+Pope St. Pius V+
First Friday, First Saturday
(See the latest additions to Javier Morell-Ibarra’s work most instructional work here: https://www.betrayedcatholics.com/survival-guide-and-reference-handbook-during-the-great-tribulation-and-the-operation-of-error/)
In our April 30 blog, we opined, based on pre-1958 scriptural commentaries, that Pope Pius XII is the male child or son referred to in Apoc. 12:5, where the Church is portrayed as a woman (Holy Mother Church) in labor to give birth. There is much more to be covered on this topic but we will begin with a general refresher on the book of Apocalypse as a whole, before proceeding to the role Pope Pius XII plays in this very real end-times drama we are witnessing.
In 1911, Dr. Michael Seisenberger, author of Practical Handbook for the Study of the Bible (imprimatur of translated edition by Abp. John Farley) wrote regarding St. John’s Apocalypse:
“The apocalypse is a prophetic book and foretells the future destiny of the Church and the faithful. But just as many of the Old Testament prophecies became intelligible only after their fulfillment, so it will probably be with those in the Apocalypse. Failing special instruction by the infallible teaching authority of the Church, it is scarcely possible to have a perfectly sure comprehension of this book, [for] (a) it does not contain an account of events themselves but of their types which admit of various interpretations. (b) We are living in the midst of the events foretold in the books and just as it is scarcely possible for each combatant in a war to form an opinion as to the general the course of it or even of a single battle, so is any complete comprehension of the struggles of the Church denied as a rule to individual Christians. Moreover, (c) many of the events foretold lie still in the future.
“It must not be assumed that all the things foretold are bound to happen exactly in the order in which they stand in the book. For instance in Chapter 18 we read of the fall of Babylon which primarily means heathen Rome. But we need not suppose that all the incidents described before this chapter belong to the period before the fall of that city and that only those that stand after it belong to the centuries following the destruction of the pagan city. We cannot as a rule look for sequence of time in prophetic visions.
“Stress is laid on the following points:
- The future is determined by God and not by man.
- The future of man depends on Christ and His Church.
- The various evils of this life are decreed by God as a punishment but also for the amendment of man.
- God is long-suffering; He waits long before he permits the judgment to come.
- Many of the Jews and a countless multitude of the gentiles will attain to eternal salvation through Christianity.
- The depravity of this world will not remain limited to mankind outside the Church but will penetrate even into the Church; that is to say, amongst Christians, but will not injure it in its essential character.
- There are three chief enemies to Christ and his Church: the devil, the anti-Christian powers of the world and false knowledge.
- The victory of Christ and his Church over those enemies is absolutely certain.
- A completely new order of things is to follow the Resurrection and the Last Judgment for Heaven and earth are to be transformed and glorified as the dwelling place of God’s servants while the wicked are cast out.” (End of Seisenberger quotes)
What Dr. Seisenberger says above has been stated also by commentators on the Apocalypse, including St. Robert Bellarmine: only those witnessing the fulfillment of the prophecies in Apocalypse will realize they have and are being fulfilled and how they are being fulfilled. Apocalypse means “Latin, as apocalypsis, referring to the Greek apokálypsis, interpreted as manifestation or discovery, from the prefix apo-, in the sense of outside or as a distance determiner, based on the Indo-European *apo-, for distancing or from, and the verb kályptein, indicating the action of hiding, making its root in the Indo-European obvious in *kel-, for covering or concealing. In turn, the adjective form apocalyptic can be observed in the Greek apokalyptikós” (https://etymology.net/apocalypse/).
The 1957 Dictionary of Word Origins, by Joseph Shipley traces the meaning of the word apocalypse to “an unveiling…Calypso, in the Odyssey, gave Odysseus a magic veil.” We are watching as the veil is lifted from all that St. John the beloved apostle saw in his vision. But we must be diligent in penetrating the meaning of the terms used in Holy Scripture by cross-referencing them and becoming fully aware of their true signification.
