He would pour forth His blessings and graces. This devotion was the LAST EFFORT (emphasis mine) of His love that He would grant to men in these latter ages, in order to withdraw them from the empire of Satan which He desired to destroy, and thus to introduce them into the sweet liberty of the rule of His love, which He wished to restore in the hearts of all those who should embrace this devotion.”

      So, to sum up, while I wouldn’t like to say the Divine Mercy devotion is not of Heaven, I think people are entitled to hold reservations about it – and not have their orthodoxy brought into question for doing so.

  16. I tried to post the original picture of this devotion which is a lot better, but my post disappeared. Anyway was the diary written in the sister’s hand or by someone else? I was reading an article about the novena and find it very strange that someone change the words. The supposed words of Our Lord were to pray for pagans and then for heretics and schismatics but were changed to be politically Vatican II correct. An EWTN article described it this way:
    “Our Lord’s original words here were “heretics and schismatics,” since He spoke to Saint Faustina within the context of her times. As of the Second Vatican Council, Church authorities have seen fit not to use those designations in accordance with the explanation given in the Council’s Decree on Ecumenism (n.3). Every pope since the Council has reaffirmed that usage. Saint Faustina herself, her heart always in harmony with the mind of the Church, most certainly would have agreed. When at one time, because of the decisions of her superiors and father confessor, she was not able to execute Our Lord’s inspirations and orders, she declared: “I will follow Your will insofar as You will permit me to do so through Your representative. O my Jesus ” I give priority to the voice of the Church over the voice with which You speak to me” (497). The Lord confirmed her action and praised her for it.”

    • 3LittleShepherds,

      I’ve just come across your post attempting to publish the original picture – it had gone into SPAM (along with a post from Miles which I have also just released.)

      Cannot think why either of these went into SPAM, there was no apparent reason for it, so my apologies on behalf of WordPress !

      Your “picture” post didn’t make it – although the link is there, further up the page.

      Again, apologies, both you Miles and yourself, for the delay in publishing your comments.

  17. Westminsterfly

    I would certainly concur that those who have reservations about the Divine Mercy should not have their orthodoxy called into question.

    I am surprised this suggestion has even arisen, as where I live, the following demonstrated to St Faustina and the Divine Mercy, is peripheral, and certainly not sufficiently respected, that it would guarantee an affirmation of orthodoxy.

      • The priest’s who contribute to audio Sancto do so anonymously so as to head of any risk of pride by the fact people may seek them out for other talks, etc,

        • But all of the sermons on audio Sancto belong to priests belonging to Traditional societies that only say the TLM

          • I recognize this priest’s voice: his sermons are frequently recorded on Voice of Catholic Radio in New York. I believe he is a Society priest.


            Among other excellent sermons, he gave a rather stinging and indignant rebuttal to Francis the Red-Nosed after he accused traditionalists of being “Pelagians,” and demonstrated that the Pope didn’t even know what a Pelagian was…

            • His accusations of Gnosticism were stranger. Fr Paul Nicholson, an Opus Dei priest and approved missionary priest of the New Evangelisation (whatever the hell that is), made that ludicrous video if you remember, when he quotes Pope Francis and accuses the SSPX of being ‘Gnostics’.

              The Pope’s insults are thoroughly baroque and Jusuitical. Nobody else has the faintest idea what they mean, but that’s the Jesuits for you!

  18. In the absence of any evidence, I think it is safe to say Pius XII did not place St MFK on the Index. Somebody probably made an error with the dates, and other people on-line have copied from his original inaccurate source.

    However, it doesn’t actually matter whether Pius XII did or not. I have just learned that the Church has frequently put the writings of Saints on the Index before they were canonised as an act of caution. The writings of St Theresa of Avila spent time on it for example. If this is true, it is an interesting point to consider.

    • What the hell am I talking about? How could John XXIII put her on the Index when she was already there? All this time I was trying to prove something that was logically manifestly obvious. What an idiot I am!

      This gives the claim that Pius XII supported the devotion veracity.

    • Gabriel Syme,

      I scrolled down all of the photos at the Daily Mail link and they were very interesting for a number of reasons. Saw the Divine Mercy poster as you mentioned. I noted also the very last one with the small boys dressed as popes. That was both good fun and thought provoking.

      After watching the three year old boy in South America “saying” the new Mass word perfect/gesture perfect, I was already wondering if maybe it’s time to lower the age for vocations. Now, seeing the wee boys dressed as popes, and looking so… er…. saintly, I’m wondering if we should just let the kids run the Church and be done with it. They couldn’t make things any worse, that’s for sure!

  19. As one who says the Divine Mercy every day, and has had my house dedicated to the Sacred Heart I am at a loss to understand so much of what has been written. The Sacred Heart is about the great love of Jesus for us and as a devotion it concerns itself with Jesus and everything he did to show his love for us. The Divine Mercy is a devotion to God the Father asking his forgiveness for our sins and those of the whole world. Its setting is the Crucifixion and just as at Mass we offer with the priest our Jesus to the Father for the forgiveness of sihs so outside of Mass we remind the Father of His Son`s sacrifice. “Eternal Father…..” “Holy God, Holy MIghty One, Holy Immortal One…” forgive me if I do not see anything objectionable in this. We ask for mercy because we are sinners. I think all the talk about doing penance is the worst legalism I have heard for a long time. On Sr Faustina we all seem to have a stereotype of what a saint should look like, and where there are two interpretations we prefer the negative one. Why do we not see Sr Faustina as a child and not a theologian.

    • Penance? Legalism? Our Lady of Fatima asked us to do penance – to make sacrifices – in reparation for sin. The Angel appeared in the vision of the Third Secret of Fatima, saying ‘Penance! Penance! Penance!’ Since when has penance become ‘legalistic’?

      • The whole idea of mercy implies reptence and penance. People who somehow try and set up devotions as somehow opposed to each other are just the same as the liberals who try and tell you it’s not appropriate to pray the Rosary in adoration as it draws attention away from The Lord.

