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I previously had a small devotion to the Divine Mercy, had been reading through St. Faustina's diary, and would recite the Divine Mercy chaplet. I've defended it at times, but recently upon exploring the Sacred Heart devotion, I don't really see the necessity of the Divine Mercy. The Sacred Heart has all aspects of Christ's Mercy while emphasizing reparation and penance for sin. In light of this, the Divine Mercy comes across as a watered-down ape of an older devotion.

I mean, I've enjoyed what I've read in St. Faustina's diary, none of it is particularly profound, and much of it can come across as naive. But then I came across a piece condemning the Divine Mercy devotion as "not of God" and have become a little more wary of it. This priest makes some solid points, citing Papal condemnation of the devotion and even something as simple as being put off by the Divine Mercy image itself (I can agree with this one, the image makes me a little uneasy).

Link: https://www.traditioninaction.org/HotTop...vMercy.htm

I'm not outright trying to say that no one should follow this devotion, I haven't completely dismissed it. I just don't see the necessity of it in light of the Sacred Heart and the solid points made in the sermon I've linked. I wanted to see what anyone else thought of this modern devotion?
I have a devotion to the Sacred Heart. It’s the one devotion I remember on my grandmother before she passed and before I left the faith. I love the Divine Mercy, and I’m partial to the sung version on EWTN, but I never say it.

I’ve seen arguments for both for and against the devotion. The against argument seems to nitpick at certain words in the diary and not the context. The arguments for seem to be blinded by some cognitive bias.

Cdl Burke has signed off on it. Fr Nix likes it. Msgr Perez has a pretty good takedown of it and why he’s against it.

I personally don’t have the theological training to decide one way or the other. But I agree with you that it seems like a watered down Sacred Heart devotion.


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The Rosary of the Holy Wounds, approved for the Institute of the Visitation in 1912. Interesting comparison.


The Chaplet contains several unique prayers.
First opening prayer
This prayer is optional, and may be used to begin the Chaplet:
Quote:You expired, Jesus, but the source of life gushed forth for souls, and the ocean of mercy opened up for the whole world. O Fount of Life, unfathomable Divine Mercy, envelop the whole world and empty Yourself out upon us.
Second opening prayer
This prayer, repeated three times in succession, is also optional, and may be used along with the first opening prayer to begin the Chaplet:
Quote:O Blood and Water, which gushed forth from the Heart of Jesus as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You!
Eternal Father
This prayer opens each decade of the Chaplet:
Quote:Eternal Father, I offer you the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your Dearly Beloved Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world.
For the sake of His sorrowful Passion
This prayer, repeated 10 times in succession, forms the body of each decade of the Chaplet:
Quote:For the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Holy God
This prayer, repeated three times in succession, concludes the Chaplet:
Quote:Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, have mercy on us and on the whole world.
Closing prayer
This prayer is optional, and may be used after the Holy God to end the Chaplet:
Quote:Eternal God, in whom mercy is endless and the treasury of compassion — inexhaustible, look kindly upon us and increase Your mercy in us, that in difficult moments we might not despair nor become despondent, but with great confidence submit ourselves to Your holy will, which is Love and Mercy itself.
Structure
[Image: 200px-Rosary.jpeg]
[url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Rosary.jpeg][/url]
The chaplet is often recited on beads as a rosary-based prayer

The chaplet is prayed on ordinary rosary beads that are also used to pray the Dominican Rosary. The structure of the Chaplet is as follows:
The Chaplet is begun on the short strand of the rosary beads:
  • The sign of the cross on the Crucifix;
  • The optional first opening prayer on the first large bead;
  • The optional second opening prayer, repeated three times, still on the first large bead;
  • The Lord's Prayer on the first small bead;
  • The Hail Mary on the second small bead; and
  • The Apostles' Creed on the third small bead.
The praying of the decades then follows, repeating this cycle for each:
  • The Eternal Father on the large bead, with a specific offering each decade; and
  • The For the sake of His sorrowful Passion on each of the ten adjacent small beads, with other petitions for mercy, emphasizing the offering of the Body and Blood of Christ.
To conclude:
  • The Holy God on the medallion;
  • The optional closing prayer, still on the medallion;
  • Any further intentions; and
  • The sign of the cross.
I think the divine mercy devotion is beautiful. The prayer and the saint behind it are amazing. This prayer definitely brings me closer to god. I think the rays signifying blood and water in regards to the image are beautiful as well I don't find the image creepy at all.

Debate wise I'm not on that level so I'll see what other posts have to say. Either way it's much more in line with the church than the statements that Pope Francis is putting out.

God Bless

Here's a rebuttal to the Perez Stance from the Lepanto Institute it's an interesting read. Link to article

Quote:Recently, a reader submitted to the Lepanto Institute an article written by Msgr. Patrick Perez regarding the devotion to the Divine Mercy.  In the article, Msgr. Perez indicates a number of reasons for which he is deeply concerned about St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy devotion initiated by her and the writings in her diary.

