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I do sometimes pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet but I do not know very much about Saint Faustina and I tend to get a little confused over the controversy.  For some reason, though, I seem to be more drawn to the Sacred Heart of Jesus devotion.  

IMHO and sadly the Sacred Heart Devotion, the nine first Fridays, Holy Hours and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament seem to be fading from people's attention.
(05-01-2019, 12:47 PM)MagdalenaRita Wrote: [ -> ]IMHO and sadly the Sacred Heart Devotion, the nine first Fridays, Holy Hours and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament seem to be fading from people's attention.

Why bother with all that when Divine Mercy Sunday promises mercy without all that penance?
Quote:I will refer to this priest simply as "Father S" because his identity does not matter, and this column is in no sense a personal attack on him or an attempt to damage his reputation as a shepherd of souls. In fact, from reading what he has written, I would surmise he is a sincere, traditional Catholic, well versed in theology, but that he has just gotten hold of "the wrong end of the stick," so to speak.

I think Dr Stackpole might have an unspoken reason not to mention the priest's name : It is Fr Peter Scott, who was formerly the District Superior of the United States District, and is taken from the SSPX website. By mentioning the name and source, it might direct people to the SSPX. It is a bit disingenuous to then "surmise" he is a traditional Catholic, since he must know this, if he knows the priest's name.

I presume this because Dr Stackpole has no problem mentioning other names in such critiques, but oddly omits it here. Yet while he does not want to make this a "personal attack" he turns it into an open personal letter, which is nothing but a vehicle for attack, then fills the vehicle with ad hominems and drives it into the crowd.

Quote:It seems to me that while your intentions are the best, you have been misinformed on both the history and theology of the Divine Mercy message and devotion, as well as on some of the writings of Pope John Paul II, and this has blurred your vision with regard to these matters.

Actually, he got the history pretty correct, and the theology quite good. Nothing Dr Stackpole will add in any way changes the summary and concerns offered by Fr Scott, seeing as Fr Scott paraphrased the decrees.

Quote:First of all, you quote the decrees of the Holy Office of 1958 and 1959 establishing the ban on the Divine Mercy message and devotion at that time, but you fail to quote the lifting of that ban by the same Office of the Vatican, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the CDF), in 1978,

This seems always a regular retort of proponents of the Divine Mercy devotion. The interlocutor points out that the Holy See took a negative view, and that at least clouds what follows. It is not all roses. So the respondent then says "but you forgot that it was later approved and didn't quote this!" Yes, but that's a straw man. The point of quoting the original decrees was to show that there was originally some questions and problems. It is to fill in the history which is usually omitted by proponents. It also is to mention figures which traditional Catholics know and trust. A traditional Catholic seeing that Pius XII, John XXIII and Cardinal Ottaviani and the Holy Office had concerns, and then later Paul VI and John Paul II had a hand in undoing this suggests that it's more than just "better sources."

Quote:... you fail to quote the lifting of that ban by the same Office of the Vatican, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the CDF), in 1978, including the following explanation of why that ban was lifted: "This Sacred Congregation, having now in possession the many original documents unknown in 1959, and having taken into account the profoundly changed circumstances, and having taken into account the opinion of many Polish Ordinaries, declares no longer binding the prohibitions contained in the Notification [of 1959]."

Again, proponents love to quote this. It is understandable that further documentation may change the nature of the attitude of the Holy See, and this is reasonable. If we are taking aim at people failing to recognize something, proponents never explain what the "profoundly changed circumstances" are. This is a very curious phrase, and in the wake of Vatican II, which is precisely the theology of John Paul II that Dr Stackpole referenced, one begins to really wonder if the reason for this change in attitude is that the Divine Mercy devotion accords with the new theology of Vatican II, whereas it ran into question like Fr Scott asks when looked at against the Sacred Heart Devotions and traditional theology.

Quote:This provides the clue as to why the devotion was banned in the first place. The fact is that the only translation the Vatican possessed of the Diary of St. Faustina in the 1950s was a faulty translation of the book into Italian, which included gross distortions of what Sister Faustina had written (for example, our Lord said to Sister Faustina, "I am Love and Mercy itself" in entry 1074, but the Italian translation makes it appear that Faustina was making this claim about herself!). It was almost impossible for religious documents of any kind to be smuggled out of Poland to the Vatican in the 1950s because Poland was trapped behind the Iron Curtain, and Eastern Europe lay under the grip of Stalin. Thus, the Vatican placed a ban on the message and devotion largely because it was operating without the original documents, that is, on the basis of misinformation. 

I don't disagree that there may have been translation issues, and resolution of these might have allayed the concerns of Ottaviani and others, but what is presented here is simply a parody of the real situation in Poland under Stalin. The situation was complex and there certainly were anti-Catholic persecutions, but Cardinal Wyszyński was able to negotiate a relative peace with the Communists and get bishops appointed through normal means (including the future JPII). The Holy See regularly communicated with these bishops despite this, so it is simply hogwash to suggest that a simple copy of the diary could not make it to the Holy See within a reasonable amount of time.

