FALSE DAWN



Chapter 25: A Speculative Postscript: After the “Anti-Tradition,” the Final “Counter-Tradition”?

“How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low! You said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High.’ But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit.” 

Isaiah 14:12-15

An Advisory

Allow me to begin this postscript with an advisory to my readers.  As you have seen, most of this book is an analysis of the interfaith, New Age, and globalist movements, based on a detailed review of publicly available speeches, books, and news reports.  I believe that the evidence exists for a definitive case against these movements, and have presented this to the best of my ability. 

In this postscript, I move from data analysis to speculation about the future: if the “progressive” New World Order comes, what happens next?  My aim is to give an initial warning and to raise awareness, not to offer definitive proof.  Anyone who has a distaste for impressionistic futurism and eschatology may safely skip this postscript.  If you have come away from the body of this book convinced that the interfaith, New Age, and globalist movements propose undesirable goals, and that these movements should be taken seriously, and that they deserve public scrutiny and opposition, then you have received the principal, urgent warning that I intended to convey.

It is, nevertheless, incumbent upon me to use this postscript to give an additional, longer-range (and admittedly speculative, impressionistic) alert.  You might be prepared for an impending tempest, a storm coming from the Left, and may have already boarded up the windows as you hear the wind rise and see the sky darken.  Beware!  From over the horizon, there may approach a second and greater storm from the Right, a spiritual and political hurricane that could destroy whatever is left standing after the Left has done its work. 

It might be that with discernment and prayer, one or both of these disasters – which would be a global replay of 1914-1945, on a larger scale – can be mitigated.  But before people can react against these dangers, they first need to acknowledge their existence.  We also need to remember that evil does not necessarily come from our identified enemies; it can arise amongst our friends and allies – and most perilously, from ourselves.  Examination of conscience is essential to spiritual survival.

 

Abnormal Times

I now begin to look over the horizon, and to speculate about the implications and sequelae of the current push for a political, social, and religious New World Order. 

It is not my intent to say, as a certainty, that the Apocalypse is upon us now.  Still less do I intend the absurd exercise of setting the date for the Second Coming of Christ.  Rather, I am arguing that if a New World Order is established (and various powerful forces are attempting to do this), the outcome will be far more complicated – with unexpected political and spiritual perils for the unwary – than most present-day traditionalist and conservative activists, commentators, visionaries, and novelists now expect.

Let’s begin by stipulating that we are in abnormal times, and have been since at least 1914.  In normal times, Anglican bishops would uphold the doctrine and discipline of their church, and would not raise their hands during a Wiccan-led invocation of Hekate and Hermes.[1]  In normal times, billionaires would not declare themselves to be “socialist at heart,”[2] and would not fund movements that undermine the society within which they prospered.  In normal times, the ravings of Helena Blavatsky, Alice Bailey, and their New Age followers would be of interest only to the physicians and ministers involved in healing the psyches and souls of these deluded people. 

These are not normal times.  Therefore, it is possible that, on the heels of a social, economic, or military disaster, the proponents of the New World Order – the URI and its interfaith associates, the globalist movements, and the devotees of Theosophy and the New Age movement – will have an opportunity to rebuild a shattered, disoriented world.  Since some of our present-day political and spiritual leaders see themselves as midwives of radical change, we may be very close to such a forced-draft, global version of the Cultural Revolution.  Abnormal times, indeed.

 

The End of the Age? – Papal Warnings Against the Left

Are we approaching the ultimate in abnormality, the end of the age?  It’s a useful question to ask, to examine the full extremity of the challenge that we might soon be facing.  (Some day, of course, we certainly will face the end of the age.)  An Italian Catholic commentator on the Apocalypse says, “it is completely licit for Christians to discern from various historical movements Satan’s attempts to subvert the design of God’s Providence through persecution and seduction.  Every era can produce historical figures, political regimes, and ideologies which incarnate Satan’s opposition to Christ.  We can say that every historical era has its own Antichrist.”[3]

Speculation about the end of the age and the Second Coming of Christ is as old as Christianity itself.  Over the centuries, saints, lunatics, and charlatans alike have said, “the end is near.”  The saints who have expected the Parousia in their own time (or soon thereafter) have included St. Gregory the Great, who was Pope from 590 to 604,[4] St. Vincent Ferrer, a Dominican preacher who traveled through France and Spain calling for Church reform and warning, around 1400, that Antichrist was then alive,[5] and St. Faustina Kowalska,[6] a Polish nun and mystic of the 1930s who was canonized in 2000 by Pope John Paul II.  I will pass over the charlatans and lunatics in silence.  However, within the last 100 years, a series of Popes have warned of the approach of the final trial of mankind.  With time, their warnings have become more urgent.

Pope St. Pius X, in his first encyclical, warned in 1903 (more than a decade before the crisis of the West became manifest in a world war), “Who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is – apostasy from God    And as might be expected we find extinguished among the majority of men all respect for the Eternal God, and no regard paid in the manifestations of public and private life to the Supreme Will – nay, every effort and every artifice is used to destroy utterly the memory and the knowledge of God.  When all this is considered there is good reason to fear lest this great perversity may be as it were a foretaste, and perhaps the beginning of those evils which are reserved for the last days; and that there may be already in the world the ‘Son of Perdition’ of whom the Apostle speaks (II. Thess. ii., 3).”[7]

In his 1928 encyclical on reparation to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope Pius XI wrote: “error has crept in and has spread far and wide, so that it might well be feared that the fountains of Christian life might be in a manner dried up, where men are cut off from the love and knowledge of God.    in the last century, and in this present century, things have come to such a pass, that by the machinations of wicked men the sovereignty of Christ Our Lord has been denied and war is publicly waged against the Church, by passing laws and promoting plebiscites repugnant to Divine and natural law, nay more by holding assemblies of them that cry out, ‘We will not have this man to reign over us’ (Luke xix, 14)    For from all sides the cry of the peoples who are mourning comes up to us, and their princes or rulers have indeed stood up and met together in one against the Lord and against His Church (Cf. Psalm ii, 2). Throughout those regions indeed, we see that all rights both human and Divine are confounded. Churches are thrown down and overturned, religious men and sacred virgins are torn from their homes and are afflicted with abuse, with barbarities, with hunger and imprisonment; bands of boys and girls are snatched from the bosom of their mother the Church, and are induced to renounce Christ, to blaspheme and to attempt the worst crimes of lust; the whole Christian people, sadly disheartened and disrupted, are continually in danger of falling away from the faith, or of suffering the most cruel death. These things in truth are so sad that you might say that such events foreshadow and portend the ‘beginning of sorrows,’ that is to say of those that shall be brought by the man of sin, ‘who is lifted up above all that is called God or is worshipped’ (2 Thessalonians ii, 4).    And thus, even against our will, the thought rises in the mind that now those days draw near of which Our Lord prophesied: ‘And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold’ (Matth. xxiv, 12).”[8]

Pope Pius XII wrote in his 1951 encyclical on Catholic missions: “Venerable Brethren, you are well aware that almost the whole human race is today allowing itself to be driven into two opposing camps, for Christ or against Christ. The human race is involved today in a supreme crisis, which will issue in its salvation by Christ, or in its dire destruction.”[9]

Pope John Paul II has warned of a pending “final confrontation” between the “Gospel and the anti-Gospel.”  In 1976, two years before his election to the Papacy, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla said in a speech in the United States, “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 versus the anti-Gospel.  This confrontation lies within the plans of divine Providence; it is a trial which the whole Church, and the Polish Church in particular, must take up.  It is a trial of not only our nation and the Church, but in a sense a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization, with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations.”[10]

The context of the apocalyptic Papal warnings makes it clear that the Popes have been sounding the alarm about the rise of militant atheism, anti-clericalism, and materialism.  In this view, the Antichrist is the beast who brazenly attacks traditional beliefs about God and Christ, who oppresses the faithful believers, and who makes war on the Church – primarily as an external enemy. 

In the imagery of Revelation: “And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. Men worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?’ And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months; it opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and tongue and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it, every one whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slain.” (Rev. 13: 1-8)

 

The “progressive” Theosophists of the Lucis Trust explain, from the standpoint of those who favor this development, how their “Christ” will come.  A present-day document from “World Goodwill,” an affiliate of the Lucis Trust, says: “In The Reappearance of the Christ, it is mentioned that the reappearance will not come as a result of some proclamation or some stupendous planetary event which will force human beings everywhere to say He is there! for that would evoke antagonism and laughter, resistance and fanatical credulity.  We will know Him through potency in leadership, through dynamic but logical changes in world affairs, and through action taken by the masses of the people from the depths of their own consciousness.”[11]

If this open onslaught from the Left were the totality of the final contest, it is one for which conservative and traditionalist Christians would be psychologically prepared.  This is the assault against which the Popes of the last century warned; it would be the final conflict in the rear-guard action that traditionalists have been waging since the French Revolution.  In this framework, the emergence and victory of the URI and other movements for religious syncretism, the rise of “progressive” globalist government, and the spread of anti-Christian occultism would be the immediate preparation for the rise of the beast with “seven horns and ten heads” (Rev. 13:1).

