Saturday, 6 January 2018

Pope St. Pius X on the Indefectibility of the Church and the Prophecies of St. John Bosco



"When Gregory assumed the Supreme Pontificate the disorder in public affairs had reached its climax; the ancient civilization had all but disappeared and barbarism was spreading throughout the dominions of the crumbling Roman Empire. Italy, abandoned by the Emperors of Byzantium, had been left a prey of the still unsettled Lombards who roamed up and down the whole country laying waste everywhere with fire and sword and bringing desolation and death in their train. This very city, threatened from without by its enemies, tried from within by the scourges of pestilence, floods and famine, was reduced to such a miserable plight that it had become a problem how to keep the breath of life in the citizens and in the immense multitudes who flocked hither for refuge. Here were to be found men and women of all conditions, bishops and priests carrying the sacred vessels they had saved from plunder, monks and innocent spouses of Christ who had sought safety in flight from the swords of the enemy or from the brutal insults of abandoned men. Gregory himself calls the Church of Rome: "An old ship woefully shattered; for the waters are entering on all sides, and the joints, buffeted by the daily stress of the storm, are growing rotten and herald shipwreck" (Registrum i., 4 ad Joannem episcop. Constantino.). But the pilot raised up by God had a strong hand, and when placed at the helm succeeding not only in making the port in despite of the raging seas, but in saving the vessel from future storms..."

"These memories, Venerable Brethren, are a source of unspeakable comfort to Us. When We glance around from the walls of the Vatican We find that like Gregory, and perhaps with even more reason than he, We have grounds for fear, with so many storms gathering on every side, with so many hostile forces massed and advancing against Us, and at the same time so utterly deprived are We of all human aid to ward off the former and to help us to meet the shock of the latter. But when We consider the place on which Our feet rest and on which this Pontifical See is rooted, We feel Ourself perfectly safe on the rock of Holy Church. "For who does not know," wrote St. Gregory to the Patriarch Eulogius of Alexandria, "that Holy Church stands on the solidity of the Prince of the Apostles, who got his name from his firmness, for he was called Peter from the word rock? (Registr. vii. 37 (40)). Supernatural force has never during the flight of ages been found wanting in the Church, nor have Christ's promises failed; these remain today just as they were when they brought consolation to Gregory's heart—nay, they are endowed with even greater force for Us after having stood the test of centuries and so many changes of circumstances and events.


Kingdoms and empires have passed away; peoples once renowned for their history and civilization have disappeared; time and again the nations, as though overwhelmed by the weight of years, have fallen asunder; while the Church, indefectible in her essence, united by ties indissoluble with her heavenly Spouse, is here to-day radiant with eternal youth, strong with the same primitive vigor with which she came from the Heart of Christ dead upon the Cross. Men powerful in the world have risen up against her. They have disappeared, and she remains. Philosophical systems without number, of every form and every kind, rose up against her, arrogantly vaunting themselves her masters, as though they had at last destroyed the doctrine of the Church, refuted the dogmas of her faith, proved the absurdity of her teachings. But those systems, one after another, have passed into books of history, forgotten, bankrupt; while from the Rock of Peter the light of truth shines forth as brilliantly as on the day when Jesus first kindled it on His appearance in the world, and fed it with His Divine words: "Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass" (Matth. xxiv. 35).

We, strengthened by this faith, firmly established on this rock, realizing to the full all the heavy duties that the Primacy imposes on Us—but also all the vigor that comes to Us from the Divine Will—calmly wait until all the voices be scattered to the winds that now shout around Us proclaiming that the Church has gone beyond her time, that her doctrines are passed away for ever, that the day is at hand when she will be condemned either to accept the tenets of a godless science and civilization or to disappear from human society. Yet at the same time We cannot but remind all, great and small, as Pope St. Gregory did, of the absolute necessity of having recourse to this Church in order to have eternal salvation, to follow the right road of reason, to feed on the truth, to obtain peace and even happiness in this life."

Pope St. Pius X, Iucunda sane (Encyclical on Pope St. Gregory the Great), 12th March, 1904, (para 7-9)



The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, by Rembrant (1633)

The above encyclical of Pope St. Pius X cites an allegory of Pope St. Gregory the Great comparing the Church to the Barque of St. Peter in the midst of a great tempest. This was a deliberate allusion to the accounts of Christ's calming of the storm in the Gospels. Alongside the symbolism of the Battle of Lepanto, this very same theme predominates St. John Bosco's famous prophetic Dream of the Two Pillars. A prophecy which seems to be of especial significance this year, considering the fact that we have a very rare occurrence of a "blue and blood moon" on 31st January this year - which is the feast day of St. John Bosco himself. This is the first occurrence of a "blue and blood moon" in over 150 years, and will also appear during yet another "super-moon" phase (the last of three consecutive such appearances), when the moon is at its closest point to earth.

The last time a "blue and blood moon" lit up the night skies was on 31st March, 1866, while St. John Bosco was still overseeing the construction of the Basilica of Our Lady of Help of Christians in Turin, which wasn't completed until 1868. During its construction, St. John Bosco insisted on incorporating several prophetic elements into the architecture of the Basilica itself, based on the various prophetic dreams and visions he had experienced over the years.  The most notable of aspect of these curious additions to the architecture of the Basilica was an allusion to a prophetic date pointing to some time in the 20th century as the moment of another great Marian victory:

...additional work on the Church of Mary Help of Christians was in progress. Each of the two belfries flanking the facade was to be surmounted by an angel, nearly eight feet tall, fashioned from gilded wrought copper, according to Don Bosco’s own plan. The angel on the right held a banner…bearing the word “LEPANTO” drilled in large letters through the metal, while the one on the left offered…a laurel wreath to the Blessed Virgin standing atop the dome.
In a previous design, the second angel too held a banner on which the figure “19” was drilled through the metal followed by two dots. It stood for another date, “nineteen hundred,” without the final two numbers to indicate the specific year. Though ultimately, as we have said, a laurel wreath was put into the angel’s hand, we have never forgotten the mysterious date which, in our opinion, pointed to a new triumph of the Madonna. May this come soon and bring all nations under Mary’s mantle.

(Lemoyne, Biographical Memoirs IX, p276)

In an earlier blog post found here, I had compiled several pieces of evidence (including the famous dream of the March of the 200 Days) which suggested that the date hinted at in this engraving was the year 1999. The turn of the millennium saw the appearance of a series of astronomical phenomena beginning in 1999 which was identical to the Signs in Heaven described throughout Sacred Scripture. These Signs in Heaven herald the moment when the head of the ancient Serpent is crushed under the feet of the Woman Adorned with the Sun, and Satan is cast down to the earth by the Archangel Michael towards the end of the world, dragging down a third of the heavenly host with him. This is among a clustering of other prophetic signs which mark the end of the period of the short time of Satan - which I argue in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, encompasses a total period of 100-120 years. In my book, I propose that the subdivision of this figure into a separate, yet interrelated and overlapping 100-year and 120-year timeframes was in order to distinguish between the two very distinct prophetic elements contained in chapter twelve of the Apocalypse, which requires us to differentiate between the moment Satan is cast down to earth in great fury towards the end of his period of greater power, and the moment when the flood sent forth from the Dragon's mouth is finally swallowed up. 

Although a great victory is won in heaven at the moment Satan is cast down to earth, the evils brought about as a result of the "short-time" allotted to him continues unabated for another brief duration thereafter (an additional 20 years on top of the century given over to the Devil itself). It is only once the Devil realises that he has been cast down to earth that he sends forth a flood of impurity which threatens to sweep the Woman away:


Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers[b] has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God. And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!”

