- Victim Souls
- Dr. Kelly Bowring
- Fr. Bing
Victim Souls / Victimshood
When I presented my concerns regarding the wrongful teaching on victim souls to Dr. Kelly and the leaders of the Alliance of the Two Hearts, it was dismissed as either gossiping, a misinterpretation of the words of Fr. Bing, or that they were taken out of context. Regardless of the reason, I provided the specific pages in question and videos.
Fr. Bing and Kelly Bowring promote the practice to ask to suffer or "ask for the grace of suffering", and ask to become part of a list or group of victim souls of their own volition to their readers and audience. It is clear in both Fr. Bing’s book, Victimhood, Hope of the Present Crisis- Book Two and Kelly’s books, "The Secret, Chastisement, and Triumph of the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary and What Heaven is Calling Us to Do".
Their teachings coincide with the messages of Veronica Lueken (Bayside Messages), wherein Our Lady calls to form groups of victim souls and that the victim souls "are the ones who have kept the just punishment from coming upon you and mankind." Her Messages have been forbidden by the Church. (click here)
Ask to suffer is not a teaching of the Catholic Church. It is contrary to what Jesus asked when he prayed to his father on Holy Thursday - to be released from the suffering he was about to endure, but he humbly accepted the will of the Father. It is the Christian way of suffering. Jesus never asked the Father for suffering, but accepts His will.
"he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt." Mark (14,35-36)
Victim Soul is not an official term in the Roman Catholic Church according with Most Rev. Daniel P. Reilly:
The term victim soul is not an official term in the Church. It was used in some circles in the 18th and 19th century when there was a fascination with suffering and death, in an attempt to offer the possibility that one person could suffer for another. Christians believe that Jesus is the sacrificial lamb, the victim for our sins. His suffering and death redeemed humanity from sin and eternal death. Through baptism we share in Christ's death with the hope that we will share in his resurrection, his glory. More systematic study must be done before the Church can even begin to evaluate the concept of "victim soul,"… this term is not commonly used by the Church except for Christ himself who became the victim for our sins and transgressions on the cross." (Diocese Issues Interim Findings on Miraculous Claims Statement by Most Rev. Daniel P. Reilly, Bishop of Worcester)
Fr. Bing wrote in his book Victimhood, Hope of the Present Crisis
"If the soul's intention is pure, that is, to console Jesus and Mary and appease the Father' wrath, then she is ready to ask for suffering and become a victim soul". (click here to see page 1)
"Jesus offers a special gift to anyone who is willing to ask for suffering- the grace to suffer "with an unsatiable thirst for suffering to quench the thirst of Christ for souls" (click here to see page 2)
"It is also through victimhood that the secrets of God's wisdom is revealed" (click here to see page 10)
“Only the reparation of souls who have pledged themselves to be victims of love can ever repair for these sins done against Jesus. (Back cover of the book Victimhood, Hope of the Present Crisis- Book II).
Fr. Bing’s meditation posted on YouTube “ Victimhood Prevents Crisis” (click here)
“the spirit of victimhood (victim souls) will really make sure that no one of the flock will be lost.” (click here)
Kelly Bowring wrote on page 239 “It is not easy to sacrifice, and people typically try to avoid pain when they can, but to ask for the grace to suffer with a higher purpose, for love of other is of a great value to Christ in his mission to save souls” (click here to see page 239).
On page 238 Kelly states, “Mary is calling together an army of victim souls”, and the statement that this group of victims souls will, “cause the upheaval to cease and the Faith to be restored”.
“We must wonder what will finally cause the upheaval to cease and the Faith to be restored. Our lady provides the answer: a group of victim souls will offer their lives and bring about a turning of the tide. Mary is calling together an army of victim souls, all of whom are Her handmaids with spiritual littleness- ready to serve Her in any way possible. Our Lady is asking us to offer our lives in reparation not only for our own sins, but also for the sins of others, to suffer without complaint as victims of love. As victim souls, we die to our own free will and give to the Lord everything- great and small, joy and suffering a like – for the conversion of sinners. In this, we become martyrs of love.” (click here to see page 238)
Kelly on page 263 of the second (hidden edition) it is not on the first edition, he wrote: “Become Victim Souls of Love: This is the Mission of Missions – the Apostolate of Apostolate!” (page 263)
On page 274, I read about the level 3 of Dr. Kelly’s group of Hospitaller of Peace, Apostle of the Latter Times where he requests to put their names on a list to commit to offer their lives as a victim souls together with other devotions.
Ask for the grace of suffering is not the teaching of the Catholic Church, but a twisted teaching of the beautiful sense of suffering in the Catholic Church. It is a poetic way to promote the “novelty” to pray for suffering or encourage the faithful to not ask to God for healing and relieve from pain for a special intention. That kind of writing is highly manipulative and it appeals to the noble cause of salvation of souls. Unfortunately many good and well intentioned souls will be seduced and follow these manipulative statements with the hope to save souls and be close to God, especially if a priest makes them think that it is the infallible and only efficacious way. That practice is closing the will of God since now is the person’s prerogative to keep suffering and not God’s prerogative to relieve the person according with his Divine Providence.
"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies,… "(2 Peter 2-1)
The Modern Catholic Dictionary by John A. Hardon defines victim soul: “a person specially chosen by God to suffer more than most people during life, and who generously accepts the suffering in union with the Savior and after the example of Christ's own Passion and Death" .
Victim Souls are not gathered or 'called together', nor are they called by men into an 'army'. God chooses victim souls, and the person either accepts or rejects. It only becomes our choice when asked, not because we want it to be. There are, throughout history, victim souls called by God, who accepted and suffered. An example of it is Blessed Alexandrina da Costa. It is something between the person and God, not motivated by a formation or a personal invitation. There were no army of victim souls gathered or called together as a physical group or list of people, in fact very few in proportion to the population. Make no mistake - this does not mean that they did little. In fact, God accomplishes great things with the fewest.
