The Sad Consequences of Ignoring Papal Teaching

The Sad Consequences of Ignoring Papal Teaching

+St. Robert Bellarmine+

This post will examine why the commentaries on Antichrist in Daniel and the Apocalypse are not always as helpful as they could or should be. Most of the theologians who commented on the Apocalypse were forced to address issues owing to the Protestant heresy that the Popes individually and the papacy as a whole constitutes Antichrist and his system. Among the commentators most devoted to this fight, the refutation of the papal antichrist heresy bled over into practically all of their commentary, sometimes to the extent that it prevented them from considering many things that might have helped us today.

This is especially true in the case of St. Robert Bellarmine, who of course lived during the heighth of the Reformation and was most involved in combatting those heresies. Bellarmine could not have known what we know today or have learned over the course of the past nearly 500 years how the Church’s teaching on various subjects would develop. While Protestants eventually gave up the papal Antichrist theory for a time, it has resurfaced with renewed vigor over the past several decades since the usurpers in Rome have become increasingly more liberal. This is especially true given the sex scandals that have rocked the Novus Ordo church. Although statistics show Protestant churches are just as plagued by these scandals as the Novus Ordo; they simply are more successful in keeping it quiet, since these incidents happen in numerous Protestant sects and are not attributed to Protestantism as a whole.

What is perplexing to us today is why Bellarmine did not make use of Pope Paul IV’s bull Cum ex Apostolatus Officio to quell the papal antichrist heresy, since this bull seems to have been especially written to refute it. True, he was only a teenager when the bull was written, but in his later career it seems that given his work on heresy, he might have had occasion to refer to it. If such a reference exists in his works, it is not known to us. But a consideration of the possible consequences of using this argument might explain why it was never put forth. To begin with, Paul IV, who was an avid reformer, was not a popular pope. As a cardinal he had advised Pope Paul III to call the Roman Inquisition and when it convened he was placed in charge of it. As a pope he set out to reform clerical and religious life and even the Roman Curia, something not appreciated by the cardinals, who he considered untrustworthy (Philip Hughes, A Popular History of the Catholic Church, p. 176). Hughes relates that he managed to reform clerical life in Rome to such an extent that even into the 20th century “Rome bears…something of the appearance of a monastery… [after] worldliness had dulled the achievement even of good popes.” Pope Paul IV “broke and broke forever… all the long tradition in which worldliness in the highly placed cleric was taken as rather in the nature of things” (Ibid., p. 173).

When Paul IV died, a Roman mob tore down the statute they had erected to him earlier and rioted for 12 days. But as Hughes notes, despite his rigidity and austerity — also his failings in not ridding himself soon enough of his nephews who damaged relations with the Papal States Paul IV had entrusted to them — his accomplishments in banishing worldliness stood. His campaign against heresy was no less ruthless as Cum ex… reveals. And it was one of his own cardinals, accused of promoting himself as a future pope and of sympathizing with Lutheran heretics, that prompted him to write Cum ex… But given the inroads already made by Luther and the other Reformers, it came too late. According to the bull, it was issued specifically to correct a false interpretation of Holy Scripture, which the papal antichrist heresy certainly was. It reads:

“The Apostle’s office entrusted, to Us by God, though beyond any merit of Ours, lays upon Us the general care of theLord’s flock. Hence We are bound, to watch over the flock assiduously, as a vigilant shepherd, with faithful protection and wholesome guidance. We must see attentively to driving away from Christ’s fold those who, in Our time more consciously and balefully than usual, driven by malice and trusting in their own wisdom, rebel against the rule of right Faith and strive to rend the Lord’s seamless robe by corrupting the sense of the Holy Scriptures with cunning inventions. We must not allow those to continue as teachers of error who disdain to be taught… And lest it befall Us to see in the holy place the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, We wish, as much as possible with God’s help, in line with our pastoral duty, to trap the foxes that are busily ravaging the Lord’s vineyard and to drivethe wolves from the sheepfolds.”

What better corrupts the sense of Holy Scripture than the heresy of Luther and other Protestant sects who pretend the popes are Antichrist? That was the prevailing heresy that consumed the commentators of that time and centuries afterward, even into the 1800s. And how could one more effectively explain the nuances of this outrageous claim than by simply pointing out the truth of how it could APPEAR to occur, and how it might be in danger of appearing to occur, if Paul IV’s bull was not issued? The Catholic Encyclopedia, in its article on Antichrist, makes the same distinction made by Pope Paul IV in the following:

“The defenders of the Papal-Antichrist theory have made several signal blunders in their arguments; they cite St. Bernard as identifying the Beast of the Apocalypse with the Pope, though St. Bernard speaks in the passage of the Antipope; they appeal to the Abbot Joachim as believing that Antichrist will be elevated to the Apostolic See, while the Abbot really believes that Antichrist will overthrow the Pope and usurp his See; finally, they appeal to Pope Gregory the Great as asserting that whoever claims to be Universal Bishop is Antichrist, whereas the great Doctor really speaks of the Forerunner of Antichrist who was, in the language of his day, nothing but a token of an impending great evil.”

In several councils the Church herself has called antipopes antichrists just as St. Bernard called the antipope Anacletus antichrist, so this is nothing new. Joachim of Fiore had the right idea because this is exactly what Pope Paul IV explained in defining a usurper pope as the abomination of desolation standing in the Holy Place. As for the universal bishop quote, that could be compared to the schismatic Coptic and Russian Orthodox sects who indeed have set their own popes and patriarchs up against the true popes as “universal bishops.” In any case, these are the answers to the “blunders” in the papal antichrist theory and it was Pope Paul IV who explained that the only way such a person could appear to be pope and actually teach heresy (when Protestants were saying a duly elected pope was guilty of teaching error ex cathedra) is if he were actually a heretic pre-election. But there seems to be little appreciation for what Pope Paul IV actually did.

Not only did he explain how a heretic could insinuate himself into the papacy, but he also outlined in great detail how such a person would be invalid from the start, would have no power whatsoever, would be incapable of effecting any valid or licit acts of any kind, spiritual or temporal, and need only be gotten rid of even if this required the aid of the temporal power. Such an abomination could ascend but could NEVER be a valid pope. Therefore no one could ever say that such a one was ever a true pope in any way, meaning no canonically elected pope could ever become Antichrist. Only if an invalidly elected individual succeeded in being accepted as legitimate and no attempt was made to cast him out could it only APPEAR that one teaching error from that seat was a true pope. The very dissemination of such error, Pope Paul IV teaches, either before or after any pretended assumption of office results in “ipso facto[excommunication]… Without need for any further declaration, [they shall] be deprived of any dignity, position, honor, title, authority, office and power.”

