“The history of the world from the beginning is but the history of the struggle between the powers of the world, and of hell, against the souls which are humbly devoted to the divine action. In this struggle all the advantage seems to be on the side of pride, yet the victory always remains with humility. The image of the world is always presented to our eyes as a statue of gold, brass, iron, and clay. This mystery of iniquity, shown in a dream to Nabuchodonosor, is nothing but a confused medley of all the actions, interior and exterior, of the children of darkness. This is also typified by the beast coming out of the pit to make war, from the beginning of time, against the interior and spiritual life of man. All that takes place in our days is the consequence of this war. Monster follows monster out of the pit, which swallows, and vomits them forth again amidst incessant clouds of smoke. The combat between St. Michael and Lucifer, that began in Heaven, still continues. The heart of this once magnificent angel, has become, through envy, an inexhaustible abyss of every kind of evil. He made angel revolt against angel in Heaven, and from the creation of the world his whole energy is exerted to make more criminals among men to fill the ranks of those who have been swallowed up in the pit. Lucifer is the chief of those who refuse obedience to the Almighty. This mystery of iniquity is the very inversion of the order of God; it is the order, or rather, the disorder of the devil. This disorder is a mystery because, under a false appearance of good, it hides irremediable and infinite evil. Every wicked man, who, from the time of Cain, up to the present moment, has declared war against God, has outwardly been great and powerful, making a great stir in the world, and being worshiped by all. But this outward semblance is a mystery. In reality they are beasts which have ascended from the pit one after another to overthrow the order of God. But this order, which is another mystery, has always opposed to them really great and powerful men who have dealt these monsters a mortal wound. As fast as hell vomits them forth, Heaven at the same time creates fresh heroes to combat them. Ancient history, sacred and profane, is but a record of this war. The order of God has ever remained victorious and those who have ranged themselves on the side of God have shared His triumph, and are happy for all eternity. Injustice has never been able to protect deserters. It can reward them only by death, an eternal death. Those who practise iniquity imagine themselves invincible. O God! who can resist You? If a single soul has the whole world and all hell against it, it need have no fear if, by abandonment, it takes its stand on the side of God and His order. The monstrous spectacle of wickedness armed with so much power, the head of gold, the body of silver, brass, and iron, is nothing more than the image of clay; a small stone cast at it will scatter it to the four winds of Heaven. How wonderfully has the Holy Spirit illustrated the centuries of the world! So many startling revelations! so many renowned heroes following each other like so many brilliant stars! So many wonderful events!”—Fr. De Caussade SJ, Abandonment to Divine Providence, p. 66-68
The following is an unpublished article by Neil McCaffrey II (d. 1994, seen above right) on the power of an encyclical by Pope St. Pius X (above left.) I am good friends with Neil McCaffrey III, who kindly gave me copies of many of the treasures of his father’s writings. Below, you will find that most of the italicized words belong to Pope St. Pius X.
Breathes there a beleaguered Catholic today who hasn’t had recourse to Pius X’s epochal encyclical on Modernism? Pascendi Gregis was issued in 1907 – and I suggest that there isn’t a papal document extant that is more contemporary, or more consoling. It is directed against the Modernists who had surfaced in the Pope’s day – and their heirs all around us today.
Perhaps you’ve put off reading it because you find the mock-Ciceronian prose of latter-day papal documents impenetrable. Not to worry. Pius X writes directly, bluntly, sometimes with a bite that will make you blink. Hardly a page passes that you won’t want to mark, maybe memorize. To give you a sense of what’s in store, let me offer a handful of quotable passages. But I offer them with one caveat: for everyone here, there are literally a dozen more, just as choice in the encyclical. In fact, you’ll undoubtedly find at least a dozen that you like better than my own favorites.
Before quoting some of the Saint’s own words, let me cite parts of the encyclical wherein he quotes from other popes and councils. First, from a decree of Vatican I:
…that sense of the sacred dogma is to be perpetually retained which our Holy Mother the church has once declared, nor is this sense ever to be abandoned on the plea or pretext of a more profound comprehension of the truth.
He quotes from Singulari Nos, that neglected 1834 encyclical of Gregory XVI:
A lamentable spectacle is that presented by the aberrations of human reason when it yields to the spirit of novelty, when against the warning of the Apostle it seeks to know beyond what it is meant to know and when, relying too much on itself, it thinks it can find the truth outside the Catholic Church, wherein truth is found without the faintest shadow of error.
To condemn those who sneer at the church of yesterday and genuflect before the spirit of change, he cites the condemnations of two general councils, including Nicea II:
For Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea where it condemns those who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind…or to endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church…
As befits the head of a Church grounded in tradition, Pius X often invokes his predecessors. But most of the encyclical is original with him. Does this passage strike you as dated?
It remains for us now to say a few words about the Modernist as reformer. From all that has preceded, it is abundantly clear how great and how eager is the passion of such men for innovation. In all Catholicism there is absolutely nothing on which [Modernism] does not fasten. They wish philosophy to be reformed, especially in the ecclesiastical seminaries. They wish the scholastic philosophy to be relegated to the history of philosophy and to be classed among obsolete systems, and the young men to be taught modern philosophy which alone is said to be true and suited to the times in which we live….Dogmas and their evolution, they affirm, are to be harmonized with science and history. In the Catechism no dogmas are to be inserted except those that have been reformed and are within the capacity of the people.
Regarding worship, they say, the number of external devotions is to be reduced, and steps must be taken to prevent their further increase….They cry out that ecclesiastical government requires to be reformed in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic departments. They insist that both outwardly and inwardly it must brought into harmony with the modern conscience, which now wholly tends toward democracy; a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy, and even to the laity, and authority which is too much concentrated, should be decentralized. The Roman Congregations, and especially the Index and the Holy Office, must be likewise modified.
The Pope calls Modernism “the synthesis of all heresies,” then goes on to analyze why people succumb to it. He finds three reasons, but one stands out:
It is pride which exercises over the soul incomparably greater power to blind it and lead it into error, and pride sits in Modernism as in its own house, finding sustenance everywhere in its doctrines and lurking in its every aspect. It is pride which fills Modernists with that self-assurance which puffs them up with that vainglory which allows them to regard themselves as the sole possessors of knowledge, and makes them say, elated and inflated with presumption, We are not as the rest of men, and which, lest they should seem as other men, leads them to embrace and to devise novelties even of the most absurd kind.
What must the hierarchy do when they confront this spirit? The Pope addresses the bishops of his day in impassioned words; how many of their successors are now heeding them?
It will be your first duty to resist such victims of pride, to employ them only in the lowest and obscurest offices. The higher they try to rise, the lower let them be placed, so that the lowliness of their position may limit their power of causing damage. Examine your young clerics most carefully…when you find the spirit of pride among them, reject them for the priesthood without compunction. Would to God that this had always been done with the vigilance and constancy that were required!
It is worth noting that the papal Saint made no exceptions for a shortage of priests, or any other reason. No, his order is delivered in the imperative, with no hedging: “reject them without compunction.” Period. We can be sure that Pius was not indifferent to shortages of priests; but he was a saint, not a clerical bureaucrat. He understood that God is not thwarted by (temporary) shortages.
The Pope pauses to note the hatred that Modernists pour on the orthodox. Anyone who has seen today’s breed in action will have to conclude that nothing has changed:
There is little reason to wonder that the Modernists vent all their bitterness and hatred on Catholics who zealously fight the battles of the Church. There is no species of insult which they do not heap upon them, but their usual course is to charge them with ignorance or obstinacy. When an adversary rises up against them with an erudition and force that render him redoubtable, they seek to make a conspiracy of silence around him to nullify the effects of his attack. This policy towards Catholics is the more invidious in that they laud with an admiration that knows no bounds the writers who range themselves on their side, hailing their works (which exude novelty on every page) with a chorus of applause.
For them the scholarship of a writer is in direct proportion to the recklessness of his attacks on antiquity, and of his efforts to undermine tradition and the ecclesiastical magisterium. When one of their number falls under the condemnation of the Church the rest of them, to the disgust of good Catholics, gather round him, loudly and publicly applaud him, and hold him up in veneration as almost a martyr for truth. The young, excited and confused by all this clamor of praise and abuse, some of them afraid of being branded as ignorant, others ambitious to rank among the learned, and both classes goaded internally by curiosity and pride, not unfrequently surrender and given themselves up to Modernism….