What is the Scriptural meaning of an “iron rod”?
Historically, in biblical times, the rod was a weapon shepherds carved from the root of a tree or a tree branch which was fitted to the individual shepherd’s hand. A shepherd’s rod is about 30 inches long with an end resembling a mace, where the shepherds would embed heavy pieces of iron. One can easily see how this would become an intimidating and deadly weapon. Shepherds used this club-like device to drive away rustlers, or predators such as snakes, coyotes, wolves or cougars threatening the sheep. David utilized such a rod when protecting his sheep from wild animals (I Samuel 17:34-36).
In addition, the rod is often used to guide straying sheep back into the fold when they wander away from their shepherd or their pens. Sheep are stubborn and heedless; like goats they will indiscriminately eat anything they see. So the shepherd uses first his staff, to nudge them back into their pen, then, if they don’t respond, he loops the crook at the end of the staff around their necks to forcefully pull them back into line with the other sheep. If this fails, he may then resort to the rod to forcefully drive them back to the fold.
In Prov. 10:13, we see the “rod on the back of him that wanteth sense,” and in Prov. 22:15, “a rod of correction” is employed to discipline a foolish child, hence the old proverb, “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” There are numerous references in Exodus to the “rod of God” used by Moses and Aaron to turn all the ponds, streams and rivers of the Pharoah into blood, and to initiate the other plagues. Isaiah 10:5 speaks of “the rod and staff of my anger and in 11: 4, God “striking the earth with the rod of his mouth.” The “rod of his indignation” is mentioned in Lam. 3:1. Clearly the use of the rod indicates just punishment and the end of God’s patience with man. Rev. Leo Haydock, commenting on the “rod and staff” in Ps. 22:4 tells us that the rod is to punish and the staff to support, adding that straying sheep are beaten “for the good of the flock.”
There are three references to the rod in Apocalypse. One is found in Ch. 2:27, another in Ch. 11: 1 and the third in Ch. 12:5. Rev. Berry says of Ch. 2: 27: “the faithful are warned of the necessity of good works for salvation. Those who persevere in them unto the end shall have part with Christ in the judgment of the wicked. They shall participate in the power He has received from the Father to rule the nations with a rod of iron.” Regarding Ch. 11: 1, where St. John is ordered to measure the temple, “the altar and them that adore therein” with “a reed, like unto a rod.” Berry writes: “The temple is a figure of the Church and those who worship there are the faithful who remain steadfast during the great persecution of Antichrist.” Commenting on Ch. 11:2 he says: “The outer court cast off and given over to the Gentiles signifies that a great number of Christians will fall away from the faith in those days.”
Rev. Haydock says basically the same as Fr. Berry regarding Apoc. 2:27. He comments as follows on Ch. 11:1: “The churches consecrated to the true God are so much diminished in number that they are represented by St. John as one church; its ministers officiate at one altar and all the true faithful are so few, with respect to the bulk of mankind, that the evangelist sees them assembled in one temple to pay their adorations to the most high (Pastorini ).” If this does not describe those praying at home, I don’t know what does. The minister officiating at the one altar is Christ Himself. For as St. Alphonsus de Liguori explains, in reality the Sacrifice and priesthood will never cease since, “The Son of God, Eternal Priest, will always continue to offer Himself to God, the Father, in Heaven as an Eternal Sacrifice” (The Holy Eucharist).
Rev. H.B. Kramer, who wrote The Book of Destiny also wrote on Apoc. 2: 27, 11:1 and12: 5:
“She brought forth a male child who was destined to rule all nations with a rod of iron. The Pope elected is virile and fearless. He is the one destined by Providence to overthrow the schemes of the dragon. The text in the Vulgate is in the future tense. This is the nearest way of expressing in Latin the force of the Greek words ‘the child was to have ruled’ or ‘was on the point of ruling’ with an iron rod. The one whom God has destined for the papacy at that time will institute the needed reforms. The lax clergy of that time will extol the conditions then existing and will try to keep out of the church Apostolic purity and virtuous severity and will oppose the decrees of the Pope with deliberate fanaticism.” [And this cannot help but evoke in our minds an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas and the papacy. — Ed.]
