Part 2---The Apostasy: Its Forewarning through Mother Church

Part 2---The Apostasy: Its Forewarning through Mother Church

 

God the Father, Our Lord Jesus Christ,

Our Lady of Emmitsburg,

the Doctors and Fathers of the Church,

the Saints, Mystics and Stigmatists,

the Popes and Theologians,

and

Mother Church

through

Sacred Scripture and Her Catechism

Speak about:

 

The Apostasy

 

(Compiled by Michael T. Sullivan, MD)

 

"But when the Son of Man comes,

will He find faith on earth?" 

(Lk 18: 7-8)

 

 

The Catholic Dictionary defines "apostasy" as the total rejection by a baptized person of the Christian faith he/she once professed.

 

In a talk given in November, 2008, at Chicago Heights, Illinois, just after Sen. Barack Obama was elected President of the United States, but before he assumed power, Fr. Clement Machado, S.O.L.T., a well-known and experienced charismatic priest/exorcist, now specializing in the area of Spiritual Warfare, spoke about the "apostasy" :

 

"…If you look at the signs of the apostasy, you see that most people have apostatized from the faith. That is the sign of the Antichrist.  That is the sign of the end times. 

 

Major apostasy on a worldwide global scale is unprecedented.  And what does "apostasy" mean?  Apostasy doesn't mean people that never believed, who don't believe.  It's people who were believers who drop away from the faith.  And that is what is happening! 

 

If you look at the way people have left the practice of faith, the practice of religion, let alone the practice and belief in Christianity and Catholicism, let alone belief in God, it is unprecedented!  You can imagine when people leave, when Catholics fall away from the faith, do their children become Catholics?  No!  The children become nothing.  They are not even Catholics or Christians anymore.  They are not even baptized anymore; and therefore, somebody who is not baptized cannot apostatize.  Somebody apostatizes when they have already been part of the faith. 

 

See how 80% of people basically have apostatized from the faith, don't practice anymore; and that is a conservative estimate.  In many countries, it is even worse.  If you go to Europe, the same thing--how very few people at all practice, maybe 5%, if that.  95% apostasy, heresy!  This is the stuff of the evil one.  This isn't something that will happen in 100 or 200 or 300 years, dear friends.  It's already happening…."  (Homily, Fr. Clement Machado, SOLT, Nov. 2008)

 

Part 1-- Apostasy:  Its Roots and Freemasonry

Part 2-- Apostasy:  Its Forewarning through Mother Church

Part 3-- Apostasy:  Its Forewarning through Private Revelation

                                A.  13th through 19th Centuries

                                B.   20th Century to Present Day

Part 4-- Apostasy:  Its Defeat

 

Part 2—The Apostasy: Its Forewarning through Mother Church

 

Woe to the city, rebellious and polluted, to the tyrannical city! 

She hears no voice, accepts no correction. 

In the Lord she has not trusted, to her God she has not drawn near. 

Her princes in her midst are roaring lions;

her judges are wolves of the night

that have had no bones to gnaw by the morning. 

Her prophets are insolent treacherous men;

her priests profane what is holy and do violence to the law.”

(Zeph 3:1-4)

 

God the Father did not expect humanity to rely on private revelation alone in these modern times to discern the times in which we live.  Even in the Old Testament we find references that can apply to our current state of affairs early in this 21st century.  The prophet Daniel spoke not only of events in his time, but very possibly of the times in which we now live:

 

"There shall arise in his place a despicable person, to whom the royal insignia shall not be given.  By stealth and fraud he shall seize the kingdom….He shall direct his rage and energy against the holy covenant; those who forsake it, he shall once more single out.  Armed forces shall move at his command and defile the sanctuary stronghold, abolishing the daily sacrifice and setting up the horrible abomination.   By his deceit he shall make some who were disloyal to the covenant apostatize; but those who remain loyal to their God shall take strong action. (Dan 11:21, 30-32)….From the time that the daily sacrifice is abolished and the horrible abomination is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.  Blessed is the man who has the patience and perseveres…." (Dan 12: 11-12)

 

 

So too did the prophet Jeremiah warn of the effects of wickedness and apostasy on humanity:

 