What efforts do they not make to win new recruits! They seize upon professorships in the seminaries and universities, and gradually make of them chairs of pestilence. In sermons from the pulpit they disseminate their doctrines, although possibly in utterances which are veiled. In congresses they express their teachings more openly. In their social gatherings they introduce them and commend them to others. Under their own names and under pseudonyms they publish numbers of books, newspapers, reviews…It is also a subject of grief to us that many others who, while they certainly do not go so far as the former, have yet been so infected by breathing a poisoned atmosphere as to think, speak, and write with a degree of laxity which ill becomes a Catholic. They are to be found among the laity, and in the ranks of the clergy, and they are not wanting even in the last place where one might expect to meet them, in religious communities. If they treat of biblical questions, it is upon Modernist principles; if they write history, they carefully, and with ill-concealed satisfaction, appear to cast a stain upon the Church.
Under the sway of certain a priori conceptions they destroy as far as they can the pious traditions of the people, and bring into disrespect certain relics highly venerable from their antiquity. They are possessed by the empty desire of having their names upon the lips of the public, and they know they would never succeed in this were they to say only what has always been said by all men. Meanwhile it may be that they have persuaded themselves that in all this they are really serving God and the Church. In reality they only offend both, less perhaps by their works in themselves that in all this they are really serving God and the Church. In reality they only offend both, less perhaps by their works in themselves than by the spirit in which they write, and by the encouragement they thus give to the aims of the Modernists.
Pius understood that it wasn’t enough for a pontiff to instruct and even exhort. (What, after all, would we say of a parent who periodically quoted the tenets of the moral law to his children, pleaded for their obedience, but refused ever to discipline them?) The Pope knew that words weren’t enough. He must act. Pius X did just that; and I think we may see in his determination one mark of that heroic sanctity that earned him the saint’s crown. He certainly laid it on the line to the bishops:
We exhort and abjure you to see to it, in this most grave matter, that no one shall be in a position to say that you have been, in the slightest degree, wanting in vigilance, zeal, or firmness.
Plain enough? Yet the Pope doesn’t stop there. He has a program. He acts. He “strictly ordains that scholastic philosophy be made the basis of the sacred sciences”; and, following Leo XIII and indeed the whole of Catholic tradition, all the arts and sciences are to “serve [theology] and want upon it after the manner of handmaidens.”
But that’s still not all. This saintly Pope understands that there must be sanctions aimed at those who rebel against Catholic teaching – sanctions that…are to be kept in view whenever there is a question of choosing directors and professors for seminaries and Catholic universities.
Anyone who in any way is found to be tainted with Modernism is to be excluded without compunction from these offices, whether of government or of teaching, and those who already occupy them are to be removed. The same policy is to be adopted towards those who openly or secretly lend countenance to Modernism either by extolling the Modernists and excusing their culpable conduct, or by carping at scholasticism and the Fathers and the magisterium of the Church, or by refusing obedience to ecclesiastical authority in any of its depositaries; and towards those who show a love of novelty in history, archaeology, biblical exegesis; and finally towards those who neglect the sacred sciences or appear to prefer the secular to them. In all this question of studies, Venerable Brethren, you cannot be too watchful or too constant…Equal diligence and severity are to be used in examining and selecting candidates for Holy Orders. Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty!
Next come a series of papal edits that give liberals the shakes. What would their soul brothers in the American Civil Liberties Union make of all this?
It is also the duty of the Bishops to prevent the writings of Modernists, or whatever savors of Modernism or promotes it, from being read when they have been published, and to hinder their publication when they have not. No books or papers or periodicals whatever of this kind are to be permitted to seminarists or university students. The injury to them would be not less than that which is caused by immoral reading – nay, it would be greater, for such writings poison Christian life at its very fount. The same decision is to be taken concerning the writings of some Catholics, who, though not evilly disposed themselves, are ill-instructed in theological studies and imbued with modern philosophy, and strive to make this harmonize with the faith, and, as they say, to turn it to the profit of the faith. The name and reputation of these authors cause them to be read without suspicion, and they are, therefore, all the more dangerous in gradually preparing the way for Modernism…We order that you do everything in your power to drive out of your dioceses, even by solemn interdict, any pernicious books that may be in circulation there.
But isn’t all that hopelessly out of date? What would enlightened types say if they saw bishops behaving that way? The Pope, it seems, had anticipated the public relations problem – or what the spiritual writers used to call the temptation to human respect:
We will…that the Bishops, putting aside all fear and the prudence of the flesh, and despising the clamor of evil men, shall – gently by all means, but firmly – each do his own part in this work…Let no Bishop think that he fulfills this duty by denouncing to us one or two books, while a great many others of the same kind are being published and circulated. Nor are you to be deterred by the fact that a book has obtained elsewhere the permission which is commonly call the Imprimatur, both because this may be merely simulated, and because it may have been granted through carelessness or too much indulgence or excessive trust placed in the author, which last has perhaps sometimes happened in the religious orders.
Finally, leaving nothing to chance, local option, ecumenism, or public relations, the Pope spells out still more specifically the steps that must be taken to defend Catholic doctrine and protect the faithful. Again he addresses the hierarchy, and again he doesn’t hesitate to give them their marching orders:
Of what avail, Venerable Brethren, would be all our commands and prescriptions if they be not dutifully and firmly carried out?…We decree, therefore, that in every diocese a council of this kind, which we are pleased to name the “Council of Vigilance,” be instituted without delay….They shall watch most carefully for every trace and sign of Modernism both in publications and in teaching, and to keep it from the clergy and the young they shall take all prudent, prompt and efficacious measures. Let them combat novelties of words, remembering the admonitions of Leo XIII: It is impossible to approve in Catholic publications a style inspired by unsound novelty which seems to deride the piety of the faithful and dwells on the introduction of a new order of Christian life, on new directions in the Church, on new aspirations of the modern soul, on a new social vocation of the clergy, on a new Christian civilization, and on many other things of the same kind.
Does this give you the flavor? It does; but it’s only a taste. To get the full impact of a Pope who speaks – and acts – as one having authority; who cares nothing about his reputation among the worldly, and everything about the souls of his flock, you must read the whole, great document.
Read it now.
—Neil McCaffrey Sr.
“Act bravely, my brethren; take courage and trust in the Lord. The time is fast approaching in which there will be great trials and afflictions; perplexities and dissensions, both spiritual and temporal, will abound; the charity of many will grow cold, and the malice of the wicked will increase. The devils will have unusual power; the immaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured that there will be very few Christians who obey the true Supreme Pontiff and the Roman Church with loyal ears and perfect charity.
“At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into error and death. Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, and many others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to error instead of opposing it.
“There will be such diversity of opinions and schisms among the people, the religious and the clergy, that, except those days were shortened, according to the words of the Gospel, even the elect would be led into error, were they not specially guided, amid such great confusion, by the immense mercy of God….
“Those who persevere in their fervor and adhere to virtue with love and zeal for the truth, will suffer injuries and persecutions as rebels and schismatics; for their persecutors, urged on by the evil spirits, will say they are rendering a great service to God by destroying such pestilent men from the face of the earth…
“Some preachers will keep silent about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days Our Lord Jesus Christ will send them, not a true Pastor, but a destroyer.”
—Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, published in 1882 by the London-based Catholic publishing house R. Washbourne, 1882, pp. 248-250.
This is actually one of my most hope-filled posts, but follow me down the bad rabbit hole of humanism for a minute before we come rocketing up to the glory of God: Most conservative pundits say that the world is now worse than previous centuries. However, most professors of world history at American and European universities teach that (except for modern wars) we now live in a world much safer, thanks to medicine, secularism and globalism. Of course, I would want to point the latter group to the millions of yearly abortions, but the Western academy will not accept that the unborn constitute an actual genocide of slaughtered human beings.
However, every once in awhile, even the liberal academy releases evidence that things are now worse now than ever in world history. The United-Nations-affiliate International Labor Organization released statistics in 2017 that there are now 40 million people in modern slavery and 152 million in child labour around the world: “The new estimates also show that women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery, accounting almost 29 million, or 71 per cent of the overall total. Women represent 99 per cent of the victims of forced labour in the commercial sex industry and 84 per cent of forced marriages.” Notice that the trans-Atlantic slave trade of the 18th century had enslaved between 6 million and 7 million black slaves from Africa. 1
But the Apostle Paul writes: “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more.”—Romans 5:20b
St. John of the Cross writes: “The Lord has always revealed to mortals the treasures of His wisdom and spirit, but now that the face of evil bares itself more and more, so does the Lord bare His treasures more.”—Dichas, #1
So, two things have been on my mind incessantly the past year as I see world history “circling the drain” (as people in EMS would rather irreverently describe deteriorating patients.)