What might have happened if St. Bellarmine had invoked Cum ex… and had actually used it as a weapon to disprove the papal antichrist heresy? First it would have provided the Protestants with a new axe to wield for they would first claim Paul IV to be no authority in the matter and secondly, they would claim that he had admitted that what they were proposing could actually happen. The distinctions made above in the Catholic Encyclopedia article would be easily swept away, although we wish these distinctions had been addressed by St. Bellarmine in his works on Antichrist for our edification. But had he pushed the point that only a heretic invalidly elected and appearing to be pope could qualify as Antichrist then another argument would have erupted, since the papal election laws were issued by the popes themselves and the Protestants do not and will not recognize him. It was a no-win situation and trying to prove it would only have complicated matters.

It is possible that the early Christians knew quite well that Antichrist would be a false pope, and this can be surmised from 2 Thess. 2: 5-8. After reminding his flock that a revolt would come first before the Man of Sin was revealed, St. Paul added: “Remember you not that when I was with you, I told you these things? And now you know what withholdeth that he may be revealed in his time. For the Mystery of Iniquity already worketh; only now that he who now holdeth do hold until he be taken out of the way. And then the wicked one shall be revealed…” Henry Cardinal Manning interprets this what withholdeth as the papacy and the who withholdeth as the pope, and other commentators have considered it a possibility. It may be that what St. Paul refers to was an oral Tradition not written down because of the possibility of scandal to the weak and to catechumens. By the Mystery of Iniquity he may have been referring to Simon Magus who already had attempted to purchase the papacy and to the Gnostics and Judaizers who then threatened the early Church. Protestants may have somehow divined that he who withholdeth was the papacy and deliberately distorted it to suit their own purposes. Pope Paul IV tried to set the record straight but by that time the heresies of the Reformation were too far advanced to allow a correction by theologians, even doctors like St. Bellarmine.

Although the prophetic nature of the bull was not appreciated nor remembered, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio became the basis for nearly all the laws written into the 1917 Code of Canon Law on heresy. As such it retained its status as a law under the new code (see the Archives section of the site for these articles). Try as they might to pretend it was abrogated by the Code and no longer is applicable to us today, those eager to dismiss its significance for us in these times have failed to produce one scintilla of evidence that Cum ex… is not an infallible bull that continues to bind us all. In his The Question Box, Rev. Bertrand Conway differentiates as follows between a disciplinary decree and an infallible one. “A disciplinary decree prescribes what one must DO, and not what one must BELIEVE…” Conway notes that in infallible decrees, there is clearly “an intention to propose a doctrine to be held by the universal Church,” adding from another source that the pope must “speak in person” for a definition to be considered infallible. Clearly Pope Paul IV speaks in person in his bull, and there can be no doubt that he is speaking infallibly, given the quote from Cum ex… below:

Upon advice and consent concerning such as these, through this Our Constitution, which is to remainforever effective, in hatred of such a crime the greatest and deadliest that can exist in God’s Church, Wesanction, establish, decree and DEFINE, THROUGH THE FULLNESS OF OUR APOSTOLIC POWER [that those] who in the past have, as mentioned above, strayed or fallen into heresy or have been apprehended, have confessed or been convicted of incurring, inciting or committing schism …or who, in the future, shall stray or fall into heresy or shall incur, incite or commit schism or shall be apprehended, confess or be convicted of straying or falling into heresy or of incurring, inciting or committing schism, …[are] also automatically and without any recourse to law or action, completely and entirely, forever deprived of, and furthermore disqualified from and incapacitated, for their rank …” Clearly Pope Paul IV is teaching what one must believe in such matters in a solemn bull issued in his own name. This appears in paragraph three of the bull, having been preceded by the statement in paragraph one regarding Pope Paul IV’s definition of the abomination of desolation in Holy Scripture as capable of penetrating the “Holy Place.” This he later defines as meaning even the Holy See, by stating that the Roman Pontiff also could become a heretic pre-election. So by not believing that two men who clearly intended to create an entirely new church were incapacitated for office and therefore could never be what they appeared to be, the hierarchy and educated laity disobeyed an infallible papal bull and failed to provide the Church with a true pontiff.  It is as simple as that.

We have been over this same ground many times before, but not necessarily in relation to the coming of Antichrist. Although it is assumed above that Cum ex… was not a disciplinary decree, even had it been entirely disciplinary, to deny that it binds Catholics would be heretical, according to Pope Pius IX. The argument against Cum ex… revived in the 1800s when one bishop proclaimed in a celebrated work, refuting the contentions of the Old Catholics, that disciplinary decrees are not infallible, (Bishop Fessler against the Old Catholic Dr. Schulte). The case against the bull hinged on the Old Catholic claim that the anathemas issued by Paul IV against heads of state were an attempt to assert power over civil officials and excommunicate them.  Of course in the 1500s, the majority of the monarchies in the world were Catholic so this is something the Church could legitimately claim to do, Both Bp. Fessler and Henry Cardinal Manning, answering accusations by British Prime Minister Gladstone, refuted this argument, explaining that today, since there are no Catholic monarchs subject to the Church, all jurisdiction to excommunicate them and seize their possessions no longer exists. So this was a black eye given the bull to further discredit it, following the definition of infallibility and revived claims that Rome intended to take over the world. This made it even more unlikely to gain any credence in the future or shed its reputation as a mere disciplinary decree.

But Pope Pius IX, in a seeming response to the general dismissal of disciplinary decrees, wrote the following in Quartus Supra after Fessler’s book was published: “Discipline is often closely related to doctrine and has a great influence in preserving its purity. In fact, in many instances, the holy Councils have unhesitatingly cut off from the Church by their anathema those who have infringed its discipline… Nor can the Eastern Churches preserve communion and unity of faith with Us without being subject to the Apostolic power in matters of discipline. Teaching of this kind is heretical, and not just since the definition of the power and nature of the papal primacy was determined by the ecumenical Vatican Council: the Catholic Church has always considered it such and abhorred it.” (On the Church in Armenia,1873).

And in Quae in patriarchatu: “In fact, Venerable Brothers and beloved Sons, it is a question of recognizing the power (of this See), even over your churches, not merely in what pertains to faith, but also in what concerns discipline. He who would deny this is a heretic; he who recognizes this and obstinately refuses to obey is worthy of anathema” (Pope Pius IX, September 1, 1876, to the clergy and faithful of the Chaldean Rite). Both of these documents were written after Fessler died in 1872; Fessler was not saying that anyone should deny that the bull had its effect; he merely said it was not a teaching on faith or morals, but this was even then debated by others. Since that time a greater development of the doctrine of infallibility has clarified much — all documents issued by the Roman Pontiff now are considered binding if recorded in the Acta Apostolica Sedis. Certainly a bull as solemn as Cum ex…would merit inclusion in the Acta. Especially given the subject matter and its undeniable application to our own situation, it seems the bull deserves a more elevated rank than ever before. Manning, in his work The Vatican Decrees and their Bearing on Civil Allegiance wrote on much the same topic as Fessler, but five years after Fessler’s work. He fully holds, with Pope Pius IX, that the Vatican Council included disciplinary decrees within the scope of infallibility. He also defends certain bulls as infallible as well, even though Cum ex… is not named among them.