Recall that the previous defense suggested that the future JPII was appointed to investigate the canonical case of Sr Faustina in 1965, so clearly documents could move back and forth with relative ease. It cannot be both a lack of any means to get the diary and open lines of communication.

Quote:Cardinal Wojtyla knew this, and when the opportunities arose later to get the correct information about Sister Faustina to the authorities in Rome, he and his confreres in the Polish episcopate did not hesitate to do so. Moreover, by 1978 the authorities in Rome also had on file the extraordinarily detailed theological analysis of Sister Faustina's Diary written in French by Fr. Ignacy Rozycki, one of Europe's leading Thomists and a member of the Pontifical Theological Commission. This weighty tome by Fr. Rozycki exonerated Sister Faustina of all suspicions of heterodoxy, and must have been another factor that led the CDF to lift the ban. 

Again, a bit if a parody of the real situation and some sleight-of-hand.

Fr Rozycki was certainly on the International Theological Commission, but he was appointed there in 1980, after his defense of Sr Faustina and the election of his former Archbishop as Pope. It was widely seen as a reward for defense, which was commissioned by none other than the same Karol Wojtyla, who happened also to be his seminary professor. He also was a theological advisor at Vatican II and along with John Courtney Murray was responsible for Dignitatis Humanæ, the erroneous declaration on Religious Freedom, and the heterodox Gaudium et Spes. These were two documents which were at the heart of the new theology of universal salvation and "mercy" which underpinned the whole of John Paul II's pontificate.

It is interesting how it always connects back to the same Polish Pope.

Quote:Moreover, Fr. S., your essay, states that it was through the "efforts" of "Pope John Paul II" that the ban was lifted. Actually, to be accurate, the ban was lifted on April 15, 1978 several months before Cardinal Wojtyla was elected pope on October 16, 1978. Whether or not it was your intention, the text of your essay as written insinuates that Pope John Paul II used (misused?) his papal authority to get the ban lifted, but that is certainly not what happened.

It was Paul VI under whom the ban was lifted, of course, but this is another straw man argument. Fr Scott never said John Paul II lifted the ban. He wrote that it was through his "efforts" that it was lifted. That is an absolute true statement.

Karol Wojtyla promoted the devotion, interceded with the Holy See to open the cause for canonization for Sr Faustina, appointed his former student to do the theological investigation of the banned works, then lobbied to have the CDF reverse the decision, and then soon after he became Pope, rewarded the theological investigator with an appointment, actively promoted this new theology as Pope, beatified and canonized the Polish mystic, and then instituted a Feast of Divine Mercy.

Fr Scott's analysis could not have been more accurate!

Quote:Second, you speak of "the true image of God's mercy" being the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That is certainly "a" true image of God's mercy, and in some ways the principal one (according to Catechism 472), but it is not meant to be the only one in the Church's rich heritage of sacred art. How about the crucifix? How about the icons of the Resurrection? No single image painted by human beings can capture the fullness of the mystery of the merciful love of Christ. That is why there is room for many authentic images of our Lord in the life of the Church, especially ones that are rooted in Scripture, and that have come to us through the saints, such as the Image of the Sacred Heart received by St. Margaret Mary and the Image of The Divine Mercy received by St. Faustina.

The devotion to the Sacred Heart is nothing new, it is a specific kind of devotion to the Passion of Our Lord, which is as old as Christianity. It is the Passion in a corporeal form of the Heart. What Fr Scott is getting at is that the Sacred Heart, being a representation not only of the Mercy of God and Charity, but primarily of of the Passion, is this balanced notion of God's Mercy, which demanded the price of the Sacrifice of Christ.

This is not what the image of the Divine Mercy is, which is not a devotion to the Passion, but to the "Paschal Mystery".

Quote:You complain that the image of The Divine Mercy] "has no heart," and therefore does not articulate the need for reparation to the Heart of Jesus. But neither do the crucifix nor the icons of the Resurrection in most cases. Does every image in Catholic sacred art have to emphasize the need for reparation to the Heart of Jesus? Of course not! The image of The Divine Mercy emphasizes what necessarily precedes and empowers true reparation: the merciful love of Christ, signified by the Blood and Water that flowed from His side on the Cross, flowing now from the risen Christ to us. That Heart of Jesus is "hidden" or "veiled" in the mercy image, it seems to me, because until we receive those rays of mercy with trustful surrender we cannot know from living personal experience (and thus we cannot "see" clearly with our own hearts) the depth of love in the Heart from which they flow. Nor can we offer true, loving reparation (as opposed to, say, acts of reparation motivated by servile fear of divine Justice) unless we first let His mercy flow into our hearts and transform us. "We love, because He first loved us" (1 Jn 4:19). Again, that is why we need more than one image of our Lord in the life of the Church: because their varying emphases complete and complement each other! I have written about this whole matter of the relationship of the devotion to The Divine Mercy and the devotion to the Sacred Heart in my book Jesus, Mercy Incarnate (Marian Press, 2000).

