Private revelations will always arise to vex Traditionalists. To make the terminology clear, "private revelation" has nothing to do with the number of persons that claim to have seen and/or experienced something supernatural. "Public Revelation" refers to the Divine Deposit of Revelation given to the Church for all human beings to believe, so that they may be saved. Public Revelation ended with the death of the last Apostle, St. John, in 100 AD. Private revelation refers to all communication by God (directly or indirectly) with humans after Public Revelation ended. Most private revelations concern apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary or Jesus Christ. From the founding of the Church to the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958, only seventeen (17) apparitions of Mary have explicit or implicit Church approval.
I've dubbed as Apparitionists those who exalt private revelations and apparitions whether approved by the Church (such as Our Lady of Fatima) or not (such as Our Lady of the Roses) over the teaching of the Church. They obsess over the alleged "true meanings" of messages (as if salvation depended on them), or even accept them to the exclusion of authentic Church doctrines in some area(s). There will always be those who claim to have private revelations in order to "correctly interpret" other private revelations, and those who claim to have unique private revelations--all post-Vatican II. In both cases, there is no hierarchy to approve or condemn them. Then there is another category; those private revelations which were reported pre-Vatican II and no final determination was passed before the Great Apostasy, and questions remain as to the authenticity of some or all of the alleged "messages."
In this latter category is the work of one Luisa Piccarreta. Her biography is written succinctly by one Vatican II sect "priest" Bernardino Bucci on one of several websites dedicated to her and the message of "The Divine Will:"
The Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta was born in Corato in the Province of Bari, Italy on April 23, 1865 and died there in the odor of sanctity on March 4, 1947.
Luisa from her very birth was given a mystical life, for example, at the age of 17 she received the Mystical Union that Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Catherine of Sienna received right before they died. After this mystical Union Jesus asked Luisa if she would stay in bed and because of her “Fiat!”, He taught Luisa about the Life of the Divine Will, forming It first in her.
For the next 64 years until her death Luisa stayed in bed basically not eating, drinking or sleeping. Luisa was nourished by receiving the Most Holy Eucharist during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass daily said in her room. This special blessing was given by Pope Saint Pious (sic) X and Pope Leo XIII his predecessor. Luisa also lived on the food of the Divine Will, which Jesus said in the Gospels, “a food that you do not know of….”
During that time through great sufferings and a sublime call to holiness Jesus taught Luisa about the fulfillment of the Our Father, the prayer that Jesus taught His Apostles.
Jesus taught Luisa that now is the time for the Kingdom of God to reign on earth as in Heaven. Jesus dictated 36 Volumes of the doctrine of the Divine Will, which He gave the title “The Kingdom of the Fiat in the Midst of Creatures. Book of Heaven – The Recall of the Creature into the Order, to Its Place and into the Purpose for Which He was Created by God”, to teach Luisa how to “Live” in the Divine Will. This is different than the devotional life of the Saints which is “doing” the Will of God.
These Volumes were basically dictated in three sections: in the first section, Volumes 1-10, Jesus shows Luisa how to become a Divine Mirror of Jesus Himself. In the second section, Volumes 11-19, Jesus shows Luisa how to “Live” in the Divine Will through the Power of the Holy Spirit. In the third section, Volumes 20-36, Jesus shows Luisa how to receive the Divine Inheritance of the Father.
In humble obedience Luisa, under the constant direction of the Church, faithfully wrote all that Jesus Himself wanted her to put down on paper. This would be not only for herself but for those who would read it, so that they too could “Live” in the Divine Will as Luisa learned how to “Live” in the Divine Will, by putting into practice these “Truths” taught by Jesus and Mary.
In additon (sic) to the 36 Volumes Jesus dictated the book, “The Hours of the Passion” and Our Lady dictated the book, “Virgin Mary in the Kingdom of the Divine Will” to Luisa. Jesus told her Confessor, St.(sic) Annibale Maria Di Francia, through Luisa, that these 36 Volumes are to be called: “The Book of Heaven.”
Pope (sic) John Paul II canonized St. Annibale and declared him to be the Saint for our time to pray to for Vocations. (See https://bookofheaven.com/who-is-luisa/).