And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. 17 Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.
(Rev 12:7-17)

Although the end of the century given over to the Devil ends with the victory achieved in Heaven during the Great Jubilee Year of the Incarnation - when the head of the ancient Serpent is crushed under the feet of the Woman Adorned with the Sun, the true end of the short time of Satan only comes about when the flood spewed forth from the Dragon's mouth is swallowed up by the earth. In my book, I argue that the true beginning of the short time of Satan was at the dawn of the 20th century, after Pope Leo XIII had consecrated the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1899 - the same year as an alignment of all seven classical planets. It is these rare alignments of the seven classical planets which I propose is symbolised by the seven stars held in the hands of Christ, which are one and the same as the "keys to death and Hades". The very same keys which are entrusted to the Successors of St. Peter, to determine the final destiny of humanity:

In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. (Rev 1:16-18)

It thus seems that it is the series of the planetary alignments of all seven classical planets which occur at the end of the Sabbath Millennium discussed by the Early Church Fathers (according to the chronological schema of St. Bede the Venerable), which are singled out for particular importance. The short time given over to Satan at the end of the Sabbath Millennium is made in answer to the demand that Peter is to be sifted like wheat - which is the sister passage in the Gospels to the handing over of the keys:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” (Luke 22:31-32)

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matt 16:18)

It is no coincidence that the vision of the period of Satan's greater power was given to the same Pope whose pontificate would witness the beginning of the period of the sifting of the Successors of St. Peter, when the shaft to the Abyss was opened with the keys of death and Hades:

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. (Rev 9:1-2)

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city... (Rev 20:7-9)

With the recent charges of heresy being levelled against the true Successor of St. Peter, we have now reached the pinnacle of the sifting demanded of Peter, when Satan has finally been able to point to the soiled garments of the Roman Pontiff in his role as Pontifex Maximus (High Priest), and claim that he has won victory over the Church instituted by the King of kings:

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by. (Zech 3:1-5)

In the wake of the Filial Correction issued on 24th September, 2017 - the feast day of Our Lady of Ransom (under whose form we find the devotions of Our Lady's Dowry and Our Lady of Walsingham), we now know the exact form this accusation has taken. In light of the prayer of Christ for Peter's never-failing faith, as affirmed by the dogmatic constitution of the Church Pastor aeternus concerning the indefectibility of the Church, we can rest assured that this charge being levelled against the true Successor of St. Peter is patently false. As Pastor aeternus explicitly states, the Apostolic See was gifted with an indefectible nature in the never failing-faith of the Successors of St. Peter, so that it can endure with rock-like strength for all of time: 

That which our lord Jesus Christ, the prince of shepherds and great shepherd of the sheep, established in the blessed apostle Peter, for the continual salvation and permanent benefit of the Church, must of necessity remain for ever, by Christ's authority, in the Church which, founded as it is upon a rock, will stand firm until the end of time.

For "no one can be in doubt, indeed it was known in every age that the holy and most blessed Peter, prince and head of the apostles, the pillar of faith and the foundation of the Catholic Church, received the keys of the kingdom from our lord Jesus Christ, the savior and redeemer of the human race, and that to this day and for ever he lives" and presides and "exercises judgment in his successors" the bishops of the Holy Roman See, which he founded and consecrated with his blood.

Therefore whoever succeeds to the chair of Peter obtains by the institution of Christ himself, the primacy of Peter over the whole Church. "So what the truth has ordained stands firm, and blessed Peter perseveres in the rock-like strength he was granted, and does not abandon that guidance of the Church which he once received"
(Pastor aeternus, Chap 2, para 1-3)

So the fathers of the fourth Council of Constantinople, following the footsteps of their predecessors, published this solemn profession of faith: "The first condition of salvation is to maintain the rule of the true faith. And since that saying of our lord Jesus Christ, You are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, cannot fail of its effect, the words spoken are confirmed by their consequences. For in the Apostolic See the Catholic religion has always been preserved unblemished, and sacred doctrine been held in honor. Since it is our earnest desire to be in no way separated from this faith and doctrine, we hope that we may deserve to remain in that one communion which the Apostolic See preaches, for in it is the whole and true strength of the christian religion...It was for this reason that the bishops of the whole world, sometimes individually, sometimes gathered in synods, according to the long established custom of the Churches and the pattern of ancient usage referred to this Apostolic See those dangers especially which arose in matters concerning the faith. This was to ensure that any damage suffered by the faith should be repaired in that place above all where the faith can know no failing.

The Roman pontiffs, too, as the circumstances of the time or the state of affairs suggested, sometimes by summoning ecumenical councils or consulting the opinion of the Churches scattered throughout the world, sometimes by special synods, sometimes by taking advantage of other useful means afforded by divine providence, defined as doctrines to be held those things which, by God's help, they knew to be in keeping with Sacred Scripture and the apostolic traditions.

For the Holy Spirit was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by his revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by his assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the apostles. Indeed, their apostolic teaching was embraced by all the venerable fathers and reverenced and followed by all the holy orthodox doctors, for they knew very well that this See of St. Peter always remains unblemished by any error, in accordance with the divine promise of our Lord and Savior to the prince of his disciples: "I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren."[60]

This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this See so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine. Thus the tendency to schism is removed and the whole Church is preserved in unity, and, resting on its foundation, can stand firm against the gates of hell.
(Pastor aeternus Chap 4, para 2;4-7)

The indefectibility of the Church was upheld by Pope St. Pius X himself, which is a sad irony, since it is this saintly pontiff who lends his name to the SSPX - one of the chief sources of the current opposition to the pontificate of Pope Francis. It is quite likely that Pope St. Pius X had the prophetic dream of St. John Bosco in mind when he was quoting Pope St. Gregory the Great's metaphor of the Barque of St. Peter enduring the tempest, given the fact that there are few other similarities connecting these visions. St. Pius X notes that the conversion of England was won under the pontificate of Pope St. Gregory, who coordinated the Gregorian Mission spearheaded by St. Augustine of Canterbury. This was the first large scale mission known to have been sponsored by the Holy See itself, and achieved great success with the conversion King Æthelberht of Kent; and was aided by the Irish missionaries who were already evangelising the north of Britain. 

In the same encyclical on St. Gregory the Great and the Barque of St. Peter in the storm, Pope St. Pius X alludes to the famous prophecy of St. Edward the Confessor concerning the future fate of England, which was symbolised by the cutting down of a tree:

Today, on the contrary, although the world enjoys a light so full of Christian civilization and in this respect cannot for a moment be compared with the times of Gregory, yet it seems as though it were tired of that life, which has been and still is the chief and often the sole fount of so many blessings—and not merely past but present blessings. And not only does this useless branch cut itself off from the trunk, as happened in other times when heresies and schisms arose, but it first lays the ax to the root of the tree, which is the Church, and strives to dry up its vital sap that its ruin may be the surer and that it may never blossom again. (Pope St. Pius X Iucunda sane)

St. Edward, who reigned from 1042-1066, was the penultimate Anglo-Saxon king, and was renowned during his own lifetime for his exemplary life of holiness. On his deathbed the King witnessed a famous vision, which has since been recognised as a prophecy that his beloved country would be estranged from the Catholic faith for three centuries, after which it would re-flower and "bear fruit". The prophecy was quoted by Ambrose Lisle Phillipps in a letter to the Earl of Shrewsbury in 1850 after the conditions brought about by the Catholic Relief Act of 1829 allowed the return of the diocesan episcopacy to England, which occurred after Pope Pius IX issued the papal bull Universalis Ecclesiae in 1850.