Again, a straw man argument. This guy is good at these!

The point of Fr Scott is precisely that the Divine Mercy image is not about the Passion. The devotion, of course, is, but notice how he does not mention this, probably because it does not line up well with the new Paschal Mystery theology. Instead, he references the image.

Quote:Third, you confuse the promise Jesus made to St. Faustina of extraordinary graces from devout reception of Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday with the customary performance of devotions to The Divine Mercy at 3 p.m. on the same day. The two things are quite different. It would take much too long here for me to defend in detail the notion that you attack: that Christ can grant a complete remission of sins and punishment without also requiring works of penitential reparation (as are required for a plenary indulgence). Suffice it to say here that He does so in every Holy Baptism. And for sins committed after baptism, whenever the sinner makes an act of contrition out of pure love of God, there is the same complete remission of sins and punishment. (Of course, due to the ease with which we can deceive ourselves about the state of our own hearts, it is entirely right that the Church requires us to make a sacramental confession of all mortal sins that we commit, even if we think we already might have made an act of pure contrition beforehand.) The extraordinary grace that Jesus offered for devout reception of Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday is the equivalent of the same complete renewal of baptismal grace. For more on this see the essays by myself and Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, "Understanding Divine Mercy Sunday".

A plenary indulgence, penance and Baptism have nothing to do with each other, and if this guy had studied decent theology he certainly would not be conflating these.

A plenary indulgence is the remission of all temporal punishment due to a soul because of its sins. This is when the Church draws out of the treasury of merits given by Christ, merit sufficient to wipe away this punishment or debt due to sin.

Penance is a virtue and action by which a soul repairs for past sins, by making up for the punishment due, but also as a virtue, brings the body and its passions into order with the help of grace.

Baptism is a Sacrament by which through the infusion of Sanctifying Grace into the soul, all past sins and Original Sin are wiped away.

The only common thread here is the temporal punishment due to sin.

Fr Scott never denies that Christ can grant complete remission of sins and punishment without requiring some penance. Thus Dr Stackpole again, throws out a straw man argument. The question is not can Christ, the question is does Christ usually do this. The answer is no. The normal way that a Baptized soul receives remission of sins is by the Sacrament of Penance, which Christ instituted to remove the eternal penalty due to sin. The normal way that a Baptized soul is remitted the temporal punishment due to sin is by acts of Penance. The Church assists by spending some of that treasury to help, but the normal means of such forgiveness is Contrition and Penance, not a plenary indulgence.

Baptism is not a penitential act. It remits sin and punishment in a different way and for a different reason. It is a complete remission because it is an image of the Baptism into Christ's death and resurrection with Him and putting on this new man, so death to all that is gone. There is only a very loose analogical link between Baptism and a Plenary Indulgence. One comes about because of the total renovation of the soul by Sanctify Grace. The other comes about in a soul that already possesses Sanctifying Grace through the benefaction by the Church of some of the merits in her treasury.

Further, the link is not well exposed a week after Easter, but in the Easter Vigil itself, where Baptism was conferred. This is the reason for the introduction of the renewal of Baptismal Promises into the 1956 rite, along with the Plenary Indulgence for this. It is a tenuous link which is a novel idea based again, on the Pascal Mystery theology of the Nouvelle Théologie, but at least the symbolism there is much more clearly seen between the Passion, Baptism and the remission of sins.

Quote:You also complain, Fr. S, that the extraordinary grace that Jesus promised for those who receive Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday does not require as a condition the complete "detachment from venial sin that is necessary to obtain a plenary indulgence." But again, neither does any adult baptism require such complete detachment from venial sin in order for the baptized person to receive all the graces of the sacrament. Moreover, to receive the extraordinary grace of Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday, the soul must be in the state of grace, having already gone to confession, and must have the disposition of trust in the merciful love of God. Who are we to say that God cannot be more gracious under these special circumstances, and on this special day (the very octave day of Easter), than He is through the granting of a plenary indulgence? 

Where did this guy learn his theology!?

For the effect in an adult Baptism, that all sins be remitted, there must be at least imperfect contrition for them. An attachment to sin would be an impediment to that sin being forgiven. If a man had stolen $50 from his employer (probably not a grave sin) before his Baptism and yet refused to repay it, and was baptized, this sin would not be forgiven, and it would be matter for confession later. Since it was only a venial sin, there was no lack of the essential effects and entry of Sanctifying Grace, but there is still this sin on his soul.

In this way, it is analogous to a plenary indulgence, in that, if there remains an attachment to sin (i.e. a lack of a desire to give it up), then there cannot be a full remission of the penalty due to sin. That is just common sense.

So, Fr Scott's objection is valid and reasonable. It is troubling that Dr Stackpole did not reply that in fact this plenary indulgence did require those standard conditions of detachment from sin, and instead effectively affirmed Fr Scott's objection was valid.

Quote:Why do you assume that the provisions for a plenary indulgence are the absolute "upper limit" to divine generosity? After all, Jesus gained an infinite, superabundant merit for us through His life, death, and Resurrection. Who are we to set such strict limits on the ways He can mercifully distribute the graces that He merited for us at so great a cost?