"But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who sees in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you" (Matthew 6:17-18).
The quoted statements above presumes and assures that these new elite or army of victim souls is the solution, that they are the optimum group of the faith and the infallible ones that have the way to save the souls, and this will cause the upheaval to cease and the Faith to be restored, etc. It is actually exclusivist, prideful and superstitious. It excludes the other faithful efficacies in the collaboration of salvation. He pits a committed catholic against a victim soul that believes their efforts are greater and more beneficial. They are even greater than those called to serve in the religious life as servants of God. A person who has chosen a religious vocation has a special call but it will not make them victims souls. They are in joy to fulfill their call. What about the priestly ministry?
Such statements that, “a group of victim souls will cause the upheaval to cease and the Faith to be restored”, Mission of Missions – the Apostolate of Apostolate!” are false indeed. Fr. Bing and Dr. Kelly studied theology and should know how to discern when statements are false with the teaching of the Catholic Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls it superstition:
“The Roman Catholic Church considers superstition to be sinful in the sense that it denotes a lack of trust in the divine providence of God and, as such, is a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states superstition "in some sense represents a perverse excess of religion" (#2110).
The Catechism even appears to turn a bit of a critical eye on Catholic doctrine whenever certain practices become frivolous or scrupulous:
Superstition is a deviation of religious feeling and of the practices this feeling imposes. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. To attribute the efficacy of prayers or of sacramental signs to their mere external performance, apart from the interior dispositions that they demand is to fall into superstition. Cf. Matthew 23:16-22 ww.wordiq.com/definition/Superstition)
“superstition is not based on reason, but instead springs from religiousfeelings that are misdirected or unenlightened, which leads in some cases to rigor in religious opinions or practice, and in other cases to belief in extraordinary events or in charms, omens, and prognostications. Many superstitions can be prompted by misunderstandings of causality or statistics. (www.wordiq.com/definition/Superstition)
Any of the above can lead to unfounded fears, or excessive scrupulosity in outward observances.” (ww.newadvent.org/cathen/14339a.htm)
Also, Fr. Bing’s and Kelly’s statements placed the private prayers over the Liturgical Prayers. Our sacrifices such as fasting, abstinence etc. is considered by the Catholic Church as private prayer that do not have the same status of the liturgical Prayers that are the prayer of Jesus, the prayers of the Church as a whole. The work of Jesus is the Salvation of Souls he does it throughout the Liturgical Prayers. There is nothing greater than the sacrifice of Mass for obtaining graces and salvation for others and ourselves, more than asking for suffering. We cannot confuse the power of our sacrifice with The Sacrifice of the Mass. The efficacies of the liturgical prayers are the optimum prayers.
The question is: why would Kelly and Fr. Bing want to make a list of victim souls? Would a real victim soul put their name in a list and gather in a group to let people known of their “Charism of Victim souls” their sufferings or commitment to God? Did Jesus put his name on a list and ask people to sign in? All the souls who came before never put their names on anything. Most suffering was hidden to promote God’s plan.
On March 5, 2010 I attended the Alliance of the Two Hearts Mass at St. Andrew Catholic Church where Father Bing was the celebrant. He said that God had not dropped His hand of justice because of all the 1st Friday reparations which were done around the world. Despite the fact that they are few, God has not yet punished us. What about all the daily Masses celebrated, the Eucharistic Adoration done around the world? What about our daily sacrifices and crosses? Are they not considered worthwhile? Bing also suggests that their program, (and only their program), is the solution to all the problems in the family and the world. Again, Fr. Bing spoke about the food and water conspiracy. I do not remember any talk of Fr. Bing directing to preach the Gospel.
Our prayers and/or sacrifices, small or big, are part of the work of salvation of Our Lord and his Church as a whole and cannot be attributed to a group of people. The salvation is the work of Jesus entrusted to his Church and any statement that stresses exclusivity on a group or a person’s work for the salvation of souls is not correct but prideful and false. Offering our daily crosses and/or sufferings assured by Jesus are in accordance with our mission or path disposed by the will of God. The efforts and/or sacrifices of a person for the salvation of the souls are in accordance with their state of life and mission for what has been created by God, which is different for everybody. We do our duty according to our possibilities as Catholics with the hope to obtain our own salvation and to bring others close to God. None of our efforts are lost on the economy of salvation but it will not assure our salvation or the salvation of others.
And he said to all, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9,23)
And finally, what about Grace?
“Now therefore why do you make trial of God by putting a yoke upon the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will." (Hechos 15,7-11)
Regarding Father Bing on the YouTube video, (click here): You can see the way he looks down on our “sacrifices and prayers”, in his words and gestures, but embraces the spirit of Victimhood (victim souls). He states that it is based on his own experience. Herein lies the problem. When a priest speaks to his audience, he should speak in a verbiage that is based on the teaching of the Catholic Church and include relevant experiences that do not detract from that teaching. He should never use his own experiences to introduce some idealistic theory that is not of the Catholic Church because it confuses the faithful. This applies to any faithful, especially those dedicated to instructing others within the faith.
On page 200 Kelly wrote, “The prophecy of victim souls echoed by the Third Secret of Fatima mentions the Pope and other victim souls who do penance and offer their lives, united to the two Hearts,…”
Here, Kelly is validating that the approved apparition of Fatima brings the concept of victim souls. The third secret describes pain, sorrow and martyrdom of religious, etc. It is not called victim soul. This confuses people. Martyrdom does not have the same meaning as victim souls.
I listened to the “Victimhood” audio material of Fr. Bing where he speaks about a woman within his movement who had surgery without anesthesia for the sake of her daughter. He does not formally suggest the audience to do it, but instead points out the various graces that accompanied her extreme pain as an act of love.
Looking for or desire to stay in, physical pain in order to obtain graces or ask for suffering is not a teaching of the Catholic Church. God said “For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God, rather than burnt offering´(Hoseas 6,6). What is wrong with accepting in humility our crosses and doing our duties with love as St. Therese of Lisieux saw her little way?
