The pontificate of Pope Francis – why should we expect a divine intervention today?
Editor’s note: The following remarks were given for the 2020 Rome Life Forum. To register for the conference, which is being held online, and to receive access to all event speeches, please visit www.RomeLifeForum.com. Click here to watch more video from John-Henry’s Q&A session. Tomorrow, May 22, the Rome Life Forum concludes with talks from Bishop Athanasius Schneider and Fr. Linus Clovis. Click here for more details.
Thursday, May 21, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – In these times of Coronavirus it has become for me clear that we are living in the end times, at least as that pertains to the chastisement predicted by Our Lady of Fatima in 1917. Today the greatest deprivation of all time has taken place. For the first time in history the greater part of Catholic humanity has been deprived of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
We will never be able to comprehend the gravity of this fully. But in order to appreciate it somewhat, hear the words of St. Alphonsus Ligouri in his Discourses on the Mass and Office. He wrote: “A single Mass gives more honor to God than can ever be given to Him by all the prayers and austerities of the saints, all the labors and fatigues of the Apostles, all the torments of the martyrs, and all the adoration's of the Seraphim, and of the Mother of God.”
For the last few months, this, the greatest of treasures on earth, the very pearl of great price, has been taken from us. It is a loss beyond comprehension. And as this deprivation continues it brings to mind the apocalyptic warnings of Christ Himself which we read in the gospel of Matthew. “When therefore you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that reads let him understand. Then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains.”
The verse from Daniel which Our Lord references is this Daniel 12:11 “And from the time when the continual sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination unto desolation shall be set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred ninety days.”
In a conversation with some of my closest friends I mentioned that the removal of the Mass from nearly all the faithful throughout the earth seems like a fulfillment of that prophecy, and I’m praying that it will not last as long as predicted – 1290 days or about three and a half years. It was pointed out to me, however, that of course the Holy Sacrifice has not in fact ceased since priests continue to offer the Mass privately. Nonetheless, it seemed to me that even in the worst of times to come, should all Masses be banned under pain of death, there will always be faithful priests who secretly offer the Holy Sacrifice happy to risk their lives for doing so.
This notion was bolstered by the interpretation of St. Robert Bellarmine in his famous workOn The Roman Pontiff, who interprets this passage from the Book of Daniel as saying that “all public ceremonies and sacrifices of religion will cease.”
Whereas I do believe the times are apocalyptic it is certainly not the end of the world for Our Lady of Fatima told us we are first to experience the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the prophesied period of peace that will be given to the world.
Recall the words of Our Lady of Fatima:
When you see a night illumined by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
It is in this sense, I believe many prelates view these times as the end times.
It was Cardinal Carlo Caffara who, here at Rome Life Forum in 2017, said the decisive battle between Our Lord and the Reign of Satan which was foretold by Our Lady of Fatima to be over ‘marriage and the family’ is on now and has been raging since the Church has been thrown into confusion on the subject of marriage and family with Amoris Laetitia and the two synods which preceded it.
When he was at our Rome Life Forum in 2019, I spoke with Dutch Cardinal Willem Jacobus Eijk about his article in which he wrote: “Observing that the bishops and, above all, the Successor of Peter fail to maintain and transmit faithfully and in unity the deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, I cannot help but think of Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.” That section of the Catechism – which he quoted says this:
The Church’s ultimate trial Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the ‘mystery of iniquity’ in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth.
In a follow-up interview with LifeSite’s Paris correspondent Jeanne Smits, Cardinal Eijk explained his reference this way:
I quoted number 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Because there are cardinals who plead for the blessing of homosexual relationships, I referred to this paragraph of the Catechism as a warning. It states that shortly before the Apocalypse, voices will rise within the Church itself, and even among the highest authorities of the Church who will express divergent opinions in relation to Catholic doctrine. I did this as a warning: let us be careful not to find ourselves in this situation.
Cardinal Eijk told me that he had noticed with interest that he was not the only Cardinal who referenced this part of the Catechism in describing our times.
Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith issued his Manifesto of Faith in February of last year. In that heroic document, His Eminence said that, “To keep silent about these and the other truths of the Faith and to teach people accordingly is the greatest deception against which the Catechism vigorously warns. It represents the last trial of the Church and leads man to a religious delusion, ‘the price of their apostasy’ quoting no. 675 of the Catechism, it is the fraud of Antichrist, he said. Cardinal Müller added, ‘He will deceive those who are lost by all means of injustice, for they have closed themselves to the love of the truth by which they should be saved.”
In the lead up to the Amazon Synod, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller who spoke at this Rome Life Forum last year said, “the frightening question arises whether the protagonists of this synod are not more concerned with the attempt secretly to replace religion as man's answer to the call of its Creator by a pantheistic natural religion of man – namely, by a new variant of Modernism from the beginning of the 20th century.”
“It is difficult not to think of the eschatological texts of the New Testament!” he exclaimed.
As the Pachamama scandal broke out during the Synod, Cardinal Brandmuller who spoke at this Forum in 2019, made direct reference to the apocalyptic warnings of Christ, calling the Pachamama idols in the Vatican “the abomination of desolation set up in the holy place.”
Cardinal Brandmüller made the reference while praising the actions of Alexander Tshugguel and the other young man who threw the Pachamama idols into the Tiber River. “These two courageous 'Maccabees' who have removed the 'abomination of desolation in the holy place' are the prophets of today,” he said.
His Eminence Cardinal Burke, whom we heard from yesterday, and has graced the Rome Life Forum with his presentations and presence every year since our inception in 2014, said in a 2017 interview with Catholic Herald and I quote: “In the present moment there is confusion and error about the most fundamental teachings of the Church, for example with regard to marriage and the family.” He then described the debate in the Church over communion and divorce and remarriage saying “There is today confusion as to whether there are acts which are intrinsically evil and this, of course, is the foundation of the moral law. When this foundation begins to be questioned within the Church, then the whole order of human life and the order of the Church itself are endangered.”
So there is a feeling that in today’s world that is based on secularism with a completely anthropocentric approach...the Church itself seems to be confused. In that sense one may have the feeling that the Church gives the appearance of being unwilling to obey the mandates of Our Lord. Then perhaps we have arrived at the End Times.
When the apostles asked Our Lord about the end times and he replied to them as recorded in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 24. The first sign Christ gives of the time of times were firstly that the Gospel would be preached over the whole world. And interestingly it was in a homily on February 21, 2001 that Pope St. John Paul II, recognized that the Church “has spread to every corner of the globe.” Speaking to gathering of Cardinals from all over the world the Pope marvelled that there were so many countries and languages represented. “Is this not a sign,” he said, “of the Church’s ability, now that she has spread to every corner of the globe, to understand peoples with different traditions and languages, in order to bring to all the message of Christ?”
Another sign Our Lord speaks of in Matthew 24:24 is confusion, if possible, even of the elect – that is of the faithful, of believers. Never before in Church history, as our eminent Church historian Professor Roberto de Mattei whom we heard from earlier today attests, has there been such confusion among the faithful. Even during the Arian heresy when it seemed all the world was Arian, as many historians have said at least that was only one heresy. Today heresies are legion and the faithful themselves are confused and divided as never before.
In these times, the confusion is most grave as it is comes from the Pope himself who is supposed to be the chief guardian of the truths of the faith. Pope Francis has caused dreadful confusion with public statements to the press distorting Church teaching about contraception, cohabitation, homosexuality and transgenderism. The pope’s personal promotion of LGBT activist-clergy such as Fr. James Martin and Cardinal Godfried Danneels have caused scandal.
But beyond even that are the semi-formal changes that go against the teaching of the Church such as communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.
- The Acta Apostolicae Sedis – a guidebook for the world’s bishops – refers to the heretical notion that communion for remarried divorcees not living in continence is possible as ‘authentic magisterium’;
- The change to the Catechism on the death penalty directly contravening the teaching always held by the Church and spelled out explicitly Pope Innocent III.
- The Pope’s allowance for individual bishops to permit Holy Communion for Protestant spouses of Catholic couples.
- And finally and most troubling for many listening today is the altering of the Church’s priorities on abortion in Pope Francis’ exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate where he teaches the opposite of what Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI taught regarding the pre-eminence of abortion as an issue of moral concern.