So what is the point of this blog? The point is that had more thought been given by the commentators to the actual mission and character of Antichrist rather than the claims of the Protestants; if Catholics in the 1800s had followed the teachings of the Roman Pontiffs and actually comprehended what Paul IV was trying to explain to the people — instead of going on the defensive and worrying about what the general population thought about the rights of the nobility — faithful cardinals and/or bishops might have been able to reverse this situation and elect a true pope in the 1960s. But the theologians valued their own opinions and arguments as superior to the popes’ and minimized papal authority. They also let prejudice regarding Pope Paul IV blind them to the true value of Cum ex Apostolatus Officio. When that bull is taken in its full context, given the circumstances that prompted its publication and in light of what we have encountered in our lifetime, no other conclusion could be drawn. We were given a great grace and we squandered it. And this is why now we have no idea what the future holds for the Church. Obviously it was God’s will that all this should happen, but it was never His will that we ignore the commands of His Vicar. We know only that wherever all this is going, either the Church will triumph briefly on earth, or Christ will reign with the Saints as king in Heaven following the Final Judgment. His will be done.

 

 

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Our Place in Apocalyptic Time

Our Place in Apocalyptic Time

+St. Catherine of Siena+

 Introduction

Those who refuse to believe that the catacomb Catholic position could possibly be tenable frequently point to the course of the fulfillment of prophecy regarding the end times as justification for their rejection of this position. The commonly held belief, and we ourselves have not discounted it as possible, is that the papacy will be restored once Antichrist is defeated and the Church will triumph, if only briefly, prior to the Second Coming. But while Traditionalists base this on the totally false premise that we still have valid clergy who can provide the Mass and Sacraments, stay-at-home Catholics struggle to understand how the Church could ever be restored without a miracle directly from God; and, given the facts, they have every right to do so. Do we deserve such a miracle? No, although this does not mean that a merciful God would not grant us one if it was for His own glorification and that of the Church. Is such a thing likely? Certain Scripture passages seem to hint that it could happen, but God has kept the manner in which He intends to deal with these things a secret.

This is such a complicated and splintered subject, covering such a vast expanse of considerations, that any attempt to do it any justice would fail even if it ran to scores of pages. Yet there are some practical and to our mind unaddressed points and views that have not been considered when trying to piece together the entire puzzle of how everything we are seeing now relates to what Scriptural commentators and scholars have predicted for these times. Some would include here the private revelations of various saints and seers, but many of these seem only to further confuse and obscure any real appreciation of eschatology from a scriptural standpoint. The only exception to this is a scant few private revelations which seem to be in closer harmony with what is now occurring and those apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, which consistently recommend, prayer, penance and sacrifice. If we descend into the quagmire of attempting to make everything fit according to the vagaries of even the private revelation of the saints, we would be doing readers a disservice. Instead, while the Scriptures and teachings of certain theologians and commentators will be consulted, we will attempt to rely primarily on the few teachings provided by the popes on this matter, and what we ourselves now see before us.

The secrets of God and Antichrist’s reign

In surveying Holy Scripture alone, are we able to determine if these things have been fulfilled in our day? Well according to the commentators on Holy Scripture themselves, that depends. Rev. Hugh Pope, in his The Catholic Student’s Aids to the Bible, (Vol. 5, 1937) writes: “For the original hearers or pre-Christian readers of the prophecies of Isaias or Jeremias only one thing was certain: namely, that being divinely inspired prophecies, the things foretold would infallibly come to pass. But the time, place and manner of their fulfillment was hidden from them… To Christian readers or to non-Christian enquirers a flood of enlightenment regarding the prophecies was forthcoming in the New Testament fulfillment of the said prophecies… Since, then, the ultimate goal of the Apocalypse is the last things, full light will not be thrown on this prophetical book till those last things have received their ultimate fulfillment.” Rev. P. Huchede concurs, writing, “The events connected with the end of the world will alone remove the mystery in which the sacred text is at present enveloped.” Rev. E. S. Berry believes these prophecies “shall be understood in due time according to the needs of the Church” (The Apocalypse of St. John). But Berry emphasizes that the sealed book spoken of in Daniel 12: 4 and also the sealed book of the seven thunders in Apocalypse symbolizes that these prophecies would only be known when God chooses for them to be known. And it is clear that there is much we cannot and do not yet know about our current situation.

Everyone presumes that Antichrist will reign only three years and a half, and while this is designated as probable by some commentators and certain by others, it is misleading. No one has ever given a numerical value to the full term of Antichrist’s ENTIRE reign. St. Irenaeus teaches that “when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months…”  Huchede says that it is not known how long it will take Antichrist to achieve the conquest of the world, although he assumes this will be a rapid process. Still, presumption must yield to fact. Gradualism was applied to good effect for decades prior to and long after Antichrist’s reign and acceptance as a true pope. Clearly the process of bringing about the level of devastation necessary for Antichrist to reign universally — not just in the Church but over the entire world — necessarily required an extended period of time, a process we have all witnessed firsthand.

If the Sacrifice was not to be abolished decades before the system of Antichrist matured sufficiently to assume full power, why did St. Thomas Aquinas envision a time when the world would think it had won because it continued to exist following Antichrist’s death? “Although men be terrified by the signs appearing about the judgment day, yet before those signs begin to appear, the wicked will think themselves to be in peace and security after the death of Antichrist and before the coming of Christ, seeing that the world is not at once destroyed as they thought hitherto,” (Summa Sup., 73:1). He doesn’t set a time limit for this occurrence. He couldn’t have made this statement believing that the Sacrifice could still exist after Antichrist’s death, knowing it was predicted to end at the time of his coming. It seems God would need to allow a relatively lengthy amount of time to elapse in order to put these wicked ones at ease and grant them the necessary time to perpetuate Antichrist’s system.

God’s time is not our time. And not all commentators agree that the three years and a half are to be interpreted literally. Rev. William G. Heidt O.S.B. tells us in his Book of the Apocalypse: “…three and a half years, 1,260 days, 42 months… [is] a proverbial number for a time of misfortune. Because of this proverbial usage the figures in question simply denote a period of distress, a period that may actually be quite short or one that could extend from Pentecost to the Parousia [Second Coming]. The emphasis is on misfortune, suffering, persecution, not on chronological duration.” Rev. Hugh Pope also writes: “St. John is not writing a continuous history of the Church’s future in chronological order…. There is no succession of time…” There is a notable absence of what Pope refers to as the “time note.” And he refers to a work by St. Methodius that was long ago lost which interprets the Apocalypse in purely allegorical (not literal) fashion, which means the three years and a half would be symbolic, not actual. Given what is said above about the exact fulfillment of these things it appears that none of this will really be known until the actual time the event occurs.

