As more and more people are waking up to the growing persecution of the Church, this writing addresses why, and where it’s all heading. First published December 12th, 2005, I have updated the preamble below…
I will take my stand to watch, and station myself on the tower, and look forth to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint. And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain upon tablets, so he may run who reads it.” (Habakkuk 2:1-2)
THE past several weeks, I have been hearing with renewed force in my heart that there is a persecution coming—a “word” the Lord seemed to convey to a priest and I while on retreat in 2005. As I prepared to write about this today, I received the following email from a reader:
I had a weird dream last night. I awoke this morning with the words “Persecution is coming.” Wondering if others are getting this as well…
That is, at least, what Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York implied last week on the heels of gay marriage being accepted into law in New York. He wrote…
…we do worry indeed about this freedom of religion. Editorials already call for the removal of guarantees of religious liberty, with crusaders calling for people of faith to be coerced to acceptance of this redefinition. If the experience of those few other states and countries where this is already law is any indication, the churches, and believers, will soon be harassed, threatened, and hauled into court for their conviction that marriage is between one man, one woman, forever, bringing children into the world.—from Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s blog, “Some Afterthoughts”, July 7th, 2011; http://blog.archny.org/?p=1349
He is echoing Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, former President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, who said five years ago:
“…speaking in defense of the life and the rights of the family is becoming, in some societies, a type of crime against the State, a form of disobedience to the Government…” —Vatican City, June 28, 2006
He warned that someday the Church may be brought “in front of some international Court.” His words may prove to be prophetic as the momentum toward interpreting alternative forms of marriage as a “constitutional right” is gaining enormous strength. We have the bizarre and inexplicable scenes of mayors and politicians at “gay pride” parades striding alongside nude revelers, in front of children and police (behaviors that would be criminal on any other day of the year), while in their legislative assemblies, officials are overturning the natural law, usurping an authority that the State does not and cannot have. Is it any wonder that Pope Benedict says there is now an “eclipse of reason” darkening the world? cf. On the Eve
There seems to be nothing stopping this moral tsunami from sweeping through the world. This is the moment of the “gay wave”; they have the politicians, celebrities, corporate money, and perhaps above all, public opinion in their favor. What they don’t have is the “official” support of the Catholic Church to marry them. Furthermore, the Church continues to raise her voice that marriage between a woman and a man is not a fashion trend that changes with time, but a universal and foundational building block of a healthy society. She says so because it is the truth.
The Church… intends to continue to raise her voice in defense of mankind, even when policies of States and the majority of public opinion moves in the opposite direction. Truth, indeed, draws strength from itself and not from the amount of consent it arouses. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Vatican, March 20, 2006
But then again, we see that not all the Church is always standing alongside the truth with the Holy Father. I have spoken to several American priests who estimate that at least half of those in the seminary they attended were gay, and that many of those men went on to become priests and some even bishops. cf. Wormwood Although this is anecdotal evidence, they are nonetheless startling allegations confirmed by different priests from different regions. Could “gay marriage” then become an issue that will create a schism in the Church when the prospect of prison faces church leaders for maintaining a view contrary to the whims of the State? Is this the “concession” that Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich saw in a vision?
I had another vision of the great tribulation… It seems to me that a concession was demanded from the clergy that could not be granted. I saw many older priests, especially one, who wept bitterly. A few younger ones were also weeping… It was as if people were splitting into two camps. —Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774–1824); The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich; message from April 12th, 1820
THE GAY WAVE
A few years ago, a surge of rage began to rise against the Church, particularly in America. Protests against democratic measures to keep marriage as defined between a man and a woman took a sudden, bold turn. Christians who had shown up to pray or counter-protest were kicked, shoved, sexually assaulted, urinated on, and even had death threats uttered against them, according to witnesses and video. Perhaps most surreal was the scene in California where a grandmother’s cross was thrown to the ground and trampled by demonstrators who began to incite fellow demonstrators to “fight.” Ironically, across the world, the Hungarian parliament passed laws prohibiting “degrading or intimidating behavior” toward homosexuals.
More recently in July 2011, the Premier of Ontario (where gay marriage first came into law in Canada) has forced all schools, including Catholic ones, to form lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender clubs.
This is not a matter of choice for school boards or principals. If students want it, they will have it. —Premier Dalton McGuinty, Lifesite News, July, 4th, 2011
In startling disregard for “freedom of religion,” he went on to say that passing laws is not enough, signaling that the State needs to enforce “attitudes”:
It’s one thing… to change a law, but it’s quite another to change an attitude. Attitudes are shaped by our life experiences and our understanding of the world. That should begin in the home and extend deep into our communities, including our schools.
