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What's Up With Faustina's Divine Mercy Devotion (3)?

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What's Up With Faustina's Divine Mercy Devotion (3)?

Some Additional Thoughts On Faustina's Divine Mercy Devotion

By M.M. Anthony

Summary: Additional thoughts regarding Faustina's Divine Mercy Devotion [a supplement to the first two articles (see here and here)].

Keywords: Sister Faustina Kowalska | Sister Faustina's Diary | Sr. Maria Faustina Kowalska | St. Faustina Kowalska | Devotion to the Divine Mercy | Diary | Diary of Maria Faustina | Divine Mercy in My Soul | Faustina's Divine Mercy Devotion | Divine Mercy Devotion | Divine Mercy Image | Divine Mercy Painting | Fr. Sopocko | Poland | Polish | Polish Religious Sisters | Tribus Circiter | Pope St. Pius X | Mystic Priests of Poland | Mariavites | Mariavite Priests | Mystics | Imagination | Hallucinations | Delusions | False Apparitions | Divine Mercy Devotion Controversy | Maria Francesca | Feliksa Magdalena Kozlowska | Charity | Mercy | Merciful | Unmerciful | Death | Rosary | Chaplet


Note: This is Part 3. It is recommended to read the previous article(s) before reading this supplement. For previous 'Divine Mercy Devotion' articles, see here and here.


Now that two previous articles on Faustina's Divine Mercy devotion have been penned and subsequently made into books (see here and here), the plan here is to make a few important points since the last article, with an aim to keep things much shorter this time!

+ + +

First point: Did you know that the 'Divine Mercy' image is really the Fr. Sopocko image? Did you know that Fr. Sopocko posed for the image? As one website - which is supportive of Faustina's devotion! - states (emphasis added)...

"It was Fr. Sopocko who chose, organised and paid the artist to paint the original painting of the Image of Divine Mercy. In fact, IT WAS FR. SOPOCKO WHO DRESSED AND POSED FOR THE PAINTING the way St. Faustina described the apparition and attended with St. Faustina all the meetings she had with the artist."

Remember that Fr. Sopocko was the supportive priest (who was supposed to die a martyr according to Faustina, but instead died a natural death) that tried to make Faustina's vision come true, but failed. Not great credentials to begin with for supposed heavenly communications, and now we find that the same priest also posed for the image that is purported to be of the Lord Jesus! You know, the very image that this same priest later blessed. (Let's let experts settle the question of whether there is a "spiritual conflict of interest" in blessing an image patterned on yourself.)

Reflect for a moment on the fact that this non-martyred priest (contrary to Faustina's false predictions) who failed to make Faustina's false vision a reality (again Faustina's false predictions) is also the muse for the painter of the original Divine Mercy image. If you've ever considered Faustina's Divine Mercy image to be of the Lord Jesus Christ, does it bother you at all that Fr. Sopocko posed for the painting? Do you imagine Jesus appreciates having a priest "play dress up" to pose for a painting as if he was Christ? There's an ocean of difference between acting in the place of Jesus (as priests rightly do, for example at Mass, by Jesus' command) and a particular man taking it upon himself to dress up for a painting and pose as the actual Christ (and not some artist's representation either, but supposedly the actual Christ). And since when do artists who paint the Lord Jesus need a merely human man as their muse to pose as Christ? Even in movies when there has to be a stand-in for Jesus, everyone knows the actor is only representing Christ in a movie, there is no pretending that he is the actual image of Christ. Yet Faustina's Divine Mercy image based on Fr. Sopocko is billed as picturing the "actual" Christ. Let that sink in, the image of "Jesus" is based on a man who dressed up and posed as Faustina's conception of Christ.

Would you, personally, want an unrelated individual who is dressed like your beloved relative to pose for a painting that is supposed to be of your dear relative? Would you consider the finished image to actually be of the absent relative?

