In a country (the U.S., and elsewhere) completely in the black with no public Masses, we implore all faithful Catholics to make a spiritual Communion with every Hail Mary they pray. All that is necessary is that, either orally or silently, we pray “Come into my heart” at every mention of the Name of Jesus. Please read our article The Rosary: The Way of Perfection for inspiration in regard to this practice. And please include the intention for your own personal purification, and the purification of the whole Church.
Below is Part III of our series on the Gift of Fear of the Lord and the Beatitude of Poverty of Spirit, titled The Abandoned Sacraments. It is an article which we think is enormously important for understanding the present loss of the power of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Church, especially in regard to its response to the coronavirus epidemic. The other parts of this series are linked at the bottom of the left sidebar menu.
The Abandoned Sacraments
“In the days of peace that are to come after the desolation of revolutions and wars before the end of the world – Christians will become so lax in their religion that they will refuse the sacrament of Confirmation, saying that it is unnecessary. And when the false prophet, the precursor of Antichrist, comes, all who are confirmed will stand fast in their faith, and only a few will renounce Christ.” (St. Vincent Ferrer).
“And strength was given him against the continual sacrifice, because of sins: and truth shall be cast down on the ground….” (Daniel 8:12).
In consideration of St. Vincent Ferrer’s prophecy quoted above, it might seem to be of great significance that the devaluation and abandonment of the sacrament of Confirmation would come “in the days of peace” before the end of the world. This clearly speaks of a peace that is not of Christ, but rather a peace established between Christians and the world. Our Lord declared: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, do I give unto you.” (John 14: 27). The peace that the world offers to Christians, on the other hand, is completely rejected by Our Lord:
“Do not think that I came to send peace upon this earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword. For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s enemies shall be they of his own household.” (Mt. 10: 34-36)).
The peace of Christ – the peace which is of God – is at war with the peace of this world. When we speak of the “world”, we are of course speaking of all that is opposed to God. This world of false peace exists both within and without. And if we should propose a peace with either one, or both, of these “worlds”, we are at the same time betraying Christ.
The “world” that exists within us consists of all the tendencies and temptations which are the malevolent fruits of original sin: the threefold concupiscence so aptly delineated by St. John – “the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world”. It consists of all that is rooted in, and springs from, that self-love which draws us “away from” standing upright before God in the radiance and purity of His Truth, and with the full acknowledgment that all we possess is a Gift from Him. Peace with this world entails spiritual death.
But there also exists in each one of our lives an enormously seductive call to peace from a world outside of us, of which Satan is the “prince” and “god” ( John 12:31, 14: 30, 2 Cor. 4:4). This entails not only all the allurements of the flesh with which the world attempts to entice and enslave us, but also of that constant siren-like call which ever tempts us to pull “away from” the fullness and radiance of the Truths of Christ through denial, compromise, and silence. This is this world which we explored in Part I of this series, using specifically the issue of Pro-Life, and it is this world that has been deeply inculterated into the depths of our minds and hearts through participation in the political and social life of pluralistic and relativistic democracies.
Seeking peace with this “world”, both within and without, is therefore the penultimate expression of that “impurity of mixture” of Christians with the world which we analyzed in the Introduction to this series of articles, and which St. Thomas identified with that tepidity and lukewarmness towards God which will necessitate the Final Conflagration which precedes the Final Judgment.
The sacrament of Confirmation was instituted by God to impart the fullness of power necessary to live the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in combat with the spirit of this world.
St. Thomas teaches that Confirmation is a twofold sacrament, possessing both an interior and also an exterior action: it is the sacrament of interior sanctification (holiness), and also the sacrament of exterior spiritual combat (III, Q.72, A.4, ad.3). It is therefore the sacrament through which we receive the grace which establishes us in “the peace of Christ, which is not of this world” (interior holiness), while at the same time empowering us as the Church Militant in combat with the world. Any falsification of the dispositions necessary to receive Confirmation therefore necessarily results, not only in nullifying the process of our own spiritual growth, but also of surrendering us to the spirit of Antichrist always seeking our prostitution to this world.