Popular Christian writers point their radar in the same leftward direction.  Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote in 1977, “We do know that at the end of time, when the great conflict between the forces of good and evil takes place, Satan will appear without the Cross, as the Great Philanthropist and Social Reformer to become the final temptation of mankind.”[12]  An English Catholic apologist of the last century, Ronald Knox, likewise said, “It seems probable enough that the Armageddon of the future lies between Catholicism and some form of humanitarianism – I mean the attempt (in some form) to produce a perfect humanity through the external pressure of breeding, education, and legal coercion.”[13]  Catholic and Protestant writers of apocalyptic fiction, from the dispensationalist Protestant Left Behind series[14] to the Catholic authors of Lord of the World[15] and Father Elijah,[16] have painted the Final Enemy as a man of the Left.

It may be that this is, indeed, the hour before the triumph of “progressive” religious and political globalists.  Current American foreign policy has ranged most of the rest of the world against us; weapons of mass destruction and terrorist networks spread; Communist-ruled China is friendly with Russia now, and threatens to recover Taiwan by any means necessary; Russia retains a huge nuclear arsenal, and is led by a former KGB colonel;[17] imperialism, terror, and sex abuse with a religious cloak are discrediting traditional monotheist religions; capitalist economies worldwide are built on an unsustainable combination of public and private debt, imbalanced trade, concentration of wealth and power in few hands, and a race for the bottom in labor costs (a trend that may wipe out the middle classes that have been the bulwark of social stability in the industrialized nations).  If this house of cards tumbles – or is pushed – then the globalist progressives will have their chance at creating a New World Order.

 

An Apocalyptic Threat From the Right, As Well?

As bad as this appears, we may face an even sterner challenge, one that will be the worse for being unexpected by most: a global theocratic reaction that follows the New World Order.  Such a reaction could culminate in the appearance of a seemingly orthodox Christian wonder-worker, a leader who finally puts himself forward through the Church as the Anointed One, demanding worship as God (2 Thess. 2:4).  This theocracy would establish a regime of legalism and “righteous” vengeance, responding to leftist antinomianism by fanatically enforcing its own laws, and by scapegoating any individuals or groups who might be plausibly blamed for installing or cooperating with the prior leftist, heretical “New World Order” regime.  The new purge would begin where the Nazis left off.

A present-day Catholic mystic, who calls himself “Miguel de Portugal,” sets forth this scenario in detail: a global war, followed by the creation of a “progressive” New World Order and an anti-Christian New Religion – and then, the rapid collapse of this system due to Divine intervention.  He expects that immediately thereafter, there will be a time of massive conversions to the Christian faith – but the re-emergent Church would be swiftly captured by movements that pervert the Church into a totalitarian theocracy.  In the name of enforcing religious orthodoxy, there would be a New Inquisition – and at the end, there would be a religious deceiver, a False Christ, who would ensnare most of the world.  Soon after this, Jesus will return in power and glory to rescue his people from this final tyranny.[18]

The prophecies of “Miguel de Portugal” do not have ecclesiastical approval, and it remains to be seen whether future events will validate all his expectations.  Many who may read his web site could be put off by his style, if not by his content.

Nevertheless, “Miguel” has given me – and perhaps, many others – an essential warning:  as bad as a victory of leftist globalism would be, it would not necessarily be the end of our trials.  History could well continue, with a global reaction toward a “Christianized” form of Fascism following the brief triumph of the leftist variant of the New World Order. 

The Anglican writer C. S. Lewis describes what such a “religious” regime would be like: “The loftier the pretensions of the power, the more meddlesome, inhuman, and oppressive it will be.  Theocracy is the worst of all possible governments.  All political power is at best a necessary evil; but it is least evil when its sanctions are most modest and commonplace, when it claims no more than to be useful or convenient and sets itself strictly limited objectives.”[19]  He added, “The higher the pretensions of our rulers are, the more meddlesome and impertinent their rule is likely to be and the more the thing in whose name they rule will be defiled.”[20]  By exercising tyranny in the name of Christianity, a future rightist regime would perform an ultimate defilement.  In an essay that was a sequel to the Screwtape Letters, Lewis’ infernal contact at the “Tempters’ Training College” exulted in the demonic potential of religion gone bad: “All said and done, my friends, it will be an ill day for us if what most humans mean by ‘religion’ ever vanishes from the Earth.  It can still send us the truly delicious sins.  The fine flower of unholiness can grow only in the close neighborhood of the Holy.  Nowhere do we tempt so successfully as at the steps of the altar.”[21] 

In 1940, Lewis warned against “pseudo-theology” of the extreme Left and Right: “Fascism and Communism, like all other evils, are potent because of the good they contain or imitate.  Diabolus simius Dei.  And of course, their occasion is the failure of those who left humanity starved of that particular good.    One of the things we must guard against is the penetration of both into Christianity.    Mark my words: you will frequently see both a Leftist and a Rightist pseudo-theology developing – the abomination will stand where it ought not.”[22]

Tolkien, a Roman Catholic, likewise offered a glimpse of what the Deceiver’s religious dictatorship might be like.  He pondered what might have occurred in the world of The Lord of the Rings if the good wizard Gandalf had accepted the temptation of using the evil One Ring, the talisman of power, to overthrow the Dark Lord Sauron.  In a letter written to a reader in September 1963, Tolkien said, “Gandalf as Ring-Lord would have been far worse than Sauron.  He would have remained ‘righteous,’ but self-righteous.    Thus while Sauron multiplied … evil, he left ‘good’ clearly distinguishable from it.  Gandalf would have made good detestable and seem evil.”[23]  If a future regime makes “good detestable and seem evil,” then the only help for humanity would be the Return of Christ.

A present-day Evangelical Protestant expert on religious cultism, Brooks Alexander, also warns: “The mystery of iniquity evades any simplistic attempt to identify evil with chaos and disruption, or with vice and immorality.”[24]  The Final Deceiver will arrive on his own White Horse, a counterfeit of righteousness and justice.

The Russian Orthodox priest Alexander Men, assassinated in 1990 for his faith, warned, “When religion becomes an instrument in the hands of those in power, when its adherents use force, then faith loses its true nature and becomes the servant of political passions and the ‘interests’ of a particular social group.  In many ways our present spiritual crisis bears traces of that counterfeit, that metamorphosis of religion, when religion is darkened by fanaticism and violence and becomes merged with interests of the state.”[25]  An Italian Catholic commentator on the Apocalypse restates the peril of politicized religion: “The recognition of the spiritual authority of the Church by the world in exchange for secular power has always been a subtle temptation and a form of blackmail.  (Be very careful when political authorities begin to praise Christianity and speak well of it.)”[26]

What is the value of this warning?  It alerts those who value Christian faith and human liberty that grave threats may come at us from multiple, unexpected directions – simultaneously or sequentially.  In his novel That Hideous Strength, C. S. Lewis describes – from the point of view of the head of the secret police in the N. I. C. E., a Satanic group that attempts the takeover of England – how the Final Threat could transcend our usual political categories: “Isn’t it absolutely essential to keep a fierce Left and a fierce Right, both on their toes and each terrified of the other?  That’s how we get things done.  Any opposition to the N. I. C. E. is represented as a Left racket in the Right papers, and a Right racket in the Left papers.  If it’s properly done, you get each side outbidding the other in support of us – to refute the enemy slanders.  Of course we’re non-political.  The real power always is.”[27]

Therefore, our spiritual early warning systems should scan the entire horizon, not just the Left.  We should not repeat the mistake that the French High Command made before World War II, when they expected the next attack from Germany to come as a frontal assault.  In response, they built, and trusted, the “impregnable” Maginot Line – and were overwhelmed when Germany outflanked their defenses in 1940.

 

The Two-Fold Threat: Lessons From History

It would be easily understandable that readers scoff at the notion that we face a two-fold, potentially apocalyptic threat to our faith and our freedom, from the extreme Right and the extreme Left alike.  Below, I offer reasons (derived from theology, social theory, history, and human psychology) to take seriously the warning against an unexpected right-wing globalist aftermath of left-wing, URI/Gorbachev-style globalism.

