Prophecy, Popes, and Piccarreta

Prayer, by Michael D. O’Brien



SINCE the abdication of Peter’s seat by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, there have been many questions surrounding private revelation, some prophecies, and certain prophets. I will attempt to answer those questions here…

I. You occasionally refer to “prophets.” But didn’t prophecy and the line of prophets end with John the Baptist?

II. We don’t have to believe in any private revelation though, do we?

III. You wrote recently that Pope Francis is not an “anti-pope”, as a current prophecy alleges. But wasn’t Pope Honorius a heretic, and therefore, couldn’t the current pope be the “False Prophet”?

IV. But how can a prophecy or prophet be false if their messages ask us to pray the Rosary, Chaplet, and partake in the Sacraments?

V. Can we trust the prophetic writings of the Saints?

VI. How come you do not write more about Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta?



Q. You occasionally refer to “prophets.” But didn’t prophecy and the line of prophets end with John the Baptist?

No, it is an incorrect assertion that John the Baptist was the last prophet. He is the last prophet of the Old Covenant, but with the birth of the Church, a new order of prophets has been born. Theologian Niels Christian Hvidt points out in his important historical review of Christian prophecy that:

Prophecy has changed immensely throughout history, especially with regard to its status within the institutional Church, but prophecy has never ceased. Christian Prophecy, p. 36, Oxford University Press

St. Thomas Aquinas also affirmed the role of prophecy in the Church, primarily with an aim “at amendment of morals.” [1]Summa Theologica, II-II q. 174, a.6, ad3 While some modernist theologians reject mysticism altogether, other contemporary theologians have properly affirmed the role of prophecy in the Church.

…the prophets possess a permanent and irreplaceable significance for the Church. —Rino Fisichella, “Prophecy,” in Dictionary of Fundamental Theology, p. 795

The difference in the New Covenant is that the prophets after Christ do not reveal anything new. Christ is the final “word”; [2]POPE JOHN PAUL II, Tertio Millenio Adveniente, n. 5  thus, with the death of the last Apostle, there is no new revelation to be given.

It is not [prophetic revelations] role to improve or complete Christ’s definitive Revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history… Christian faith cannot accept “revelations” that claim to surpass or correct the Revelation of which Christ is the fulfillment.Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 67

St. Paul encourages believers to “earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.” [3]1 Cor 14:1 In fact, in his list of the various gifts in the Body of Christ, he puts “prophets” as only second to the Apostles. [4]cf. 1 Cor 12:28 Therefore, the importance of prophecy in the life of the Church is affirmed not only in her experience but by Sacred Tradition and Scripture itself.


Q. We don’t have to believe in any private revelation though, do we?

First of all, the term “private revelation” is misleading. God may indeed impart a divine word to a soul that is meant only for them. But the “primary scope of prophetic revelations is not to forward dogmatic teachings but to edify the Church.” [5]Niels Christian Hvidt, Christian Prophecy, p. 36, Oxford University Press In this regard, such prophecies are intended to be anything but private. [6]Hvidt proposes the term “prophetic revelations” as an alternative and more accurate label of what is generally termed “private revelations.” Ibid. 12 Hans Urs von Balthasar points out that prophetic revelations are, after all, defined as God himself speaking to His Church. [7]Ibid. 24 The common notion that prophecy is unnecessary since it is too uncertain or false, or that all the essential truths are present in the doctrine of the Church, does not add up:

One can therefore simply ask why God provides them continuously [in the first place if] they hardly need to be heeded by the Church. —Hans Urs von Balthasar, Mistica oggettiva, n. 35

Even controversial theologian, Karl Rahner, [8]Emminent theologian, Fr. John Hardon, noted Rahner’s errors regarding transubstantiation: “Rahner therefore is the first of the two master teachers of profound error on the Real Presence.” — also asked…

…whether anything God reveals can be unimportant. —Karl Rahner, Visions and Prophecies, p. 25

The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

…even if Revelation is already complete, it has not been made completely explicit; it remains for Christian faith gradually to grasp its full significance over the course of the centuries.—CCC, n. 66

Think of the Revelation of Christ as being a car that travels along the roads of history. The headlights are like prophetic revelations: they always travel in the same direction as the car, and are “turned on” by the Holy Spirit at special times of darkness when the Church needs “the light of truth” to help her better see the way forward.

In this regard, authentic prophecy can illuminate the Church, making doctrine more clear. The revelations to St. Faustina Kowalska are an excellent example of how the Gospel message of love has been more deeply unfolded in our time, shining a more profound light on the unfathomable mercy of God.