This statement is essentially the whole problem with the Divine Mercy theology. Who is the Church to judge such things? Jesus has told us he wants to do more that the Church does, because he's bigger than the Church!

This is the logical result of the false Vatican II theology that would suggest that there are elements of salvation outside of the Church, which is the whole message of John Paul II's pontificate and the theology behind this devotion as promoted by John Paul II and others like Dr Stackpole.

Quote:Fourth, the supposition that St. Faustina's own spirituality contradicts the need for reparation for our sins to the Heart of Jesus can only be made by someone who has never actually read her Diary.

Hasty generalization and ad hominem.

Fr Scott, from other comments, clearly has read at least parts of the Diary. When one has no argument, he seeks to paint his enemies as ignorant.

Quote:It is not surprising, therefore, that at several points in her Diary, St. Faustina summed up her mission on earth as a total oblation of herself and all her sufferings for the good of souls lacking trust in God's mercy (see Diary, entry 309). Near the end of her life, Faustina renewed her reparatory self-offering, in view of the terrible sufferings she was enduring because of her final illness:
Quote:O my Jesus, may the last days of my exile be spent totally according to Your most holy will. I unite my sufferings, my bitterness, and my last agony itself to Your Sacred Passion; and I offer myself for the whole world to implore an abundance of God's mercy for souls. (1574)

For which reason, few doubt that Sr Faustina was a devout and holy woman. But that's not at issue. The issue is the theology that is being pushed.

Quote:Given all this, Fr. S, how can you possibly tell people that St. Faustina's devotion to The Divine Mercy omits the need to make reparation to the Heart of Jesus on behalf of sinners, and especially for the sake of their conversion? It is true that this is not the main focus of her writing; she puts central emphasis not on our need to make reparation to Him, ...

Again, another straw man. Fr Scott says nothing of Sr Faustina's devotion. He says this about the theology behind the devotion as practiced and promoted today. He says this about Dr Stackpole's theology.

And yet, Dr Stackpole, after taking Fr Scott to task, again, admits that he is correct.

Quote:Nevertheless, how could one argue that this different emphasis actually excludes the theology of the devotion to The Sacred Heart? Rather, it is an emphasis entirely complementary to that devotion! Moreover, it is also entirely appropriate to the "New Evangelization" needed today, in our historical circumstances, in which all people (including Catholics!) need to hear the basics of the Gospel proclaimed afresh — God's merciful love for us in Christ — before we are even ready to make loving reparation to His Heart in return.

And there's the rub : it's all about this New Evangelization which is formed in the mold of this New Faith, created by this New Church founded in this New Springtime, by the Council (full stop, since no other Councils really matter), with it's New Mass, New Baptismal Rites, New Confirmation Rites, New Rites of Holy Orders, New Rites of Blessings, New Catechism, New Bible, New Rosary ... behold we make all things new!

This is precisely the problem. The devotion as it is promoted is precisely the theology of Vatican II and this "New Evangelization." I think Sr Faustina would have been horrified to see this done in her name.

Quote:Finally, I am grieved that you are spreading misinformation about the Divine Mercy theology of Pope John Paul II.

I think Fr Scott held back from saying how warped and twisted John Paul's theology was. This was the same theology that justified his grave and public and scandalous rejection of the Catholic Faith at Assisi in 1986, which he never retracted or apologized for.

Quote:Right at the heart of Pope John Paul II's theology of the Paschal Mystery ...

Exactly my point, and Fr Scott's. Q.E.D.
(05-01-2019, 10:51 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:You also complain, Fr. S, that the extraordinary grace that Jesus promised for those who receive Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday does not require as a condition the complete "detachment from venial sin that is necessary to obtain a plenary indulgence." But again, neither does any adult baptism require such complete detachment from venial sin in order for the baptized person to receive all the graces of the sacrament. Moreover, to receive the extraordinary grace of Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday, the soul must be in the state of grace, having already gone to confession, and must have the disposition of trust in the merciful love of God. Who are we to say that God cannot be more gracious under these special circumstances, and on this special day (the very octave day of Easter), than He is through the granting of a plenary indulgence? 

Where did this guy learn his theology!?

For the effect in an adult Baptism, that all sins be remitted, there must be at least imperfect contrition for them. An attachment to sin would be an impediment to that sin being forgiven. If a man had stolen $50 from his employer (probably not a grave sin) before his Baptism and yet refused to repay it, and was baptized, this sin would not be forgiven, and it would be matter for confession later. Since it was only a venial sin, there was no lack of the essential effects and entry of Sanctifying Grace, but there is still this sin on his soul.

In this way, it is analogous to a plenary indulgence, in that, if there remains an attachment to sin (i.e. a lack of a desire to give it up), then there cannot be a full remission of the penalty due to sin. That is just common sense.

So, Fr Scott's objection is valid and reasonable. It is troubling that Dr Stackpole did not reply that in fact this plenary indulgence did require those standard conditions of detachment from sin, and instead effectively affirmed Fr Scott's objection was valid.