Do you imagine the Lord Jesus Christ, made incarnate in the Blessed Virgin, wants this supposedly "soul-saving" [!] image of Him to originate from the likeness of another man, even a priest? If so, why did the Lord fail to grant this same priest the "triple crown" that Faustina said was "meant for him" (which required martyrdom, whereas the priest died a natural death)? Where is the martyrdom that Faustina claimed would be his? How can such a glaringly false prediction by Faustina be ignored? Especially since she said it was the Lord who made the (false!) prediction? And we're really to believe that God couldn't give a painter the talent needed to paint the image of Christ without a muse? And what exactly compelled Fr. Sopocko to dress up and pose as Christ for an image he would later bless & propagate?

[As a reminder, Faustina's writings and the untraditional image were eventually censured by the Church, and were only later permitted in the novel post-Vatican II environment.]

If you, personally, have ever venerated Faustina's Divine Mercy image, does it sit well with you that you, in actuality, venerated an image which originated from a priest "playing dress up" and posing as if he was Christ? Does it also sit well with you that Faustina claims God "demands" that this image based on Fr. Sopocko posing as Christ be venerated...?

"...and I demand the worship of My mercy through the solemn celebration of the ['Divine Mercy'] Feast and through the veneration of the image which is painted." (Faustina's Diary, #742)

So God "demands" we worship His mercy through an image that was painted with Fr. Sopocko posing as Christ? Seriously?

[A reminder from previous article: Even if the Church gives approval to a devotion arising from an alleged private revelation, following its dictates can NOT be imposed on Catholics or "demanded" of them.]

And remember that Faustina (falsely) claims grace will flow to souls by means of the image...

"By means of this Image I shall be granting many graces to souls; so, let every soul have access to it." (Faustina's Diary, #570)

Besides the theological issue in the above (recall that sacramentals don't give grace directly, sacraments do), what are we to think of an image based on Fr. Sopocko posing as Christ resulting in graces? Does that sit right with you?

Faustina even claims the "glory of God...flows from the image"...

"Today I saw the glory of God which flows from the image. Many souls are receiving graces, although they do not speak of it openly." (Faustina's Diary, #1789)

Imagine that, an image based on Fr. Sopocko posing as Christ supposedly results in the glory of God flowing from the image!

And lest you forget, supposedly those who venerate the image will not perish...

"After a while, Jesus said to me, Paint an image according to the pattern you see, with the signature: Jesus, I trust in You. I desire that this image be venerated, first in your chapel, and [then] throughout the world. I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish[!]. I also promise victory over [its] enemies already here on earth, especially at the hour of death. I Myself will defend it as My own glory." (Faustina's Diary, #47-48)

So those venerating an image based on Fr. Sopocko posing as Christ will not perish and will be defended by God as His own glory? Seriously?

[Reminder: There can't be a new path to salvation besides those which Jesus already left us!]

And from the previous article...

"Furthermore, adherents may boast about the image being 'blessed' even before the Church initially rejected Faustina's writings & image. But how is that a 'big deal'? If anyone with a modicum of talent were to paint a picture of Jesus, would many parish priests (or even bishops) refuse to bless it? So how can a blessing be some great 'validation' of the image?" ["What's Up With Faustina's Divine Mercy Devotion(2)? Another Approach For Getting To The Truth" (User-Submitted Article)]

So add to the above the fact that Fr. Sopocko both posed for AND paid for the image - so "of course" he would not refuse to bless it! (Again, let's let experts settle the question of whether there is a "spiritual conflict of interest" in blessing an image patterned on yourself.) Also recall that this image can be used by Protestants (it is 'heartless' as it does not contain the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a traditional Catholic image which may offend Protestants).

And let's not forget that Faustina at one point claimed she saw the image come to life. So the image based on Fr. Sopocko posing as Jesus "came alive" (see #417 in her diary)? Kind of weird to say the least.

Anyone else starting to become really uncomfortable?

Catholic teaching tells us when we venerate an image we are really honoring that which is represented, not the image itself. So couldn't it be argued that those who venerate Faustina's Divine Mercy image are really honoring Fr. Sopocko posing as Christ? Do you actually feel comfortable doing that?

Here's a two-part proposal: First, let's let Faustina's Divine Mercy image be regarded as the 'Fr. Sopocko Posing as Faustina's Version of Christ Image' (since this is a more accurate title for the image), and second, let's let crucifixes be regarded as the preeminent portrayal of Divine Mercy (as they clearly exemplify God's mercy).

