Monthly Archives: November 2015

Is a Fetus a Person From the Moment of Conception?

It is hard to believe it has been 42 years (coming up on 43 years in just a month and a half) since the legalization of the murder in the womb popularly known as “abortion.” As we remember the legally drollish but culturally devastating decisions of the Supreme Court of “Roe” and “Doe” on Jan. 22, and as we approach yet another crucial election cycle in the life of our nation, hopefully, all of us will become reinvigorated in the on-going battle to save the lives of our weakest and most vulnerable brothers and sisters in what was once the sanctuary of a mother’s womb. Now, it has become a more dangerous place to be than Iraq or Afghanistan.

One way we can become more effective as we present our case for life, I believe, is to be unified in our message. “And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle” (I Cor. 14:8)?

Some will say I am being persnickety when I say this, but I cringe every time I hear a well-meaning Catholic say, “We really don’t know when ‘ensoulment’ takes place after the fertilization of the human ovum.” I even heard one well-known Catholic defender of life argue that killing a newly fertilized ovum that has not received “his” (yes, he used “his”) soul yet would be even more serious than killing a post-”ensouled” human because the pre-”ensouled” little human would have been robbed of the possibility of eternal life because “he” wouldn’t have a soul yet.

I said it to myself then, and I’ll say it now. Huh?

The real point of emphasis here is for us to remember that this kind of confusion can be used by the forces promoting death to continue the confusion. “See? Even Catholics do not know when a fetus is truly a person.”

Even though this is an obvious red herring argument, I believe that the antidote is a clear presentation of the truth as presented by none other than Horton the elephant. “A person is a person, no matter how small.” Yes, from the moment of conception.

Does anybody agree with me that it is time to put these lame “ensoulment” arguments to rest? Forever?

Now, I should say here that it is true, the Church has not yet infallibly spoken on the matter of “ensoulment” at the moment of fertilization. But that does not mean Catholics are free to speculate either. The Church does teach, at the very least at the level of the Ordinary Magisterium, that “ensoulment” occurs at the moment of conception. There is no human being without a human soul. And there is no human soul joined to a body that is not a human person.

The Catholic Truth

The CCC gives an excellent and succinct synopsis of what we mean by the human soul in CCC 362-368. But here I am going to give an even more fundamental and philosophical definition. In general, whether it applies to humans or any living thing, philosophers define the soul as “the unifying and vivifying principle in all living things.” St. Thomas Aquinas tells us that animals and plants have souls as well. The soul is that unifying and vivifying principle that accounts for what philosphers call the “immanent action” of all living things. The word “immanent” comes from two Latin words that mean “to remain” and “in.” “Immanent action” means the multiple parts that comprise a living being are able to act “from within” in a unified way for the good of the whole being. The soul is what accounts for this unified action that is essential for there to be life.

Thus, as the instruction from the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Donum Vitae (I., 1), which I will quote in a moment, makes very clear, at the moment of conception, or the moment of a human being’s existence at conception, he possesses and is a body/soul composite and should, therefore, be treated as a human person. Of course this is true because without a soul you don’t have a human being. And, according to the infallible teaching of the Council of Vienne of 1312 (Decrees, 1), it is the soul that is the “form of the body,” or that which makes the body a living human body and along with the body makes the person a living human person. From the moment of conception, then, there exists a human person with all of the essential rights—especially the right to life, I might add—that are afforded to all human persons. In fact, Pope John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter, Evangelium Vitae (para. 60), says very clearly:

Some people try to justify abortion by claiming that the result of conception, at least up to a certain number of days, cannot yet be considered a personal human life. But in fact, “from the time that the ovum is fertilized, a life is begun which is neither that of the father nor the mother; it is rather the life of a new human being with his own growth. It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and … modern genetic science offers clear confirmation…”

More recently, in what is considered to be a follow-up to the Instruction of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Donum vitae – promulgated of Feb. 22, 1987 – we have Dignitas Personae – On Certain Bioethical Questions – promulgated Sept. 8, 2008. In this document the Church made an even clearer statement with regard to the personhood of an embryo from the moment of conception. It begins by quoting Donum vitae, using it as its foundational principle and then it makes the conclusion that from the moment of conception the embryo possesses “the dignity of a person.” That means it’s a person folks! This is not just to say the embryo should be treated like a person, or even that the embryo is merely a human being; rather, it is a person. I will begin in section 4:

It is important to recall the fundamental ethical criterion expressed in the Instruction Donum vitae in order to evaluate all moral questions which relate to procedures involving the human embryo: “[quoting Donum vitae I, 1] Thus the fruit of human generation, from the first moment of its existence, that is to say, from the moment the zygote has formed, demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality. The human being is to be respected and treated as a person from the moment of conception; and therefore from the same moment his rights as a person must be recognized, among which in the first place is the inviolable right of every innocent human being to life.” 5. This ethical principle, which reason is capable of recognizing as true and in conformity with the natural law, should be the basis for all legislation in this area. In fact, it presupposes a truth of an ontological character-, as Donum vitae demonstrated from solid scientific evidence, regarding the continuity in development of a human being. If Donum vitae… did not define the embryo as a person, it nonetheless did indicate that there is an intrinsic connection between the ontological dimension and the specific value of every human life. Although the presence of the spiritual soul cannot be observed experimentally, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo give [quoting Donum vitae I, 1 again] “a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of the first appearance of human life: how could a human individual not be a human person?” (Now the document makes a new and more definite conclusion, when it says) Indeed, the reality of the human being for the entire span of life, both before and after birth, does not allow us to posit either a change in nature or a gradation in moral value, since it possesses full anthropological and ethical status. The human embryo has, therefore, from the very beginning, the dignity proper to a person.

This is crucial for all mankind to understand, not just those of us in the battle for life. The very principle that makes us alive at conception, the human soul, is what makes us a unified and vivified life-form. And it is what makes us, along with the body it vivifies, a human person. At the end of life, this unifying and vivifying principle is separated from the body of any living thing resulting in death. But among living creatures, only man possesses a “rational” or “spiritual” soul that is by that very fact, naturally immortal, as I pointed out in a previous post.

What Do We Conclude?

The reason why it drives me crazy when I hear well-meaning and Catholic pro-lifers say one could “kill” a “pre-ensouled human,” depriving “him” of the possibility of eternal life, is that scenario is impossible from a Catholic perspective. If there is a truly “human” life to be “killed,” there is a hylomorphic, or “body/soul” composite, human person that will be killed.

1. There can be no “pre-ensouled” human being. You don’t have a human body, a human being, or a human person without a soul. If he’s alive and human, “he” is a human being and a human person. As Pope St. John Paul II said, “It would never be made human if it were not human already. This has always been clear, and … modern genetic science offers clear confirmation…” (EV, 60)

2. From the moment there is human life, then, at the moment of conception, there is a human soul, a human being, and a human person.

3. Though the Church has not stated infallibly the newly fertilzed ovum “is a human person,” the Church has stated it must be “respected and treated as a person,” it “demands the unconditional respect that is morally due to the human being in his bodily and spiritual totality,” and it possesses “the dignity of a person.”

4. Not only is the necessary conclusion to all of this that the human being that comes into being at the moment of conception is a human person, but this is the teaching of the Church. The idea of a “pre-ensouled” human at the moment of conception “becoming” a human person at some later time is contrary to Catholic teaching.