No wonder one member of the Alliance of the Two Hearts asked me to deliver my baby without anesthesia. After her request, I replied that I do not feel the need to embrace the pain of childbirth as it is proven that women who are in pain struggle more with the birth and stress the baby. She then started a whole dissertation of the problems in the world due to the rejecting the suffering that God send us, etc. I assured her that it is not matter of salvation or matter of faith whether or not I use anesthesia and it would not make me a better catholic over others. Relief from pain is not a sin.
Here are some of the statements of Veronica Lueken:
“These victim souls, that have become victims of their own accord and their own placement, they are the ones who have kept the just punishment from coming upon you and mankind.” – Our Lady, June 18, 1986
“Your obedient trial has borne fruit, for there these Rosaries and acts of sacrifice by victim souls who came to Us as victims of love for the salvation of souls in the knowledge of what was to be, Our Father gathered in appeasement. Therefore, the Chastisement most justly deserved is now delayed.” – Our Lady, April 10, 1971
“Approach these days with great hope and live your life in the spirit of light a life of penance, atonement, and great sacrifice, not only for yourselves, but for your loved ones and others who do not have the grace to save their own souls.”
"My Mother and all Heaven watch the reaction of mankind to the Message from Heaven. Many hearts have hardened. Many refuse to accept this warning, and unless there are others who are willing to offer themselves as victim souls for their fallen brothers and sisters, these souls shall be lost forever to Heaven.” – Jesus, September 14, 1979
"I ask all who have received the grace to hear the Message from Heaven to go forward as disciples of My Son in these latter days. Many graces shall be given to others in order to receive the light from Heaven for the world. We place a heavy burden upon the few, but carry this as My Son did His cross, and your reward shall be great in Heaven. Many victim souls shall be chosen from among the little ones, those who have pure hearts and belief.” – Our Lady, October 6, 1978
“The state of the world at the present time has called down upon it a punishment that has been abated for a short time by the acts and sufferings of those who have given themselves as victim souls to the merciful heart of the Father.”
"Veronica, My child, We have been forced to bring you back, though the plan was to have you join the legion of victim souls. However, it is time now to shout from the rooftops: your end is near at hand.
"I have often told you, My child, that only a few will be saved, and this has brought you great despair of heart. Do not despair, My child, the Eternal Father has a plan for all lives. You may continue to pray, for the enemy is at the door.” – Our Lady, March 18, 1983
“My child, you know full well that even many shall fall into hell unless there is a victim soul or victim souls willing to do penance and make atonement. Prayer, penance, and atonement by all for them.” (www.tldm.org/directives/d202.htm)
The Bishop of Brooklyn had this to say on Veronica Lueken:
I, the undersigned Diocesan Bishop of Brooklyn, in my role as the legitimate shepherd of this particular Church, wish to confirm the constant position of the Diocese of Brooklyn that a thorough investigation revealed that the alleged "visions of Bayside" completely lacked authenticity. ...Therefore, in consultation with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, I hereby declare that:
- No credibility can be given to the so-called "apparitions" reported by Veronica Lueken and her followers.
- The "messages" and other related propaganda contain statements which, among other things, are contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church, undermine the legitimate authority of bishops and councils and instill doubts in the minds of the faithful, for example, by claiming that, for years, an "imposter (sic) Pope" governed the Catholic Church in place of Paul VI.
“Private Revelation. God continues to reveal Himself to individuals "not indeed for the declaration of any new doctrine of faith, but for the direction of human acts" (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II-II q174 a6 reply 3). Since it occurs after the close of Public Revelation the Church distinguishes the content of such particular revelations to individuals from the deposit of the Faith by calling it private revelation. The test of its authenticity is always its consistency with Public Revelation as guarded faithfully by the Catholic Church. For example, alleged revelations which propose to improve upon, correct or entirely supplant Public Revelation are rejected by the Church as inauthentic, regardless of the claims made for them”.
Some practice of pity and /or mystic’s events has been introduced per religious orders or groups in the past that should not be taken as an established teaching of the Church or a sure pass for a lay person, like the rosary, scapular, first Friday devotions, novenas, etc. Have a desire to give your life to Jesus, save souls, praying the rosary, teaching the catholic church, daily Mass, etc. will not make them victim souls. It is an illusion. This is the life of a practicing Catholic.
Some catholic writers who tried to interpret mystic’s revelations got into contradiction and made those critical mistakes that John of the Cross warned us about. Those writers mislead the readers. Would have us believe that some mystics and saints are free from errors which is wrong. They are also subject of human errors in their way of holiness.
Sometimes the soul is in a stage of purgation, test, trial, suffering, etc. where they feel the love of God in such special way that they feel so close to him that they want to keep suffering to receive that strong love and consolation that is their only comfort and never has been experienced before but in suffering. It would not make us special. The soul benefits from such an experience. That facet can move the soul to desire to keep suffering to feel the love of God in that very special way. The soul feels so close to God that it desires to remain in that state. Generally, that stage does not last long although God alone chooses the duration.
If you want to follow with your own copy of Dr. Kelly Bowring Book, you have to find out first if you have the first edition or the second edition. I have two copies of his book. I noticed that they are not the same, but an attempt was made to make it look like they are the same. I was offended by the deception of printing a second edition using the same imprimatur of Archbishop Cardinal Ricardo Vidal dated April 2, 2009. Not only did he not secure a second imprimatur, but he failed to make readers aware of the second edition printing, mimicking the second printing as a first edition. The Imprimaturs are not automatically transferrable to later versions of a work. Any new edition also requires a new imprimatur to be obtained.