Consider the lessons of human history – especially the experience of the 1914-1989 period.  Fascism, it seems, has an enduring mass appeal.  In Germany, the social-democratic revolution of 1918 faced an immediate, violent reaction from defenders of the old regime, including the rise of “Free Corps” militias in 1919 and a military coup attempt in 1920; the Nazi Party arose amidst this chaos. Throughout Europe, people reacted similarly, as a response to the threat of domestic Communism and subversion from Russia.  The far Left evoked the authoritarian, Fascist Right.  Additionally, as the Nazis seized power, in 1933, “Hitler knew that masses of Socialist and Communist workers were deserting their parties in droves, many of them coming over to him easily and early.”[28]  Neo-Nazism in Germany is strongest in the former German Democratic Republic, the Soviet satellite state of 1945-1989. 

In the aftermath of a future global leftist regime, those outraged by the horrors of the time may do as their European counterparts did between the World Wars, and turn toward an updated, religious form of Fascism.  Recruits to the far right of the future may include many who helped to establish and manage the leftist “New World Order”; repentant and disillusioned leftists may become inveterate, illiberal, and fanatical anti-leftists in revulsion against their own earlier deeds.  (This has happened before in the history of the Left; it can easily happen again.)[29]  It’s also true that persecution creates and ennobles martyrs; disreputable forces can align themselves with the persecuted, and cover themselves with borrowed glory after the end of the persecution.  Exactly this occurred with the French Communists during and after World War II; it could happen again with cultic religious movements during and after a future leftist regime.

Another factor will be at work: a leftist New World Order will be, in practical terms, atheistic.  Any spirituality that it fosters will be emotionally shallow and unsatisfying, akin to the spiritist pabulum now offered by Robert Muller, Neale Donald Walsch, and Barbara Marx Hubbard. 

When the leftist regime collapses – whether by Divine or human action – people will seek a more “profound” spirituality.  That will be the cue for those who plan a false restoration of tradition to offer their gilded wares to a disoriented, shell-shocked world.  It is likely that multitudes will take the bait.  The precedent for this is – again – the 1914-1989 period.  Communism was established and maintained in Russia and China only by dint of civil war and repeated, massive purges; its atheism did not captivate the masses, or fully compensate them for their material sacrifices.  By contrast, German Nazism took power without civil war.  Hitler and the Nazis quickly won the adulation of the majority of the German people, and the Nazis remained popular within Germany until it was clear that Germany was losing the war.[30]  The cult of blood and race, and a false restoration of volkisch tradition, was a part of the glue that held the Third Reich together until it was destroyed by the Allies.  George Orwell wrote in 1937, “Fascism has been able to play upon every instinct that revolts against hedonism and a cheap conception of ‘progress.’  It has been able to pose as the upholder of the European tradition, and to appeal to Christian belief, to patriotism, and to the military virtues.”[31] 

A new, global religious Fascism could do something like this, or worse.[32]  The historian John Lukacs said, “Compared to the untruth of Stalin’s Communism, Hitler’s National Socialism may have been a half truth; but, as St. Thomas said, a half truth may be more evil than a lie.    A half truth is not equivalent to 50 percent of the truth.  It means, instead, a 100 percent truth compounded with, and subordinated to, a 100 percent untruth, the result being an especially dangerous corruption of truth.”[33]  The same comparison could apply to the left-wing and right-wing variants of a future New World Order.

 

The Two-Fold Threat: Warnings From Scripture and Patristic Tradition

Consider the warnings that Christ issued against the Final Deceiver and his religious precursors.  In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.” (Matt. 7:15)  Jesus prophesied against the religious authorities who persecuted him for healing a man on the Sabbath (Jn. 5:15-16): “But I know that you have not the love of God within you. I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not receive me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive.” (Jn. 5:42-43).  In his apocalyptic discourse, given a few days before his Passion, Christ warned: “Take heed that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.” (Mt. 24:4-5).  He continued: “And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. Then if any one says to you, ‘Lo, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Lo, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, ‘Lo, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out; if they say, ‘Lo, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man.” (Mt. 24:22-27).[34]  St. Paul likewise shows that Satan can act through seduction and false light: “even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.  So it is not strange if his servants also disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” (2 Cor. 11:14-15)

Taking these Biblical admonitions together, the nature of the Final Enemy becomes clearer.  He will proclaim himself as the Christ, will build an “ecclesial movement” among the religious authorities and rank-and-file Christians, and will rally many to his side with his false miracles, signs and wonders that counterfeit Christ’s own actions.  The Usurper will tempt even “the elect” – those who are (or consider themselves to be) orthodox and obedient Christians.  Such will be the allure of the “Ape of Christ” that unless the time of trial were shortened by God, everyone would fall.  This, then, will be a peril that could ensnare anyone – including traditionalists and conservatives.  Contrast this with the New Age “Christs” such as Share International’s “Maitreya,”[35] or with the secular utopias offered by Gorbachev and Maurice Strong, or with the silly syncretism of the United Religions Initiative and other interfaith movements.  Many leftists, liberals, and New Age devotees love this stuff – but traditionalists of all kinds are instinctively disgusted.  If the Last Trial is to test the faith of everybody, there will be a trap that could lure the Right as well as the Left.[36]  In the time of the leftist New World Order, the Left will be tempted by seeing the realization of its own rebellious desires; in the succeeding time of the Deceiver, the orthodox and the rightists will be tempted via their own orthodoxy, religiosity, and instincts of obedience. 

The tradition of the Church carries forward Christ’s warning that mankind’s final challenge may come at the hand of an imposter who acts in the name of Christ, and then falsely claims to be Him.  The Didache, a summary of Church teaching from the end of the first century, warns of the final liar: “For in the last days the false prophets and the corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall change to hate.  For as lawlessness increaseth they shall hate one another and persecute and betray, and then shall appear the deceiver of the world as a Son of God.”[37] 

In his scholarly history of the Christian traditions pertaining to Antichrist, Bernard McGinn says, “Antichrist as the false messiah, the ‘pseudo-Christ,’ is first and foremost the great deceiver, the arch-hypocrite.”[38]  St. Hippolytus of Rome wrote in the early part of the third century that “The Savior was manifested as a lamb, so he [Antichrist] too, in like manner, will appear as a lamb, though within he is a wolf.”[39]  McGinn comments, “The history of the Antichrist legend reveals, above all, how Christians have viewed the perversion of true religion, the masquerades that can be used to hide evil intent under the guise of religious probity.  … Augustine of Hippo, preaching on the First Epistle of John, identified Antichrist with heretics and schismatics who departed from the true church, but he went on to speak also of Antichrists who remain within – those who confess Christ with their mouths but deny him by their deeds.”[40]  McGinn concludes, “the dominant view of ultimate evil has not been one of cruel tyranny so much as one of deception, the masquerading of the lie that perverts the good that saves.”[41]

Christian Scripture and Tradition together alert us to the ultimate peril: a foe who is the seductive Ape of Christ, and who will build his own religious and political kingdom on Earth.[42]  As the Russian Orthodox theologian Vladimir Solovyov warned in 1900, “the closing scene in the tragedy of history will not be a mere infidelity to or a denial of Christianity, nor simply the triumph of materialism or anything similar to it, but that it will be a religious imposture.  The name of Christ will be arrogated by forces in humanity that in their practice and in their very essence are alien, even inimical, to Christ and his Spirit.”[43] 

 

A False Hope: the “Great King” of the West and a Future “Holy Pope”

There are traditions within the Catholic Church that may predispose some people to heed the Deceiver.  Chief among these beliefs is the notion that a global upsurge of evil and a Divine chastisement will be followed by a time of peace and universal conversion to the Catholic Church.  In this era, there would arise a Great King to restore order and justice worldwide; he would work in tandem with a Holy Pope, who will purify the Church and restore the ancient disciplines.  In the words of one adherent of this theory: “The Great King to-be [sic] and the Holy Pontiff will reveal themselves to the world and fight Communism, thus prefiguring Henoch and Elias.  Stones will fall from heaven; earthquakes and tidal waves will wreak havoc throughout the world; famines and epidemics will be widespread.  Thus will come the end of the first stage, or ‘the Good Friday of Christendom.’  The resurrection will be spectacular; the Great King will be the Emperor of Western Europe, and anointed by the Holy Pontiff.  Many Jews and all non-Catholic Christians will turn to the True Faith.  The Mohammedans will embrace Christianity, as also the Chinese.  In short, virtually the whole world will be Catholic.  This universal preaching of the Gospel, in turn, will constitute the first sign of the second stage [leading to the rise of Antichrist and the end of the age].”[44] 

The tradition of the Great King and the Holy Pope is based on apocalyptic speculation by saints and by anonymous writers,[45] from the fourth century onward.[46]  It first emerged from the Tiburtine Sibyl, a work that may date back to 380-400 AD.[47]  However, expectations for a future Great Monarch and a Holy Pope are not defined in Scripture, or in any dogmatic Conciliar decrees, or in any other official teaching of the Catholic Church.[48]  Rather, these hopes derive from private revelation – and Catholics are free to accept, or to reject, such visions and locutions according to the dictates of their own conscience and reason.[49]  (Of course, Catholics are called upon to reject private revelations that are contrary to Scripture or to the traditional teaching of the Catholic Church.)

