ROME, May 18, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) — St. John Paul II’s 1976 prophetic warning about the rise of an “anti-Church” that would preach an “anti-Gospel” is being fulfilled today by leaders within the Catholic Church, even at the highest levels, said a priest in a talk given at a Catholic conference today in Rome.
Fr. Linus Clovis of Family Life International said in his talk at the Rome Life Forum, organized by Voice of the Family, that the anti-Gospel of the anti-Church is often “indistinguishable from secular ideology, which has overturned both the natural law and the Ten Commandments.”
“This anti-Gospel, which seeks to elevate the individual’s will to consume, to pleasure and to power over the will of God, was rejected by Christ when tempted in the wilderness. Disguised as ‘human rights,’ it has reappeared, in all its luciferian hubris, to promulgate a narcissistic, hedonistic attitude that rejects any constraint except that imposed by man-made laws,” he said.
During his visit to America 41 years ago, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, the archbishop of Cracow who two years later would become Pope John Paul II, delivered his prophetic message in Philadelphia, on the occasion of the bicentennial anniversary of American Independence. Wojtyle said:
We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of 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 versus the anti-Gospel.
We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-too-distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives, and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it. . . .How many times has the renewal of the Church been brought about in blood! It will not be different this time.
Clovis said that while the rise of the anti-Church has been happening slowly but steadily over the past decades, it’s emergence has been especially noticeable in the last few years.
“For the past half-century, there has been a growing crisis in the Church, arising as much from a lack of clear and unambiguous teaching, as from the climate of dissent among priests, religious and laity. Within the contemporary Church, the crisis has been brought to fever pitch, if not breaking point, by the rejection of Our Lord’s yes/no paradigm and the undermining of established doctrinal positions by protean pastoral practises,” he said.
He noted that there is a sense among faithful Catholics that “things ecclesiastic and catholic are falling apart and a pastoral anarchy has been loosed upon the Church.” He said that a “hidden exercise of power” is currently at work within the Church that is fueling such anarchy.
[It] can reform the marriage annulment process without the customary consultation of the appropriate Roman dicasteries; issue a broad and scathing rebuke of the Roman Curia in a Christmas address; purge a dicastery’s membership, which effectively vitiate the influence of its Prefect who had stood firmly against innovations injurious both to the teachings on marriage and to the tenets of the liturgy; cripple the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate; and shut down the Melbourne campus of the John Paul II Institute.
Clovis said that accompanying the rise of the anti-Church is a direct assault on the very “pillar of creation” and foundation of the social order, namely, the truth of the relationship between man and woman as expressed in marriage and the family. He recalled how Sister Lucia, one of the Fatima visionaries, once said that “the final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family.”
“It is well known that any tampering with a keystone risks the collapse of the entire building,” he said. “The keystone, the basic cell of society is marriage and family.”
And the anti-Church is working its hardest to undermine that keystone.
“With the tacit acceptance of contraception and divorce, the recent ‘merciful’ embracing of remarried civil divorcees and the benign nod to same-sex ‘marriage,’ the keystone has been tampered with and the omega point has been reached,” Clovis said.
He noted how atheistic secularism, which fuels the anti-Church, has been “working for the demise of the family, its driving spirit being the LGBT ideology; its public face, ‘political correctness;’ its Sunday dress, ‘inclusivity and non-judgmentalism.’
He warned Catholics how the anti-Church will try to deceive the faithful by passing itself off as the true Church.
It is self-evident that the Catholic Church and the anti-Church currently co-exist in the same sacramental, liturgical and juridical space. The latter, having grown stronger, is now attempting to pass itself off as the true Church, all the better to induct, or coerce, the faithful into becoming adherents, promoters and defenders of a secular ideology.
Should the anti-Church succeed in commandeering all the space of the true Church, the rights of man will supplant the rights of God through the desecration of the sacraments, the sacrilege of the sanctuary, and the abuse of apostolic power.
Thus, politicians who vote for abortion and same-sex “marriage” will be welcome at the Communion rails; husbands and wives who have abandoned their spouses and children and entered into adulterous relationships will be admitted to the sacraments; priests and theologians who publicly reject Catholic doctrines and morals will be at liberty to exercise ministry and to spread dissent, while faithful Catholics will be marginalised, maligned and discredited at every turn. Thus, the anti-Church would succeed in achieving its goal of dethroning God as Creator, Saviour and Sanctifier and replacing Him with man the self-creator, the self-saviour and the self-sanctifier.
Clovis said that the anti-Church works to achieve its goal of overcoming the true Church by intimidating the faithful, including the laity, priests, and bishops, into submission.
To achieve its objectives, the anti-Church, in collaboration with the secular powers, uses the law and media to browbeat the true Church into submission. By adroit use of the media, the activists of the anti-Church have managed to intimidate bishops, clergy and most of the Catholic press into silence. Equally, the lay faithful are terrorised by fear of the hostility, ridicule and hate that would be visited upon them should they object to the imposition of LGBT ideology.