Confirmation is the Sacrament of Christian perfection. St. Thomas states that Baptism and Confirmation “can nowise be separated save by death intervening (III, Q.72, a.12, ad1).” Just as conception and birth are the bearers of simple human life, while maturity of growth brings this physical life to perfection – so Baptism establishes us in spiritual regeneration, while Confirmation is meant to bring the spiritual life to perfection (III, Q.2m A.1). It is the sacrament through which the human heart is given totally over to Christ and His action through the Holy Spirit. We are seriously wrong therefore if we think that Confirmation is a sacrament which is somehow inferior to Baptism. Baptism without the subsequent spiritual maturity and perfection which are the intended fruits of the Sacrament of Confirmation can be compared in the physical order to the child that is born but never develops into maturity. The latter is a sort of physical tragedy; the former is a tragic miscarriage of the whole spiritual life.
If we were to stand in the figurative shoes of Satan (God forbid), then we might be able to comprehend what a wonderful thing (from the standpoint of Hell) it is for the Sacrament of Confirmation to be devalued. The denial of baptism to a child would of course be a very desired thing; but how much more desirable would be the accomplishment of sanctifying grace once received through baptism, but now deformed and defiled? We can therefore well understand that, along with actual Eucharistic sacrilege, the abandonment of Confirmation (either through rejection of its reception, or through distortion of its meaning and application) might be a premier goal of Satan.
This is precisely what happened in the wake of Vatican Council II.
The Sacrament of Confirmation Prostituted to the World
As we have seen, Confirmation is the sacrament of maturity in living the power and life which is received through the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is this power which protects the Church from invasion by the spirit of Antichrist. It protects her doctrine, sacraments, catechesis, the integrity and purity of her priesthood and the life of religious, the Catholic integrity of the laity, and her entire spiritual health. Exteriorly, it is the source of the power and grace that has to do with the evangelization of the world and conversion of souls to Christ and His saving Truth. Any honest evaluation of each and every one of these areas of contemporary Catholic life leads to the obvious conclusion that this power has now been profoundly diminished, or even destroyed.
As we have seen in the previous articles in this series, the absolute foundation of all the other Gifts of the Holy Spirit, and therefore of all the power necessary to combat Satan in his work to destroy the Church, is established upon the First of these Gifts: Fear of the Lord. It is this Gift which establishes us in that fundamental posture before God of submitting to the radiant Truth that “every best gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, now shadow of alteration.” (James 1:17). And this in turn establishes us in that two-fold wholesome fear, absolutely necessary to each one of us in our fallen state: fear of God and His justice, and fear of the depths of duplicity and treachery within each of our own souls.
It is this “Fear of the Lord” which was totally eliminated from the Rite of Confirmation in the wake of Vatican II. If we may take the metaphor of “foundation” to its logical conclusion, all the crumbling down of traditional Catholic belief and practice in the wake of Vatican II may be seen as the abandoning, and “taking out of the way”, and stripping from Catholic consciousness, of the concept of “Fear of the Lord”.
In the Traditional Rite, the Bishop extends his hands over the heads of the confirmands, and prays for them to receive the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, naming each one in turn. The last one of these assumed the formula: “Fill them with the spirit of fear of the Lord.”
The Revised Rite of Confirmation was approved by Pope Paul VI in 1971, and imposed upon all the faithful as being obligatory by January 1, 1973. The above formula was changed to: “fill them with the spirit of awe and wonder in your presence.”
It should be obvious from what we have written above, and also in our previous articles on this subject, that Fear of the Lord can in no way be equated with the phrase “awe and wonder in your presence”. We may feel awe and wonder in the presence of a sunset, a magnificently performed symphony, or a newborn baby; but none of these approaches any of the depths contained within the concept of fear of the Lord. All we have to do to see the falsification involved here is to substitute the word “fear” for the words “awe” or “reverence”. We do not feel fear in the presence of a sunset, a symphony, or a baby. In having equated fear of the Lord with any such notions of wonder and reverence, those who are responsible for such an absurdity are guilty of a profound distortion of the Catholic Faith.
But in order to understand the extent of the damage done to the collective minds and hearts of virtually all Catholics (and not just confirmands), we need to realize that this falsification of the most fundamentally necessary Gift of the Holy Spirit penetrated everywhere – into virtually all catechisms, the prayers distributed in churches for Church renewal, every form of religious publications, and media of all sorts. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, for instance, passes this bastardized version on to all the faithful in its teaching and explanation of the Rite of Confirmation (#1299): “Fill them with the spirit of awe and wonder in your presence.”