There are several errors and misstatements in Msgr. Perez’s article on the Divine Mercy devotion. Msgr. Perez focuses on what he called “condemnations” of the Divine Mercy devotion, and gives no attention to the rescinding of these “condemnations.” For the sake of clarity, it must be stated here that neither St. Faustina’s diary nor the devotion to the Divine Mercy were ever “condemned”. However, Msgr. Perez asserts that:

Pius XII put the writings of Sr. Faustina on the Index of Prohibited Books. That meant that he considered that their content would lead Catholics astray or in the wrong direction.   Next, came other prohibitions made by Pope John XXIII. Twice in his pontificate, the Holy Office issued condemnations of the Divine Mercy writings.

However, this is not exactly what happened.  Cardinal Ottaviani, then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, attempted to persuade Pope Pius XII to sign a letter condemning the Divine Mercy devotion as written by Sr. Faustina.  Instead, the diary was placed on the Index of Prohibited Books. This is not the same thing as a condemnation.  This same pope, incidentally, blessed an Image of the Divine Mercy in Rome on 24 June 1956.  Not exactly the action of one preparing to condemn this devotion.

Furthermore, Pope John XXIII did not “condemn” the diary or the devotion either. However, the Holy Office under his direction forbade circulation of “images and writings that promote devotion to Divine Mercy in the forms proposed by Sister Faustina.” Suppression of the devotion is not the same thing as condemnation. More to the point, the reasons behind the suppression were the result of poor translations of the diary.  Also, it cannot be considered mere coincidence that St. Faustina accurately predicted this suppression and the lifting of the suppression in 1935.  She said in her diary:

There will come a time when this work, which God is demanding so very much, will be as though utterly undone. And then God will act with great power, which will give evidence of its authenticity. It will be a new splendor for the Church, although it has been dormant in it from long ago. That God in infinitely merciful, no one can deny. He desires everyone to know this before He comes again as Judge. He wants souls to come to know Him first as King of Mercy. When this triumph comes, we shall already have entered the new life in which there is no suffering. But before this, your soul [referring to Fr. Sopocko] will be surfeited with bitterness at the sight of the destruction of your efforts. However, this will only appear to be so, because what God has once decided upon, He does not change. But although this destruction will be such only in outward appearance, the suffering will be real. When will this happen? I do not know. How long will it last? I do not know. But God has promised a great grace especially to you and to all those… “who will proclaim My great mercy. I shall protect them Myself at the hour of death as my own glory.” (1738)
Of note here is that St. Faustina told her spiritual director, Fr. Sopocko, that she and he would both die before the suppression of this devotion was lifted.  Fr. Sopocko died in 1975, three years before the suppression was lifted in 1978.

Cdl. Ottaviani, as head of the CDF, was responsible for the suppression of the Divine Mercy devotion.  Given the information he had at the time, his suppression was well founded.  As Msgr. Perez points out, the Holy Office declared that “There is no evidence of the supernatural origin of these revelations.” The caveat “at this time” should have been added to this statement. The lifting of the suppression of the Divine Mercy Devotion by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says:

“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].”

While Cdl. Ottaviani was the one responsible for the suppression of the Divine Mercy devotion, he is ALSO the same individual who appointed Archbishop Karol Wojtyła of Kraków to begin the informative process on Faustina’s life and virtues in 1965. It was through this process that the translation error was discovered, interviews with St. Faustina’s spiritual director and sister nuns were conducted, and the suppression subsequently reversed. Were the Divine Mercy devotion and St. Faustina’s diary actually condemned, this appointment and informative process would never have taken place, and certainly would not have been initiated by Cdl. Ottaviani.

And while Msgr. Perez points out that Pope John XXIII issued two “condemnations” of the Divine Mercy writings, he is the same pope that did not publish the Third Secret of Fatima as requested by Our Lady. One cannot weigh his opinion of the one without his opinion of the other.

With regard to the claims of papal condemnations of the Divine Mercy devotion, it is intellectually dishonest for Msgr. Perez to equivocate suppression with condemnation and then focus exclusively on the suppression of the Divine Mercy devotion while ignoring the Church’s lifting of the suppression and institution of Divine Mercy Sunday. Either the Church through Her Pope has the power to bind and loose or she does not. By focusing on the suppression and falsely claiming it as a condemnation, and then ignoring the lifting of the suppression and institution of Divine Mercy Sunday, Msgr. Perez is mischaracterizing the nature of the actions taken by the Church and denies Her authority in these matters when they disagree with his limited understanding of the matter.
Making another point, Msgr. Perez says, “The central error of the Divine Mercy is that it promises lots of spiritual rewards with no requirement of penance, no mention of reparation, no mention of any condition.” The claim that there is no condition is simply untrue.  In entry 699, Our Lord said to St. Faustina regarding the “Feast of Mercy” (which we now call Divine Mercy Sunday), “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.”   As for the concern about “spiritual rewards with no requirement of penance and no mention of reparation,” it must be noted that the conditions of Confession and Holy Communion for the remittance of punishment due to sin are no different than the conditions required for the reception of a plenary indulgence.  It is difficult to see how Msgr. Perez can take issue with the “spiritual rewards” of Divine Mercy Sunday without also denying the spiritual rewards that accompany a plenary indulgence.