Fr. Kramer continues: “The clause “that he might devour her son” does not necessarily mean assassination… This “son” will hardly have time to purify the Church before he is persecuted, imprisoned and martyred… The dragon is a symbolic form of the evil world powers who will resent the existence of a spiritual empire among them and through them and independent of them in its essential functions and will attempt to subject this empire to their will and service. They will try to make the Church a ‘state church’ everywhere. This is possible only if they can subject the Pope to their wills and compel him to teach and rule as they direct. That would be literally devouring the papacy. Since they are defeated in this, they have the Pope assassinated and he is taken up to God and to his throne, just as Christ by His death was taken away from distress (Isaiah 43: 8).
“The words of Psalm 2: 9 “Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron” was said of Christ. But in our text they are said of His Vicar. The rod of iron is a scriptural symbol of divine chastisement or law enforcement by which the good are separated from the wicked. The reference here is to Apoc. 11: 1 where the sanctuary of God is to be measured with a reed like unto a rod. This one event is thus shown under a different aspect in each of three chapters. The Church will be purified. The good will accept the enforcement of divine laws but the wicked will rebel and apostatize… The words “and to his throne” point to chapter 22: 6: “and they lived and reigned with Christ 1000 years.” This Pope will be given the power to rule over the destiny of the Church immediately from heaven. He carries out the will of God and loses his life in consequence, and immediately as part of his reward he receives in heaven patronage over the Church on earth.” According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, the Sanctuary is “the space in the church for the high altar and the clergy.” This has a dual meaning as will be seen below.
The above seems to reflect VAS, the final governing document that yet rules us during this extended interregnum; the shepherd’s club delivering its blows to those daring to spirit away and spiritually murder the flock. There is yet an unexplored meaning of the word rod, however, that makes this scriptural prophecy even more specific to our own situation, and this is discussed below.
The etymological meaning of canon
“Canon is derived from the Greek kanon, i.e. a rule or practical direction” (Catholic Encyclopedia). But a more precise definition is discovered by inquiring into its origins. The 1957 Dictionary of Word Origins, by Joseph Shipley states: “Preceptors enforced their canons with a cane; countries used cannons. All three words are the same. The origin is probably oriental. There is the Arab qanat or cane; the Hebrew qaneh or reed, thence Greek kanna, kanne, reed; whence, from the straight, hollow tube, cannon. But also Greek, kanon, whence Latin, a rod, then a rule in the sense of a carpenters rule or measure meaning any rule or law.”
And from www.dictionary.com : “Word Origin for canon: Old English, from Latin, from Greek kanōn rule, rod for measuring, standard; related to kanna reed, cane.” And from www.bible.org: “The word canon… comes from the Greek kanon and most likely from the Hebrew qaneh and Akkadian, qanu. Literally, it means (a) a straight rod or bar; (b) a measuring rule as a ruler used by masons and carpenters; then (c) a rule or standard for testing straightness.” in classical Latin, “measuring line, rule,” from Greek kanon “any straight rod or bar; rule; standard of excellence,” perhaps from kanna ‘reed’” (https://www.etymonline.com/word/canon).
Above Rev. Kramer wrote: “The rod of iron is a scriptural symbol of divine chastisement or LAW ENFORCEMENTby which the good are separated from the wicked.” The iron-clad rod or club has to do with protection, discipline and punishment, as in excommunication and exclusion from Church membership. Normally the shepherd uses his crook to guide or direct the sheep — the crook Christ is carrying in the many depictions of Him as the Good Shepherd. But the iron rod is reserved for predators and the sheep who stubbornly refuse the direction of the shepherd. Canons of excommunication, especially for heresy, apostasy or schism are the most severe punishments in the 1917 Code of Canon of Law. A shepherd may either drive predators away (threaten excommunication), incapacitate them by permanently wounding them (paralyzing, rendering them brain injured, amputating a limb, the equivalent of incapacitating them from acting) or they can kill them (sentence, deposition, degradation).