First, I see great global hope of Christians uniting. (Remember I have never been accused of being an optimist on this topic, so follow me closely here.) This is because I think constantly of a mysterious, short 20-page prophetic fiction written in 1900 by the elusive Russian named Vladimir Soloviev. He called his short work Antichrist, and I linked it here on my Evernote if you want to take the 25 minutes to read it. I highly highly suggest you read it. In this short and striking tale of the future, the final global persecutor of the few remaining good Catholics, good Orthodox and good Protestants accidentally becomes the one to unite all Christians. Yes, you read that correctly: God uses the final antichrist to unite all Christians into one fold. The few remaining final Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants become one under the final Peter in this hauntingly beautiful apocalyptic tale.
Secondly, I think constantly of St. Louis De Montfort who wrote, “Mary scarcely appeared in the first coming of Christ. … But in the second coming of Jesus Christ, Mary must be known and openly revealed by the Holy Spirit so that Jesus may be known, loved and served through her.”
St. Louis De Montfort prophesies that the true apostles of the latter times will look like this:
Towards the end of the world … Almighty God and His holy Mother are to raise up saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs.
These great souls filled with grace and zeal will be chosen to oppose the enemies of God who are raging on all sides. They will be exceptionally devoted to the Blessed Virgin. Illumined by her light, strengthened by her spirit, supported by her arms, sheltered under her protection, they will fight with one hand and build with the other.
With one hand they will give battle, overthrowing and crushing heretics and their heresies, schismatics and their schisms, idolaters and their idolatries, sinners and their wickedness. With the other hand they will build the temple of the true Solomon and the mystical city of God, namely, the Blessed Virgin. …
They will be like thunderclouds flying through the air at the slightest breath of the Holy Spirit. Attached to nothing, surprised at nothing, they will shower down the rain of God’s word and of eternal life. They will thunder against sin; they will storm against the world; they will strike down the devil and his followers and for life and for death, they will pierce through and through with the two-edged sword of God’s word all those against whom they are sent by Almighty God.
They will be true apostles of the latter times to whom the Lord of Hosts will give eloquence and strength to work wonders and carry off glorious spoils from His enemies. They will sleep without gold or silver and, more important still, without concern in the midst of other priests, ecclesiastics and clerics. Yet they will have the silver wings of the dove enabling them to go wherever the Holy Spirit calls them, filled as they are, with the resolve to seek the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Wherever they preach, they will leave behind them nothing but the gold of love, which is the fulfillment of the whole law.
They will have the two-edged sword of the Word of God in their mouths and the bloodstained standard of the Cross on their shoulders. They will carry the crucifix in their right hand and the Rosary in their left, and the holy names of Jesus and Mary on their heart.
“Though it is impossible to give accurate figures, some historians have estimated that 6 to 7 million black slaves were imported to the New World during the 18th century alone, depriving the African continent of some of its healthiest and ablest men and women.”—history.com ↩
The final quote was taken from St. Louis De Montfort’s True Devotion #56-59. The images I chose for this post are both pictures I took on Good Friday above the altar at St. Maron Church in Jacksonville, FL. This is a Maronite-Rite (Lebanese) Catholic Church in union with Rome. ↩
On 13 October 1884, Pope Leo XIII entered a trance after finishing Mass in the Vatican and he saw Jesus and Satan talking:
Satan: “I can destroy Your Church.”
Our Lord: “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”
Satan: “To do so, I need more time and more power.”
Our Lord: “How much time? How much power?”
Satan: “75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service.”
Our Lord: “You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”
Pope Leo XIII then went to compose his prayer to St. Michael to be prayed after Masses everywhere.
Fast forward 33 years to 1917 when the Mother of God would have monthly apparitions to simple shepherd children in Fatima, Portugal. To these children, Mary revealed warnings about World War II and the future of the Catholic Church. Besides these prophesies coming true, the children were also vindicated when 70,000 onlookers (including atheists) saw the sun zig-zagging and diving to the earth:
Even secular press admitted this “sun miracle” took place. It was probably the most spectacular miracle in the history of the world, at least since the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
What is the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary?
Several months before that miracle, Mary spoke to those same children of the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart in regards to Russia and the entire future of the world and the Catholic Church. She said:
“If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” 1
I have only recently been convinced how much Communism has already influenced the United States in our American social policies (sex-education) to our social habits (women in the work place) to the intolerance of Christianity in the academy (all the while Russia slowly crawls back to her own Christian roots.) But what does it mean that “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph“? This is only my theory but I believe there are only two possibilities for this triumph period of peace, and they are indeed mutually exclusive:
1) The end of the world.
2) The transition from this turbulent fifth age of the Church into the sixth and peaceful age of the Church.
The second admittedly sounds strange, and we will get to that later. But let’s start with evidence for the first via a Vatican-approved apparition of Mary. The Mother of God appeared to some children in Africa throughout the 1980s, warning them about heaven and hell, as well as a coming genocide to Rwanda (which ended up coming true in 1994.) One of the visionaries of Our Lady of Kibeho said this about Our Lady’s warnings:
“Because she loves us so much, she wants us to have more faith in God. During Advent we should reflect upon the return of Jesus. She told me that her Son will return to Earth soon, and that our souls must be prepared for His arrival. The world is in a very bad way…”—Visionary at Kibeho, Rwanda
This sounds like Christ is returning soon! Furthermore, it seems that many of the criteria for Christ’s second coming found in Matthew 24 have been fulfilled. 2
However, there is more evidence for the second theory, namely that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is not going to be the end of the world, but rather a new era of peace coming upon the Church and the whole world. This is already found in the writings of Ven. Bartholomew Holzhauser, a 17th century founder of a religious community who conglomerated the teaching of many saints and prophets. Much evidence points to the fact that we (now in the 21st century) are at the end of that tumultuous fifth age of the Church coming quickly into the sixth age of an “era of peace.” Notice how similar this is to what Mary said at Fatima regarding a “period of peace.” In fact, many canonized saints and ancient prophets conglomerated in this book prophesy that the sixth age of Church history will include two figures known as “The Holy Pope” and “The Great Catholic Monarch.” (I preached on these two expected men in the second half of a podcast here.) 3
Even before the death of the last Apostle, already the Catholic Church was facing several antichrists (See 1 John 2:18.) However, the final antichrist will not come until the seventh age of the Church, concurrent with several global happenings I podcasted about here, all proved from the Bible and the Catechism, not private revelation. Again, notice that we are only in the fifth age of the Church, and these events will be found in the seventh age of the Church, so the final antichrist is probably not in power yet anywhere in the world.
Still, our current age of Church history also has plenty of trouble, and Our Lady of Akita gave astonishingly clear warnings of the future to Sr. Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in as late as 1973:
“The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…The Church will be full of those who accept compromises….”—Our Lady of Akita, 13 October 1973
Notice that date of 13 October: 13 October is the date of Pope Leo XIII’s vision of Jesus and Satan. 13 October is the date of the final apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. 13 October is the date of one of the main apparitions of Our Lady of Akita! Our Lady of Akita also spoke of a coming chastisement if we do not repent:
“As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful. The survivors will find themselves so desolate that they will envy the dead. The only arms which will remain for you will be the Rosary and the Sign left by My Son. Each day recite the prayers of the Rosary. With the Rosary, pray for the Pope, the bishops and priests.”—Our Lady of Akita. 4
Besides the days of Acts of the Apostles, I would argue that these are the most exciting times of Church history in which to live as a Catholic! We will either get to see Christ’s second return, or, more likely, the ushering in of a great Catholic era of [relative] world peace and a restoration of all things Catholic, albeit through a great chastisement. Yes, Our Lady of Good Success promised this “complete restoration” of the Catholic Church sometime after the 20th century. So, I believe this is the transition from the fifth age of the Church to the peaceful sixth age of the Church via a global chastisement. Perhaps the most important line of Fatima is:
“The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.”