The approval or permission to publish some work applies only to the original text; this cannot be extended to new editions or translations of the same work (cf. can. 829). A simple reprinting of a work is not considered to be a new edition. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, “Instruction on Some Aspects of the Use of the Instruments of Social Communication in Promoting the Doctrine of the Faith”)
The differences are located on pages 12, 113, 200, 216, 218, 221, 242 and 263,
You will know that you have the second hidden edition if you see on page 12 the following new insertion, if you do not have it then you have the First edition.
“In December 2009, Cardinal Christoph Schonborn of Vienna, a long-time personal supporter of Medjugorje, went there on a “private” visit”.
How is this date possible when the imprimatur was granted in April, 2009? On December 29, 2009 the Cardinal of Vienna arrived in Medjugorje.
Today I do not know if Kelly Bowring made more changes in his book after I mailed my concern to him and the Archbishop Wilton Gragory on December 8th 2010.
Kelly ignored the ordinary as the true source of authority.
His book is attempting to undermine the formation of the conscience of the faithful to ignore the ordinary of the place and to see other external bishops as having the final word regardless of the fact that they have not held studies, nor been commissioned to do so, on the apparition.
The faithful are lead to believe in some apparitions, mystic’s experience, spirituality, prophesy etc. that were condemned by the ordinary and received specific directions from the ordinary to approach the matter. He presented the condemned one as having “received positive recognition from the Church…”, and, “… this book only includes sources that have currently received a positive statement from A Bishop of the Church”, (click here to see page 9), ignoring the true source of authority on that regard who is THE Bishop where the apparition or seer’s vision occurred.
On page 10 he wrotes, “…now briefly mention the current support of the Church Bishops, as the successors of Peter who have the authority of the Church in these matters, concerning reported and lesser known prophecies and heavenly event : Medjugorje, La Slette, Our Lady of America, Garabandal, Akita, Our Lady of Good Success, Our Lady of All Nations, as well as concerning Fr. Gobbi…” He includes condemned examples such as Garabandal and Medjugorge as having received current support of the Church Bishops. Yet he fails to point out that the only the bishop that has the authority to pronounce authenticity is the one where the apparition or seer’s vision occurred. This is a huge and blatant omission as it would have changed the entire meaning of the paragraph.
The bishops he quotes are not the ordinary of the place where it occurred. Any other bishop’s opinion should be clearly understood as just their opinion and not as a “positive recognition from the Church”, a sure thing or approval of the Church. He, as a theologian should and do know better. Then he writes, “…though this does not mean to imply that they have received full Church approval…”, when in fact some were forbidden (the apparitions are NOT SUPERNATURAL). The way he writes with obscure words, and rhetoric shows how he attempts to influence the thoughts of the readers causing confusion about the truth. It is an argument of ignorance – relying on the fact that the veracity is not known or been declared to arrive at a solid conclusion. These types of arguments do not change what is true. He does not present any solid references associated with the declaration of the ordinary supporting his version of the apparitions and prophesies. I guess that he did not include the statements of the ordinary because they are contrary to what he wants the reader to know.
“The risks of visiting places where false apparitions take place, following groups or reading messages continually communicated by visionaries are many. According to the opinion of many bishops, priests and theologians, these phenomena are generated by rebel angels. Those who believe in these revelations, think wrongly that they are supernatural events, but in most cases they do not realize it is the work of the Evil One who can deceive in different ways. Indeed he can create visions, ecstasies, dictate phrases, and act on the memory, fantasy, internal and external sensations, passions, but not on the will and intelligence. Moreover, as an intelligent spirit, he can prophesize earthquakes, storms, hurricanes, political and economical events, and with the divine permission, he can perform any miracle”. (www.cafarus.ch/falseapparitions.html)
Kelly’s book sponsors the apparition of Garabandal, despite the fact all the bishops of Santander since the inception of the apparition declared that the apparitions are NOT SUPERNATURAL, to safeguard the doctrine on the faith and morals as dictated in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He never let the reader know that it has been forbidden by the bishop, yet he does not hesitate to quote the “positive statements”.
He state on Page 14 (second hidden edition), page 13 (first edition) and Page 110 (both editions):
“Our Lady reportedly appeared in Garabandal giving messages and prophecies. The Archbishop of Oviedo, Carlos Osoro Sierra, who is Apostolic Administrator of the region of Garabandal (Santander, Spain, said in May 2007: “I respect the apparitions and have known of authentic conversions… I encourage you to continue maintaining this devotion to our Mother”.
Visionary Conchita was received in a private audience with Pope Paul VI, who said: “Conchita I bless you and with me the whole Church blesses you.”
He did not verify his sources, or get a confirmation from the Dioceses of Santander, or from the Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra of Valencia.
I mailed a written request to the Bishop of Santander, Vicente Jiménez Zamora, (Bishop of Santander since July 27, 2007) to find out the veracity of his statements of “support”. On November 3, 2010, Manuel Herrero Fernández, his general vicar, answered my letter. Here is the answer:
“Enclosed is a photocopy of the declaration of Monsignor Jose Vilaplana, now Bishop of Huelva, formerly Bishop of Santander from 1991 until 2006, that Bishop Vincent Jimenez reaffirms in all respects and terms. Also, it was the position of Archbishop Monsignor Carlos Osoro Sierra at the time he was apostolic administrator from September 23, 2006 to September 9, 2007.”
That declaration invalidates his statement of support of the Archbishop Monsignor Carlos Osoro Sierra and also invalidates his statement on page 9 that states, “ This book relies on solid sources that are trustworthy”. This causes me to regard the rest of his book with a certain skepticism as I see important and critical information twisted or omitted. The second part of the title of his book is, “and What Heaven is Calling us to do.” Why not say, what the Church is Calling us To Do? Apparitions, mystics, etc. should not be a parallel authority of the Church! This is a clear example of promoting division and disobedience.
Ironically, Dr. Kelly Bowring wrote on page 2 “ The author recognizes and gladly accepts that the final authority regarding the supernatural character of the apparitions, locutions, and heavenly messages in this book rests always and finally with the Magisterium of he Catholic Church.” In fact, he is not following the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and promoting false information that lead to disobedience.