- - -

Second point: Thanks to the comments of "S.E.", it was discovered after the second article was published as a book that there was already precedent in Poland (in Faustina's lifetime!) for priests to be misled by a woman's hallucinations. Here's an excerpt from "Tribus Circiter", a 4/5/1906 encyclical of Pope St. Pius X on the "Mystic Priests of Poland" (Mariavites) from the Vatican's website...

"About three years ago this Apostolic See was duly informed that some priests, especially among the junior clergy of your dioceses, had founded, without permission from their lawful Superiors, a kind of pseudo-monastic society, known as the Mariavites or Mystic Priests, the members of which, little by little, turned aside from the right road and from the obedience they owe the Bishops "whom the Holy Ghost has placed to rule the Church of God," and became vain in their thoughts.

2. To a certain woman, whom they proclaimed to be most holy, marvelously endowed with heavenly gifts, divinely enlightened about many things, and providentially given for the salvation of a world about to perish, they did not hesitate to entrust themselves without reserve, and to obey her every wish.

3. Relying on an alleged mandate from God, they set themselves to promote without discrimination and of their own initiative among the people frequent exercises of piety (highly commendable when rightly carried out,) especially the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament and the practice of frequent communion; but at the same time they made the gravest charges against all priests and bishops who ventured to express any doubt about the sanctity and divine election of the woman, or showed any hostility to the society of the Mariavites...

11. Wherefore, that the faithful of Christ and all the so-called Mariavite priests who are in good faith may no longer be led astray by the delusions of the woman above-mentioned and of the priest Johannes Kowalski, We again confirm the decree whereby the society of Mariavites, unlawfully and invalidly founded, is entirely suppressed, and We declare it suppressed and condemned, and We proclaim that the prohibition is still in force which forbids all priests, with the exception of the one whom the Bishop of Plotsk shall in his prudence depute to be her confessor, to have anything whatever to do on any pretext with the woman."

Pope St. Pius X states that some of the woman's supportive priests came to Rome "in virtue of some kind of delegation from the woman referred to, as their Superior by all the members of the Society. Both of them, in a petition alleged by them to have been written by the express order of Our Lord Jesus Christ, ask the Supreme Pastor of the Church, or the Congregation of the Holy Office in his name, to issue a document conceived in these terms: 'That Maria Francesca (the woman mentioned above) has been made most holy by God, that she is the mother of mercy for all men called and elected to salvation by God in these days...'" ("Tribus Circiter", Pope St. Pius X, 1906 A.D.)

Oddly the delusional woman condemned by Pope St. Pius X, Maria Francesca, a Polish religious sister who was supposedly a "mystic & visionary", was originally named Feliksa Magdalena Kozlowska. Note how similar her last name is to Faustina's (Maria Faustina Kowalska). Although the similarity in names is interesting, it doesn't really mean anything. What does mean something is the fact that there already existed in Poland (in Faustina's lifetime!) a woman misleading priests with her hallucinations. And this news would get around in Poland, would it not? And given the totality of issues in Faustina's writings and the fact that they were condemned prior to Vatican II, it is comical to hear devotees write it off as though the Vatican was so incompetent at the time that their condemnation of Faustina's Divine Mercy devotion was due to a "faulty translation" of her writings rather than the troubling content in her diary.

It is also interesting to consider that the delusional Polish Sister referenced above (Maria Francesca) was considered to be "endowed with heavenly gifts" and was apparently regarded as a "saint" by priests, whereas the other Polish Sister (Faustina) expressed her desire from her "earliest years" to become "a great saint" (Faustina's Diary, #1372) and claimed to have received numerous "heavenly gifts", not to mention Faustina's supposed claims to have a more "intimate" relationship with Jesus than anyone and to have received "first place among the virgins" (Faustina's Diary, #707 & #282).

Other similarities include...