In the last portion of his article, Msgr. Perez expresses concern over the intimate language Our Lord uses when speaking to St. Faustina. I will only say this … if Msgr. Perez is disturbed by the intimate language in the diary of St. Faustina, then he should avoid reading any of the other mystics who have had similar experiences. To this, I will only quote St. Catherine of Siena’s “Dialogue” as dictated by her while in a state of ecstasy:

“But, in no way, does the creature receive such a taste of the truth, or so brilliant a light therefrom, as by means of humble and continuous prayer, founded on knowledge of herself and of God; because prayer, exercising her in the above way, unites with God the soul that follows the footprints of Christ Crucified, and thus, by desire and affection, and union of love, makes her another Himself. Christ would seem to have meant this, when He said: To him who will love Me and will observe My commandment, will I manifest Myself; and he shall be one thing with Me and I with him. In several places we find similar words, by which we can see that it is, indeed, through the effect of love, that the soul becomes another Himself. That this may be seen more clearly, I will mention what I remember having heard from a handmaid of God, namely, that, when she was lifted up in prayer, with great elevation of mind, God was not wont to conceal, from the eye of her intellect, the love which He had for His servants, but rather to manifest it; and, that among other things, He used to say: “Open the eye of your intellect, and gaze into Me, and you shall see the beauty of My rational creature. And look at those creatures who, among the beauties which I have given to the soul, creating her in My image and similitude, are clothed with the nuptial garment (that is, the garment of love), adorned with many virtues, by which they are united with Me through love. And yet I tell you, if you should ask Me, who these are, I should reply” (said the sweet and amorous Word of God) “they are another Myself, inasmuch as they have lost and denied their own will, and are clothed with Mine, are united to Mine, are conformed to Mine.” It is therefore true, indeed, that the soul unites herself with God by the affection of love.”

There is one last point to be made with regard to the concerns of some traditionalists about the devotion to the Divine Mercy as written by St. Faustina. Cardinal Burke, when he was Archbishop of St. Louis, wrote a beautiful article about St. Faustina and the Divine Mercy. I highly recommend his article, and suggest that if Cardinal Burke is pleased with this devotion, then we ought to be at peace with it as well.
I never particularly had a devotion to the Divine Mercy. It was one of the first Catholic devotions I learned, because it was on EWTN. I shed myself of anything to do with the devotion when a priest I knew was so excited about the devotion’s teaching that God’s greatest attribute is mercy. As nice as that sounds, that just doesn’t work. I know my Baltimore Catechism well. God is a spirit, infinitely perfect. Infinite perfection can have no greatest attribute as all attributes are infinitely perfect. Claiming that God’s greatest attribute is mercy seems more like an overly-sentimental attempt to convince sinners to return to God than any authentic understanding of God’s nature. Of course, we want sinners to return to God, and of course His mercy is immense. Still, claiming false things about the nature of God, however well-intentioned those who make the claim may be, does not do anyone any favors. God is infinitely perfect. That means all His attributes are infinitely perfect. It’s not possible to outdo that beautiful truth with anything else that conflicts with that.
That is the nice thing about these devotions, they are optional.  Some appeal/speak to one person, other devotions have meaning to other people.
Quote:There are several errors and misstatements in Msgr. Perez’s article on the Divine Mercy devotion.

And there are several errors and misstatements in this reply. Both make some good points, but just because each overstate their case does not make one or the other right.

Quote:Msgr. Perez focuses on what he called “condemnations” of the Divine Mercy devotion, and gives no attention to the rescinding of these “condemnations.”

Typically a "condemnation" was never rescinded, because it was the Church teaching something was false. This is a condemnation in the strict sense. Such condemnations are not rescinded. To do so would undermine the magisterium.

Fr Perez means "condemnation" in the wider sense : a negative judgement of the Church on a prudential matter due to some problem with the thing in question. It could be a temporary issue, or a more permanent one.

What is logically inconsistent is that the author of this rebuttal here suggests that Fr Perez should have addressed the rescinding of said "condemnations" (so acknowledges they must be taken in a wide sense) but then critiques Fr Perez and changes his own definition of "condemnation" to the strict sense. This kind of inconsistency is found throughout the rebuttal.

Quote:For the sake of clarity, it must be stated here that neither St. Faustina’s diary nor the devotion to the Divine Mercy were ever “condemned”.

See.