        • ‘No one you know’ – nobody is setting up devotions as being opposed to each other, I think you are misunderstanding the situation. No private revelation, by definition, has to be accepted as part of Catholic teaching, but you have proved my previous point, once again, by sneeringly comparing those who have sincere and genuine reservations about the Divine Mercy devotion, with ‘liberals’ (i.e. dissenters).

          I have no problem with praying the Rosary while the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, far from it.

          I also fully and unequivocally accept Catholic teaching on the spiritual and corporal works of mercy (which, at the end of the day, are the most important things where our mercy towards others is concerned).

          If you want to do this devotion, fine! Get on with it! But stop looking down your nose at those who choose not to do it. I suspect you might be one of these who wants to turn the devotion into a dogma.

          One person who has commented on this thread fervently defending the Divine Mercy devotion used to also fervently defend Medjugorje. He knows who he is.

          • Well clearly people are when they say that they’re worried it takes attention away from the Sacred Heart…. So clearly they think they’re opposed to one another.

            And I never said you wouldn’t. I’m merely drawing a perfectly valid parallel about those who see devotions as opposed.

            And you assume far too much saying I’m attacking those who have objections and that I’m looking down my nose at them. I rarely pray the chaplet (in fact I prayed it for the first time in couple of years only last week on Good Friday). And the irony, of course, of your last comment about wanting to turn the devotion into a dogma (which I don’t) is that many do just that with the apparitions at Fatima. Now, before anyone pounces on me says anything against me: I defend fully the apparitions at Fatima, I think Russia probably does still need to be consecrated, and I think that its message is especially important for us… It, however, cuts both ways. If the Church is happy with the apparitions to St Faustina, as she is with the apparitions at Fatima, you can’t attack one and adhere to the other

            And lastly your comment that because someone has a devotion to the most certainly erroneous Medjugorje we should be worried they have a devotion to the a Divine Mercy is logically fallacious to the extreme. It’s like saying that because Plato is a man, all men are Plato.

            • No one you know,

              The problem is that the Church doesn’t treat the Fatima apparitions in the same way as the Divine Mercy devotion. The consecration of Russia doesn’t “probably still need to be done” – it obviously definitely still needs to be done and that is becoming more urgent every day, due to the Ukraine crisis.

              I disagree with you about the link between Medjugorje and Divine Mercy devotion, it’s not at all like the “Plato” example you give. It’s more than a coincidence that those who are most fervent to spread the DMD are the same people who believe in Medjugorje and push it, even knowing that it’s been forbidden by all the local bishops. There’s a spirit of disobedience and pride about Medjugorje promoters that you don’t get with the Fatima apparitions.

            • No one you know,

              But I haven’t ‘attacked’ the Divine Mercy devotion. Check my previous comments. I’ve merely stated that I have reservations / concerns about aspects of it (and the behaviour of some of its adherents) which I don’t have about Fatima. There is a difference between expressing concerns and ‘attacking’.

              Nor is my position inconsistent. I am perfectly entitled to believe in Fatima while holding reservations about some other revelations which have been approved by the Church.

              You have more or less stated that if I accept one, then I have to accept all approved revelations, lock, stock and barrel. That is not correct. I can have reservations about private revelations which are not binding of their nature.

              But I do think Fatima is in a different class to other revelations although others are at perfect liberty to disagree with me on that issue, but they would be going against what Pope John Paul II said on May 13, 1982, when he publicly stated at Fatima: “The Message of Fatima imposes an obligation on the whole Church”. His words – not mine – ‘an obligation’. I don’t recall him ever making a similar comment about Divine Mercy or any other revelation imposing an ‘obligation’, so clearly something is different here.

              The reasons for him making such a statement about Fatima are overwhelmingly obvious and don’t need reiteration here. Much has been written about the nature of the Fatima events and the degree to which the faithful are ‘obliged’, to quote Pope John Paul II, to accept and live it – one such article here –

              I also have grave reservations (far more than Divine Mercy!) about the Our Lady of All Nations apparitions even though they have now seemingly been approved by the local Ordinary. And my reservations were doubly confirmed when I found out that the CDF insisted on the words of the official Our Lady of All Nations prayer being changed (the prayer was supposedly given by Our Lady of All Nations to Ide Peerdeman). Would the Mother of God give us a prayer containing error that needed correcting?

    • John Kearney,

      But didn’t Our Lord tell St Margaret Mary that the Sacred Heart devotion would be the final one? Also, that he wanted the Immaculate Heart of Mary to be venerated so that the world would place that devotion alongside his Sacred Heart. He didn’t mention that he’d be revealing another “mercy” devotion. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this.

  20. The word ‘mercy’ comes from the Latin misericordia, which literally means give heart to the wretched. ‘Miser’ meaning wretched and ‘cordia’ meaning give heart to. In light of this and Josephine’s comment above, why would Our Lord reveal another mercy devotion?

  21. It seems that on this blog the opinion of a priest counts for more than the declarations of a Pope who has been canonised. Strange times. And the pride that leads to one commenter here expressing doubts about the personal holiness of St Faustina is beyond belief. By all means feel free to criticise the personal holiness of those who, like myself, fall way short of the mark, but don’t be so arrogant and foolish as to criticise the personal holiness of a canonised Saint.

    • Daniel,

      If you are talking about Pope John Paul II being the canonised saint, you should read the blog on that topic here, and also the links especially the one posted by Leo which is right at the end of the thread right now, an article by John Vennari which shows that Pope John Paul II did not even believe that the Church is essential for salvation. John Paul II cannot be a truly canonised saint – that is obvious. So, if you want to defend the Divine Mercy Devotion, I think you’re going to have to do so without using John Paul II as evidence.

      Also, having read all the comments on the Canonisations, what canonisations? thread, I think the majority of the canonisations performed by Pope John Paul II will have to be re-evaluated, including Sr Faustina’s.

