One particular Catholic author, Kelly Bowring, has recently published a book supporting the claimed messaged of “Maria Divine Mercy”. His book, The Great Battle Has Begun, quotes from the messages of “Maria Divine Mercy” many times. Each time Bowring treats her messages as if they were truly from God. And yet her messages openly reject Pope Francis and explicitly call him an “imposter” and the “false prophet” associated with the Antichrist.
I have Bowring’s book (borrowed through the Kindle lending library). I am appalled at its contents. About 20 times in this book, Bowring refers to Maria Divine Mercy as if she were a true visionary, and as if all of her messages were from Heaven. He speaks in this way:
“Jesus told locutionist Maria Divine Mercy”
“Jesus announced this through Maria Divine Mercy (MDM)”
“Through Maria Divine Mercy, God the Father said….”
“Jesus said through Maria Divine Mercy”
“Our Lady through Maria Divine Mercy….”
and so on. He also presents the contents of her messages without any discernment or criticism, as if he wholeheartedly accepts and unreservedly recommends her claimed messages of private revelation.
Although the book was written prior to the election of Pope Francis, Kelly Bowring quotes, with approval and acceptance, those messages from Maria Divine Mercy that explicitly reject the next Pope:
“They plan to replace the Holy Vicar Pope Benedict XVI with a dictator of lies.”
Bowring clearly expresses his acceptance of this false message. For the quoted paragraph containing that claim is prefaced by Bowring’s own assertion:
“Our Lady also explains through Maria Divine Mercy (MDM) what will happen because the apostasy has infiltrated the Church….”
So not only does Bowring explicitly accept Maria Divine Mercy’s claimed message against the next Pope after Pope Benedict XVI, he also accepts her heretical claim that the Church is not indefectible. The claim is heresy because the ordinary and universal Magisterium infallibly teaches that the Church is indefectible: She cannot go astray, lead astray, or fall into apostasy or heresy.
Since the election of Pope Francis, Bowring has neither withdrawn his book from publication, nor publicly renounced Maria Divine Mercy. As a matter of fact, he released this statement dated today (30 March 2013) showing continued support for her messages. I will quote from the statement and then comment.
“The messages of Maria Divine Mercy (MDM), which she is reportedly receiving from heavenly sources, are plausible. I have examined all the messages, as well as all of the published evaluations and criticisms of her message and have not found them to establish a single error in her reported messages…. I have not found that her messages contradict any doctrine, or that they contain an actual error.”
So, Bowring does not believe it is an error to claim that Pope Benedict XVI was the last Pope on earth, and that his successor is an imposter and a false prophet.
“One of the serious issues that are raised by the reported heavenly messages of MDM is regarding her message that Pope Benedict XVI would leave the papacy (before he died) and that his successor would be the false prophet (as discussed in Revelation 13). This is a difficult message and must be considered with delicate discernment. Whether this message is true or not, we do not know. Even if this reported message is true, we must never take it upon ourselves to decide as such, we must wait for the Church to direct us in such matters.”
The Church defines heresy, in Canon Law, as obstinate denial or obstinate doubt. So one does not avoid the sin of heresy by saying that a particular assertion may be true or not. For example, if a person were to say “whether the Catholic Church is the true Church or not, we do not know”, he would be committing the sin of heresy. The obstinate deliberate and knowing assertion that an heretical idea may or may not be true is just as heretical as its obstinate denial. In particular, Bowring’s rejection of the indefectibility of the Church is material heresy.
The Church defines schism in Canon Law as the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff. Maria Divine Mercy has committed schism, deliberately and publicly, by openly rejecting Pope Francis. Bowring is publicly committing the sin of formal cooperation with the grave sin of schism by promoting this schismatic visionary and by instructing his readers that “the Church faithful may read and spread MDM’s reported messages”. His words are also the sin of scandal.
Maria Divine Mercy is in a state of automatic excommunication for the sin of schism, by rejecting Pope Francis, and for the sin of heresy, by rejecting the indefectibility of the Church. Bowring is harming many souls by encouraging the faithful to read and accept her messages.
Bowring seems to avoid the sin of schism, by this assertion: “I accept, as legitimately elected by the recent conclave, Pope Francis (as the validly elected Pope).” But then he adds the following qualification:
“The most common question people are asking right now about MDM is whether a validly elected Pope could even be the false prophet, as her messages are reporting. The answer is – YES. Though, while it is possible, it would be quite improbable.”
Kelly Bowring has explicitly publicly stated that the current Pope may possibly be the false prophet of the Book of Revelation, who assists the Antichrist in attempting to destroy the true Christian Faith. This public assertion is the sin of schism. For just as with the sin of heresy, obstinate doubt — saying it may or may not be the case — is included with obstinate denial in the sin.
Bowring claims: 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. Thus, it is actually possible to remain faithful to the Magisterium AND consider that the messages of MDM plausibly might be authentic that the Pope is the false prophet
But his claim is not at all true. Do you really believe that Pope emeritus Benedict XVI or any of the Cardinals and Bishops throughout the world hold the position, even as a hypothetical possibility, that a valid conclave can elect an anti-pope who is really the false prophet of the Antichrist? Certainly not. The claim is heretical and schismatic. The claim not only rejects the indefectibility of the Church in the abstract, it also implies that the Church has actually gone astray in the present time. Such a claim is false, heretical, injurious to the faithful, and schismatic.
I conclude that author Kelly Bowring has departed from the true Catholic Faith by following the messages of Maria Divine Mercy, by accepting the idea that the Catholic Church can commit apostasy, and by accepting the possibility that the current Pope is an evil false prophet in league with the Antichrist.