"During the month of January, 1066, the holy King of England St. Edward the Confessor was confined to his bed by his last illness in his royal Westminster Palace. St. Ælred, Abbott of Rievaulx, in Yorkshire, relates that a short time before his happy death, this holy king was wrapt in ecstasy, when two pious Benedictine monks of Normandy, whom he had known in his youth, during his exile in that country, appeared to him, and revealed to him what was to happen to England in future centuries, and the cause of the terrible punishment. They said: 'The extreme corruption and wickedness of the English nation has provoked the just anger of God. When malice shall have reached the fullness of its measure, God will, in His wrath, send to the English people wicked spirits, who will punish and afflict them with great severity, by separating the green tree from its parent stem the length of three furlongs. But at last this same tree, through the compassionate mercy of God, and without any national (governmental) assistance, shall return to its original root, reflourish and bear abundant fruit.' After having heard these prophetic words, the saintly King Edward opened his eyes, returned to his senses, and the vision vanished. He immediately related all he had seen and heard to his virgin spouse, Edgitha, to Stigand, Archbishop of Canterbury, and to Harold, his successor to the throne, who were in his chamber praying around his bed." (See the full article on the Catholic Encyclopaedia article here)

The prophecy of St. Edward the Confessor can be found in the Vita Ædwardi Regis, an early biography of the king which was commissioned by his wife Queen Edith and written within a year of his death (c.1067). This text survives in an extant manuscript dating to around 1100, which is housed in the British museum. Although the version above quoted by Phillipps differs slightly from the original, cited below, we can find all the major elements in it.

The green tree which springs from the trunk
When thence it shall be severed
And removed to a distance of three acres
By no engine or hand of man
Shall return to its original trunk
And shall join itself to its root
Whence first it had origin
The head shall receive again its verdure
It shall bear fruit after its flower
Then shall you be able for certainty
To hope for amendment


The green tree or shoot represents England, the trunk is the Catholic Church. The offshoot of the trunk is removed to a distance of three acres, which represent three centuries. After which the shoot returns to the trunk and re-flowers, which refers to the return of the episcopacy in 1850, three hundred years after the Anglican Church broke away from Rome during the English Reformation under King Henry VIII. The tree bearing fruit after its flowering is still yet to come, when the full conversion of England will inaugurate the Second Pentecost, as foretold by numerous other prophecies such as those of La Salette:

On September 19, 1846, we saw a beautiful Lady. We never said that this lady was the Blessed Virgin but we always said that it was a beautiful Lady. I do not know if it is the Blessed Virgin or another person. As for me, I believe today that it is the Blessed Virgin. Here is what this Lady said to me:

“If my people continue, what I will say to you will arrive earlier, if it changes a little, it will be a little later. France has corrupted the universe, one day it will be punished. The faith will die out in France: three quarters of France will not practice religion anymore, or almost no more, the other part will practice it without really practicing it. Then, after [that], nations will convert, the faith will be rekindled everywhere. A great country, now Protestant, in the north of Europe, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted...
(Our Lady of La Salette to Maxmin Giraud)

In this respect, it is interesting to note that the conversion of England plays a pivotal role in St. John Bosco's prophetic dream concerning the March of the 200 Days. The dream of the March of 200 Days is set among a section of the memoirs containing three prophecies, the first of which is connected to St. Dominic Savio's vision of the Pope, the Great Monarch and the future conversion of England:

...there will come a great warrior from the North carrying a banner and on the right hand that supports it is written: "The Irresistible Hand of the Lord." At that very moment there went out to meet him the Venerable Old Man of Lazio, holding aloft a brilliantly glowing torch. The banner then increased in size and turned from black to snow-white. In the middle of the banner, in letters of gold, there was written the name of Him who is able to do all things. The warrior with his men bowed and shook hands with the Venerable Old Man.
(You can find the full text of the three prophecies here).

We can see the similarities between the above prophecy and that of St. Dominic Savio below, where like the "Venerable Old Man of Lazio" (who represents the Pope), the pontiff holds aloft a flaming torch to enlighten a nation residing in spiritual darkness:

One morning as I was making my thanksgiving after Communion, a very strong distraction took hold of me. I thought I saw a great plain full of people enveloped in thick fog. They were walking about like people who had lost their way and did not know which way to turn. Someone near me said: ‘This is England’. I was just going to ask some questions, when I saw Pope Pius IX just like I have seen him in pictures. He was robed magnificently and carried in his hand a torch alive with flames. As he walked slowly toward that immense gathering of people, the leaping flames from the torch dispelled the fog, and the people stood in the splendour of the noonday sun. ‘That torch’, said the one beside me, ‘is the Catholic Faith, which is going to light up England.’”

The conversion of England is foretold in many prophecies to inaugurate the beginning of the Second Pentecost - including those of the 1846 version of La Salette, and the famous prophecy of St. Malachy which is widely believed to be authentic. So St. Dominic Savio's vision here is clearly associated with the new springtime envisioned by Bl. John Paul II and Bl. John Henry Newman. The first prophecy of St. John Bosco then continues with the theme of the Second Pentecost:

Things follow too slowly upon each other, but the great Queen of Heaven is at hand; the Lord's power is Hers. Like mist She shall scatter Her enemies. She shall vest the Venerable Old Man with all his former garments. There shall yet come a violent hurricane. Iniquity is at an end, sin shall cease, and before two full moons shall have shone in the month of flowers, the rainbow of peace shall appear on the earth. The great Minister shall see the Bride of his King clothed in glory. Throughout the world a sun so bright shall shine as was never seen since the flames of the Cenacle until today, nor shall it be seen again until the end of time...
(Biographical Memoirs)

Note the mention here of "two full moons" shining "in the month of flowers", which may be of some importance to our present scenario, since in addition to the blue and blood moon which occurs on Jan 31st this year (the feast of St. John Bosco), there will be another blue moon in the month of March 2018 - which is a possible contender for the "Month of Flowers". This blue moon occurs on the 31st March, 2018, which also coincides with Holy Saturday, which commemorates Our Lord's descent into Hades and the Harrowing of Hell (recalling Christ holding the keys to death and Hades in his hands in the Apocalypse).

The theme of the Second Pentecost is continued in the second prophecy of St. John Bosco concerning the March of the 200 Days, which as well as being directly associated with the Dream of the Two Pillars, also contains imagery strongly reminiscent of the Third Secret of Fatima:

It was a dark night, and men could no longer find their way back to their own countries. Suddenly a most brilliant light shone in the sky, illuminating their way as at high noon. At that moment from the Vatican came forth, as in procession, a multitude of men and women, young children, monks, nuns, and priests, and at their head was the Pope.

But a furious storm broke out, somewhat dimming that light, as if light and darkness were locked in battle. Meanwhile the long procession reached a small square littered with dead and wounded, many of whom cried for help.

The ranks of the procession thinned considerably. After a two-hundred day march, all realized that they were no longer in Rome. In dismay they swarmed about the Pontiff to protect him and minister to him in his needs.

At that moment two angels appeared, bearing a banner which they presented to the Supreme Pontiff, saying: "Take the banner of Her who battles and routs the most powerful armies on earth. Your enemies have vanished: with tears and sighs your children plead for your return."
One side of the banner bore the inscription:
Regina sine labe concepta [Queen conceived without sin], and the other side read: Auxilium Christianorum [Help of Christians]. 


The Pontiff accepted the banner gladly, but he became distressed to see how few were his followers.
But the two angels went on: "Go now, comfort your children. Write to your brothers scattered throughout the world that men must reform their lives. This cannot be achieved unless the bread of the Divine Word is broken among the peoples. Teach children their catechism and preach detachment from earthly things. The time has come," the two angels concluded, "when the poor will evangelize the world. Priests shall be sought among those who wield the hoe, the spade, and the hammer, as David prophesied: 'God lifted the poor man from the fields to place him on the throne of His people.'" 