Those who await the Great Monarch and a Holy Pope may be ready to fall into the trap of the Deceiver, in a traumatized reaction against the preceding horrors of the left-wing globalist regime.  Catholic writer Paul Thigpen warns, “Looking for the Great Monarch, then, who does not appear in Scripture, might lead to overlooking the Antichrist, who does.  It might even lead – a more disturbing thought – to mistaking the Antichrist for the Great Monarch.  After all, lesser antichrists of the past such as Hitler and Stalin have seduced followers with visions of grand and glorious earthly kingdoms.  Surely the Antichrist of the last days will do the same.”[50] 

The French metaphysician René Guénon said likewise in 1945: “One can already see sketched out, in various productions of indubitably ‘counter-initiatic’ origin or inspiration, the idea of an organization that would be like the counterpart, but by the same token also the counterfeit, of a traditional conception  such as that of the ‘Holy Roman Empire,’ and some such organization must become the expression of the ‘counter-tradition’ in the social order; and for similar reasons the Antichrist must appear like something that could be called, using the language of the Hindu tradition, an inverted Chakravarti.[51]  The reign of the ‘counter-tradition’ is in fact precisely what is known as the ‘reign of Antichrist.’”[52]  (For Guénon, spiritual growth within orthodox, traditional religions is a way to authentic “initiation,” communion with God; those who are involved in “counter-initiation” are – knowingly or not – attaining communion with spiritual forces opposed to God.)

The desire for a “Great King” aligned with a “Holy Pope” to establish justice is understandable in these lawless times, when bureaucrats, venal time-servers, mountebanks, and charlatans dominate politics and churches.  However, this is a yearning that will only find satisfaction when Christ returns.  No one other than Him is fit to fill the roles that visionaries assign to idealized future Kings and Pontiffs.

 

Religious Sectarianism: Laying the Foundation for the Final Deception

Additionally, sectarian religious movements[53] that seek political power are arising within and outside the churches.  These movements may lay the groundwork for the “spiritual” reactionary regime that could follow the left-wing globalists. 

In making the following criticism of right-wing sectarianism, I do not mean to disparage the sincerity or good will of these movements’ present-day followers.  Many members of these movements are – as one defender recently told me – people who are “trying to be good Catholics in these difficult times.”[54]  Like Lot, they are “greatly distressed by the licentiousness of the wicked” (2 Peter 2:7).  Therefore, if they see a life raft that promises to carry them unscathed through the present ecclesiastical and social chaos, they climb on board.  Criticism of these movements from the Left only makes this life raft look more appealing to beleaguered conservatives and traditionalists.  Nevertheless, it would be spiritual malpractice for me to keep silent about the dangers that may come from this quarter, perils that few on the Right now perceive. 

Five points, therefore:

·        Sincerity and good will are positive attributes for souls, but I am not acting as a confessor for individuals.  I am dealing with social movements, and the good or evil that may arise from these movements.  There is abundant evidence in history that sincere zealots with praiseworthy intentions can do great harm – regardless of whether the fanatics are secular or religious, leftist or rightist.

·        Bankers and art collectors know that the most dangerous counterfeits are those that seem real at first glance.  The same is true for spiritual counterfeits.  The more convincingly a cultic spiritual movement can present itself as a model of probity and orthodoxy, the more dangerous it is.

·        Many of these movements’ allies and adherents see what they want to see in the movements, and will never learn of or foster the full agenda of the organization.  In this respect, they are like ordinary American Freemasons: sociable Protestant men who attend Lodge parties, do some old-fashioned rituals, and network for business – and who never discover, let alone approve of, the Theosophical and esoteric form of Masonry espoused by Foster Bailey, Manly Hall, and Memphis Rite Masonry.[55]

·        The movements that I am criticizing appear to be trying to use money, political power, and spiritual manipulation to re-mold their followers, and to re-make the world.  People of good will may enter the rank and file of these sectarian organizations, but if they are fully re-formed in the movement’s image – or if they rise within the movement, approaching its “inner ring”[56] – how long will their sincerity and good will last?  In Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, the wizard Gandalf warned the hobbit Frodo about the awful transformation that will befall any person who seeks to use the Ring of Power, even for good purposes: “Yes, sooner or later – later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last – sooner or later the dark power will devour him.”[57]

·        The groups that I name below appear to be preparing for a “utopia of the Right.”  However, they are not necessarily the ones who will build the final regime of the “counter-tradition.”  That dubious honor may fall to one of the present-day movements, or a coalition of these groups, or some yet-to-be established group that takes authoritarian pseudo-orthodoxy to its last extreme.

Outside the Catholic Church, rightist movements that explicitly seek to reunite Church and State include the followers of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon[58] and the Christian Reconstructionists[59] (whose ideal is a theocracy based on Old Testament Law). 

Within the Catholic Church, these sectarian tendencies are exemplified now by Opus Dei, the Legionaries of Christ, the Neo-Catechumenal Way, and similar “new ecclesial movements.”  A scholarly observer of new religious movements says, “Each, from its own point of view, is promoting true spirituality, religious orthodoxy, and conservative morality.”[60] 

The new ecclesial movements are growing, and exist worldwide.  The Legionaries of Christ have “500 priests, another 2,500 seminarians, 1,000 consecrated lay persons, and 30,000 active members in twenty nations.”[61]  As of 2001, Opus Dei had “82,443 laity and 1,763 priests” as members;[62] another 2,000 deacons and priests were in the closely related Priestly Society of the Holy Cross.[63] More than half of Opus Dei members, about 47,000, are in continental Europe.[64]  The Neo-Catechumenal Way has “more than fifty ‘Redemptoris Mater’ seminaries throughout the world, from which thousands of priests have emerged and been juridically incardinated in the dioceses, but are often, in fact, at the exclusive service of the Way.”[65]  The “Way” has about one million members in 786 dioceses worldwide.[66]  Focolare has “several million ‘adherents’ with 80,000 core members” in 1,500 dioceses in 190 countries.[67]  Most of the youths who flock – in the hundreds of thousands – to Papal masses at Youth Day celebrations “do not come from the parishes, but from the movements: Focolare, the Neocatechumenal Way, the Charismatics. These are to a great extent made up of converts, of lukewarm Christians who have returned to a strong faith practice.”[68] 

All of these movements “are in practice largely autonomous from the local Churches.”[69]  A recent critique published by La Civiltà Cattolica – a paper whose contents are reviewed before printing by the Vatican’s secretariat of state – warns of three dangers associated with the movements: “The first danger: ‘The tendency to make absolute their own Christian experience, holding it to be the only valid one, for which reason the ‘true’ Christians would be those who are part of their own movement.’  The second: ‘The tendency to close themselves off; that is, to follow their own pastoral plans and methods of formation for the members of the movement, to carry out their own apostolic activities, refusing to collaborate with other ecclesial organizations, or seeking to occupy all the territory themselves, leaving scarce resources for the activities of other associations.’  The third: ‘The tendency to cut themselves off from the local Church, making reference in their apostolic activity more to the methods of the movement and the directives of its leaders than to the directives and pastoral programs of the dioceses and parishes. From this arises the sometimes bitter tensions that can be created between the ecclesial movements and the bishops and pastors.’”[70]

Opponents’ accusations against these groups are the standard charges against cults: heretical teachings and rituals, secrecy, aggressive and deceptive methods of recruitment, rigidly separating young adherents from their families, idolization of the founder of the movement, overemphasis on the virtue of obedience, methods of member formation that are akin to brainwashing, the teaching that salvation depends on loyalty to the movement, requiring members to make their confessions only to priests who are members of the movement, demanding public disclosure of faults (the “manifestation of conscience”) in meetings with fellow-members and superiors, and (in the case of Opus Dei) use of flagellation and other harsh physical penances by some members.[71]  It should be a red flag that these movements have spawned groups of bruised and disillusioned survivors, organizations such as the Opus Dei Awareness Network[72] and REGAIN,[73] and that these new ecclesial movements have a place on standard anti-cult web sites[74] – an “honor” not shared by traditional Catholic religious orders such as Benedictines, Dominicans, and Franciscans. 