In the final analysis, I guess Horton really does have it right: “A person is a person, no matter how small.”

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Queen of Heaven? Part II

As I said in an earlier blog post, Pope Pius XII pithily summarized the core reasons Christians ought to honor Mary with the title of Queen of Heaven and Earth:

According to ancient tradition and the sacred liturgy the main principle on which the royal dignity of Mary rests is without doubt her divine motherhood. In holy writ, concerning the son whom Mary will conceive, we read this sentence: “He shall be called the son of the most high, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign in the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end,” and in addition Mary is called “Mother of the Lord,” from this it is easily concluded that she is a queen, since she bore a son who, at the very moment of his conception, because of the hypostatic union of the human nature with the Word, was also as man, king and lord of all things. So with complete justice St. John Damascene could write: “When she became mother of the creator, she truly became queen of every creature.” Likewise, it can be said that the heavenly voice of the Archangel Gabriel was the first to proclaim Mary’s royal office.[1]

If we understand that Jesus is the king of Israel, then we know who Mary is: the queen mother. It really is that simple.

I will now add Revelation 12 to the mix in demonstrating Mary’s queenship:

And a great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars; she was with child… she brought forth a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne… Then the dragon was angry with the woman, and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus (Rev. 12:1-2; 5; 17).

Here Mary is clearly depicted as a cosmic queen giving birth to both Christ and all Christians, all the while wearing her royal crown. She rules and reigns with her divine son at the center of the perennial battle between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this world in union with “the serpent” of old. These texts alone demonstrate Mary to be queen of the kingdom of Christ.

But here’s the problem. Although Pope Pius XII says “it is easily concluded that [Mary] is a queen,” it is not so easy for millions outside of the Catholic Church to conclude. For the skeptic, then, I am now going to show how a fuller understanding of Old Testament typology can be the key to illuminating the truth of Mary’s queenship.

Hidden in the Old and Revealed in the New

The “kingdom of David”—which Christ came to (in a sense) re-constitute, in accord with prophecy—is the most prominent type of “the kingdom of Christ” in the New Covenant, and it also reveals Mary’s role as queen of that New Covenant kingdom.[2]

I will raise up your [King David’s] offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son.[3]

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, upon the throne of David, and over his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and for evermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this (Isa. 9:6-7).

From the very first verse of the New Testament through the book of Revelation, we find Jesus referred to as this prophetic “son of David,” or “the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David.”[4] There can be no doubt that Christ is revealed as the king. But what is revealed to us about a queen?

Scott Hahn provides the answer in the remarkable ancient office and Old Testament type of the gebirah (Heb.: great lady):

In the ancient Near East, most nations were monarchies ruled by a king. In addition, most cultures practiced polygamy; so a given king often had several wives. This posed problems. First, whom should the people honor as queen? But more important, whose son should receive the right of succession to the throne? In most Near Eastern cultures, these twin problems were resolved by a single custom. The woman ordinarily honored as queen was not the wife of the king, but the mother of the king.[5]

It can be difficult for us in the modern Western world to understand ancient monarchical concepts. But first-century Jews understood the notion of the kingdom that Jesus preached because they lived it. They knew that a kingdom meant that there was a king. And, in ancient Israel as in many nearby cultures, if there was a king there was a queen mother.

2 Kings 11:1-4:

Now when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the royal family. But Jehosheba, the daughter of King Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah, and stole him away from among the king’s sons who were about to be slain, and she put him and his nurse in a bedchamber. Thus she hid him from Athaliah, so that he was not slain; and he remained with her six years, hid in the house of the Lord, while Athaliah reigned over the land.

Queen Athaliah ruled in Israel for six years after her son, King Ahaziah died. She was a wicked woman and so may not seem to be the greatest type of the Blessed Mother. But then there were many wicked kings in ancient Israel, too, who were nonetheless types of Christ. (Even the great King David himself is quite well-known for his moral failings.) Leaving aside Athaliah’s wickedness, we see in this text a scriptural example of the importance and the authority of the queen mother.

2 Chronicles 15:16:

Even Maacah, his mother, King Asa removed from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. Asa cut down her image, crushed it, and burned it at the brook Kidron.

Queen Mother Maacah was not exactly a picture of holiness, either. But her office was a powerful one in ancient Israel. Maacha held royal authority and was only deposed from it because she made an idol.

Jeremiah 13:18:

Say to the king and the queen mother: “Take a lowly seat, for your beautiful crown has come down from your head.”

Both the king and the queen mother wore royal crowns, just as Mary is depicted wearing in Revelation 12:1.

Perhaps the best example of the power and authority of the queen mother in the Old Testament is found personified in Bathsheba in 1 Kings.

1 Kings 1:11-16, 22:

Then Nathan said to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon, “Have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith has become king and David our lord does not know it? Now therefore come, let me give you counsel, that you may save your own life and the life of your son Solomon. Go in at once to King David, and say to him, “Did you not, my lord the king, swear to your maidservant, saying, ‘Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne’? Why then is Adonijah king?” Then while you are still speaking with the king, I will come in after you and confirm your words. So Bathsheba went to the king in to his chamber (now the king was very old, and Abishag the Shunamite was ministering to the king). Bathsheba bowed and did obeisance to the king, and the king said, “What do you desire?”… While she was still speaking with the king, Nathan the prophet came in.

While King David was still alive, Bathsheba was merely one among many of his wives. As such, she had to bow before her husband the king when making a request of him. In this case, in order to ensure that her request would be granted by the king, she also needed the aid of Nathan the prophet. However, after David’s death, Bathsheba received a crown and a drastic change in authority. Bathsheba became the queen mother.

1 Kings 2:13-23:

Then Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bathsheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, “Do you come peaceably?” He said, “Peaceably.” Then he said, “I have something to say to you.” She said, “Say on.” He said, “You know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel fully expected me to reign; however the kingdom has turned about and become my brother’s, for it was his from the Lord. And now I have one request to make of you; do not refuse me.” She said to him, “Say on.” And he said, “Pray ask King Solomon—he will not refuse you—to give me Abishag the Shunammite as my wife.” Bathsheba said, “Very well; I will speak for you to the king.”

So Bathsheba went to King Solomon, to speak to him on behalf of Adonijah. And the king rose to meet her, and bowed down to her; then he sat on his throne and had a seat brought for the king’s mother; and she sat on his right. Then she said, “I have one small request to make of you; do not refuse me.” And the king said to her, “Make your request, my mother; for I will not refuse you.” She said, “Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother as his wife.” King Solomon answered his mother, “And why do you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also; for he is my elder brother, and on his side are Abiathar the priest and Joab the son of Zeruiah.” Then King Solomon swore by the Lord, saying, “God do so to me and more also if this word does not cost Adonijah his life!”

What a change! Once, Bathsheba bowed to the king. Now the new king—Solomon—bowed to her. (At that time the king of Israel bowed to no one except God… and evidently the queen mother.) As wife of the king, Bathsheba had to beg her husband David for a favor with the assistance of Nathan. As queen mother, Bathsheba needed no assistance and would be refused nothing.