In his 2018 exhortation, Pope Francis wrote speaking of immigration and abortion: “Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the ‘grave’ bioethical questions.” The Pope added: “That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian.” He criticized those who "relativize" these issues, "as if there are other more important matters, or the only thing that counts is one particular ethical issue or cause that they themselves defend."
More recently we’ve been plagued with confusion over female ordination and optional celibacy for clergy. It is beyond imagination.
Recognition of the Coronavirus pandemic as a chastisement is only logical from a Catholic perspective. All throughout the Scriptures, the New Testament included, what are today called ‘natural disasters’ are related to God’s displeasure. At Christ’s death there was a horrific earthquake. As we read in Matthew 27:51, “And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split.”
Jesus Himself warns of Divine punishments. He tells his apostles, as recorded in Luke Chapter 10, to wipe off the dust from their sandals as a testimony to those cities which have rejected His teachings, warning, “I say to you, it shall be more tolerable at that day for Sodom than for that city.” Again, when Jesus heals the invalid man at the Bethesda pool, as recorded in John 5, he tells him, “Behold you are made well: sin no more, so that nothing worse happens to you.”
It is very clear in Scripture that God hates idolatry. When the Israelites turned to idolatry as Moses was away on the mountain with God, God was ready to destroy them all but Moses pleaded for the people of Israel and appeased God’s wrath. You can read about that in Exodus 32.
Cardinal Burke drew attention to idolatry in his comments about the Coronavirus as a chastisement.
Speaking of Coronavirus he said, “[A] person of faith cannot consider the present calamity in which we find ourselves without considering also how distant our popular culture is from God. It is not only indifferent to His presence in our midst but openly rebellious toward Him and the good order with which He has created us and sustains us in being.”
He added, “We witness, too, even within the Church, a paganism which worships nature and the earth,” he continued. “There are those within the Church who refer to the earth as our mother, as if we came from the earth, and the earth is our salvation. But we come from the hand of God, Creator of Heaven and Earth.”
It is worth noting that just before this virus broke out, the Pope allowed for idolatry in the Vatican Gardens. The Pachamama idolatry that took place there also included prostration before a statue of the Pachamama. The statue was later processed into St. Peter’s Basilica where the Pope and several Cardinals said prayers before it. This act was condemned by many Cardinals, bishops, priests, and laity all over the world.
A letter put out over 100 priests and scholars including the signature of two bishops described the events as follows:
- On October 4, Pope Francis attended an act of idolatrous worship of the pagan goddess Pachamama. (1)
- He allowed this worship to take place in the Vatican Gardens, thus desecrating the vicinity of the graves of the martyrs and of the church of the Apostle Peter.
- He participated in this act of idolatrous worship by blessing a wooden image of Pachamama. (2)
- On October 7, the idol of Pachamama was placed in front of the main altar at St. Peter’s and then carried in procession to the Synod Hall. Pope Francis said prayers in a ceremony involving this image and then joined in this procession. (3)
- When wooden images of this pagan deity were removed from the church of Santa Maria in Traspontina, where they had been sacrilegiously placed, and thrown into the Tiber by Catholics outraged by this profanation of the church, Pope Francis, on October 25, apologized for their removal and another wooden image of Pachamama was returned to the church. (4) Thus, a new profanation was initiated.
- On October 27, in the closing Mass for the synod, he accepted a bowl used in the idolatrous worship of Pachamama and placed it on the altar. (5)
Bishop Athanasius Schneider, whom we will have the pleasure of hearing tomorrow at this conference, called the coronavirus pandemic “a divine intervention to chastise and purify the sinful world and also the Church.” Bishop Schneider singled out the Pope’s allowance of the Pachamama idolatry and communion in the hand as drawing down God’s justice.
He quoted from the book of Revelation in his remarks.
I have a few things against you: you have some there who hold the teaching...that they might eat food sacrificed to idols and practice sexual immorality. Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth.
“I am convinced,” Bishop Schneider commented on that scripture passage, “that Christ would repeat the same words to Pope Francis and to the other bishops who allowed the idolatrous veneration of the Pachamama and who implicitly approved sexual relationships outside a valid marriage, by allowing the so-called ‘divorced and remarried’ who are sexually active to receive Holy Communion.”
