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Criticisms and responses to the Divine Mercy devotion November 18, 2013

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, episcopate, General Catholic, Grace, Interior Life, religious, Saints, sanctity, Society, Spiritual Warfare.

My Polish friends will likely disavow me over this, but I found some interesting discussion regarding the Divine Mercy Chaplet/Devotion at P Blosser’s site and I thought I’d share some of the data.  It’s a funny thing. The Divine Mercy Chaplet is one of those items in the Church – and there are a fair number of them – where the more you dig, the less clear it becomes.  On the surface, one sees a canonized Saint  and papally approved devotion.  Then one reads of earlier condemnations of the devotion back in the late 50s. But then one reads again of bad translations and perhaps an overly hasty condemnation.  But one digs deeper and finds that maybe that original condemnation was not so hasty.  It’s all so confusing.

Irrespective, here is some of the best data I found.  Below is a short summation of the earliest condemnation of the Divine Mercy devotion:

Pius XII … placed this devotion, including the apparitions and the writings of Sr. Faustina on the Index  Librorum Prohibitorum (Index of Prohibited Books). 

Next, came other prohibitions made by Pope John XXIII. Twice in his pontificate, the Holy Office issued condemnations of the Divine Mercy writings. 

Not once, but twice under Pope John XXIII, this particular devotion was condemned through the Holy Office. The first condemnation was in a plenary meeting held on November 19, 1958. The declaration from the Holy Office issued these three statements about this devotion:

  1. There is no evidence of the supernatural origin of these revelations….
  2. No feast of Divine Mercy should be instituted….
  3. It is forbidden to disseminate the images and writings propagating this devotion under the form received by Sr. Faustina.

Now, via a commenter at pblosser’s site, a defense against this condemnation:

The condemnations of the devotion and writings of Faustina stemmed largely from judgments based on faulty Italian translations of the diary. It is important to remember that Faustina’s formal education didn’t extend past about 2nd Grade elementary school. She tended to spell things phoenetically and her grammar was poor; moreover, she did not employ a rigorous mechanism for dileniating in her text where the interlouctions with Our Lord and Lady stopped and started, relative to her own thoughts and words. When the Diary was first compiled from the handwritten text (during World War II), there was not the luxury of time to carefully analyze it and provide a critical apparatus for working around those shortcoming. When it was translated into Italian, the problems were compounded. In those early translations, it was not possible to easily determine whether Faustina’s references to “mercy” and “my mercy” and various other spiritual favors and promises referred to her own person or to Our Lord. The rest is history – for a period of nearly 20 years, the devotion and Diary were censured by Rome.

Diane K from Te Deum Laudamus offered some more explanatory material:



But just as you’re thinking, OK, the Divine Mercy devotion must be OK, along comes another commenter which goes to yet another level, casting more doubt.  The below offers some interesting insights, as much for how these devotions get publicized and promoted in today’s Church as for its doctrinal content:

Click to access divine-mercy.pdf

But, finally, here is a sermon from about the best priest I personally know on the subject, endorsing the practice and explaining much of the history:


I have had some folks asking me of late what I thought of the Divine Mercy devotion, which is why I am putting this post up. It’s highly providential to me that Professor Blosser got the discussion started.

I actually do pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet, but I am nowhere near as attached to it as I am to the Rosary and certain other prayers, especially some Novenas.  It is a private revelation/devotion – you can be a 100% perfectly orthodox Catholic and say pbbbt to the whole thing.

I present the above so you can have a pretty well-rounded view of this devotion and make your own determination.

But the messenger will be shot, on schedule.

Jesus, I trust in Your Sacred Heart!

Jesus, I trust in Your Sacred Heart!


1. Eric Sestak - November 18, 2013

You may find it interesting to read Fr. Peter Scott’s (SSPX) thoughts on the Divine Mercy Devotion


2. Lorra - November 18, 2013

My honest opinion is that it is diabolical to turn against this devotion. Never before in the history of mankind is this devotion more needed. Souls are desperately in need of the mercy of God and for someone to pray for them. If, by our prayers, we can stop souls from falling into Hell by causing them to be truly sorry for their sins at the last moment, Our Lord’s Precious Blood and Sacred Passion and Death will not have been in vain for that soul.

On the other hand, I am not taken by St. Faustina’s diary and find many parts of it troublesome. I’ve read it many times hoping that each new time I read it, I will change my mind, but I never do.

Elaine Murray - November 19, 2013

It is turning souls away from devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus that is diabolical, and the following poem says it well:

At the foot of the cross at Calvary
Three soldiers sat and diced,
One of them was the devil,
he won the robe of Christ.

When the devil comes in his proper form
to the chamber where I dwell,
I know him and make the sign of the cross
which drives him back to Hell.

I saw him through a thousand veils
and has not this sufficed?
Now must I look on the devil
robed in the radiant robe of Christ?

Now can I tell, who am a fool
If this be Christ or no?
Those bleeding hands outstreached to me
Those eyes that love me so!

I see the robe, I look – I hope
I fear – but there is one
who will direct my troubled soul;
Christ’s mother knows her Son.

This is the man of lies she says,
disguised with fearful art;
he has the wounded hands and feet
But not the wounded heart. By: Joyce Kilmer

Lorra - November 19, 2013

It hasn’t turned me away from my devotion to the Sacred Heart which trumps any devotion I may have to the praying of the Divine Mercy chaplet.

3. Lorra - November 18, 2013

I wouldn’t be surprised that both Pius XII and John XXIII had a problem with the Host flying into Faustina’s hand. That is only one of the things that I find strange about her diary.

