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(LifeSiteNews) — The approved apparition of Our Lady of Akita to Sister Agnes Sasagawa in Japan prophesies of a time where “the work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres.”

As I have been working with several cardinals and bishops over the last number of years I have come to a very disturbing realization about this prophecy. I used to think it was about good cardinals fighting bad cardinals and good bishops vs. bad bishops, but I have come to the sad understanding that Our Lady meant something much more disturbing. It is good cardinals against good cardinals and good bishops against good bishops.

Let me explain.

I used to think Our Lady was referring to heterodox Cardinals like Cupich, Gregory, McElroy, Tobin, Danneels, and Hollerich – those who have rejected the perennial teachings of Christ. It would only be natural for them to be opposed by faithful cardinals and bishops. In fact, it would seem to me, a father of eight children, that cardinals and bishops are duty-bound to denounce the heresies of their fellow cardinals and bishops because of the severe scandal that can result.

The faithful can be misled into sin and eternal misery. So when Cardinals Marx, Hollerich, De Kesel, and others speak of blessing same-sex unions, it is a duty of cardinals and bishops to denounce it like Bishop Joseph Strickland did, when in response to Germany’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx admitting that he had blessed a homosexual union and went against the Church’s teaching, Bishop Strickland tweeted: “Cardinal Marx has left the Catholic faith. He needs to be honest & officially resign.”

But, sadly, today we have good cardinals and good bishops who oppose one another and even refuse to work with one another and with lay groups, even though they share the same faith – the faith of our fathers. And sadder still, some of the decision-making seems to be political, since these bishops and cardinals will still work in certain capacities with other bishops and cardinals who have opposite views on much more fundamental issues to the faith – where there is clearly no possibility for differing opinions.

There are issues in the faith that are non-negotiable. You can’t be a Catholic if you don’t hold to those beliefs. They are expressed in the creed, the dogmas of the Church.

Here are some of the areas where there is vehement disagreement from very good cardinals and bishops, issues which cause them to cancel one another in various capacities:

  • The legitimacy of the SSPX – the moral possibility of the faithful to attend the Masses of the Society, have their confessions heard by Society priests, and have their marriage Masses at Society churches. Even though Pope Francis has given explicit permission for this, there are some who remain steadfast in the belief that the SSPX is in schism and that it is a sin for the faithful to attend their Masses.
  • The impossibility of taking the abortion-tainted COVID jabs. While some have suggested that taking the abortion-tainted jabs should be avoided at all costs, including resistance to the point of bloodshed, others have said that for grave reason they may be taken.
  • Over the validity of the election of Pope Francis or his papacy. Whereas some believe the resignation of Benedict or election of Francis may have been invalid, and others believe that Francis has abandoned his office due to heresy, still others believe that any such option is impossible.

Today we have good, faithful cardinals and bishops and priests canceling one another over matters like these that are far less serious than the dogmas – far less serious than the heresies that Pope Francis himself has issued.

I know those matters above are very serious issues. I also know that the times we are living in are very confusing. With Pope Francis in obvious heresy, it is as Our Lord quoted the prophecy of Zechariah: “I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.” We are back in those times where St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians noting divisions among the faithful, some who said, “I am a disciple of Paul, I am of Apollo, and I am of Cephas…” (1 Cor. 1:12)

Today we might hear, I am of Burke, I am of Schneider, I am of Viganò, I am of Sarah. We are struggling to find a sure rock when the rock seems to have been shattered. St. Peter was the rock on which Christ built His Church, and it seems with Francis that the rock is all mush and no rock at all. The Pope is supposed to confirm the bishops and the faithful in the faith, yet Francis is undermining the faith at nearly every turn.

Let’s take up what may be the most controversial of those contentions, that of the validity of the papacy of Pope Francis, or Jorge Mario Bergoglio as some refer to him.

I think most people may know very little about what the actual arguments are here, but they are not easy at all, and not easy to dismiss, either. The first of the three main arguments suggesting that Pope Francis is not Pope are that the resignation of Benedict was invalid. They say this because in the official (Latin) text of his resignation he resigns the administrative duties of the papacy but not the office of the papal office itself.

The second argument is that the election of Pope Francis was invalid because the rules of the papal election as set out by Pope John Paul II in Universi Dominici Gregis were violated, most significantly by the scheming and conspiracy of the group of cardinals who dubbed themselves the Saint Gallen Mafia. And when the rules are not followed, Pope John Paul’s constitution on papal elections says this at paragraph 76:

Should the election take place in a way other than that prescribed in the present Constitution, or should the conditions laid down here not be observed, the election is for this very reason null and void, without any need for a declaration on the matter; consequently, it confers no right on the one elected.

And if those two aren’t bad enough, there is the possibility that Pope Francis has abandoned the papacy by his heresies. On this question Sts. Robert Bellarmine and Alphonsus suggest that Popes abandon the papacy when they commit heresy. But there is no firm teaching of the Church on this question.

There is even historical precedent for two canonized saints being on the opposite sides of saying who is the real Pope. St. Vincent Ferrer, a priest, backed two successive antipopes in the 1400s, while St. Catherine of Sienna, a lay woman, backed the real Pope.

So, what do we do in these times when we have strong opinions on either side of such contentious issues – issues where the Church has not clearly pronounced the correct path? The Church has actually answered that question, and it is not about canceling one another or refusing to work together.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote in an appeal to the bishops for peace:  

As regards matters in which without harm to faith or discipline – in the absence of any authoritative intervention of the Apostolic See – there is room for divergent opinions, it is clearly the right of everyone to express and defend his own opinion. But in such discussions no expressions should be used which might constitute serious breaches of charity; let each one freely defend his own opinion, but let it be done with due moderation, so that no one should consider himself entitled to affix on those who merely do not agree with his ideas the stigma of disloyalty to faith or to discipline.

Obviously when it comes to the non-negotiables of our faith, we must separate ourselves from those who refuse to adhere to the faith, as St Paul teaches. (1 Cor. 5:12-13) But in this time of confusion, where it seems the barque of Peter is sinking, not so much from the waves from outside but from the treachery from within, let us not separate from those with whom we have different opinions, but let us strive together to fight for the Church we love, let us work together to save our children from confusion and scandal, let us pray together that this scourge of confusion around the papacy may come to an end, that the glory of Christ’s mystical body, the Church, may once again shine on earth and attract many to the saving grace of His fold.

The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel and right here on my LifeSite blog.

You can send me feedback, or ideas for show topics by emailing [email protected].

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John-Henry is the co-founder, CEO and editor-in-chief of He and his wife Dianne have eight children and they live in the Ottawa Valley in Ontario, Canada.

He has spoken at conferences and retreats, and appeared on radio and television throughout the world. John-Henry founded the Rome Life Forum, an annual strategy meeting for life, faith and family leaders worldwide. He is a board member of the John Paul II Academy for Human Life and the Family. He is a consultant to Canada’s largest pro-life organization Campaign Life Coalition, and serves on the executive of the Ontario branch of the organization. He has run three times for political office in the province of Ontario representing the Family Coalition Party.

John-Henry earned an MA from the University of Toronto in School and Child Clinical Psychology and an Honours BA from York University in Psychology.