The declaration I received by mail is in Spanish. Here is the translation:
1. All the bishops of the diocese from 1961 through 1970 asserted that the supernatural character of the said apparitions, that took place around that time, could not be confirmed.
2. In the month of December of 1977 Msgr. del Val, Bishop of Santander, in union with his predecessors, affirmed that in the six years of being Bishop of Santander there were no new phenomena.
3. Not withstanding, the same Msgr. del Val, the first years having passed in which there was confusion to enthusiasm, initiated an interdisciplinary study in order to examine with greater profundity these phenomenon. The conclusion of this study coincided with the previous findings by the bishops, which is to say, that it does not prove [no consta] the supernaturality of said apparitions.
4. This study concluded during the days in which I took possession of the diocese in 1991. Taking advantage, in that same year, of a trip to Rome for the motive of making the ad limina visit, I presented said study to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and asked for guidance for pastoral activity concerning the case.
5. On Nov. 28, 1992, the Congregation sent me its response, consisting in, that after having examined attentively the mentioned documentation, it did not consider it opportune to intervene directly, removing the ordinary jurisdiction of the Bishop of Santander, this subject that belongs to him by right. Previous declarations of the Holy See agree in this finding.
In the same letter it was suggested, if I find it opportune, to publish a declaration in which it is re-affirmed that the supernaturality of the referenced apparitions was not proven, making my own the unanimous position of my predecessors.
6. Given that the declarations of my predecessors, who studied the case, have been clear and unanimous, I do not find it necessary to have a new public declaration that would give notoriety to something which happened so long ago. However, I find it opportune to redact this information as a direct response to the persons who ask for direction concerning this question, which I give finally, accepting the decisions of my predecessors and the direction of the Holy See.
7. In reference to the celebration of the Eucharist in Garabandal, following the dispositions of my predecessors, I only allow that it be celebrated in the parish church without reference to the alleged apparitions and with the permission of the current pastor, who has my confidence.
With the wish that this information is helpful to you, receive my cordial greeting in Christ,
Bishop of Santander
Kelly Bowring is an active supporter of Mejugorje, and prepare and lead peregrines from Atlanta to Medjugorje, is obvious that his book speaks highly and stops at nothing to promote the apparitions and prophesies.
He omitted (once again) an important fact regarding the Apparitions of Medjugorje that it never received the support of the ordinary. It is condemned by the bishop. “The pilgrimages, whether private or public, are not allowed if they presuppose the authenticity of the apparitions, since this would be in contradiction to the declaration of the Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia”. He undermined the capacity and authority of the ordinary, the bishop of Mostar, when he omits the facts. How does he reconcile ignoring the ordinary yet speak of faith? I did not see any source or offical document in his book from the dioceses of Mostars. Is there a more reliable source to support his statements out of the Church authority on that matter? All the official document about the phenomenon of Medjugorge is available at the official site of the Dioceses of Monstar. (www.cbismo.com/index.php?menuID=98).
On Page 11 he states, “The Church is currently permitting the faithful to read and meditate on the messages of Medjugorje, and to make private pilgrimages to Medjugorje.”
This is completely false in every aspect, leading once again, the reader to wander down a dangerous path.
On page 76 he writes, “There have been many significant supporters of this still-ongoing apparition. John Paul II, Ble. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, Cardinal Ratzing (Benedict XVI), cardinal Schonborn”, “...have been among those who have spoken in personal support of Medjugorje. This is the first apparition that the Vatican has felt it necessary to remove the jurisdiction over the apparitions from the local Ordinary The Bishop of Mostar. The Vatican is handling the investigation themselves. We must remember that an apparition may be condemned at any time, of which Medjugorje has not been in it almost 30 years, while an apparition is never officially approved until after it ends. Hundreds of cardinals and bishops have visited Medjugorje as pilgrims (or have expressed their support for what is happening there), along with tens of thousands of priests and tens of millions of lay pilgrims.”
One false statement follows another. Such statement mislead priest to believe and visit Medjugorge. The issue of Medjurgorje has been blown out of proportion and those who are not obedient offer their opinions which misinform the clergy and the laity who may inadvertently pass this misinformation on to unsuspecting faithful who accept it as truth. This divides the faithful. It explains why so many priest and faithful in Atlanta have been to Medjugorge. Lack of information from the church leaders permit people like Kelly to deceive the faithful. It is hard to ignore and makes it easy to see why so many people including priest and bishops are seduced by his deceived words.
Here is a fragment of the position of the bishop of Mostar, Ratko Perić, which can be found on the dioceses of Monstar web page (www.cbismo.com): On September 1, 2007 the bishop of Mostar, wrote the following:
The Interventions of the Holy See
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, intervened four times through two of its Secretaries, while Cardinal Ratzinger also made an important statement.
In 1985, Msgr. Bovone notified the Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Italy not to organize official pilgrimages to Medjugorje.
In 1995, Msgr. Bertone wrote to the bishop of Langres, Msgr. Taverdet, and repeated the same to Msgr. Daloz of Besançon, who were interested in knowing the position of the Holy See on Medjugorje.
Finally, in 1998, the same Secretary wrote to Msgr. Gilbert Aubry, bishop of Reunion. All these letters emphasized that pilgrimages, whether private or public, are not allowed if they presuppose the authenticity of the apparitions, since this would be in contradiction to the declaration of the Bishops’ Conference of Yugoslavia. Nevertheless, the supporters of the events of Medjugorje hold fast to the word “pilgrimage” and neglect the conditio sine qua non: that they do not presuppose the authenticity of the apparitions.
Ratzinger’s “frei erfunden”. In 1998, when a certain German gathered various statements which were supposedly made by the Pope and the Cardinal Prefect, and then forwarded them to the Vatican in the form of a memorandum, the Cardinal responded in writing on 22 July 1998: “The only thing I can say regarding statements on Medjugorje ascribed to the Holy Father and myself is that they are complete invention” – frei erfunden.
