An Imaginary Letter from Saint Faustina to Pope Francis

Divine MercyDear Holy Father,

Praised be Jesus Christ!  All glory to the Most Holy Trinity on this Divine Mercy Sunday!  Adoration to the Father of mercies, His adorable Son, and the sanctifying Spirit of Truth!  May eternal hymns of thanksgiving and honor be offered to the God who has rescued humanity from it’s tragic fall, sending His Son to teach, suffer, die, and rise again, that the chambers of limbo may be emptied and the halls of heaven filled with the just.

Holy Father, you who hold the keys of Saint Peter and the power of binding and losing on earth and in heaven, who govern here below the kingdom of Christ our divine Savior, I write to you with the profoundest love and respect during this glorious season of victory over sin, death, and all the wicked powers of the fallen spirits – those cunning deceivers who strive to draw to the eternal pits of hell frail and tepid souls.

I have heard with the deepest sadness of the confusion and division that presently afflict the Church of Christ, and that you presently find yourself at the center of this chaos.  How audacious is that lying murderous serpent to dare to approach the See of Peter, as if to proclaim his morbid errors from the very heart of Mother Church.  As we know, all confusion that denies or obscures the doctrines and morals of the Church, that misleads well-meaning but simple souls, so that those who seek the saving Truth are unable to find it, or to discern the hard and narrow way of salvation from the broad and easy path of eternal perdition – all such confusion is the work of that pernicious preternatural tempter, Satan, the ancient serpent whose sole objective is to deprive, once and for all, God Almighty of His precious children.

I know you are aware of the divine inspirations I have received; even more, of the blessed promises our Most Merciful Lord delivered through his humble handmaid, requesting that I serve as His unworthy apostle and secretary of mercy.  Yet, throughout these visions of hope and trust, Our Lord revealed to me as well many warnings of a horrible nature, scenes and proclamations of perpetual agony for unrepentant sinners.  And I suspect, Holy Father, that such visions were revealed to me precisely for times such as these.

Therefore, I lovingly offer to you – no, Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe, declares to you – the truth about these matters, so that you may recognize the signs of the times and urgently bring a resolution to the confusion and division that daily harass the Holy Roman and Catholic Church.  For, although we have been promised that the powers of hell will never prevail against the Church of the Living God, still, this same promise has been tried as never before, so that many of the sincerest faithful, loving Christ’s Kingdom with all their hearts, are presently suffering trials of a purely spiritual type, such as would have caused the martyrs of ancient centuries to tremble.   For even in the worst of times, the faithful were always certain that their proverbial houses were built on the firmest rock of divine revelation, rather than the shifting sands of human caprice.  Hence, this scandalous mayhem must not be allowed to continue, for the salvation of countless souls is at risk, including the salvation of those shepherds whose solemn duty it is to lead Christ’s flock into the rich pastures of eternal truth – the same truth once delivered for all time by the supreme Good Shepherd, Christ Our Lord.

Holy Father, the following excerpts are taken directly from my Diary.  They are a small selection of the passages that concern the existence of hell, its eternity, and the never-ending conditions of the many wretched souls who have merited to enter its firy caverns.  Of course, all such private revelations can add nothing to that sublime deposit of faith delivered by Christ to the Apostles, and carried through the centuries on the Divine Spirit’s wings of Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  They simply emphasize that which Holy Mother Church has always, everywhere, and to everyone, proclaimed for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

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153:  One day, I saw two roads.  One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music, and all sorts of pleasures.  People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves.  They reached the end without realizing it.  And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell.  The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell.  And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them.  And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them.  Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on.  At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness, and all these souls entered there.  At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings.

965:  Jesus looked at me and said, Souls perish in spite of my bitter Passion.  I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy.  If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity.  Secretary of My mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near.

1728:  Write: I am Thrice Holy, and I detest the smallest sin.  I cannot love a soul which is stained with sin; but when it repents, there is no limit to My generosity toward it.  My mercy embraces and justifies it.  With My mercy, I pursue sinners along all their paths, and My Heart rejoices when they return to Me.  I forget the bitterness with which they fed My Heart and rejoice at their return.