      • Fidelis, since writing my comment I have read the “Canonisations, what canonisations?” thread. Obviously, this blog is deceptive for it does not deserve the name “Catholic Truth.” It would be more accurately named “Editor’s Truth.” I follow the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church not the magisterium of a self-appointed Editor-Pontiff of the sect that I see this blog consists of.

        • Daniel, you don’t even know the correct name for the Church, because unless you were born in Rome, you are NOT a “Roman Catholic”. So, get the basics right before you come on here attacking us. Please and thank you.

          As for the Canonisations thread which you discount, please quote anything there which is an error. Anything. You can’t just flail around calling me names (see if I care) – you have to provide evidence that we do not deserve the name “Catholic Truth” …

          I’m waiting, Daniel. As and when…

          • If you had read what I said instead of leaping into the fray without thinking, you would have noticed that I didn’t say I am a “Roman Catholic.” I said I follow the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, i.e., the Magisterium of the Catholic Church that recognises the primacy of the Church of Rome. The Church is truly Catholic when it is united with the See of Rome. Separated from Rome sects develop.

            There are, after all, many who call themselves “Catholic” and are not in communion with the Successor of St Peter. So perhaps you will clarify whether you are in (comm)union with the See of Rome and therefore truly Catholic, or whether you are a member (leader?/Pontiff?) of a sect which is not in (comm)union with the See of Rome.

            • Daniel,

              Talk about clutching at straws. “RC Church” is wrong – period. Get over it.

              As for your uncharitable remarks about my/our(at Catholic Truth) status as Catholics – we have absolutely nothing to prove. The onus is on our accusers, in this case your good self, to prove that we are NOT Catholics.

              You have to demonstrate that we are NOT Catholics (you’ve fallen into the branch theory, thinking there are other kinds of Catholics apart from those who submit to the authentic Magisterium of the Church)

              You have to quote something I’ve said that proves my LACK of Catholicity. I owe you absolutely no explanation; I have nothing to prove, since I’ve not quoted approvingly or given allegiance to any heresy.

              • I think you have a problem with reading what people write (which may account for some of the incorrect views you ascribe to St John Paul II). No, I don’t think there are other kinds of Catholics apart from those who submit to the authentic Magisterium of the Church. What I said is that there are people “WHO CALL THEMSELVES ‘Catholic’….” What I said is that Catholicity depends on being in communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of St Peter. The label “Roman Catholic” has been used in a number of different ways, one of which has been to clarify that one is in communion with the See of Rome. (And even this use has ambiguities as Eastern and other Catholics wouldn’t use it, even though they are in Communion with Rome.)

                This blog fails to be Catholic when its self-appointed Editor ‘pontificates’ on whether a canonisation, declared by the Pope, is a true canonisation, and when it ‘pontificates’ on whether a devotion like the Divine Mercy devotion, promoted by the Roman Pontiff, is truly Catholic. The fact that you may call yourself a ‘Catholic’ means little when others, like the members of the ‘Old Catholic Church’ similarly call themselves Catholic.

        • Daniel,
          We follow the Catholic Church, not the ‘Roman’ Catholic Church. That is what the Protestants like to call the Church.

          As for your uncharitable remarks about Editor, if you cared to read Church history, and studied it down through the ages, you would not be calling this blog not-Catholic, and would know that Editor does not make up truths as she goes along.

    • Daniel,

      I don’t think bloggers on CT waste their time making judgments about the personal holiness of any saint- being Catholic they know only God judges souls by His standards, not ours.

      I agree with Fidelis, please read Leo’s post carefully and without bias and then tell us how a Pope who does not believe that the Church is essential for salvation, can be a saint?

      • It is not for bloggers or other Catholics to “make judgments” about the holiness of saints. We can trust in the judgment of the Church, expressed in the infallible declaration of the Pope, that someone is a saint in heaven who can intercede for us and whose life is worthy of imitation.

        It is simply untrue that St John Paul II did not believe that the Church is not essential for salvation. He promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) which he declared to be “a sure norm for teaching the faith.” That Catechism upheld the affirmation that “outside the Church there is no salvation” (CCC 846).

        • Daniel,

          At some point in his medical training Dr Shipman would have said and even written in essays that he believed in the rule of thumb that doctors should not harm their patients. Doesn’t change the fact that he murdered over 200 of them.

          You clearly have not read the many statements from Pope John Paul II which demonstrate conclusively, from his own lips, that he did not believe that the Church is the one ark of salvation and, moreover, that he firmly believed that the Old Testament is still in force, so that the Jews don’t need Christ for salvation.

          There’s no getting away from the truth, Daniel. Not if it’s the truth you are seeking. Is it?

          And for the record, the infallibility of canonisations is not a dogma of the Faith.

          • With respect, Madam Editor, it is obtuse in the extreme (as well as offensive) to make a comparison between what the Supreme Pontiff, now canonised a saint (whether you like it or not) wrote authoritatively as the Faith of the Catholic Church, and what a mass murderer may or may not have written in an essay while he was a student.

            Perhaps in your “Catholic Truth” sect, canonisations are not infallible acts, but those in communion with the See of Rome recognise when a Pope acts infallibly.

            The infallible nature of the act of canonisation was made apparent to all when the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints made his Third Petition to Pope Francis at Sunday’s Mass of Canonisation. He said:

            “Most Holy Father,

            Holy Church, trusting in the Lord’s promise to send upon her the Spirit of Truth, who in every age KEEPS THE SUPREME MAGISTERIUM IMMUNE FROM ERROR, most earnestly beseeches Your Holiness, to enrol these, her elect, among the Saints.”

            To which Pope Francis replied:

            “… the authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, AND OUR OWN, after due deliberation and frequent prayer…….WE DECLARE AND DEFINE Blessed John XXIII and John Paul II BE SAINTS,and we enrol them among the Saints, DECREEING THAT THEY ARE TO BE VENERATED AS SUCH BY THE WHOLE CHURCH…..”