On hearing this, the Pontiff moved on, and the ranks began to swell. Upon reaching the Holy City, the Pontiff wept at the sight of its desolate citizens, for many of them were no longer. He then entered St. Peter's and intoned the Te Deum, to which a chorus of angels responded, singing:
Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis. When the song was over, all darkness vanished and a blazing sun shone. The population had declined greatly in the cities and in the countryside; the land was mangled as if by a hurricane and hailstorm, and people sought each other, deeply moved, and saying: Est Deus in Israel [There is a God in Israel]. 

From the start of the exile until the intoning of the
Te Deum, the sun rose 200 times. All the events described covered a period of 400 days.

So it appears to be fully evident that the various prophecies of the future conversion of England were firmly in the mind of Pope St. Pius X when he composed his encyclical on Pope Gregory the Great. This is especially important to us today, since the bishops of England have recently announced they plan to rededicate England as the Dowry of Mary in the year 2020 at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham (which is closely associated with St. Edward the Confessor). This year will see yet another rare alignment of all seven of the classical planets on 4th July, 2020, an event which we noted earlier symbolises the opening and closing of the Abyss. Could this be the moment which marks the true end of the short time given to Satan, when the flood poured forth from the mouth of the Dragon is finally swallowed up? If so, it would see the end of the current storm which is currently buffeting the Barque of St. Peter, in a scene which was repeatedly recalled by Pope Benedict XVI:

"Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni. Repeatedly during the season of Advent the Church’s liturgy prays in these or similar words. They are invocations that were probably formulated as the Roman Empire was in decline. The disintegration of the key principles of law and of the fundamental moral attitudes underpinning them burst open the dams which until that time had protected peaceful coexistence among peoples. The sun was setting over an entire world. Frequent natural disasters further increased this sense of insecurity. There was no power in sight that could put a stop to this decline. All the more insistent, then, was the invocation of the power of God: the plea that he might come and protect his people from all these threats.

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni. Today too, we have many reasons to associate ourselves with this Advent prayer of the Church. For all its new hopes and possibilities, our world is at the same time troubled by the sense that moral consensus is collapsing, consensus without which juridical and political structures cannot function. Consequently the forces mobilized for the defence of such structures seem doomed to failure.

Excita – the prayer recalls the cry addressed to the Lord who was sleeping in the disciples’ storm-tossed boat as it was close to sinking. When his powerful word had calmed the storm, he rebuked the disciples for their little faith (cf. Mt 8:26 et par.). He wanted to say: it was your faith that was sleeping. He will say the same thing to us. Our faith too is often asleep. Let us ask him, then, to wake us from the sleep of a faith grown tired, and to restore to that faith the power to move mountains – that is, to order justly the affairs of the world.

Excita, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni: amid the great tribulations to which we have been exposed during the past year, this Advent prayer has frequently been in my mind and on my lips. We had begun the Year for Priests with great joy and, thank God, we were also able to conclude it with great gratitude, despite the fact that it unfolded so differently from the way we had expected. Among us priests and among the lay faithful, especially the young, there was a renewed awareness of what a great gift the Lord has entrusted to us in the priesthood of the Catholic Church. We realized afresh how beautiful it is that human beings are fully authorized to pronounce in God’s name the word of forgiveness, and are thus able to change the world, to change life; we realized how beautiful it is that human beings may utter the words of consecration, through which the Lord draws a part of the world into himself, and so transforms it at one point in its very substance; we realized how beautiful it is to be able, with the Lord’s strength, to be close to people in their joys and sufferings, in the important moments of their lives and in their dark times; how beautiful it is to have as one’s life task not this or that, but simply human life itself – helping people to open themselves to God and to live from God. We were all the more dismayed, then, when in this year of all years and to a degree we could not have imagined, we came to know of abuse of minors committed by priests who twist the sacrament into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime.

In this context, a vision of Saint Hildegard of Bingen came to my mind, a vision which describes in a shocking way what we have lived through this past year. “In the year of our Lord’s incarnation 1170, I had been lying on my sick-bed for a long time when, fully conscious in body and in mind, I had a vision of a woman of such beauty that the human mind is unable to comprehend. She stretched in height from earth to heaven. Her face shone with exceeding brightness and her gaze was fixed on heaven. She was dressed in a dazzling robe of white silk and draped in a cloak, adorned with stones of great price. On her feet she wore shoes of onyx. But her face was stained with dust, her robe was ripped down the right side, her cloak had lost its sheen of beauty and her shoes had been blackened. And she herself, in a voice loud with sorrow, was calling to the heights of heaven, saying, ‘Hear, heaven, how my face is sullied; mourn, earth, that my robe is torn; tremble, abyss, because my shoes are blackened!’

And she continued: ‘I lay hidden in the heart of the Father until the Son of Man, who was conceived and born in virginity, poured out his blood. With that same blood as his dowry, he made me his betrothed.

For my Bridegroom’s wounds remain fresh and open as long as the wounds of men’s sins continue to gape. And Christ’s wounds remain open because of the sins of priests. They tear my robe, since they are violators of the Law, the Gospel and their own priesthood; they darken my cloak by neglecting, in every way, the precepts which they are meant to uphold; my shoes too are blackened, since priests do not keep to the straight paths of justice, which are hard and rugged, or set good examples to those beneath them. Nevertheless, in some of them I find the splendour of truth.’

And I heard a voice from heaven which said: ‘This image represents the Church. For this reason, O you who see all this and who listen to the word of lament, proclaim it to the priests who are destined to offer guidance and instruction to God’s people and to whom, as to the apostles, it was said: go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation’ (Mk 16:15)” (Letter to Werner von Kirchheim and his Priestly Community: PL 197, 269ff.).

In the vision of Saint Hildegard, the face of the Church is stained with dust, and this is how we have seen it. Her garment is torn – by the sins of priests. The way she saw and expressed it is the way we have experienced it this year. We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred. We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen. We must discover a new resoluteness in faith and in doing good. We must be capable of doing penance. We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again. This is also the moment to offer heartfelt thanks to all those who work to help victims and to restore their trust in the Church, their capacity to believe her message. In my meetings with victims of this sin, I have also always found people who, with great dedication, stand alongside those who suffer and have been damaged. This is also the occasion to thank the many good priests who act as channels of the Lord’s goodness in humility and fidelity and, amid the devastations, bear witness to the unforfeited beauty of the priesthood."

(Address of his holiness Benedict XVI on the occasion of the Christmas greeting to the Roman Curia,
20th December, 2010)

(I would like to point out that credit for some of the key insights presented above must be credited to my good friend Fr. Richard Heilman. Father is currently attempting to draw up much needed recruits for his "Nineveh 90" prayer campaign. Please join him @ https://www.romancatholicman.com)



Sunday, 24 December 2017

Twitter notification

I have finally decided to start using my twitter account, to ensure that this blog works efficiently as a tool for promoting the Catholic Faith. I need some more followers though, so would appreciate it if the regular readers and commentators here sign up as followers. It should help to alert about new blog posts and random, irrelevant thoughts and such stuff.

@emmettoregan

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

The Heretical Pope Fallacy

Below is an extract from my latest article on La Stampa:


One of the most prevalent themes currently being circulated in some extreme quarters of Catholicism revolves around the manner in which a heretical pope could be removed from the papacy. This discussion has mostly stemmed from the belief that either Pope Francis has already committed heresy at various points throughout the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, or that he has been openly promoting an heretical interpretation of this document, and thus needs to be formally “corrected”. One area which has been greatly neglected in this debate is whether or not a pope actually can fall into formal heresy or teach false doctrines by way of the authentic papal Magisterium. As we shall see, according to the Fathers of the First Vatican Council, the idea of an heretical pope was definitively ruled out through the formal dogmatization of St. Robert Bellarmine’s ideas on the indefectibility of the Church.