"This is a nation which does not listen to the voice of the Lord, its God, or take correction.  Faithfulness has disappeared; and the word itself is banished from their speech….For the Lord has rejected and cast off the generation that draws down His wrath.  The people of Judah have done what is evil in my eyes, says the Lord.  They have defiled the house which bears My Name by setting up in it their abominable idols."  (Jer 7:28-30)

 

"Thy own wickedness shall reprove thee, and thy apostasy shall rebuke thee.  Know thou, and see that it is an evil and a bitter thing for thee, to have left the Lord thy God, and that my fear is now with thee," says the Lord the God of hosts.  (Jer 2:19)

 

"For my eyes are upon all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor does their guilt escape my view.  I will at once repay them double for their crime and their sin of profaning my land with their detestable corpses of idols, and filling my heritage with their abominations."  (Jer 16:17-18)

 

 

The Catholic Dictionary defines the "abomination of desolation," predicted by the prophet Daniel (Dan 9:27) and referred to by Christ (Mt 24:15) as the omen of future calamity.  Daniel seems to be foretelling the erection of a statue of Zeus in the Temple of Jerusalem by Antiochus Epiphanes. (168 BC)  Christ applied the prophecy to the siege of Jerusalem by the pagan enemies of Rome in 70 AD.  This was to be a sign for the Christians to flee Jerusalem.  Some modern day non-Catholic Christian and Jewish scholars would interpret this literally as something that could only happen after the Temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem (something which seems utterly impossible with the current Middle East turmoil and hatreds). However, "end times" Catholic prophecy might look at this as also referring to the time when the Antichrist will suppress the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Rome and throughout the world and would himself demand worship.  Is this just an Old Testament prophecy that has already been fulfilled?  Or is this even more applicable to our present-day world situation at this most critical time in salvation history?

 

Doctors and Fathers, Bishops and Priests

 of

the Early Church

 

Even during the early centuries of the new Church of Jesus Christ, we are left with evidence of some understanding of how the spiritual minds of the time foresaw what lay ahead, according to Sacred Scripture and Tradition, for Mother Church:

 

 

St. Irenaeus, Church Father (130-202 AD), Bishop, disciple of St. John

 

“Of these events that should occur in the time of Antichrist, it is shown that he, being an apostate and a robber, is anxious to be adored as God;  and that, although a mere slave, he wishes himself to be proclaimed as a king…but an impious, unjust and lawless one; as an apostle iniquitous and murderous as a robber, concerning in himself all satanic apostasy, and setting aside idols to persuade men that he himself is God, raising up himself as the only idol…of whom the apostle (St. Paul) thus speaks in the 2nd Epistle to the Thessalonians:  ‘Unless there shall come a falling away first, and the man of sin shall be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposed and exalted himself above all that is called God.’”  (Against Heresies, Ch. 25, Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons)

 

 

St. Hippolytus (170-236 AD), Priest and Martyr

 

“…And the churches too will wail with a mighty lamentation, because neither oblation nor incense is attended to, nor a service acceptable to God, but the sanctuaries of the churches will become like a garden-watcher’s hut, and the Holy Body and Blood of Christ will not be shown in those days.  The public service of God shall be extinguished….” (Treatise on Christ and the Antichrist,  St. Hippolytus)

 

 

 

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, (315-386 AD), Bishop and Doctor of the Church

 

"…And Antichrist will come at the time when there shall not be left one stone upon another in the Temple of the Jews, according to the doom pronounced by our Savior; for when, either decay of time or demolition ensuing on pretence of new buildings, or from any other causes, shall have overthrown all the stones, I mean not merely of the outer circuit, but of the inner shrine also, where the Cherubim were, then shall he come with all signs and lying wonders, exalting himself against all idols, and first indeed making a pretence of benevolence, but afterwards displaying his relentless temper, and that chiefly against the Saints of God…."  (Catechetical Instructions, Lecture 15, Cyril of Jerusalem)

 

 

St. Augustine of Hippo, (354-430 AD) Bishop and Doctor of the Church

 

"I have come in My Father's Name and you received me not;

another will come in his own name, and him you will receive."