            The Church does not undo what is ‘declared’ and ‘defined.’ This is the essence of an infallible act.

            The Veneration of Saints John XXIII and John Paul II is not an option. The Holy Father Pope Francis, the legitimate successor of St Peter, the Vicar of Christ, decrees that they are to be venerated.

            Of course, those who don’t regard themselves as bound to observe the declarations and definitions of the Successor of St Peter will go and do their own thing – as this blog demonstrates.

            • Daniel,

              The Catholic encyclopaedia says:

              No important act in the process of beatification or canonization is valid unless performed in the presence of the Promoter of the Faith formally recognized. His duty is to protest against the omission of the forms laid down, and to insist upon the consideration of any objection.

              The Promoter of the Faith is another name for the Devil’s Advocate, which was done away with by Pope John Paul II. Maybe he realised he wouldn’t stand a chance if his life had to be scrutinised too deeply.

              • Oh, Michaela, what a shame that Pope Francis didn’t consult with the Catholic encyclopaedia before making such a dreadful mistake! (And for the literalists who seem to dominate this blog – no, that sentence does not mean I think it was a dreadful mistake!)

                Michaela, the Catholic encyclopaedia was describing the process that existed at the time that the encyclopaedia was published. That process was decided by the Pope. The Pope has the authority to change the process. The Pope changed the process. There is now a different process. One may think it is a better process now or one may think the earlier process was better. It’s irrelevant. According to the process of the Catholic Church (i.e., the Church in union with the Roman Pontiff) the Pope has declared definitively and infallibly that we have two glorious saints in heaven – Saints John XXIII and John Paul II – who are to be venerated as such.

                Let us stop this petty, stupid and unCatholic dispute, and give thanks to God for the glory he has bestowed on his faithful servants John XXIII and John Paul II.

                Saints John XXIII and John Paul II, pray for us.

                And God bless the Pope!

                • God bless him always! Let us never forget that the Pope “by virtue of his office, has SUPREME, FULL, IMMEDIATE and UNIVERSAL ordinary power in the Church and that he can ALWAYS FREELY exercise this power (CIC 331).

  22. @Daniel before you go around calling the debates stupid, perhaps you should take to heart the wise, wise words of our most holy pontiff Francis and reflect for yourself “who am I to judge”?

    @Perplexed why are you shouting the duties of the pope? From what I know of Church teaching the Pope doesn’t have unlimited authority. Christ never said the popes had to be, or would always be good, righteous role models on whose every word our lives revolve. If we all followed SAINT JOHN PAUL II then we wouldn’t need to be Catholics. I could serve God well worshiping sticks in my backyard. God is in His creations. Those sticks are the manifestations I choose to venerate. Sound JPII theology right there. He partook in theses ceremonies, therefore following his saintly example I will pursue God and truth in the inanimate objects that surround me.

    • McDuff, Pope Francis said we cannot judge people. We cannot. What you say may be ridiculous, but I cannot judge you for your ridiculousness. For all I know you may well be less ridiculous than you might otherwise have been if you had not applied yourself to your studies. For all I know your level of ridiculousness may be commendable and not at all blameworthy. I make no judgment at all.

      Yet, without judging you, I must correct your entirely unwarranted claim that St John Paul II’s theology in any way denied the need to be Catholics or said that Catholics could serve God by worshipping sticks in their backyard. This is an unworthy and shameful misrepresentation of the theology of a canonised Pope. If this blog is about “Catholic Truth” then I hope that the Editor will take a dim view of such a misrepresentation on her blog.

      • Daniel,

        I have to presume that you have read Pope John Paul II’s startling statements about non-Christian religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism, so I won’t quote him here – unless you have NOT read him and would be rightly shocked if you knew the truth. Because contrary to what you appear to think, this “saint” did not remotely urge the members of these false religions to seek salvation in Christ. Quite the reverse. Read the documents. Don’t just talk the talk, Daniel. Walk the walk…

        So, McDuff’s comments are more than welcome here. She’s not doing any misrepresentation. You on the other hand are doing just that…

        For example, I’m interested that you quote part of what Pope Francis said when he implicitly approved of homosexual activity (hence the plaudits from “gay” organisations). What he ACTUALLY said what something ineffectual like if they are seeking God sincerely in their hearts, who am I to judge? But anyone of average intelligence would be able to tell him (if only he’d ask) that if homosexuals are sincerely seeking God in their hearts, they won’t continue to commit that grave sin.

        You, Daniel, are a papolatrist. That is to say, you, literally, idolise a pope just because he’s pope. That’s NOT a Catholic attitude. You do more damage to the papacy than a million Orangemen by adopting such an UN-Catholic attitude. But, don’t take my word for it. Here’s the famous theologian from the Council of Trent – Melchior Cano:

        “Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See – they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.”

        So, think, Daniel. Think, think, think. And when you’ve done that, think again.

        • Editor,

          If our bishops would call a spade a spade and use the intelligence the Almighty gave them to protect the teachings of the Church, young Catholics would not be driven from the Church to find the truth elsewhere.

          Unfortunately, it’s the likes of Daniel who are part of the problem. Their excusing of the inexcusable is not doing the Church any good (no matter how they rationalize it) young people can see the hypocrisy and are first,confused and then disgusted. Young people do not need politicians with their political waffling in spiritual matters- they end up with the impression that there are no absolutes. So, homosexuality is wrong, but not really, sometimes it’s possibly OK, how else could the couple ‘find God’ but have their baby daughter baptized in the Catholic Church (no mention of giving up their lifestyle)? The same for cohabiting couples/divorced and remarried (without annulments) how diligently is Church teaching applied to these cases? How can a cohabiting couple, not only receive Holy Communion, but become Eucharistic Ministers? If one priest tells them they can’t be married in his parish if they continue to live together, they simply go to a neighboring parish and are ‘charitably’ welcomed. If Daniel and like-minded bloggers can offer a simple but clear answer as to: why this confusion is so rampant in the Church and is being allowed to continue unchecked, on whose shoulders the responsibility to correct this confusion rests, by offering clear and firm direction, I would be most grateful.

