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Vatican Pauses Review of Luisa Piccarreta's Writings

SG asks: "Is Luisa Piccarreta and the "In the Divine Will" movement New Age? Orthodox? Approved?"

Even though the Holy See has been investigating the cause of Luisa Piccarreta for many years, this process has been put on pause pending the resolution of issues pertaining to doctrinal problems raised in her writings.

According to this February 2, 2024 article appearing on the LaCroix International website, Bishop Benoit Bertrand of Mende, president of the French bishops’ Episcopal Doctrinal Commission, shared a message from the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints addressed to the bishops of France which called for a halt to the examination of the case of Luisa Piccarreta.

"Bishop Bertrand repeats the arguments put forward by the dicastery, which are of three kinds: theological, Christological, and anthropological. Piccarreta's conception of the divine will 'does not leave man the possibility to exercise his free will,' it does not incorporate 'the primacy of God's merciful and unconditional love,' and, finally, there is 'little or no mention of the resurrection of Christ,' 'Christian hope, and ecclesial communion.'"

For those who are unfamiliar with Luisa, her cause was opened in 1994 by the late Archbishop Giovan Battista Pichierri of the Diocese of Trani. Born in Corato, Italy in 1865, she was regularly visited by Our Lord and Our Lady in dreams and visions and lived solely on the Eucharist and the Divine Will for more than 60 years. In 1889, at the age of 24, she was granted the grace of mystical marriage with Jesus and at the same time received the Gift of the Divine Will - a grace that enabled her to live in the Will of God much as Adam and Eve did before the fall. Jesus referred to the granting of this grace as the advent of the Third Fiat of God - the first being the Fiat of Creation, followed by the Fiat of Redemption. This final Fiat would be known as the Fiat of Sanctification.

Largely dictated to her by Jesus and Mary, Luisa's writings explain that living in the Divine Will here on earth is the fulfillment of Jesus' prayer "Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on earth as it is in heaven." In this state, God lives and operates directly in the soul because it is fused with His Will, so that only one Will operates. All of Luisa's acts then became Divine acts, not because she was "another God" but because as a creature of God, she consented to allowing His will to operate within her. Some of her followers describe it as the human soul being like an empty glass that allows itself to be filled with the Will of God.

In total, Luisa wrote 36 volumes about the Divine Will.

The problem with Luisa's writings is one that has dogged the writings of many saints in the past, such as Sister Faustina Kowalski and the Divine Mercy, where erroneous translations result in doctrinal errors that don't actually exist in the original documents.

"I still observe with sorrow that 'the doctrine of the Divine Will has not always been presented in a correct and respectful way, according to the doctrine and the Magisterium of the Church, putting remarks in the mouth of Louis that are not even implicitly found in her writings," Archbishop Pichierri wrote in a November, 2012 letter. "This provokes a trauma in consciences and even confusion and rejection among the people and by some Priests and Bishops."

Archbishop Pichierri called for a critical edition of Luisa's writings to be prepared in order to provide the faithful with a trustworthy text of her writings. He also forbad the publication of any translation of her writings through print or Internet in anticipation of this approved volume.

As this article appearing on EWTN stated in January, 2020, this critical edition was completed and was being reviewed separately from the review of Luisa's heroic virtue.

However, four years later, on February 7, 2024, during a Mass celebrating the death of Luisa Piccarreta in the Church of Santa Maria Greca, Archbishop Leonardo D’Ascenzo announced to the congregation the content of a discussion he had with Cardinal Luis Ladaria, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). After examining the critical edition of her writings, the CDF  found some difficulties, some theological ambiguities not related to the life and virtues of the Servant of God." Therefore,  the CDF declined to grant a Nihil Obstat to the writings.

The Archbishop then added: "A path opens, it can be an opportunity, that is, to examine in depth these writings with the help of expert scholars."

The Rev. Joseph Leo Iannuzzi spent 10 years translating Luisa's writings into English. He completed his doctorate in theology at the Gregorian Pontifical University of Rome and his doctoral dissertation, which was based on her writings, was approved by the Holy See.

In this YouTube video addressing the announcement on Luisa's cause, Father Ianuzzi says, "It’s a pause, it’s not a condemnation. Some people call it a suspension, a pause, it’s the same thing. It doesn’t mean it’s over. It’s temporarily on hold and there are reasons for that."

Click here for a more in-depth look at the problems concerning the writings of Luisa Piccarreta by Father Terrence Staples.

Followers of Luisa Piccarreta are being asked to wait in obedience for further direction from the Church.

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