Quote:However, Msgr. Perez asserts that:

“Pius XII put the writings of Sr. Faustina on the Index of Prohibited Books. That meant that he considered that their content would lead Catholics astray or in the wrong direction.   Next, came other prohibitions made by Pope John XXIII. Twice in his pontificate, the Holy Office issued condemnations of the Divine Mercy writings.“

However, this is not exactly what happened.

Actually, it's a pretty good summary. Lacking detail, yes, but Pius XII did put the Diary and Sr Faustina's writing on the Index. And the devotion and image were suppressed by the Holy Office under John XXIII. So, pretty good summary, unless the issue is with the term "condemnation", which again, depends on what is meant.

Quote:Cardinal Ottaviani, then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,

Error. The CDF was not founded until 1965. Prior to this it was the Holy Office or the Inquisition.

Cardinal Ottaviani was Pro-Prefect of the CDF from 1965-1968, not it's head (the Prefect was always the Pope himself). Previously when it was the Holy Office (until 1965), the highest office was Secretary, with the Pope himself as Prefect. Some popes, like Pius XII who was highly interested in doctrinal matters, would attend some of the meetings as Prefect, but more usual was the Secretary running the meetings, and presenting all matters to the Pope after that discussion for his approval. Thus anything approved by the Holy Office was almost always specifically approved by the Pope and a Papal act.

It is even more loose language to call Ottaviani the "head" of the Holy Office when these "condemnations" were issued, as it is to use the term "condemnation" for placement of a work on the Index or the suppression of an image or devotion. So, the author of the rebuttal is already doing the same thing he critiques Fr Perez for doing.

Quote:Cardinal Ottaviani, then head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, attempted to persuade Pope Pius XII to sign a letter condemning the Divine Mercy devotion as written by Sr. Faustina.  Instead, the diary was placed on the Index of Prohibited Books. This is not the same thing as a condemnation.

Not the same thing, but not much different ... and it is not as if Ottaviani was this humorless zealot who was trying his hardest to destroy Sr Faustina and the devotion. He was one of the great theologians of the 20th century, and a priest for nearly 40 years when all of this came up, and had doctorates in philosophy, theology and canon law. He was a staunch defender of orthodoxy at Vatican II, and this was the man that was so feared by the liberals and Modernists that they arranged to have his microphone cut off at the opening speeches of Vatican II, and laughed him off the dias.

For a book to be placed on the Index of Forbidden Books means that it was thought to be so dangerous to the Faith that its reading was prohibited without specific permission of the local Bishop, under pain of mortal sin. if copies were kept they needed to be under lock and key, again at risk of grave sin for the librarian who would allow free reading of them.

So, maybe not outright condemnation, but not just a stodgy old man trying to game another old man into destroying such a beautiful devotion because of his cold hard heart, but only succeeding to manage to get it put on a naughty list.

Quote:This same pope, incidentally, blessed an Image of the Divine Mercy in Rome on 24 June 1956.  Not exactly the action of one preparing to condemn this devotion.

And the worshipers of Maria Valtorta will claim that Pius XII said something in an audience promoting her erroneous work, and giving a never-before-heard-of "Supreme Papal Imprimatur" meaning they conveniently get around condemnations and Canon Law.

Popes blessing things mean relatively little. Often people just hold out their things and Popes bless them during audiences, so this does not mean much.

Quote:Furthermore, Pope John XXIII did not “condemn” the diary or the devotion either. However, the Holy Office under his direction forbade circulation of “images and writings that promote devotion to Divine Mercy in the forms proposed by Sister Faustina.”

Again, the issue with a term when clearly the Holy See expressed a high degree of disapproval. It never condemned the Diary (which was already on the Index), but it said the images or devotion were forbidden, and were not to be promoted. That is a condemnation.

If there is not problem, then a thing is not suppressed, nor is a book placed on the Index. If a book is placed there, or thing forbidden because it is a danger to the Faith, then the Holy See is condemning it.

When there were concerns, the Holy See would often place things on the Index pending revision. Once that revision happened, the revised item was allowed, while the original was often still left on the Index. The earlier unedited edition was still effectively condemned, because as Fr Perez writes, the Holy See considered it would possibly lead souls to error.

John XXIII did not need to condemn the diary, which was on the Index, so condemned already in that way. He did prohibit the devotion and images. Again, this is not an absolute condemnation, but still not nothing. Something must have been wrong.

If it were merely a matter of correction, this is fine, but then it should be clear that this is the case. It was not. The devotion remained prohibited and the Diary was on the Index through its suppression. It was only when a Polish Pope came in who did not seem to care much for orthodoxy, that magically everything was quickly approved.

If Ottaviani was gunning for condemnation, Karol Wojtila was a fan boy and obsessed with promoting this Polish nun and her devotion.

That is fishy, to say the least.

This from the same Pope who beatified a man who writings were partially condemned by Leo XIII and which condemnation can be found to this day in the Denziger.

Quote:Suppression of the devotion is not the same thing as condemnation. More to the point, the reasons behind the suppression were the result of poor translations of the diary.