Here's your answer on his education background. Also thanks for your break down of his rebuttal. 

Link to bio St Paul center

Quote:An American by birth, Robert Stackpole earned a B.A. in History from Williams College in Massachusetts in 1982, and a Masters degree in Theology from Oxford University in England in 1988. Robert was an ordained Anglican pastor before becoming a Catholic in 1994. After his conversion, he married a Catholic Canadian, and they went to Rome together, where Robert obtained a Doctorate in Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the “Angelicum”) in 2000.

Upon returning to North America, in 1997 he began work as the Research Director, and later Director, of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy based in Stockbridge Massachusetts, a position he continues to hold. In that capacity, he has been a speaker at many conferences, and the author and editor of numerous journal articles and books on the Divine Mercy message and devotion, including Divine Mercy, A Guide From Genesis To Benedict XVI (Marian Press, 2009). He regularly contributes articles to the official Divine Mercy website (http://www.TheDivineMercy.org).
Robert has a special academic interest in ecumenical dialogue with Evangelical Christians, an interest that grew during his 10-years of teaching theology to undergraduates at Redeemer Pacific College (Trinity Western University) in Langley, BC. Robert also enjoys reading and writing about the works of C.S. Lewis, and describes himself as an incurable “Narniac.” Since 2012, Robert hails from St. Therese Institute in Bruno, SK where he is the Assistant Director of Formation (http://www.StTherese.ca). During breaks in the school year, Robert is usually found in Poland where his wife and teen-aged daughter, Katherine and Christina, presently live and care for Katherine’s father.

Dr. Stackpole is a member of the Canadian branch of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. You can find many of his articles in the FCS journal.

He is the author of
Mary: Who She Is and Why She Matters (Marian Press, 2017),
Divine Mercy: A Guide from Genesis to Benedict XVI (Marian Press, 2008), and
Saint Peter Lives In Rome (Marian Press, 2006).
(05-01-2019, 10:51 PM)MagisterMusicae Wrote: [ -> ]
Quote:I will refer to this priest simply as "Father S" because his identity does not matter, and this column is in no sense a personal attack on him or an attempt to damage his reputation as a shepherd of souls. In fact, from reading what he has written, I would surmise he is a sincere, traditional Catholic, well versed in theology, but that he has just gotten hold of "the wrong end of the stick," so to speak.

I think Dr Stackpole might have an unspoken reason not to mention the priest's name : It is Fr Peter Scott, who was formerly the District Superior of the United States District, and is taken from the SSPX website. By mentioning the name and source, it might direct people to the SSPX. It is a bit disingenuous to then "surmise" he is a traditional Catholic, since he must know this, if he knows the priest's name.

I presume this because Dr Stackpole has no problem mentioning other names in such critiques, but oddly omits it here. Yet while he does not want to make this a "personal attack" he turns it into an open personal letter, which is nothing but a vehicle for attack, then fills the vehicle with ad hominems and drives it into the crowd.

Quote:It seems to me that while your intentions are the best, you have been misinformed on both the history and theology of the Divine Mercy message and devotion, as well as on some of the writings of Pope John Paul II, and this has blurred your vision with regard to these matters.

Actually, he got the history pretty correct, and the theology quite good. Nothing Dr Stackpole will add in any way changes the summary and concerns offered by Fr Scott, seeing as Fr Scott paraphrased the decrees.

Quote:First of all, you quote the decrees of the Holy Office of 1958 and 1959 establishing the ban on the Divine Mercy message and devotion at that time, but you fail to quote the lifting of that ban by the same Office of the Vatican, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the CDF), in 1978,

This seems always a regular retort of proponents of the Divine Mercy devotion. The interlocutor points out that the Holy See took a negative view, and that at least clouds what follows. It is not all roses. So the respondent then says "but you forgot that it was later approved and didn't quote this!" Yes, but that's a straw man. The point of quoting the original decrees was to show that there was originally some questions and problems. It is to fill in the history which is usually omitted by proponents. It also is to mention figures which traditional Catholics know and trust. A traditional Catholic seeing that Pius XII, John XXIII and Cardinal Ottaviani and the Holy Office had concerns, and then later Paul VI and John Paul II had a hand in undoing this suggests that it's more than just "better sources."

Quote:... you fail to quote the lifting of that ban by the same Office of the Vatican, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the CDF), in 1978, including the following explanation of why that ban was lifted: "This Sacred Congregation, having now in possession the many original documents unknown in 1959, and having taken into account the profoundly changed circumstances, and having taken into account the opinion of many Polish Ordinaries, declares no longer binding the prohibitions contained in the Notification [of 1959]."

Again, proponents love to quote this. It is understandable that further documentation may change the nature of the attitude of the Holy See, and this is reasonable. If we are taking aim at people failing to recognize something, proponents never explain what the "profoundly changed circumstances" are. This is a very curious phrase, and in the wake of Vatican II, which is precisely the theology of John Paul II that Dr Stackpole referenced, one begins to really wonder if the reason for this change in attitude is that the Divine Mercy devotion accords with the new theology of Vatican II, whereas it ran into question like Fr Scott asks when looked at against the Sacred Heart Devotions and traditional theology.

