Monday, 2 May 2011

Blessed John Paul II and the Divine Mercy (Contd)

Joaquin Navarro-Valis said (at the vigil before the feast of Divine Mercy) that if we are to understand Pope John Paul II "one must first understand Divine Mercy".

It is rare for a private revelation to receive such public acclaim. Pope John Paul also showed his approval for the Marian Movement of Priests, especially by personally inviting Don Gobbi to celebrate his 25th anniversary of ordination with the Pope in his chapel. There are stories of him expressing positive comments about other mystical events. It is best not to mention some of them, however, because these things are often vociferously refuted and denied. There is no doubt about MMP and Fr. Gobbi nor about the Popes's acceptance of the writings of St. Faustina.

As I have said in a previous post, mystical experiences and revelations are part of the Church's history, going right back (at least) to St. Paul and his experience on the road to Damascus. As is well known, Pope Puis XII accepted Fatima (although, initially, in a limited form). He even based one of his encyclicals on it (Signum Magnum). Pope Paul VI also accepted Fatima and gave the shrine a Golden Rose which is a sign of papal approval. When Pope John Paul the FIRST arrived on the scene one of the first things he did was to welcome the pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima to the Vatican. There are many who dislike mystical events - perhaps because these things are beyond their control, whether intellectually or emotionally, and perhaps because they seem to bring God even closer to our daily lives (and some people like to keep God in His place!)

So much has been given to the Church and the world through mystical experiences and private revelations (e.g. St. Margaret Mary's apparitions and the message of reparation etc). Of course we need always to be careful and, of course, such things cannot be regarded as important as the Holy Scriptures and Tradition. Nevertheless, when Heaven gives these gifts we must be careful not to be too dismissive. In this regard St. John of the Cross is often mentioned as though in support of a dismissive attitude, but that is to misunderstand his background and to have a poor grasp of his teachings. With St. John of the Cross it is important to remember St. Teresa of Avila!


  1. Thank you for this affirmation of the mystical tradition.

    "... bloggers shouldn't be afraid to emphasise or offer information or opinions that the traditional media or the Church might shy away from".
    [Extract from a report of issues raised at the bloggers meeting in Rome today by RELUCTANT SINNER blog]

    Worth reading.
    Several matters about which you have shown concern in earlier postings came up.

  2. I tend to explain it with the man and his quest to find the pearl that will feed his family. He sets out onto the beach and begins to look for this pearl. there are many stones that imitate it or look like it but are not the pearl. He picks one up. He examines it... ''no, not it'' he says and throws it into the sea. He does this so much so that it becomes habitual. He then comes across the real deal and out of sheer force of habit, throws the real pearl into the sea. Only then does he realise what he has done. He slaps his forhead with grief and now understands the consequences of his actions. His family will starve that year.

    It is the same with private revelation/prophecy. The Church examines it as do others in the congregation from religious to lay people. They look at much false revelation from the enemy that imitates and often looks like the real deal but is not quite so. But out of sheer force of habit, when the real deal comes knocking at their door they are dismissive of it and fail to see it. Thus the consequences of our actions of not believing in the prophecy or giving it approval can have great consequences. Our rejection of Fatima for 7 years resulted in world wars and carnage.

    So I think we should open our hearts to mysticism more often than we do.

    Pax Christi

  3. Hello Father John
    When I Googled Branca Paul on the Net today I was amused to see an extract from a comment I made on your blog appearing with your name included.
    You can't be too careful!

    Dr Paul's testimony concerning Sr.Lucia dos Santos of Fatima, her patient for 15 years, shows just how ordinary modern mystics can be, nothing to fear.

    “Sr Lucia was the most humble, joyful and cheerful person I ever met in my life,” the doctor recalls. “She joked about everything and with everyone. She even joked about her death. She used to tell me ‘when I’m in heaven I’ll be looking for you’.”

    On another occasion, she made a joke in regard to her cousins Jacinta and Francisco, the other Fatima visionaries, who died while still children. “They left me with the hot potato in my hands,” she said, referring to her life-long task of spreading the messages Our Lady gave to them.

    Sr Lucia did not lose her mental faculties, Dr Paul said. “Her mind was very clear to the very end.”

    According to the doctor, Sr Lucia’s last words were: “I’m going to heaven with Our Lord and Our Lady and the little shepherds.”

    It is the happy burden of the modern mystic to have to deal with the "hot potato" as best she/he can.
    It helps to have priests like yourself.

  4. Many people cannot function outside a well-defined structure. Those who feel threatened should permit others their opinions. Whatever Blessed John Paul favored is good enough for me.