The high degree of power and authority wielded by the queen mother in the kingdom of Israel gives us a context to appreciate in a deeper way the intercessory power of Mary as exemplified, for example, at the wedding feast of Cana in John 2. Are we saying that whatever Mary asks will be brought to pass by her divine son? Yes, we are. If it was so for the Old Covenant type, how could it be anything less for the New Covenant fulfillment? We should always keep in mind, however, that Mary will never ask her Son to do anything that is contrary to his will. Her perfectly obedient will is only to do his will.[6]

Queen and Mother Prophesied

Psalm 45:1-9a prophesy in some detail about Christ the king:

My heart overflows with a goodly theme; I address my verses to the king… In your majesty ride forth victoriously for the cause of truth and to defend the right… Your divine throne endures forever and ever. Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity; you love righteousness and hate wickedness. Therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows; your robes are all fragrant… From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad; daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor.

In the New Testament, the inspired author of Hebrews 1:8-9 quotes verses 6-7 of this very text as referring to Christ, his divinity, and his kingship. But immediately following those verses is another, lesser-known, prophecy that speaks of Mary:

 … at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir. Hear, O daughter, consider, and incline your ear; forget your people and your father’s house; and the king will desire your beauty. Since he is your lord, bow to him; the people of Tyre will sue your favor with gifts, the richest of the people with all kinds of wealth. The daughter of the king is decked in her chamber with gold-woven robes; in many-colored robes she is led to the king, with her virgin companions, her escort, in her train. With joy and gladness they are led along as they enter the palace of the king. Instead of your fathers shall be your sons; you will make them princes in all the earth. I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations; therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever (9b-17).

Set in the context of a royal wedding, on the literal level this psalm referred to the king of Israel, likely Solomon, receiving a new bride, with his mother standing at his right to symbolize her power and authority. But on the spiritual level it refers to Christ and Mary. T.E. Bird says of this text:

But although the poem may have been written in honor of a royal wedding (probably Solomon’s), the inspired writer’s thoughts reach beyond the actual event; he sees a king fairer than an ordinary man (3), one whom he addresses as “God” (7,8), one whose throne is to remain forever (7), whose rule is to extend over the world… It is not surprising, therefore, that Jews and Christians have seen here the espousals between the Messiah and his people. The Targum treats the Psalm as strictly Messianic; St. John Chrysostom could say that on this point Jews and Christians were agreed (PG 55, 183); St. Thomas Aquinas gives the Catholic interpretation: “The subject-matter of this psalm is the espousals between Christ and the Church.” On feasts of the Blessed Virgin, the Psalm is recited as Matins; (10-16) are applied to her as the Spouse of the Holy Ghost and the Queen of Heaven.[7]

Who is this woman of whom the Lord said, “I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations; therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever”? Not one of Solomon’s wives fit the prophetic description.

Most every Christian—indeed most of the world beyond Christendom—knows the name of the Mother of God—Mary—who in fulfillment of this prophetic text said, “All generations shall call me blessed.”[8]

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[1] Pope Pius XII, Ad Caeli Reginam, 34.

[2] The Kingdom of Christ is not a strict re-constitution of the Kingdom of David because Christ fulfills and transcends the old kingdom as well. Christ’s kingdom is “not of this world” and “everlasting,” while the kingdom of David was not (cf. John 18:36 ; Luke 1:33).

[3] 2 Samuel 7:12-14.

[4] E.g. Matt. 1:1; Rev. 3:7.

[5]Scott Hahn, Hail, Holy Queen, p. 78.

[6] 1 John 5:14 tells us that we will receive whatever we ask of God “if it is in accord with [God’s] will.” Mary always prays thus, we strive to do so as best we can.

[7] T.E. Bird, A Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, p. 456.

[8] Mary is most obviously the Mother of the King—Jesus. But she is also a member of the Church as are all Christians, and as such can be viewed as a bride of Christ as well. It must always be emphasized that just as we say with regard to all members of the Body of Christ in relation to Christ, this union is not sexual. It is nuptial, but this term is used by analogy. It is in this analogical context that some mystical writers will refer to Mary as having a nuptial relationship with Christ inasmuch as Christ is God. The great fourth-century father and mystic, St. Ephrem of Syria, described Mary as if from her own lips: “I am a mother because of your conception, and bride am I because of your chastity” (Hymns on the Nativity, 16, 10).

Luisa Piccaretta and the Divine Will II

Why post these articles on “the Kingdom of the Divine Will?” After all, the Church is investigating the claims of Luisa Piccaretta.

The reason I am doing so is because the proponents of these teachings I believe to be dangerous and that are leading to all sorts of grave errors in the thinking of too many of the Catholic Faithful, are presenting these teachings virtually unopposed all over the United States and beyond. I, as an apologist, get asked questions about Luisa Piccarreta’s writings from time to time and my normal course has been to encourage a “healthy skepticism” until such time that the Church decides on the matter.

Meanwhile, the proponents of these alleged “revelations” from God encourage a “confident acceptance” of these teachings and lead people astray. Thus, I am now presenting Part II of my brother, Fr. Terry Staples’, two-part series on the Kingdom of the Divine Will. Both my brother and I are extremely skeptical of the veracity of “revelations” of Luisa Piccarretta.

As we both continue to say, we submit all that we say and write to the authority of the Church. And because this alleged “revelation” is still under investigation, and there has not even yet been a definitive version (translation) of the “revelation” itself for us to critique, nothing we say can or should be taken as authoritative in any way. We have no such authority.

But having said that, we do have a responsibility as Catholic Christians to defend the Catholic Faith (see I Peter 3:15). My brother in a particular way as a pastor of souls. In fact, his concern for Luisa Piccarreta’s writings began because parishioners at his parish asked him about it before he had ever even heard of them. That is what compelled him to study the works of Luisa Piccaretta to begin with.

At any rate, here is Part II as promised:

Is Luisa Piccarreta’s

“Kingdom of the Divine Will”

 Catholic?

 

 A Critique By: Fr. Staples

St. Mary of Sorrows Church

Fairfax, VA

Oct 16, 1997

 

            In the following pages, evidence will be given to demonstrate that the writings of Luisa Piccarreta contain many doctrines which are completely contrary to the Catholic faith which comes to us from the Apostles. It seems there are two principle errors from which many others flow. These two principle errors will be documented and some of the other errors will also be briefly mentioned.

The first principle error in Luisa’s writings is that they clearly violate the Catholic notion of Divine Revelation. She clearly states that what she has received is a new revelation, never before communicated to the Church, which is necessary for all the faithful to adhere to and understand if they hope to attain to the new and higher level of beatitude which God desires for all his children and has made available solely through her writings. She claims to be the founder of a totally new dispensation, a new way of holiness, a new way of being united with God which has only been lived by three people before Luisa: Adam and Eve (before the Fall) and Mary. These “revelations” cannot be true because they contradict the Church’s teaching on the nature of divine revelation and the role of private revelation in the Church.

The second principle error in Luisa’s writings pertain to her notion of how the human will is related to, and cooperates with, the divine will. Luisa clearly and repeatedly teaches that when one receives this new “Sacrament” of the Divine Will the human will ceases to function as such and the Divine Will acts in the creature in such a way that the action is purely divine. This notion has been condemned by the Church when dealing with the Christological heresy of monothelitism.