          • Jobstears,

            Thank you for your superb, concisely put and crystal clear overview of the situation and the role of Daniel and others who think like him, in perpetuating the myth that there’s really nothing wrong, it’s just that we are all misunderstanding what the popes really mean.

            If he would take a look at the crystal clear statements of the pontiffs prior to Vatican II he would soon seen the unmistakeable manner in which good popes identify evil and warn, sternly, against partaking in it.

            Thanks Jobstears – you have outlined the stark truth about the “everything’s really OK brigade” perfectly.

        • No, Madam Editor, I am not a papolatrist, and I have said nothing that remotely suggests that I idolise the current pope or any pope.

          The way you extrapolate (entirely falsely) the notion that I am a papolatrist from something I have said, mirrors the way that you extrapolate (entirely falsely) the notion that Saint John Paul II “did not remotely urge the members of these false religions to seek salvation in Christ” from things he said. It also mirrors the way that you extrapolate (entirely falsely) the notion that Pope Francis “implicitly approved of homosexual activity.”

          It is one thing to believe that some actions by a Pope (whether it be St John Paul II’s Assisi meetings or Pope Francis’ “who am I to judge?” comments) were unhelpful or unfortunate or regrettable as some might have misunderstood what they were trying to convey, and another thing to entirely misrepresent them.

          Perhaps you do not intend to misrepresent, but have only ‘misunderstood’ what St John Paul II and Pope Francis have done or said. However, from what I have read on this blog it seems as though you and other readers don’t want to have ‘misunderstood’ these Popes, and that rather than have due respect for the legitimate Successors of St Peter, you and other readers are hostile towards them, with a critical mindset towards them.

          Yes, idolising popes (and other bishops) is wrong. But this blog demonstrates an hostility and contempt for recent popes (and other bishops) which is no less wrong.

          • “It is one thing to believe that some actions by a Pope (whether it be St John Paul II’s Assisi meetings or Pope Francis’ “who am I to judge?” comments) were unhelpful or unfortunate or regrettable as some might have misunderstood what they were trying to convey…”

            Tell us, Daniel: what, exactly, were they trying to convey?

          • Daniel,

            Since you think we’re the bad guys, try to explain how the good guys over at the Remnant and Catholic Family News were determined not to jump to any judgments about the new pope, and took their time – clearly hoping he would – for want of a better term, “gerragrip” – before feeling forced to speak out, which they now do.

            Were they charitable in the beginning and are now uncharitable or is it a case of coming to realise that it requires the complete abandonment of our reason to praise Pope Francis, Pope John Paul II and Pope John XXIII as “good popes”? Remember, if these were good popes, all (and I do mean ALL) of their predecessors who exhorted us to do the opposite, e.g. in terms of ecumenism, were bad popes.

            I notice that Great Pretender has asked you to explain in what way we misunderstood what these popes were trying to convey by their aberrant and entirely UN-Catholic behaviours. I look forward to your explanation of what it was, precisely, that they were trying to convey.

  23. Thank you for trying to correct my claims that St JPII’s theology denies the need to be Catholic in order to be saved. But I think other bloggers have offered examples and you staunchly refuse to see them.

    I was being facetious when I said I could worship sticks in the backyard. For me the idea of JPII praying with animists/pagans/heretics and offering that pinch of incense which martyrs of old died rather than offer- and which martyrs today continue to refuse to offer, is a cruel mockery of the Faith for which they died. He allowed chickens to be sacrificed on the altar – that was scandalous. Do you have any idea, how difficult this canonised saint’s example of ecumenism makes it for Catholics struggling to hold on to their Faith and fight the heresy of Indifferentism?

    Now excuse me while I go sacrifice some chickens to the stick gods. They are displeased with me right now. 😉

    • A Sinner,

      If you disapprove of the things you’ve read on this blog, by Catholics who know the Faith inside out, yet are “cheered up” by Daniel’s comments, you need help. In case you miss what I wrote a few minutes ago to Daniel, allow me to point out that Pope JP II makes very clear in key documents about false religions – e.g. Nostra Aetate – that the members of these non-Christian religions are doing just fine and dandy, thank you very much. The contrast with the pre-Vatican II pontiffs who were deeply concerned at the souls being led astray because they were outside of Christ’s Church, (the only means of salvation), could not be greater.

      Today, there are far too many people who think they are good Catholics who are really part of the problem of the crisis, because they are papolatrists, that is to say, they, literally, idolise the pope – whichever pope is in office.

      Melchior Cano, theologian at the dogmatic Council of Trent had this to say about papolatrists:

      “Peter has no need of our lies or flattery. Those who blindly and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are the very ones who do most to undermine the authority of the Holy See – they destroy instead of strengthening its foundations.”


      • The Second Vatican Council, in Nostra Aetate, taught:

        “The Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these [non-Christian] religions. She has a high regard for the manner of life and conduct, the precepts and doctrines which….often reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men. YET SHE PROCLAIMS AND IS IN DUTY BOUND TO PROCLAIM WITHOUT FAIL, CHRIST WHO IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE (Jn 1:6). In him, in whom God reconciled all things to himself (2 Cor 5:18-19), men find their fullness of their religious life.” (n. 2)

        There is not a trace of the claim made by Madam Editor, above, “that Pope JP II makes very clear in key documents about false religions – e.g. Nostra Aetate – that the members of these non-Christian religions are doing just fine and dandy, thank you very much.”

        No, neither the Second Vatican Council nor St John Paul II ever said or implied that members of non-Christian religions are “doing just fine and dandy.” Only in the fantasy land of “Catholic Untruth” can such a notion believed.

  24. Editor

    Of course I need help, don’t we all?

    That’s why I say this every day!