We know this will happen, so our goal as simple Catholics remains the same to expedite this: To stay in sanctifying grace. This is nearly guaranteed in a relationship with Jesus Christ, a deep prayer life, frequent confession and the daily Rosary. Yes, Our Lady of Akita warned us for tough times, even a fiery chastisement, but we were made for a time like this! God did not make a mistake in which time period He placed you. We have already been given the boldness, courage and fortitude to remain with Jesus and Mary so that Russia may be converted and so that your children (or at least your grandchildren) will see that “period of peace granted to the world.” I write of these private revelations not to scare you but to show that whereas the earth seems to be in a free-fall, the Blessed Trinity is actually in total control of modern world history and modern Church history. We can neither stop the punishment for sins nor stop the coming Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, but I believe we can expedite both by our prayers and penance in sacrificial love. Yes, it all now depends on you and your Rosary beads…more than any players in modern world history.
This quote comes from Louis Kondor, S.V.D. (Ed.) Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words (Fatima: Postulation Centre, 1976), p. 162. Although this blog post is not about whether Russia was adequately consecrated or not, it is interesting to note what Fr. Gabriele Amorth said about this. Before his death last year, he was the chief exorcist of Rome (and before that) a trusted man of Pope John Paul II. Fr. Amorth said the following about Russia here. ↩
I already know that many people want to say “But we don’t know the day nor the hour!” Yes, I know Christ says that. But just because we don’t know the “day nor the hour” of Christ’s return does not mean that we won’t know the year! Not that I claim to have any idea when that year actually is, but Jesus never would have given us so many clues in Matthew 24 if we were supposed to be totally in the dark on eschatological events. Remember also that Christ’s indication in the Gospels of the coming the destruction of the Temple (70 AD) was enough to get all the early Jewish-Christian converts out of Jerusalem to the hills before its destruction. The temple is a microcosm of the cosmos, and the cosmos will also burn one day, so it would make sense why Christ would give us the clues of Matthew 24 regarding his return. Even CNN admits we have had more earthquakes than ever before in history. Notice how many of these are taking place.: As He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your ycoming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.↩
Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser (17th Century)
The fifth period of the Church, which began circa 1520, will end with the arrival of the holy Pope and of the powerful Monarch who is called “Help From God” because he will restore everything. The fifth period is one of affliction, desolation, humiliation, and poverty for the Church. Jesus Christ will purify His people through cruel wars, famines, plagues, epidemics, and other horrible calamities. He will also afflict and weaken the Latin Church with many heresies. It is a period of defections, calamities and exterminations. Those Christians who survive the sword, plague and famines, will be few on earth. During this period, many men will abuse of the freedom of conscience conceded to them. It is of such men that Jude the Apostle spoke when he said, “These men blaspheme whatever they do not understand; and they corrupt whatever they know naturally as irrational animals do.” They will ridicule Christian simplicity; they will call it folly and nonsense, but they will have the highest regard for advanced knowledge, and for the skill by which the axioms of law, the precepts of morality, the Holy Canons and religious dogmas are clouded by senseless questions and elaborate arguments. These are the evil times, a century full of dangers and calamities. Heresy is everywhere, and the followers of heresy are in power almost everywhere. but God will permit a great evil against His Church: Heretics and tyrants will come suddenly and unexpectedly; they will break into the Church. They will enter Italy and lay Rome waste; they will burn down churches and destroy everything. ↩
These are not crackpot apparitions or backwater trad tales. After eight years of investigations, Bishop John Shojiro Ito, Bishop of Niigata, Japan, recognized “the supernatural character of a series of mysterious events concerning the statue of the Holy Mother Mary” and authorized “throughout the entire diocese, the veneration of the Holy Mother of Akita, while awaiting that the Holy See publishes definitive judgment on this matter.”—EWTN. EWTN also remarks on the veracity of the apparitions of Our Lady of Akita: “Despite claims that Cardinal Ratzinger gave definitive approval to Akita in 1988, no ecclesiastical decree appears to exist, as certainly would in such a case. However, some individuals, such as former Ambassador of the Phillipines to the Holy See, Mr. Howard Dee, have stated that they were given private assurances by Cardinal Ratzinger of the authenticity of Akita. In any case, in keeping with the current norms, given the absence of a repudiation of Bp. Ito’s decision by his successors, or by higher authority, the events of Akita continue to have ecclesiastical approval.”
Another key line of Our Lady of Akita regarding this chastisement is this:
“In order that the world might know His anger, the Heavenly Father is preparing to inflict a great chastisement on all mankind. With my Son I have intervened so many times to appease the wrath of the Father. I have prevented the coming of calamities by offering Him the sufferings of the Son on the Cross, His Precious Blood, and beloved souls who console Him forming a cohort of victim souls. Prayer, penance and courageous sacrifices can soften the Father’s anger. I desire this also from your community…that it love poverty, that it sanctify itself and pray in reparation for the ingratitude and outrages of so many men.”—Our Lady of Akita. ↩
Blessed are You, Magnificent Holy Father of Gentleness and Majesty. Nothing compares to you, the Holy, Almighty One of Israel. Thank you Father for your power—You to whom all things in heaven, on earth and under the earth, do bow and obey. I now see that You alone are worthy, O God. I praise you and worship you with holy hands, night and day in the temple with Simeon. Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel, how sweet are you to me who cries “God alone!” Kyrie Eleison. I adore you profoundly in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, all aflame with the Holy Spirit. I pierced the meek and mild heart of your Son Jesus by my many sins. I repent heartily of my sins and those of the whole world. Victorious Lion of Judah, as your child, I ask you for these fruits of the Resurrection: Trust, purity, peace and wonder. Tenderly may our charity cover a multitude of sins of rage and fear growing in the world today, present in the darkness of my heart, too. Heal this land, for we know not what we do. Jesus, Your Church shows that Love is the Triumph of the cross when the world thinks it has won. Let us lose ourselves for Love, ever more sincerely and joyfully, even with growing persecutions against your littlest ones. I adore you Jesus, Adonai, my Lord and my God! Let every cell in my body speak of your wounds—once in your pain and tears—now in the Eucharistic host silent as a lamb before its shearers, forgotten, dropped and sacrileged these nights. I offer you my life with yours. I give you everything and I thank you for everything. I want to bring many souls to you. I want to love you recklessly. I want to be free and lose myself fumbling after Love. Please turn my rights, blaming and rage into gift and levity. O radiant Holy Spirit let me drown in the silent torrent of your love. Your lightnings light up the world. The earth sees and trembles. Please bless my Memory and my memories; purify my imagination. One word from You will disperse a million demons and restore the wasted years. So, I give my life for your glory in the renewal of the Liturgy, and the rescue of all lives on earth, in purgatory and for the unborn, the frozen and the trafficked. Deliver us, and atone for our sins, for Your Name’s sake! Mary Immaculata, my Mother, you are so beautiful and strong. Help me to keep and to remember. Cover me in your smile so that my justice may become God’s mercy. Let this, your prince’s prayer remain in our heart today, so we may worship the Living God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit, with many angels, numbering myriads of myriads, today and forever, crying: Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and how untraceable His paths! Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created. Amen.
Myth 1: Catholic means universal, as in what all Catholics believe in the 21st century.
Truth: Catholic is that which is believed everywhere, always and by all.
Many people believe that the term “Catholic” means universal in Latin. This is true, but the Greek root of this word is even older:
As you can see, Catholic means “according to the whole.” By whole, that means everything in the Bible and oral tradition (2 Thess 2:15.) It means the fullness of the truth. The modern myth is that “Catholic” means universal—but only today. The problem with this definition is that it falls short of the original Patristic definitions of Catholic. The fifth century monk St. Vincent of Lérins taught: “Moreover, in the Catholic Church itself, all possible care must be taken, that we hold that faith which has been believedeverywhere, always, by all (quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est.)”—St. Vincent of Lérins, Commonitorium 4. Thus, Catholic doesn’t mean that quasi-deposit of the faith which is believed universally in an isolated époque of history, but rather the common teaching of the Popes and Fathers and saints of the 2nd century and the 8th century and the 13th century and the 17th century, and every century of the Magisterium.
Myth 2: Church History is like a pendulum that swings back and forth between conservative and liberal.
Truth: Church history is politically unstable, but dogmatically quite stable, except for two unique doctrinal crises in Church history. Even in these periods, the Magisterium remains untouched.