Some point out that there are problems with this opinion because it does not take into account the fact that the commentators teach the Mass will only be suspended for the three-and-a-half-year period during which Antichrist and also Enoch and Elias will make their appearance. But this is not really a problem that cannot be explained. Antichrist personally is the one designated to abolish the Sacrifice, no one else. Traditionalists unanimously agree that it was indeed abolished or abrogated by Paul 6 in April 1969. But few will tell you Paul 6 was Antichrist, although the Mass could not have been abrogated by anyone else. Witness the prefiguration of this in the Old Testament with the Jewish Antichrist Antiochus, aided by “the false high priest Menelaus…who obtained his position by usurpation and bribery” (Catholic Bible Dictionary, Rev. Bernard O’Reilly, L.D.). Menelaus was the equivalent of the false prophet in Ch. 13 of Apocalypse. Rev. Haydock says St. Jerome, the ultimate biblical authority, accommodated the person of Antiochus and applied him to Antichrist. Haydock notes Antiochus was “first despised and not received for king… [He] had no title to the crown, which he procured by cunning.” And as seen below, the title of Antichrist could refer to a king who reigns during an interregnum (Catholic Encyclopedia). The distinction must be made between Antichrist and his system and allowance must be given for the fact that while commentators assume the Man of Sin will rise rapidly to power, this has not been true in our case, however true it was in Jewish times. Nor has it ever been made clear by the commentators why they believe that the three and a half years equally applies to both the Jewish Antichrist and the Man of Sin.

Antichrist’s universal reign

Once Antichrist’s system has totally fulfilled its purpose and paved the way for the creation of a world government, then the final three-and-a-half-year period mentioned in the Apocalypse and in Daniel might possibly commence, and that could take place at any time now. It could come at the end of an extended reign of Antichrist, accomplished by those perpetuating his system. How can this be? We know from the article on Antichrist in the Catholic Encyclopedia that “one might interpret antichristos as denoting one resembling Christ in appearance and power,” which would lead us directly to Pope Paul IV’s definition of him as a man appearing to be the vicar of Christ but reigning only as a usurper. The encyclopedia article also says anti could refer to a king reigning during an interregnum or a hostile god and notes some believed Antichrist would overthrow the pope and usurp his see. It wasn’t just Paul 6 who fit this description, but each one of his successors as well. Chapter 13, verse 3 of Apocalypse refers to paganism revived in the opinion of several commentators, but it also could refer to the death and “rebirth” of succeeding usurper pontiffs. We know from Church teaching that each successor of St. Peter possesses exactly the same powers as St. Peter possessed, although they are not identical to St. Peter himself who first received the keys. If Antichrist strives to resemble Christ Himself as closely as possible, having received his keys from his father Satan, then the Father of Lies will likewise make certain that each successor of his appointed satanic pontiff will be vested with precisely the same title and powers as Antichrist himself. Could this transfer of power from Satan have been referred to by St. John?

“And the fifth angel sounded the trumpet, and I saw a star fall from heaven upon the earth, and there was given to him the key of the bottomless pit.  And he opened the bottomless pit: and the smoke of the pit arose, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke of the pit” (Apocalypse 9: 1-2). It was Paul 6 himself who commented that the “smoke of Satan” had entered the Church. Being who he was, was he simply stating a fact? Berry says the star falling from heaven in this verse could be “any priest or bishop of the Church who becomes a leader of heresy… But in this case the star refers to some particular person whose revolt from the Church will lead directly to the reign of Antichrist.”  The false prophet, who we believe to have been Angelo Roncalli (John 23), was most likely this falling star, for his appointment of Montini as cardinal, one of his first acts following his usurpation of the Holy See, led directly to Montini’s “papacy.” This is something that needs to be better understood because many have raised the objection that Roncalli and Montini could not have been the false prophet/Antichrist duo simply because Apocalypse says that these two men will be thrown alive into the lake of fire when Antichrist’s system is defeated. Roncalli and Montini created an entirely new religion over the span of a little over 10 years. This religious system survives until this day. What is destroyed in the end is not just these two men but their entire system, which passes on in all its fullness to each usurper and his personal false prophet (whatever person engineered his election or advancement or acted/acts as his personal assistant or secretary).

Think of it this way. If we said that the papacy itself was to be thrown alive into this same fire, as some Protestants believe, we would not limit that deliverance just to St. Peter and St. Paul, for example, for these are the men which it appears the false prophet and Antichrist are aping. We would include all popes from beginning to end, for this would be necessary to abolish the entire line of popes. It is no different with the system of Antichrist and the Satanic pontiffs. Whoever is reigning in Antichrist’s “see” at that time is the representative of the system he and the false prophet founded; they are all clones of the original — one and the same. They have continued the same teaching and furthered it, they have maintained and amplified the connections it takes to build this system and these connections go deep into the slimy underbelly of politics and high finance. Antichrist’s diabolical system financially influences world political interests in ways not completely known or understood. Various Vatican financial scandals, the dealings revealed by exposés regarding the Knights of Malta and other works, give us some idea of these connections. Vatican political dealings have been clearly leftist since the 1960s.

Doctrinal points regarding the Man of Sin

If we approach the problem from a doctrinal standpoint, Henry Cardinal Manning states that it was the unanimous opinion of the Fathers that the Holy Sacrifice would cease, and when the early Fathers speak on a subject regarding Holy Scripture, the Vatican Council teaches that this is to be considered a rule of faith. It also is certain according to nearly all Scripture scholars that Antichrist will be a specific individual. And Holy Scripture says he will cause the Sacrifice to cease. The infallible Scripture interpretation of Pope Paul IV in Cum ex Apostolatus Officio regarding the abomination of desolation has already been mentioned but bears repeating: Antichrist, which commentators equate with the abomination, will be a heretic invalidly elected pope and can be removed at any time. The pages on this website have been devoted to demonstrating that while Traditionalists may argue the Sacrifice has not ceased it most certainly cannot be said to continue at the hands of men whose orders are questionably valid and who therefore lack apostolic succession. They are simply the false prophets and false christs foretold in Holy Scripture. It is hard to see how the current situation is not the very one spoken of in Apocalypse 17, where the Babylonish whore rules from Rome, counterfeiting the sacrifice and sacraments as well as all of the rest of her operations; Antichrist continues to rule by proxy, spreading massive delusion with the aid of the operation of error; those keeping the faith have retired to the desert in the company of the Holy Ghost and Our Lady, which symbolizes a place of contemplation and the inability to receive the Sacraments.

Meanwhile, things continue to deteriorate at a rapid pace on the world stage, but lovers of solitude sheltered by Our Lady are not disturbed by this. For they know all this was preceded by what St. Paul prophesied — the mass exodus of bishops and priests from the Church, the Great Apostasy, at the time of the false Vatican 2 council, precisely when the Man of Sin was revealed to the world. We have seen these prophecies play out; what we cannot do is fit all of it to St. John’s vision of the Apocalypse.  And this is not surprising, since God did not intend for us to know all the details of these things in advance. The important parts — the Great Apostasy, the cessation of the Sacrifice and the identification of the Man of Sin — he has given to us because we must know such things to save our souls. If there is to be a literal three-and a-half-year period and a reign of terror by those directing world government, in conjunction with a new world religion (a false pope playing out the role of high priest, while some political figure is set up, who, aided and abetted financially by Rome acts out the role of Antichrist) it will necessarily be accompanied by the coming of Enoch and Elias. This is another controversial point in question, and many have been asking for some time now, where are these two witnesses?