During the post-Tridentine period, the topic of an heretical pope was widely discussed by some of the greatest minds in the Church, including the Church Doctor St. Robert Bellarmine, Suárez, St. John of Thomas, among various others. In light of the concerns about the papacy which had arisen during the Reformation, the attempt to address such apocalyptic fears seemed all too urgent. The idea of a future novelty arising in a formally heretical pope had coalesced from the papal antichrist theories handed down from the legacy of the Joachite movement. According to certain strains of Joachite thought, the sea-beast and land-beast of the Apocalypse foretold the arrival of two separate contemporary antichrist figures referred to as the antichristus magnus (the Great Antichrist) and the antichristus mysticus (the mystical Antichrist). In this view, the antichristus magnus would be a tyrannical temporal ruler, while the antichristus mysticus or False Prophet would be a pseudo-pope who would lead the Church into open heresy.

The Joachite dual-antichrist theory was immensely popular during the Middle Ages, and the anxieties that were raised over the possibility of a pope being equated with the False Prophet of the Apocalypse proved to be an extremely difficult concept to dispel, and ultimately culminated in the papal antichrist theories disseminated by the Protestant Reformers. In an attempt to address these fears, various scenarios were mooted by Catholic theologians during the Counter Reformation concerning the possibility of a Roman Pontiff falling into formal heresy. Given that such a nefarious figure would essentially fulfill the role of the False Prophet/antichristus mysticus expected in Joachite prophecy, the specter of an heretical pope has become deeply embedded in the subconscious of popular Catholic piety. A type of papaphobia which occasionally resurfaces in times of perceived crisis within the Church, and tends to instinctively lurch its proponents towards schism...

(See here for the full article)

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Update on the Status of the Writings of Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi


Archbishop Giovan Battista Pichierri, of the Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie
(12 February 1943 – 26 July 2017)


Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi OSJ has recently publically announced that he has attempted to take a civil action against me, dating back to 11th April, 2017, which he issued shortly after I originally published a letter I had received from the late Archbishop Giovan Battista Pichierri, of the Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie. This was made in an attempt to force me to take down my earlier blog post (here) in relation to this letter, in order to suppress the following important information. Archbishop Pichierri sadly passed over into the Lord's care on July 26th, 2017 (please pray for the happy repose of his soul). Just over a month before his death, Archbishop Pichierri had sent a note to Fr. Iannuzzi's attorney on 11th June, 2017, confirming that Fr. Iannuzzi's diffusion of the writings of Luisa Piccarreta properly belongs with that detailed in his third communication of 2012:

Dear Attorney Eric L. Hearn,

I received your letter of May 22, 2017 in which you refer my attention to the article that Mr. Emmett O’Regan posted on the internet in relation to Rev. Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi. 
On May 3, 2017 the Archiepiscopal Curia and I welcomed Rev. Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi who explained to me the specifics contained within Emmet’s letter. In this regard, I desire to indicate that that which I am to share with you about the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta is all contained already in the Communcation n.3 which I hereby attach. Therefore Rev. Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi’s work of research and diffusion undertaken in relation to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta is properly understood in light of this declaration [Communication] of mine to which, to this day, I have made no additions, as there have not been any new developments to the Cause of Beatification and Canonization that are underway at the Holy See. 
Moreover since Fr. Joseph is not canonically affiliated with this archdiocese, I am convinced that his good reputation, which I have never called into question, will be best reaffirmed by his legitimate Superior.
I assure you of my prayers in your esteemed work, and I extend to you my warm greetings.  

Giovan Basttista Pichierri
Archbishop

There are a number of things which can be gleaned from the Archbishop's letter to Fr. Iannuzzi's attorney. Shortly after I posted Archbishop Pichierri's letter to me here on this blog, Fr. Iannuzzi sent me a threatening legal notice in an attempt to force me to take down my blog post and suppress this information. At around the same time, he demanded to have an audience with Archbishop Pichierri and his Curia, which was granted on 3th May, 2017. During this audience, Fr. Iannuzzi explained the exact specifics of my letter, and while we do not know exactly how Archbishop Pichierri responded in this meeting, we can be assured that the outcome was not a happy one for Fr. Iannuzzi. The fact that Fr. Iannuzzi chose to resort to communicating to the Archdiocese of Trani through the medium of a civil attorney shortly afterwards strongly suggests that he did not get what he was pushing for during the course of his audience (which obviously was for the Archbishop to refute the fact that he had violated the moratorium). Also the very fact that he attempted to use a civil attorney to intervene in an affair which is solely to do with ecclesiastical law, seems quite a desperate reaction, and against St. Paul's instructions in Sacred Scripture:

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers. (1Cor 6:1-8)

Given the fact this matter involves the breach of an ecclesiastical moratorium and the lack of imprimatur, imprimi potest and nihil obstat in the books of a member of a religious institute, it pertains solely to obedience, and as such, should be settled by Fr. Iannuzzi's legitimate religious Superior, not in a civil court of law. This is why Archbishop Pichierri stated that it is up to Fr. Iannuzzi's legitimate Superior to reaffirm his good reputation, and not him. Since Fr. Iannuzzi is incardinated in a different diocese (as to where seems to be kept secret), Archbishop Pichierri did not have canonical jurisdiction over him, and as such could not resolve the dispute himself.

In order to provide context, Fr. Iannuzzi has also helpfully posted (some of) the contents of his attorney's letter of demand to Archbishop Pichierri, which informed him of his threat to sue me for libel:

“Mr. O'Regan's conduct in posting the Defamatory Posting to the internet is actionable as such under civil law... Moreover, as it is apparent that the Defamatory Posting was made with actual legal malice, Fr. Iannuzzi will have the right to seek an award of punitive damages... In addition to the civil nature of the wrong committed by Mr. O'Regan, Mr. O'Regan has also committed a violation of Code of Canon Law 220, which expressly forbids illegitimately harming the good reputation which Fr. Iannuzzi possesses. That same Cannon Law provision requires that Mr. O'Regan take corrective action to restore the harm which he has unlawfully perpetrated in a calumnious and detractive manner against Fr. Iannuzzi (CIC, canon 1390, §2), which he has, thus far, refused to do.  Mr. O'Regan, as a putative Catholic, is required to abide by that Cannon Law prohibition…

The falsity of Mr. O'Regan's Defamatory Posting is pointed out by the fact that nowhere in your March 30, 2017 letter did you confirm or support the aspersions that Mr. O'Regan has accused Fr. Iannuzzi of, including breaching the moratorium imposed by you.  Indeed, all you, Archbishop Pichierri, confirm in your letter is that Fr. Iannuzzi does not speak for and is not a member of the Archdiocese of Trani or the Association Luisa Piccarreta-PFDV.  Of course, Fr. Iannuzzi never represented himself as speaking for or otherwise offering an official position of either the Archdiocese of Trani or the Association Luisa Piccarreta-PFDV and, as such, the confirmation which you provided in the March 30, 2017, letter does not suggest any impropriety on Fr. Iannuzzi's part…”

The number of ellipses in the above fragment of Fr. Iannuzzi's attorney's letter to Archbishop Pichierri is worth noting, as we don't get the full picture of what was being demanded here.
However we should note first of all that Archbishop Pichierri did not only say that "Fr. Iannuzzi does not speak for and is not a member of the Archdiocese of Trani or the Association Luisa Piccarreta-PFDV", but explicitly said that Fr. Iannuzzi does not have authorization of any kind "in relation to publications both in reference to their study and diffusion". This was in direct reply to my question about whether he had received permission to publish the abridged collection of Luisa's writings in his doctoral thesis:

Trani, March 30, 2017 Prot. 128/17 / C2
Dear Mr. Emmett O'Regan,

Dear Mr. Emmett O'Regan, I received your e-mail of 21 February 2017 which informed me of your study and the response made on the publications of the priest Joseph Iannuzzi. Point out that this priest does not belong to this Archdiocese and did not receive from me any authorization, permission or warrant of any kind and in relation to publications both in reference to their study and diffusion. Right now the Archdiocese and the Association "Luisa Piccarreta - PFDV" are engaged in the typical edition processing and critical writings of the Servant of God on the basis of which it will be possible to complete the necessary translations in other languages ​​and additional theological research to be conducted. In any event, all of the official study activities at this time are agreed and coordinated in harmony with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints through the postulation. I assure you full availability for any further clarification, I greet you cordially and a Happy Easter.
          