* Arguably both Polish women, living at the same time, had delusions (if you have any doubt about Faustina's delusions, refer to the first two articles which go into much greater detail) [see here and here]

* One Polish religious sister was regarded as "the mother of mercy"[!], the other (Faustina) claims to be the "secretary" of God's mercy (Faustina's Diary, #1160)

* Both of the alleged "visionaries" think they enjoy some form of "divine election", Maria Francesca was supposedly "providentially given for the salvation of a world about to perish", whereas Faustina was supposedly to prepare the world for the Second Coming of Christ (Faustina's Diary, #429)

* Both of the alleged "mystics" were supposedly "marvelously endowed with heavenly gifts" and "divinely enlightened about many things" (regarding Faustina's claims, refer to the first two articles which go into much greater detail) [see here and here]

* Strangely, Jesus (who values humility) allegedly desired that both women be "talked up" to others, Maria Francesca "by express order of Our Lord Jesus" was declared to have been made "most holy by God", Faustina reports receiving heavenly instructions to "Tell the Superior General to count on [Faustina] as the most faithful daughter in the Order" (Faustina's Diary, #1130) and Faustina regularly mentions being the subject of God's praise (refer to the first two articles which go into much greater detail) [see here and here]

* Both of the Polish religious sisters claimed a mandate from God that apparently included instructing priests [and although it may not please feminists to hear, faithful Catholic women might consider St. Paul's inspired words in Holy Scripture, "Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to use authority over the man: but to be in silence." (1 Tm. 2:11-12)]

* Both of the supposed "mystics" were condemned before Vatican II (the Polish Faustina was subsequently canonized by her fan, a Polish pope under the much more lax post-Vatican II procedures, using two 'miracles' which both have a "Polish connection", including a reported miracle in a Polish parish that involved a false-apparition supporting priest who later died young) [Note: See here for author's earlier article touching on the subject of questionable post-Vatican II canonizations.]

And while Pope St. Pius X said priests "made the gravest charges against all priests and bishops who ventured to express any doubt about the sanctity and divine election of the woman (Maria Francesca)", Faustina herself condemned those who opposed her (or she claimed Jesus condemned them).

The two women are of course different, but some of the similarities are nevertheless striking, are they not?

- - -

Third point: Faustina's Divine Mercy devotion has not seemed to make adherents very merciful. In fact, Faustina's devotees' responses to the first two articles compels another quote from St. Paul...

"Am I then become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?" (Galatians 4:16)

Although the purpose in writing these articles about Faustina's Divine Mercy devotion has been to share truthful information with other Catholics about something that is potentially harmful, critics have assigned other motives and have engaged in insults & name-calling. Here are some examples... [from online book reviews]

"The author follows the trail blazed by the late Jack Chick, the infamous anti-Catholic [!] propagandist famous for his little trashy tracts meant to shock Catholics out of our Church[!]. In these books you'll find the same distortion of facts and history, together with a cadre of imagined rotten characters aimed at triggering the reader's gag reflexes."

"The author does not want to understand how to read the diary of St. Faustina, but wants to attack something incredibly inspirational and sacred to gain public interest, and possibly fame and fortune."

"Classic protestant fanaticism. First to yell as if in the pangs of birth, that is why he deserves to be likened to the boy who cried wolf. First of all and most importantly there is no Theological contradiction whatsoever. And these august mysteries of the Holy Roman Catholic Church is what Our Lord spoke of when he said to not dispense of the 'pearls of great price' to the 'pigs' and 'dogs' who countinually subjugate themselves and other weak minded individuals to eat of their own vomit. That is why I refuse to give an explanation of the faith here for it would profit nothing here."

There were also references to "tripe", "the author's feverish imagination", "garbage", throwing "dirt", and "blind guides".

So it has not gone over well with Faustina's Divine Mercy devotees to have Faustina's works examined critically. So much for the quest for truth, fraternal correction, or open discussion! Likewise, a supportive commenter added that they were "shunned" at their parish for criticizing the Divine Mercy devotion. Oh, the mercy!

In summary, it doesn't seem that Faustina's Divine Mercy devotion has yet succeeded in bringing out a lot of mercy or charity in its adherents, does it? And also note that critics never seem to address the actual issues - including the actual quotes from Faustina's diary - but rather attack the messenger. Shouldn't more be expected of "merciful" Catholics?

- - -

Fourth point: And finally we get to an important point that should not really be controversial among Catholics (but, alas, even this probably will be). Faustina's unbiblical, priest-less, sacrament-less advice for the hour of death is a dangerous way to die. As stated in the last article...