    In every need let me come to you with humble trust saying Jesus help me! When I fail others and I need your grace, Jesus help me. Always in spite of my weaknesses faults and shortcomings of every kind, Sacred Heart of Jesus help me and never forsake me as I’ve forsaken you. Amen

    • A Sinner,

      I think you can take it that your prayer has been answered – Our Lord has brought you to our humble blog where false teachings and erroneous understandings of what it means to be a Catholic are dispelled big time !


      • A Sinner,

        That was a lovely prayer.

        In leading you to this blog, the merciful Heart of Jesus has heard your prayer.

        “God gives, but man must open his hand”

  25. Two Years Later…… [Ed: I reopened the thread on request. He’s catching up 😀 ]

    Recently I emailed the Tradition in Action (TIA) website about the Divine Mercy apparitions and devotion. I had come across an article on that website by a Msgr. Perez detailing why this devotion was illegitimate and dangerous, and was about to post a link to it, in response to some woman who thought the devotion was just wonderful.

    However, I then came across a refutation – a rather suspicious one – of Msgr. Perez’ article on the Lepanto Institute website, so I called TIA’s attention to this and they said they would analyze it. They have now analyzed it quite well and proved that it is sophistry.

    Here is the analysis of the Lepanto Institute’s “refutation” of Msgr. Perez, an article which includes a link to the refutation:

    I should add that it is extremely disappointing to me that the Lepanto Institute, which has done such good work exposing the funding of anti-Catholic organizations by the USCCB, should publish such dishonest rubbish.

    • RCA Victor,

      Thank you for that link. I really don’t trust this Divine Mercy devotion. Our Lord told St Margaret Mary that his revelation to her about his Sacred Heart would be the final one. I am very suspicious of this new devotion. I don’t take anything to do with it. I don’t believe it’s of supernatural origin.

  26. Again, this is a few years later, but I have been thinking about this topic and I just have to say something. First of all, the devotion is approved by the Church. No one says you have to like it or practice it, but it is approved. Moreover, St. Faustina has been canonized. This is not to say that we have to believe the revelation, but as Catholics, there is a presumption in favor of saying that a saint was not guilty of lying/was not insane her entire life. Such things are possible, but this is a significant charge. This of course is not to say that you have to find the devotion personally appealing or to think that St Faustina recorded everything perfectly etc. My only point is to say that attacking the devotion excessively is against the spirit of the Church.

    Also significantly, I want to point a common misconception that I see and are present in the combox and in the article about the divine mercy devotion:

    People seem to think that the devotion hides God’s justice. People who say this know nothing about the devotion or the visions. I am sorry for the harsh tone, but has anyone read St. Faustina’s vision of hell? Or her vision of the two paths, one to hell and one to heaven, the former containing far more souls? Or what about Jesus’s words throughout the diary requesting reparation, sacrifice, suffering, meditation on his passion, penance, and more. A cursory reading of the diary makes it quite clear that reparation and the justice of God are key themes and that mercy is understood only in light of these. Heck, just look at the words of the chaplet!
    I fear that some people are so ready to damn everyone around them that they immediately hear mercy and get unnerved.

    The third point I want to make is that it is absurd to pit devotions up against each other. In Catholic life, there is a rich variety of devotions to the saints, Our Lady, Jesus, etc. Do we really need to pit the Sacred Heart up against Divine Mercy? Are they really different? Devotions are meant to help us better pray and encourage us to live the Christian life. Different people are drawn towards different devotions. The divine mercy doesn’t take away from the Rosary or any other devotion. Rather, it encourages trust in God’s mercy, reparation for sins, and the reception of the sacrament of penance. If you prefer devotion to the Sacred Heart, or the Immaculate Heart, or whatever, this is fine. But why bash this devotion?

    • Tom,

      I have some big concerns about the Divine Mercy devotion, and it’s not about pitting one devotion against another, it’s because of the following (and more):

      This if a list from the Fisheaters website:

      How can this devotion be true – particularly the threat of a new ‘mortal sin’ – considering that it is new doctrine, yet the idea of new doctrine has been condemned by the Church?

      How can a devotion promoting mercy bring with it the threat of a new & previously unheard of ‘mortal sin’?

      How can her writings be true since they contain contradictions?

      How can her writings be true since they contain prophecies that never came true?

      How can the author’s credibility be entirely assured given that she admitted to lying/misrepresenting herself in the past?

      How can we believe that Jesus was so amazingly doting on Faustina considering that He was never known to be so doting to the real Apostles or to other saints, or even to His Blessed Mother?

      How is it that a devotion focused on mercy does not contain a call to frequent Confession? Why is it not really a call to Confession at all? (Yes, there is some mention, but this is severely overshadowed by all the mercy talk – Confession is definitely NOT given much emphasis)

      Why is it that the Church teaches us that forgiveness is based on repentance whereas Faustina gives the overall impression that mercy is given based on trust in mercy? Why is repentance from sin noticeably missing from most of her diary?

      Why does the known Jesus emphasize avoiding sin, conversion & penance whereas Faustina’s version of Jesus emphasizes trusting in mercy without much call to avoiding sin, conversion or penance?

      Why do these alleged apparitions contain so much emphasis on the person of Sister Faustina – unlike other known apparitions (e.g. Fatima, Lourdes, etc.)?

      How can we trust the theology of a nun who consented to the baptizing of an adult Jewish woman without her permission? Especially how can we trust the nun’s theology considering that she rejoiced that this un-converted Jewish woman supposedly entered heaven despite the fact that she rejected Jesus and despite the fact that Jesus says faith is required for salvation? (see above)

      Why does Faustina so frequently mention suffering & trials, which doesn’t seem very characteristic for saints? (e.g. see here and here)

      We see that Faustina constantly claims that Jesus came to reassure her – What other saint has received such attention? And why have others NOT received such attention?

      Why does Faustina’s version of Jesus seem to be so talkative during Mass?