In 2016, as a result of the work of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), the Vatican finally approved a change back to the traditional form of this prayer: “Fill them with the spirit of fear of the Lord”. By this time (over a period of 43 years), however, the devastation was complete. The “bowels” of virtually all Catholics had been stripped of the depths of meaning to be found in the concept of “fear of the Lord”. The overall effect would therefore be to simply identify such “fear” with friendly feelings of awe and wonder. A perfect example of such “identification” is The United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, published by the US Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB). On page 233, during its discussion on the sacrament of Confirmation, it explicitly equates “fear of the Lord” with “awe and reverence in His presence”.
The immediate effect of this stripping away of the concept of fear of the Lord was the emasculation of all that constitutes Catholic faith and life.. No longer was the Catholic Faith seen as being something which required militancy and a spirit of combat. No longer was the fundamental mission of the Christian to be seen as “bringing into captivity [beginning with ourselves] every understanding unto the obedience of Christ.” (2 Cor. 10: 5). This emasculation permeated everywhere, and severely undermined all areas of Catholic faith and practice. It produced a kind of universal ecumenism, the poisonous vapors of which have sapped virtually all courage and manliness out of the Church. As examined in our article The First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden, it is this loss of courage and fortitude in defense of Christ which reduced the vast majority of priests and bishops to silence in the pulpit in regard to all those sins and infidelities which have almost surely rendered at least 80% of the receptions of Holy Communions in this country to be acts of objective sacrilege.
It is also this loss of courage and fortitude – ironically rooted in a loss of fear of the Lord, and the bold trust in the ways and grace of God which such fear engenders in the human soul – which has now led to the spectacle of Pope, Cardinals, and Bishops responding to the coronavirus pandemic by cancelling Masses, closing Churches, and hiding behind both spiritual and physical walls built with the mortar of their own prostitutions to the secular world.
When faced with all the terrors (including pestilences) which are to come upon us from this world towards the End, the Gospel of Luke offers us two radically opposed responses from which we may choose. The first of these is to “look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand.” (Luke 21:28).” This is the response of all those who stand upright in holy fear of the Lord, and in the firm knowledge and expectation that “every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no change, nor shadow of alteration.” (James 1:17). The only appropriate responses to something like the coronavirus pandemic are increased Masses, increased Eucharistic Adoration, increased Processions, and increased prayer and unity in prayer. This is what the Polish bishops have called for to protect the people of their nation, and they are virtually alone in their united effort.
At the opposite pole are those who, having turned away from the power and grace of God, turn to the ways of man; and having betrayed their trust in God, are met with despair and a very different sort of fear:
“Then they shall begin to say to the mountains: Fall upon us; and to the hills Cover us.” (Luke 23:30).
And they shall go into the holes of rocks, and into the caves of the earth from the face of the fear of the Lord, and from the glory of his majesty, when he shall rise up to strike the earth.” (Is. 2: 21).
This emasculation of the Catholic Faith through denial of the Gift of Fear of the Lord was, of course, in need of a theological justification which completely inverted the Catholic Faith. This justification was very recently put on display for us in a very explicit and succinct manner by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The Complete Inversion of the Catholic Faith
In October of 2015, Benedict XVI participated in a discussion and interview with Fr. Jacques Servais concerning the Catholic concepts of Faith and Justification. It provides an invaluable source for enlightening us as to the deepest source of that “New Theology” which is the root cause of the attempt to eliminate the concept of “fear of the Lord” from Catholic consciousness, which we have examined above. It also establishes a union of hearts between Benedict and the thinking and policies of Francis in regard to an agenda which seeks to transform the traditional Catholic concept of Justification into a pastoral program of universal mercy and inclusiveness.
The heart of this transformation lies, according to Pope Benedict, in a rethinking of the Catholic concept of “justification by faith”. The passages which are most expressive of this “rethinking” are to be found in a dramatic exchange between Pope Benedict and Jacques Servais which occurs approximately in the middle of the Interview:
Benedict XVI: It seems to me that in the theme of divine mercy is expressed in a new way what is meant by justification by faith. Starting from the mercy of God, which everyone is looking for, it is possible even today to interpret anew the fundamental nucleus of the doctrine of justification, and have it appear again in all its relevance.