I graduated from a Jesuit high school and a Jesuit University and then I had another several years of Jesuit spiritual direction in seminary. I owe the Jesuits a lot, at least the true sons of Ignatius. But one of those false-sons of Ignatius tuaght us at some point in high-school that Church history is like a pendulum that swung back and forth between “conservative” and “liberal.”
For perhaps a decade, I promoted this odd teaching.
But as I started reading Church history, I never found a century when the pendulum went to “the left.” I found that St. Ignatius of Antioch (1st century) taught the same thing about salvation outside the Church as St. Alphonsus Liguori (18th century) as St. Theresa of Avila (16th century) as, yes, even every liberal’s favorite mascot, St. Francis of Assisi. Before that, I would happily remind people in my high-school days that “St. Francis of Assisi said that we should preach the Gospel always; use words if necessary.”
Well, then I found out that St. Francis of Assisi believed words to be so necessary to the preaching of the Gospel for the salvation of Muslims that he actually went to Muslim lands to preach to the Sultan the Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church:
Thus, there was no pendulum swing to “the left” as we had been taught. It was always on the right, with every saint teaching that “No one comes to the Father except through me.”—John 14:6. In other words, if everyone’s favorite ecumenical mascot St. Francis of Assisi wrote “woe to those who die in mortal sin,” then there are no saints of the left-leaning pendulum. If St. Therese of Lisieux fasted as a child from not only food, but also water to save the criminal Pranzini as he approached the gallows, then who are all these Methodist-sounding saints before, say, 1950? When, before our odd modern times did the pendulum swing to the left? Was it in the 8th century? Or the 16th century? Who are these mysterious ecumenical saints of the 2nd century or the 13th century or the 18th century? Who are the saints of the pendulum leaning left and away from traditional Catholicism? I never found any. Write me if you do.
The only explanation is that we don’t have a pendulum swing. We have solid and normal and beautiful Catholicism for 20 centuries, all except the Arian crisis and the current modernist crisis.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan names the crises of the Church here including:
1) The Arian heresy, about which I podcasted here yesterday.
2) The Dark Century of the Roman Mafia
3) The Great Western Schism
4) Today’s Anthropocentric Crisis that Bp. Athanasius describes as “doctrinal, moral and tremendous liturgical anarchy.”
Notice that there have been four great crises in Church History, but see that exclusively number two and number three refer mostly to politics of the Church, not much doctrine. But the first crisis (the Arian crisis) and today’s crisis (the anthropocentric crisis) is doctrinal first. That means that essentially, these are about the only times in history when nearly all Catholics have almost globally and entirely diverted from Catholic Deposit of the Faith on matters “doctrinal, moral and liturgical” as His Excellency has pointed out. Indeed, we have a pretty unbroken tradition of what was taught always and at all times in an Apostolic manner, except for two unique crises when dogmatic relativism ruled even the hierarchy.
It is no wonder that our liturgy is so different from every single century, either.
The most recent shocker of this new mis-narrative in Catholic Church history is that certain modernists now belabor orthodox Catholics for being “Pelagians” for simply taking the Gospel seriously, while simultaneously teaching that a “good” atheist can go to heaven by his deeds. That is the true definition of Pelagianism, for the Bible and the Church have always taught that a man can not be saved by his good works, without the blood of Jesus Christ. 1
So, put it all together, and you can see that there is no pendulum swing. Catholicism was Catholicism in every century ubique, semper, et ab omnibus except the 4th century and the 20th century. St. Athanasius taught in that first crisis that the only way back to the source is to see what Christ and the Apostles taught in unbroken Magisterial authority in faith and morals, unbroken in a straight stream (with only slight diversions of style and discipline) for every century before his own.
Mary, the destroyer of all heresies, will lead us back to Her Son Jesus, and the beliefs of her dear and earliest Christians.
The Most Precious Blood of our redemption can be applied via perfect contrition in an extraordinary way through faith and love without baptism, like that which was given to the thief at the foot of the cross, but the ordinary way of salvation is the free gift of baptism, “for it is baptism that now saves you.”—1 Peter 3:21 and the works necessary for salvation described extremely clearly in Matthew 25. ↩
What is Transferred in the Generational Line
One of the most amazing things about the God of the New and Old Testament is how He deals with families. Although women are frequently holier than their husbands, God has chosen—already found in the first book of the Bible—the generational blessing to be transferred from the husband through the boys of his family and so on.
Esau said to his father, “Have you but one blessing, my father? Bless me, even me also, O my father.” And Esau lifted up his voice and wept.—Genesis 27:38
We long for our father’s blessing, but we often only receive his negligence or bad habits. Nowadays, there is a lot of talk these days about generational curses, and these do indeed exist, but we have to be careful about falling overboard into generational fatalism. At one point in the history of Israel, God gets so fed up with the Hebrew “daddy-wound” excuse that He prohibits this parable from being spoke all over Israel: The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.
What this means is that God prohibited the excuse, “I sinned because my Dad sinned.” It’s like: My Dad ate bad grapes, so I can’t get my act together. In modern terms, it would be “I’m an alcoholic because my Dad is an alcoholic.” or “I’m addicted to porn because my Dad abused me.” Although there is a high correlation for both of these evils that I do not mean to mock, we must also remember that God prohibits excuses, for God has given to every man a free-will to begin a new family with fresh responsibility:
The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die.—Ezekiel 18:1-4. 1
The reason we can not use a pious “daddy wound” excuse for our sins is because the grace we receive from God in the sacraments is infinitely more powerful than our physical, fallen bloodline. The grace and peace coming through the Precious Blood of Jesus is more powerful than the sins of the bloodline of the Maranzano family or the Mangano family or your family or my family. This is why God prohibits the ancient “daddy wound” excuse of the fathers eating sour grapes as it somehow transfers to the kids. 2
Although only original sin (not actual sins) transfers down a bloodline, the propensity for sins can indeed transfer down a bloodline, especially when mortal sins are committed under the roof of your children (and yes, pornography and drunkenness are both mortal sins.) This is where I am going to admonish the men reading this blog post to double-down in their vigilance against curses (that come primarily from their own sins) and blessings (literal blessings upon their children) to leave a legacy in their families today. I am going to give five battle-goals in this post.
Why should our vigilance be doubled?
Good Catholic parents keep telling me about their good children who are more frequently showing a propensity for same-sex attraction, transgender feelings, children making strange noises (yes, I know most kids make odd noises, but I mean preternaturally strange noises) as well as a highly-unusual propensity for finding pornography. Even relatively sheltered kids are doing sexual dances without ever having been taught. How is this possible?
It is either through learned behavior via the five-senses or through some type of cultural osmosis or even by demons that come into the home. I had written in an earlier blog post against pornography that a man must not use pornography unless he wants demons to invade his home. I realize this is a rather show-stopping claim, but every exorcist I know will back me up on this claim. Thus, I stick by this original claim.
But now, I am realizing something more scary: Even men who are successfully avoiding pornography and other mortal sins are finding their very young children get into sexual dancing and perverted experiments with themselves or other strange things. Some of this is the common effect of original sin that is only avoided in the childhood accounts of canonized saints. But nowadays, some of these unusual perversions are because the fathers of families are not providing the full gamut of protection prayers and blessings that their children need against the most perverse and pro-death culture in the history of the world. Indeed, refraining from pornography is only the beginning of keeping many demons out of the home. But from what many good Catholic families are now reporting to me, I see: It is not enough.
I want to give my top five suggestions for how men can begin to provide spiritual protection for their families.
Five-Point Battle Plan:
1. Pray at least Five Decades of Daily Rosary with your family. You can no longer afford to say “We try for one decade at night but we have little kids who are too unruly.” Fine. Put the little ones to bed and say the five decades with the kids who can stay awake. Or, if none can stay awake, go to your bed and get on your knees with your wife at your side, and pray five decades of the Rosary with her. Or, perhaps you are waiting for her to lead the family? Men, you must take the initiative of spiritual warfare here, or you will lose. No exagerration here with what I’m coming against even in good Catholic families. You can’t afford to call me an extremist anymore with the preternatural proof I have of what is going on in even sheltered Catholic families. With the current spiritual and cultural war, you can not afford to spiritually lead your family without the minimum of 5 decades of the Rosary a day.