"Who can trust Faustina's novel practices at the all-important hour of death? Why ignore the traditional practices & forms of Catholic devotion with respect to the dying - e.g. getting a priest, receiving the sacraments established by Jesus, praying the Rosary, invoking St. Joseph? Why instead use Rosary beads to pray Faustina's chaplet? We know that popes & saints - and even the Blessed Virgin Mary herself - have greatly championed the Rosary. In fact, during Faustina's lifetime, the Immaculate Virgin appeared at Fatima, in the 'most important apparition of the 20th century', as Our Lady of the Rosary. In fact, why is this chaplet - which is said on Rosary beads - so heavily promoted in Faustina's writings (effectively) at the expense of the Rosary itself? And how exactly does it benefit us to supplant the frequently repeated Angelic Salutation from the Rosary with Faustina's much more brief chaplet?" ["What's Up With Faustina's Divine Mercy Devotion(2)? Another Approach For Getting To The Truth" (User-Submitted Article)]

Further meditation on this scenario, however, can really eat away at the heart of a Catholic. Besides the obvious danger of not following the Scriptural advice of getting a priest (bearing the Last Sacraments!) at death, devotees' supplanting the Holy Rosary in favor of Faustina's chaplet said on Rosary beads causes the dying to also be deprived of fifty three petitions asking for the Blessed Virgin Mary's powerful intercession at the hour of death (in the Hail Mary) per chaplet. If even a small group of four prays the chaplet instead of the Rosary, the dying person is deprived of hundreds of such petitions to the powerful Mother of God at their most critical hour. And if the quick-to-pray chaplet generally replaces the Rosary over a period of years, a person may be deprived of many thousands of such petitions (one person replacing a daily rosary with the chaplet over a period of 10 years loses more than 193,450 petitions to the Blessed Virgin!). Such woe should this thought generate in the hearts of faithful Catholics! One imagines saints inconsolably weeping.

Don't ever let this happen! Get a priest to come for the dying person (see James 5:14), invoke St. Joseph, and pray the Rosary! Don't follow the novel practices of a supposed "mystic" whose writings contain errors, contradictions, questionable statements and false prophecies, a woman who "frequently" can't distinguish between her imagination & reality, as admitted by her 'greatest champion', Fr. Sopocko (the same priest that posed as Christ for Faustina's Divine Mercy image)....

"Especially as regards past memories, [Faustina] FREQUENTLY could not distinguish what she IMAGINED from what was a supernatural action. However, when I drew her attention to this and told her to underline in her Diary only what she could swear that, for sure, it was not a figment of her imagination, she left out a lot of her past memories." (Fr. Sopocko's Memoirs Concerning Faustina, emphasis added) [online source]

Again, not good credentials for a supposedly "great mystic". And considering Faustina's self-documented FALSE PROPHECIES, remember that Scripture instructs us as follows...

"If you say to yourselves, 'How can we recognize an oracle which the LORD has spoken?', know that, even though a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if his oracle is not fulfilled or verified, it is an oracle which the LORD did not speak. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously, and you shall have no fear of him." (Deut. 18:21-22)

Or, as it is even more strongly worded in a traditional Bible translation (the Douay-Rheims)...

"And if in silent thought thou answer: How shall I know the word that the Lord hath not spoken? Thou shalt have this sign: Whatsoever that same prophet foretelleth in the name of the Lord, and it cometh not to pass: that thing the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath forged it by the pride of his mind: and therefore thou shalt not fear him." (Deut. 18:21-22)

- - -

"The man that giveth heed to lying visions, is like to him that catcheth at a shadow, and followeth after the wind. The vision of dreams is the resemblance of one thing to another: as when a man's likeness is before the face of a man. What can be made clean by the unclean? and what truth can come from that which is false? ... [E]xcept it be a vision sent forth from the most High, set not thy heart upon them. For dreams have deceived many, and they have failed that put their trust in them." (Ecclus. 34:2-4, 6-7)

- - -

[Reminder: Canonization does NOT make a person - or their alleged visions - infallible.]

