The “empty” Chair of Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy
THE past two weeks, the words keep rising in my heart, “You have entered dangerous days…” And for good reason.
The enemies of the Church are many from both within and without. Of course, this is nothing new. But what is new is the current zeitgeist, the prevailing winds of intolerance toward Catholicism on a near global scale. While atheism and moral relativism continue to strike at the hull of the Barque of Peter, the Church is not without her internal divisions.
For one, there is building steam in some quarters of the Church that the next Vicar of Christ will be an anti-pope. I wrote about this in Possible… or Not? In response, the bulk of letters I’ve received are grateful for clearing the air on what the Church teaches and for putting an end to tremendous confusion. At the same time, one writer accused me of blasphemy and putting my soul at risk; another of overstepping my bounds; and yet another saying that my writing on this was more of a danger to the Church than the actual prophecy itself. While this was going on, I had evangelical Christians reminding me that the Catholic Church is Satanic, and traditionalist Catholics saying I was damned for following any pope after Pius X.
No, it is not surprising that a pope has resigned. What is surprising is that it took 600 years since the last one.
I am reminded again of Blessed Cardinal Newman’s words that are now blasting like a trumpet above the earth:
Satan may adopt the more alarming weapons of deceit—he may hide himself—he may attempt to seduce us in little things, and so to move the Church, not all at once, but by little and little from her true position… It is his policy to split us up and divide us, to dislodge us gradually from our rock of strength. And if there is to be a persecution, perhaps it will be then; then, perhaps, when we are all of us in all parts of Christendom so divided, and so reduced, so full of schism, so close upon heresy… and Antichrist appear as a persecutor, and the barbarous nations around break in. —Venerable John Henry Newman, Sermon IV: The Persecution of Antichrist