There is much wrong with what "Fr" Bucci wrote which will become apparent in this post. To name but two such problems:
- There is no proof of the miraculous happenings he claims as fact; the Church never passed definitive judgement
- Some of her works were ordered placed on the Index of Prohibited Books by the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office in 1938 under Pope Pius XI
The purpose of this post is to put forth the teaching of the Church regarding the purpose of private revelations, and what the Catholic position should be regarding them. I will then examine the works regarding The Divine Will written by Luisa Piccaretta, and the position of the Church concerning them.
The Meaning and Role of Private Revelations
Definition of Private Revelation and Its Usefulness
According to theologian Volken, a private revelations are heavenly and verbal manifestations of the Divine Will made to man in an extraordinary way in order to direct human activity in a particular situation of life of private persons or of humanity in general. Theologian Volken goes on to explain what this definition means in detail. Heavenly refers to the agent(s) which must be either an intermediary of God such as angels, saints, the Blessed Mother, or God Himself, as was the case with Christ's revelations regarding His Most Sacred Heart.
Verbal manifestations means that it cannot be purely visual; something audible either to the human ear or directly to the brain must be heard. Divine Will designates the object of the revelations. The subject of the revelation is Man whether that is a singular person, several people, children, adults, clerics, laymen, etc. The manifestation is made in an extraordinary way to the recipient, not through the Magisterium. Direct human activity in a particular situation of life means that God intervenes to help either a private person(s) or humanity in general to do something beneficial to eternal salvation given the current situation in the world. Hence, Christ sent His Mother to the children at Fatima to warn humanity about the reality of Hell (the belief in which had begun to wane substantially) and introduce devotion to Mary's Immaculate Heart as a special spiritual remedy. (See Visions, Revelations, and the Church , pgs. 231-233).
Volken reminds us that private revelations "cannot commit the Church or the Divine and Catholic Faith which has for its object the unaltered mysteries, revealed once for all time." (Ibid, pgs. 232-233). In other words, they are not part of the Deposit of Faith, and no private revelation, including those deemed "worthy of belief" by the Church, need to be accepted by Catholics.
How Private Revelations are Abused
Volken hits the nail on the head, I believe, as to why Catholics become obsessive over private revelations. The more precious a good thing is, the more dangerous is its abuse. And revelations are a very precious things for they help us to conform our lives to the plan which God has for us in a particular situation. They are equally precious because of the way in which they act upon men. They come as a surprise and engage Man's feelings and his attention in such a way that they are effective in cases where other methods would not be.
It is chiefly here that abuses creep in. Normally speaking, Man loves change (varietas delectat). He flees from the boredom that comes from the monotony of the actions of ordinary life. He feels the need for some new experience, some event, some sensation. In the spiritual life especially, in those periods of dryness when it becomes necessary to live by pure faith, the danger of abusing revelations is great. There are Christians who have an irresistible need to feel, to see, if possible, something staggering. (Ibid, pgs. 257-258; Emphasis in original). This love of change and drive to experience something unique often will cause people to believe anyone who claims to have a private revelation, and it makes it equally interesting for them to try and "discern the true meanings" of approved private revelations, e.g., what did the Blessed Mother really mean when she said Portugal will always keep the Faith during her appearance at Fatima, etc.
Another lure of private revelations is the idea of "get holy fast" spirituality that is wrongly attributed to devotions that emanate from such revelations. I believe in the apparitions at Fatima. I wear the Five-Fold Scapular, have devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray the Rosary daily (adding the Fatima prayer at the end of each decade), and attend the First Saturday Mass whenever I can. These devotions are meant to be things that will bring us closer to God and His Mother, and I recommend them all to Traditionalists. However, there are those who treat these devotions incorrectly and in a superstitious manner. Some think that as long as they wear the Scapular and go to the Five First Saturdays, they can live like heathens, commit mortal sin with impunity, and they will go to Heaven because they have turned the devotion into some "licence to sin."