Ad limina visit 2006. During my official visit to the Holy Father Benedict XVI, I not only expressed my doubts but also my disbelief in the “apparitions” of Medjugorje. The Holy Father, who prior to his election was the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, replied with this thought: “We at the Congregation always asked ourselves how a believer could possibly accept as authentic, apparitions that occur every day for so many years?”
Conclusion. Not only are these statements attributed to the Holy Father and Cardinal Ratzinger “complete invention”, but the numerous messages of Medjugorje, ascribed to the Madonna are also complete invention. If our faith is considered obsequium rationabile – rational service to God, true and healthy spiritual worship, as it rightfully is (Rm 12:1), it cannot then be any person’s private fantasy or illusion. The Church is competent to say this. In her name, 30 chosen priests and physicians, working together in three Commissions for 10 years, in more than 30 meetings, dutifully and expertly investigated the events of Medjugorje and brought forth their judgement. And not one, but twenty bishops responsibly declared that there exists no proof that the events in Medjugorje concern supernatural apparitions. The believer who respects both principles: ratio et fides, therefore adheres to this criterion, convinced that the Church does not deceive.
Regarding Medjugorje, there exists a real danger that the Madonna and the Church could be privatized. People could start contriving a Madonna and a Church according to their own taste, perception and deception: by not submitting their reason as believers to the official Magisterium of the Church, but rather forcing the Church to follow and recognize their fantasy.
Naïve believers could easily then leave the living fountains of grace in their own parishes to travel down to Medjugorje or follow the “seers” around the world, who by the way, thanks to the “apparitions” have good homes and a comfortable existence – at least that’s what the media says.
There are at least 6 or 7 religious or quasi-religious communities, in fieri or already formed, of diocesan or no right, that have established themselves in Medjugorje by their own will, without submitting themselves to the Diocesan Chancery. These communities are more a symbol of disobedience than a charismatic sign of obedience in this Church!
In the diocese of Mostar-Duvno there exists a problem which in recent years has practically become a schism. At least nine Franciscan priests, who have been expelled from the Franciscan OFM Order and suspended a divinis, have rebelled against the decision of the Holy See and have not allowed the transfer of some of the parishes from Franciscan to Diocesan administration. They forcefully occupy at least five parishes, all the while continuing with all priestly functions. They invalidly perform marriages, hear confessions without canonical faculties, some of them invalidly confirm youngsters, and in 2001 they invited an old-Catholic deacon who falsely presented himself as a bishop to “confirm” about eight hundred young people in three parishes. Two of these expelled Franciscans even went as far as asking the Swiss old-Catholic bishop, Hans Gerny, to ordain them as bishops, yet they did not succeed. So many invalid sacraments, so much disobedience, violence, sacrilege, disorder and irregularities and not even a single “message” amongst the tens of thousands of “apparitions” has been sent to alleviate these scandals. A very strange thing indeed!
The Church, from the local to supreme level, from the beginning to this very day, has clearly and constantly repeated: Non constat de supernaturalitate! This practically means no pilgrimages are allowed that would presuppose any supernatural character to the apparitions, there exists no shrine of the Madonna and there are no authentic messages, revelations nor true visions!
This is the state of things today. How will things be tomorrow? We’ll leave them in God’s hands and under Our Lady’s protection!
+ Ratko Perić
Bishop of Mostar-Duvno
(MEDUGORJE: SECRETS, MESSAGES, VOCATIONS , PRAYERS, CONFESSIONS, COMMISIONS- Appendix D-1)
Again, what are his “solid sources that are trustworthy?” I did not see any support from John Paul II and Benedict XVI on the official documents of the Bishop of Mostars.
Medjugorje’s seers’ lack of obedience to their bishop is the main focus and fruit of the apparitions. Several times through letters, the Bishop's Office expressed its desire, and even demanded, that the propaganda stop because of the disobedience of the pastoral personnel and the ‘visionaries’. This was a futile attempt.
We can say that obedience to the bishop is the base of all true apparitions. Obedience is a paramount component of our faith.
And knowing their thoughts Jesus said to them, "Any kingdom divided against itself is laid waste; and any city or house divided against itself will not stand. (Matthew 12:25)
An example is when Bishop Peric (bishop of Mostar-Duvno) was openly dismayed when Vienna's Cardinal Christoph Schoënborn made a "private" New Year's visit to Medjugorje and made statements that were widely interpreted as encouraging belief in the apparitions. The conflict between the two prelates revived calls for a definitive Vatican pronouncement on "the Medjugorje phenomenon." It is most clear that the bishop of Mostar-Duvno is the ordinary to follow. The statements of the ordinary are in effect even throughout a Vatican investigation.
Fr. Jozo Zovko, who was suspended in 2004, and Tomislav Vlasic, suspended in 2008, were the main spiritual directors of the seers. They have been found to be in disobedience to the bishop and other charges that led them to be suspended.
On January 2, 2010, Bishop Ratko Peric (bishop of Mostar-Duvno) mentions Fr. Jozo Zovko in his statement on the Cardinal Schonborn visit. He explains:
“We had two separate charismatic promoters and ‘architects’ of the ‘Medjugorje phenomenon’: The prominent and disobedient Tomislav Vlašić, who last year was expelled by the Superior General of the Order of Friars and who at his request, was dispensed of his priestly faculties and obligations by the Holy See and Fr. Jozo Zovko, who has been denied priestly faculties in this diocese since 2004, who according to newspaper reports, has been withdrawn by his religious superiors from the territory of Herzegovina and is prohibited from any contact with Medjugorje.”
The book not only supports Medjugorje, but also other mystic experiences that started after a visit to Medjugorje such as Audrey and Anee & Direction for Our Time, (which can be taken as a way to validate Medjugorje).