Across the border in the United States, California has just passed a law that will “require” schools to “teach students about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.” San Francisco Chronicle, July 15th, 2011 The new curriculum will apparently teach everyone from kindergarten to high school about homosexual contributions in American history. This kind of forced ideology, upon children no less, is precisely the first sign that persecution is at hand.
It is all perhaps a distant echo of the outright persecution occurring in India where bishops are warning that there is a ‘master plan to wipe out Christianity.’ Iraq is also seeing a surge in anti-Christian activity as North Korean faithful continue to endure prison camps and martyrdom as the dictatorship there also attempts to ‘wipe out Christianity.’ This liberation from the Church, in fact, is what promoters of the “gay agenda” are openly suggesting:
…we predict that gay marriage will indeed result in the growth of acceptance of homosexuality now underway, as [Bishop Fred] Henry fears. But marriage equality will also contribute to the abandonment of toxic religions, liberating society from the prejudice and hatred that has polluted culture for too long, thanks in part to Fred Henry and his kind. —Kevin Bourassa and Joe Varnell, Purging Toxic Religion in Canada; January 18th, 2005; EGALE (Equality for Gays and Lesbians Everywhere) in response to Bishop Henry of Calgary, Canada, reiterating the Church’s moral stance on marriage.
And in America in 2012, President Barack Obama moved to bring in health legislation that would force Catholic institutions such as hospitals and other health services to provide contraceptive devices and chemicals—in opposition to Catholic teaching. A line is being drawn in the sand… and it is clear that other countries are following suit in chipping away at religious freedom.
The world is rapidly being divided into two camps, the comradeship of anti-Christ and the brotherhood of Christ. The lines between these two are being drawn. How long the battle will be we know not; whether swords will have to be unsheathed we know not; whether blood will have to be shed we know not; whether it will be an armed conflict we know not. But in a conflict between truth and darkness, truth cannot lose. —Bishop Fulton John Sheen, D.D. (1895-1979)
One of the top Cardinals in the Vatican Curia stated what is a central message repeated often on this site: that the entire Church may be about to enter her own Passion:
For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden. —James Francis Cardinal Stafford referring to the outcome of the USA elections; Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, www.LifeSiteNews.com, November 17, 2008
For this reason, I am republishing this “word” from December 2005, with updated information, one of the first writings on this website of a “prophetic flower” see The Petals that seems now to be rapidly unfolding…
—THE SECOND PETAL—
As we near Christmas Day, we also near the anniversary of one of the greatest modern day disasters of our times: the December 26th, 2004 Asian Tsunami.
Tourists began to fill the beaches that morning along hundreds of miles of coastline. They were there to enjoy Christmas holidays in the sun. Everything seemed fine. But it was not.
The water abruptly receded from the shoreline, exposing the sea bed as though the tide had suddenly gone out. In some photos, you can see people walking among the newly exposed sands, picking up shells, strolling along, completely oblivious to the impending danger.
Then it appeared on the horizon: a small white crest. It began to grow in size as it neared the shore. An enormous wave, a tsunami generated by the second largest earthquake recorded in seismic history (a quake which shook the entire earth), was gathering height and devastating power as it rolled toward coastal towns. Boats could be seen flying, tossing, capsizing in the powerful wave, until finally, it came ashore, pushing, crushing, annihilating whatever was in its path.
But it wasn’t over.
A second, then a third wave followed, doing as much or more damage as the waters pushed further inland, sweeping entire villages and towns from their foundations.
At last, the ocean’s onslaught halted. But the waves, having unloaded their chaos, now began their journey back to sea, pulling with them all the death and destruction they achieved. Sadly, many who escaped the pounding tidal waves were now caught in the undercurrent with nothing to stand on, nothing to grab hold of, no rock or ground on which to find safety. Sucked away, many were lost at sea, forever.
There were, however, natives in several places who knew what to do when they saw the very first signs of the tsunami. They ran to high ground, up hills and rocks, to where the obliterating waves could not reach them.
In all, nearly a quarter million people lost their lives.
What does this have to do with the word “Persecution“? The past three years, as I have traveled North America on concert tours, the image of a wave has continually come to mind…
Just as the Asian tsunami began with an earthquake, so did what I call a “moral tsunami”. This spiritual-political earthquake struck just over two hundred years ago, when the Church lost its powerful influence in society during the French Revolution. Liberalism and democracy became the dominant forces.
This generated a powerful wave of secular thinking which began to disturb the sea of Christian morality, once pervasive in Europe and the West. This wave at last crested in the early 1960’s as a small white pill: contraception.
There was one man who saw the signs of this coming moral tsunami, and he invited the entire world to follow him to the safety of high ground: Pope Paul VI. In his encyclical, Humanae Vitae, he affirmed that contraception was not in God’s plan for married love. He warned that embracing contraception would result in a break down of marriage and the family, an increase in infidelity, degradation of human dignity, particularly of women, and an increase in abortions and state controlled forms of birth control.