Defenders of the new ecclesial movements reply to these accusations with an appeal to authority.  Fr. Rosino Gibellini, director of Concilium, a Catholic theological journal, said in 2003: “the movements are religious organizations. They are not sects, as above all, they refer to the authority of the Church. What is more, it could be said that they have a direct line with the leadership of the Church.”[75]  For Concilium to praise the new ecclesial movements is, perhaps, an unexpected instance of Left/Right unity within the Catholic Church’s structure.  Concilium says that it “exists to promote theological discussion in the spirit of Vatican II, out of which it was born. It is a catholic journal in the widest sense: rooted firmly in the Catholic heritage, open to other Christian traditions and the world’s faiths.”[76]  Cardinal Schönbern, a conservative, made a similar defense of new ecclesial movements in 1997.[77]  In 2000, Cardinal Stafford hailed the movements as “among the most beautiful fruits of the Council.”[78]

Some Catholic bishops have acted against these groups.  In 1981, Cardinal Hume, Archbishop of Westminster in the United Kingdom, gave credence to charges against Opus Dei by directing that in his diocese, they must refrain from enlisting members under 18 years of age, that they allow young people who wish to join Opus Dei to discuss the matter with their family, that people remain free “to join or leave the organization without undue pressure being exerted,” that members have the freedom to choose a spiritual director inside or outside of the movement, and that Opus Dei activities be clearly advertised as such.[79]  It’s most unlikely that the Cardinal would have issued such directives if these practices were not common within Opus Dei.  Historian Michael Walsh has said, “Popes before the present one can hardly be said to have been enthusiastic in their endorsement of Opus, and for every bishop who welcomes Opus into his diocese it is clear that there are many who either will not accept them, or are unhappy at finding them installed in their jurisdiction when they take up their appointments.”[80]  The Neo-Catechumenal Way “has been condemned by cardinals, bishops and important episcopal conferences.”[81] 

Nevertheless, these movements now have Papal favor.  As Jason Berry and Gerald Renner explain, “John Paul saw the Legionaries as a sign of Catholic restoration in Latin America, akin to Opus Dei in Spain.”[82]  On the eve of Pentecost 2004, the Pope said, “The ecclesial movements and new communities are a providential answer, inspired by the Holy Spirit given the present need of new evangelization.”[83]

There are two Legionary bishops: Bishop Brian Farrell, consecrated in 2003, who is second in command at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and “Bishop Jorge Bernal, the prelate of Chetumal-Cancun in Mexico, who was consecrated in 1974.”[84]  In 1997, Pope John Paul II named Marcial Maciel as one of 21 Papal delegates for synod of the Catholic Church in the Americas.[85]  In January 2001, the Pope praised the founder of the Legionaries: “With special affection I greet your beloved founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, and extend to him my heartfelt congratulations …  I especially appreciated his confirmation of your characteristic fidelity to the successor of Peter.”[86]  In 2002, the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops held an orientation workshop for all bishops who had been ordained in the previous year.  The event “was organized in cooperation with the Legionaries of Christ, and held at the Legionaries’ university in Rome, Regina Apostolorum;” Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation, noted that “at the end of each daily Mass the bishops and the Legionaries had recited a prayer for the pope” which had been “written by Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries.”[87]  In 2003, John Allen commented, “Given the crisis in the United States and elsewhere provoked by the sex abuse scandals, John Paul’s embrace of Maciel is noteworthy indeed.”[88]  (Allen found this to be “noteworthy” because there are unresolved, public accusations of sexual abuse against Maciel.[89])

The power of Opus Dei is also growing in the Vatican.  The founder of Opus Dei, Josemaría Escrivá, was canonized, declared to be a saint, by John Paul II in October 2002.  Escrivá was granted this status only 27 years after his death, the fastest canonization on record.  The Pope’s press spokesman is Joaquín Navarro-Valls, a vowed lay member of the order; there are two Opus Dei Cardinals (Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne of Lima, Peru, and Julián Herranz, the president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts); supporters are rising in the congregations of the Curia, while opponents are marginalized or made to retire.[90]  As John Allen noted, “Opus Dei does seem disproportionately represented in the Roman curia” for an organization of its size.[91]

The writings of the founder of Opus Dei, Josemaría Escrivá, express the tenor of much “new ecclesial movement” spirituality and practice.  In The Way, he said, “When a layman sets himself up as an arbiter of morals, he frequently errs; laymen can only be disciples.”[92]  “The plane of the sanctity our Lord asks of us is determined by these three points: holy steadfastness, holy forcefulness and holy shamelessness.”[93]  “Steadfastness is not simply intransigence: it is ‘holy intransigence.’  Don’t forget that there also exists a ‘holy forcefulness.’”[94]  “If, to save an earthly life, it is praiseworthy to use force to keep a man from committing suicide, are we not allowed to use the same coercion – ‘holy coercion’ – to save the Lives (with a capital) of so many who are stupidly bent on killing their souls?”[95]  “Who are you to judge the rightness of a superior’s decision?  Don’t you see that he has more basis for judging than you?  He has more experience; he has more upright, experienced, and impartial advisers; and above all, he has more grace, a special grace, the grace of his state, which is the light and powerful aid of God.”[96]  “Be slow to reveal the intimate details of your apostolate.  Don’t you see that the world in its selfishness will fail to understand?”[97]  “There are many people, holy people, who don’t understand your way. Don’t strive to make them understand.  It would be a waste of time and would give rise to indiscretions.”[98]  “Come on! Ridicule him! Tell him he’s behind the times: it’s incredible that there are still people who insist on regarding the stagecoach as a good means of transportation.  That’s for those who dig up musty, old fashioned ‘Voltairianisms’ or discredited liberal ideas of the nineteenth century.”[99]  “You have come to the apostolate to submit, to annihilate yourself, not to impose your own personal viewpoints.”[100]  “Obedience, the sure way. Blind obedience to your superior, the way of sanctity. Obedience in your apostolate, the only way: for, in a work of God, the spirit must be to obey or to leave.”[101]  “It is human nature to have little appreciation for what costs but little. That is why I recommended to you the ‘apostolate of not giving.’  Never fail to claim what is fairly and justly due to you from the practice of your profession, even if your profession is the instrument of your apostolate.”[102] 

The new ecclesial movements’ approach to the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church (and to other human rights abuses) exemplifies their arrogance and indifference to the suffering of the powerless. 

In August 2002, the conservative Catholic journalist Rod Dreher wrote in a column for the Wall Street Journal that unless the Pope took “dramatic action to restore the church to holiness – starting with deposing this legion of bad bishops – his criticism of modern society will ring hollow in the heart of this faithful American Catholic.”[103]  The prominent Opus Dei priest Fr. John McCloskey replied to the Journal that a “minuscule proportion” of “Catholic priests and bishops” were implicated in the scandal, and that “remedies are already being put into effect. I would hope that Mr. Dreher would be more patient in terms of the remedy. The church has a pretty good track record. Check in again in about another thousand years.”[104] 

Fr. McCloskey’s millennial “let them eat cake” attitude toward the victims, families, and their supporters mirrors the stance that other prominent Opus Dei and Legionary priests, and their high-level allies, have taken.   In March 2002, an Italian priest relied on Escrivá’s maxims to attack a Catholic World News columnist’s criticism  of scandal-tainted priests.  The priest also blamed parents for not teaching children to respect the Church hierarchy: “Unfortunately not all priests live in full harmony with the Church and with their sacred commitments. One of the prominent figures of the Church of the last century, Blessed Josemaría Escrivá, reminds us accurately of the fact that any priest—whoever he might be—is however always another Christ (The Way, 66).    Yes, there is a crisis in the Church in many countries. And yes, many priests continue to contribute to it, but this should inspire us to pray more for the priests and for their sanctification, rather than to publicly ridicule them as a group or even under pseudonyms. After all, even more responsible for the present crises are those parents who educate their children to all, but not Gospel values, including the lack of respect and devotion to the hierarchical structure given to the Church by Our Lord.”[105] 

In April 2002, Cardinal Herranz, an Opus Dei member whom John Allen describes as “the Vatican’s attorney general,” criticized “a climate of ‘exaggeration, financial exploitation and nervousness’ in the United States. Herranz also complained of a ‘tenacious scandalistic style’ in the American press.”[106]  In 2003, the Cardinal said, “pedophilia is only minimally identified with the Church, touching scarcely one percent of priests. Meanwhile for other categories of persons, the percentages are much higher.”[107] 

A layman associated with Opus Dei said in early 2002, in response to the then-emerging abuse scandal in Boston, “something will happen to America to protect the Church … any country that has historically persecuted the Church at the height of its power collapsed.”[108]  (In the same vein, in 2002 Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, who is not a member of Opus Dei, decried “media ‘persecution’ of the Catholic church in the United States, comparing it to the times of Nero and Diocletian, and more recently, Stalin and Hitler.”[109])

Eight former members of the Legionaries of Christ have formally accused the founder of the Legion, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, of sexually molesting them in the 1950s and 1960s, and of “absolving” them afterward.  Despite their pleas for justice, the Vatican has not investigated the charges.[110]  Fr. Richard McBrien, a liberal critic of the Legion, said that if Maciel were an American priest facing similar charges by former students, “he would have been immediately removed from ministry under the U.S. bishops’ 2002 charter for the protection of youth.”[111]

In Peru, the diocese of Opus Dei Archbishop Cipriani had been the center of a brutal civil war between the Army and the terrorist Maoist group “Shining Path.”  Cipriani “consistently defended the armed forces against charges of atrocities, and argued that ‘Most human rights organizations are just covering the tails of political movements, almost all of them Marxist or Maoist.’”[112]  Such was his justification for refusing to allow the Catholic bishops’ human rights groups to enter his jurisdiction.[113]  In 2003, after peace was restored, the Peruvian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) paid “tribute to the role of the Churches, ‘irrespective of theological or pastoral positions’ in ‘saving many lives and preventing many other abuses.’”[114] However, “the report made an explicit exception of the diocese of Ayacucho under its then archbishop, Juan Luis Cipriani, who ‘placed obstacles in the way of church organisations working on human rights, and denied the existence of human rights violations.’  Speaking at the Mass for the feast of St Rose of Lima on 30 August, Cardinal Cipriani said the TRC had not bothered to talk to him, and denounced its report as ‘prejudiced, biased and petty.’”[115]  It appears that Opus Dei clergy and prelates use similar language against those who criticize their role in abuse, whether the abuse is wartime atrocities or the cover-up of sexual crime.