Tell sinners that no one shall escape My hand, if they run away from My Merciful Heart, they will fall into My Just Hands.  Tell sinners that I am always waiting for them, that I listen intently to the beating of their heart…when will it be for Me?  Write, that I am speaking to them through their remorse of conscience, through their failures and sufferings, through thunderstorms, through the voice of the Church.  And if they bring all my graces to naught, I begin to be angry with them, leaving them alone and giving them what they want.

741:  Today, I was led by an angel to the chasms of hell.  It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is!  The kinds of torture I saw: the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one’s condition will never change; the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it- a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger; the fifth torture is continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and, despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own; the sixth torture is the constant company of Satan; the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies.  These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings.  There are special tortures destined for particular souls.  These are the torments of the senses.  Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned.  There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another.  I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me.  Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin.  I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like. 

I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I may tell souls about it and testify to its existence.  I cannot speak about it now, but I have received a command from God to leave it in writing.  The devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God.  What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw.  But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those that disbelieved that there is a hell.  When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright.  How terribly souls suffer there!

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Holy Father, I ask that you would reflect especially on this last vision.  The denial of hell, its eternity, and the truth that both angelic and human beings will be punished there forever – such a denial is a pernicious heresy that itself can bear eternal loss, as I painfully recounted in the above Diary passages.

I must emphasize the most outstanding warnings to all preachers and teachers of the faith, especially those who mistakenly believe that, if only they speak no longer about a particular doctrine, the reality on which that doctrine is based will cease to be real.  No, it is impossible for the creature to alter in any way the truths established by the Creator.  Nor did Christ reveal His Holy Gospel so that sinners could whimsically select from it only what they liked, or only what was popular among the lukewarm masses, and omit the rest.  God forbid!  Even a claim of ignorance of hell will provide no protection from it.  To the contrary:

” I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like.” 

“But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those that disbelieved that there is a hell.”

In closing, Holy Father, if you would pardon my boldness in offering you one small piece of advice.  For the good of the Church, scrap the Scalfari interviews.  Have nothing to do with that proud heathen, whose “reconstructions” of papal interviews are only calculated efforts to place heresy on your lips, for the purposes of confusing and dividing the faithful and emboldening the many heretics in the Church who have long been betraying the True Faith by spewing such lies.  After all, that mischievous atheist to whom you have revealed your heart is not so deeply moved by your accompanying him in his unbelief as to actually become a believer himself.  On the contrary, he has only devised a means of hijacking the sublime Petrine Ministry in order to promote his own unbelief.  And you, apparently, have either overlooked this strategy, or else – Lord have mercy on us all – are pleased to see the denials of defined Catholic teaching seemingly acquire a dignity and status, such as only your lofty office could render.  No, Holy Father, I tremble at such a thought, at so malevolent a suggestion.  I cannot believe it.  Yet, I cannot deny that such has been the inevitable effect of these miserable interviews, and such will be the predictable effect of any future encounters with this vandal.

Praised be Jesus Christ!  I pray that you will kindly receive this letter from your servant, and recognize in it nothing other than the purest love for Our Lord, love for His Bride, and love for you, as you carry out your difficult ministry on behalf of all the Christian faithful of every continent and condition.  May the risen Lord guide and strengthen you, and one day find abundant reasons to reward you with the happy and beautiful vision of His Glorious Face!

 

Your Servant in Jesus Christ,

Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska
Jesus, I trust in Thee

[Please note, this is an entirely imaginary letter of my own making.  But the remarkable excerpts from St. Faustina’s Diary are real and accurate.]

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Pope Francis and Hell

Dante's InfernoThere is a report presently circulating Catholic and non-Catholic media sites claiming that Pope Francis has denied the Church’s teachings on the existence of hell and the damnation of souls.  The report comes from an interview with the pope by 93-year-old atheistic philosopher Eugenio Scalfari, which was printed in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica.  However, Scalfari’s notorious method is to neither electronically record an interview nor take notes by hand.  Hence, as has repeatedly happened in the past, his interviews with Pope Francis more often contain his own poor memory of the exchange, or even worse, his personal views placed on the lips of the pope.   This has led to the presumption that the pope denies defined Catholic teachings, or at least questions their veracity.

