Vatican Correspondent John Allen Notes Pope Using “Apocalyptic” Language

VATICAN, October 14, 2005 ( - One of the leading English-language Vatican correspondents, John Allen of National Catholic Reporter, has noted that Pope Benedict has used “apocalyptic” language. In his October 3 column, Allen covers the homily given by the Pope at the opening mass of the synod of bishops.“Speaking in somewhat apocalyptic tones,” wrote Allen, “the pope warned: ‘The judgment announced by the Lord Jesus referred above all to the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70. But the threat of judgment also regards us, the church of Europe, Europe and the West in general.’” (see Allen’s piece here )

The excerpt from the Pope’s homily used by Allen is not taken out of context to exaggerate. In fact, the sentence following the excerpt used by Allen reads, “With this Gospel, the Lord is also crying out to our ears the words that in the Book of Revelation he addresses to the Church of Ephesus: ‘If you do not repent I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place’ (2: 5). Light can also be taken away from us and we do well to let this warning ring out with its full seriousness in our hearts.” (see the full homily here )

Apocalyptic talk is not uncommon from Popes, especially recently. Canadian author/artist/speaker Michael D. O’Brien in a recent essay on “Are we living in apocalyptic times”, notes that while some recoil from any mention of an estimation of our current times as apocalyptic, great thinkers of recent history and recent popes have taken the consideration seriously.

O’Brien points out that Pope Saint Pius X, in his 1903 encyclical, Suprema Apostolatus, wrote, “There is room to fear that we are experiencing the foretaste of the evils that are to come at the end of time. And that the Son of Perdition of whom the apostles speak has already arrived on the earth.”

Further Pope John Paul II, two years prior to his elevation to the papacy gave an address in the United States wherein he stated, “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel and the anti-Gospel. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence. It is a trial which the whole Church . . . must take up.” O’Brien recalls that the address was widely disseminated after Wotyla’s election to the papacy, when it was republished in the November 9, 1978, issue of The Wall Street Journal.

In his thought provoking piece, O’Brien says beyond the fact that the end - death - will certainly come for each individual and we must thus be spiritually prepared, “At some point in history, however, a generation is going to go through the final stage of the apocalypse, yet to them it will appear to be a normal world.”

O’Brien, best known for his internationally acclaimed novel “Fr. Elijah, an Apocalypse”, suggests that global enslavement of such a nature could be “accomplished by increasing the voltage of state power combined with a gradual decreasing of civil rights, the lifting of burdensome responsibilities from our shoulders combined with the increase of pleasurable rewards, the growth of a power class of ‘knowers’, who enshrine a multi-faceted gnosticism in organs of institutional governance.” He adds, “If at the same time, man’s ability to exercise his healthy critical and analytical faculties has been limited by corrupt education, by media indoctrination, and by a generalized loss of the sense of human identity, the new world order can be achieved-and achieved most effectively, it should be noted, to the degree that it is understood as a ‘moral’ cause, a great leap forward in the name of humanity.”

Importantly O’Brien concludes, “If we are living in definitive stages of the Apocalypse, our path through this radical darkness will not depend on the “greatness” of human status or strengths, nor on maps, blueprints, and survival gear. It can never depend on any attempt to save ourselves. Our salvation in the time of the ultimate assault on the Body of Christ will depend on our union with Jesus.”

See O’Brien’s full essay here:


FREE pro-life and pro-family news.

Stay up-to-date on the issues you care about the most. Sign up today!

Select Your Edition:

You can make a difference!

Can you donate today?

Share this article