(Jn 5:43)

 

"He (Our Lord) intimated that they would receive Antichrist, who will seek the glory of his own name, puffed up, not solid; and therefore not stable, but assuredly ruinous.  But Our Lord Jesus Christ has shown us a great example of humility: for doubtless He is equal with the Father….He came in time, and took the form of a servant, and in condition was found as a man.  He seeks the glory of the Father, not His own….In Antichrist, however, there is unrighteousness, and he is not true; because he will seek his own glory, not His by whom he was sent; for indeed, he was not sent, but only permitted to come…." (Tractates of the Gospel of St. John, n. 39, St. Augustine of Hippo)

 

 

St. John Damascene, (676-749 AD), Priest and Doctor of the Church

 

"It should be known that the Antichrist is bound to come….It is necessary that the Gospel should be preached among all nations; and then shall that wicked one be revealed, even him whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish, whom the Lord shall consume with the word of His mouth and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming…." (On the Orthodox Faith, Ch. 26, St. John Damascene)

 

 

This entire understanding of the "end times"--the period of tribulation, the apostasy, the chastisement, a second coming and an era of peace--is not something foreign to the teachings of the Catholic Church.  In fact, the new Catechism of the Catholic Church quite clearly affirms Catholic doctrine on this topic, however, leaving much yet undefined and dependent on the fulfillment of the Divine Will in God's still to be revealed most perfect Plan:

Although it does seem that most Catholics hear very little from the pulpit to enhance their understanding of "end times" prophecy, The new Catechism of the Catholic Church clearly defines a period of great "distress" yet to come for both the world and the Church itself which will "shake the faith" of many believers, offering an "apostasy from the Truth."   How many of those sitting in the pews each Sunday have any idea what has been foretold?

 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

(Revised translation, September 8, 1997)

CCC 672

Before his Ascension, Christ affirmed that the hour had not yet come for the glorious establishment of the Messianic Kingdom awaited by Israel which, according to the prophets, was to bring all men the definitive order of justice, love and peace.  According to the Lord, the present time is the time of the Spirit and of witness, but also a time still marked by distress and the trial of evil which does not spare the Church and ushers in the struggles of the last days.  It is a time of waiting and watching.

 

CCC 673

Since the Ascension, Christ's coming in glory has been imminent, even though it is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has fixed by his own authority.  This eschatological coming could be accomplished at any moment, even if both it and the final trial that will precede it are delayed.

 

 

CCC 675

Before Christ's second coming, the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.  The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the 'mystery of iniquity' in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the Truth.  The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism, by which  man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

 

So too have the more recent Popes alluded to the prophesied and feared loss of faith in the Church: the apostasyPope Paul VI, in the post-Vatican II era, was the first to express these concerns:

 

"Because, you know, the Church is now going through a spiritual moment of its history which is not serene….It is thus not only by reason of the practical apostasy which is so widespread, but also and especially by reason of the uneasiness which troubles sectors of the Catholic world and affects the sensibility of those who have responsibilities in the Church….After the Council, the Church has known and still knows, a grand and magnificent awakening, which we are the first to recognize and favor; but the Church has suffered and suffers still from a whirlwind of ideas and facts which are certainly not inspired by the good spirit…"  (Pope Paul VI, Apr 25, 1968)

 

"The Church finds itself in a period of uneasiness, auto-criticism, and we would say, even auto-destruction….We come to notice above all its dolorous aspect, as if the Church were striking itself."  (Pope Paul VI, Dec. 7, 1968)  "A sentiment of confusion seems to be spreading among the children of the Church, even among the best ones, and sometimes also the most qualified, those who exercise greatest authority."  (Pope Paul VI, Dec. 3, 1969)  "We are at a moment of a crisis of the faith, a crisis which has repercussions indeed on other domains, on our whole religious, moral and social life."  (Pope Paul VI, June 29, 1971)  "From some fissure the smoke of Satan entered into the temple of God."  (Pope Paul VI, June 29, 1972)

 

Early in his pontificate while in Fatima, Pope John Paul II expressed his concerns about the threatened apostasy and the moral degradation in the world: 

 

"The message of Fatima is directed to every man.  The love of the Mother of the Savior encompasses everything that touches the work of salvation.  The object of its cares is all men of our period, and at the same time societies, nations and peoples--the societies threatened by apostasy, threatened by moral degradation."  (JPII, Fatima, Portugal, May 13, 1982)