On page 260 it states, “Linda Santo, flew with Audrey to Medjugorje. It was there, her mother says, that Audrey communicated directly with the Virgin Mary and agreed to take on the status of a ‘victim soul’. ”
When the Catholic Church makes a decision regarding apparitions, it is after a full and careful investigation. For a statement or theory to be authenticated, it must be investigated. What is the basis? Is it fact or fiction? The Catholic Church has a long history of detailed investigations into a variety of alleged apparitions, locutions, mystics and theological interpretation. The way that a practicing Catholic views everything is through the teaching of the Catholic Church. If an apparition gives a message that contains one clear heresy, or anything contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church, that is sufficient to prove that it cannot be from God, and if not from God, who then? God does not contradict Himself. The Church makes statements and then backs them up with actual biblical or approved theological data that can be traced to the source.
I want to stress the point that his book reflects the influence and mythology of Father Maciel, which is incorrect. You have been working for them for several years and your wife is a member of Regnum Christy, and it is obvious that your mind has been influenced. In the name of Charity, Fr. Maciel indoctrinates his followers to see only goodness and positive points to distract and undermine the critical thinking that is necessary to find the truth. Like an illusionist your follower's attention is focused on a particular point, while at the same time the truth is there, but ignored. This is a path without an end where people wander aimlessly and never reach the 'goals' they were promised. You and Father Maciel cherrypick the rules of the Catholic Church that you like and disregard the rest to promote your own agendas.
He asked me to promote his writings and I trusted his judgment and theological education. I feel betrayed. “The Christian faithful who are employed in the publishing trade, which here includes the sale and distribution of written works, have, in accordance with their specific tasks, a proper and particular responsibility for the promotion of sound doctrine and good morals. They are not only bound, therefore, to avoid cooperating in the distribution of works contrary to faith and morals, but they should make positive efforts toward the dissemination of written works which contribute to the human and Christian welfare of their readers (cf. can. 822§2-3)”. (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, “Instruction on Some Aspects of the Use of the Instruments of Social Communication in Promoting the Doctrine of the Faith”)
According to world news, “Benedict XVI plans to publish criteria to help them (bishops) to distinguish between true and false claims of visions of Jesus and the Virgin Mary, messages, stigmata, weeping and bleeding statues and Eucharistic miracles.
The Pope is said to be deeply concerned by the explosion in the number of pseudo-mystics who, claiming a direct line to God, set themselves against the bishops and lure the Catholic faithful out of the Church and into disobedient cults.
The guidelines will come in a ‘vademecum’, or handbook, which is in its final stages and will be published soon by the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It sets out step-by-step instructions on how Church authorities should deal with claims of such supernatural phenomena. When a claim of heavenly apparitions occurs, the local bishop will need to set up a commission of psychiatrists, psychologists, theologians and priests who will investigate the claims systematically. The first step will be to impose silence on the alleged visionaries and if they refuse to obey then this will be taken as a sign that their claims are false.”
"Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive even the elect. Behold I have told it to you, before hand. If therefore they shall say to you: Behold he is in the desert, go ye not out: Behold he is in the closets, believe it not." (Matthew 24:24-25)
Prophesies are like a shadow. You do not have the certitude of what it really is until it is fulfilled, after which the Church provides clear direction on how it is to be regarded. The Church will not dare to assure, support or promote prophesies because it is a mistake, which can lead the faithful to errors and put trust on something that is not a foundation for faith. Also, you must concede, that all mystic’s experiences are subject to human limits that are affected by our own experience or perception of the actual reality, without counting the evil presence to discredit the true inspiration. It is a difficult time when we have many false prophets receiving constant massages from Jesus and Mary trying to act as authorities leading the well intentioned faithful, without regard to actual Church acknowledgement. We need to recognize that evil, disguised as pious, pretend to speak the word of God to confuse and mislead the faithful. The guidance of the Church is paramount to understanding what is right concerning these issues. Going out preaching unsupported prophesies is far from the teaching of the Catholic Church. “God may, and sometimes does, grant revelations to private individuals. Those who receive them, and are perfectly certain that they come from God, should believe them. But the Church never imposes on Catholics the obligation of believing anyone's private revelations, even those of the great saints.” (Fr.Peter Joseph – )
According to the great theologian, St. Thomas Aquinas, true obedience is a balance between twin errors of defect and excess, which are disobedience and false obedience. (IIaIIae, Q104,5 ad 3) The Church dictates that obedience is a part of justice, which is one of the cardinal virtues, which are in turn subordinate to the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity.
Another concern I have is about a priest that, according to his book, received “positive recognition” from bishops. His credibility is questionable because of the doctrinal errors of the messages. Yet Kelly quotes him more than 20 times. He claimed that his messages are coming from our Lady, but the Church states:
“As to the writings of Father Gobbi, competent authorities have advised that they are not words of Our Blessed Mother, but his private meditations for which he assumes all the theological, spiritual and pastoral responsibility” (Archbishop Agostino Cacciamvillan, the apostolic pro-nuncio of the Pope to the Church in the United States - October 30, 1994).
I understand that his bishop agreed with the above statement. He believes that the messages are meditations from Gobbi, not from Our Lady. One of Kelly’s statements based on Fr. Gobbi’s belief is:
“After the Great Persecution, then God will avenge His persecuted faithful ones and call sinners to repentance by bringing upon humanity seven final plagues (Revelation 16-16), the first of which according to Fr. Gobbi is already prefigured in the form of cancer and AIDS. The faithful of God will be called at this point to come out of Babylon” lest they too receive the final plagues. The spirit of demons will retaliate by bringing together the world’ leaders to a battle at the place called Armageddon. WWI, Hitler, Communism, 9-11-01, the great tsunami these were the mere “tremors” before the terror of the “quake” soon to befall humanity.” (Page 25 )
Now we have to believe Fr. Gobbi’s word that Our Lady let him know that cancer is a plague like the ten calamities sent by God to the Egyptians to make pharaoh release the children of Israel.