2. Auxilium Christianorum: The exorcist Fr. Ripperger has put together an international team of tens of thousands of lay men and women and priests. They are now praying basic prayers of spiritual protection over their families and over each other from afar. (One laywoman told me that there are now hundreds of thousands of people signed up!) The goal of Auxilium Christianorum is to provide prayers for the members – priests, laity, family and friends – so that they are not adversely affected by the demonic. Because men have the greatest gift of spiritual authority and protection in their families, I suggest as many men as possible enroll in this venture, provided they meet these few requirements. These are the willing ones, the spiritually vigilant warriors who want to fight to get their families to heaven. Auxilium Christianorum has an excellent FAQ here that you should read before signing up.
3. Praise God for His goodness together as a family! This is first because praise is God’s due and secondly because it is our salvation to praise God and thirdly because it unites our families to thank God but as a distant fourth: Praise is exorcismal against Satan. Satan and his legion of demons can not stand a family that praises God. Satan got especially angry at St. Faustina for writing about His goodness: “Do not write about the goodness of God! He is just!”—Satan to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy Diary 1338.
4. Praise your wife and children. By “praise” I do not mean “praise” in the same way as number three above, for the above refers to “latria” in the sense of adoration due only to God. By praise of your family, I mean encouragement and compliments. At least, let your encouragements be as frequent as your corrections.
5. Bless your wife and your children. This is the blessing that is transferred inter-generationally for as many generations as will exist from your progeny until the second coming of Jesus Christ. Imagine this blessing passing through your son, to his son, to your grandson, to the point of leaving a dynastic legacy. Satan can not do this, because his only legacy is de-creation. A humble man becomes God-like by simply blessing his children before they go to bed. This blessing is not to make them feel good (although it will make them feel more protected than living in a fortress!) or encouraged (although it will make them feel like the son or daughter of a warrior!) but because the multi-generational blessing that a father can give his son is real. A blessing is efficacious, meaning it will change world history, as we see in Aaron’s blessing in the Old Testament:
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, Thus you shall bless the people of Israel: you shall say to them,
The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.
“So shall they put my name upon the people of Israel, and I will bless them.”—Numbers 6:22-27
If you’re not good at making up spontaneous prayers, just memorize and pray the bold above, every night upon your wife and children. 3
We long to be blessed by our fathers, to be protected by our fathers, to be praised by our fathers. This is done through blessings, encouragements and protection prayers. Men, I admonish you to begin one or even all of the above five today.
All of Ezekiel 18 is worth reading: The word of the Lord came to me: “What do you mean by repeating this proverb concerning the land of Israel, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’? As I live, declares the Lord God, this proverb shall no more be used by you in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is mine: the soul who sins shall die. “If a man is righteous and does what is just and right— if he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife or approach a woman in her time of menstrual impurity, does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, commits no robbery, gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, does not lend at interest or take any profit, withholds his hand from injustice, executes true justice between man and man, walks in my statutes, and keeps my rules by acting faithfully—he is righteous; he shall surely live, declares the Lord God. “If he fathers a son who is violent, a shedder of blood, who does any of these things (though he himself did none of these things), who even eats upon the mountains, defiles his neighbor’s wife, oppresses the poor and needy, commits robbery, does not restore the pledge, lifts up his eyes to the idols, commits abomination, lends at interest, and takes profit; shall he then live? He shall not live. He has done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon himself. “Now suppose this man fathers a son who sees all the sins that his father has done; he sees, and does not do likewise: he does not eat upon the mountains or lift up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, does not defile his neighbor’s wife, does not oppress anyone, exacts no pledge, commits no robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry and covers the naked with a garment, withholds his hand from iniquity, takes no interest or profit, obeys my rules, and walks in my statutes; he shall not die for his father’s iniquity; he shall surely live. As for his father, because he practiced extortion, robbed his brother, and did what is not good among his people, behold, he shall die for his iniquity. “Yet you say, Why should not the son suffer for the iniquity of the father?’ When the son has done what is just and right, and has been careful to observe all my statutes, he shall surely live. The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not suffer for the iniquity of the father, nor the father suffer for the iniquity of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself. “But if a wicked person turns away from all his sins that he has committed and keeps all my statutes and does what is just and right, he shall surely live; he shall not die. None of the transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him; for the righteousness that he has done he shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die. “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? “Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, declares the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions, lest iniquity be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Lord God; so turn, and live.” ↩
A friend wrote me an email after reading this article tonight and it read: “As a veterinarian, I can tell you that wounds that are licked fester and become extremely gross.” I had never thought of licking wounds this way! ↩
There is a modern myth among conservative Catholics that only a priest can bless people. This is simply not the tradition of the Church. You can find St. Catherine of Siena blessing people. You can find biological fathers blessing their family in all ancient rites of the Catholic Church (Roman, Byzantine, Armenian, Greek, Russian, etc.) To be sure, there are some unique things about a priest’s blessing. First, only a priest carries with him the whole blessing of the Church behind him. Secondly, it is probably best that only the priest bless with his whole arm “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (although I think some non-priestly saints did this occasionally, too.) But certainly, every father of a family can bless his wife and children by tracing the sign of the cross on her forehead as he says the above prayer, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.” Every mother can bless her children in a similar way, but she can not bless her husband this way. This is not to say that she is not holier than him. She probably is holier than her husband! But God established the blessing to go down the latter of spiritual authority, not holiness. This is also why a holy layman should not bless a rotten priest. The layman’s prayers for the priest will be more powerful than vice versa, but we must respect the authority given in a blessing. Finally, I want to give one more reason why you should not be afraid of blessing your children: Satanists and witches have absolutely no qualms about cursing strangers (especially those with big families) with their diabolical hexes, curses and voodoo. Families should not live in fear of these people. Why? Because the curses of Satanists upon children are not as powerful as the blessings that parents bring into their children’s lives…provided the parents are actually blessing their children before bed. Again, just trace the sign of the cross on their forehead as they go to bed and bless them in spontaneous prayer or the above Aaronic blessing. ↩
About 1700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, so he was brought from Israel to Egypt. But due to Joseph’s supernatural ability to interpret Pharaoh’s prophetic dreams, the Pharaoh raised him to Prime Minister of Egypt: Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has shown you all this, there is none so discerning and wise as you are. You shall be over my house, and all my people shall order themselves as you command. Only as regards the throne will I be greater than you.” And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.”—Gen 41:39-41.
Notice that this happens in the first book in the Bible, Genesis. Soon, Joseph’s entire family arrives in Egypt, and things went well for the Jews…for awhile. The next book of the Bible (Exodus) quickly tells us in the first chapter: Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who did not know Joseph.—Exodus 1:8. The Egyptians then enslave the Jews for 430 years, all out of fear for their procreation (as all pagans are always preternaturally afraid of breeders of the true religion.)
Then, around 1200 BC, Moses led millions of Jews out of slavery to modern day Israel. His route is seen in this map here:
Sorry for the poor graphics above, but the two most important mountains in the life of Moses are Mount Sinai and Mount Nebo. Mount Sinai is in the south of the map and Mount Nebo towards the Northeast. Mount Sinai is where Moses obtained the 10 Commandments from God Himself. Mount Nebo is where Moses died and was buried. Between these two mountains, millions of Jews followed the Levites who carried the Ark of the Covenant for forty years. The Ark of the Covenant contained and still contains (somewhere in the world) the manna that God gave the Jews in the wilderness as well as the 10 commandments as well as Aaron’s rod which budded.
The end of Moses’ life is found in Exodus 34: Then Moses went up from the plains of Moab to Mount Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, which is opposite Jericho…And the Lord said to him, “This is the land of which I swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, ‘I will give it to your offspring.’ I have let you see it with your eyes, but you shall not go over there.” So Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord.—Ex 34:1,4-5. So Moses dies on Mount Nebo, within view of the Promised Land, the land of milk and honey, but was not allowed to enter. 1
We will return to Nebo, but for now, lets switch gears and talk about the current location of the Ark of the Covenant.
Steven Spielberg placed the Ark in his movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark, in Egypt:
Spielberg would have been more historical to place the Ark in Ethiopia, since the Ethiopian Orthodox actually claim to this day that the Ark of the Covenant is located at their very own St. Mary of Zion Church in Axum. In fact, Smithsonian Magazine did a story on this.