 NEW REVELATION??

             The first principle error in Luisa’s messages is that they cannot be reconciled with the Church’s understanding of divine revelation. The following texts define some of the essential characteristics of divine revelation:

1.             “The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord, Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Tim 6:14 ,l Tit. 2:13).”[1]

2.            “Everything we need for holiness and increase in faith has been handed on from the Apostles once and for all (cf. Jude 3). What was handed on by the apostles comprises everything that serves to make the People of God live their lives in holiness and increase their faith. In this way the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes.”[2]

3.           “And Tradition transmits in its entirety the Word of God which has been entrusted to the apostles by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit”[3]

4.           “Throughout the ages, there have been so‑called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history. Guided by the magisterium of the Church, the sensus fidelium knows how to discern and welcome in these revelations whatever constitutes an authentic call of Christ or his saints to the Church.”

“Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment, as is the case in certain non‑Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such ‘revelations.’”[4]

Luisa’s writings clearly contradict these teachings of the Church. This contradiction can be seen in the following selections from her writings. The format used in this critique is as follows: first Her words are cited and numbered and a brief commentary follows.

1.       Jesus to Luisa: “Having sent forth from the bosom of my Creative Power the first two FIATs, I wish to emit the third FIAT, since I cannot contain my Love any longer. This will complete the work that poured forth from Me. Otherwise, the work of Creation as well as Redemption would remain incomplete.”(BH, p. 119)[5]

Comments: According to Luisa, the first two fiats were the creation and the fiat of Mary. This third fiat, made by Luisa, completes the work of creation and redemption. Here Luisa is claiming that via her ‘private revelation’ God is revealing to the entire Church the full meaning of creation and redemption. Furthermore, she is claiming that without her the redemption would remain incomplete!! According to Church teaching (cf. Above), Christ’s definitive revelation which He entrusted to the Apostles cannot be added to or surpassed.

2.         Jesus to Luisa: “Now, daughter, you also [i.e. along with Mary] are unique in my Mind; and you will be unique in history. There will not be–either before or after you–any other creature for whom I will obligate through necessity the assistance of my Ministers…. How much attention is required from you and them. You, in receiving from Me, as a second mother, The Great Gift Of My Will and to know all Its qualities, and my ministers in receiving It from you To Fulfill In My Church The ‘Fiat Voluntas Tua’ in Heaven as It is on earth.” (p. 12, BH).

Comments: Luisa is saying that the ministers of the Church must receive from her the message of the Divine Will in order to fulfill God’s plan. One cannot be obligated through necessity to follow a private revelation.

3.      Luisa claims supremacy over all the Church. Jesus to Luisa: “Since my Mother was entrusted to Me and, being a Priest to Her, I entrusted to Her as a sanctuary all the laws, precepts and doctrines that the Church needed to possess. And, faithful as She was and zealous for even one of my words so they would not be lost, She deposited them in my faithful disciple, John. And for that reason my Mother has supremacy over all the Church. In the same way I have done this with you. Being necessary to serve the Fiat Voluntas Tua to all the Church, I have entrusted you to one of my ministers so that you might deposit in him everything I reveal to you about my Will: The Goods that it contains and how the creature should enter into it and how the paternal kindness wants to open another era of grace, putting the goods he possesses in heaven in common with the creature and restoring to man his lost happiness.” (p. 14 BH).

Comments: Luisa is claiming to have received a new “deposit” of faith which parallels the revelation given to the Apostles.

4.           Luisa: new way of union, new way of praying; Our Lord to Luisa, “…it is certain that I have called you first over other souls. Because to no other souls, however much I have loved them, have I shown How to live in my Will, The effects, the marvels, the riches that the creature receives who acts in my supreme will. Search the lives of the Saints as much as you wish or in books of doctrine and you will not find the wonders of My Will working in the creature and the creature acting in my will. The most you will find will be resignation, abandonment, the union of wills, but the divine will working in the creature and the creature in my will, you will not find this in anyone. This signifies that the time had not arrived in which my kindness would call the creature to live in such a sublime state. Moreover, even the way I ask you to pray is not found in any other…” (p. xix, BH).

Comment: Notice here that Luisa does not claim that her teachings are in any way connected with the Tradition received. They are coming from outside what has been handed on. There is a genuine development of doctrine within the Church which is described in Dei Verbum, especially paragraph 8. This document says, “The Tradition that comes from the apostles makes progress in the Church, with the help of the Holy Spirit. There is a growth in insight into the realities and words that are being passed on.” Every legitimate development in the Church must be organically connected to the Tradition: it builds upon and deepens what is already present. Classically, legitimate development can be compared to the growth of a plant, e.g. Jesus compares the Kingdom to the growth of a mustard seed. Over the years it gradually expands and yet remains the same plant.[6] Luisa’s new revelations are not, by her own admission, connected with the mind of the Church which is rooted in the Tradition. They cannot represent a genuine development of doctrine.

Some will argue, “But Luisa’s writings fulfill the Lord’s prayer, doesn’t that imply they are rooted in the Tradition?” This begs the question. The question is, do her writings fulfill the Lord’s prayer? And, how do we know? We must interpret the Scriptures with the mind of the Church. We cannot base our interpretation on a private revelation. Vatican II teaches: “But since sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted with its divine authorship in mind, no less attention must be devoted to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture, taking into account the Tradition of the entire Church and the analogy of faith, if we are to derive their true meaning from the sacred texts” (DV #12). Luisa’s interpretation of the Lord’s prayer is completely novel by her own admission. She says, “It is true that ever since I came to the earth the Church prays the ‘Our Father’ which asks that my Kingdom come so that my Will be done on earth as It is in Heaven. But who thinks of what they are asking for? It can be said that all the importance of this request remained in my Will and that creatures pray it only to pray it, without really comprehending, nor having real interest in obtaining what they are asking for” (BH, p. 19).

Luisa clearly states that the interpretation she is giving to the Our Father is without precedent and is not rooted in Tradition. Her teachings have not developed from the Tradition and are foreign to the analogy of faith. No teaching of the Church or interpretation of Scripture can be based solely on private revelation without reference to the living Tradition. Luisa teaches explicitly that her doctrine is not a development from Tradition but a new revelation. Therefore, her doctrine does not fulfill the Lord’s prayer according to Catholic interpretation.

5.          Jesus to Luisa, “Then the Divine Will will breathe through their soul. It will give the soul the life, the effects, and the value of Life in my Will. But if it is not known, how will they be able to love and to want such a holy life. It is the greatest glory that the creature can give Me.”

“The sanctity of the other virtues is quite known throughout the Church and whoever wants can imitate it. For that reason I am in no hurry to disseminate its knowledge. But the sanctity of living in My Will, its effects, the worth that it contains, the final touch that my creative hand will give the creature to make him similar to me is not yet known. This is why it is urgent that all I have said to you be known. And if you do not do this, you would, so to speak, restrict my Will and repress in Me the flames that consume Me and cause Me to delay the complete glory that creation owes Me.” (P. 2 BH).