Only a few followed the pontiff, even among clergy.
The summer of 1968 is a record of God’s hottest hour … T
he memories are not forgotten; they are painful … They inhabit the whirlwind where God’s wrath dwells. —James Francis Cardinal Stafford, Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, www.LifeSiteNews.com, November 17, 2008
And so, the wave neared shore.
Its first victims were those boats anchored at sea, that is, families. As the illusion of sex “without consequences” became possible, a sexual revolution began. “Free Love” became the new motto. Just as those Asian tourists began to wander down onto the exposed beaches to pick shells, thinking it safe and harmless, so too did society begin to engage in free and varied forms of sexual experimentation, thinking it benign. Sex became divorced from marriage while “no-fault” divorce made it easier for couples to end their marriages. Families began to be tossed and torn apart as this moral tsunami raced through them.
Then the wave hit shore in the early 1970’s, destroying not only families, but individual persons. The proliferation of casual sex resulted in a swell of “unwanted babies.” Laws were struck down making access to abortion a “right.” Contrary to politician’s caveats that abortion would only be used “rarely,” it became the new “birth control” producing a death toll in the tens of millions.
Then a second, merciless wave thundered ashore in the 1980’s. Incurable STDS such as genital herpes and AIDS proliferated. Rather than run for high ground, society continued to grasp at the crumbling pillars and falling trees of secularism. Music, movies, and the media excused and promoted immoral behaviors, seeking ways to make love safely, rather than make love safe.
By the 1990’s, the first two waves had disintegrated so much of the moral foundations of cities and villages, that every kind of filth, waste, and debris washed over society. The death toll from old and new STDS had become so staggering, that measures were being taken on an international scale to combat them. But instead of running to the safety of solid high ground, condoms were tossed like life buoys into the rancid waters—a futile measure to save a generation drowning in “free love.”
By the turn of the millennium, a third powerful wave hit: pornography. The advent of high-speed internet brought sewage into every office, home, school, and rectory. Many marriages that withstood the first two waves were devastated by this silent surge which produced a deluge of addictions and broken hearts. Soon, nearly every television show, most advertising, the music industry, and even mainstream news outlets were dripping with immodesty and lust to sell their product. Sexuality became a soiled and twisted wreck, unrecognizable from its intended beauty.
Human life had now lost its inherent dignity, so much so, that persons at all stages of life began to be viewed as dispensable. Embryos were frozen, discarded, or experimented upon; scientists pushed for cloning humans and creating animal-human hybrids; the sick, elderly, and depressed were euthanized and the brain damaged starved to death—all easy targets of the last violent thrusts of this moral tsunami.
But its onslaught seemed to reach its pinnacle in 2005. By now, the moral foundations had been nearly completely washed away in Europe and the West. Everything was floating—a kind of swamp of moral relativism—where morality was no longer founded on natural law and God, but on whatever ideologies of the ruling government (or lobby group) that floated by. Science, medicine, politics, even history lost its footings such that intrinsic values and ethics dislodged from reason and logic, and past wisdom became muddied and forgotten.
In the summer of 2005—the halting point of the waves—Canada and Spain began leading the modern world in laying down a new pseudo-foundation. That is, redefining marriage, the building block of civilization. Now, the very image of the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, had been redefined. The very root of who we are, people made in the “image of God,” had become inverted. The moral tsunami not only destroyed the foundations of society, but also the fundamental dignity of the human person itself. Pope Benedict warned that the recognition of these new unions would lead to:
…a dissolution of the image of man, with extremely grave consequences. —May, 14, 2005, Rome; Cardinal Ratzinger in a speech on European identity.
For the destruction of the waves is not over! They are now heading back to sea with “extremely grave consequences” for a world caught in their undercurrent. For these waves are directionless, and yet forceful; they appear harmless on the surface, but contain a powerful undertow. They leave a foundation which is now a shapeless, shifting floor of sand. It has led this same Pope to warn about a growing…
“…dictatorship of relativism” —Cardinal Ratzinger, Opening Homily at Conclave, April 18th, 2004.
Indeed, these seemingly innocuous waves have as their…
…final measure of all things, nothing but the self and its appetites. (Ibid.)
THE UNDERTOW: TOWARD TOTALITARIANISM
The powerful undercurrent beneath the surface is a new totalitarianism—an intellectual dictatorship that uses the state’s coercive powers to control those who disagree by accusing them of “intolerance” and “discrimination,” of “hate speech” and “hate crime.”