Where are Enoch and Elias?

Here we have a problem that has not been satisfactorily addressed, in this author’s estimation. We have a wide range of opinions on their appearance. St. Robert Bellarmine’s comments on this subject are important for many reasons.

“For it must be known that in the divine letters the Holy Ghost to have given as six sure signs concerning the coming of the antichrist: two which precede himself, namely: 1) the preaching of the gospel in the whole world and 2) the devastation of the Roman Empire; 3) the contemporaneous men (two witnesses) which it is to be seen prophesied Enoch (also called Henoch) and Elias (also called Elijah); 4) the greatest and last persecution and 5) that the public sacrifice (of the mass) shall completely cease; the two following signs 6) surely the death of the antichrist after three and a half years (after his rise to power) and the end of the world, none of which signs have we seen at this time. “The third demonstration arises from the coming of Enoch and Elias who live even now and shall live until they come to oppose Antichrist himself and to preserve the elect in the faith of Christ, and in the end shall convert the Jews and it is certain that this has not yet been fulfilled. But it is easily seen that… this is not a childish fantasy but a most true concept that Enoch and Elias shall personally return and it is also seen that the contrary concept (that they will not personally return) is either absolutely heretical or a serious error very close to heretical. The sixth demonstration arises from the last sign, that follows antichrist which shall be the consummation of the world. After antichrist at once comes the last Judgement … the future reign of antichrist shall be 1,290 days duration. Matthew 24: “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to the whole world and then shall come the consummation.” (Liber Tertius, p. 434-435). So according to St. Bellarmine, there will be no peace.

To summarize the above, the Gospel must be preached throughout the entire world, which, given the Church’s missionary efforts in her final days seems to have been achieved. However, Enoch and Elias renew this effort. Some would disagree, but commentators who were writing in the late 1800s or early 1900s could not have anticipated radio and television or increased access to remote areas. Next, it appears, comes the destruction of Rome. This must follow her already accomplished spiritual destruction. We will forgive St. Bellarmine for placing the cessation of the Mass before Enoch and Elias’ coming, for he does not indicate that these signs will take place in the order given. The order that seems to make sense for us is the following: 1) the preaching of the gospel in the whole world and 2) the devastation of the Roman Empire; 3) the greatest and last persecution 4) that the public sacrifice (of the mass) shall completely cease; the two following signs 5) the contemporaneous men (two witnesses) which it is to be seen prophesied Enoch (also called Henoch) and Elias (also called Elijah); and 6) the death of the antichrist after three and a half years (after his rise to power).”

So if we fit this to our own times, it is possible these two prophets could appear in the near future. At least according to Bellarmine, St. Ephraem, St. Hippolytus and others. One commentator (Ratton) claims they have already come, (before the destruction of the Jewish Temple in A.D. 70). Rev Leo Haydock comments that “…Allowing it a received opinion that Henoch and Elias are again to come before the day of judgment, yet it is not the constant doctrine of the ancient fathers, that by these two witnesses in this place of the Apocalypse, must be understood Henoch and Elias. St. Cyprian expounds it of two sorts of martyrs for the Catholic faith; to wit, they who suffer death, and others who only suffered imprisonment, loss of goods, and the like. Others expound it of the testimonies concerning Christ and his Church, of which some are in the Old Testament, some in the New. To these we must join all those interpreters who expound all the visions and predictions in the Apocalypse, till the 20th chapter, of the persecutions raised by the Jews: or by the heathens against the Church, which have already happened …Two witnesses. It is commonly understood of Henoch and Elias. (Challoner).” Another commentator suggests that the witnesses were Pope Pius IX and Pope St. Pius X, who warned in one of his first encyclicals that Antichrist already had been born in 1903. So no one is united in their views on this interpretation

A brief peace, or the consummation?

Given the current political situation both here and abroad, it would seem that we are closer to the realization of a worldwide government and religion than at any other time in history. The times are approaching when everything may utterly collapse. As out there as this may sound, the only hope of the peace everyone seems to expect could be the arrival of Enoch and Elias, designated to battle Antichrist and his system. We cannot discount Fatima, La Salette and other indicators of this peace, but they certainly cannot be considered in the same light as the theologians, the popes and Holy Scripture itself. Holy Scripture tells us these two prophets will be two candlesticks and olive trees in Apoc. 11: 4, possessing the gift of miracles, and the symbolism used in Apocalypse to describe them indicates they could possibly be vested with episcopal orders. Rev. James L. Meagher, D.D. (How Christ Said the First Mass, 1906) explains that the removal of the candlesticks in Apoc. 2: 5, refers to the Jewish Holy of Holies, “emblematic of Christ the Light of His Church…[and] also foretold the bishop, light of his diocese… The Son of God told John, His beloved Apostle to write to the seven churches of Asia that if they did not do penance he would remove their candlesticks — that is, their bishops.” Commenting on this same verse, Rev. E. S. Berry also mentions a candlestick and its removal, which he says refers to a particular Church. According to Berry, bishops are referred to as stars or angels in Apocalypse, but by extension the removal of an entire church would also mean removal of its bishop.

Since olive oil is used to consecrate bishops, one must wonder if this has any significance regarding their episcopal status. Miracles alone would prove their jurisdiction. Berry calls them “apostles” and Rev. Robert Eaton says in his The Apocalypse of St. John (1930) that the “olive trees and candlesticks (verse 4) speak of the priesthood and kingship of Our Lord.” In his The Book of Destiny, Rev. H.B. Kramer notes: “The olive tree is the symbol of God’s mercy and the oil is the threefold office of prophet, priest and king.”  These two men may appear when Antichrist’s system begins its complete and universal reign which could then last for three years and a half. The commentators say these two witnesses will “restore all things.” Kramer refers Apoc.11:3 to the prophecy of Zacharias 4:14, making Jesus son of Josedech and Zorababel types of the two witnesses. Following the Babylon Captivity, “these two restored the theocracy.” During the Babylonian Captivity, the Jews were held captive anywhere form 48-70 years. In October of 2021, the Church will have been held captive by the Roman usurpers for 63 years.

Three scenarios are possible here if these two witnesses are to come at this time. First, Enoch and Elias will come to restore the papacy and convert the Jews. Physical Rome will probably be destroyed, having already been decimated spiritually, and Antichrist will proceed to Jerusalem. Antichrist and his system win a monumental battle in Jerusalem, seizes the two witnesses and puts them to death. The witnesses rise after three days and finally enter heaven. Eventually Antichrist and his entire army are destroyed by the Archangel St. Michael or some other entity and are literally thrown into a lake of fire. A literal three days of darkness might ensue and the brief period of peace and restoration of the Church would follow. Or, after Antichrist’s system is defeated, the end could come immediately. Commentators simply do not agree. If those commentators who believe that the two witnesses will not come in person are correct, and this does not seem to be the case, the end could come at any time. But given the fact that there is no other valid way to restore the papacy other than by a true bishop(s) who would create other bishops to canonically elect a true pope, only the arrival of Enoch and Elias could result in the peace so many are anticipating.

