What Should We Think About the Divine Mercy Devotion?

What Should We Think About the Divine Mercy Devotion?

Some question the Divine Mercy devotion, which comes from Sister Faustina Kowalska, of Poland, who died in 1938. In support of their condemnation of said devotion, they refer to two decisions from the Holy Office shortly after Pope Pius XII died and Angelo Roncalli became the second Anti-pope John XXIII in history. They also report that Pope Pius XII placed Sister Faustina's diary on the Index of Prohibited books.

Let us begin by addressing the two notices from the Holy Office. We will be looking from the presumption that Pope Pius XII was the last Pope in Office prior to the election of Pope Michael. This position is held by the Conclavists and the Sedevacantists.

When a Pope dies, the Roman Curia with a few exceptions resign from office. In fact, members of the Curia are forbidden to go near their actual offices, because they can do no work as part of the Papacy without a living, breathing Pope in office. A story is told of a member of the Curia, who happened to be near his office, during a vacancy of the Papacy. Another member chastised him, reminding him, that he cannot go into his office.

Since, we are presuming that the election of Angelo Roncalli is invalid, then the Roman Curia was never reinstated, and therefore cannot validly render any decisions in regard to devotions or anything else for that matter.

Father Bernard Hughes of the Congregation of Mary Immaculate, Queen (CMRI), argues: "Some may object to the acceptance of this decree of the Holy Office on the grounds that it was issued in 1959, during the time that the notorious modernist John XXIII was 'pope'. But we do not believe this fact obscures the reality of those who worked in the Holy Office in those days before Vatican II, such as Cardinal Ottaviani, were well-trained and entirely orthodox prelates and theologians, who had been appointed by Pope Pius XII." This argument means nothing, because these prelates were objectively incapable of rendering any decisions, therefore these decisions under Catholic Church Law are meaningless.

These people also claim that Pope Pius XII placed Sister Faustina's diary on the Index of Prohibited books. We will presume this is true. First of all, the English translation of Sister Faustina's diary may be a faulty translation, and therefore should be avoided. Placing a book or books on the Index does not necessarily mean they are evil. The Church may do so to allow the hierarchy sufficient time to analyze the question(s) involved. In order to protect the faithful from something that might be spurious, the Church orders such books to not be read by the Faithful. It should be noted that books about Padre Pio were also placed on the Index of Prohibited Books and remain there to this day. Books by Padre Pio are not condemned by this decree, only books about him. Canon 19 requires such restrictions to be interpreted strictly. Saint Teresa of Avila had one of her works sent to the Inquisition for review, and thus was forbidden to be read, until the Inquisition could finish its investigation.

In 1955 a book, Sister Faustina: Apostle of Divine Mercy, appeared in English, begin translated from the French. Both the earlier French and the English editions were received the approval for publication by the Church. In 1957 Father Theodore Zaremba wrote a book, Mercy Is Forever, in defense of the devotion to the Divine Mercy in general and of the devotion proposed by Sister Faustina in particular. This type of work is common for new devotions, where people point out that the devotion is not really new, but has always been in the Catholic Church in some manner.

On page 69 of Mercy Is Forever we read: "In one of his books about the Mercy of God, Father Sopocko reports that an identical chaplet to the Mercy of God can be found in the revelations of St. Gertrude the Great, a mystic and writer who lived between 1256 and 1302. This Benedictine nun spent almost her entire life in the monastery at Henta, near Eialeben, Saxony. During the last twenty years of her stay on earth she was privileged with many visions. A characteristic of her piety was a great devotion to the Sacred Heart, the symbol of that charity which prompted the great evidence of God's Mercy: the Incarnation, the Redemption, the institution of the Sacraments, especially of the Holy Eucharist."

Let us first consider the fact that Saint Gertrude has a great devotion to the Sacred Heart. Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque, who died in 1690, is considered by many as the origin of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. However, this devotion is more ancient than that as we have already seen. Saint John Eudes was born forty-six years before Saint Margaret Mary, and died ten years before she did. The Roman Breviary reports: "His matchless zeal was very conspicuous in promoting the salutary devotion towards the most sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary, whose liturgical worship he was the first of all to devise, although not without some divine inspiration. He is therefore held to be the father, the teacher, and the apostle of that worship." On the Feast of the Sacred Heart in the same Breviary we read: "Finally, during recent centuries, and most especially at that period when heretics, in the name of a false piety, strove to discourage Christians from receiving the most Holy Eucharist, the veneration of the most Sacred Heart began to be openly practised, principally through the exertions of St. John Eudes, who is by no means unworthily called the founder of the liturgical worship of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary."

Some object to the phrase: "Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Thy Most Beloved Son and Our Lord Jesus Christ." in the Divine Mercy Chaplet. Father Zabarella has already reported that Saint Gertrude had the same chaplet, and this must have been no problem, because she has been canonized a saint by the Church. Let us go further. Saint Gertrude a prayer to be recited after the elevation at Mass, which states in part: "I offer thee his most holy Body and Blood, his Humanity and his Divinity, his virtues and his perfections, his Passion and Death, in union with that love with which he once offered himself to thee upon the cross, and now offers himself to thee on the altar." (Prayers of Saint Gertrude and Saint Mechtilde), page 27)

We can conclude that the Divine Mercy devotion has not been condemned by the Catholic Church. It is permitted to perform this devotion in a holy and pious manner. We should also consider that Sister Faustina's Diary is currently on the Index of Prohibited Books, and therefore should not acquire a copy or read from it.

 

 

 

Links

 

Mercy Is Forever: https://amzn.to/31zvhin

Sister Faustina: Apostle of Divine Mercy: https://amzn.to/2MORPZ9

Prayers of Saint Gertrude and Saint Mechtilde: https://amzn.to/2XjdrAN

 

Note links provide a small supplement to the income of the Church, and should be placed in the appropriate places. I noticed that someone is promoting an Amazon link that supports the SSPX.



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