Today we are going to look at what two British Cardinals of the 19th century wrote about the last group of Catholics. The first paragraph comes from Cardinal Newman:
This is what I have to say about the last persecution and its signs. And surely it is profitable to think about it, though we be quite mistaken in the detail. For instance, after all perhaps it may not be a persecution of blood and death, but of craft and subtlety only—not of miracles, but of natural wonders and powers of human skill, human acquirements in the hands of the devil. Satan may adopt the more alarming weapons of deceit—he may hide himself—he may attempt to seduce us in little things, and so to move Christians, not all at once, but by little and little from their true position. We know he has done much in this way in the course of the last centuries. It is his policy to split us up and divide us, to dislodge us gradually from off our rock of strength. And if there is to be a persecution, perhaps it will be then; then, perhaps, when we are all of us in all parts of Christendom so divided, and so reduced, so full of schism, so close upon heresy.—Cardinal Newman, Lecture 4, The Persecution of Antichrist, 1838.
Notice that Cardinal Newman shows that the loss of faith will be more subtle than what most Catholics expect. He wrote, “Satan may adopt the more alarming weapons of deceit—he may hide himself—he may attempt to seduce us in little things, and so to move Christians, not all at once, but by little and little from their true position.”
But now, even conservative non-traditional Catholics are awakening to see that the heresy of modernism has fully unveiled itself in all its ugliness. We probably got here because we were seduced “in little things,” as Cardinal Newman wrote. Although there are many bloody Christian martyrs in China and Egypt today, those who stand for orthodoxy in the West may also be fulfilling the above words of Cardinal Newman in a pattern of white-martyrdom: “After all, perhaps it may not be a persecution of blood and death, but of craft and subtlety only.”
The other Englishman, Cardinal Manning, also wrote about his predictions of the final age of the Catholic Church back in the 19th century:
The apostasy of the city of Rome from the vicar of Christ and its destruction by Antichrist may be thoughts so new to many Catholics, that I think it well to recite the text of theologians of greatest repute. First Malvenda, who writes expressly on the subject, states as the opinion of Ribera, Gaspar Melus, Biegas, Suarrez, Bellarmine and Bosius that Rome shall apostatise from the faith, drive away the Vicar of Christ and return to its ancient paganism. …Then the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible hidden in catacombs, in dens, in mountains, in lurking places; for a time it shall be swept, as it were from the face of the earth. Such is the universal testimony of the Fathers of the early Church.—Cardinal Manning, The Present Crisis of the Holy See, 1861.
Notice that the Cardinal predicted a day when the true Vicar of Christ would be “driven away.” That day, he asserts, would be concurrent with Rome “return[ing] to its ancient paganism.” Does this remind anyone B16’s forced-resignation being followed by Pachamama worship? It also seems Cardinal Manning practically prophesies the effects of Traditiones Custodes upon the entire TLM-community: “Then the Church shall be scattered, driven into the wilderness, and shall be for a time, as it was in the beginning, invisible hidden in catacombs.”
I write these things not to depress traditionalists, but to show that the Catholics found on God’s side at the end of time have been prophesied to be in the extreme minority. So, keep the ancient faith and liturgy and you’ll be on the winning team, even if your tribe be very small.