      How is it possible Faustina could have remembered conversations with Jesus, superiors, etc. in such amazing detail, right down to the words used? Especially since she was so frequently suffering? She writes paragraphs supposedly quoting Jesus and others (e.g. spiritual director), yet how many persons could remember in such amazing detail if they were not even taking notes?

      Why do Faustina’s writings claim that Jesus is taking such special care of her – like no one else ever before? How is this possible considering the many holy men and women who have come before and who never received such treatment from God?

      Why is it that those that agree with her visions or think she is on the right path are supposedly enlightened by and please God & those who don’t simply don’t understand her, are vexing her, are with Satan, or haven’t been enlightened by God?

      If Jesus supposedly wants sermons on mercy, why did He himself typically speak of judgment rather than mercy? Have not preachers throughout history said that they receive the most conversions when they give sermons on hell? And why would Jesus ask for sermons on mercy precisely when most priests are already silent on hell?

      How are we to accept that there is essentially no corroboration for her alleged experiences? That it’s pretty much all based on unproven assertions in her own writings?

      How are we to accept that God picks favorites (e.g. souls that are “particularly dear” and “especially chosen” souls)?

      How are we to believe that Mary & Joseph kept leaving the infant Jesus with Faustina before disappearing?

      Jesus’ words and actions in her diary seem out of character based on the biblical portrayal of our Lord – yet Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. So how can we believe Faustina’s portrayal of Jesus?

      How is it that Faustina can receive so many extraordinary praises and promises from God and make so few comments in response? Can you imagine the reaction you might have to some of the praise and promises she supposedly received directly from God?

      How is it that Faustina can be so matter-of-fact when Jesus and Mary, etc. talk to her?

      How do we know for sure that her visions are not just delusions / hallucinations / imaginings? Even she herself was not certain of her visions at times.

      In her writings, she mentions her being a ‘saint’ and not being judged. Wouldn’t other saints in their humility have run from such a message, fearing it was a delusion of the devil? Yet, she accepts it all in stride

      How is it Faustina mentions her suffering so much, but she is yet still able to write so very much?

      By devotees’ own admission, in burning her diary, Faustina promptly obeyed the devil – against obedience – who she thought was an angel. Isn’t it therefore true that she is not the most trustworthy source concerning her visions? What other saint has a record like this?

      Why does Faustina’s version of Mary wear transparent clothing considering that transparent fabric is not modest? Certainly the Mother of God would never dress in an immodest manner!

      Why is it that Faustina says Jesus cannot bear her tears (see Diary, par. 928)? How was he able to bear His Mother’s tears during the Passion? Or everyone else’s tears throughout history? But not Faustina’s?

      Why would Jesus say all that exists is Faustina’s?

      Why would Jesus offer to create a new world for Faustina?

      If St. Michael was ordered to take “special care” of Faustina, why was she ‘deceived by devil’ into burning her diary?

      Why is Faustina’s message so often in contrast to what we find in Holy Scripture?

      Why does Faustina make so little mention of people going to Confession for mercy considering that this is precisely the means Jesus established for dispensing mercy to sinners?

      How is it that her version of Jesus impersonates a priest, sits in a chalice, plays on the altar, and rewards Jews who were baptized without their permission? Who can believe this is really Jesus?

      How can we not question the uncharacteristic closeness – even physical closeness – that Faustina claims she has with Jesus and the Blessed Virgin Mary? Since when are Jesus & Mary huggers?

      When Faustina claims to have seen God the Father, why was there no fear? Compare her reaction with Moses’.

      Why should we not be concerned about a devotion that is almost certain NOT to have received approval if it were not for the direct involvement of (the Koran-kissing, ever-ecumenical) Pope John Paul II? [Please Note: No disrespect is intended here]

      If we just need to trust in and adore God’s mercy for salvation, why does Scripture tell us to work out our salvation “with fear and trembling” (see Phil. 2:12)?

      In Scripture, we are told to expect suffering and persecution – yet Faustina’s version of Jesus keeps coming to console her when she experiences the slightest suffering. Who ever heard of Jesus being this doting on any other saint – including any of the martyrs who experienced great actual, physical suffering?

      The above are just some concerns given in the article at Fisheaters! Check it out! Even before I read them, though, I was not convinced because Sr Faustina says that Jesus said she was the most important person (something like that) which puts her above even his mother! No way!

      • Hi Lily,

        I understand your concerns. But my point is that this devotion has been approved by the Church, placed as part of the Church calendar, and the visionary has been canonized. This is by no means to say that we are obliged to practice or even believe it. However, those who criticize it should do so with a level of respect and prudence in light of these facts. There is a presumption in favor of saying that St. Faustina didn’t completely fabricate the whole thing, even if, as with any private revelation, there can be elements which the visionary misunderstands etc. Even more, I would say that among Catholics who practice this devotion, it does not lead them away from the faith or the sacraments, so to attack it so vehemently is unproductive and harmful. As they say “in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty etc.”

        As for your exact points, I don’t have the time to respond to each one of them, but I want to make a few comments on what I see as the most important criticisms:

        (1) You mention this “new” mortal sin. I am unaware of what you are referring to. The divine mercy devotion as far as I can tell speaks of no new mortal sin.

        (2) As for contradictions and false prophecies, maybe you are right. But this does not mean that we need to dismiss the devotion entirely. As someone who believes the visions, I think these accusations are overblown. And as in the case of any private revelation, there can be errors and misunderstandings on the part of the visionary. The Catholic Encyclopedia article on private revelations mentions Bl. Anne Emmerich and Ven. MC Agreda in this regard. While both visions are approved by the Church, there are elements which seem to be false, exaggerated, or at least suspicious.