What are Catholics to believe?

First of all, it seems only logical to conclude that we are to pray and watch; to read and understand. These are the repeated messages for the end times in Apocalypse and the Gospels and Epistles regarding the Last Days. The focus should be on our own spiritual lives and the preparation we must all make to remain Catholic in a world gone mad. Prayer and penance are the only remedies for what we face today. We will know Enoch and Elias when they come for as champions of the law, they will be no friends of the Traditionalists and will preach consistent with those dogmas of faith that existed prior to the death of Pope Pius XII. They will also likely cast some reproaches at the lukewarm among stay-at-home Catholics. No one can be certain how these prophecies of the Apocalypse will be fulfilled; it is God’s secret alone. That is why we are told to pray and watch, for He did give us certain indicators of the more significant events, enumerated above by St. Bellarmine. Before leaving this subject, we add a few pages written by one commentator about the two witnesses and what it means to really be a witness. These excerpts are taken from The Apocalypse Explained, written by H.M. Feret in 1958. They are a reminder that when these two great men arrive, they will necessarily create a following and will expect to be joined by those who keep the true faith of Christ. We are not meant to be led by them, but to lead with them. Catholics who for years have been awaiting a savior on a white horse may be surprised to learn here that they were intended all along to be the army that leads that charge to victory.

 

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A Blessed Easter and a simple way to sanctity

A Blessed Easter and a simple way to sanctity

He is Risen. Alleluia.

Please forgive the belated greetings; I have been away from my computer for a while. And although every Christian being must rejoice in Our Lord’s Resurrection and triumph over death, it can only provide us with a brief interlude in our continued struggle to maintain the faith, in this the ongoing Passion of His Church. That Passion was predicted by Christ himself who warned us that if they did this to Him, we would suffer the same fate. He told us we must fill up what is wanting to His Passion (Colossians 1:24). This is a theme I have touched on often. The crosses we are fastened to today are all different, unique to each person, and are reflected in this wonderful quote from St. Francis de Sales:

“The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that he now presents to you as a gift from His inmost Heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His Divine mind, tested with his wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not ne ounce too heavy for you. He has blessed it with His Holy Name, anointed it with His grace, perfumed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God (The Love of God).  Carry this cross, yes. But allow ourselves to be fastened to it? Yet can we really imitate Christ and not allow this to occur? Pope Pius XII wrote in Mediator Dei: “The people must offer themselves as victims… This offering is not in fact confined merely to the liturgical Sacrifice. For the Prince of the Apostles wishes us, as Living Stones built upon Christ the cornerstone, to be able ‘as a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ,’” (I Peter 2: 5).

 Because the Holy Sacrifice has ceased, how else are we able to satisfy in any other way for its loss? If we recite the Mass of St. John, or say our Mass prayers in the absence of the True Mass; if we offer our very selves on this altar of sacrifice willingly and in a spirit of resignation to God’s will each day, isn’t the Sacrifice still renewed spiritually in a continual way? In his The Mystery of Faith, Vol. I, Rev. de la Taille writes concerning chapters 5-16 of Apocalypse: “It is declared plainly that in the New Jerusalem, which is to succeed the Church Militant, there would be neither Temple nor light, except God and the Lamb… Under these sacrificial symbols and metaphors we have an indication of some kind of heavenly and eternal worship,” consisting of Christ’s perpetual immolation eternally offered before the Throne of God. St Gregory Nazianzan wrote: “What then? Will they forbid us their altars? Even so, I know of another altar, and the altars we see now are but a figure of it…All the activities ’round about that altar are spiritual; one ascends to it by contemplation. At this altar I shall stand, upon it I will make immolations pleasing to God, sacrifices, oblations, holocausts, better than those that are offered now…”(Ibid). St. Thomas writes: “The state of the New Law is intermediate between the state of the Old Law…and the state of glory, in which all truth will be fully and perfectly manifested. Then there will be no more sacraments; but now, inasmuch as we see only through a glass darkly, we have to enter into spiritual things through sensible signs.” So either we are being offered a foretaste of life in our Eternal Home, and the Church will eventually be restored; or we are being prepared for the end of the world proper and the commencement of the life to come in a very intimate way. So given the abundance of important truths contained in this site and the alarming changes taking place throughout the world, how do we hold fast to the faith and persevere until the very end?

Your information is difficult to understand

Many have complained that the articles on this site are too hard to read and understand and that no one could be expected to know all these things in these times in order to save their souls. However, much more is expected from us study wise these days when our Church has been eclipsed and the truth has been so savagely attacked and misrepresented. This is especially true seeing that so many know so much about useless political issues and other trivialities, thanks to the Internet, yet cannot be bothered to learn what the Church teaches. Nevertheless, those complaining fail to understand the real purpose of this site and my intention in providing this information. Not everything is for everyone, and what is presented here is primarily intended to be a record of what the Church teaches as a defense against the many lies and heresies spread by both non-Catholics and those falsely presenting as Catholics. It is not something I choose to provide: as a Catholic with the means and the ability to present this information I have an OBLIGATION to do so, and not to do so would be a mortal sin. Rev. Dominic Prummer, in his Handbook of Moral Theology (1957) teaches that we are bound to help those in extreme spiritual necessity even if it poses risks to our own health (#223). I have been told time and again by readers that the information provided here is not available anywhere else, which make me doubly bound to provide it. I also am required by Canon Law to profess my faith whenever silence, subterfuge or manner of acting would indicate that I am accepting an error or heresy publicly taught. I only hope I have covered the majority of such heresies.

But those reading the material need not think they must assimilate it all or grasp it all entirely. It is there for those who have questions about what the Church taught prior to Pope Pius XII’s death, from the standpoint of the continual magisterium, versus what Traditionalists and others SAY She taught or teach themselves. It is intended as a ready reference for disputed points and a testimonial to the constant teaching of the Church. Many subjects relevant to our times are addressed here that have not been examined or explained elsewhere. Those who wish to study it at length privately are welcome to do so, but they are not required to do so. I have urged readers to undertake such study in order to better answer those who question the faith but that is dependent on their level of education, their circumstances and their ability to explain what they read. They can always simply refer people to the site and are encouraged to do this. Please use the search function to locate various topics. The book The Phantom Church in Rome was written to answer many of the more common arguments and explain the gravity of the situation in which we find ourselves. But like the site, it is intended to be more of a reference work than anything else.

That being said, Catholics should remember well what Pope Benedict XIV pronounced over 250 years ago: “We declare that the greater part of those who are damned have brought the calamity on themselves by ignorance of the mysteries of the faith, which they should have known and believed, in order to be united with the elect.”  Here we understand the primary mysteries of the faith presented in the Catechism of the Council of Trent and the Baltimore Catechism # 3 or some other such work — those things all are bound to believe — for not everyone can know or is able to understand many of the finer details. It is enough to believe even that which they cannot understand and leave the rest to those who are more learned. What many today lack is a way of ordering their life that is not dependent on a more detailed understanding of these things, (provided they are well-grounded in basic Catholic belief). What is presented below provides a way they can follow today, in the absence of Mass, Sacraments and priestly directors, although this “way” may not be for everyone. Still, for those who care to adopt it, it offers an easy method for loving God and following Him in our daily lives, and is easily adapted to our current situation.