Be that as it may, these “new ecclesial movements” – and high authorities within the Vatican – remain convinced that these organizations represent the future of the Catholic Church.  Therefore, the movements and their elite supporters envision a complete reconstruction of the Catholic Church.

A Vatican reporter interviewed Cardinal James Francis Stafford, an American who headed the Pontifical Council for Laity in 2002; the Cardinal said, “Despite whatever rough edges these groups may possess, Stafford argued, what he hears from men and women involved in them is that they know how to build community. Hence, Stafford said, he hopes the American bishops will become more open to the movements.”[116]  Cardinal Stafford said the same in 2003 to a reporter from the newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston: “I sense that living forgiveness, that love, which is a tough love, to be very present in the ecclesial movements in a way that I don’t sense them as strongly in the parishes. Also, the vision of the early communities after the ascension of Jesus, as expressed in Acts 2 and 4, are better expressed, better realized, in the new lay movements than I sense in most parishes.    I think one of the instruments that the Spirit has given to us would be these new lay communities, including the Neocatechumenate. Despite the fact that so many find objections to the Neocatechumenate in the United States, I am convinced that the means for renewal within the Church rests with the new communities and it also rests with the Neocatechumenate.”[117] 

Should American bishops open the door as requested, they may be letting a large and aggressive camel into the tent.  As John Allen reported in 2003, “Spain is something of a laboratory for a redefinition of parish and diocesan structures.  One staggering statistic from [Opus Dei priest] de la Hoz: Of Spanish Catholics who attend Mass at least once a month (roughly 18 percent of Spain’s 37 million Catholics, or around 6.6 million people), more than 40 percent come from the movements. In other words, almost half of the practicing Catholics in Spain, some 3 million, belong to a movement.  As this number continues to rise, I wondered, what will the impact be on parish life? Extrapolating from what Gordon and Munoz said, it seems one scenario is that the parish will not disappear, but it will play a very different role. Instead of being the center of Catholic life, the crucible in which one’s spirituality is forged, it will function as a meeting place for the movements. The parish would become a sort of ecclesiastical piazza, in which adherents of the Neocatechumenate, Opus Dei, Regnum Cristi [sic], Catholic Action, Communion and Liberation, etc., meet to share experiences, to work on joint projects, and at least sometimes to worship together, before moving back down their different avenues. Under this scenario, the pastor becomes a facilitator rather than a shepherd in the traditional sense, someone whose task is to bring the movements into conversation and collaboration. The parish becomes the guarantor of communion, but the focus of Christian living will be inside the movements.  A related question is what happens to bishops. When the primary identity of Catholics is defined in geographic terms, i.e., as a member of such-and-such as parish, the diocesan bishop is the key authority. But once Catholics understand themselves in terms of a charism or spirituality, one that crosses geographic boundaries, they become analogous to members of a religious order in the sense that they take their cues more from leadership of the group rather than bishops.  Already one sees this process at work in Spain, where Kiko Arguello and Carmen Hernandez, co-founders of the Neocatechumenate, are higher-profile and more powerful figures than most Spanish bishops. Though Pope John Paul II has encouraged the movements, to what extent the institutional Church is prepared for the long-term implications of a shift from geography to charism as the locus of Catholic identity is an open question.  Spain seems the place where this will be worked out first, and hence it bears watching.”[118] 

In 2004, Allen commented that the European Union’s rejection of any mention of the Christian heritage of Europe in the proposed Union constitution “will probably push a few more European bishops to open their doors to new ecclesial realities such as Opus Dei, the Neocatechumenate, and the Legionaries of Christ. In a culture that often seems not just indifferent, but positively hostile, to organized religion, it may be that only disciplined, highly motivated groups operating outside traditional ecclesiastical structures will have the capacity to evangelize and catechize. If nothing else, the defeat on the constitution tells bishops that they need help.”[119]

As an Italian commentator noted in 2003, the new ecclesial movements “refer directly to the pope as their one connection to the Church. To different degrees they bear the distinctive features of a sect. The risk is that they will transform the Catholic Church into a body of memberships in juxtaposed groups that don’t communicate with each other: each movement with its own liturgy, its own discipline, its own system of authority and beliefs.”[120]  The result of this trend would be the fragmentation of parish life: “with the parish conceded to one of the movements. The ecclesial community finally coincides with a determined group, the sacraments become a service that is sometimes outsourced and sometimes produced from within, the parish pastoral council becomes a place for the groups to negotiate over the scarce remaining resources in the parish, intraecclesial associations lose their specific meaning, episcopal authority becomes evanescent (eventually replaced by the movement’s authority), while papal authority is hailed as identifying, but is far removed and practically innocuous. At times, even administrative services (at the diocesan level as at the regional and national levels) tend to take on the movement’s form.”[121] 

A former member of Focolare said the same: “A Church in which the movements predominate will no longer be recognizably Catholic.  Even in the pre-conciliar period, the sense of a common faith was strong.  In the Church of the future this sense of belonging, of identity could be fragmented into groups which have virtually nothing in common with one another.”[122]  He added, “It is ironic that the most pernicious and inhuman idea of the twentieth century, the deification of the collective, has found its last refuge and most passionate proponents in the very Catholics who fought communism so fiercely.”[123]

If Catholic authorities restructure the Church based on the new ecclesial movements, Catholic parishes and dioceses would cease to embody the unity of the faithful.  They would instead become recruiting grounds for competing authoritarian, politicized sects that claim allegiance to the Pope.  This would be a radical revision of the structure and beliefs of the Catholic Church, a change that would eclipse the revisions in doctrine and discipline now being sought by Call to Action and other liberal dissenters.

Charles Upton draws out the parallels between the globalist syncretism of the URI and the new ecclesial movements’ replacement of traditional, local Church structures with allegiance to a movement, its specialized spirituality, and its charismatic leader.  He says, “The proposed fragmentation of the once-unified Catholic Church into quasi-independent ‘new ecclesiastical movements’ appears as the reverse mirror-image of the syncretic ecumenism of the URI. The marginalization of geographically based communities such as the parish (which is seen as too ‘parochial’) or diocese is one of the watchwords of globalization.  In line with the ‘information culture’ and the global, non-localized quality of cyberspace, both ‘new ecclesial’ and New Age networks tend to de-emphasize local and national cultures and communities while striving to be global in reach. Like so-called on-line ‘communities,’ New Age networks and the ‘new ecclesial movements’ lack the geographical, ethnic, cultural and historical common ground that would relate them to other ‘communities’ formed around other areas of interest.  (So much for the ‘unifying, community-building’ claims made for the information culture’s ‘global brain’ by its New Age proponents!)  The resulting cultural and religious fragmentation inevitably evokes a desire for unity – consciously or otherwise.  In the case of the ‘new ecclesial movements’ within Catholicism, this desire seems ready to express itself as the call for a totalitarian pope with the power to impose unity from above.”[124]

 

Spiritual Vulnerability: the Fetishes of Authority and Obedience

Could Catholics fall for such distortions of their ancient faith?  Yes.  (Here, the present heresies of the left-wing dissenters are not the issue.) 

Among some conservative Catholics, the touchstone of the faith is obedience to ecclesiastical authority.  Thus, one writer for a staunchly orthodox Catholic magazine claims that in the teachings of the early Church Fathers Clement of Rome, Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus of Lyons, “we see the seed developing that later blossoms into the one doctrine that elevates the Catholic Faith above all others – Papal Infallibility.”[125]  Likewise, another book reviewer for the same magazine said, concerning a book that debated Catholic teachings on the Virgin Mary, that prospective converts to the Catholic Church must, “at some point,” “cease examining each point of doctrine separately, confront the issue of authority, and simply assent to ‘all that the Catholic Church believes and teaches.’  This kind of assent is required for Catholic orthodoxy.”[126]  He added that the book’s author “could have highlighted more the fact that Catholics accept the Marian dogmas because they first accept the authority of the Church.    For prior to the question of specific dogmas looms the question of where lies the authority on faith and morals for a Christian.  And here we have the clearest signposts pointing us to Rome, and thus to what Rome teaches.”[127]

In response to the priestly sex-abuse scandal and the ensuing public criticism of the Catholic hierarchy, various Catholic commentators propose strict obedience and respect for the hierarchy as the solution. 

Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Archdiocese of Denver spoke for them when – as an antidote to the “prophetic” antics of rebels in religious orders – he proposed that we follow one of the “Rules for Thinking with the Church”[128] offered during the Reformation by St. Ignatius of Loyola.  The “Thirteenth Rule,” cited by the Archbishop, is: “If we wish to proceed securely in all things, we must hold fast to the following principle: What seems to me white, I will believe black if the hierarchical Church so defines. For I must be convinced that in Christ our Lord, the Bridegroom, and in His spouse, the Church, only one Spirit holds sway, which governs and rules for the salvation of souls. For it is by the same Spirit and Lord who gave the Ten Commandments that our holy mother Church is ruled and governed.”[129] 

The Archbishop of Denver has put this viewpoint into practice in his dealing with lay critics.  Rod Dreher, an orthodox Catholic who has written extensively about the Catholic sex abuse scandal, reports upon his correspondence with Chaput in early 2002, when the Boston Globe was breaking the news about the priestly sex assaults and ecclesiastical cover-up in Boston: “Then the Archbishop chastised me for making what he considered an unwarranted assumption that the Boston bishops were concerned about Geoghan, but not his victims. Chaput said, ‘You don’t know that.’ He quoted a previous letter of mine in which I said, ‘bishops don’t seem to care, except insofar as it affects their finances.’ His Excellency said – and this I will quote directly – ‘Well, I know bishops a lot better than you do, Rod, including their many weaknesses. To suggest that they protect their resources before they protect their people is not just insulting, but unjust and wrong. If you really believe that, why would you remain Catholic?’”[130]  With this comment, Chaput placed belief in the hierarchy as the centerpiece of Catholic faith.

Leaders with such attitudes are capable of doing hideous things in times of great crisis, with the approval of their own conscience.  As the Inner Party inquisitor told Winston, the dissident in Orwell’s 1984, “Whatever the Party holds to be truth is truth.  It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party.”[131]  Acceptance of this irrational mind-set (perhaps, after spiritual formation in a “new ecclesial movement”) prepares the faithful to goose-step off a spiritual cliff, if a Deceiver should become Pope – or rather, anti-Pope.

In normal times, Catholics reject the idea that a Pope could be a heretic or an apostate – but we are here looking ahead into the Final Days, the most abnormal of times.  And the Catechism of the Catholic Church says that in that brief time, the Church will follow the way of Christ, through her Passion to death and burial: “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. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.    The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.  The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.  God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgment after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.”[132]

 

Outside the Church, Two Witnesses to the Dual Peril

Scripture, Catholic tradition, and reason show the possibility that we face a twofold threat – and that the final test may be religious seduction under the leadership of a False Christ, not merely oppression by a tyrannical persecutor of Christians (akin to the Jacobins or the Communists).  Two other witnesses testify to this same possibility – Friedrich Nietzsche, the apostle of atheism and nihilism, and René Guénon, a wise and insightful French traditionalist metaphysician who wrote in the middle of the last century.

 

The Nihilist’s Dark Prophecies: Friedrich Nietzsche

First, I present the testimony of Nietzsche, the declared foe of God.  In 1885, in Will to Power, he saw the emergence of global politics and global governance: “Inexorably, hesitantly, terrible as fate, the great task and question is approaching: how shall earth as a whole be governed?  And to what end shall ‘man’ as a whole – and no longer as a people, a race – be raised and trained?”[133]

Let’s begin with Nietzsche’s insights into the 20th Century.[134]  In 1888, when it could hardly be imagined that the then-ruling European regimes could fall, he said in Ecce Homo that soon, “The concept of politics will have merged entirely with a war of spirits; all power structures of the old society will have been exploded – all of them are based on lies:  there will be wars the like of which have never yet been seen on earth.  It is only beginning with me that the earth knows great politics.”[135]  In The Gay Science, Nietzsche said in 1882, “I welcome all signs that a more manly, a warlike age is about to begin, an age which, above all, will give honor to valor once again.”[136]

In Ecce Homo, Nietzsche promised, accurately, that “the uncovering of Christian morality is an event without parallel, a real catastrophe.”[137]  In the 1887 edition of The Gay Science, he elaborated: “The greatest recent event – that ‘God is dead,’ that the belief in the Christian God has ceased to be believable – is even now beginning to cast its first shadows over Europe;” however, few yet understood “what has really happened here, and what must collapse now that this belief has been undermined – all that was built upon it, leaned on it, grew into it: for example, our whole European morality.”[138]

In Untimely Meditations, Nietzsche prophesied in 1874 about the effects of teaching moral relativism and the lack of a fundamental distinction between humans and animals: “If, on the other hand, the doctrines of sovereign becoming, of the fluidity of all concepts, types and species, of the lack of any cardinal distinction between man and animal – doctrines which I consider true but deadly – are thrust upon the people for another generation with the rage for instruction that has by now become normal, no one should be surprised if the people perishes of petty egoism, ossification and greed, falls apart, and ceases to be a people; in its place systems of individualist egoism, brotherhoods for the rapacious exploitation of the non-brothers, and similar creations of utilitarian vulgarity may perhaps appear in the arena of the future.”[139]  He wrote in 1877 of “this coming generation” that “Perhaps this generation as a whole will even seem more evil than the present generation – for, in wicked as in good things, it will be more candid; it is possible, indeed, that if its soul should speak out in free full tones it would shake and terrify our soul as would the voice of some hitherto concealed evil spirit of nature.”[140]

In 1887, in Will to Power, Nietzsche wrote:  “What I relate is the history of the next two centuries.  I describe what is coming, what can no longer come differently: the advent of nihilism.    This future speaks even now in a hundred signs    For some time now, our whole European culture has been moving as toward a catastrophe, with a tortured tension that is growing from decade to decade.”[141] 

Additionally, Nietzsche foresaw the strife that socialism and Communism would strew across Europe, and welcomed the failure of that social experiment.  In 1885, Nietzsche wrote in Will to Power: “the Paris commune, which has its apologists and advocates in Germany too, was perhaps no more than a minor indigestion compared to what is coming.    I should wish that a few great experiments might prove that in a socialist society life negates itself, cuts off its own roots.  The earth is large enough and man still sufficiently unexhausted; hence such a practical instruction and demonstratio ad absurdum would not strike me as undesirable, even if it were gained and paid for with a tremendous expenditure of human lives.  In any case, even as a restless mole under the soil of a society that wallows in stupidity, socialism will be able to be something useful and therapeutic: it delays ‘peace on earth’ and the total mollification of the democratic herd animal; it forces the Europeans to retain spirit, namely cunning and cautious care, not to abjure manly and warlike virtues altogether.”[142]  He continues: “the barbarians of the twentieth century    will come into view and consolidate themselves only after tremendous socialist crises – they will be the elements capable of the greatest severity toward themselves and able to guarantee the most enduring will.”[143]

Total up the score: in the high noon of the Victorian era, the prophet of atheism discerned the coming of a Europe-wide catastrophe, unprecedented wars, moral collapse, nihilism, political fanaticism, the rise of “brotherhoods for the rapacious exploitation of the non-brothers,” Communist victories followed by enormous bloodshed, and the rise of a generation that would seem to the men of the 19th century to speak with “the voice of some hitherto concealed evil spirit.”  That’s the briefest possible summary of the history of the world since 1914, and it was a prospect that almost nobody of his time saw – aside from the Popes.[144] 

Now, we can turn to what the anti-Apostle saw for the following era.  After the time of war and catastrophe, Nietzsche saw a dark, majestic rebirth for humanity.  After the destructive era of nihilism, Nietzsche expected the emergence of new values, to be defined by a new elite. 