What are we to make of private revelations that seem good, seem to bear good fruit, but have not been fully approved by the Church? Theologian Volken gives this guiding principle which I have taken from his work and condensed as follows:
Every revelation must be rejected a priori if its context is opposed to Church teaching. In places where the Scripture speaks most explicitly of the discernment of spirits and where it urges Christians to "try the spirits if they be of God," it gives only one criterion which is of a doctrinal nature. "By this the spirit of God is known:every spirit which confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God: and every spirit that dissolveth Jesus is not of God." (1 John 4: 2-3). That must be understood as teaching that every private revelation which does not confess Christ as God, and in anyway derogates ("dissolveth") Him by rejecting the teaching of His One True Church, is not of God and must be rejected.
An Examination of Luisa Piccarreta's "Divine Will" Revelation
Luisa Piccarreta's revelations can be summarized as follows:
- There are three great eras in the Church which correspond to three great fiats (loosely "let it [Thy Will] be done)
- The first fiat is God creating all things by His Word, and it is the "Age of Creation"
- The second fiat was made by the Blessed Virgin Mary: “let it be done to me according to thy word" at the Annunciation, and this is the "Age of Redemption"
- The third fiat will be accomplished by Luisa Piccarreta's own "let it be done to me" that is equal to both Creation and the Blessed Virgin Mary. With Luisa’s fiat, the Age of the Kingdom of the Divine Will ("KDW") has come to Earth and is available to all who will say “yes” to the Divine Will in which all of creation will be restored to a manner of life equal to that of Adam and Eve before the Fall.
- How is this amazing Age of KDW to come about? You must become familiar with Luisa’s writings, and fervently ask for the gift of "becoming one" with God's Divine Will. You must have recourse to Luisa’s writings. "Jesus" refers to her as the “second mother” to the Church, surpassed in sanctity only by the Blessed Virgin Mary.
- Followers of Divine Will believe we are living now in the last days; they cite private revelations, both approved, like LaSalette, and unapproved
- When you become one with God's Will, your actions become purely divine. The holiness achieved will make that of all the saints prior seem insignificant in comparison. KDW will "renew the face of the Earth."
Condemned by the Holy Office
The Vatican examined all volumes of Piccarreta's writings and placed three works on the Index of Prohibited Books. The decree reads as follows:
Wednesday, July 13, 1938: In the general session of the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, the most eminent and reverent cardinals charged with the defense of the faith and good morals, after obtaining the vote of the reverend consultors, have condemned and ordered inserted into the Index of prohibited books the following works written by Luisa Piccarreta and published by others at different times in several places:
1. The Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, with a Treatise of the Divine Will
2.In the Kingdom of the Divine Will
3. The Queen of Heaven in the Kingdom of the Divine Will
The following day, Thursday the 14th, of the same month and year, our most Holy Father by Divine Providence, Pope Pius XI, in the usual audience dedicated to the most excellent and reverent assessor of the Holy Office, approved the most eminent fathers' decision that had been presented to him; he confirmed it and ordered it published.
Piccarreta immediately submitted to the decision of the Holy Office. An archdiocesan bulletin concludes that anyone possessing prohibited books must have special permission to do so, or else they are to be destroyed. (See The Sun of My Will by Luisa Piccarreta and translated by Carol Glatz , pgs. 254-259).
So if the Holy Office condemned three of her works but not the others, are they safe to read? The problems with KDW and the objections of the devotees will be considered next.
The Problems with "KDW"
The problems with Piccarreta's writings/revelations are numerous, but they come down mostly to the following:
1. Divine Revelation and the Spiritual Status of Piccarreta.
KDW claims that God's Will cannot be perfectly followed using the Deposit of Divine Revelation which is perfected and to which nothing can be added. Humanity can reach a height of perfection hitherto only known by Adam and Eve prior to the Fall (i.e., the State of Original Justice) and the Immaculate Virgin Mary. This brings up two immediate problems:
- The Deposit of Revelation ended with the death of St. John, the last Apostle. According to theologian Salaverri, "We are saying that it [Divine Revelation] was completed with the Apostles, not necessarily personally, but at least temporally and virtually, so that after the death of St. John the Apostle there is then no more objective, public, and universal Divine Revelation." (See Sacrae Theologiae Summa: IB, , pg. 282; Emphasis mine).