Quote:This provides the clue as to why the devotion was banned in the first place. The fact is that the only translation the Vatican possessed of the Diary of St. Faustina in the 1950s was a faulty translation of the book into Italian, which included gross distortions of what Sister Faustina had written (for example, our Lord said to Sister Faustina, "I am Love and Mercy itself" in entry 1074, but the Italian translation makes it appear that Faustina was making this claim about herself!). It was almost impossible for religious documents of any kind to be smuggled out of Poland to the Vatican in the 1950s because Poland was trapped behind the Iron Curtain, and Eastern Europe lay under the grip of Stalin. Thus, the Vatican placed a ban on the message and devotion largely because it was operating without the original documents, that is, on the basis of misinformation. 

I don't disagree that there may have been translation issues, and resolution of these might have allayed the concerns of Ottaviani and others, but what is presented here is simply a parody of the real situation in Poland under Stalin. The situation was complex and there certainly were anti-Catholic persecutions, but Cardinal Wyszyński was able to negotiate a relative peace with the Communists and get bishops appointed through normal means (including the future JPII). The Holy See regularly communicated with these bishops despite this, so it is simply hogwash to suggest that a simple copy of the diary could not make it to the Holy See within a reasonable amount of time.

Recall that the previous defense suggested that the future JPII was appointed to investigate the canonical case of Sr Faustina in 1965, so clearly documents could move back and forth with relative ease. It cannot be both a lack of any means to get the diary and open lines of communication.

Quote:Cardinal Wojtyla knew this, and when the opportunities arose later to get the correct information about Sister Faustina to the authorities in Rome, he and his confreres in the Polish episcopate did not hesitate to do so. Moreover, by 1978 the authorities in Rome also had on file the extraordinarily detailed theological analysis of Sister Faustina's Diary written in French by Fr. Ignacy Rozycki, one of Europe's leading Thomists and a member of the Pontifical Theological Commission. This weighty tome by Fr. Rozycki exonerated Sister Faustina of all suspicions of heterodoxy, and must have been another factor that led the CDF to lift the ban. 

Again, a bit if a parody of the real situation and some sleight-of-hand.

Fr Rozycki was certainly on the International Theological Commission, but he was appointed there in 1980, after his defense of Sr Faustina and the election of his former Archbishop as Pope. It was widely seen as a reward for defense, which was commissioned by none other than the same Karol Wojtyla, who happened also to be his seminary professor. He also was a theological advisor at Vatican II and along with John Courtney Murray was responsible for Dignitatis Humanæ, the erroneous declaration on Religious Freedom, and the heterodox Gaudium et Spes. These were two documents which were at the heart of the new theology of universal salvation and "mercy" which underpinned the whole of John Paul II's pontificate.

It is interesting how it always connects back to the same Polish Pope.

Quote:Moreover, Fr. S., your essay, states that it was through the "efforts" of "Pope John Paul II" that the ban was lifted. Actually, to be accurate, the ban was lifted on April 15, 1978 several months before Cardinal Wojtyla was elected pope on October 16, 1978. Whether or not it was your intention, the text of your essay as written insinuates that Pope John Paul II used (misused?) his papal authority to get the ban lifted, but that is certainly not what happened.

It was Paul VI under whom the ban was lifted, of course, but this is another straw man argument. Fr Scott never said John Paul II lifted the ban. He wrote that it was through his "efforts" that it was lifted. That is an absolute true statement.

Karol Wojtyla promoted the devotion, interceded with the Holy See to open the cause for canonization for Sr Faustina, appointed his former student to do the theological investigation of the banned works, then lobbied to have the CDF reverse the decision, and then soon after he became Pope, rewarded the theological investigator with an appointment, actively promoted this new theology as Pope, beatified and canonized the Polish mystic, and then instituted a Feast of Divine Mercy.

Fr Scott's analysis could not have been more accurate!

Quote:Second, you speak of "the true image of God's mercy" being the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. That is certainly "a" true image of God's mercy, and in some ways the principal one (according to Catechism 472), but it is not meant to be the only one in the Church's rich heritage of sacred art. How about the crucifix? How about the icons of the Resurrection? No single image painted by human beings can capture the fullness of the mystery of the merciful love of Christ. That is why there is room for many authentic images of our Lord in the life of the Church, especially ones that are rooted in Scripture, and that have come to us through the saints, such as the Image of the Sacred Heart received by St. Margaret Mary and the Image of The Divine Mercy received by St. Faustina.

The devotion to the Sacred Heart is nothing new, it is a specific kind of devotion to the Passion of Our Lord, which is as old as Christianity. It is the Passion in a corporeal form of the Heart. What Fr Scott is getting at is that the Sacred Heart, being a representation not only of the Mercy of God and Charity, but primarily of of the Passion, is this balanced notion of God's Mercy, which demanded the price of the Sacrifice of Christ.