Comments: Clearly, Luisa is claiming that only through the revelations she has received can someone attain the knowledge necessary to reach the highest degree of sanctity. Without her writings, this knowledge is simply unknown to the Church. The Church teaches otherwise: “Everything we need for holiness and increase in faith has been handed on from the Apostles ‘once and for all’ (cf. Jude 3): What was handed on by the apostles comprises everything that serves to make the People of God live their lives in holiness and increase their faith.” DV 8.

6.          Jesus to Luisa: “My daughter, my Will is the Sanctity of Sanctities. Therefore, the soul that does my Will according to the perfection that I teach you, that is, on earth as It is in Heaven, no matter how little, unknown, or ignorant she my be, she will surpass all the other Saints despite their prodigies, striking conversions and miracles. Moreover, the souls who do my Will, as in my Third ‘Fiat,’ are the queens; and all the others are as if they were at their service. The souls that do my Will in this manner appear as though they do nothing, yet they do everything. Because by remaining in my Will they act divinely, secretly and in a surpassing way. Such souls are the lights that illuminate, winds that purify, fire that burns, miracles that make miracles occur because it is in these souls that the power to perform them resides. Whereas those doing the miracles are only channels” (BH, p. 38).

Comments: Luisa is very clear in saying that with her “Third Fiat” a new way of doing God’s will is opened to the Church. Her new way allows us to surpass all the other saints in holiness.

Without this “revelation,” the teachings and Sacraments of the Church as they have come to us through Scripture and Tradition are inept to bring us to the level of sanctification God desires us to have. If we want to attain the highest levels of sanctity we must adhere to this private revelation. This is not Catholic teaching.

7.         Jesus to Luisa: “With three FIAT’s I will complete the work of sanctification in man. . . .  The generations will not cease until my Will reigns on earth. My Redemptive FIAT will interpose itself between the Creative FIAT and the Sanctifying FIAT. They will entwine, all three together, and bring to fulfillment the sanctification of man. The Third FIAT (i.e. Luisa’s) will give creatures such grace that they will return almost to their original state. Only when I have seen man as he emerged from Me, will my work be complete. Then will I enjoy perpetual repose in this, my last FIAT. Only the Life of my Will shall return man anew to his original state. Therefore, be attentive and together with Me, help Me accomplish the sanctification of creatures.” (P. 125, BH).

Comments: Again Luisa claims that without this private revelation the redemption remains incomplete and we cannot understand the full meaning of creation. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, para. 67 cited above (p. 3, #4), even approved private revelations cannot add to the deposit of faith. Based on this fact, the following criteria for judging a private revelation can be given: the teaching given in any private revelation must be demonstrable from Scripture and Tradition apart from any reference to the private revelation itself. In other words, the deposit of faith, “everything we need for holiness and increase of faith,” can stand on its own without any private revelation; this is the teaching of the Church. Luisa’s revelations cannot be accepted because they attempt to add to the deposit of faith. Where in the Tradition, for example, do we have the teaching that a third Fiat would be necessary to bring our sanctification and redemption to completion? This is not only absent from the deposit of faith, it contradicts it!

John Paul II while visiting Fatima demonstrated how the teachings of private revelations must meet the criteria of being already present in Tradition. He said,

“The Church has always taught and continues to proclaim that God’s revelation was brought to completion in Jesus Christ, who is the fullness of that revelation, and that “no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord” (Dei Verbum, 4). The Church evaluates and judges private revelations by the criterion of conformity with that single public Revelation. If the Church has accepted the message of Fatima, it is above all because that message contains a truth and a call whose basic content is the truth and the call of the Gospel itself.”[7]

8.           Jesus to Luisa: “This is the Supreme Unity. There also exists the poor and lowly union in which the soul is resigned to my Will. Yes, but such a soul does not see my dispositions as her own, as her life. Neither is she happy in my Will; nor does she lose her will in Mine. I see that one, yes; but she does not manage to enamor Me. Nor does she cause Me to become enchanted with love for her, as happens with the one who lives in the Supreme Unity.” (BH, p. 38).

Comments: Luisa claims that Jesus has revealed to her a new way of achieving “Supreme Unity” with God. All the saints that lived before she made her “Third Fiat” could only achieve “the poor and lowly union in which the soul is resigned to my [God’s] Will.” Thus, St. Joseph, St. Francis, St. John of the Cross, etc…, only achieved a “poor and lowly union” with God; whereas, through Luisa’s “Fiat” and through her writings, those who are alive today can achieve a much more sublime “Supreme Unity” with God. This teaching obviously does not come to us from the Apostles.

St. Thomas Aquinas accurately portrays the Tradition with respect to the possibility of the coming of a “new era” before the Second Coming. He says, “there is a threefold state of mankind; the first was under the Old Law; the second is that of the New Law; the third will take place not in this life, but in heaven.” Furthermore, he says, “we are not to look forward to a state wherein man is to possess the grace of the Holy Ghost more perfectly than he has possessed it hitherto, especially the apostles who ‘received the firstfruits of the Spirit, i.e. sooner and more abundantly than others . . .’” (Summa Theologiae, I-II, 106).

9.          Jesus to Luisa: “…in my All-Seeingness I see that these writings will be for my church as a new sun that will rise in her midst. And men, attracted by its radiation light, will strive to transform themselves into this light to become spiritualized and divinized, thereby, renewing the Church, they shall transform the face of the earth.” (p. 3,4 BH).

10.        Jesus to Luisa: “These revelations regarding my Volition will be as a balm to heal the wounds produced by the human will. Whoever has the benefit of this knowledge will feel the flow of a new life of light, of grace and of strength to fulfill my Will in everything…. My daughter, the Kingdom of my Will is invincible. In these writings I have placed superabundant light, grace and attraction to make my kingdom victorious. To the extent that these writings become known, they will wage a sweet battle against the human will and will win.” (P 16, BH).

11.        Luisa to Jesus: “By living in this Divine Volition, the soul is clothed in a light similar to the light of the One in Whom she lives. And even in Heaven she will shine more brightly than the others and will be for the very Saints the cause of Greater glory.” (p. 23).

“I [Luisa], upon hearing this, said to myself: ‘Soon He will say that his Will is more than Sacramental Communion Itself.” Then He immediately added: ‘Right! Right! Because Sacramental Communion lasts a few minutes. It is temporary. My Will, on the other hand, is perennial Communion…. That is why I want so badly for my creatures to take my Will. This is what matters most to Me, what interests Me most. And nothing else interests Me so much, not even the most holy things. Only when I obtain that the soul live on my Will do I feel triumphant, because in this is contained the greatest good there can be in Heaven and on earth.” (p. 36-37. BH).

Comments: Here, Luisa claims Jesus told her that God’s greatest desire is that we adhere to this private revelation and so enter into the Divine Will. The Church cannot make this teaching her own because she cannot obligate the faithful to adhere to private revelations. For example, the Pope could not embrace Luisa’s writings and pronounce: “God’s greatest desire is that all the faithful embrace Luisa’s private revelations.” The following excerpt from Poulain’s classic book puts private revelations in their proper perspective:

“With regard to the special revelations that have been made to the saints, belief in them is not required by the Church even when she approves them. . . .  ‘It matters little’ (says Melchior Cano) ‘whether or not one believes in St. Bridget’s revelations or those of other saints, these things have nothing to do with faith’ (De locis theologicis, Book XII, ch. iii).