The Sacrament of the moment

In his Abandonment to Divine Providence, Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade instructs those unable to consult a director, a situation we are experiencing ourselves. He begins his work by observing that: “Today God still speaks to us as he used to speak to our ancestors at a time when there were neither spiritual directors nor any systems of spirituality.” This was the condition in which Our Lady and St. Joseph, members of “that little band of believers …kept safe from idolatry until the coming of the Messiah” found themselves. Caussade informs us that “The bread which nourished the faith of Mary and Joseph …was the sacrament of the moment.” He goes on to explain that this sacrament consists in accepting everything in our daily lives as God sends it, and at the time and in the manner in which He sends it. He says that God compelled him to write to help those “who seek to be holy and are discouraged by what you have read in the lives of the saints and some books dealing with spiritual matters.” How well this describes us today, who find so little of our own lives comparable to the lives of the saints.

Caussade encourages his readers to faithfully follow inspirations of grace, a very important component of God’s will, but to follow these inspirations only as long as they also are in compliance with God’s will of signification (“Obedience to the Commandments, both divine and ecclesiastical, of obligation for all, because there is question here of THE ABSOLUTE WILL OF GOD WHO HAS MADE SUBMISSION TO THESE ORDINANCES A CONDITION OF SALVATION to advance further”— St. Francis de Sales) and His will of good pleasure (what happens in our daily lives) and our daily duties. He notes that the usual methods of spirituality are neither applicable nor helpful. In fact, he says, these methods actually place obstacles in the way of souls who wish to forge a straight path to God. He does not discourage anyone who wishes to follow other methods from doing so; he simply states that in certain cases and circumstances these methods are more a hindrance than a help. Caussade sympathizes with those “who have done all that is commanded by the strictest theologians…” but still fail to find peace. “[They] are expected to adopt tiresome practices which the Church does not require, and if they do not they are told they are wrong,” but this is not the case, he says.

Those who seek this way have tried many other methods of seeking holiness, he points out, but have failed to find one that can be suitably fitted to their busy and unpredictable lives. Caussade describes the souls he addresses as, “bits of broken pottery” God seems to have flung into some dark corner. He calls them “spiritually and mentally troubled and their everyday lives are full of disappointments.” They need much attention, he says, and are lacking in all those things that distinguished the saints. “They feel all the annihilating anguish of their wretched state…They find nothing but confusion within themselves…They are overwhelmed with shame… Whatever [they] do fills [them] with endless contempt for [them]selves, as if [their] whole lives were flawed and faulty.” To others these “strange sort of saints” appear to be “disobedient, troublesome, contemptuous and angry,” and they “feel this way about [them]selves too,” Caussade notes. But he cautions that we must not become “upset or worried by the humiliations which come from the aspect [we] present to the world.”

He sums up our manner of existence quite well when he writes that we must carry on “without thinking and concerned with no models or examples or any particular mode of spirituality. You must act when it is time for action and stop when it is time to stop. In this self-abandonment you read or put books aside, talk to people or keep silent, write or drop your pen, and never know what will follow.” How often we find it to be exactly as he says. We who are forced to proceed on nothing but faith alone can also understand his meaning in these words: “Let us acknowledge that we are incapable of becoming holy by our own efforts and put our trust in God, who would not have taken away our ability to walk unless He was to carry us in His arms…The light of reason can only deepen the darkness of faith…No matter what troubles, unhappiness, worries, upsets, doubts and needs harass souls who have lost all confidence in their own powers, they can all be overcome by the marvelous hidden and unknown power of the divine action. The more perplexing the situation, the more we can hope for a happy solution. The heart says, ‘All will be well. God has the matter in hand. We need fear nothing.’” These thoughts of Caussade’s are found expressed in the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe, who told Juan Diego: “Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms?”

Caussade uses passages from the Apocalypse to relay to us wisdom that no doubt was reserved especially for those living in the latter days. Thus we find the three keys mentioned in Apoc. 3:7, 9:1 and Luke 11:52; also the key to divine wisdom, (Wis. 8:14) extended to us in his work. Some commentators believe that the Church of Philadelphia related to these keys is the little Church of the remnant living in the end times. “The whole of the Old Testament is only a small diagram showing innumerable and mysterious tracks, and contains nothing but what is necessary to lead us to Jesus. The Holy Ghost has kept everything else hidden among the riches of His wisdom. From all the vast ocean of His activity, He allows only a trickle of water to escape which, after reaching Jesus, is lost in the Apostles and engulfed in the Apocalypse. Thus the rest of the story of the activity of Jesus in the souls of good people until the end of time can be known only by faith.” Caussade talks of the dream King Nebuchadnezzar revealed to Daniel and the interpretation Daniel gave him of his dream. This prophet says it represents the “the image of this world shown to us as a statue…the mystery of evil,” referring this evil to the activities of the “children of darkness, together with the beast coming out of the abyss to war against the interior and spiritual life of man. It is a war that has been going on since time began, and everything that happens in the contemporary world is the continuation of this war, (Apoc. 13:1).

“…Throughout the history of mankind we have been placed on earth as warriors to fight this great spiritual battle in successive ages. Always the enemy is the same. As St. Thomas Aquinas explains, they are beasts precisely because they are not spiritual beings, relying on their base instincts and animal passions rather than God-given reason. Always these monsters arise from the infernal pit and always we must fight them to the death. When we have finished our training here under the tutelage of the Holy Ghost, Caussade notes, then “God allows them to slay the monster. A new monster appears and God summons fresh warriors into the arena. Our life here is a spectacle which makes heaven rejoice, rears up saints and confounds hell. And so all that opposes the rule of God only succeeds in making it more worthy to be adored. All the enemies of justice become its slaves and God builds the heavenly Jerusalem with the fragments of Babylon the destroyed.”

Caussade’s book is short and to the point, perfectly suited to those who are unable to devote much time to study or other spiritual works. This little treatise, if followed faithfully, will help them make the most of the trials and troubles of their daily lives and turn all into a monument to God’s holy will. We need not worry about the future or the past, as St. Therese of Liseux taught — the “evil of the day,” the present moment — is sufficient for us. Let the political waves rage and wash over us, the dire predictions and portents of the end not terrorize us, but let us simply be going about our daily duties for God’s honor and glory when He comes. This is praying and watching at its best, and we can do nothing better than this. Yes, there are some things to consider about all this and we will consider them at length when the study is completed. But if it is not what some expect, simply heed wah Caussade says above: The Holy Ghost has kept everything else hidden among the riches of His wisdom. From all the vast ocean of His activity, He allows only a trickle of water to escape which, after reaching Jesus, is lost in the Apostles and engulfed in the Apocalypse. Thus the rest of the story of the activity of Jesus in the souls of good people until the end of time can be known only by faith.” We shall examine the trickle, but let it not affect our pursuit of the sacrament of the moment.