        (3) The message does contain a call to go to confession, and it seems that this is a central part of the message in fact. Perhaps the most important request of Jesus is his desire for the feast of mercy in which he offers complete remission of sin and punishment for confession and communion. And reading through those passages in which Jesus does talk about mercy, he frequently associates the need for confession in order to obtain this mercy. He says the confessional is the “fountain of life” where souls that are dead are resurrected. He says here, “miracles are incessantly repeated.” Hardly undermining the call to go to confession…

        (4) Some of your criticisms apply to St. Faustina’s character. The Church has looked into this in the canonization process. But I want to note that some of your criticisms, if applied here, would consistently rule out many other mystics of the Church. For instance, the Fatima seers said they knew they were going to heaven after the June 13 apparition. So I suppose we should discount them because of their pride too? Heck, even St. John refers to himself throughout the Gospel as “the disciple who Jesus loved.”

        (5) On suffering, these criticisms are internally contradictory (not to mention very repetitive, leading me to believe that whoever on fisheaters wrote them was going for quantity not thought out quality). For instance, “In Scripture, we are told to expect suffering and persecution – yet Faustina’s version of Jesus keeps coming to console her when she experiences the slightest suffering.” But this goes against the other criticism “Why does Faustina so frequently mention suffering & trials?” So which is it: does Sister Faustina mention suffering too much or does she flee from it too much? Or maybe these critics are grasping at straws. The article posted initially on this website seems to argue that the devotion hides the need for reparation and penance which is patently absurd as skimming through the diary would reveal, and in fact, as these very criticisms from fisheaters evidently concede

        (6) Many of your other criticisms can be applied to any number of devotions or visions. Repeatedly you say things along the lines of “how do you know that this isn’t just imagination…” We don’t. Likewise, we don’t know if St. Margarate Mary was hallucinating. Or Saint Catherin when she received the miraculous medal etc. Certain apparitions are especially public like Lourdes, whereas others are more private like this one and the other two just mentioned. Now, I happen to think the divine mercy devotions are from God since the message as far as I can tell is in perfect conformity with the Church and because the devotion is helpful. Anyone else can say “there isn’t enough evidence.” Fair enough, but I’m not trying to prove the visions are true, only to explain why certain attacks against them are unwarranted and unhelpful.

        When I come across some of these ultra-traditional websites which criticize the devotion, I see a common trend. As with the article initially posted, there is a lot of misunderstanding in this devotion. Many see it as a replacement for the rosary or some such. I think what is going on is this: ‘mercy’ in today’s Catholic world, as is quite clear especially in light of the Kasper fiasco, is especially misused. Modernists like to push it as the ticket to sin and as a replacement for God’s justice. Understandably, we might be initially skeptical of a devotion which promotes mercy as its key theme.

        But the concept of mercy found in St. Faustina’s diary is entirely traditional, and it is the kind of mercy which we all so desperately need. It is a mercy which reminds us to trust in Jesus not ourselves, to rely on God’s grace, to participate in the sacraments, to meditate on the passion of Christ, to practice mortification, and to pray for the conversion of sinners. It is a mercy which recognizes sin as well as the reality of hell. Anyone who has prayed the chaplet knows that it is a never ending pleading with God to have mercy on us because of our sins in the name of Christ’s “sorrowful passion.” Additionally, St. Faustina’s vision of hell is the most explicit I can find (yes, even harsher and more direct than at Fatima) which emphasizes the fact that many real people do in fact go to hell, and in fact disbelief in hell is one easy way to go there. Maybe the problem isn’t a devotion to God’s mercy. Maybe the biggest problem in today’s Church is the false concept of mercy. Perhaps the solution is not to deny, hide from, or replace God’s mercy as something “we don’t need to hear about today.” Maybe the solution is to return to the true concept of mercy as found in the cross. In fact, maybe the divine mercy devotion provides us with precisely this solution.

        • Tom,

          I don’t think it really says anything that the Church approves this apparition, because the crisis is so bad that the Church is approving all sorts of things that at one time would never have been approved – I’m thinking right now of the new Mass.

          I also don’t understand that is meant by “ultra traditional” – that’s usually a way of belittling the traditional faith but the two pillars of the Catholic faith are tradition and scripture. You really can’t be a Catholic without being a “traditionalist”. I don’t see how it’s possible to be “ultra” traditional. I don’t see any extremism on this blog, if that’s what you mean.

          • MM,

            Two thoughts

            (1) Even if you disagree about what is going on today in the Church (as I do), it does not follow that the Church’s approval means nothing. For one, we can presume that the Holy Spirit guides the Church even in this crisis. Second, it is not as though the Church is consistently approving private revelations completely at odds with the teachings of the Church. I mean, even the contemporary Popes (with Francis as a possible exception) have taken steps at attempting to reconcile modern theology with that of the past. This is not to say that the reconciliation has been successful or that there isn’t anything to be desired.

            (2) You are right, “ultra-traditional” probably isn’t the best term here. It was the most convenient to pick out a certain group of Catholics who are especially critical of the modern Popes and all of the reforms after Vatican II (rightly or wrongly). Some of these people are also critical of the divine mercy devotion in ways that I think are unfair. For example, as the article posted argues, divine mercy is a devotion without a call for reparation. But this is blatantly untrue, as anyone who knows the divine mercy chaplet or has skimmed St. Faustina’s diary should know.

        • Tom

          I would be careful with anything approved by the Modernists in today’s Church. One of the most scandalous things today is that all matters of great importance are being rushed through by these authorities with scant respect for the Church’s Traditional prudence and wisdom. This includes canonisations and the too-easy acceptance of dubious revelations. Just look at the damage Pope Francis has done already with Amoris Laititia. Some would say his document is Magisterial and authoritative, yet it is causing moral confusion and Sacramental sacrilege. Be careful!

          The Church will have to re-visit many things when health is restored to the hierarchy.

          • Athanasius,

            I agree there is a lot of confusion in the Church today. But remember, canonizations are infallible so we have to be very careful in this regard. And as I am saying above, a lot of the criticisms of divine mercy are unwarranted, unfair, and fail to acknowledge that the devotion produces good fruit so to attack the devotion is often unhelpful.

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