Giovan Battista Pichierri
Archbishop

You can find the official text of the letter here.

While we can't establish all the ins and outs, it appears that he was making some form of legal demand that Archbishop Pichierri restore his "good name" by confirming that he did not breach the moratorium. Instead, the Archbishop directed his attorney to communication n. 3, and said that Fr. Iannuzzi's diffusion of Luisa's writings corresponded to the contents found there.

In his third communication, the Archbishop stated that he had placed the moratorium on the writings of Luisa Piccarreta because they were being interpreted in some quarters in a way that is inconsistent with the doctrine and Magisterium of the Church:

I still observe with sorrow that “the doctrine of the Divine Will has not always been presented in a correct and respectful way, according to the doctrine and the Magisterium of the Church, putting remarks in the mouth of Luisa that are not even implicitly found in her writings. This provokes a trauma in consciences and even confusion and rejection among the people and by some Priests and Bishops” (Letter of March 9, 2006)...

...The Congregation subsequently has communicated to me that “before proceeding any further, an examination of the writings of the Servant of God will be done, in order to clarify difficulties of a theological nature.”... (Para 3)

So in order to correct this unfortunate state of affairs, the Archbishop placed a moratorium to suspend the publications of any of Luisa's writings, and restricted the study of her writings throughout other dioceses to be delegated exclusively through the official Association "Luisa Piccarreta - PFDV", which Fr. Iannuzzi is not part of, and as such is not an approved speaker:

Likewise, I recall what I have already communicated: “Neither the Archdiocese nor the Association nor the Secretariat has delegated any person, group or other association, in any way, to represent them outside of their legitimate locations, to spread knowledge about the life, thought and writings of the Servant of God or to make any decision in their names. From the moment that the Diocesan Inquiry was begun, the Archdiocese has never officially designated any Theologian or Censor for the writings of Luisa. Likewise, it has never nominated any official translator of the writings from Italian into any other language” (Communication of April 23, 2007)...

“As I have already expressed at the conclusion of the diocesan phase of the Cause, it is my desire, after having heard the opinion of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to present a typical and critical edition of the writings in order to provide the faithful with a trustworthy text of the writings of Luisa Piccarreta. So I repeat, the said writings are exclusively the property of the Archdiocese” (Letter to Bishops of October 14, 2006). To accomplish this demanding work that requires a certain kind of competence, I shall avail myself of a team of experts chosen in agreement with the Postulation.

Nevertheless, I must mention the growing and unchecked flood of transcriptions, translations and publications both through print and the internet. At any rate, “seeing the delicacy of the current phase of the proceedings, any and every publication of the writings is absolutely forbidden at this time. Anyone who acts against this is disobedient and greatly harms the cause of the Servant of God.” (Communication of May 30, 2008). All effort must be invested in avoiding all “leaks” of publications of any kind.
(See here for the full official English translation of communication n. 3)

This stands in immediate contrast with Fr. Iannuzzi's claims to have a direct mandate from Archbishop Pichierri to speak, study and write about about the life and writings of Luisa Piccarreta.
However, Fr. Iannuzzi is twisting the meaning of this letter to mean that the Archbishop had "cleared the air", and that he had actually endorsed his diffusion of her writing. I think this is an outlandish claim, which if true, would make the Archbishop completely contradict himself when he had confirmed to me just a few months previously that Fr. Iannuzzi's diffusion of Luisa's works were not authorized by him in any way.

The relevant facts are as follows:

(1) Archbishop Pichierri told me that Fr. Iannuzzi "did not receive from me any authorization, permission or warrant of any kind and in relation to publications both in reference to their study and diffusion".

(2) He stated in his letter to the attorney that Fr. Iannuzzi's diffusion of Luisa Piccarreta's works corresponds to that in communication n. 3, issued in 2012.

(3) Communication n. 3 explicitly states "the said writings are exclusively the property of the Archdiocese..." and that "any and every publication of the writings is absolutely forbidden at this time. Anyone who acts against this is disobedient and greatly harms the cause of the Servant of God.” (Communication of May 30, 2008). All effort must be invested in avoiding all “leaks” of publications of any kind."

When I had asked Archbishop Pichierri about the status of two books which contained the writings of Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, which were published after the moratorium was set in place, he confirmed that Fr. Iannuzzi did not have permission of any kind to publish the writings of Luisa.  Fr. Iannuzzi had published an abridged collection of Luisa's writings in 2013 after obtaining his doctoral thesis. But given the fact that the Archbishop had placed a moratorium on "any and every" publication of Luisa's writings until the publication of a future critical edition, Fr. Iannuzzi would have required the Archbishop's permission before doing so. Given that Fr. Iannuzzi did not have this permission, I could only be left to conclude that he had violated the moratorium in issuing this abridged version of the collected works of Luisa Piccarreta. However, Fr. Iannuzzi is insisting that he has not breached the moratorium, since he was granted the authority to publish these writings by the Gregorian Pontifical University, and thus did not require any permission from the Archdiocese of Trani.

I would very much like this claim to be validated by Fr. Iannuzzi's religious Superior or responsible ordinary. If his ordinary or Superior can establish that it is true that some form of loophole has been exploited to allow Fr. Iannuzzi to publish these writings without either permission from the Archdiocese of Trani, imprimatur, imprimi potest or nihil obstat, despite a moratorium remaining in place, I will happily retract my claim, and offer Fr. Iannuzzi a full and complete apology. But I don't think this is the case, and will present the reasons why this is so below.

First, the print edition of Fr. Iannuzzi's doctoral thesis containing an abridged version of the writings of Luisa Piccarreta disappeared from availability on Amazon around the exact same time as Archbishop Pichierri received the letter from Fr. Iannuzzi's attorney on 22nd May, 2017. As of the time of writing, it is still unavailable (see here). Although the fact that it is still available on Kindle suggests that Fr. Iannuzzi has either exploited some loophole pertaining to electronic editions, which isn't covered in the moratorium, or simply hasn't fully complied with whatever instruction was given to him to take the print edition out of circulation, which would have been given by either the Archbishop or his Superior. It is quite unlikely that either Fr. Iannuzzi or his publisher St. Andrew's Productions would suddenly have decided to pull one of their most popular works from availability on Amazon for no apparent reason, which just so happened to coincide with the timing of the letter issued by Fr. Iannuzzi's attorney landing on the Archbishop's desk. Perhaps his publisher can help to clarify this matter further.