According to the story, Pope Francis said the following:

“They are not punished.  Those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”

According to this claim, unrepentant souls are annihilated – a belief contradicted by defined Catholic teaching and clearly expounded in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium.  The Vatican quickly responded to the confusion by releasing the following statement:

“The Holy Father Francis recently received the founder of the newspaper La Repubblica in a private meeting on the occasion of Easter, without however giving him any interviews. What is reported by the author in today’s article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the textual words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

I suppose this response is better than silence, but it certainly doesn’t inspire a confidence that the pope said nothing of the sort.  It still allows for the possibility that, although the pope’s words were not directly quoted, nevertheless, Scalfari correctly reported their meaning and substance.   As usual, the faithful are left wondering if the head of the Catholic Church on earth actually holds the Catholic faith in its entirety.  What is needed – immediately – is a clear and firm statement from the pope himself, affirming Catholic doctrine on hell and damnation and denying the whole substance of the Scalfari’s report.  And it wouldn’t hurt to hear a few courageous statements from our own clergy as well, affirming their personal adherence to the concerned doctrines.  But I’m not holding my breath for either.

First and foremost, interviews with journalists are not organs of official Catholic teaching, nor are conversations, newspapers, periodicals, websites, Saturday Night Live, or MAD Magazine.  The proper means for declaring Catholic doctrine is the papal or conciliar document.  But without getting caught up in the usual media-generated hysteria over Pope Francis’ alleged statements, and keeping in mind that he has mentioned hell in the past, the best way for a properly-formed Catholic to respond to this sort of confusion is always with the same two words: He can’t.  Period.  Pope Francis does not have the authority to eliminate from the deposit of faith defined Catholic teaching.  No one does.  The magisterium of the Church has the commission and authority only to declare and expound truth, not to invent or deny it.

Yes, there is a legitimate development of doctrine over time, by virtue of the Spirit of Truth Who guides the Church into all the truth, and the magisterium plays a central role in determining what is, or is not, of this Holy Spirit.  In a similar way, this happens even in the short life time of a Bible Christian who reads the same Bible over and over; and with each reading, he or she gradually develops a biblical interpretation.  All the more is this true for the ancient Church that has been teaching, studying, praying, living, and dying for the biblical faith for two thousand years.

However, denial of a previously held doctrine is not development, but just the opposite.  Denial is just denial, a pitiable act of unbelief by a non-believer.

The ongoing chaos of the present pontificate has induced many Catholics – both good-willed and ill-willed – to conclude that Catholicism is nothing more than a collection of cherished opinions and personal preferences held by a currently reigning pope.  This view is just absurd.  If such were the case, then no one could speak of the “Catholic religion” in a meaningful sense, or without making a quick phone call to the Vatican in order to find out what the pope was thinking and feeling today.  Then Catholicism would be merely an ever-revolving ideological door directed by the whim of one man, and the sources of its teachings – Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition – would be regarded as only pious but foolish literature.  In fact, this is precisely how modernists view Scripture and Tradition.

But if such were the case, how could a presently reigning pope be the one exception?   If Scripture and Tradition are discredited, then so, too, is the papacy; for it is within these two sources that we learn about the papacy.  If they go, then the pope goes with them.

To put it another way, if the Church of past centuries was wrong when teaching definitively on matters of faith and morals, then why in the world would we trust the same Church in modern times to teach on the same, and even to pronounce against her teachings of the past?  Specifically, if she was wrong in teaching about the existence of hell and the eternal damnation of souls and angels, then could she not also be wrong if she later denied these doctrines?  If she was wrong then, could she not also be wrong now?  And if she was wrong then, could she not also be wrong now in her corrections of her past teachings?  Absolutely.  This is what modernists just do not “get” about their own methods and claims.  To the degree they discredit the Church, they discredit themselves as well.  And any bishop or priest who denies the Church’s teachings from the pulpit should expect never to see the pews filled again.  For who needs a gravely erring Church?  Only the devil does.

It seems as if the excerpt below needs to become a permanent virtual signature that, in this era of catechetical chaos, accompanies every Catholic news item.  Catholics always and everywhere must know and remember what the Catechism prudently teaches:

“Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it.  At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication, and expounds it faithfully.  All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith” (CCC 87).