Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith: Divine Innocence Spirituality Flawed
Vatican Note on Divine Innocence Community
LONDON, SEPT. 23, 2007, (Zenit.org).- Here are the
observations of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith on the
writings of Patricia de Menezes and the Community of the Divine
Innocence. The observations were communicated to Archbishop Kevin
McDonald of Southwark on July 16, and published along with a statement
from the archdiocese Friday.
* * *
There are four main areas of concern in the writings of
Mrs. Patricia de Menezes:
1. The exaggerated claims made for the Community of Divine
2. The inappropriate words and phrases attributed to Jesus.
3. The questionable demand made concerning the status of
4. The intemperate language used in the "Inspirations"
when attacking Church authority.
De Menezes makes extravagant claims for the Community of
Divine Innocence: "Regarding all the different spiritualities and
charisms within the Church, Our Lord showed me that they were like
facets of a diamond, but the Way of Divine Innocence is the whole
What is more she clearly believes that she has
supernatural sanction for this conviction: "Jesus: The founders of
these great orders and communities waited for this hour, and how they
wish it was already blazing -- blazing for all to see" (12.4.98).
At points an almost hysterical note enters the dialogue
which is not compatible with a communication from the Word Incarnate:
"Jesus: You are the beginnings of the New People of God (11.1.94);
"This spirituality is the Perfect Original Spirituality of
the Church Herself (12.4.98);
"This Order, the perfect Order of My Divine Innocence is
the First and last Order! The Alpha and the Omega, I AM. This Order is
MY ORDER! This Order is Perfection! The Order of MY Divine Innocence
precedes all orders, and supersedes all orders, it is the original
perfect Christian Universal Order of God!" (12.4.88).
and Phrases Attributed to Jesus
The words and phrases attributed by de Menezes to Jesus in
her "showings" are at times strange and bizarre. They are not consonant
with the sane and wise Gospel tradition.
The "voice of Jesus" which we hear in these revelations
indulges again and again in a kind of colloquial chit-chat: "Jesus: So
you don't believe me? De Menezes: Sorry Lord it was just curiosity.
Jesus: Curiosity killed the cat: Let's get back to St John. (4.12.93);
"Jesus: Tell them this university offers a master's
degree, your Lord and Master's degree, and I expect every student to
attain first class honors with a 'P' grade. 'P' for perfection.
"De Menezes: Lord, the Way of Divine Innocence does not
seem to be what the young want. Jesus: What do the young want? De
Menezes: Excitement. Jesus: I can give them enough excitement to give
them a heart attack!" (11.1.01).
Demand Made Concerning the Status of Aborted Children
The central message that de Menezes claims to have
received since 1984, namely that the Church proclaim the martyrdom of
all the innocent children deliberately killed before birth and
acknowledge these unborn children as companion martyrs of the first
Holy Innocents, is doctrinally problematic. A martyr is someone who
bears witness to Christ. If the victims of abortion were to qualify for
martyrdom it would then seem that all victims of any moral evil should
be likewise deemed martyrs. De Menezes' notion of a "Baptism of Love"
is not, as claimed, a development of doctrine. Rather it is an
innovation which is difficult to harmonize with the teaching of the
Violent Language Used
in the "Inspirations" when Attacking Church Authority
De Menezes' supposed revelations and writings demonstrate
a litigious and dissident spirit. The Church stands accused of impeding
Jesus' efforts to save the souls of millions of aborted children and,
therefore, "Jesus" ranks the hierarchy of the Church, who are unwilling
to "claim" the aborted, alongside abortionists and abortion-sponsoring
legislators. As such, the "Jesus" of de Menezes' supposed revelations
displays ignorance of the Church's uncompromised stance against the
evil of abortion and its compassionate hope for the salvation of
children who have died without baptism. It is as if Jesus were
inordinately bound by his own Church: Jesus refrains from working any
good for the children, it seems, until the desired "claiming" is
The unusually violent and threatening language used in the
"inspirations" to attack the authorities of the Church seems
incompatible with any genuinely divine revelation: "Jesus: Those who
subject the children to trial by neglect, I will subject to trial by
fire. ... Wicked short-sighted shepherds. ... Vengeance is mine! Let
those who know of this grace not be complacent! Cardinals, bishops,
theologians and people, your duty is clear! Millions of human lives and
immortal souls are at stake!" (11.9.97 ); or again "Inform the
archbishop that his hard-heartedness is like that of Pharaoh and it
will bring down disaster on the people" (19.8.95).