This is not what the image of the Divine Mercy is, which is not a devotion to the Passion, but to the "Paschal Mystery".

Quote:You complain that the image of The Divine Mercy] "has no heart," and therefore does not articulate the need for reparation to the Heart of Jesus. But neither do the crucifix nor the icons of the Resurrection in most cases. Does every image in Catholic sacred art have to emphasize the need for reparation to the Heart of Jesus? Of course not! The image of The Divine Mercy emphasizes what necessarily precedes and empowers true reparation: the merciful love of Christ, signified by the Blood and Water that flowed from His side on the Cross, flowing now from the risen Christ to us. That Heart of Jesus is "hidden" or "veiled" in the mercy image, it seems to me, because until we receive those rays of mercy with trustful surrender we cannot know from living personal experience (and thus we cannot "see" clearly with our own hearts) the depth of love in the Heart from which they flow. Nor can we offer true, loving reparation (as opposed to, say, acts of reparation motivated by servile fear of divine Justice) unless we first let His mercy flow into our hearts and transform us. "We love, because He first loved us" (1 Jn 4:19). Again, that is why we need more than one image of our Lord in the life of the Church: because their varying emphases complete and complement each other! I have written about this whole matter of the relationship of the devotion to The Divine Mercy and the devotion to the Sacred Heart in my book Jesus, Mercy Incarnate (Marian Press, 2000).

Again, a straw man argument. This guy is good at these!

The point of Fr Scott is precisely that the Divine Mercy image is not about the Passion. The devotion, of course, is, but notice how he does not mention this, probably because it does not line up well with the new Paschal Mystery theology. Instead, he references the image.

Quote:Third, you confuse the promise Jesus made to St. Faustina of extraordinary graces from devout reception of Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday with the customary performance of devotions to The Divine Mercy at 3 p.m. on the same day. The two things are quite different. It would take much too long here for me to defend in detail the notion that you attack: that Christ can grant a complete remission of sins and punishment without also requiring works of penitential reparation (as are required for a plenary indulgence). Suffice it to say here that He does so in every Holy Baptism. And for sins committed after baptism, whenever the sinner makes an act of contrition out of pure love of God, there is the same complete remission of sins and punishment. (Of course, due to the ease with which we can deceive ourselves about the state of our own hearts, it is entirely right that the Church requires us to make a sacramental confession of all mortal sins that we commit, even if we think we already might have made an act of pure contrition beforehand.) The extraordinary grace that Jesus offered for devout reception of Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday is the equivalent of the same complete renewal of baptismal grace. For more on this see the essays by myself and Fr. Seraphim Michalenko, MIC, "Understanding Divine Mercy Sunday".

A plenary indulgence, penance and Baptism have nothing to do with each other, and if this guy had studied decent theology he certainly would not be conflating these.

A plenary indulgence is the remission of all temporal punishment due to a soul because of its sins. This is when the Church draws out of the treasury of merits given by Christ, merit sufficient to wipe away this punishment or debt due to sin.

Penance is a virtue and action by which a soul repairs for past sins, by making up for the punishment due, but also as a virtue, brings the body and its passions into order with the help of grace.

Baptism is a Sacrament by which through the infusion of Sanctifying Grace into the soul, all past sins and Original Sin are wiped away.

The only common thread here is the temporal punishment due to sin.

Fr Scott never denies that Christ can grant complete remission of sins and punishment without requiring some penance. Thus Dr Stackpole again, throws out a straw man argument. The question is not can Christ, the question is does Christ usually do this. The answer is no. The normal way that a Baptized soul receives remission of sins is by the Sacrament of Penance, which Christ instituted to remove the eternal penalty due to sin. The normal way that a Baptized soul is remitted the temporal punishment due to sin is by acts of Penance. The Church assists by spending some of that treasury to help, but the normal means of such forgiveness is Contrition and Penance, not a plenary indulgence.

Baptism is not a penitential act. It remits sin and punishment in a different way and for a different reason. It is a complete remission because it is an image of the Baptism into Christ's death and resurrection with Him and putting on this new man, so death to all that is gone. There is only a very loose analogical link between Baptism and a Plenary Indulgence. One comes about because of the total renovation of the soul by Sanctify Grace. The other comes about in a soul that already possesses Sanctifying Grace through the benefaction by the Church of some of the merits in her treasury.

Further, the link is not well exposed a week after Easter, but in the Easter Vigil itself, where Baptism was conferred. This is the reason for the introduction of the renewal of Baptismal Promises into the 1956 rite, along with the Plenary Indulgence for this. It is a tenuous link which is a novel idea based again, on the Pascal Mystery theology of the Nouvelle Théologie, but at least the symbolism there is much more clearly seen between the Passion, Baptism and the remission of sins.

