Persecution: The Fifth Mark of the Church
© Copyright 2008, T. Stanfill Benns (© Copyright 2012, T. Stanfill Benns (This text may be downloaded or printed out for private reading, but it may not be uploaded to another Internet site or published, electronically or otherwise, without express written permission from the author. All emphasis within quotes is the author’s unless indicated otherwise.)
We were recently overjoyed to learn that there appears to be a new exodus by Traditionalist chapel-goers, who have realized that their priests cannot be valid or lawful pastors and are now keeping the faith privately in their homes. We join our minds and hearts with them in a desire for true unity, knowing that those of us who are trying our best to be true Catholics must possess all the four marks, even if only in desire. We strive, therefore to be one, by giving good example, obeying all the laws of the Church and remaining in contact with other true Catholics. We do our best to achieve holiness without clergy, and to hold fast what we have received. We know that throughout the world, even though we may not be aware of them all, there are others like ourselves, so Christ’s Church remains universal. We also long for true priests and bishops under a true Pope, which God has temporarily taken out of our sight until His will is accomplished in these evil times. And we believe as an article of faith necessary to salvation that somewhere on this earth these true bishops and priests exist.
Some berate us for not believing that their priests and bishops are valid and lawful pastors; others scoff at our belief in the certain existence of true hierarchy. But a recent secular event proves that man does not know everything about his world despite the advent of modern technology. One group of animal researchers who worked for decades to track and obtain additional data concerning a certain species of gorilla believed this species to be extinct until only recently. Even though they had searched the world over for evidence that these animals yet existed, they had neglected to search in one specific place where it was believed the gorillas would not ordinarily reside. Nevertheless, they discovered a colony of 125,000 gorillas in an isolated swampland, gorillas who, it is believed, had never even seen humans.
The researchers who found the gorillas never knew for a fact that they would ever find these “extinct” animals, and yet they did. And they certainly never had God’s infallible promise that they actually did exist, and would exist until of the end of time; that is, until the world is consumed by fire. But we have that faithful and true promise that the Church will always exist and know that God cannot deceive nor be deceived. We also know that despite the failure of our senses to presently discern the existence of the hierarchy, Faith, as St. Paul tells us, is belief in things unseen. If all was easily discernible and readily ascertainable, Faith would have no meaning, and the great miracles and mysteries would be rejected. God has chosen to reserve to Himself the location of the hierarchy until He sees fit to reveal them, and until then we cannot question His will nor question their existence. The scoffers can jeer as long as they please, but while God has not yet answered our prayers concerning the hierarchy’s return, He has gifted us with another sign that we may know we are His.
According to one source, it was Pope St. Pius X who first told a group of seminarians that persecution is the fifth mark of the Church. Subsequently, several pre-1959 theologians also taught this belief in an unofficial, fifth visible mark of the Church This author praises God in His three Divine Persons, and in His angels and His saints, that we have suffered public persecution at the hands of Traditionalists, our own families, our neighbors and the principalities and powers of this world. We are honored to undergo the very treatment Christ Himself endured at the hands of His persecutors. Did they not falsely accuse Him and attempt to subject Him to public ridicule? Did He not tell us that if they did this to Him, we could expect the same and worse? In allowing us to participate in His Passion, God has shown how He brings forth good from evil to make known His faithful ones and purge them from their sins of heresy, schism and disobedience to His laws. We pray daily that we are worthy of this purging, and thank God unceasingly for having given us the great grace to recognize our errors and depart from all those leading us astray. We believe that this purging also is only a preparation for still greater persecutions that surely lie ahead for the remnant Church worldwide. We praise also the Holy Ghost for exposing all conclavists, Traditionalists and the apostate Novus Ordo as Antichrist and/or his system, who with God’s permission was prophesied to persecute the Church until Christ determines that the times have been fulfilled.
And mane, tekel, phares the handwriting already is visible upon the wall. From the Catholic Encyclopedia (www.newadvent.org) under Baltasar we read:
“Baltasar is the Greek and Latin name for Belshazzar, which is the Hebrew equivalent for Bel-sarra-usur, i.e., ‘May Bel protect the king.’ Bel was the chief and titular god of Babylon. In Daniel, v, Baltasar is described as the son of Nabuchodonosor (A. V., Nebuchadnezzar) and the last King of Babylon. It is there narrated how the town was invaded — by the Medes under Darius, as would seem from Daniel 5:18-19 — whilst the king was giving a sumptuous feast to his nobles. The king himself was slain. The narrator further informs us that the sacred vessels which Nabuchodonosor had carried with him from Jerusalem were defiled on that occasion. By order of king Baltasar they were used during the banquet, and his wives and concubines drank out of them. In the midst of the revelry a hand is seen writing on the wall the mysterious words Mane, Thecel, Phares (A. V., Mene, Tekel, Peres). The king’s counsellors and magicians are summoned to explain the writing, but they fail to do so. The Queen then enters the banquet hall and suggests that Daniel should be called for. Daniel reads and explains the words: the days of the kingdom had been numbered; the king had been weighed in the balance and had been found wanting; his kingdom would be given to the Medes and the Persians.” And so the enemies will soon meet their end, even though at present they try “the faith and patience of the saints.”
From Goffine’s Ecclesiastical Year, commentary on the eighth beatitude, “Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven,” we read: “Those suffer persecution for justice sake who by their words, writings, or by their life defend the truth, the faith, and Christian virtues; who cling firmly to God, and permit nothing to turn them from the duties of the Christian profession, from the practice of their holy religion, but on its account suffer hatred, contempt, disgrace, injury and injustice from the world. If they endure all this with patience and perseverance, even, like the saints, with joy, then they will become like saints and like them receive the heavenly crown. If we wish to be crowned with them, we must suffer with them: ‘And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution,’ (1 Tim. 3:12). ”
So by enduring these persecutions stoically, we shall fill up what is wanting to Christ’s Passion, renewed today in His Mystical Body on earth. In so doing we hasten the day of reckoning for all the evil antichrists throughout the world who torment those who do their best to keep the Faith. We thank God fervently for this great honor of sharing in His Passion, and pray that we may thereby remain by desire functioning members of His Mystical Body. Christ has promised not to leave us orphans and that He will turn his hand to the little ones in these times. He is, after all, the invisible head of the Church, and knowing our inability to help ourselves, He will shorten the times. In Holy Scripture it is foretold in the book of Daniel that in the end times He shall send St. Michael to stand for the people. The very name Michael means, “Who is like unto God?” Who indeed. Commentators on the book of Apocalypse teach that it is this great warrior archangel, in all his power and glory, who will destroy Antichrist and his abominable system. Pope Leo XIII confirms this in his prayer below. In some mysterious way, it is St. Michael himself who shall come to give those faithful to God the victory, and so we entreat you to join us in fervently praying:
“O glorious Archangel St. Michael, prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against the principalities and Powers, the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man whom GOD created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of the LORD, together with the holy angels, as already thou has fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was their place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of GOD and of his CHRIST, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood the venom of malice upon men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the holy place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered. Arise then O invincible Prince, bring help to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has GOD entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh pray to the GOD of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men captive and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
V. Behold the Cross of the Lord, be scattered ye hostile powers.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Juda has conquered, the root of David.
V. Let Thy mercies be upon us O LORD.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. O LORD hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Let us pray.
O GOD, the FATHER of our LORD JESUS CHRIST, we call upon Thy holy name, and as suppliants we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin immaculate and Our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel St. Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.
St. Michael, hasten to help us!