See the above.

The translation issue is often claimed, but I have never read any place where the faults were pointed out and corrected.

Quote:Also, it cannot be considered mere coincidence that St. Faustina accurately predicted this suppression and the lifting of the suppression in 1935.

Hardly proof. A false apparition (not saying this is such) would obviously speak of how it would be unjustly condemned.

Quote:Cdl. Ottaviani, as head of the CDF, was responsible for the suppression of the Divine Mercy devotion.

Again, see above. If the Holy Office approved this, it was a Papal act, not just an old Italian Cardinal with his cassock all ruffled.

Quote:Given the information he had at the time, his suppression was well founded.

And what has changed? What information has been found that allays the concerns he had, and obviously was shared by Pius XII and John XXIII?

Quote:As Msgr. Perez points out, the Holy Office declared that “There is no evidence of the supernatural origin of these revelations.” The caveat “at this time” should have been added to this statement.

That caveat need not be applied, because the Church has not judged differently. It has simply removed prohibitions which were formerly in place. It has not decreed as worthy of belief or of supernatural origin what Sr Faustina has written about.

No additional evidence shows the supernatural origins of these things.

Quote:The lifting of the suppression of the Divine Mercy Devotion by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says:

“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].”

So more original documents help clear up some things, but what are these "changed circumstances" between 1965 and 1978, pray tell?

The Canonical effect of this decree is to remove the prohibition of the images and devotion. It does not change how worthy of belief the revelations are.

Quote:While Cdl. Ottaviani was the one responsible for the suppression of the Divine Mercy devotion, he is ALSO the same individual who appointed Archbishop Karol Wojtyła of Kraków to begin the informative process on Faustina’s life and virtues in 1965.

The Holy Office does not appoint the promoters of a cause for canonization. This responsibility fell under the Congregation of Rites until 1969. The Prefect for that Congregation was Cardinal Arcadio Larraona Saralegui. If Koral Wojtyla was appointed by a Cardinal it would have been by Cardinal Saralegui. The matter would certainly have passed by the Holy Office, and clearly gathering more information would assist in making a more definitive judgement on the theological questions.

Quote:It was through this process that the translation error was discovered, interviews with St. Faustina’s spiritual director and sister nuns were conducted, and the suppression subsequently reversed. Were the Divine Mercy devotion and St. Faustina’s diary actually condemned, this appointment and informative process would never have taken place, and certainly would not have been initiated by Cdl. Ottaviani.

But it wasn't initiated by Ottaviani, who in this rebuttal plays evil villain and convert wiping out any consistency or trustworthiness in using him as evidence for the cause.

Again, claims of translation issues, but never are the actual problems discussed.

Certainly if there was evidence that there were orthodox readings of what was suppressed and indexed, Ottaviani would have wanted that evidence, and this would be had easily by such a process. If the process turned up nothing beneficial, then it would have ended, without the declaration of heroic virtue, and definitively seal the case. If it were to uncover something beneficial, it might serve to correct any errors and perhaps heroic virtue would be found.

Quote:And while Msgr. Perez points out that Pope John XXIII issued two “condemnations” of the Divine Mercy writings, he is the same pope that did not publish the Third Secret of Fatima as requested by Our Lady. One cannot weigh his opinion of the one without his opinion of the other.

Actually, one can. They are two completely separate issues, and have no relation at all.

Quote:With regard to the claims of papal condemnations of the Divine Mercy devotion, it is intellectually dishonest for Msgr. Perez to equivocate suppression with condemnation and then focus exclusively on the suppression of the Divine Mercy devotion while ignoring the Church’s lifting of the suppression and institution of Divine Mercy Sunday.

And yet the rebuttal is full of intellectual dishonesty. In the quick about face and heterodox Polish Pope promoting all kinds of things against the Faith being the one who promoted this devotion, canonization, and national mystic, there are also serious issues to worry about here, which cannot be separated from all of this either.

If the author wants to take issue with Fr Perez's ignoring the reversal of the Holy Office's decrees, then he must also take into account the very questionable interest by a no-so-independent and disinterested observer in John Paul II.

Quote:Either the Church through Her Pope has the power to bind and loose or she does not. By focusing on the suppression and falsely claiming it as a condemnation, and then ignoring the lifting of the suppression and institution of Divine Mercy Sunday, Msgr. Perez is mischaracterizing the nature of the actions taken by the Church and denies Her authority in these matters when they disagree with his limited understanding of the matter.

Not any more than the author has done with his own loose terminology and specious arguments.