“Benedict XIV is quite clear with regard to this question. ‘What is to be said of those private revelations which the Apostolic See has approved of, those of the Blessed Hildegard [which were approved in part by Eugene III], of St. Bridget [by Boniface IX], and of St. Catherine of Siena [by Gregory XI]? We have already said that those revelations, although approved of, ought not to, and cannot, receive from us any assent of Catholic, but only of human faith, according to the rules of prudence , according to which the aforesaid revelations are probable, and piously to be believed [probabiles et pie credibles]’ (De canon., Book III, ch. Liii, No. 15; Book II, ch. Xxxii, No. II. Eng. trans.: Benedict XIV on Heroic Virtue, Vol. III, ch. xiv).

“Cardinal Pitra says the same: ‘Everyone knows that we are fully at liberty to believe or not to believe in private revelations, even those most worthy of credence. Even when the Church approves them, they are merely received as probable, and not as indubitable. They are not to be used as deciding questions of history, natural philosophy, philosophy, or theology which are matters of controversy between the Doctors. It is quite permissible to differ from these revelations, even when approved, if we are relying upon solid reasons, and especially if the contrary doctrine is proved by unimpeachable documents and definite experience.’ (Book on St. Hildegard, p. xvi).”[8]

Jesus is allegedly saying through Luisa that to live according to her revelations is the “greatest good there can be in Heaven and on earth.” Furthermore, the gift of the Divine Will, which can only be understood and received through Luisa’s ‘revelations’, surpasses the Eucharist as an efficacious source of spiritual growth!! [cf. Also citation #13 below]. If this is true, we can no longer say that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the spiritual life. The Second Vatican Council contradicts Luisa:

“Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. . . . From the liturgy, therefore, and especially from the Eucharist, as from a font, grace is poured forth upon us; and the sanctification of men in Christ and the glorification of God, to which all other activities of the Church are directed as toward their end, is achieved in the most efficacious possible way.” (SC, para. 10).

In summary, Luisa’s writings claim to complete and surpass the revelation we have received from the Apostles. She also claims that apart from her revelations, the Sacraments and Tradition of the Church are inept to bring the faithful to the highest degree of sanctification which God strongly wills for all His children. The Church teaches that everything we need for holiness and increase in faith has been handed on from the Apostles “once and for all’ (cf. Jude 3). Luisa explicitly denies that her doctrine has developed from the Tradition, rather, she insists that it is a new revelation to be given to the whole Church. If Luisa’s writings are true we will have to amend the First Eucharistic Prayer: “. . . We offer them [the gifts] for all who hold and teach the Catholic faith that comes to us from the Apostles . . . and Luisa.”



[1]Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), para. 4.

[2]Ibid., para. 8.

[3]Ibid., para. 9.

[4]The Catechism of the Catholic Church, # 67.

[5]Piccarreta, Luisa. When the Divine Will Reigns in Souls, Book of Heaven: A selection of Passages. The Luisa Piccarreta Center for the Divine Will. Jacksonville, FL. 1995. P. 119.

[6]First Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith, c. 4: “[The true progress of knowledge, both natural and revealed]. For, the doctrine of faith which God revealed has not been handed down as a philosophic invention to the human mind to be perfected, but has been entrusted as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ, to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence, also, that understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding [can. 3]. “Therefore . . . let the understanding, the knowledge, and wisdom of individuals as of all, of one man as of the whole Church, grow and progress strongly with the passage of the ages and the centuries; but let it be solely in its own genus, namely in the same dogma, with the same sense and the same understanding.” (DS 1800).

[7]Pope John Paul II. Homily at Mass in Fatima May 13, 1982.

[8]Poulain, A., S.J., The Graces of Interior Prayer. B. Herder Book Co., St. Louis, MO., 1950. p. 320-321.

Luisa Piccaretta and the Divine Will

I have recently been asked, and I often get asked, about Luisa Piccarreta and “the Kingdom of the Divine Will.” The Church has neither approved nor formally condemned these “private revelations,” the teachings contained therein, and the movement based on the teaching. All is under investigation by the Church. But to answer the question of what I think, I am going to post two articles my brother, Fr. Terry Staples, wrote concerning the topic some years ago.

In a nutshell, I will say I am very skeptical that this private revelation has heaven as its source. In fact, I believe it is a great and very dangerous deception. I will repeat what my brother makes clear in his articles: the Church has not spoken definitively on the matter, but there are, I believe (in agreement with my brother), serious problems with these “revelations.” Here is the first if the two articles written by my brother, Fr. Terry Staples:

                                                                     Luisa Piccarreta’s

Kingdom of the Divine Will:

Divine Revelation or Deceptive Innovation?

             What if someone told you they had a collection of writings from Jesus Himself which contained spiritual insights and prayers–never before revealed to anyone in the Church–which could show you how to achieve a greater union with God, a greater holiness, than ever before possible? . . . a holiness which would place you far, far, above all the Saints that have gone before us? Sounds great, right? Too good to be true? I’m afraid that’s right too.

Unfortunately, there is a new theology on the market which is making outrageous claims and many good Catholics are being deceived into believing a very dangerous delusion. This new theology is based on the writings of Luisa Piccarreta which, of course, she claims to have received directly from Jesus Himself. According to these writings, Luisa has ushered-in a new Era in the Church–a new dispensation has dawned. The long awaited “Kingdom of the Divine Will” has finally come from heaven to earth. Are you confused yet? I will try to explain.

What is the “Kingdom of the Divine Will”?

According to the alleged revelations of Luisa Piccarreta there are three great Eras in salvation history which correspond to, and follow from,  three great “fiats.” The first great fiat is the creative fiat: God creates all things by His Word—His “fiat”; this initiates the “age of creation.” The second fiat was made by the Blessed Virgin Mary: “let it be done to me…”; this ushered in the “age of redemption.” Finally, after many years of struggle and turmoil in the Church, God has decided to complete the work of creation and redemption by inspiring the third fiat: Luisa Piccarreta said, “let it be done to me…”; and her fiat, which is on an equal par with the fiat of creation and the fiat of our Blessed Mother, has brought the Church to a new level of sanctity. We now enter the “Era of Sanctification.” With Luisa’s fiat, the Kingdom of the Divine Will has come to earth and is available to all who will say “yes” to the Divine Will. Eventually, this new gift to the Church, the gift of the Divine Will, will spread to all its members and all of creation will be restored to a manner of life on a par with the life of Adam and Eve before the Fall. This new Kingdom is referred to as the Kingdom of the Divine Will (KDW).

This talk about “three Eras,” three “fiats,” an “Age of Sanctification” and the advent of the “Kingdom of the Divine Will” should sound very strange to Catholic ears simply because it has never been taught by the Church; but, the question before us today is: could it possibly be true? After all, can’t God do whatever He wants? How can we judge such as claim? Before answering these questions, we will first consider this new theology more deeply.

What Does it Mean to “Live in the Kingdom of the Divine Will”?

