Faustina Kowalska. Instance of a complete reversal of the C.D.F.
«This whole episode
makes clear that a Notification
of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,
is not an infallible statement of the Teaching Authority!»
The case of Blessed Faustina Kowalska is the most remarkable instance of a complete reversal of judgment by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when an outright condemnation was withdrawn and the way opened for the world-wide devotional practice in honor of Divine Mercy, which originates in the writings of this Beata.
The full texts of the two Notifications on Blessed Faustina Kowalska, one condemning her and the other, about nineteen years later, withdrawing this condemnation, were published in the official Vatican register, Acta Apostolicae Sedis.
Notification on Blessed Maria Faustina Kowalska
Supreme Sacred Congregation on the Holy Office (1959)
Be it known that the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, having examined the alleged visions and revelations of Sister Faustina Kowalska
, of the Institute of Our Lady of Divine Mercy, deceased in 1938 near Cracow, has decided as follows :
- Distribution of the images and writings which present divine mercy in the form proposed by the said Sister Faustina is to be forbidden;
- The prudence of Bishops is requested as a duty to ensure the disappearance of the said images, which have already been exposed to cult.
From the Palace of the Holy Office, 6 March, 1959.
Hugh O’Flaherty, Notarius.
Notification of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
From various places, especially from Poland, even proceeding from competent authority, it has been asked whether the prohibitions contained in the "Notification" of the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, published in the Acts of the Apostolic See, in the year 1959, p. 271, regarding the devotion to The Divine Mercy in the forms proposed by Sister Faustina Kowalska, must be regarded as still in force.
This Sacred Congregation, having now in possession the many original documents, unknown in 1959; having taken into consideration the profoundly changed circumstances, and having taken into account the opinion of many Polish Ordinaries, declares no longer binding the prohibitions contained in the quoted "Notification".
from the seat of the Sacred Congregation, April 15, 1978.
His Eminence Franjo Cardinal Seper, Prefect
Archbishop Jerome Hamer, O.P., Secretary
Here what said father Michael O’Carroll: «I regret, that the signatory to the first was Mgr. Hugh O’Flaherty, my fellow countryman, a man with a sacred Legend for his wartime rescue of prisoners and victims of tyranny; but I am sure he acted on orders only. The second was signed by the head of the Congregation, Cardinal Saper and his secretary. It is important to note that among the Polish bishops mentioned in the withdrawal document was one Karol Wojtyla, then Archbishop of Cracow. He would, as John Paul II, beatify Faustina; he would also issue an Encyclical on divine mercy, Dives in Misericordia: inspired by the Beata’s teaching.
This whole episode makes clear that a Notification of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, signed or unsigned, is not an infallible statement of the Teaching Authority!»
Michael Dore, Vassula and Rome, JMJ Publications, pages 32-33.