But Catholics have a book of the Bible that Steven Spielberg did not know about: Maccabees. Our Catholic Bible actually tells us where to find the Ark of the Covenant today: On Mount Nebo (Before going further, if you doubt that Maccabees is canonical and inspired by God, please read yesterday’s blog post proving the canonicity of the Catholic Bible above and beyond the newer, cut-up Protestant Bible.)
Now we return to Mount Nebo: About 1050 years after the death of Moses and 150 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, a Jewish-Greek author wrote Maccabees in Greek under inspiration by the Holy Spirit around 150 BC. In it, he describes where to find the Ark of the Covenant. It turns out that the prophet Jeremiah hid it on Mount Nebo around 600 BC! The Bible tells us in 2 Maccabees:
It is also found in the records, that Jeremiah the prophet commanded them that were carried away to take of the fire, as it hath been signified: And how that the prophet, having given them the law, charged them not to forget the commandments of the Lord, and that they should not err in their minds, when they see images of silver and gold, with their ornaments. And with other such speeches exhorted he them, that the law should not depart from their hearts. It was also contained in the same writing, that the prophet, being warned of God, commanded the tabernacle and the ark to go with him, as he went forth into the mountain, where Moses climbed up, and saw the heritage of God. [Mt. Nebo] And when Jeremiah came thither, he found an hollow cave, wherein he laid the tabernacle, and the ark, and the altar of incense, and so stopped the door. And some of those that followed him came to mark the way, but they could not find it. Which when Jeremiah perceived, he blamed them, saying, ‘As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gather His people again together, and receive them unto mercy. Then shall the Lord shew them these things, and the glory of the Lord shall appear, and the cloud also, as it was shewed under Moses, and as when Solomon desired that the place might be honourably sanctified.’—2 Macc 2:1-8
Notice that the author (around 150 BC) is describing something spoken by the prophet Jeremiah (who died around 600 BC.) The Maccabean author shows that although Jeremiah revealed that the Ark of the Covenant is buried somewhere on Mount Nebo, we are not to know exactly where it is. In fact, future generations will not know exactly where it is until “God gathers His people again and receives them into mercy.”—2 Macc 2:7. Although this could be anytime in the New Covenant (after the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ) we have no evidence that the Ark has been discovered, unless the Ethiopians provide some evidence (which they haven’t, and won’t, because their tradition is to not show the goods.)
However, I believe that if we look at the Greek of 2 Macc 2:7, we will find something very interesting: ἄγνωστος ὁ τόπος ἔσται, ἕως ἂν συναγάγῃ ὁ Θεὸς ἐπισυναγωγὴν τοῦ λαοῦ καὶ ἵλεως γένηται· καὶ ὀφθήσεται ἡ δόξα τοῦ Κυρίου καὶ ἡ νεφέλη.—2 Macc 2:7-8.
I will transliterate this Greek as best as I can with the underlining coordinated to the above underlining: Unknown the place will be until God synagogues the synagogue of the people and becomes mercy and the glory of the Lord is shown in the cloud. Notice that this is a play on words, namely, that the noun “synagogue” (meaning a gathering) can being used as a verb, “gathering.” So, the location of the Ark of the Covenant is not going to happen until God “gathers the gathering” or “synagogues the synagogue” (!!!)
What could this possibly mean? I believe this is a reference to the end of the world, when God will gather the Jews into the Catholic Church.
The first proof we have of this is through St. Paul: For I would not have you ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, (lest you should be wise in your own conceits), that blindness in part has happened in Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles should come in. And so all Israel should be saved, as it is written: There shall come out of Sion, he that shall deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.—Romans 11:25-26. St. Paul certainly did not mean that every Jew will go to heaven, but that Israel will have her eyes opened to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, and that there will be a massive influx of Jews into the Catholic Church at the end of time. This new Catechism of the Catholic Church also holds this:
The glorious Messiah’s coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by “all Israel”, for “a hardening has come upon part of Israel” in their “unbelief” toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: “Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.” St. Paul echoes him: “For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?” The “full inclusion” of the Jews in the Messiah’s salvation, in the wake of “the full number of the Gentiles,” will enable the People of God to achieve “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”, in which “God may be all in all.”—CCC 674
Thus, the Ark of the Covenant is still located on Mount Nebo near the Dead Sea and Jericho but the specific location will probably not be revealed until near the end of the world.
As the prophet Jeremiah promised in the Bible: As for that place, it shall be unknown until the time that God gather His people again together, and receive them unto mercy.—2 Macc 2:7
Eschatologically, remember: Mary is the new Ark of the Covenant as she carried the law of love in her heart as well as the bread from heaven, Jesus Christ (John 6). Remember: The Ark of the Covenant is always considered in typology to be the pre-eminent type or symbol of Mary in the Old Testament because her visit to Elizabeth (Luke 1) reflecting the rejoicing of King David when the Ark of the Lord came to Him (2 Sam 6-7) Remember: Mary is the exemplar of the Church—she to whom the Church is striving to be in heaven at the end of time. Remember: Mary’s body in heaven but entirely genetically Jewish, making her the full daughter of Zion in the heavenly Jerusalem.
Put this all together and you have the obvious conclusion that: Mary is to be the Mother of the Jewish people at the end of the world, when she is to be revealed as the new Ark of the Covenant as well as the mother of the Eucharist and the true daughter of Zion and the Jewish people. God will then “synagogue His synagogue” of Jews as they recognize Jesus Christ as God, friend, Savior and Messiah, and the original Ark of the Covenant will be found on Mount Nebo with the 10 Commandments, Aaron’s sprouted rod and even the manna from heaven.
Or…the Ethiopians already have it:
St. Mary of Zion Church in Axum, Ethiopia.
My friend took the main picture of this blog post way up at the top at Mount Nebo. Although that is desert, it should be noted that Jerusalem, just a short drive West of Nebo, looks more like Napa Valley in California. I do not know why so many mindless American Bible movies film the life of Jesus in modern-day deserts, like Morocco or Wyoming when they should be filming in rural northern California if they wanted to be accurate. ↩
This is by Joel Peters. It is taken from Twenty One Reasons to Reject Sola Scriptura.
One historical fact which proves extremely convenient for the Protestant is the fact that the canon of the Bible – the authoritative list of exactly which books are part of inspired Scripture – was not settled and fixed until the end of the 4th century. Until that time, there was much disagreement over which Biblical writings were considered inspired and Apostolic in origin. The Biblical canon varied from place to place: Some lists contained books that were later defined as non-canonical, while other lists failed to include books which were later defined as canonical. For example, there were Early Christian writings which were considered by some to be inspired and Apostolic and which were actually read in Christian public worship, but which were later omitted from the New Testament canon. These include The Shepherd of Hermas, The Epistle of Barnabas, and The Didache, among others. 1
It was not until the Synod of Rome (382) and the Councils of Hippo (393) and Carthage (397) that we find a definitive list of canonical books being drawn up, and each of these Councils acknowledged the very same list of books. 2 From this point on, there is in practice no dispute about the canon of the Bible, the only exception being the so-called Protestant Reformers, who entered upon the scene in 1517, an unbelievable 11 centuries later. Once again, there are two fundamental questions for which one cannot provide answers that are consonant with Sola Scriptura: A) Who or what served as the final Christian authority up to the time that the New Testament’s canon was identified? B) And if there was a final authority that the Protestant recognizes before the establishment of the canon, on what basis did that authority cease being final once the Bible’s canon was established?
Much to their chagrin, Protestants are actually guilty of violating their own doctrine. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura prohibits anyone from adding to or deleting from the Bible, but Protestants have, in fact, deleted seven entire books from the Old Testament, as well as portions of two others. The books in question, which are wrongly termed “the Apocrypha” (“not authentic”) by Protestants, are called the “deuterocanonical” (“second canon”) books by Catholics: they are Tobias (Tobit), Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach), and Baruch. Portions of Daniel and Esther are also missing.
In defense of their deficient Old Testament canon, Protestants invariably present one or more of the following arguments: 1) the shorter, Pharisaic (or Palestinian) canon 3 of the Old Testament was accepted by Christ and His Apostles, as they never quoted from the deuterocanonical books; 2) the Old Testament was closed by the time of Christ, and it was the shorter canon; 3) the Jews themselves accepted the shorter, Pharisaic canon at the Council of Jamnia (or Javneh) in 90 A.D.; and 4) the deuterocanonical books contain unscriptural material.
