Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Great Battle Has Begun (part two)

This is part two of the three part interview with Kelly Bowring for his latest book The Great Battle Has Begun:

part one is here
part three is here

(NOTE FROM CHERYL: I've disabled the ability for comments on this article but do suggest that the lively conversation be taken to Dr. Bowring's site where Dr. Bowring will be able to more directly answer questions etc. Thanks! Blessings, Cheryl)

Dr. Kelly Bowring is a Catholic theologian, author, and popular speaker. He received his doctorate from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Rome) and his licentiate from the Dominican House and the John Paul II Institute (Washington DC) while working at the US Bishops Office. He has a Masters from Franciscan University of Steubenville (Ohio). He has the Church’s mandatum to teach theology. Dr. Bowring has been a dean, chair, and professor of theology at the Graduate School of Theology at St. Charles Seminary, Southern Catholic College, and St. Mary’s College of Ave Maria University. He and his wife, Diana, have eight children and live in Atlanta, GA.

Cheryl: Dr. Bowring, would you please respond to the 7 points Mark Miravalle makes against the Maria Divine Mercy revelations starting with her revelation about the legitimacy of the pope elected after Benedict? (Due to limited space Dr. Bowring’s answers have been edited; for further information please visit Dr. Bowring’s website

Dr. Bowring: About Pope Francis, he [Miravalle] claims, “The message directly contradicts Catholic teaching as to the legitimacy of a validly elected Pope.” This is simply not true. Pope Paul IV’s Papal Bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio teaches that if anyone was a heretic before the Papal election, he could not be a valid Pope, even if he is (validly) elected unanimously by the Cardinals. As well, Canon 188.4 (1917 Code of Canon Law) states that if a cleric (pope, bishop, etc.) becomes a heretic, he loses his office, without any declaration, by operation of law. While this does not prove MDM is authentic; it does establish that her message is plausible and thus, that Miravalle’s assessment is rightly dismissible from the start.

Cheryl: Miravalle’s second point that the Maria Divine Mercy contain heresy.

Dr. Bowring:  Miravalle claims the messages contain “the heresy known as Millenarianism.” It is true that the Church has condemned the heresy of Millenarianism, a belief that Christ will come again to reign physically for a thousand years.

But, in the Book of Revelation (20:1), it does speak of an end-time thousand year period of peace. This period of “a thousand years” is symbolic, biblical language for a long period, but not necessarily a literal thousand year period of time. Christ’s second coming is a “returning” insofar as He will manifest Himself to this world in a glorious way, will establish a new Eucharistic Reign, and will bring His Will and His Kingdom to this world is a fuller way that is spiritual, not physical. The messages of MDM concur as much and thus on this point remain in good standing.

Cheryl: Miravalle’s next two points say that the revelations are false because they dismiss the need for church approval and because the seer remains anonymous. Please speak to these points.

Dr. Bowring:  The messages are not saying the Church’s authority is not important, in fact they state the opposite, but that whether the Church approves them is not important only because these messages will unfold and occur before the Church has time to assess, evaluate, and approve them. This does not in any way make the messages themselves false.

It is commonly known that MDM lives in Ireland and has been in contact with her Bishop. He knows who she is and what she is reportedly receiving. Given the seriousness of her messages and the significant influence they are having on the faithful, it seems obvious that either the Irish Bishops (who have immediate jurisdiction over validating MDM) or the CDF (who have universal jurisdiction) should make some clear and public statement in regard to these messages. For some reason, they have chosen not to do so to date, which allows for the faithful to continue to read and spread them.

As of today, MDM’s messages are not condemned by any official Church authority with jurisdiction to do so, though certainly they have not received Church recognition either (which is a much more time-delayed process anyway). The fact that they have not makes it such that the Catholic faithful are permitted to read and spread these messages, and they are still permitted to do so even while some Catholic commentators (and even Bishops) have given their own negative opinion about the messages.

On the other hand, several of her prophecies have been fulfilled, and her messages are congruent to the other related legitimate sources of prophecy being given in these times. So, in summary, at this point, the Church faithful may read and spread MDM’s reported messages and pray her prayers.

Cheryl: What about the theological errors that Miravalle mentions?

Dr. Bowring: If true, theological errors would be enough to unauthenticate MDM in one swoop. But, Miravalle fails to establish any actual examples of doctrinal errors. I have examined all the messages and have not found them to establish a single error in her reported messages.

Cheryl: And then there’s the issues of the mid-2011 message in which a time-frame was mentioned but then did not prove true.

Dr. Bowring: The problem with this point of his evaluation is that it does not prove an “error” or establish a “falsity.” The phrase “a few months” is non-specific and thus leaves open the possibility of an undetermined amount of time. If her messages had said a specific date or moment in time and then that time passed without the prophecy occurring, then one might be able to propose that an error has occurred. But, this is not the case here. Additionally, one must also remember that prophecy has a conditional aspect which includes the possibility of a divine delay in its fulfillment, especially due to God’s mercy.

Cheryl: Something that really caught my attention, especially because of my own research in the past few years, was Miravalle’s mention of an “absence of the authentic Christian fruits of spiritual peace, joy, and trust, and charity; and, in their place, manifestations of greater fear, anxiety, and dominant negativity.” Please speak to that.

Dr. Bowring: What about the serious and dramatic prophetic messages of La Salette, Garabandal, or even Medjugorje (as related to the 10 Secrets)? Would Miravalle then say the same about these other reported messages? Of course not. The reported messages of MDM, if they are true, come as the final and thus understandably most detailed and serious of all of God’s warnings to humanity about the times we are living in. If they are the last heavenly warnings, as they claim they are, then it makes sense that they are the most detailed and serious.

But, having read all of the messages of MDM myself, I find them while serious to be precisely contained in the context of “spiritual peace, joy and trust, and charity.”

Cheryl: I want to thank you for your generous time and ask that you offer a closing thought to what I believe is the most controversial—and maybe inflammatory—message from MDM about the pope elected after Benedict?

Dr. Bowring: We must be cautious and continue to discern with prayer and docility to the Church and the Holy Spirit. Time will make things more clear in this delicate matter, as to whether MDM’s messages deserve repudiation because she is in doctrinal error, her messages are inauthentic, or she is eventually rightly condemned by the Church (by those who have proper jurisdiction to do so officially). Otherwise, her prophecies will continue to validate themselves as events unfold and they come true.

In the meantime, ecclesiastical law requires that the faithful must presume we have a valid Pope, unless the Church’s highest authority formally declares otherwise (just how they would do this remains unclear as there is no precedent). So, one may consider the possibility that an “anti-pope” could potentially come from a valid conclave, and this does not constitute a false or “heretical” position as a Catholic.

Thus, it is actually possible to remain faithful to the Magisterium AND consider that the messages of MDM are authentic, and that the Pope plausibly might be the false prophet, and even that the Church herself states that this IS at least possible, and all the while remaining faithful to the Church and to the Pope.