  5. I just heard today that Card. Ratzinger advised against promulgating the Feast of Divine Mercy. he was and is a careful man - thank God for that! But he is also humble enough to change his opinion, as he did later. he was the right man then because we needed that kind of reaction to ensure the authenticity of what JPII did. Authentic cases (of mystical episodes and private revelations etc) need to be tested and it can be a good sign when there is severee testing and even persecution. it is also interesting how often misunderstanding arises even when the reports or analyses are good. I just ordered the new book about the investigation of Padre Pio and was suprised to read in the blurb that the findings were NOT negative. What happened then, when he was confined to barracks etc? Misunderstanding!

  6. Glancing down your blog list shows a wide scope which I have started working through.
    Perhaps, to save time, could you indicate to me which RC blogs could be classed as Liberal. Many are tradtional but, to be informed, I would like to look at others.
    From the pews it's difficult to understand the conflicts in the blogosphere.
    Yours is traditional yet you are broad-minded enough to include Anglican blogs.
    Any you mention will not be taken as having your doctrinal support but do Liberal RC blogs exist in the UK?

  7. Ethan the Ecumenist6 May 2011 at 05:08

    Dear Father John
    Would it be possible for you to attend the inaugural meeting for a Bloggers Guild in London tomorrow?
    Priest bloggers of the "educated trad" variety are in short supply which allows disputatious ones to flourish by preaching to their own converted, publishing supportive comments, censoring others.
    Details can be found on the blog A Reluctant Sinner.

  8. Fr.John, What does ''confined to barracks'' mean? I'm confused about that.


  9. Audrey,
    It's just a well-known saying meaning that his activities were curtailed - as they were fro a time.

  10. Ethan,
    I have been away for a few days and know nothing of this meeting. I have certainly not been invited, but I do not think I will be welcome. Unfortunately my support for Vassula and involvement in True Life in God has marked me as a "heretic" or a nut-case in some people's eyes, and my arrival at that meeting would cause some strange looks etc. I will wait to see what happens.

  11. Pete,
    I am not sure how to answer your question, mainly because I am not aware of all the Catholic blogs and just what their stance is. I did come across one blog that was part of the "We are the Church" movement (although this title may now be out of date). Those people believe in the right to choose (abortion), married clergy (not really a problem) and women priests, among other things. Blogs like that are as "liberal" as you can get and, sorry - I do not regard them as "orthodox" from any standpoint (and that is my standpoint - not "traditionalist" but orthodox). I do include other blogs on my blogroll which are not Catholic but that is because I believe in promoting ecumenism and for this we need dialogue, and I greatly respect those who are "orthodox" within their own tradition. True ecumenical dialogue - it seems to me - can only develop between those who accept the Holy Scriptures as the Word of God and see themselves linking up with and remaining faithful to the early great Councils before the Great Schism. I have a problem with SOME Anglicans and SOME other evanglicals, but I have a much bigger problem with Episcopalians, Anglicans and Catholics who think they have a right and a duty to almost re-write Scripture. Unfortunately the Archbishop of Canterbury seems to be in that camp. That is one of my main "planks" and I do submit (some may not believe this) to the authority of the Pope and those bishops in union with him.

  12. I am sorry you feel unable to give it a try for a while.
    I hope the outcome of the meeting about a Guild of Catholic Bloggers means it will be broad enough to encourage reasoned debate on all matters and opinions.
    I can think of priests of the fruitcake variety that blog BUT YOU ARE CERTAINLY NOT ONE OF THEM!

  13. Thank you. I am working down your list. The "liberal" one you mentioned does still exist. I looked and returned to your choices but am glad I looked. Not for me.
    I do not know enough about the Archbishop of Canterbury to comment but I am told he preached at Lourdes and has a great devotion to Our Lady so we can be joyful about that.

  14. pp. Newman Society Info10 May 2011 at 01:14

    I am attempting to speak this morning to the Oxford University chaplains- Fr. Simon Bishop and Fr John Moffatt-
    on tel: 01865-276993; 01865 276990
    I have made a comment to another blog but have received no response.
    The invitation to speak tonight to the Society by a notorious blogger is alarming. I feel deeply saddened that this should be taking place. The people concerned must either not read the material in his communications or have been influenced by misguided clerics.
    I cannot believe Newman should be associated with the darker aspects of the RC blogosphere.
    I raise this to you as I seem to recollect you yourself have attended the Society meetings in the past.
    Warmest Regards.

  15. Thank you, but I have not attended any Newman Society meetings. I may have met someone connected with it - I cannot recall. I am not sure which blogger you are referring to so I cannot really identify with your concerns. However I am grateful for your good wishes etc.