When truths are presented to the Church in the form of prophecy and deemed worthy of belief, we are essentially being led by God at a certain moment in history in a certain way. To say that it is not necessary to heed God in this regard is at best imprudent. Where would the world be today if we had only listened to the appeals of Fatima?

Are they to whom a revelation is made, and who are certain it comes from God, bound to give a firm assent thereto? The answer is in the affirmative… —POPE BENEDICT XIV, Heroic Virtue, Vol III, p.390


Q. You wrote recently that Pope Francis is not an “anti-pope” as a current prophecy alleges. But wasn’t Pope Honorius a heretic, and therefore, couldn’t the current pope be a “false prophet” too?

The term “anti-pope” is being misappropriated here. The word “anti-pope” classically refers to a pope who has invalidly taken, or attempted to take the seat of Peter. In the case of Pope Francis, he was validly elected, and therefore is not an “anti-pope”. He lawfully and rightfully holds the “keys of the kingdom.”

Since I wrote Possible… or Not? on the prophecy in question, which says that Pope Francis is a “False Prophet”, [9]cf. Rev 19:20 theologian and expert in private revelation, Dr. Mark Miravalle, has done a more thorough examination of these “revelations.” Dr. Miravalle’s careful and charitable evaluation should be read by anyone reading those messages. His evaluation is available here. [10]

Regarding Honorius, theologian Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi notes:

Pope Honorius was condemned for monothelitism by a Council, but he was not speaking ex cathedra, i.e., infallibly. Popes have made and make mistakes and this is no surprise. Infallibility is reserved ex cathedra. No popes in the history of the Church have ever made ex cathedra errors. —private letter

Ex cathedra refers to when the Holy Father speaks in the full capacity of his office from the cathedra or seat of Peter to authoritatively define a dogma of the Church. In 2000 years, no pope has ever changed or added anything to the “deposit of faith.” The declaration of Christ that Peter is “rock” has obviously endured, tied as it is to the promise that “the Spirit of truth will lead you into all truth[11]John 16:13 and “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.[12]Matt 16:18 The idea that a pope is going to change the Church’s infallible teachings, as these prophecies allege, contradicts Our Lord himself. [13]cf. Possible… or Not?

It must also be said that the “prophecy” given, [14] and continuing to be given—that Pope Francis is a “false prophet”—is morally grave. It is reprehensible on the account that Francis is a man whose personal example and orthodoxy have been stellar, not only as a cardinal, but in his short reign at the helm of Peter’s Barque. Such an assertion even implicates Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who has publicly pledged his obedience to the new pope. Furthermore, Pope Benedict was not forced out of the Vatican, as the “prophecy” alleges, but “with full freedom” [15] resigned, leaving the seat of Peter vacant due to poor health (unless one wants to assert that Benedict is a liar).

The moral gravity of this “prophecy” is due to the fact that it is a baseless defamation of Francis’ character that lacks all prudence and respect owed to the successor of St. Peter. Honorius was judged objectively by a Council. But in the case of Pope Francis, the facts point to a man thoroughly embued with the spirit of the Gospel and committed to protecting the Faith. Consider his words in this recent homily:

…faith is not negotiable. Among the People of God this temptation has always existed: to downsize faith, and not even by “much”. However “faith”, [Pope Francis] explained, “is like this, as we say in the Creed” so we must must get the  Pope Francis celebrates Mass with cardinal electors in Sistine Chapel day after his electionbetter of “the temptation to behave more or less ‘like everyone else’, not to be too, too rigid”, because it is “from this that a path which ends in apostasy unfolds”. Indeed, “when we begin to cut faith down, to negotiate faith and more or less to sell it to the one who makes the best offer, we are setting out on the road of apostasy, of no fidelity to the Lord”. —Mass at Sanctae Marthae, April 7th, 2013; L’osservatore Romano, April 13th, 2013

This sounds, rather, like a pope ready to lay down his life for the flock.  [16]cf. The Seven Year Trial — Part IV I have much more to say on this in another writing. For now, let it be said:

God can reveal the future to his prophets or to other saints. Still, a sound Christian attitude consists in putting oneself confidently into the hands of Providence for whatever concerns the future, and giving up all unhealthy curiosity about it. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2115

As Pope Francis turns to Our Lady of Fatima this coming May 13th to consecrate his petrine ministry to her maternal care, [17] let us put ourselves and the Holy Father “confidently into the hands of Providence” while letting go of “unhealthy curiosity” of the future.


Q. But how can a prophecy or prophet be false if their messages ask us to pray the Rosary, Chaplet, and partake in the Sacraments?