Servais: When Anselm says that Christ had to die on the cross to repair the infinite offense that had been made to God, and in this way to restore the shattered order, he uses a language which is difficult for modern man to accept (cfr. Gs 215.ss iv). Expressing oneself in this way, one risks likely to project onto God an image of a God of wrath, relentless toward the sin of man, with feelings of violence and aggression comparable with what we can experience ourselves. How is it possible to speak of God’s justice without potentially undermining the certainty, deeply established among the faithful, that the God of the Christians is a God “rich in mercy”? (Ephesians 2:4).
We need to note here that St. Anselm of Canterbury’s (1033-1109) view of Justification has been adopted by the Church, especially in the doctrine defined by the Council of Trent. It establishes that Christ’s infinite sacrifice was a totally gratuitous act of a loving God, offered not only to satisfy God’s justice in respect of the punishment due to man’s original sin, but also in satisfaction for the offense offered by man against the infinite Majesty, Glory and Goodness of God. The key notion to be considered here is the absolute gratuitousness of God’s action. There was no necessity or obligation on God’s part whatsoever. Man’s act of rebellion against an infinitely good God was fully worthy of eternal abandonment and punishment.
Benedict XVI: The conceptuality of St. Anselm has now become for us incomprehensible. It is our job to try again to understand the truth that lies behind this mode of expression. For my part I offer three points of view on this point.
Before moving on to further examination of these “three points of view, it is absolutely necessary to understand what has already been accomplished by Benedict’s new way of conceptualization in regard to justification by faith. The concept of a God demanding Justice has been eliminated. At least four times in the course of this interview Benedict specifically identifies such a view with believing in a cruel God. In his entire interview he in fact never mentions God’s justice without identifying it with cruelty. Thus:
“Only where there is mercy does cruelty end, only with mercy do evil and violence end. Pope Francis is totally in agreement with this line. His pastoral practice is expressed in the fact that he continually speaks to us of God’s mercy. It is mercy that moves us toward God, while justice frightens us before Him.”
There is here, in Benedict’s view no value in the concept of God’s Justice as leading us towards Him, or towards His Mercy. Justice and Mercy are diametrically opposed. This of course necessitates the elimination of “fear of the Lord” as being integral and necessary to the “beginning of wisdom” and therefore the foundation of the entire Catholic spiritual life. We must also note, as evidenced in this passage, the deep union of hearts between the theology of Benedict and the pastoral work of Francis.
When we now come to examine Benedict’s first point necessary for “overcoming” the conceptuality of Anselm, we encounter the second and third instances of Benedict identifying cruelty with the notion of God’s Justice:
“The contrast between the Father, who insists in an absolute way on justice, and the Son who obeys the Father and, obedient, accepts the cruel demands of justice, is not only incomprehensible today, but, from the point of view of Trinitarian theology, is in itself all wrong.”
“The Father and the Son are one and therefore their will is intrinsically one. When the Son in the Garden of Olives struggles with the will of the Father, it is not a matter of accepting for himself a cruel disposition of God, but rather of attracting humanity into the very will of God. We will have to come back again, later, to the relationship of the two wills of the Father and of the Son.”
We must here add a bit of theological commentary. Catholic theology has always recognized the unity of Will between the Father and Son. The cruelty suffered by the Son in obedience to the Father, was at the hands of men, and was not seen as the Son subjecting himself to the cruelty of the Father. Rather, it was viewed as a true unity of wills between Father and Son necessary for the satisfaction of Justice in accord with the one divine nature of both Father and Son. What is unique here in the thought of Benedict is that this demand of Divine Justice has ceased to exist, and is replaced solely by an act of Divine Mercy which seeks to attract men. This attraction is, of course, an evolutionary process, devoid of any justification for judgment and condemnation.
This brings us to the second point which Benedict offers us in regard to a “new way” of understanding justification. At the beginning of the long paragraph in which he discusses this point, he simply begins by asking, “So why the cross and atonement?” After talking about the immense amount of cruelty and suffering present in the world, he offers the following answer:
“Above I quoted the theologian for whom God had to suffer for his sins in regard to the world [because of all the horrible things in the world and in the face of the misery of being human, all of which ultimately depends on Him]. Now, due to this reversal of perspective, the following truths emerge: God simply cannot leave ‘as is’ the mass of evil that comes from the freedom that he himself has granted. Only He, coming to share in the world’s suffering, can redeem the world.”