Incapacitation (invalidation) and deposition are both mentioned in VAS. Basically any censures for heresy and schism incurred during an interregnum or before it occurs incapacitate the individual who cannot be admitted again to the Church unless a new pope is elected. And the declaration of these censures by an ecclesiastical judge is not necessary under Canon Law and Cum ex… In our last blog it was explained how Pope Paul IV declared null, void and invalid any of the acts of heretics or schismatics promoted to office. Below we see that his bull was intended to guard the flock and drive away all those preying upon it.
Pope Paul IV, Cum ex apostolatus officio
“1. The Apostle’s office entrusted, to Us by God, though beyond any merit of Ours, lays upon Us the general care of the Lord’s flock. Hence We are bound, to watch over the flock assiduously, as a vigilant shepherd, with faithful protection and wholesome guidance… 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 drive the wolves from the sheepfolds, lest We seem to be silent watchdogs, unable to bark, or lest We come to an evil end like the evil husbandmen or be likened to a hireling.”
“3. All and sundry Bishops, Archbishops, Patriarchs, Primates, Cardinals… [who] have 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, being less excusable than others in such matters, in addition to the sentences, censures and penalties mentioned above, (all these persons) are also automatically and WITHOUT ANY RECOURSE TO LAW OR ACTION, are completely and entirely, forever deprived of, AND FURTHERMORE DISQUALIFIED FROM AND INCAPACITATED FOR THEIR RANK. They shall be treated, as relapsed and subverted in all matters and for all purposes, just as though, they had earlier publicly abjured such heresy in court. THEY CAN NEVER AT ANY TIME BE REESTABLISHED, RE-APPOINTED, RESTORED OR RECAPACITATED FOR THEIR FORMER STATE.”
“6. Further, if ever at any time it becomes clear that any Bishop, even one conducting himself as an Archbishop, Patriarch, or primate; or any Cardinal of the aforesaid Roman Church… or likewise any Roman Pontiff before his promotion or elevation as a Cardinal or Roman Pontiff, has strayed from the Catholic Faith or fallen into some heresy, then his promotion or elevation shall be null, invalid and void.”
All of the above is reflected in various canon laws listing Cum ex… as the source for their existence in the Code (see them here). These canons are forever held in force by Pope Pius XII’s 1945 papal election law, Vacantis Apostolicae Sedis (VAS). No one can be admitted to orders who is not determined by due investigation, conducted by the proper authorities, to be a devout Catholic. No bishops who have professed heresy or promoted schism, whether before assuming their offices or afterwards, may validly ordain or consecrate because all their acts are forever invalidated. These laws regarding heresy and schism are upheld in Can. 6 §4 and in turn are eternally protected from violation by VAS, which itself refers to two laws enacted by Pope Paul IV. Any violation of papal law, or canon law, particularly VAS, are infallibly decreed as null, void and invalid. And Christ, ruling with Pope Pius XII from Heaven, binds all that the popes bind and loose on earth.
Could there be another interpretation of the word canon? Yes, the Canon of the Mass, which we believe is what is referred to in the measurement of the sanctuary in Apoc. 11:1. This part of the Mass is called a “canon” because it is governed by liturgical rules or laws. In the bulls Quo Primum and De Defectibus, also by the Council of Trent, the Latin rite’s inviolability and the inviolability of the consecration are ensured. These laws are papal and conciliar laws protected under VAS.
In the use of this one term, rod of iron, is encapsulated the entire explanation of the cessation of the continual sacrifice, he who withholdeth, the end of the age and how the Church is yet ruled and governed from heaven during the sede vacante.