For example, in 2015, the congregation of St Nicholas of Myra in the Archdiocese of Dublin gave a standing ovation to their parish priest when he declared from the pulpit that he was gay and urged them to support same-sex ‘marriage’ in the Irish referendum. It is not difficult to imagine the kind of treatment that an objector would have received. Thus, the oppressive influence of the anti-Church is most clearly seen at work when a person is fearful to openly uphold God’s revelation about homosexuality, abortion or contraception in their parish community.
Adherents to the anti-Church especially target priests and bishops to tow the line of the anti-Gospel, knowing that once they are brought into submission they can influence countless souls away from the true Church.
Priests and bishops are the immediate and more natural leaders of the laity and they, above all, are caught in the broadening spectrum of fear generated by the anti-Church. Additionally, because of the clerical vow of obedience and respect, their fear, being reverential, is greatly aggravated, especially when they find their ranks divided; their unity split; long standing sacramental disciplines violated; canon law ignored; their evangelising spirit dismissed as proselytism and solemn nonsense.
In regard to their persons, they are labelled as little monsters throwing stones at poor sinners, or who reduce the sacrament of reconciliation to a torture chamber or, hide behind the Church’s teachings, sitting on the chair of Moses and judging at times with superiority and superficiality.
As clerical sons, they see themselves as less deserving of a papal embrace than Italy’s arch-abortionist Emma Bonino and even less worthy of rehabilitation than renowned false prophet and global population and abortion advocate, Paul Ehrlich.
As priests, they are told they owe an apology to gays and that the ‘great majority’ of Catholic marriages they would have blessed are invalid; in addition, they are called sayers of prayers and, for considering Mass attendance and frequent confession as important, are branded Pelagians.
As Catholics, knowing that the Five First Saturdays were requested in reparation for blasphemy against our most Blessed Lady, they are personally affronted by the scurrilous musings that, on Calvary, where She became the Mother of all those redeemed by Christ, the Holy Virgin of Fatima perhaps, desired in Her heart to say to the Lord “Lies! Lies! I was deceived.” As ‘trees of the forest shake before the wind,’ so clerical hearts quake with fear at the possibility that they could actually be more Catholic than the Pope!
Clovis called Pope Francis’ influence within the Church a “great and true blessing” since the Pope’s ambiguous teaching have prompted the anti-Church to emerge from the shadows in clear view of all the faithful. This now gives the faithful a clear choice regarding which master they will follow.
“A hidden conflict has been raging in the Church for over one hundred years: a conflict explicitly revealed to Pope Leo XIII, partially contained by St. Pius X, unleashed at Vatican II. Under Francis, the first Jesuit pope, the first pope from the Americas and the first pope whose priestly ordination was in the New Rite, it is now full blown, with the potential of rendering the Church smaller but more faithful,” he said.
He said that Francis’ most recent Exhortation Amoris Laetitia is an example of a force at work within the Church today that helps establish the dividing line between the anti-Church and the true Church of Jesus Christ.
“The Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia is the catalyst that has divided not only bishops and Episcopal Conferences from each other but, priests from their bishops and from each other, and the laity, anxious and confused,” he said.
“As a Trojan horse, Amoris Laetitia spells spiritual ruin for the entire Church. As a gauntlet thrown down it calls for courage in overcoming fear. In either case, it is now poised to separate the anti-Church of which St. John Paul II spoke from the Church that Christ founded. As the separation begins to take place, each one of us, like the angels, will have to decide for himself whether he would rather be wrong with Lucifer than right without him,” he added.
Clovis tied his main points to the 100th anniversary of Our Lady appearing in Fatima. He said that she “proposed a strategy which, if adopted would secure the salvation of a great number of souls.”
“The strategy required that, in order to ‘appease God, who was already so deeply offended,’ three major conditions should be satisfied, namely, a reform of morals with full adherence to natural and divine laws, the Five First Saturdays devotion and the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” he said.
“Then to further emphasise how perilous the approaching times would be, the Virgin, with motherly concern, warned of the consequences of ignoring Her message: wars, Russia spreading her errors, the persecution of the Church and of the Holy Father. She, nonetheless, concluded Her message with a vestige of hope: ‘in the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph and a period of peace will be given to the world,’” he added.
Clovis said that Catholics seeking to be faithful to Christ and the Church he founded need not be afraid of the present turmoil they are witnessing.
“At Baptism, we became members of the Church Militant and, at Confirmation, soldiers of Christ; we, therefore, have been recruited and armed for deadly combat against the three implacable enemies of our souls: the world, the flesh and the devil,” he said.
“Recognising that ‘we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places,’ we fight, like the Apostles, taking the martyrs for our models and Christ Jesus, Himself as our reward,” he added.