According to Luisa’s revelations, to “live in the Divine Will” is to literally possess the Divine Will itself in such a way that your actions become purely divine. Before Luisa came along, all that could be achieved by the Saints was a “poor and lowly union with God.” They could, by grace, do God’s will, but they could not actually possess the Divine Will and have It act in their stead. This new way of possessing the Divine Will has been introduced to the Church by Jesus Himself through Luisa (although Adam, Eve, and our Blessed Mother had this gift prior to Luisa). Here is how Jesus allegedly explains this new way of acting to Luisa: “When a soul acts in my Will her humanity is, as it were, suspended. Then the Divine Life of my Love takes its place and acts; and, as it acts in a creature, my love finds itself unburdened of its desire for expression” (BH, p. 94).[1] Contrasting the “old way” of holiness–i.e. obedience to God’s will by grace–with the new way–i.e. possession of the Divine Will– Jesus allegedly tells Luisa, “. . . to live in My Will is to reign in It and with It, while to do My Will [the “old way”] is to be at My orders. …To live in My Will is to live with a single Will–God’s Will–a Will all Holy, all Pure, all Peace.”[2] Many more examples could be sighted from her writings, hopefully this is enough to convey just how radical her claims really are. This leads us to the next question.

How Does One Receive the Gift of the Divine Will?

To receive this sublime gift of the Divine Will you must do two things: (1) become familiar with Luisa’s writings, and (2) fervently ask for the gift. Since Jesus has allegedly deposited this new doctrine with Luisa, the only way to receive the understanding necessary to acquire the gift is to have recourse to Luisa’s writings. Jesus refers to her as the “second mother” to the Church, surpassed in sanctity only by the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Lord allegedly says to Luisa,

Since my Mother [Mary] was entrusted to Me and, being a Priest to Her, I entrusted to Her as a sanctuary all the laws, precepts and doctrines that the Church needed to possess. And, faithful as She was and zealous for even one of my words so they would not be lost, She deposited them in my faithful disciple, John. And for that reason my Mother has supremacy over all the Church. In the same way I have done this with you [Luisa]. Being necessary to serve the Fiat Voluntas Tua to all the Church, I have entrusted you to one of my ministers so that you might deposit in him everything I reveal to you about my Will: The Goods that it contains and how the creature should enter into it and how the paternal kindness wants to open another era of grace, putting the goods he possesses in heaven in common with the creature and restoring to man his lost happiness. (p. 14, BH).

At this point, you may be thinking, “This sounds strange, but how do I know whether or not God has given the Church a second mother who has made a way for us to achieve a new level of sanctity? This brings us to the $10,000.00 question:

What’s Wrong with the KDW?

The doctrine associated with the KDW, as presented above, is very problematic to say the least. For the purposes of this article, I will focus on one major problem: it violates the Catholic notion of Divine Revelation. In the First Eucharistic Prayer of the Holy Mass, the Church proclaims a central teaching of the Catholic faith:  “. . . we offer them [the gifts] for all who hold and teach the Catholic faith that comes to us from the Apostles.” The Second Vatican Council teaches us:

Everything we need for holiness and increase in faith has been handed on from the Apostles once and for all (cf. Jude 3). What was handed on by the apostles comprises everything that serves to make the People of God live their lives in holiness and increase their faith. In this way the Church, in her doctrine, life and worship, perpetuates and transmits to every generation all that she herself is, all that she believes. (DV #8).

Contrary to this teaching, Jesus allegedly revealed to Luisa that “everything that serves to make the People of God live their lives in holiness . . .” was not handed on from the Apostles. Rather, Jesus told her that God has waited for this time in history to reveal to the Church a new and better way of holiness unknown to the Apostles. These are allegedly Jesus’ words to Luisa,

“…it is certain that I have called you first over other souls. Because to no other souls, however much I have loved them, have I shown How to live in my Will, The effects, the marvels, the riches that the creature receives who acts in my supreme will. Search the lives of the Saints as much as you wish or in books of doctrine and you will not find the wonders of My Will working in the creature and the creature acting in my will. The most you will find will be resignation, abandonment, the union of wills, but the divine will working in the creature and the creature in my will, you will not find this in anyone. This signifies that the time had not arrived in which my kindness would call the creature to live in such a sublime state. Moreover, even the way I ask you to pray is not found in any other…” (BH, p. xix).

Clearly, we have a contradiction here, right? I think so, but for the KDW enthusiast, some possible objections remain unanswered. Further clarification is necessary.

What about Private Revelation?

If it is true that “everything we need for holiness and increase in faith has been handed on from the Apostles,” what about all the sacramentals and devotions in the Church which have been introduced after the Apostles? What about the Rosary, the Scapular, the Miraculous Medal, Louis DeMontfort’s consecration to Mary? Aren’t these things “needed for holiness and increase in faith”? In order to answer this objection and distinguish between these sacramentals and Luisa’s new doctrine, we must understand the role of private revelation in the Church. For this we look to our handy Catechism:

“Throughout the ages, there have been so‑called “private” revelations, some of which have been recognized by the authority of the Church. They do not belong, however, to the deposit of faith. It is not their role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history….

“Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfilment, as is the case in certain non‑Christian religions and also in certain recent sects which base themselves on such ‘revelations.’” (CCC #67).

Notice the role of private revelations: they help us to live more fully by the Revelation that we already have. They cannot “improve or complete” what comes to us from the Apostles. Thus, devotions, which are sometimes based upon private revelation, such as the Rosary, Scapular, etc…, do not, and cannot, add any new doctrine to the Church; they simply help us to express and live our faith in a certain period of history. Our Holy Father, John Paul II, emphasized this point while making a pilgrimage to Fatima. He said,

“The Church has always taught and continues to proclaim that God’s revelation was brought to completion in Jesus Christ, who is the fullness of that revelation, and that “no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord” (Dei Verbum, 4). The Church evaluates and judges private revelations by the criterion of conformity with that single public Revelation. If the Church has accepted the message of Fatima, it is above all because that message contains a truth and a call whose basic content is the truth and the call of the Gospel itself.”[3]

From what has been said, the following criteria for judging a private revelation can be given: the teaching given in any private revelation must be demonstrable from Scripture and Tradition apart from any reference to the private revelation itself. In other words, the deposit of faith, “everything we need for holiness and increase of faith,” must be able to stand on its own without any reference to private revelation.

Now, we are ready to apply this criteria to Luisa’s revelations. Luisa’s “revelations” claim to do much more than help us live by what we have received. She claims to have opened an entirely new “era of grace” which was previously unknown to the Church. According to her revelations, what we have received from the Apostles is not enough to complete our sanctification–her revelations are essential. Here are the alleged words of Jesus to Luisa:

“With three FIAT’s I will complete the work of sanctification in man. . . .  The generations will not cease until my Will reigns on earth. My Redemptive FIAT [i.e. Mary’s] will interpose itself between the Creative FIAT and the Sanctifying FIAT [Luisa’s]. They will entwine, all three together, and bring to fulfillment the sanctification of man. The Third FIAT [i.e. Luisa’s] will give creatures such grace that they will return almost to their original state. Only when I have seen man as he emerged from Me, will my work be complete. Then will I enjoy perpetual repose in this, my last FIAT. Only the Life of my Will shall return man anew to his original state. Therefore, be attentive and together with Me, help Me accomplish the sanctification of creatures.” (P. 125, BH).

Clearly, her revelations claim to improve and complete the Revelation we have received from the Apostles. The promoters of the KDW, basing themselves on Luisa’s writings,  unabashedly claim that without referring to her writings, and without her fiat, it is impossible for us to reach the fullness of sanctity that God desires for all Christians. This claim contradicts Catholic teaching.