This struggle parallels the apocalyptic combat described in [Rev 11:19-12:1-6, 10 on the battle between” the woman clothed with the sun” and the “dragon”]. Death battles against Life: a “culture of death” seeks to impose itself on our desire to live, and live to the full… Vast sectors of society are confused about what is right and what is wrong, and are at the mercy of those with the power to “create” opinion and impose it on others. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Cherry Creek State Park Homily,World Youth Day, Denver, Colorado, 1993
Who are those being accused of such things? Primarily those who have run to high ground—to the Rock, which is the Church. They have the vantage (divinely given wisdom) of seeing the dangers that are present and near and the ones yet to come. They are extending words of hope and safety to those in the waters… but for many, they are unwelcome words, even regarded as hateful words.
But make no mistake: the Rock has not been untouched. Breakers have crashed upon it, soiled it with debris, and eroded much of its beauty, as waves have swelled near the summit, pulling into the mirky waters many theologians and even clergy.
In the intervening 40 years since Humanae Vitae, the United States has been thrown upon ruins. —James Francis Cardinal Stafford, Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary of the Holy See, www.LifeSiteNews.com, November 17, 2008
Scandal after scandal and abuse after abuse have
beaten against the Church, caving in portions of the Rock. Instead of shouting warnings to their flocks of the coming tsunami, too many shepherds seemed to join, if not lead their flocks down to dangerous beaches.
Yes, it is a great crisis (sexual abuse in the priesthood), we have to say that. It was upsetting for all of us. It was really almost like the crater of a volcano, out of which suddenly a tremendous cloud of filth came, darkening and soiling everything, so that above all the priesthood suddenly seemed to be a place of shame and every priest was under suspicion of being one like that too… As a result, the faith as such becomes unbelievable, and the Church can no longer present herself credibly as the herald of the Lord. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Light of the World, The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times: A Conversation With Peter Seewald, p. 23-25
Pope Benedict thus described the Church at one point as…
…a boat about to sink, a boat taking in water on every side. —Cardinal Ratzinger, March 24, 2005, Good Friday meditation on the Third Fall of Christ
As the waters of the “culture of death” begin to pull back into the ocean, they are sucking not only vast portions of society with them, but large chunks of the Church as well—people who claim to be Catholic, but live and vote quite differently. This is leaving a “remnant” of faithful upon the Rock—a remnant increasingly forced to crawl higher up the Rock… or quietly slip into the waters below. A separation is occurring. The sheep are being divided from the goats. Light from darkness. Truth from falsehood.
Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard, the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Is 5:20). —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Evangelium Vitae “The Gospel of Life”, n. 58
With the Catholic Church’s recent document banning gays from the priesthood, and her immovable position on marriage and gay sexual practice, the final stage has been set. The truth will be silenced or received. It is the final showdown between the “culture of life” and the “culture of death.” These were the shadows foreseen by a Polish cardinal in an address in 1976:
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. —reprinted November 9, 1978, issue of The Wall Street Journal
Two years later, he became Pope John Paul II.
The Asian tsunami actually took place on December 25th—North American time. This is the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. It is also the beginning of the first persecution against Christians when Herod sent the Magi to disclose baby Jesus’ whereabouts.
Just as God guided Joseph, Mary, and their newborn Son to safety, so too will God guide us—even in the midst of persecution! Hence the same Pope who warned of the final confrontation also exclaimed “Be not afraid!” But we must “watch and pray,” particularly for the courage to remain on the Rock, to remain in the Flock as the voices of rejection and persecution become louder and more aggressive. Cling to Jesus who said,
“Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven.” (Luke 6:22-23)
Upon his installation as the 265th pope, Benedict XVI said,
God, who became a lamb, tells us that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not by those who crucified him… Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. —Inaugural Homily, POPE BENEDICT XVI, April 24, 2005, St. Peter’s Square).
Let us pray with renewed fervor for the Holy Father and for each other that we will be courageous witnesses of love and truth and hope in our days. For the times of Our Lady’s Triumph are nearing!
—The Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
December 12th, 2005
A simple little defence:
- A letter from a gay man: A Letter of Sorrow
- The Parental Wound and Homosexuality: The Hard Truth—Part III
- The Church’s loving teaching on “gay marriage”: The Hard Truth—Part II
- Are We Living In Apocalyptic Times? This is the title of a talk Catholic author and painter Michael O’Brien gave in Ottawa, Ontario. It is a pertinent, powerful, and intelligent perspective—one that should be read by every priest, bishop, religious, and layman. You can read the text of his address, as well as the moving Question and Answer period which followed (look for both titles on this link): Are We Living In Apocalyptic Times?
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Now in its Third Edition and printing!
|↑1||cf. On the Eve|
|↑3||San Francisco Chronicle, July 15th, 2011|
|↑4||see The Petals|