Second, any permission given from the Gregorian Pontifical University for Fr. Iannuzzi to publish his doctoral thesis The Gift of Living in the Divine Will in the Writings of Luisa Piccarreta, would not have overridden the requirement for obtaining an nihil obstat, imprimi potest and imprimatur for this work. He would have needed to obtain these in addition to receiving permission from the Gregorian Pontifical University to publish. As owner of the writings of Luisa Piccarreta, the imprimatur would have had to be issued by the Archbishop of Trani. While obtaining imprimatur is not nowadays always expected for members of the laity to publish a writing, members of religious institutes are absolutely required to obtain imprimi potest from their religious superior, precisely because of the huge respect that a clerical collar or religious habit commands among the lay faithful. Indeed, Fr. Iannuzzi's status as a priest of good standing is the main reason why his works have become so hugely influential.  Because of the air of authority that emanates with the status of clergy and religious, members of religious institutes are required to have the additional safeguard of obtaining an imprimi potest (Latin "it can be printed"), from the major superior of their religious order as part of exercising their vow of obedience, which is made in addition to the requirement of imprimatur. As CIC Can. 832 stipulates:

"Members of religious institutes also need permission of their major superior according to the norm of the constitutions in order to publish writings dealing with questions of religion or morals."

This Canon is further expanded upon in the CDF document "Instruction on some aspects of the use of the instruments of social communications in promoting the doctrine of the Faith":


§3. Along with the local Ordinary, religious superiors have the responsibility of granting permission for the publication of writings dealing with questions of religion or morals by members of their institutes (cf. can. 824 e 832).
§4. All superiors, especially those who are Ordinaries (cf. can. 134, §1), are obliged to take care that within their institutes ecclesiastical discipline is followed also as regards the instruments of social communication. If abuses emerge, they are to insist upon its application.
§5. Religious superiors, especially those whose institutes are dedicated precisely to the apostolate of the press and the social communications media, should see to it that their members faithfully follow the pertinent norms of canon law. They should give special attention to publishing houses, book stores, etc. associated with the institute, to encourage their being faithful and effective vehicles for the Church and her magisterium.
§6. Religious superiors should cooperate with diocesan Bishops (cf. can. 678, §3); it may be that such cooperation is even formalized through written agreements (cf. can. 681, par§1-2).

17. Permission of the religious superior

§1. The religious superior, who in accordance with can. 832 is competent to grant his own religious members permission to publish writings dealing with questions of religion or morals, should not proceed to do so until he has the prior judgement of at least one censor he considers reliable and is satisfied that the work does not contain anything which might be harmful to the doctrine of the faith or morals.
§2. The superior can require that his permission precede that of the local Ordinary and that explicit mention of the fact be made in the publication...


Once the nihil obstat is obtained from the appointed censor, the religious superior is then free to grant the imprimi potest if he deems it prudent to do so, and the imprimi potest is then stipulated in the front matter of the book alongside the nihil obstat and the name of the censor who granted it. After this, the imprimatur is then granted from the local ordinary of either the location of the author's residence, or the location in which the book is to be published, so that the lay faithful can be assured that the book is quite likely to be free of any potential harm to faith or morals. Of course, these measures don't always guarantee that any given book with imprimatur is absolutely free of any doctrinal errors, it is a measure which makes it all the more unlikely, and gives the faithful some peace of mind that they aren't likely to be led astray by the given contents.

So for Fr. Iannuzzi's works not to have nihil obstat, imprimi potest, or imprimatur to be stipulated on his various books is quite anomalous indeed, and needs to be explained by his religious Superior, who should have issued imprimi potest before publication, and should have been in contact with the local ordinary issuing imprimatur, as stipulated in par. 16:§6 of the above instruction from the CDF. Indeed, the requirement of imprimi potest can even come above that of imprimatur for members of religious institutes (see par. 17 §2 of the above CDF instruction).

As to why Fr. Iannuzzi's various books lack nihil obstat, imprimi potest and imprimatur, it is quite evident that either they haven't been granted because of the presence of serious doctrinal errors, or they were not even sought because the author knew that they would not be granted for precisely the same reason. Given his clerical and academic status, vow of obedience, Canon Law and the above CDF instruction, these writings should never have been published without the express permission of his religious Superior.

As to what doctrinal errors would have impeded Fr. Iannuzzi's works from obtaining nihil obstat, imprimi potest or imprimatur, both myself and English author Stephen Walford have written extensively on the various theological errors in Fr. Iannuzzi's works, which are essentially millenarian in nature, and as such is condemned by the Magisterium:

The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. (CCC 676)

Stephen Walford provides an excellent summary of Fr. Iannuzzi's various theological errors in the epilogue of his book Communion of Saints: The Unity of Divine Love in the Mystical Body of Christ, which he was able to present to Pope Francis in person, during his 45 minute private audience with the Holy Father at the Santa Marta residence on 27th July, 2017 (see below).





I have written about Fr. Iannuzzi's theological errors in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, my CTS booklet The End of the World: What Catholics Believe, as well as throughout this blog over the course of the past several years, both in the main posts, and in the comments section. As myself and Stephen Walford have taken great lengths to point out, Fr. Iannuzzi is one of the worst offenders there is for espousing doctrinal errors in matters related to eschatology, with his advancement of his theory of "spiritual millenarianism". Fr. Iannuzzi uses his millenarian eschatology to promote condemned "seers" such as Vassula Ryden and Gianna Talone Sullivan. Indeed, he offered himself forward to the theological commission at Emmitsburg in order to defend the millenarian doctrine that was being espoused in Talone Sullivan's apparitions, which were condemned as false by the Church. His close affiliation with Vassula Ryden may explain his attempted litigation against me, since this was a tactic she routinely employed to silence any of her critics, such as Maria Laura Pio. Vassula Ryden was issued with a notification from the CDF in 1995, and was condemned for espousing a millenarian doctrine almost identical with Fr. Iannuzzi's:

"These alleged revelations predict an imminent period when the Antichrist will prevail in the Church. In millenarian style, it is prophesied that God is going to make a final, glorious intervention which will initiate on earth, even before Christ's definitive coming, an era of peace and universal prosperity." (Cardinal Ratzinger, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Notification, 6th October, 1995)

As recently as May this year, Fr. Iannuzzi was arguing that Vassula Ryden’s messages are “Church approved”, because her book contains the “imprimatur” of Archbishop Arguelles of Lipa and the "nihil obstat" of Bishop Felix Toppo - two of her known supporters. Fr. Iannuzzi argues and that this was an “act of the magisterium” and thus requires the same level of “religious assent” that we are obliged to give to the ordinary papal Magisterium (see here). This outrageous claim helps us to perceive the extent to which Fr. Iannuzzi is capable of twisting the facts to suit his own dangerous agendas.

According to par. 11 of the CDF instruction on social communications cited above, only the local ordinary of the author or the ordinary of the location in which the book is being published is authorized to give imprimatur:

"11. The competent authority for granting approval or permission
§1. According to the norm of can. 824, the competent authority for granting approval or permission is either the proper local Ordinary of the author or the Ordinary of the place in which the work is to be published.
§2. If permission is denied by one local Ordinary, recourse may be had to the other competent Ordinary. There is the obligation, nonetheless, to make the fact of the prior refusal of permission known. The second Ordinary is not to grant permission without having learned from the first Ordinary his reasons for denying it (cf. can. 65, §1)."


As such, there are only two viable options for an author to gain imprimatur, which has to be granted within the proper canonical jurisdictions, with the appointment of an impartial censor being made by the competent authority. So the Archbishop of Lipa definitely wasn’t the competent ecclesiastical authority for granting imprimatur to Vassula Ryden’s book. Moreover, a naturally predisposed censor cannot be deliberately chosen by someone outside of the competent authority, since this method obviously undermines the goal of the entire process. Also, the magisterium of a bishop isn’t the same as the papal magisterium, so doesn’t require the universal submission of the will and intellect. I believe Archbishop Arguelles was deliberately targeted for granting “imprimatur” by Vassula Ryden's circle of advisors because he was already a known vocal supporter, and did not fully understand that he was not the competent authority to grant imprimatur to her writings. Indeed, Archbishop Arguelles’ approval of the previously condemned apparitions of “Our Lady, Mary Mediatrix of all Grace” at Lipa in 2015 was declared “null and void” by the CDF in December 2015, since it had already been decided the papal authority of Pope Pius XII. The Archbishop was then forced to resign in February this year as a direct result (see here). So he undoubtedly suffered from poor judgement in matters related to private revelations.