At this point, I believe we’ve established that Luisa’s “revelations” claim to do more than a private revelation can do. But, another objection remains.

Development of Doctrine?

Some will argue that Luisa’s “new doctrine” is not new at all. They claim that while her doctrine has obviously never been taught by the Church, it has remained hidden in Sacred Scripture and thus it is actually a part of the Revelation which comes to us from the Apostles. The Church . . . well . . . the Church just never realized it was there until Luisa. In other words, her teachings are defended under the guise of a legitimate “development of doctrine.” To answer this objection, we must review the Catholic understanding of how doctrine can expand and develop over time.

There is a genuine development of doctrine within the Church which is described in the Second Vatican Council as follows: “The Tradition that comes from the apostles makes progress in the Church, with the help of the Holy Spirit. There is a growth in insight into the realities and words that are being passed on” (Dei Verbum, #8). The important characteristic of a true development is that it is gradual; i.e., it progresses and grows in the Church over time. Following the example of Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed (Mk 4:31), legitimate development can be compared to the growth of a plant. Over the years it gradually, almost unperceptively, expands and yet remains the same plant. Our Catechism characterizes the development of doctrine in this way:

“’The Christian economy, therefore, since it is the new and definitive Covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Yet even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.” (CCC #66).

Hopefully, we can distinguish at this point the difference between the development of doctrine and an innovation of doctrine (which cannot be accepted). Every legitimate development in the Church must be organically connected to the Tradition: it builds upon and deepens what is already present in the minds of the faithful. Luisa’s new doctrine is not, by her own admission, connected with the Tradition; it is foreign to the mind of the Church. Therefore, it does not qualify as a genuine development of doctrine.

Perhaps some examples will help clarify. Some have tried to compare Luisa’s new teachings to the doctrine of the Assumption of Mary which was not defined by the Church until 1950. “What about the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary?” they ask, “how can we say that this doctrine comes to us from the Apostles?” We will let Pope Pius XII answer this question and explain the rationale for defining the Assumption as a legitimate development of doctrine:

“Since the universal Church, within which dwells the Spirit of Truth who infallibly directs it toward an ever more perfect knowledge of the revealed truths, has expressed its own belief many times over the course of the centuries, and since the bishops of the entire world are almost unanimously petitioning that the truth of the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven should be defined as a dogma of divine and Catholic faith‑this truth which is based on the Sacred Writings, which is thoroughly rooted in the minds of the faithful, which has been approved in ecclesiastical worship from the most remote times, which is completely in harmony with the other revealed truths, and which has been expounded and explained magnificently in the work, the science, and the wisdom of the theologians‑we believe that the moment appointed in the plan of divine providence for the solemn proclamation of this outstanding privilege of the Virgin Mary has already arrived.” (Munificentissimus Deus #41).

Notice the criterion the Holy Father specifies to demonstrate the authenticity of the doctrine: it is “based on the Sacred Writings”, it is “thoroughly rooted in the minds of the faithful,” it is “approved in ecclesiastical worship from the most remote times,” it is “completely in harmony with the other revealed truths,” etc…. These are the marks of a legitimate development of doctrine. The doctrine of the Assumption cannot be traced to any individual person. It was not conceived as a personal “revelation.” It is rooted in Scripture and Tradition and has been an approved doctrine from the earliest days of Christianity.

How does Luisa’s doctrine stand up against these criterion? Unfortunately, the doctrine of a new “Era of Sanctification” initiated by a third “fiat” which would be necessary to bring our sanctification and redemption to completion, is simply not found in the Tradition. It is by definition, and by Luisa’s own admission, a new doctrine never before revealed to the Church: it is completely outside the deposit of faith. It fails every test of being an authentic development . . . it is not Catholic teaching.

There is one last objection which I feel obliged to address since I have personally encountered this many times. Some will argue: “But, Adam, Eve and Mary received the gift of the Divine Will, this proves that it is not ‘new doctrine.’” Or, what amounts to the same argument: “But Luisa’s writings fulfill the Lord’s prayer, doesn’t this imply they are rooted in Scripture and Tradition?” Both these questions obviously employ circular reasoning: they beg the question. The question is, do her writings fulfill the Lord’s prayer? We cannot conclude that they do, simply because they say they do. That would be a circular argument. How, then, can we know? The answer is, we must interpret the Scriptures with the mind of the Church. The Second Vatican Council teaches: “But since sacred Scripture must be read and interpreted with its divine authorship in mind, no less attention must be devoted to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture, taking into account the Tradition of the entire Church and the analogy of faith, if we are to derive their true meaning from the sacred texts” (DV #12). This is a very important aspect of Catholic exegesis. We cannot base our interpretation of Scripture solely on private revelation (cf. 2 Pet 1:20). Practically every heresy, every Protestant sect, every false doctrine promoted under the name “Christian,” claims to be founded on Sacred Scripture. Whenever we wrest the Scriptures from Tradition we come away with an invalid interpretation. Luisa’s interpretation of the Lord’s prayer is completely novel by her own admission. Luisa claims that the words “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” actually refer to the coming of the “Era of Sanctification” in which those who follow her teachings are elevated above all the Saints that have gone before them. They will fulfill this prayer by literally possessing the Divine Will on earth, and with this new possession, accomplish God’s will on earth precisely as the Saints do in heaven. Throughout the history of the Church we have seen innumerable commentaries on the Lord’s Prayer. The Church, as our Mother and Teacher, has drawn from the treasures of her Tradition and offered rich instruction on the Lord’s Prayer, especially in the Catechism of the Council of Trent and the new Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Church has never understood the Lord’s Prayer to have the meaning being promoted today by the KDW movement. Luisa’s interpretation is based solely on private revelation, it has no connection with the Tradition of the Church and is foreign to the analogy of faith. The conclusion is obvious, Luisa’s writings do not fulfill the Lord’s Prayer according to Catholic exegesis.

Conclusion

Having carefully and diligently studied this article, you are now prepared to address that someone who might try to entice you into believing that you can be part of a “new kingdom,” based on a “new revelation,” which promises a new and improved version of holiness. The Church teaches that everything we need for holiness and increase in faith has been handed on from the Apostles “once and for all” (Jude 3). Private revelations cannot add to this deposit of faith. In summary, Luisa’s writings claim to complete and surpass the revelation we have received from the Apostles; this is simply impossible. God cannot contradict Himself. Luisa explicitly denies that her doctrine has developed from the Tradition; this means it is not Catholic teaching. If Luisa’s writings are true, we will have to amend the First Eucharistic Prayer: “. . . We offer [the gifts] for all who hold and teach the Catholic faith that comes to us from the Apostles . . . and Luisa.”

 



[1] Piccarreta, Luisa. When the Divine Will Reigns in Souls, Book of Heaven: A selection of Passages. The Luisa Piccarreta Center for the Divine Will. Jacksonville, FL. 1995. P. 86.

[2] Citation taken from a pamphlet: The Kingdom of the Divine will: An Introduction to the Fulfillment of the Lord’s Prayer. The Luisa Piccarreta Center for the Divine Will. p. 22.

[3] Pope John Paul II. Homily at Mass in Fatima May 13, 1982.