Here we arrive at the crux of Benedict’s solution. The “reversal of perspective” which he sees as absolutely essential to modern man and the survival of his faith is to cease viewing man as being under compulsion to satisfy God’s Justice, but rather to view God as under compulsion to show man mercy. As he says elsewhere in his interview, “…the man of today has in a very general way the sense that God cannot let most of humanity be damned. In this sense, the concern for the personal salvation of souls typical of past times has for the most part disappeared.”
The third point simply brings this compulsion of God towards mercy to a conclusion in what Benedict calls the “poverty of God”. The Father must share inwardly the sufferings of the Son. Benedict in fact quotes Henri de Lubac who attributes passion to God, and not only to God the Son in His Incarnation, but also to Christ previous to the incarnation, and to the Father Himself. In thus having the very nature of God immersed in the passion of creation, Benedict logically eliminates belief in a God who is ontologically distinct from His creation, and therefore in any position to demand justice. He concludes this point with the a passage in which he again identifies the concept of justice with a cruelty unworthy of God: “It is not a matter of a cruel justice, not a matter of the Father’s fanaticism, but rather of the truth and the reality of creation: the true intimate overcoming of evil that ultimately can be realized only in the suffering of love.” As we have seen in our analysis of the Benedict’s new conceptualization of the Catholic faith, it is in fact not a matter of justice at all, but rather of a compulsory mercy on the part of a God who is truly united in His deepest essence to all of creation.
We also cannot fail to mention that Benedict’s new concept of mercy not only frees man from fear of God’s Justice, but involves a “reversal of perspective” in respect to the act of faith itself. This is certainly logical. If the concepts of “justice” and “justification” are reversed, so also must the entire concept of “justifying faith” be reversed. This becomes abundantly clear when we contrast his views with the definition of the act of faith published by Vatican Council I in the year 1870:
“Man being wholly dependent upon God, as upon his Creator and Lord, and created reason being absolutely subject to uncreated truth, we are bound to yield to God, by faith in His revelation, the full obedience of our intelligence and will. And the Catholic Church teaches that this faith, which is the beginning of man’s salvation, is a supernatural virtue, whereby, inspired and assisted by the grace of God, we believe that the things which He has revealed are true; not because the intrinsic truth of the things is plainly perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God Himself, Who reveals them, and Who can neither be deceived nor deceive.”
This entire passage speaks of a necessary subjection on the part of every man to a God against whose Justice man can mortally sin through disbelief.
In direct opposition to this traditional doctrine, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, having made God Himself in a very real way “guilty” for having created a world in which immeasurable evil and cruelty are a reality, and having subjected God to a compulsive mercy and suffering passion in order to lift man outside of this state, has eliminated entirely the concept of a fully revealed, dogmatized faith to which man must submit his intellect and will as being necessary for salvation. If judgment, and the necessity of man justifying himself before a cruel God are eliminated, so also is any requirement of a “justifying faith”. A universal mercy, working through attractiveness, and not judgment, is what remains. And thus the Catholic Faith is completely inverted.
Pope Benedict XVI’s entire agenda in opposing God’s Mercy to His Justice is aptly refuted with a single sentence from Our Lady’s Magnificat: “And His mercy is from generation to generations to those who fear Him.” It is precisely through the Gift of Fear of the Lord, and the standing in justice before God which this Gift empowers, that we become open to receiving the living waters of God’s mercy.
We also need to repeat briefly here what we have analyzed extensively in other articles. Namely, that this complete inversion of the Catholic Faith has been deemed necessary because of the prostitution of Catholic theology to reductive science, and especially to evolutionary theory. We strongly recommend reading our article The Quintessential Evolutionist for incontestable proof of Joseph Ratzinger’s surrender of all things Catholic – especially the Catholic understanding of God’s Revelation – to evolutionary theory. And we even more strongly recommend our article The Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns for equally incontestable proof of the embrace of Teilhardian Cosmic Evolutionary Theory by both Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.