- It exalts Piccarreta to a greater height than St. Joseph and St. John the Baptist. Pope Pius IX in Quemadmodum Deus states,"Because of this sublime dignity which God conferred on his most faithful servant, the Church has always most highly honored and praised blessed Joseph next to his spouse, the Virgin Mother of God, and has besought his intercession in times of trouble." In St. Matthew 11:11 we read, "Amen I say to you, there hath not risen among them that are born of women a greater than John the Baptist..." KDW even implies a certain equity between Piccarreta and the Immaculate Virgin Mary which is offensive to pious ears and blasphemous, if not heretical.
2. Implied Pantheism.
KDW teaches that a person's will is completely taken over by that of God. Once more, two salient problems arise:
- In Piccarreta's writing entitled Book of Heaven, pg. 29, "[A]bandoning oneself completely in my Will destroys one's own essence and causes one to re-acquire the Divine Essence..."
This teaching cannot be reconciled with the teaching of the Church.
Infallible Canons of the Vatican Council of 1870:
3. If anyone says that the substance or essence of God and that of all things are one and the same: let him be anathema.
4. If anyone says that finite things, both corporal and spiritual, or at any rate, spiritual, emanated from the divine substance; or that the divine essence, by the manifestation and evolution of itself becomes all things or, finally, that God is a universal or indefinite being which by self determination establishes the totality of things distinct in genera, species and individuals: let him be anathema.
Infallible Canon on Justification from the Council of Trent:
4. If anyone says that man's free will moved and aroused by God, by assenting to God's call and action, in no way cooperates toward disposing and preparing itself to obtain the grace of justification, that it cannot refuse its assent if it wishes, but that, as something inanimate, it does nothing whatever and is merely passive, let him be anathema.
Pope Innocent XI, Apostolic Constitution Coelestis Pastor, Condemning the Errors of Quietism:
CONDEMNED Proposition #5:
By doing nothing the soul annihilates itself and returns to its beginning and to its origin, which is the essence of God, in which it remains transformed and divinized, and God then remains in himself, because then the two things are no more united, but are one alone, and in this manner God lives and reigns in us, and the soul annihilates itself in operative being. ...
- There is a logical corollary that if the Divine Will is only operative in a person (reminding one of the Monopysite Christological heresy) it is impossible for them to sin.
3. How Does the KDW Fit with Vatican II and the End Times?
How does the Vatican II sect and the coming of the Antichrist (whenever that might be) fit in with the "third fiat" and the Age of the Kingdom of the Divine Will? It seems that Church teaching on eschatology (the last things) goes out the window. None of this fits (or even attempts to fit) in with Church teaching regarding the Second Coming, etc. Piccarreta died in 1947 and there are no warnings regarding Vatican II which began a mere 15 years after her death. Most adherents of these private revelations are R&R or members of the Vatican II sect because (a) they have no problem recognizing Vatican II and Bergoglio, and (b) they have no problem holding contradictory and un-Catholic points of view.
Conclusion: KDW is bad news and should be rejected as the Church has rejected it.
1. Luisa Piccarreta was very holy. She submitted to the decision of the Holy Office immediately.
Reply: I'm not questioning Luisa Piccarreta's faith or morals. Very holy people can fall victim to delusions of the mind or the devil and be subjectively blameless. The reason for the condemnation from the Holy Office was at least partially addressed. In its edition of September 11, 1938, L'Osservatore Romano noted that "the three books covered by this decree would not have ordinarily merited particular consideration, in view of their small size and limited weight. But they were condemned because they represent a false and dangerous mysticism which is frequent in our days. The principal subject of the writings of Luisa Piccarreta is the Divine Will, conceived in an exaggerated and erroneous manner and presented in language and terminology super-abounding with inexactitudes and extravagances. The small volumes in question have already appeared in numerous editions and have been translated into other languages.... For this reason it was opportune to put the faithful on their guard.(See http://web.archive.org/web/20010725050710/http://www.petersnet.net/research/retrieve.cfm?RecNum=229; Emphasis mine).