 

Then in his effort to strongly encourage Europe not to forget from where its roots and traditions are derived, Pope John Paul II stated to an Eastern European Congress of the Laity in 2003:

 

"An old Europe, from West to East, is looking for a new identity.  In this process, it must not forget its roots.  Europe must remember that Christianity has been the lifeblood from which it has drawn the noblest inspirations of its spirit for 2000 years.  As I wrote in my Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation,  Ecclesia in Europe:   'European culture gives the impression of silent apostasy on the part of people who have all that they need and live as if God does not exist.'"  (JPII, Congress of Laity of Eastern Europe, Oct. 4, 2003)

 

Most recently in October, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI shared his concerns about the false divinities which are overcoming our world--namely, the anonymous financial interests, the power of terrorism, the power of illicit drugs and the loss of the virtue of chastity--all of which lay the groundwork for the apostasy which so many before him have foretold:

 

"Where Christ is born, there begins the movement of recapitulation, the moment of the calling, of the construction of His Body, of the holy Church.  The Mother of God is the Mother of the Church, because she is the Mother of the One who came to reunite all in His risen Body….In the first chapter of St. Luke's Gospel, the Holy Spirit overshadows Mary, and she gives birth and gives us the Son of God.  In the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, Mary is at the center of the disciples of Jesus who are all praying together, imploring the cloud of the Holy Spirit.  And so from the believing Church, with Mary at the center, is born the Church, the Body of Christ.  This twofold birth is one birth of the Christus Totus, of the Christ who embraces the world and us all….

 

"…We think of the great powers of today's history….the anonymous financial interests that enslave man, that are no longer something belonging to man, but are an anonymous power that men serve, and by which men are tormented and even slaughtered.  They are a destructive power that threatens the world.  And then the power of the terrorist ideologies:  Violence is done apparently in the name of God, but this is not God:  these are false divinities that must be unmasked, that are not God.  And then drugs, this power that, like a ravenous beast, stretches its hands over all parts of the earth and destroys:  it is a divinity, but a false divinity, which must fall.  Or even the way of life promoted by public opinion:  today it's done this way, marriage doesn't matter anymore, chastity is no longer a virtue.  These ideologies that are so dominant that they impose themselves by force are divinities.  And in the suffering of the saints, in the suffering of believers of the Mother Church of which we are part, these divinities must fall….

 

"…The fight in which we find ourselves, this weakening of the gods, this fall of the false gods who fall because they are not divinities but are powers that destroy the world, are spoken of in Chapter 12 of Revelation, and with the mysterious image for which, it seems to me, there are nonetheless different fine interpretations.  It is said that the dragon directs a great stream of water against the fleeing woman to sweep her away.  And it seems inevitable that the woman will drown in this river.  But the good earth absorbs the river, and it can do no harm.  I think that it is easy to interpret what the river stands for:  it is these currents that dominate everyone, and want to eliminate the faith of the Church, which seems to have nowhere to stand before the power of these currents that impose themselves as the only way of thinking, the only way of life.  And the earth that absorbs these currents is the faith of the simple, which does not allow itself to be swept away by these rivers and saves the Mother and saves the Son.  This is why the Psalm says, 'The faith of the simple is true wisdom.' (Ps 119:130).  This true wisdom is simple faith, which does not let itself be devoured by the waters, is the power of the Church.  And we have come back to the Marian mystery…."  (Pope Benedict XVI, Middle East Synod of Bishops, Oct. 11, 2010)

 

 

Our Lord in His Lessons to the world through Gianna ends this section by sharing with humanity its options and available protection, and He chastises His people for treating His words as "myth" and ignoring the Truth:

 

"O' you people of little faith!  Here your Jesus has been granted from the Father this time of Mercy to teach you and guide you, and you continue to act as if it is a myth.  You go to your churches and synagogues praying to a God in a faraway distance; and once again, I come to speak to you, but you ignore Me through scrutiny of the Truth."  (JOM, Vol IV, #15, Mar. 16, 1992)

 

 

"For what if some of them are unfaithful? 

Will their infidelity nullify the fidelity of God?" 

 

Of course not!   

(Rom 3:3-4)