It is generally conceded that the Antichrist will arise out of chaos – the chaos generated by a scientific and technologically advanced world in which unity and peace are desperately necessary for survival, but which is descending into inevitable chaos because of all the conflicts between individuals, nations, ideologies, and religions. We are now in the midst of this descent. As a solution, the Antichrist will offer peace and unity through satanically empowered deception and tyranny. It will, of course, be a demonically-inspired peace and unity which he will impose.
There is only one force on this earth which possesses the power to counter this tyranny: the Catholic Church. But the Church itself, now having descended into its own particular form of chaos and impotency, can only come to live this power through unified purification. This is why the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church is not just an attempt to persuade individual Catholics to pray, but rather a call to all Catholics towards a united effort in praying the Rosary and seeking interior purification. Such historically-documented united efforts have merited divine interventions in stopping such things as killing plagues and droughts. The united effort in praying the Rosary and seeking interior purification, called for by Pope St. Pius V, saved Europe from destruction in the great sea battle of Lepanto on October 7, 1571. And in another, more recent, example: On May 13, 1955, due to massive Rosary Processions prayed for an end to Communist oppression, the Soviet Union voluntarily announced that they were abandoning their occupation of Austria. Such historical miracles provide convincing evidence of the power of the Rosary to liberate from evil. But it must be a united effort. And it must be an effort which seeks deliverance not only from exterior threats, but from sin, infidelity, and duplicity with each one of us..
As explained in our Original Proposal, the triumph of the Light of Christ within the Church, and over evil in this world, must begin with the purification of each and every one of our hearts, a task which Our Lord has entrusted to the mediation of Our Lady. As Simeon prophesied to Mary: “And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed.” Only Our Lady has been prophesied to possess the singular grace and power to accomplish this interior purification, and thereby crush the head of Satan.
The problem of course is that people will only engage in such united efforts when they see what is about to come upon them. Unless they are reduced to a state of “holy fear” and desperation which shakes them out of the blindness generated through their having compromised and “normalized” their relationships with the world and its evils, they seem destined to think and behave like the proverbial “deer in the headlights”. Our Lord said to the Pharisees and Sadducees: “You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the time?” There does indeed come a time when just “hunkering down” into our own personal faith and personal devotions, with family and like- minded friends and fellow-believers, is not enough; and that the failure to unite in militant effort for our own purification and that of the Church is reflective of that “blindness of heart” and “lukewarmness” condemned by Christ. And it is in such a time of failure that we live. It is therefore no wonder that the Holy Spirit appears no longer to be operative as the Soul of the Church. It is no wonder that now, in the face of a world-wide health epidemic, Catholics are now being forbidden to gather for prayer together in their churches, the public offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is being suppressed, and Catholics of all stations and ranks are hiding in the caves of isolation from one another.
We have seen the world move in the past 45 years from the slaughter of the unborn, to acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual marriage, to the promotion of transgenderism, and now the outright denial that God created male and female. It is a world in which every form of perversity and transgression of God’s laws is promoted as an inalienable right. And we now see Christians becoming the number-one victims of prosecution by the State for so-called “hate crimes” if they stand up for the absolute values of the moral truths of Christ.
When we come to consider the progression of this spirit of Antichrist within the Church, we encounter the very present reality that we now have a Pope (and many other members of the hierarchy and laity) who promotes a false mercy and inclusiveness towards evil, while embracing silence towards the “hard truths” of Catholic dogma and morals; a Pope who obfuscates the clearly present existence of a homosexual network of power and corruption among the hierarchy, while promoting these persons to higher positions of power in the Church; and who wages a demeaning campaign against those who try to hold firmly to traditional Catholic faith and practice.
It should therefore be abundantly clear that the spirit of Antichrist is now moving at an exponential pace, and that none of our “usual efforts” – and this includes not only such things as political involvement, but also the normal apostolates of Catholic action (evangelization, apologetics, catechetics, etc.) – possess the grace or power to prevail against it.
It is clearly taught in Holy Scriptures and confirmed by the unanimous teaching of the early Church Fathers that the Antichrist at the apex of his power will prevail over and crush (Daniel 7:25) the Church, even to the point of the total suppression of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. In Daniel 8: 12, we read:
“And strength was given him against the continual sacrifice, because of sins: and truth shall be cast down on the ground….”