4. Janet Baker - November 18, 2013

It’s refrain is just the repeated cry of mankind, of the collects: God, look at the Cross and have mercy on us! I cannot find fault with it. But I personbally find the musical devotion to be excruciatingly lugubrious.) As far as her diaries go, well–you’ve read St. Catherine of Siena? And she was anorexic to boot! I’m talking about when she was little, and used refusing to eat against her parents, and then later with popes! (St. Catherine, forgive me–BUT you know you did.) Surely a few ‘troublesome spots’ wouldn’t eliminate an entire popular devotion?

tantamergo - November 18, 2013

I’m not saying they do. I’m just laying out the evidence.

I am edified by the responses so far.

5. Michael P.Mc Crory. - November 18, 2013

As my laconic Irish friend used to say:

Is this something I need to know?

tantamergo - November 18, 2013

As I said, it was in response to multiple requests for more information.

tantamergo - November 19, 2013

I would also add, I was looking through your joke book yesterday. The last pages are a beautiful tribute to your family and your faith. God bless you. If you continue to have grave concerns about what I write here, then I hope you are praying for me! I had not looked at your book in a while as we had most things boxed up for our move, but I cannot help but be very impressed by the passion and humility you expressed therein.

You are a blessed man.

6. Allan Wafkowski - November 19, 2013

I see nothing compelling in the “evidence” against Divine Mercy. Most if not all new devotions are at first suspect out of prudence. That in itself is not a deal breaker. The Sedevacantists are probably not the best source to go to for information on something like this.

tantamergo - November 19, 2013

I pulled the information from Professor Blosser, who teaches at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. He had all the links, which reminded me of the requests I’d had on this subject.

I think I made clear I was trying to present both sides of the matter. I think I also said I have a certain devotion to the Divine Mercy.

But then again, I also said the messenger would be shot, on time. 0030 Zulu, noted.

7. LaGallina - November 19, 2013

I have been wondering about this very thing lately!! I have always had a slight aversion to the Divine Mercy Chaplet because of:
1. The pop song version of it
2. The artistic rendering of Jesus of the Divine Mercy.

They are both quite modern and cheesy, especially when compared to all the gorgeous traditional chant, music, and art we Catholics have. But I never heard any criticism about it until recently when I heard that the Divine Mercy chaplet was an attempt by Satan to dilute devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I have long been deeply attracted to the images of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, even back when I was vehemently opposed to any and all forms of Christianity. So that resonated with me. Back in my anti-Christian days, I would have never been attracted to the Divine Mercy image.

I am still confused about this, but since there are only so many hours in the day I will spend my prayer time praying the rosary and prayers to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. As well as any other old prayers that my grandmothers prayed.

When in doubt, cling to tradition. (That’s been my motto these last few months.)

8. TG - November 19, 2013

I was just reading about this devotion yesterday. It was on Tradition in Action. It said basically everything you just wrote except it went more into the dairy as to what Jesus told Faustina such as this “That is why I am uniting Myself with you so intimately as with no other creature” – do we really believe Jesus is more united to Faustina than the Blessed Mother. The author also said the new picture of Jesus doesn’t show his heart and it’s creepy. I do agree I don’t like the new Divine Mercy picture which one of the Archbold’s called “psychedelic Jesus”. Apparently, the original picture drawn in the 30’s shows Jesus looking more like the one in the Sacred Heart pictures. The new Divine Mercy picture was drawn in the 70’s according to Pat or Matt. I pray this devotion as there is nothing wrong with the prayer. I just put more importance on the rosary.

9. Daniel Brooks (@codephined) - November 19, 2013

I thought I’d add this to the combox. Not so crazy about the title of this video, but whatever.
The information is….interesting nonetheless. It makes you think.

Daniel Brooks (@codephined) - November 19, 2013

Well, that was unintended. Didn’t know it would auto-post a video by just the URL; now we have dual videos.
Sorry tantamergo.

tantamergo - November 19, 2013

No worries, I’ll fix it.

10. LaGallina - November 19, 2013

Tantamergo, maybe you could do some research on false apparitions. I find that topic so confusing. I’ve heard of a woman who has the stigmata (currently), but a holy priest that I know says that this particular miracle is not of God. Why would Satan disguise himself as Jesus or Mary (can he do that?) Reportedly, Some of these false apparitions have brought some people closer to God. The confusion this brings really upsets me. (Medjugorje comes to mind.)

11. Mary - November 19, 2013

My thought is that it shouldn’t draw us away from other traditions, most importantly the rosary, which Mary has specifically requested again and again. I know that many have made this substitution; a priest I know did just that – he doesn’t use the rosary for praying the rosary, but for the Chaplet and for repetition of the name of Jesus – he thought the Rosary prayer pulled us away from Christ.

12. Kathleen - November 21, 2013

I appreciate discussion of this devotion. Personally I’m very troubled by a number of aspects of it. And that disquiet has increased just recently with all the renewed emphasis on Mercy divorced from Justice we are getting from multiple sides in the Church.

But I won’t waste a bunch of time repeating concerns expressed already. I would though like to point out one thing not covered.

That is the “Sanctuary of Divine Mercy.” When I first saw a picture of this thing I was horrified and I remain horrified.

In the place of the Tabernacle there is instead the World.

Surrounding it are barren branches.

We are to strive to hate the world as the world is the kingdom of the serpent. We pray for this grace in the third Sorrowful Mystery of the Holy Rosary.

That the World replaces Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle is horrifying.

That they then surround it with barren branches.

I’m sure the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy will be defended.

But I will stick to the Sacred Heart, the Immaculate Heart, and the Rosary.

And I would recall that Saint John Bosco’s vision would seem to indicate that the only way to make it through the turbulent times of his vision was to cling to The Blessed Sacrament (replaced by the world in Sanctuary of Divine Mercy) and Our Blessed Mother.

See photos here:



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