We have had numerous questions over the last few months about a legitimacy of a visionary who calls herself "Maria Divine Mercy." Referring to herself as "a Roman Catholic married mother of a young family living in Europe", she claims to be receiving messages about the end times from the Blessed Trinity and Our Lady.
No one knows who Maria really is because she claims Jesus told her not to reveal herself so as to protect her family and avoid distraction from the messages. She uses the term "Divine Mercy" in her name because the Warning that she is predicting is an act of Divine intervention by God that is meant to save the world.
"The messages have been received by her since November 2010 and are still ongoing," her website explains.
"Over 850 messages (some of which are private) have been received along with 105 Crusade Prayers, five litanies and over 20 individual prayers. According to independent theologians the messages reinforce the Catholic teachings of faith and morals. Maria has been given the support of a number of believers including hundreds of priests and Christian volunteers from all over the world, to enable them to be revealed quickly to the world. They are, she says, being revealed to the world for its own good and that of others."
Thus far, her messages have been translated into 38 languages.
There are numerous problems with Maria Divine Mercy which were explained in this article appearing in the National Catholic Register and written by apologist Jimmy Akin.
For instance, she claims that Pope Benedict XVI is the last pope and also asserts that she correctly prophesied that he would be forced from office. He will be replaced by an imposter who "will sit in pompous splendor in the Seat of Peter."
One can hardly assert that Francis is sitting in "pompous splendor" on the Seat of Peter. Here's a man who won't even live in the papal palace, has shirked the Papal limo for a Ford Focus and was known to ride the bus in his native Buenos Aires.
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As for Benedict being forced from the papacy by a plot inside the Vatican, we can only believe this if we first believe that Benedict is a liar who told the world he was resigning for health reasons.
She also claims that the next "true" pope would be St. Peter who would reign from heaven, that a coming world religion is in our future as well as an earthly Millennium before the end of the world.
Akin calls these prophecies a "mishmash of other visionaries' material combined with Premillennial Protestant ideas (a form of what has historically been called 'milleniarianism')."
Maria also asserts that she was told by Jesus that she is the 7th Messenger, the 7th Angel sent to reveal to the world the contents of the Seals in the Book of Revelation which can only be opened by the Lamb, Jesus Christ. As He opens the seals, she is to publish them. He calls her the end-time prophet.
This is very problematic, especially because she is operating anonymously (as is her spiritual director). To be such an important messenger, she should be subjected to the same criticism and persecution as other authentic visionaries have had in the past.
"After all the prophets and visionaries of history who operated with people knowing their identities, with them and their families facing the consequences of delivering God's message, God wants 'the end time prophet' to operate safely and anonymously from the comfort of her living room, using an Internet connection to maintain her privacy?" Akin asks.
The bottom line is that Maria Divine Mercy "is an anonymous, unapproved seer whose prophecies contain material that is both demonstrably false and contrary to Catholic teaching regarding the future," Akin concludes.
He goes on to further explain why adhering to her prophecies could result in the grave sin and canonical crime of schism if one were to regard Pope Francis as a false pope and cease to obey him because of these messages.
UPDATE 04/21/14: The Archdiocese of Dublin has officially condemned the messages of Maria Divine Mercy and the faithful are being asked not to promote them or use them in any Catholic group or association.
UPDATE 11/21/19: Please read this testimony by an exorcist named Father John Abberton about having to exorcise a woman who became involved in these messages.