2. The Holy Office changed its decisions before. The Mystical City of God was on the Index and later removed.
Reply: In 1681, the Holy Office censured the book by Mary of Agreda, and on August 4 of the same year included it on the Index of Forbidden Books. By order of Pope Blessed Innocent XI, however, the decree of condemnation was removed three months later after it was shown that a faulty French translation was at the basis for the censure. You'd be hard pressed to find all the problems in Piccarreta's writings cured by an incorrect/inaccurate translation that wasn't caught from 1938 until 1958 when the last true pope died. Moreover, Piccarreta lived nine years after the condemnation, most probably wrote in Italian (the native language of most of the members of the Holy Office and of Pope Pius XI), and no explanation sufficient to remove the condemnation was given.
3. The books were removed from the Index in 1966.
Reply: No. Montini, a false pope, "abolished" the Index. Piccarreta's works were never specifically removed. Moreover, even by Vatican II sect standards (very low of course), Ratzinger stated that the Index retains "moral force"--whatever that means. However, it does show that the books on it are still "frowned upon;" at least on paper.
4. Sr/"St" Faustina's work regarding the Divine Mercy devotion was condemned by the Holy Office and was removed and given a feast day!
Reply: Yes, by a false pope (Wojtyla) which proves nothing. If anything, that just convinces me more that if the Modernist Vatican II sect likes it, it must be bad!
5. Luisa Piccarreta's cause for beatification has been taken up by "Pope" Francis.
Reply: Yes, and if Wojtyla's approbation was bad, Bergoglio's is even worse!
6. Can a sedevacantist read the works of KDW? We don't know if a real pope would have removed them from the Index or not.
Reply: Since we can't second guess the Magisterium, and we don't have a pope for now, we must abide by the last decisions made. Those three works stand condemned. Pope Leo XIII published Officiorum ac Munerum the most recent legislation on the Index (1897). Catholics should not read books or possess books that are on the Index. You could get a dispensation from your bishop pre-Vatican II. Since in most cases violations of the Index for a necessary reason (to further refute an error, required reading in a college course, etc) are venial sins, in my opinion, a just cause would probably excuse from sin since such dispensations cannot be had. (This is just a layman's opinion, but the Church did hold that just cause without permission was venial sin as per Pope Leo.) It is not necessary to burn the books, as this did not come from the Holy Office, nor is it required by the legislation of Pope Leo; it appears to be the declaration of a solitary bishop that was circulated and would only bind the faithful of his diocese, if such decree was made.
I believe that smoking and chewing tobacco would be a sin today if we had a pope, given all we now know about the inherent harm of smoking, and our duty to take reasonable good care of our bodies imposed on all humans by the Fifth Commandment. However, I have NO Magisterial authority and refuse to "invent sins." I choose not to smoke and I think those who do use tobacco are foolish and inviting health problems. As to sinfulness, I cannot declare anything sinful that has not been so decided by the Church. The same logic holds for all those who wish to second guess the Church and think that a true pope would rehabilitate the works of Picarretta. You set yourself up with authority you do not possess.
7. What about the volumes written by Piccarreta that were NOT condemned? Can we read those?
Reply: What I said above applies. If the Church has not condemned the other books, I have no authority to do so--they stand without censure. You can read them. Two points: (1) Just because the Church did not condemn them, does not mean the Church endorses them. It is only private revelations. (2) Can you trust the writings of someone who had three works condemned? If there was a chef who made great food, but accidentally put poison in the meals of three guests, killing them, would you trust him to cook for you? How much more vigilant must we be with our souls over and above our bodies?
I can't stress enough that we need to focus on what the Church teaches to fight the Vatican II sect. Private revelations should not occupy our thoughts and efforts. Yes, the Rosary, and devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus all came from private revelations. Do not forget those revelations were approved by the Church and all those devotions were complimentary to the Deposit of Divine Revelation; they did not "add anything," nor did they contradict anything. With all these beautiful and truly Catholic devotions, why bother with KDW?
If you seek true spiritual growth, read from the great saints such as St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St Francis de Sales, and St. Ignatius Loyola, to name but four. Let the Vatican II sect members and the R&R worry about Luisa Piccarreta and her writings. They can argue over whether her works should be rehabilitated and declared worthy of belief. We need not get involved in this "Battle of Wills."