Quote:Making another point, Msgr. Perez says, “The central error of the Divine Mercy is that it promises lots of spiritual rewards with no requirement of penance, no mention of reparation, no mention of any condition.” The claim that there is no condition is simply untrue.  In entry 699, Our Lord said to St. Faustina regarding the “Feast of Mercy” (which we now call Divine Mercy Sunday), “The soul that will go to Confession and receive Holy Communion shall obtain complete forgiveness of sins and punishment.”   As for the concern about “spiritual rewards with no requirement of penance and no mention of reparation,” it must be noted that the conditions of Confession and Holy Communion for the remittance of punishment due to sin are no different than the conditions required for the reception of a plenary indulgence.  It is difficult to see how Msgr. Perez can take issue with the “spiritual rewards” of Divine Mercy Sunday without also denying the spiritual rewards that accompany a plenary indulgence.

Clearly the author is not a theologian, or very intelligent. He makes the case for Fr Perez here.

Penance is not mentioned. A plenary indulgence is the Church offering to remit the temporal punishment, but there is a danger if such Mercy comes without mention of Penance. The idea of getting a "get out of Purgatory Free Card" without having to do anything but the usual conditions for a plenary indulgence is not Penance at all, and ignore one of the most important aspects of Penitential actions : they help the soul gain a mastery over the body and prevent future sin by building contrary habits and virtues. Penance does also help to work off the temporal punishment due to sin, but an indulgence does not help to do the other things that Penance does.

And so the point of Fr Perez is a very good one. This is one of the primary issues with the devotion : its focus on Mercy without Penance. In this it is the devotion to the Sacred Heart gutted of the Penitential aspect of it.

Quote:There is one last point to be made with regard to the concerns of some traditionalists about the devotion to the Divine Mercy as written by St. Faustina. Cardinal Burke, when he was Archbishop of St. Louis, wrote a beautiful article about St. Faustina[/url] and the Divine Mercy. I highly recommend his article, and suggest that if Cardinal Burke is pleased with this devotion, then we ought to be at peace with it as well.

I wouldn't call Burke a traditionalist. He is a more orthodox bishop, and certainly favors traditional practices, but is no more a traddie than Benedict XVI. When Benedict XVI called another Assisi, Burke said nothing, for instance. He's grown a bit of a spine now, but not much of one. For instance, we're still waiting for the promised Formal Correction to Pope Francis' doubling down against the "dubia". It's been nearly three years since the publication of the dubia, which was only after Pope Francis had it for a while and said nothing. And it's not as if Cardinal Burke has had far too much work ...
If I may, after that rebuttal to the rebuttal, write that I personally do not like the devotion and think it ought not be promoted, but I have found nothing unorthodox about it. If someone wants to use it, I won't stop them.

I am troubled by the over-emphasis on Mercy without reference to Penance and Reparation. Like Credidi Propter, I share the same concerns, but I'm not going to disturb someone who wants to pray this devotion so long as it is an addition to an otherwise balanced spiritual life. For instance, if someone does this devotion every day, but fails to say a Rosary, I think they have their priorities wrong. By the fruits ...

I am also troubled a bit by the seeming need by those who perform this devotion to promote it, when often they do not do such things with the Rosary, enthronement of the Sacred Heart, or other traditional things.

That said, the devotion is nothing more than sentiments and even prayers taken from the traditional Good Friday Liturgy as well as some related prayers, so in itself, there is nothing unorthodox. 

I am not a fan of the image, but I guess it doesn't suit my tastes.
>That is fishy, to say the least.

Playing Devil's Advocate here but isn't also a bit fishy how Saint John Paul II then dovetailed the Luminous Mysteries in in 2003 after the canonization of Saint Faustina and the institution of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2002? Surely Saint John Paul II knew all this light business was bound to raise a few eyebrows in a world rife with Luciferian - illuminati BS.
Hey MM I love your thoroughness thus if you could also look at this rebuttal of Mr Stackpole it would be appreciated in regards to divine mercy. I think it's interesting how he brings up baptism when talking about divine mercy.

Article Rebuttal (divine mercy.org)

Quote:How One Divine Mercy Critic Misses the Mark
Robert Stackpole Answers Your Divine Mercy Questions
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By Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD (Sep 1, 2010)
It sometimes happens that well-intentioned, doctrinally "orthodox" Catholic believers get a hold of wrong information about the Divine Mercy message and devotion, and they end up discouraging their friends or parishioners from having anything to do with it. This seems to be the case with an essay that is circulating among traditional Catholics, an essay written by a priest who questions the orthodoxy not only of devotion to The Divine Mercy, but also of the teachings on Divine Mercy of our late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II. 

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. Inadvertently, he is misleading others on these matters, and so I think a response from this column is in order. Here is the full text of his short essay on the subject:

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Question: What are we to think of the Divine Mercy devotion? 

Answer: Many people have certainly received graces from the devotion to Divine Mercy propagated by St. Faustina. However, this does not necessarily mean that this devotion is from God, but rather that it is practiced by persons who are docile to the reception of grace. It is true that Pope John Paul II has promoted this devotion, that it was through his efforts that the prohibition was lifted on April 15, 1978, and that he even introduced a feast of Divine Mercy into the Novus Ordo. However, it was not so approved before Vatican II. In fact it was condemned, and this despite the fact that the prayers themselves of the chaplet of Divine Mercy are orthodox.