The risk of cancer can be determined by our DNA. My grandfather passed away of prostate cancer. My father and his other two brothers suffered prostate cancer too, and survived. They are free of cancer! Praise the Lord! To put the cancer in the same level of AIDS as a plague is not correct. Aids is a virus, it is external from our body. “Our knowledge of cancer thus far has shown it to be a complex disease that involves numerous factors such as genetics, lifestyle and environmental factors. The area of genetics is a particularly vital one because it is suggested that our genes are the starting point for disease susceptibility and in some cases, genetics are the determining factor while in other cases, this predisposition to cancer can be triggered by lifestyle and the environment.” (www.exploredna.co.uk/cancer-and-dna.html ).
If cancer is one, why not Alzheimer’s or other brain disorders? Why not cerebral palsy or congenital heart disease? How about muscular dystrophy? Are these less debilitating? The ten calamities were sent to make Pharaoh release the Israelites, what end purpose does cancer have? Why the ‘fear factor’? Why Dr. Kelly Bowring is indoctrinating the faithful to believe that cancer is a plague?
Distortions found in Victimhood, Hope of the Present Crisis-Book Two
Distortion #1 :
a. “He endures abject, humiliations, indignities, contempt, passion and death and even the sufferings in hell” (Page 4 and Victim Hood Permanent Weapon Against Spiritual Warfare)
b. “The Apostles’ Creed teaches us that Christ descended into hell and rose again from the dead on the third day. If mortal sin is equivalent to eternal punishment why did Jesus pay only for three days? If He were only man, indeed, He would have to stay in hell for eternity to repair for our sins. But because Jesus is God, all His actions are equivalent to eternity. Three days symbolize the remission of sins which Jesus pays so that if mankind repents, God forgives the eternal punishment he deserves.” (page 3)
c. “In John 3:16 , it tells of Jesus paying for the sins of mankind and his punishment of suffering, even eternal suffering, just so we could have eternal life.” (page14)
“ Jesus did NOT descend into the "hell of the damned", much less suffer punishments there. He went to the "hell of the just", or otherwise called the Limbus Patrem, the limbo of the fathers, where the just of the old covenant were in "Abraham's Bosom" waiting for the gates of heaven to be opened by Christ's sacrifice.” (Laurence A. Gonzaga)”
Catechism of the Catholic Church.
637 In his human soul united to his divine person, the dead Christ went down to the realm of the dead. He opened heaven's gates for the just who had gone before him.
633 Scripture calls the abode of the dead, to which the dead Christ went down, "hell" - Sheol in Hebrew or Hades in Greek - because those who are there are deprived of the vision of God.479 Such is the case for all the dead, whether evil or righteous, while they await the Redeemer: which does not mean that their lot is identical, as Jesus shows through the parable of the poor man Lazarus who was received into "Abraham's bosom":480 "It is precisely these holy souls, who awaited their Savior in Abraham's bosom, whom Christ the Lord delivered when he descended into hell."481 Jesus did not descend into hell to deliver the damned, nor to destroy the hell of damnation, but to free the just who had gone before him.482
a. “The work of redemption of Jesus Christ, as head of the Mystical Body, is complete by His death on the Cross, according to Pius XII.” Nonetheless man still has not responded to accept Jesus as his Savior, for he is not yet redeemed. (xiv preface of the book)
b. “The Blood of Christ redeems mankind, But first man must be converted.” (page 13)
All creatures have been redeemed. The redemption is NOT conditioned to man’s acceptance of Jesus as our Savior. It was an act of Love and a gift to all souls. “Basically, redemption is collective and salvation is individual. By his passion, death, and resurrection, Christ redeemed humanity collectively from slavery to sin and from the debt of punishment mankind -- as a whole -- owed due to sin. Each and every person, Christian or non-Christian, is redeemed because he is a member of the human race.” (Michelle Arnold)
Although a member of redeemed humanity, and therefore himself redeemed, a person can freely choose to deliberately reject the graces won for him by Christ and go to hell.
a. “In His Wisdom, Jesus will only dispense His graces on those who receive Him in the Sacraments.” (Page 9)
Fr. Bing’s statement above is an example of exclusivity and twist teaching. That sets us apart from the true teaching of the church, the true God, the Father of all creature and our brothers and sisters. He implies that only Catholics receive graces since Jesus will “only dispense His graces on those who receive Him in the Sacraments”. The graces are a gift of God. All souls receive the graces needed to go heaven not just if you receive Him in the Sacraments.
What about the creatures that never receive the gospel or never knew the Catholic teachings?
Benedict VXI on the document Dominus Jesus is clear about it.
For those who are not formally and visibly members of the Church, “salvation in Christ is accessible by virtue of a grace which, while having a mysterious relationship to the Church, does not make them formally part of the Church, but enlightens them in a way which is accommodated to their spiritual and material situation. This grace comes from Christ; it is the result of his sacrifice and is communicated by the Holy Spirit”;81 it has a relationship with the Church, which “according to the plan of the Father, has her origin in the mission of the Son and the Holy Spirit”.82
21. With respect to the way in which the salvific grace of God — which is always given by means of Christ in the Spirit and has a mysterious relationship to the Church — comes to individual non-Christians, the Second Vatican Council limited itself to the statement that God bestows it “in ways known to himself”.83
a. Only the reparation of souls who have pledged themselves to be victims of love can ever repair for these sins done against Jesus. (Back cover of the book Victimhood, Hope of the Present Crisis- Book).
Here is another cultic flag of exclusiveness. According with Fr. Bing “Only the reparation of souls who have pledged themselves to be victim of love can ever repair for these sin done against Jesus” (Back cover of the book Victimhood, Hope of the Present Crisis- Book).
a. “As a victim, one becomes a holocaust who takes the place of sinners and pays the punishment of death. This is what we call victimhood.” (Preface - page viii)
We cannot “take the place of the sinner and pay the punishment of death.” Christ alone is the Victim. We may imitate out of love, but cannot actually BE the Victim.