So this coronavirus crisis is a chastisement, it is a wake-up call allowed by God for us to come back to His truth. If God truly didn’t care He would as it says in the Scriptures abandon us to our own lusts, not give us a wake-up call. This time of total separation from the Mass for the greater part of humanity, this isolation, this global fear and awakening to the reality of the frailty of human life is a wake-up call the likes of which the world has never experienced before.
Let us take heed and turn ourselves to God. Let us hear the words of Scripture – in 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” – That’s us – we are called by His name. We are called to humble ourselves, to pray, seek His face, turn from our wicked ways and He promises to hear us from heaven to forgive our sin and heal our land! But are we recognizing the chastisement for what it is and repenting? The answer for the most part today is NO.
In fact, we’re doing exactly the opposite – We’re saying no, it’s not God’s wrath, it’s natures wrath!
Pope Francis has said numerous times that we have the coronavirus thanks to nature being angry with us for not protecting the environment. It is the result, he said the Pope, of ‘nature’ throwing a fit because we have failed to address pollution.
The Mass promulgated in response to the Coronavirus has excised references which would recognize the Coronavirus as a chastisement. The Congregation of Divine Worship, invoking the authority delegated to it by Pope Francis, issued a text for a special votive mass for pandemics that departs from ancient liturgical tradition by omitting any reference to divine wrath and chastisement for sins.
The new “Mass in Time of Pandemic,” was issued in response to popular request during the current Coronavirus crisis. But unlike the Traditional Latin Mass, which includes a “Votive Mass for the Deliverance from Death in Time of Pestilence,” the new “Mass in Time of Pandemic” fails to ask for pardon for sins and removes references to the scourge of God’s wrath.
The entrance hymn of the Traditional Latin Mass (last issued in 1962), implores God to “be mindful . . . of Thy covenant and to say to the destroying Angel: Now hold thy hand, and let not the land be made desolate, and destroy not every living soul.”
However, the new version gives a brief entrance antiphon that merely states, “Truly the Lord has borne our infirmities, and has carried our sorrows.”
The special collect or opening prayer of the traditional version states, “O God, who does not want the death of the sinner but that he should repent: welcome with pardon Thy people’s return to Thee: and so long as they are faithful in Thy service, do Thou in Thy clemency withdraw the scourge of Thy wrath. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son…”
The new version’s collect instead asks for help, but without reference to sin or punishment.
But what will a loving God do when His children refuse to listen to His warnings? Will he just give up? No. He will turn up the heat, so that we will sit up and listen. Just like He did in my life to get me to pay attention to Him, to acknowledge that without Him I could do nothing to defeat the evil in my life. If a global pandemic filled with fear and removal of sacraments is not enough what will come next to awaken us? I don’t know.
But even before Coronavirus we’ve been experiencing another severe punishment that has been afflicting the world for many decades now but more acutely in recent years.
In his book The Priest, His Dignity and Obligations, St. John Eudes writes:
The most evident mark of God’s anger and the most terrible castigation He can inflict upon the world are manifested when He permits His people to fall into the hands of clergy who are priests more in name than in deed, priests who practice the cruelty of ravening wolves rather than charity and affection of devoted shepherds ...
When God permits such things, it is a very positive proof that He is thoroughly angry with His people, and is visiting His most dreadful anger upon them.
While I can’t predict what will come to wake us up beyond Coronavirus, I do know what will come when we finally do turn around and repent.
As we read again in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
In truth, we – we Catholics - are all guilty of idolatry in some ways – how many times have we given in to lust, to gluttony, to pride, to anger, to laziness, to jealousy, to greed?
And it is our very sins and especially those of abortion, lust, and sodomy which have drawn down upon us the chastisement of God. So when we – we Christians – who are called by His name repent, God will forgive us and heal our land.
But even more than that. When we fulfill Our Lady’s requests for Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays and the Holy Father responds to the explicit request of Our Lady of Fatima as Cardinal Burke spoke of yesterday to consecrate Russia to Her Immaculate Heart, we will see the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. That is – a glorious never-before seen peace on earth. A time of great rejoicing and faithfulness is coming and in fact is around the corner.
There is immense hope in this truth, in this promise. And I don’t think we have too long to wait.
The only solution to the mess the world and the church find themselves in today is Divine intervention.
Pope Benedict XVI hoped that such an intervention would happen shortly. “May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity,” he said in a homily on May 13, 2010. “We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete,” he said.