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

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

2. No feast of Divine Mercy is to be instituted.

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

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

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

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

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

The true image of God's mercy is the Sacred Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance, crowned with thorns, dripping precious blood. The Sacred Heart calls for a devotion of reparation, as the Popes have always requested. However, this is not at all the case with the Divine Mercy devotion. The image has no heart. It is a Sacred Heart without a heart, without reparation, without the price of our sins being clearly evident. It is this that makes the devotion very incomplete and makes us suspicious of its supernatural origin, regardless of Sister Faustina's own personal holiness. This absence of the need for reparation for sins is manifest in the strange promise of freedom from all the temporal punishment due to sin for those who observe the 3:00 p.m. Low Sunday devotions. How could such a devotion be more powerful and better than a plenary indulgence, applying the extraordinary treasury of the merits of the saints? How could it not require as a condition that we perform a penitential work of our own, nor the detachment from venial sin that is necessary to obtain a plenary indulgence?

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

Fr. "S"


I will direct my response to Fr. S. himself:

Dear Fr. S,

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.

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, including the following explanation of why that ban was lifted:

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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]. [Emphasis mine]


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. 

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. 

In short, Fr. S, there is no need for you to speculate as to why the Vatican banned the Divine Mercy devotion in 1958-1959. We know from the historical sources that they had very few — and largely inaccurate — sources to rely on in 1958, as the CDF itself implies in 1978 when the ban was lifted. 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.

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. 

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). 

The devotion to the Sacred Heart was central to my conversion to the Catholic faith back in 1993-1994, and the theology of the Sacred Heart was the subject of my doctoral thesis for the Angelicum in Rome. I remain convinced that these two devotions, The Sacred Heart and The Divine Mercy, complement each other beautifully, as they did in the life of St. Faustina herself. If there was any contradiction between them, you can bet I would be among the first to complain about it!

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".

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? 

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?

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. As a matter of fact, her Diary is replete with her intention to offer reparation on behalf of sinners. For example, she wrote in entries 1023, 485, 604, 323-324, and 607:

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[Jesus said from the Cross] I thirst. I thirst for the salvation of souls. Help me my daughter to save souls. Join your sufferings to My passion and offer them to the heavenly Father for sinners. ...

O my God, I am conscious of my mission in the Holy Church. It is my constant endeavor to plead for mercy for the whole world. I unite myself closely with Jesus and stand before him as an atoning sacrifice on behalf of the world.

I see pure and innocent souls upon whom God exercised His justice [that is, "victim souls"]; these souls are the victims who sustain the world and who fill up what is lacking in the Passion of Jesus. They are not many in number. ...

I united my sufferings with the sufferings of Jesus and offered them for myself and for the conversion of souls who do not trust in God. ... And Jesus said ... When I was dying on the cross, I was not thinking about Myself, but about poor sinners, and I prayed for them to My Father. I want your last moments to be completely similar to Mine on the cross. There is but one price at which souls are bought, and that is suffering united to My suffering on the cross. Pure love understands these words; carnal love will never understand them. ...

You are not living for yourself but for souls, and other souls will profit from your sufferings. Your prolonged suffering will bring them light and strength to accept My will.


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:

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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)


There are also passages in St. Faustina's Diary where she explicitly mentions the Heart of Jesus as the object of our reparation. This is especially true of each day of the "Novena to The Divine Mercy" that Jesus dictated to her, as recorded in Diary entries 1209-1229 and summed up in His instructions to her at the very beginning:

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On each day you will bring to My Heart a different group of souls, and you will immerse them in the ocean of My mercy, and I will bring all these souls into the house of My Father. You will do this in this life and in the next. I will deny nothing to any soul whom you will bring to the fount of My mercy. On each day you will beg My Father, on the strength of My bitter Passion, for graces for these souls.


In fact, St. Faustina also wrote of Jesus' desire for her to bring consoling reparation to His Heart, especially during her times of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament, in a way that breathes the very spirit of the writings of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (e.g. entries 1664, 310, 1058, and 367):

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My daughter, know that your ardent love and the compassion you have for Me were a consolation to Me in the garden of Olives. ...

I am giving you a share in the redemption of mankind. You are solace in My dying hour. ...

Beloved daughter of My Heart, you are my solace amidst terrible torments. ...

My Heart overflows with great mercy for souls, and especially for poor sinners. If only they could understand that I am the best of Fathers to them and that it is for them that the Blood and Water flowed from My Heart as from a fount overflowing with mercy. For them I dwell in the tabernacle as King of Mercy. I desire to bestow My graces upon souls, but they do not want to accept them. You at least, come to me as often as possible and take these graces they do not want to accept. In this way you will console My Heart.