Each of the [above] arguments is wholly flawed. [Here is why]:
1) Regarding the claim that Christ and His Apostles accepted the shorter, Pharisaic canon, an examination of the New Testament’s quotation of the Old Testament will demonstrate its fallacy. The New Testament quotes the Old Testament about 350 times, and in approximately 300 of those instances (86%), the quotation is taken from the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament in widespread use at the time of Christ. The Septuagint contained the dueterocanonical books. It is therefore unreasonable and presumptuous to say that Christ and His Apostles accepted the shorter Old Testament canon, as the clear majority of the time they used an Old Testament version which did contain the seven books in question.
Or, take the case of Saint Paul, whose missionary journeys and letters were directed to Hellenistic regions outside of Palestine. It has been noted, for example, that his sermon at Antioch in Pisidia “presupposed a thorough acquaintance among his hearers with the Septuagint” and that once a Christian community had been founded, the content of his letters to its members” breathed the Septuagint. 4 Obviously, Saint Paul was supporting the longer canon of the Old Testament by his routine appeal to the Septuagint.
Moreover, it is erroneous to say either that the deutero-canonical books were never quoted by Christ 5 and His apostles or that such citation is a prerequisite for a book’s inclusion in the Biblical canon. According to one list, the deutero-canonical books are cited or alluded to in the New Testament not less than 150 times! 6 In addition, there are Old Testament books, such as Ecclesiastes, Esther and Abdias (Obadiah), which are not quoted by Christ or the Apostles, but which are nonetheless included in the Old Testament canon (both Catholic and Protestant). Obviously, then, citation by Christ or the Apostles does not singlehandedly determine canonicity.
2) Regarding the claim that Christ and the Apostles worked with a closed Old Testament canon – which Protestants maintain was the shorter canon – the historical evidence undermines the allegation. First, there was no entity known as the Palestinian canon, for there were actually three canons in use in Palestine at that time, 7 in addition to the Septuagint canon. And second, the evidence demonstrates that “Judaism in the last two centuries B.C. and in the first century A.D. was by no means uniform in its understanding of which of its writings were considered sacred. There were many views both inside and outside of Israel in the first centuries B.C. and A.D. on which writings were deemed sacred.” 8
3) Using the Council of Jamnia in support of a shorter canon is manifestly problematic for the following reasons: a) The decisions of a Jewish council which was held more than 50 years after the Resurrection of Christ are in no way binding on the Christian community, just as the ritual laws of Judaism (e.g., the prohibition against eating pork) are not binding on Christians. b) It is questionable whether or not the council made final decisions about the Old Testament canon of Scripture, since “the list of books acknowledged to ‘defile the hands’ continued to vary within Judaism itself up through the 4th century A.D.” 9 c) The council was, to some extent, a polemic directed specifically against the “sect” of Christianity, and its tone, therefore, was inherently opposed to Christianity. These Jews most likely accepted the shorter Pharisaic canon precisely because the early Christians accepted the longer Septuagint canon. d) The decisions of this council represented the judgment of just one branch of Pharisaic Judaism within Palestine and not of Judaism as a whole.
4) Lastly, for Protestants to aver that the duetero-canonical books contain unscriptural material is decidedly a case of unwarranted dogmatism. This conclusion was reached simply because the so-called Reformers, who were clearly antagonistic toward the Catholic Church, approached the Bible with an a priori notion that it teaches “Reformed” (Protestant) doctrine. They discarded the deutero-canonical books because in certain instances these books contain decidedly Catholic doctrine, as in the case of 2 Maccabees 12:42-46, which clearly supports the doctrine of prayers for the dead and hence of Purgatory: It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins.—2 Macc 12:46. Luther, in fact, wanted to discard also the New Testament books of Revelation and James, the latter of which he termed an “epistle of straw” and which he felt had “nothing evangelical about it” 10 – no doubt because it clearly states that we are saved by faith and works (cf. James 2:14-26), in contrast to Luther’s erroneous “faith alone” doctrine. Luther was ultimately persuaded by his friends to retain these books.
In addition to the above is the fact of historical testimony and continuity regarding the canon of the Bible. While we have seen that there were disputes regarding the Biblical canon, two considerations are nonetheless true: 1) the deuterocanonical books were certainly used by Christians from the 1st century onward, beginning with Our Lord and His disciples, and 2) once the issue of the canon was settled in the 4th century, we see no change in Christian practice regarding the canon from that point onward. In practice, the only challenge to and disregard of these two realities occurs when the so-called Reformers arrive on the scene in the 16th century and decide that they can simply trash an 11-centuries-long continuity regarding the canon’s formal existence and a nearly 15-centuries-long continuity regarding its practical existence.
The fact that any individual would come along and single-handedly alter such a continuity regarding so central an issue as which books comprise the Bible should give the sincere follower of Christ serious pause. Such a follower is compelled to ask, “By whose authority does this individual make such a major change?” Both history and Luther’s own writings show that Luther’s actions were based on nothing but his own personal say-so. Surely such an “authority” falls grossly short of that which is needed for the canonical change he espoused, especially considering that he process of identifying the Bible’s canon was guided by the Holy Spirit, took centuries, and involved some of the greatest minds in Christianity as well as several Church Councils. More disturbing still is the fact that the other so-called Reformers – and Protestants ever since – have followed suit by accepting Luther’s changed canon, yet all the while they claim to honor the Bible and insist that nothing can be added to or deleted from it.—Joel Peters
Henry G. Graham, Where We Got the Bible: Our Debt to the Catholic Church (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1911; Rockford, IL: TAN, 1977, 17th printing), pp. 34-35. ↩
“This list is the same as the list given in the Church’s final, definitive, explicit, infallible declaration as to which books are to be included in the Bible, which was made by the Council of Trent, Session IV, in 1546. Earlier lists of canonical books were the list in the “Decretal of Gelasius,” which was issued by authority of Pope Damasus in 382, and the canon of Pope Saint Innocent I, which was sent to a Frankish bishop in 405. Neither document was intended to be an infallible statement binding the whole Church, but both documents include the same 73 books as the list of Trent some 11 centuries later.”—The Catholic Encyclopedia [New York: The Encyclopedia Press, 1913], Vol. 3, p. 272). ↩
The Pharisaic canon, which was used by Jews in Palestine, did not contain the deuterocanonical books. The Septuagint or Alexandrian canon, which was used largely by Jews living in the Dispersion (i.e., Hellenistic regions outside of Palestine), did contain the deuterocanonical books. ↩
W. H. C. Frend [Protestant author], The Rise of Christianity (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1984), pp. 99-100. ↩
For some examples, compare the following passages: Matt. 6:14-15 with Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 28:2; Matt. 6:7 with Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 7:15(14); Matt. 7:12 with Tobit (Tobias) 4:16(15); Luke 12:18-20 with Sirach 11:19 (Ecclus. 11:19-20); Acts 10:34 with Ecclus. 35:15 (Sirach 35:12); Acts 10:26 with Wisdom 7:1; and Matt. 8:11 with Baruch 4:37 ↩
Lee Martin McDonald [Protestant author], The Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon, Appendix A (Nashville, TN: The Parthenon Press, 1988). (Listing entitled “New Testament Citations and Allusions to Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphal Writings,” adapted from The Text of the New Testament, by Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, two well-known Biblical scholars.) ↩
They include a) the Qumran canon, which we know of from the Dead Sea Scrolls, b) the Pharisaic canon, and c) the Sadducees/Samaritan canon, which included only the Torah (the first books of the Old Testament) ↩
42. Lee Martin McDonald [Protestant author], The Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon, Appendix A (Nashville, TN: The Parthenon Press, 1988). (Listing entitled “New Testament Citations and Allusions to Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphal Writings,” adapted from The Text of the New Testament, by Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, two well-known Biblical scholars.) p. 53 ↩
Lee Martin McDonald [Protestant author], The Formation of the Christian Biblical Canon, Appendix A (Nashville, TN: The Parthenon Press, 1988). (Listing entitled “New Testament Citations and Allusions to Apocryphal and Pseudepigraphal Writings,” adapted from The Text of the New Testament, by Kurt Aland and Barbara Aland, two well-known Biblical scholars.) p. 60 ↩
Hartmann Grisar, S.J., Martin Luther: His Life and Work (B. Herder, 1930; Westminster, MD: The Newman Press, 1961), p. 426. ↩