The Statutes of the
Community of Divine Innocence
The statutes cannot be judged or assessed on their own
merits, but must be read in the light of the questionable
"inspirations" of Patricia de Menezes according to which the members
are expected not only to pursue "ongoing study of the faith" but also
to undertake a "study of the character and spirituality of the Family
of Divine Innocence, which is contained in the inspirational writings
of our foundress, Patricia de Menezes" (p. 6). The members are "obliged
to abide by the teaching and guidance of the Mother Foundress during
her lifetime" (p.7). Thereafter the superiors elected "must abide by
the founding inspiration" (p.7).
Given that the supposed revelations which ground the
spirituality of the Community of Divine Innocence are highly
questionable, it follows that the community's spirituality is flawed at
its root. Because this spirituality thoroughly animates the community's
proposed constitution, it cannot be approved.
Archbishop of Southwark Releases Decision
LONDON, SEPT. 23, 2007, (Zenit.org).- The Congregation for the Doctrine
of the Faith denied approval of the statues of the Community of the
Divine Innocence, reports the Archdiocese of Southwark.
Archbishop Kevin McDonald released a statement Friday reporting the
decision of the doctrinal congregation, along with the note issued by
the dicastery entitled "Observations of the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith on the Writings of Mrs. Patricia de Menezes and
the Community of the Divine Innocence."
The observations were communicated to the archbishop of Southwark on
July 16, by the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the
Faith, Archbishop Angelo Amato.
In his statement, Archbishop McDonald explained that the Community of
Divine Innocence was founded by Patricia de Menezes, who lives in the
diocese of Southwark.
"The group's spirituality and beliefs," he said, "are based on divine
revelations that de Menezes claims to have received. A distinctive
feature of the Divine Innocence -- and something that de Menezes claims
was revealed to her -- is that all children who are aborted should be
proclaimed by the Church as martyrs and be seen as companion martyrs of
the first Holy Innocents."
The archbishop said that since its founding interest in the group has
spread, and so have inquiries into the validity of the apparitions.
In 2001 the archdiocese issued a public statement that clarified that
"the authenticity of the alleged apparitions concerning Divine
Innocence has not been accepted by the Archdiocese of Southwark and the
archdiocese has not given its authority to publicly promote it."
Archbishop McDonald added: "When inquiries were made about the status
of the Divine Innocence, the answer given was that individuals have no
authority to meet publicly as a group known as Divine Innocence because
this would indicate public acceptance by the competent authorities of
the alleged apparitions and that has not been given."
Meanwhile, the Community of the Divine Innocence prepared statutes for
their community and submitted these and other documentation to the Holy
See for approval.
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at the request of the
Pontifical Council for the Laity, conducted an in-depth study of the
The conclusion of this study was that the congregation was not
convinced by the substantial content of the messages allegedly
communicated to de Menezes.
The note names four particular areas of concern: the exaggerated claims
made for the Community of Divine Innocence; the inappropriate words and
phrases attributed to Jesus; the questionable demand made concerning
the status of aborted children; the intemperate language used in the
"Inspirations" when attacking Church authority.
The dicastery concludes: "Given the supposed revelations which ground
the spirituality of the Community of Divine Innocence are highly
questionable, it follows that the community's spirituality is flawed at
"Because this spirituality thoroughly animates the community's proposed
constitution, it cannot be approved."
Archbishop McDonald echoed the decision of the Congregation for the
Doctrine of the Faith in his statement: "It must be clearly stated that
the Divine Innocence has no recognition or approval whatsoever either
from the diocese of Southwark or the Holy See and that there is no
ecclesiastical approbation for Catholics to meet as the group known as
"Finally, I am aware that many devout people, deeply committed to the
pro-life movement, have become involved with the Divine Innocence.
"I wish to encourage them in their work and prayer but in view of the
observations of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, this
must no longer be in the context of the organization or spirituality of
the Divine Innocence."