 

 

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The Sad Consequences of Ignoring Papal Teaching

Resources to help cope with death and dying

+Palm Sunday+

I have promised a reader I would provide the necessary resources on preparing for the care and eventual death of loved ones who are Catholic. Having experienced such deaths twice now in a 14-month span I am more conscious than ever of how essential this information is for the faithful. Thankfully I had all the prayers and devotions I needed when the time came, and the suddenness of my grandson’s death spurred me on to find additional resources to answer questions I could not find the answers for, even in my more-than-adequate library. The death of those we love opens a door to the future life that for us was previously closed, and if we are to follow our loved ones there to the best of our ability and maintain those precious relationships, we have no choice but to learn how to successfully make that journey.

When death is anticipated, the best thing we can do is to make our peace with our loved one who is seriously ill or in danger of dying. Praying with them of course is the most important thing we can do. Answering their spiritual questions, if they have any, and sensing and calming their fears is also a comfort to both the dying and their relatives. Praying for them is the best way to prepare them and ourselves for what is approaching and will give the assurance on their death that we have done all we can to help them reach Heaven.

To do this we need the right tools. Fortunately I found nearly everything I needed from one religious goods catalog, and to the best of my knowledge all but one of these resources are still available from that same source, found at https://www.traditionalcatholicpublishing.com (see Sick and Dying/Deceased). The other most important booklet to order is Instructions for the Sick, Dying and Deceased, available from https://canisiusbooks.com/pryrbk.htm. I recommend buying three of these at a time, one for home, one for every woman’s handbag and one for the glove compartment of the car(s).  Death does not just happen in hospitals as everyone knows, and fortunately for me during this time of COVID madness I was able to be with my love one and say the beautiful official prayers of the Church found in this booklet.

Other useful sources I have gathered are unfortunately out of print, but for those who need these works I will be happy to copy them for anyone who asks. One should be read before a loved one dies and this I hope to make available on the site soon. It is entitled, How to Grieve for One’s Dead, and warns of the wrong attitudes and pitfalls of grieving. Works on Purgatory and the joys of Heaven help those left behind learn how to best help their loved ones and prepare themselves for the long-awaited reunion in Heaven. One little work I discovered recently is entitled, My Child Lives, and for those who have lost children (or grandchildren) it is indispensable in helping heal the heartache of those early days when that sweet little face and voice is so noticeably absent.

One of the most consoling devotions, mentioned previously on this blog, is the one to the Poor Souls in Purgatory. As explained before, we the Church Militant live as members of the Mystical Body in close spiritual union with the Church Suffering and the Church Triumphant. Works on Purgatory explain that the greatest act of charity one can perform is to pray for the suffering souls, who have so few now to pray for them. This devotion comes most naturally following the death of a loved one who is probably suffering in Purgatory. Such souls so desperately need our prayers and good works to relieve that suffering and obtain their release, when and as soon as God wills. And if a soul prayed for is not in Purgatory, those prayers are used by Our Lady to help other souls in need. We know so much about how life on earth works, what is expected of us and what we must do to stay alive, and so little about what we must do now, while there is yet time, to save our own souls – if we wish to ever join those we love in Paradise. The Poor Souls can no longer ask pardon for their sins or make reparation. We must be their voices. And at the same time, we must do all we can to amend our own lives and do penance, as the world around us grows darker and darker.

Prayer, penance and sacrifice has been the constant refrain echoed by Our Lady in nearly every apparition to children and holy people on earth. I find it very disturbing that so much emphasis is placed on the triumph of the Church and the coming peace so many expect, when this world is so evil beyond all description and so few are making reparation for their own sins and the sins of the world. Such expectations are not only presumptuous but are totally without solid foundation unless such penance is done. It makes no sense to expect peace while sin prevails and there is no public outcry, far less public penance. In the next blog I will explain some of the confusion that exists regarding private revelations and commentaries on the Apocalypse, even regarding the more reliable commentaries and private prophecies. Until then, please pray for the souls of your dearly departed and the souls of Larry and Tristen Benns.

 

 

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The Sad Consequences of Ignoring Papal Teaching

A Lenten cross

Larry Kent Benns

July 25, 1951-March 1, 2021

A quiet and unassuming man with countless talents and abilities left this life March 1 and will be sorely missed and cherished always by his loving wife and four children.

Larry Kent Benns was born July 25, 1951 in Denver, Colo., the second son of William H. and Maxine D. Benns. He won awards in leather crafting and industrial arts in his high school years at Abraham Lincoln High School in Denver and early on showed talent in the auto mechanics field, building racing engines as a hobby. After marrying his high school sweetheart Teresa Stanfill in Denver in 1969, he worked as a millwright at a local foundry and later worked for Monaghan/Hospal Corporation in Littleton, Colo., a manufacturer of medical respirators, as a precision machinist. During a brief stint as a modelmaker he also helped create the prototype for the first artificial kidney in a briefcase. He left the company to serve as a Machinery Repairman second class on the USS Coral Sea (1974 -1975), assisting in the evacuation of Vietnam and participating in the Mayaguez incident. He is a lifetime member of Disabled American Veterans.

Following his service in the Navy, he worked at Sterling Stainless Tube in Englewood, Colo., a hypodermic needle manufacturer, from 1977-1984. In 1984 he was hired as a preventive maintenance technician at Golden Aluminum Recycling (a division of Coors) in Ft. Lupton, Colo. supervising the repair of machinery used to manufacture and recycle aluminum cans. In 1991, he was transferred to the new Golden Aluminum rolling mill in San Antonio, Texas (ACX Technologies) as preventive maintenance supervisor. He later trained to serve as a vibration analyst for the company in the field of predictive maintenance and also was the department’s purchasing agent. He traveled nationally and internationally to keep abreast of the latest technology involving aluminum rolling mills and their furnace systems. He retired from the company in March, 1999.

During his working years, Larry dabbled in woodcarving and jewelry making. He also became a skilled blacksmith, studying under Al Morgan who replicated ironwork for the San Antonio missions and taught him the basics of creating Damascus knives. Following his retirement to La Garita, Colo. he built a solar-powered strawbale home, with the help of family and friends, from the ground up. He later added a garage/shop, undertaking amazing wood projects, handcrafting log furniture and creating Monet-style and other paintings, portraying the idyllic scenery of his native Colorado mountains. He also enjoyed collecting and building classic cars. He sold his Colorado property in 2020 to move to South Dakota to be close to his two sons during his final illness.

Larry is survived by his wife of 51 years, Teresa; sons Shane, Eathan, Josiah and daughter Aimee, also his brother Gary. He leaves behind 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and a beloved grandson, Tristen Kent Benns.

Larry was laid to rest at St. Anthony of Padua Cemetery in Hoven, S.D. Monday, March 8, 2021.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him; may he rest in peace, amen. may the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen. Please pray for the repose of Larry’s soul. 

 

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