Quote:You also complain, Fr. S, that the extraordinary grace that Jesus promised for those who receive Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday does not require as a condition the complete "detachment from venial sin that is necessary to obtain a plenary indulgence." But again, neither does any adult baptism require such complete detachment from venial sin in order for the baptized person to receive all the graces of the sacrament. Moreover, to receive the extraordinary grace of Holy Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday, the soul must be in the state of grace, having already gone to confession, and must have the disposition of trust in the merciful love of God. Who are we to say that God cannot be more gracious under these special circumstances, and on this special day (the very octave day of Easter), than He is through the granting of a plenary indulgence? 

Where did this guy learn his theology!?

For the effect in an adult Baptism, that all sins be remitted, there must be at least imperfect contrition for them. An attachment to sin would be an impediment to that sin being forgiven. If a man had stolen $50 from his employer (probably not a grave sin) before his Baptism and yet refused to repay it, and was baptized, this sin would not be forgiven, and it would be matter for confession later. Since it was only a venial sin, there was no lack of the essential effects and entry of Sanctifying Grace, but there is still this sin on his soul.

In this way, it is analogous to a plenary indulgence, in that, if there remains an attachment to sin (i.e. a lack of a desire to give it up), then there cannot be a full remission of the penalty due to sin. That is just common sense.

So, Fr Scott's objection is valid and reasonable. It is troubling that Dr Stackpole did not reply that in fact this plenary indulgence did require those standard conditions of detachment from sin, and instead effectively affirmed Fr Scott's objection was valid.

Quote:Why do you assume that the provisions for a plenary indulgence are the absolute "upper limit" to divine generosity? After all, Jesus gained an infinite, superabundant merit for us through His life, death, and Resurrection. Who are we to set such strict limits on the ways He can mercifully distribute the graces that He merited for us at so great a cost?

This statement is essentially the whole problem with the Divine Mercy theology. Who is the Church to judge such things? Jesus has told us he wants to do more that the Church does, because he's bigger than the Church!

This is the logical result of the false Vatican II theology that would suggest that there are elements of salvation outside of the Church, which is the whole message of John Paul II's pontificate and the theology behind this devotion as promoted by John Paul II and others like Dr Stackpole.

Quote:Fourth, the supposition that St. Faustina's own spirituality contradicts the need for reparation for our sins to the Heart of Jesus can only be made by someone who has never actually read her Diary.

Hasty generalization and ad hominem.

Fr Scott, from other comments, clearly has read at least parts of the Diary. When one has no argument, he seeks to paint his enemies as ignorant.

Quote:It is not surprising, therefore, that at several points in her Diary, St. Faustina summed up her mission on earth as a total oblation of herself and all her sufferings for the good of souls lacking trust in God's mercy (see Diary, entry 309). Near the end of her life, Faustina renewed her reparatory self-offering, in view of the terrible sufferings she was enduring because of her final illness:
Quote:O my Jesus, may the last days of my exile be spent totally according to Your most holy will. I unite my sufferings, my bitterness, and my last agony itself to Your Sacred Passion; and I offer myself for the whole world to implore an abundance of God's mercy for souls. (1574)

For which reason, few doubt that Sr Faustina was a devout and holy woman. But that's not at issue. The issue is the theology that is being pushed.

Quote:Given all this, Fr. S, how can you possibly tell people that St. Faustina's devotion to The Divine Mercy omits the need to make reparation to the Heart of Jesus on behalf of sinners, and especially for the sake of their conversion? It is true that this is not the main focus of her writing; she puts central emphasis not on our need to make reparation to Him, ...

Again, another straw man. Fr Scott says nothing of Sr Faustina's devotion. He says this about the theology behind the devotion as practiced and promoted today. He says this about Dr Stackpole's theology.

And yet, Dr Stackpole, after taking Fr Scott to task, again, admits that he is correct.

Quote:Nevertheless, how could one argue that this different emphasis actually excludes the theology of the devotion to The Sacred Heart? Rather, it is an emphasis entirely complementary to that devotion! Moreover, it is also entirely appropriate to the "New Evangelization" needed today, in our historical circumstances, in which all people (including Catholics!) need to hear the basics of the Gospel proclaimed afresh — God's merciful love for us in Christ — before we are even ready to make loving reparation to His Heart in return.

And there's the rub : it's all about this New Evangelization which is formed in the mold of this New Faith, created by this New Church founded in this New Springtime, by the Council (full stop, since no other Councils really matter), with it's New Mass, New Baptismal Rites, New Confirmation Rites, New Rites of Holy Orders, New Rites of Blessings, New Catechism, New Bible, New Rosary ... behold we make all things new!

This is precisely the problem. The devotion as it is promoted is precisely the theology of Vatican II and this "New Evangelization." I think Sr Faustina would have been horrified to see this done in her name.

Quote:Finally, I am grieved that you are spreading misinformation about the Divine Mercy theology of Pope John Paul II.

I think Fr Scott held back from saying how warped and twisted John Paul's theology was. This was the same theology that justified his grave and public and scandalous rejection of the Catholic Faith at Assisi in 1986, which he never retracted or apologized for.

Quote:Right at the heart of Pope John Paul II's theology of the Paschal Mystery ...

Exactly my point, and Fr Scott's. Q.E.D.
Fantastic rebuttal. Thank you
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