I have long loathed the application of political labels to religious affairs. It seems to me the more things are politicized, the more degenerate they become. There was a time in America when it was neither conservative nor liberal to be patriotic. It was just…American. The same goes for supporting religious liberty, for traditional marriage…I could go on, but you get my point. Often, an ideological label is an excuse not to think, to play at being smart without actually using study, contemplation or right judgment. You want to know what to think, just refer to the ideology – don’t worry about how it works out in practice. Always defend the ideology, regardless of how it works out in practice. That’s your “team.” It is not about finding good solutions to hard problems, but supporting your ideological team.
Christianity requires us to constantly balance mercy and justice. we stand for justice that the foundation of the faith might ever be solid. We stand for mercy because the whole point of the Church is to reconcile the broken and injured to what will give them new life. St. Paul said that he was all things to all men that by all means some might be saved. Satan is no less clever than St. Paul: he, too, is glad to be all things to all men that by all means more might be lured to their doom. Satan loves to use our ideological “teams” against us. If you identify yourself as liberal, satan will be delighted to be more liberal than the Church that he might seduce you away from the faith. If you identify as conservative, satan will delightedly send minions to be more conservative than the Church, that he might deceive you into abandoning the faith. What you desire most is most effective against you. Desire Christ and all else will be given.
Many are breathing a sigh of relief in the aftermath of the preliminary session of the Synod on the Family last week, thinking we narrowly averted a real disaster. But the only disaster that was ever possible looms as large, perhaps even larger, before us as it did before the Synod began. Some thought the Church was in danger of tossing out its Magisterial Doctrine of 2000 years duration for a false mercy. Others thought the Church would leave people who are in a mess to stew in their own misery in order to avoid upsetting any legalism governing the application of that doctrine. But for either of those things to happen would have required the Word of Christ to be void and without effect. So what most were worried about was whether or not there was a God or not, and whether His promises were reliable. There is. Despite all the sturm und drang, there was never any danger that Christ’s promises would be found void.
The only real peril was that some would leave the safety of the Church and go apostate if their favored emphasis of mercy or justice were not ascendant. That danger lurks with as much predatory power now as it did before the Synod began.
Some two decades ago I was shown the nature of the spirit of antichrist and the tools at satan’s disposal to pull people away from the faith. For many generations, the most effective tool satan had was that of seduction, to persuade people that what was good was actually evil and what was evil was actually good. It had been a most profitable – and fairly easy – gambit for satan. Convince people that destructive sins that they were already disposed to were actually positive goods. It was like being a drug pusher – and satan found an eager clientele among a civilization that had developed a taste for sensation and instant gratification.
I was shown, though, that as the Storm approached and settled in, there would be two major shifts in the primary tool satan would use. First, in the period of what I call “Rumblings,” the relatively brief period leading into the Storm, satan’s most important tool would be terror; large-scale institutionalized terror. I do not fully understand why terror was so important to satan during this period, the heart of which lasted from September of 2000 through May of 2009. I do know that that is how it happened, though.
Finally, once the Storm was well established, the most important tool at satan’s disposal would be that of deception – to actively imitate that which is objectively good. At that point, the disasters borne of seduction would be increasingly clear to all who were not invincibly ignorant or committed to an ideology visibly collapsing from the weight of its own fallacies. So satan’s minions would adopt orthodoxy with a vengeance, seeking to convince people they were literally holier than the Pope. Having worn out the utility of pushing people off the true path to the left, they would now push them to the right. Satan is equal opportunity that way. Whether you fall into the abyss from the left or from the right does not concern him, only that you fall. In these last years, the abyss to the right is more useful to satan.
Imagine my dismay at the rise of all sorts of “holy” groups and former fruitful writers claiming that Pope Francis is an antichrist and the gates of hell have prevailed against the Church, which is now a “false church.” These new apostates of satan call for people to abandon the Church in order to be more holy. It is just another way of “doing your own thing.” In order to mask what they are doing, these evil ones erect convoluted claims to prove Pope Francis was not validly elected. They rely on all manner of fantasy and smooth-sounding technicalities to support those claims. At bottom, it is a sort of theological alchemy that rhetorically seeks to persuade people that a horse chestnut is actually a chestnut horse. This is the final deception of the spirit of antichrist before the rescue.
I have encouraged respectful disagreement here – and sometimes vigorous disagreement with the sort of sharp elbows used in a sandlot basketball game. Shoot, I have thrown a sharp elbow or two, myself. I can’t say that the subject of whether Pope Francis is an antipope will never show up here. There are many who are being led astray, who are being led into confusion because of the efforts involved in peddling this calumny. There will be times when, with some patience, I will seek to help people who are struggling with it. But I must make this emphatically clear: this notion IS the spirit of antichrist. Its sudden, visible rise is what so shook me in the last week or so.
Some who propound this seem to think because I am emphatic that both Protestant and Jewish believers are full partners with Catholics in the work before us, that I am susceptible to this heresy. We are a little flotilla in a turbulent sea in which a great Storm is rising, making a perilous journey back to the safe harbor which God has prepared for us. I certainly defend our flotilla against assaults from without: conventional media, hostile governments, Jihadists, malicious activists and others. I am glad to have our Protestant and Jewish brothers in our little flotilla of faith. But those who would try to strike the Pope and undercut the hierarchy are not just another boat in our flotilla. They are saboteurs trying to blow up the engine room. They are more contemptible than the hostile forces attacking from without.
If you are honestly shaken by such things, we will discuss things here to assure you of the safety of the ship Christ has commissioned for this pilgrimage back to Him. But I will publish no screeds from those trying to tear down the Pope. I will banish those who insist on pushing such a notion. If you adopt that, I tell you bluntly, you have become an acolyte of the antichrist. You may be an unwitting dupe or a willing agent, I don’t know. But that horse won’t ride anywhere – and I won’t even allow you to try to throw a saddle on it here. On this site we will often work to repair the damage satan has wrought in souls, but it will never be a forum in which satan’s acolytes may spread their poison, however much they howl about equal time or fairness. I don’t give the devil equal time.
Choose well. Your soul depends on it. It is a horror to watch people who have already swallowed the camel of apostasy eagerly searching for gnats of error to strain out of the Pope’s words. If you are among these, you have your reward.