This “imprimatur” sought by Ryden in 2005 seems to be a concerted effort to undermine the CDF notification on her writings issued in 1995, which also condemns the same type of millenarianism proposed by Fr. Iannuzzi concerning the “era of peace”. Targeting bishops already predisposed towards favouring her writings for granting “imprimatur” and "nihil obstat", instead of being appointed an impartial censor from the competent authority, is a deliberate "stacking the deck" tactic designed to rehabilitate a series of writings which were already condemned for their millenarian-style doctrinal errors.

Fr. Iannuzzi was promoting Vassula Ryden as recently as September 2017, during a conference in Melbourne, Australia, where he once again argued that her writings are “Church approved” because they bore invalidly obtained "imprimatur" and "nihil obstat" (see here).
Given the fact that I run a blog on Catholic eschatology and take the time to try to respond to the comments on it, I can see that Fr. Iannuzzi's ideas have filtered out very widely into American society and beyond. Fr. Iannuzzi's millenarian eschatology is central to false prophets such as Maria Divine Mercy, and his ideas on a future "spiritual millennium" was widely disseminated through Dr. Kelly Bowring's various books, which are Catholic bestsellers in America. He has a large number of followers who are absolutely dedicated to him, given his priestly and academic status, and is in effect the de facto leader of a millenarian cult. He provides the “Divine Will Movement” (a separate entity from the official Association of Luisa Piccarreta PFDV) with its primary intellectual foundations in his books.

In a nutshell, Fr. Iannuzzi attempts to argue for a ressourcement to the Chiliasm of the Early Church, only instead of a physical Coming of Christ, he states that there will be an invisible “intermediate” Coming of Christ in the Spirit, who will the slay the Antichrist and bind Satan for a “thousand years”, which he equates with the period of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima. According to Fr. Iannuzzi, we must reject the amilliennial eschatology of St. Augustine of Hippo, which has been accepted as the established model by the Catholic Church for the past 1,600 years, and as such, is part of the universal sensus fidelium.

Luisa Piccarreta is so important to Fr. Iannuzzi because she provides the key to how there will be a complete cessation of evil on earth, since everybody in the world will live according to the “Divine Will” for the duration of the Millennium of Rev 20. He suggests that there will be a total transformation of society, basically a return to Eden on earth, which is in direct contrast to clear Magisterial teaching that evil must remain in the world until the Second Coming of Christ (e.g. Guadium et spes 37; CCC 671). Obviously human freewill is a major obstacle to the theory that there could be total universal peace on earth for a thousand years, so Fr. Iannuzzi tries to explain this by asserting that everyone in the world will be granted the gift of "living in the Divine Will" (which the way Fr. Iannuzzi puts it, is really just the heresies of quietism or monothelitism).

Fr. Iannuzzi attempts to confine the meaning of the word millenarianism to apply only to ancient Chiliasm, and ignores the fact that CCC 676 clearly uses the word in the broader academic sense as defined by Norman Cohn in his vastly influential work The Pursuit of the Millennium (given the fact that the secular forms of millenarianism in systems such as Marxism and Nazism are singled out for particular condemnation). So he thinks that if he posits a “spiritual” middle Coming of Christ, instead of a physical return to rule with the resurrected saints in an earthly millennial paradise, then he can evade the charge of millenarianism.

In his book Antichrist and the End Times, Fr. Iannuzzi follows Joachim de Fiore in asserting that another “Gog” Antichrist will arise at the end of the “age of the Spirit”, when Satan is unbound again, and the forces of Satan surrounds the camp of the saints. It is only after this we have the physical coming of Our Lord, which according to Fr. Iannuzzi's schema is really a "Third Coming", instead of just one Second Coming at the end of time. This contradicts St. Robert Bellarmine, who forcefully argues for just one Antichrist, who appears at the very end of the world, after the bringing in of the fullness of the Gentiles (de Controversiis Book 3:IX). Fr. Iannuzzi’s ideas have proven popular among Catholics in America in particular, given the pervasiveness of premillennialism in wider society. I suspect that the moratorium was placed on Luisa Piccarreta’s writings precisely because of the way he and others were distorting her words to give a millenarian sense.

Archbishop Pichierri was convinced Luisa's writings can be interpreted in a manner consistent with Church doctrine and the Magisterium, which is why their publication was suspended until a future critical edition can be issued by the Archdiocese of Trani. Fr. Iannuzzi was too impatient for this, and thought that he could issue an abridged version of the entirety of her works through publishing his doctoral thesis, in order to support his wider millenarian theories presented in his other books. According to the Divine Will Movement, the writings of Luisa Piccarreta are viewed as essential for obtaining the gift of Living in the Divine Will, which is why Fr. Iannuzzi appears to have been so impatient, and decided to publish them himself in an abridged form. This appears to have been taken to provide a rallying-point to his followers, so they might adhere to them as if they are some form of gnostic text essential for attaining salvation. He also probably knows full well that his interpretation of her writings will be totally ruled out in the future critical edition of her writings, since it is almost inconceivable that he hasn't been corrected on his bizarre millennialist eschatology by anyone with any authority in the Church. 

Archbishop Pichierri was absolutely convinced that the writings of Luisa Piccarreta are free of any doctrinal errors, but ruled that there should be a complete suspension of the publication of her writings in order to allow for a future critical edition, which will offer detailed theological commentary on how her material can be interpreted in a way that is consistent with Church doctrine and the Magisterium. Some highly esteemed American theologians such as Fr. John Hardon and Fr. William Most, had argued that the concept of "living in the Divine Will" as postulated by Luisa herself was just basically one and the same as the heresy of quietism. But since the Archbishop was convinced that such notions were being imputed into Luisa's writings by others, and were not actually found in the texts themselves, we should trust him in his word, and patiently await the future critical edition to see how her writings do actually align with the perennial teachings of the Church. It is quite probable that the previous writings of Luisa have been poorly translated into English to give her words a sense that isn't found in the original local Italian dialect they were written. As someone who can translate the Bible from its original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, I can fully appreciate that some translators can easily impute an interpretation of their own into any given text, if they are employing eisegesis instead of exegesis.

In any case, the postulators of Luisa Piccarreta have been instructed to leave her writings to the side for determining her Cause, as they cannot be used to call her personal sanctity into question (much as is the case with Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich).

In his various books, Fr. Iannuzzi uses the concept of "living in the Divine Will" to explain how humanity will be able to live in perfect peace and harmony during a future "era of peace" which he equates with the Millennium of Rev 20, in a theory which is basically a thinly-veiled version of the eschatology of the Calabrian Abbot Joachim de Fiore, whose works were condemned as heretical by several popes. So it is quite likely that Fr. Iannuzzi's various books, such as The Splendor of Creation, do not bear imprimatur, imprimi potest or nihil obstat precisely because of these various theological errors. For a priest of his standing and academic training not to have imprimatur, imprimi potest or nihil obstat on these books, which are in themselves highly controversial and creating huge division among Catholics, is a quite serious matter, and prompts us to ask why this has been allowed to occur unchecked by the Church hierarchy? This matter urgently needs to be addressed not only by Fr. Iannuzzi's religious Superior, but also by the bishops of the various dioceses in which his ideas are being widely disseminated into American society and beyond.