Awhile ago, I read one of the most beautiful litanies to the Blessed Virgin Mary that I’ve ever seen. It was profound, eloquent, sublime.

And from the mouth of a demon.

Under obedience in an exorcism, the demon was compelled to speak about the virtues of Mary. Yes, evil spirits know how to speak the truth, and speak it well when they have to.

Satan, St. Paul tells us, can masquerade as an “angel of light.” [18]2 Cor 11:14 He comes as falsehood partially clothed in truth. He is bold enough that he even entered God’s presence to ask permission to tempt Job. [19]cf. Job 2:1 He can enter churches where the Blessed Sacrament is present. He can even enter souls that leave the door of their hearts wide open to evil. Likewise, the enemy has no problem spouting truths in order to deceive. The power of a deception is precisely in how much truth comes with it.

In a conversation on this subject, ex-satanist, Deborah Lipsky, wrote:

Demonic deception starts with breeding paranoia into people so that they focus on looking for “signs” instead of getting right with the Lord… Demons are very coy disguising as angels of light. They have no problem admonishing people to pray the Rosary and Chaplet of Mercy if it is done in deception… Demons are very skilled at using half truths and making things seem like truth, but it is off just a bit… Saying prayers of any sort while viewing the Pope as false is total deception because in essence you are denying the authority that Jesus places in his human Vicar, so how can they be effective [if you don’t trust in Jesus]? Remember, demons if they weave deception into anything including admonishment for prayer, can deceive many and lead them away without the person even recognizing that they are in the clutches of a dragon’s mouth.

But again, one must also be careful in discerning prophecy to follow St. Paul’s dictate:

Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything. Retain what is good.” (1 Thess 5:20-21)


Q,. Can we trust the prophetic writings of the Saints?

A competent authority should determine the authenticity of the body of an alleged seer’s work. The faithful, in the meantime, should hold the messages to the primary test of orthdoxy and conformity to the faith “retaining what is good,” and discarding the rest. This applies even to the writings of saints.

For example, St. Hannibal Maria di Francia, spiritual director to the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta, criticized the publication of St. Veronica’s entire diary while noting inconsistencies in other mystics. He wrote:

Being taught by the teachings of several mystics, I have always deemed that the teachings and locutions of even holy persons, especially women, may contain deceptions. Poulain attributes errors even to saints the Church venerates on the altars. How many contradictions we see between Saint Brigitte, Mary of Agreda, Catherine Emmerich, etc. We cannot consider the revelations and the locutions as words of Scripture. Some of them must be omitted, and others explained in a right, prudent meaning. —St. Hannibal Maria di Francia, letter to Bishop Liviero of Città di Castello, 1925 (emphasis mine)

The Scriptures contain a unique and unparalleled authority on their own as the “inspired… speech of God” that are “without error.” [20]cf. CCC, n. 76, 81 Prophetic revelations, therefore, can only enlighten and perhaps explain, but not add to or subtract from the Church’s definitive Revelation.

…people cannot deal with private revelations as if they were canonical books or decrees of the Holy See. Even the most enlightened persons, especially women, may be greatly mistaken in the visions, revelations, locutions, and inspiration. More than once the divine operation is restrained by human nature… to consider any expression of the private revelations as dogma or propositions near of faith is always imprudent! —St. Hannibal, a letter to Fr. Peter Bergamaschi

Yes, many a good theologian, priest, or layman has gone astray by taking the word of a seer over the Word of Christ, as revealed in Scripture and Sacred Tradition. [21]c. 2 Thess 2:15 That’s precisely the foundation of Mormonism, the Jehovah Witnesses, and even Islam. This is why Scripture itself warns against altering the doctrines of the faith:

As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed! …I warn everyone who hears the prophetic words in this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words in this prophetic book, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city described in this book. (Gal 1:9; Rev 22:18-19)


Q. How come you do not write more about the revelations of Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta?

Luisa Piccarreta (1865-1947) is a remarkable “victim soul” to whom God revealed, in particular, the mystical union that He will bring to the Church during the “era of peace” that He has already begun to actualize in the souls of individuals. Her life was marked by astounding supernatural phenomena, such as being in a death-like state for days at a time while rapt in ecstasy with God. The Lord and the Blessed Virgin Mary communicated with her, and these revelations were put into writings that focus primarily on “Living in the Divine Will.”