In the latter part of the 19th century, Cardinal Henry Edward Manning gave a series of four lectures titled The Present Crisis of the Holy See: A Warning About Antichrist. Cardinal Manning, commenting on the above prophecy of Daniel, concludes:
“The holy Fathers who have written upon the subject of Antichrist, and of these prophecies of Daniel, without a single exception, as far as I know, and they are Fathers both of the East and of the West, the Greek and the Latin Church – all of them unanimously – say that in the latter end of the world, during the reign of Antichrist, the holy sacrifice of the altar will cease.”
In consideration of the present coronavirus epidemic, it is extraordinarily revealing that the first preventative measure proposed or ordered by secular authorities, and widely acquiesced to by Church hierarchy, has been the suspension of public Masses. In almost every case, this has preceded any closing of bars, restaurants, sports events, entertainment venues, schools, or any other sorts of large gatherings. And Catholic Italy, and especially Catholic Rome, have led the way.
We should consider what is happening as a kind of test – a trial-run of the spirit of Antichrist – a test which the Church has almost universally failed, and which will now pave the way for greater intrusion of the spirit of Antichrist within, and over, the Church.
We have now two options: of choosing to see and lift up our faces to God for the solution to what is now descending upon us; or of burying our minds and hearts in the caves of self-deceit which will eventually and inevitably lead us to despair and betrayal. We no longer have the option of going about our spiritual lives as a kind of “business as usual”.
It is precisely this seeing with our eyes and understanding with our heart Mt. (13:15) which has been the constant goal of the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church. It consists entirely in persuading Catholics that there is only one recourse available, and only one solution remains: a Nineveh-like united recourse to Our Lady in praying the Rosary for our interior purification. It is only here where we may come to that fullness of grace, power, and purification in the Holy Spirit necessary for the spiritual combat that is now upon us.
During the past two and one-half years we have proposed the Double Feast of the Purification and Presentation on February 2nd as singularly appropriate for such a united recourse. If this Feast were to come during the coming weeks, such a united public effort at prayer would, in a great many cities and states, be almost certainly illegal from the standpoint of civil policy and legislation, and forbidden by the Church itself.
Such an exile of Catholics from their churches, and barring them from receiving Christ sacramentally through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass which should be offered within these churches, should call forth from our minds and hearts a grief and a yearning similar to that which was experienced by Mary, as examined in our article The Fifth Joyful Mystery: The Finding of Jesus in the Temple. In explaining why Jesus mysteriously absented Himself from the presence of Mary and Joseph, Our Lady said to Mary of Agreda:
“My daughter, all the works of My Most Holy Son and My own actions are full of mysterious instruction and doctrine for the mortals who contemplate them diligently and reverently. The Lord absented Himself from me in order that, seeking Him in sorrow and tears, I might find Him again in joy and with abundant fruits for my soul. I desire that thou imitate me in this mystery and seek Him with such earnestness, as to be consumed with a continual longing, without ever in this life coming to any rest until thou holdest Him and canst lose Him no more.”
Being consumed with a continual longing, without ever in this life coming to any rest until thou holdest Him and canst lose Him no more” must now be the constant and overriding passion of our minds and hearts. In accord with Our Lady’s words at Fatima, this is to be accomplished through taking refuge in Her Immaculate Heart and through a united praying of the Rosary for our own purification and deliverance from our enemies. If possible, this should be done through united prayers in our churches, processions, etc. If this way is blocked for us, then Our Lord will certainly be pleased with our united intentions offered in our homes or wherever possible. We strongly recommend the practice of making a spiritual communion during every Hail Mary according to the method recommended in our article The Rosary: The Way of Perfection. This would seem singularly appropriate for those who are now being denied participation in Mass and the reception of Holy Communion.
We especially recommend uniting in prayer on the coming Feast of the Annunciation on March 25th – the Feast of the Incarnation, which St. Louis de Montfort declared to contain the grace and intention of all the rest of the Mysteries of His Life, and therefore all the graces necessary to enlighten our hearts and minds that we might see, and understand, and act. We must never surrender to the notion that we are reduced to any sort of impotency in regard to the forces of Antichrist that are now being arrayed against us. The greatest and most powerful act of our lives is prayer.