The October 13, 1917 Fatima miracle of the dance of the sun was witnessed by 70,000 people with coverage in all the secular papers at the time. It was the most spectacular public miracle of all time. What was it that heaven was trying to communicate with this stupendous event?
Our Lady showed the three shepherd children hell. “You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go,” she told them. “To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.”
What did Our Lady ask for to bring about the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart? First prayer, most particularly the Holy Rosary and the devotion of the Brown Scapular. Second She called for us to make reparation for the sins and outrages perpetrated against God's Grace and blasphemies against the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Thirdly She asked for consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, both on a personal basis and, publicly, that of Russia by the Pope and all the world's bishops.
Our Lady warned that if Russia was not consecrated to Her Immaculate Heart, Russia would spread its errors throughout the world. We have seen atheistic communism spread throughout the world. But most don’t realize that abortion began in Russia and this global atrocity has cost more lives than all wars combined. And as Prof de Mattei has said the most faithful representation on earth today of atheistic communism is not Russia, but China, from which we have the Coronavirus.
Our Lady warned specifically that if Russia was not consecrated there would be "wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated."
She predicted the Second World War, and it happened. She predicted “fashions will be introduced that will offend Our Lord very much. Woe to women lacking in modesty.” And it happened like never before in the history of the world. She predicted wars, and there have been more wars in the last thirty years than ever before. We have not yet seen whole nations annihilated.
Many have said Her wish for consecration of Russia was accomplished in 1984 when Pope St. John Paul II entrusted the world to Our Lady. Let’s skip the debate over it and do it again, but this time mentioning Russia specifically, as was requested by Our Lady, as Cardinal Burke has said.
“In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph,” she promised. “The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, which will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.” We await that peace eagerly both in the world and in the Church.
But Our Lord warned Sr. Lucia in a vision in 1931, expressing dismay that the Pope would not carry out the consecration of Russia as requested.
Like the King of France, they will repent of it, and they will do it, but it will be late. Russia will already have spread its errors in the world.” He added, “Make it known to My ministers, seeing that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My demand, they will also have to follow him into misfortune.
That warning has a severe implication for our days. The mention of the King of France by Our Lord refers to the request he made of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. On June 17, 1689 He asked her to have the King of France consecrate France to the Sacred Heart. For 100 years the Kings of France failed to make the consecration.
On June 17, 1789, 100 years to the day of the request, the King of France was stripped of his legislative authority and four years later executed.
When are the 100 years up for the request of Our Lady of Fatima to consecrate Russia? In 1917 Our Lady said She would return to ask for the consecration, and then appeared only many years later to the only remaining Fatima visionary then-Sister Lucia who was living in a convent. The Queen of heaven made Her request for consecration of Russia on June 13, 1929.
Let us play our part in hastening the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart. Let us pray the Rosary, wear the Scapular, make the First Saturdays devotion and request the not yet done explicit consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart. Pray that it may come before June 13, 2029.
And in conclusion I would like to quote a too-little-known statement by His Excellency Archbishop Carlo Maria Viagano which he delivered just prior to Christmas. It was one of the most rousing calls to arms I have ever heard.
After stating bluntly the catastrophic situation facing the Church today, he concluded with encouragement.
Now it is our turn. Without equivocation, without letting ourselves be driven out of this Church whose legitimate children we are and in which we have the sacred right to feel at home, without the hateful horde of Christ’s enemies making us feel marginalized, schismatic and excommunicated.
Now it is our turn! The triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary — Coredemptrix and Mediatrix of all graces — passes through her ‘little ones,’ who are certainly frail and sinners but are absolutely opposed to the members enlisted in the Enemy’s army. ‘Little ones’ consecrated without any limit whatsoever to the Immaculate, in order to be her heel, the most humiliated and despised part, the most hated by hell, but which together with Her will crush the head of the infernal Monster.
The Church is shrouded in the darkness of modernism, but the victory belongs to Our Lord and His Bride. We desire to continue to profess the perennial faith of the Church in the face of the roaring evil that besieges her. We desire to keep vigil with her and with Jesus, in this new Gethsemane of the end times; to pray and do penance in reparation for the many offenses caused to them.