Luisa’s writings consist of 36 volumes, four publications, and numerous letters of correspondence that address the coming new epoch when the Kingdom of God will reign in an unprecedented way “on earth as it is in heaven.” In 2012, Rev. Joseph L. Iannuzzi presented the first doctoral dissertation on Luisa’s writings to the Pontifical University of Rome, and theologically explained their consistency with the historical Church Councils, as well as with patristic, scholastic and ressourcement theology. His dissertation received the Vatican University’s seals of approval as well as ecclesiastical approval. In January of 2013, Rev. Joseph presented an extract of the dissertation to the Vatican Congregations for the Causes of Saints and the Doctrine of Faith to help advance Luisa’s cause. He relayed to me that the congregations received them with great joy.

In one entry of her diaries, Jesus says to Luisa:

Ah, my daughter, the creature always races more into evil. How many machinations of ruin they are preparing! They will go so far as to exhaust themselves in evil. But while they occupy themselves in going their way, I will occupy Myself with the completion and fulfillment of My Fiat Voluntas Tua  (“Thy will be done”) so that My Will reign on earth—but in an all-new manner. Ah yes, I want to confound man in Love! Therefore, be attentive. I want you with Me to prepare this Era of Celestial and Divine Love… —Jesus to Servant of God, Luisa Piccarreta, Manuscripts, Feb 8th, 1921; excerpt from The Splendor of Creation, Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi, p.80

So we see, God has something special planned for His people in these and the times to come. However, some of you will be disappointed to learn that there remains in effect a “Moratorium” on the writings of Luisa, confirmed by Archbishop Giovan Battista Pichierri and related by Rev. Joseph on April 30th, 2012. The recent increased plethora of sales and the distribution of Luisa’s unofficial writings for public use in the public domain, as well as the recently increased postings of Luisa’s works on the internet, strongly suggests that not all are respecting the Moratorium. The same potential problems exist here as they did for St. Faustina’s writings which, because of poor translation or improper catechesis, were “banned” for 20 years until theological oddities were eventually clarified. Rev. Joseph, in a recent letter, wrote that…

…While the Archbishop generously encourages prayer groups on Luisa’s “spirituality” he kindly asks us to await the final verdict on her “doctrines”, that is, on the proper interpretation of her writings. —February 26th, 2013

In his approved dissertation, Rev. Joseph qualifies and clarifies many passages in Luisa’s writings and corrects some of the theological errors that are present in the writings in circulation. It is for that reason that I continue to withhold quoting any sources, other than the ones I already have from Rev. Joseph’s own writings, which were given explicit approval in their translation from Italian to English in the doctoral dissertation.

I have read some of the alleged words of Jesus in Luisa’s writings and I must say that they are absolutely sublime. They contain the same beauty, love, and mercy echoed in Faustina’s writings and are sure to become a tremendous grace once they are available in their proper form to the public. And here is the good news: Rev. Joseph has essentially condensed the 40 works of Luisa into a 400 page volume, making accessible in the Spring of 2013, for the first time, an authorized and clear presentation of Living in the Divine Will. [22]For more info, see How important is this? Jesus revealed to Luisa that very soon,

“God will purge the earth with chastisements, and a great part of the current generation will be destroyed”, but he also affirms that “chastisements do not approach those individuals who receive the great Gift of Living in the Divine Will”, for God “protects them and the places where they reside”. —excerpt from The Gift of Living in the Divine Will in the Writings of Luisa Piccarreta, Rev. Dr. Joseph L. Iannuzzi, S.T.D., Ph.D

Like St. Faustina’s writings, Luisa’s also have their time, and that time seems to be upon us. If in obedience we respect the ecclesiastical processes, even though they may seem too slow or obtuse to some, we are also living in that moment in the Divine Will…





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1 Summa Theologica, II-II q. 174, a.6, ad3
2 POPE JOHN PAUL II, Tertio Millenio Adveniente, n. 5
3 1 Cor 14:1
4 cf. 1 Cor 12:28
5 Niels Christian Hvidt, Christian Prophecy, p. 36, Oxford University Press
6 Hvidt proposes the term “prophetic revelations” as an alternative and more accurate label of what is generally termed “private revelations.” Ibid. 12
7 Ibid. 24
8 Emminent theologian, Fr. John Hardon, noted Rahner’s errors regarding transubstantiation: “Rahner therefore is the first of the two master teachers of profound error on the Real Presence.” —
9 cf. Rev 19:20
11 John 16:13
12 Matt 16:18
13 cf. Possible… or Not?
16 cf. The Seven Year Trial — Part IV
18 2 Cor 11:14
19 cf. Job 2:1
20 cf. CCC, n. 76, 81
21 c. 2 Thess 2:15
22 For more info, see
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