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, but on His prior merciful outreach to us:

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Today the Lord said to me, I have opened My Heart as a living fountain of mercy. Let all souls draw life from it. Let them approach this sea of mercy with great trust. Sinners will attain justification, and the just will be confirmed in good. Whoever places his trust in My mercy will be filled with My divine peace at the hour of death. (Diary, 1520).


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.

Finally, I am grieved that you are spreading misinformation about the Divine Mercy theology of Pope John Paul II. I trust you are only doing so because such misinformation was previously pandered to you. It is surely nonsense to claim that Pope John Paul II "pushed aside all consideration of the gravity of sin, and the need for penance, for satisfaction to divine Justice, and hence of the Mass as an expiatory sacrifice, and likewise the need to gain indulgences and to do works of penance." I trust you will concede that all of these things you mention are taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (e.g. on the gravity of sin, entries 1854-1876; on the need for works of penance, entries 1430 and 1459-1460; on indulgences, entries 1471-1479; and on the Mass as an expiatory sacrifice, 1365-1372), and this catechism was promulgated by the authority of Pope John Paul II as a "sure norm" for the understanding and teaching of the Catholic Faith

Even with regard to the Divine Mercy devotion itself, this was the Pope who granted a plenary indulgence to all those who would make public acts of devotion to The Divine Mercy on Divine Mercy Sunday. He also made headlines around the world for excommunicating a theologian from India precisely for denying the doctrine of the gravity of sin (in particular, original sin).Thus, it is manifestly false to claim that Pope John Paul II "pushed aside all consideration of the gravity of sin ... and likewise the need to gain indulgences"!

Right at the heart of Pope John Paul II's theology of the Paschal Mystery, in the very encyclical Dives in Misericordia itself, we find his clear teaching that Jesus showed us His merciful love for us by making satisfaction to divine Justice for our sins on the Cross (section 7):

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In the Passion and Death of Christ — in the fact that the Father did not spare His own Son, but "for our sake made him sin" — absolute justice is expressed, for Christ undergoes the passion and cross because of the sins of humanity. This constitutes even a "superabundance" of justice, for the sins of man are "compensated for" by the sacrifice of the Man-God. Nevertheless, this justice, which is properly justice "to God's measure," springs completely from love: from the love of the Father and the Son, and completely bears fruit in love. ... The divine dimension of the redemption is put into effect not only by bringing justice to bear upon sin, but also by restoring to love that creative power in man thanks to which he once more has access to the fullness of life and holiness that come from God. In this way, redemption involves the revelation of mercy in its fullness.


Even in his theology of the Sacred Heart, the Holy Father did not neglect the theme of the need for reparation. I would draw your attention to the study of this subject by Msgr. Arthur Calkins of the Vatican Commission "Ecclesia Dei," a study entitled "The Teaching of Pope John Paul II on the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Theology of Reparation" (Pax in Virtute, pp. 271-323). Monsignor Calkins gives a score of examples, but two here will suffice. In the first of his famous collection of Angelus Meditations on the Sacred Heart, the Holy Father wrote:

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Adorers of the Divine Heart become men of a sensitive conscience. And when it is granted to them to have relations with the Heart of our Lord and Master, in them also there then springs up the need for atonement for the sins of the world, for the indifference of so many hearts and their negligence. How necessary this host of watchful hearts is in the Church in order that the Love of the Divine Heart may not remain isolated and unrequited. Among this host special mention needs to go to all those who offer their sufferings as living victims in union with the Heart of Christ, pierced on the Cross. Thus transformed with love, human suffering becomes a particular leaven of Christ's work of salvation in the Church (p. 306).


Finally, here are the words that Pope John Paul II spoke while in Poland in 1999 on the very feast of the Sacred Heart:

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Let us make acts of reparation to the Divine Heart for the sins committed by us and by our fellow men. Let us make reparation for rejecting God's love and goodness. (p. 313)


No need to belabor these points. I have gone on long enough. Suffice it to say that both St. Faustina and Pope John Paul II were passionately devoted to the Heart of Jesus. That included the need to make reparation to His Heart and to do so with the intent of gaining the graces of conversion for the multitude of lost sinners in our world. Nothing about this contradicts in any way the message and devotion to The Divine Mercy, for it is out of merciful love that we should seek to make such acts of reparation, as Sister Faustina did, and it is the merciful love of Jesus Himself that enables us to do so by gaining for us a superabundant overflow of graces on the Cross that He now pours out upon us as the risen and ascended one, a supernatural reality portrayed so beautifully in the Image of The Divine Mercy. 

These two devotions are two sides of the same coin, Father. The Sacred Heart that seeks for reparation and consolation is the same Heart, The Merciful Heart, which pours out graces upon the world of conversion and sanctification. Because Jesus has only one Heart!

Robert Stackpole, STD, is director of the John Paul II Institute of Divine Mercy, an apostolate of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. His latest book is Divine Mercy: A Guide from Genesis to Benedict XVI (Marian Press). Got a question? E-mail him at questions@thedivinemercy.org.
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