The name Pius seems to correspond with scriptural (and private) prophecies predicting a series of holy popes bearing the same name who are responsible for their disciplinary contributions to the Church. The following list seems to give some credence to this prediction.
- Pope Pius IV — Presided over the conclusion of the Council of Trent treating the Sacrament of Holy Orders, the approval of bishops by the pope alone, issuing the Profession of Faith and declaring that the decrees of the Council and of the Apostolic See are to remain untouched.
- Pope St. Pius V — Inter multiplices (confirming Pope Paul IV’s bull Cum ex apostolatus officio), Quo Primum, De Defectibus, implementation of the Council of Trent decrees
- Pope Pius VI — Charitas, Auctorem Fidei
- Pope Pius IX — The Vatican Council, the Syllabus, definition of the Immaculate Conception
- Pope St. Pius X — Vacante sede apostolica, codifying papal elections; the commencement of the codification of Canon Law; condemnation of the Modernists and the Sillon
- Pope Pius XI — Condemnation of atheistic Communism and socialism, Quas Primas on Christ the King, Casti Cannubi, condemning birth control and abortion
- Pope Pius XII — Vacantis apostolicae sedis, Mystici Corporis, Humani generis, Ad apostolorum principis, definition of the Assumption, and so many others. This also includes the address to women engaged in Catholic Action, included in the AAS, empowering the laity to assume the duties of the hierarchy in their absence.
Could these be the seven thunders spoken of in Apoc. 10: 4? There St. John writes: “When the seven thunders had uttered their voices…, I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, ’Seal up what the seven thunders have spoken.’” Both Fr. Berry and Fr. Kramer state that these voices may be those “…teaching divine truth, condemning error, and threatening persecutors with the vengeance of God [the rod of iron]” (Berry). Fr. Kramer writes:
“The thunders may mean dogmatic declarations of the Church against infidels, expressed in an ecumenical council… The seven thunders might mean the voices of several popes declaring infallible doctrines of the Church such as that of the Immaculate Conception or of the infallibility of the Pope… Pope St. Pius X’s condemnation of modernism” etc. Certainly the above list includes two major ecumenical councils, one ending in the wake of the Great Apostasy’s advent. Pope Pius XII seems to have been the “thundering velvet hand” in all this, for his decrees, particularly VAS, were not appreciated as they might have been during his lifetime. Their significance became more evident only following the end of the Great Apostasy, the reign of the usurpers and the founding of Traditionalism.
This is especially true of VAS, the “thunder” of which lies in the words added to this constitution. These words were absent from Pope St. Pius X’s original election law. Both constitutions invalidated all attempted actions to usurp papal jurisdiction. But regarding any changes contrary to papal or canon law, Pope Pius XII further proclaimed: “In truth, if anything adverse to this command should by chance happen to come about or be attempted, We declare it, BY OUR SUPREME AUTHORITY, to be null and void.”
It is interesting that further on in Ch. 10, vs. 6-7, we find these words uttered by the angel addressing St. John: “Time shall be no longer. In the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound the trumpet, the mystery of God shall be finished.” Fr. Berry comments: “This does not mean that the end of the world is at hand but that the time for judgment against obstinate sinners and persecutors has arrived. This judgment shall be the great persecution of Antichrist and its attendant evils. Then shall be accomplished the mystery of God which has been announced by the prophets.”
And from Fr. Kramer on these verses: “There shall be no more delay in the execution of God’s judgments is the angel’s oath. [But] the world is not to be destroyed…” Here we see the Scriptural dividing line between the end of the age and the consummation of the world. Was the seventh angel also Pope Pius XII, referred to by some as the “angelic shepherd”? We can do nothing more than speculate, and yet all seems to be as it is presented above, as well as in our previous blogs and articles. We can only continue to chronicle events as they occur, and to note the further explanation of events past, when better understood. We are witnesses, not prophets. And as is the task of all witnesses, we must simply shine our burning lamps on whatever we may see until the Bridegroom cometh.