Signature ImageSignature: M.M. Anthony


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Includes: 365+ Daily Prayers (Jan.-Dec.); Holiday/Seasonal Prayers; Hundreds of Prayers Indexed by Title; Nearly 200 Aspirations/Short Prayers; Over 100 Latin Prayers & Aspirations; 500+ Topics for Meditation; Hundreds of Prayer Tips & Insights; And More...

Includes prayers drawn from Holy Scripture, the liturgy, writings of popes & saints, the Raccolta, the Roman Breviary, the Roman Missal, etc.

A daily prayer companion for Catholics that is 'suitable for any year'!

Kindle Version Just $8.99

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Now Available!

Coloring Book For Catholics: 50+ Latin Prayers

(Beginning-Intermediate-Advanced)

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"This 'unique', tradition-minded coloring book which contains some of the most popular Catholic prayers in Latin is a fun way to become more familiar with Latin prayers & increase Latin language retention!"

This 'educational & fun' publication is useful for prayerful relaxation, educational recreation ('learn while you play'), becoming more familiar with Latin prayers & hundreds of Latin words, learning or memorizing Latin prayers, increasing Latin retention, and more...

An enjoyable and instructive tool with respect to Latin (the 'beautiful & majestic language of heaven' and 'official language of the Church' - a language 'consecrated' by the inscription on the Cross that helps to foster a universal bond in prayer with Catholics around the world), this publication is suitable for Catholics of most any age.

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"This Catholic coloring book - which provides hours of wholesome & educational recreation - is so much better for your soul than television!"

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Paperback Just $7.99

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My Little Latin Mass Coloring Book

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25+ Traditional Latin Mass Coloring Images For Children Or Adults [Low Mass]

"Enjoyable & Educational!"

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Paperback Just $6.49

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Catholic Classics Reprint Now Available!

In Heaven We Know Our Own - Or, Solace for the Suffering

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This 'Catholic Classic', which offers consoling 'proof' that the faithful departed remember, love & care for those in heaven and for those still remaining on earth, is a "great balm of comfort" to those who have lost a spouse, child, parent, friend, or other loved one. "A thoughtful bereavement gift, and a 'must-have' for grieving Catholics!"

Get your copy today!

For More Information & To Purchase, Click Link Below...

Kindle Version Just $2.99! | Paperback $8.99

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Now Available!

Setting The Record Straight About Luther

Important Things Catholics Should Know About The 'Reformer'

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Don't miss this 'eye-opening' treatise concerning Martin Luther, the catalyst/leader of the 'Reformation' (a.k.a. Protestant Rebellion)

Includes: Facts which demonstrate that Luther was NOT sent by God, Luther received approval of his teaching from Satan, Luther's misbehavior, some results of Luther's teachings, Luther admits he could be wrong, and more...

Get your copy today!

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Kindle Version Just $5.99 | Paperback Just $7.99

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Now Available!

BIG Book of Latin Activities For Catholics

Beginning-Intermediate (Vol. 1)

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"Suitable For Children Or Adults!" ~ "Perfect For Homeschoolers!"

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As many faithful Catholics already know, the majestic Latin language – the 'official language' of the Catholic Church – promotes unity, helps safeguard the purity of doctrine, connects us with our Catholic ancestors, allows us to pray in "one voice", and even ties back to the inscription on the Cross which was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. The Latin language is still used today in the precious treasure that is the Traditional Latin ('Tridentine') Mass, in 'everyday speech' (much of English is derived from Latin), in mottos, in specialized fields, and in educational endeavors. It has been shown that the study of Latin brings many benefits. "And, Latin is truly the language of heaven!"

If you enjoy Latin, you may be glad to know that this full-sized (8.5" x 11"), tradition-minded publication features an assortment of activity types related to Latin (including: word searches, crosswords, coloring activities, challenges, fill-ins, spelling bee, quizzes, unscrambles, true/false, multiple choice, matching, cross-offs, circling, word associations, translation exercises, and more...), and treats of various topics (including: common Latin words, Latin language facts, Latin grammar, nouns & verbs, abbreviations, phrases/sayings/mottos, prefixes, cardinal numbers, grammatical gender, inflection, word roots, diacritics/accenting, pronunciation, Latin prayers/hymns, Scripture verses, Catholic phrases, and more...).

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"Fun & Educational!"

Get Your Copy Today!

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