In 1887 in Will to Power, he said that there will be “a movement that in some future will take the place of this perfect nihilism – but presupposes it, logically and psychologically, and certainly can come only after it and out of it.”[145]  The nihilist phase “represents the ultimate logical conclusion of our great values and ideals – because we must experience nihilism before we can find out what value those ‘values’ really had.”[146]  In the reaction against the destruction of tradition, “new values”[147] would be set up to counterfeit and replace what was smashed.  (Mikhail Gorbachev sounded a similar note in 1993: “Revaluation of values is basic to the evolution of civilization.”[148]) 

In a section of Will to Power written in 1885, Nietzsche described how the New Elite, the commanding apostles of the New Values, would be formed: “A morality with such reverse intentions, which desires to train men for the heights, not for comfort and mediocrity, a morality with the intention of training a ruling caste – the future masters of the earth – must, if it is to be taught, appear in association with the prevailing moral laws, in the guise of their terms and forms.”[149]  Nietzsche found it “obvious” that “for this, however, many transitional means of deception must be devised, and that, because the lifetime of a single man signifies virtually nothing in relation to the accomplishment of such protracted tasks and aims, the very first thing to be done is the rearing of a new kind of man, in whom the duration of the necessary will and the necessary instinct will be guaranteed through many generations – a new master type and caste.”[150]  He added, “From now on there will be more favorable preconditions for more comprehensive forms of dominion, whose like has never before existed.  And even this is not the most important thing; the possibility has been established for the production of international racial unions whose task will be to rear a master race, the future ‘masters of the earth’; – a new, tremendous aristocracy, based on the severest self-legislation, in which the will of philosophical men of power and artist-tyrants will be made to endure for millennia – a higher kind of man who, thanks to their superiority in will, knowledge, riches, and influence, employ democratic Europe as their most pliant and supple instrument for getting hold of the destinies of the earth, so as to work as artists upon ‘man’ himself.  Enough: the time is coming when politics will have a different meaning.”[151] 

Let’s draw out the implications of these prophecies from the 19th Century.  The creation of the New Elite, those who would rule after modernism and socialism have spent their fury, is a project that will take generations.  These men will be trained to look as if they are “in association with the prevailing moral laws;” they, and their teachers, will be skilled users of many “transitional means of deception.”  The New Rulers would be formed strictly, “based on the severest self-legislation.”  The New Aristocrats will rise first in Europe, and will go from there to establish unprecedented, “comprehensive forms of dominion.”  Their strategy will be based on exploitation of their own “riches and influence,” and will have as its goal the control of the planet’s destiny and the artistic redesign of mankind.  This is a summary of the strategy and aims of certain powerful, elite religious movements already in existence.

In Ecce Homo, Nietzsche said, “Let us look ahead a century; let us suppose that my attempt to assassinate two millennia of antinature and desecration of man were to succeed.  That new party of life which would tackle the greatest of all tasks, the attempt to raise humanity higher, including the relentless destruction of everything that was degenerating and parasitical, would again make possible that excess of life on Earth …  I promise a tragic age: the highest art in saying Yes to life, tragedy, will be reborn when humanity has weathered the consciousness of the hardest but most necessary wars without suffering from it.”[152] 

In 1887 in Will to Power, Nietzsche said that violence would give birth to “a stronger species” than the “pampered, weak of will” Europeans of the 19th Century;[153] a “dominating race can grow up only out of terrible and violent beginnings.”[154]  Hitherto, the world has looked for the barbarian “only in the depths.  There exists also another type of barbarian, who comes from the heights: a species of conquering and ruling natures in search of material to mold.”[155]  In The Gay Science, he stated that the coming “manly” and “warlike” age (presumably, the 20th Century) “shall prepare the way for one yet higher, and it shall gather the strength which this higher age will need one day – this age which is to carry heroism into the pursuit of knowledge and wage wars for the sake of thoughts and their consequences.”[156] 

The new masters, those who come after the breakdown of the social system that proclaimed universal “equality” and “social justice,” would live by the stern principles set forth in Nietzsche’s 1888 Twilight of the Idols: “In order that there may be institutions, there must be a kind of will, instinct, or imperative, which is anti-liberal to the point of malice: the will to tradition, to authority, to responsibility for centuries to come, to the solidarity of chains of generations, forward and backward ad infinitum.  When this will is present, something like the imperium Romanum is founded.”[157]

The Coming Leaders foreseen by Nietzsche, the barbarians “from the heights,” will “attempt to raise humanity higher,” and will engage in “relentless destruction” of whatever, or whoever, opposes them or fails to meet their standard.  Once again, it seems, there will be a time when “truth” will ride under Crusaders’ arms, while “error” – no matter how narrow and distorted the perspective used to define it as such – will have no rights. 

 

The Warnings of a Sufi Metaphysician, René Guénon

In his 1945 book The Reign of Quantity & The Signs of The Times, the traditionalist metaphysician René Guénon warned of the approaching end of the age.  He warned against the omnipresent materialism and artificial egalitarianism of the West, seeing these as symptoms of terminal illness: “One would have to be blind to fail to see the abyss which separates the normal from the modern civilization    that which the vast majority of men now living celebrate as ‘progress’ is exactly what is now presented to the reader as a profound decadence, continuously accelerated, which is dragging humanity towards the pit where pure quantity reigns.”[158]  He added, “the real goal of the tendency which is dragging men and things toward pure quantity can only be the final dissolution of the present world.”[159]  Furthermore, “the acceleration of time itself, as it becomes ever more pronounced and causes changes to be ever more rapid, seems to lead of its own accord towards dissolution.”[160] 

The universal corruption affects its opponents, as well: “those who most sincerely want to combat the modern spirit are almost all unwittingly affected by it, and all their efforts are therefore condemned to remain without any appreciable result.”[161]  Therefore, Guénon says, “the very idea of tradition has been destroyed to such an extent that those who seek to recover it no longer know which way to turn, and are only too ready to accept all the false ideas presented to them in its place and under its name.”[162]  He adds, “the work which has as its object to prevent all ‘reaction’ from aiming at anything further back than a return to a lesser disorder, while at the same time concealing the character of the lesser disorder so that it may pass as ‘order,’ fits in very exactly with the other work carried out with a view to securing the penetration of the modern spirit into the interior of whatever is left of traditional organization of any kind in the West.” [163]

However, just before the end, Guénon sees a sudden, brief reversal of these trends.  Instead of equality, there will be a new hierarchy.  Instead of atheism and materialism, there will be spirituality and religion galore.  Instead of the open war against tradition, there will be a false restoration of tradition, a recovery that is in fact a perverse, infernal inversion of authentic tradition.  Antichrist will claim to bring the Millennium, “the ‘golden age’ into being through the reign of the ‘counter-tradition’,” and will give it “an appearance of authenticity, purely deceitful and ephemeral though it be, by means of a counterfeit of the traditional idea of the Sanctum Regnum.”[164]  In 1945, Guénon discerned only the “preliminary signs” of the “counter-tradition,” “in the form of all the things that are striving to become counterfeits in one way or another of the traditional idea itself.”[165]  However destructive may be the “reign of quantity,” the age of materialism and Godlessness, Guénon says that “the merely negative ‘anti-tradition’ only represented the necessary preparation”[166]  for the emergence of the final “counter-tradition.”

The Final Enemy “imitates in his own way, by altering and falsifying it so as always to make it serve his own ends, the very thing he sets out to oppose: thus, he will so manage matters that disorder takes on the appearance of a false order, he will hide the negation of all principles under the affirmation of false principles, and so on.  Naturally, nothing of this kind can ever really be more than dissimulation and even caricature, but it is presented cleverly enough to induce an immense majority of men to allow themselves to be deceived by it.”[167]

Guénon says of the reign of the Final Deceiver: “He will evidently be an ‘imposter’ (this is the meaning of the word dajjâl by which he is usually designated in Arabic) since his reign will be nothing other than the ‘Great Parody’ in its completest form, the ‘satanic’ imitation and caricature of everything that is truly traditional and spiritual … His time will certainly no longer be the ‘reign of quantity’, which was itself only the end-point of the ‘anti-tradition’; it will on the contrary be marked, under the pretext of a false ‘spiritual restoration’, by a sort of re-introduction of quality in all things, but of quality inverted with respect to its normal and legitimate significance.  After the ‘egalitarianism’ of our times there will again be a visibly established hierarchy, but an inverted hierarchy, indeed a real ‘counter-hierarchy’, the summit of which will be occupied by the being who will in reality be situated nearer than any other being to the very bottom of the ‘pit of Hell’.  … by reason of his extreme opposition to the true in all its aspects, the Antichrist can adopt the very symbols of the Messiah, using them of course in an inverted sense.”[168]  The servants of Antichrist will possess a dark, seductive sanctity: “The last degree of the ‘counter-initiatic’ hierarchy is occupied by what are called ‘the saints of Satan’ (awilyâ esh-Shaytân) who are in a sense the inverse of the true saints (awilyâ er-Rahmân), thus manifesting the most complete expression possible of ‘inverted spirituality’.”[169]

In the regime of Antichrist, “the setting up of the ‘counter-tradition’ and its apparent momentary triumph will in effect be the reign of what has been called ‘inverted spirituality,’” a “parody of spirituality.”[170]  With the inversion of spirituality will come the inversion of traditional symbols: “The most diabolical trick of all is perhaps that which consists in attributing to the orthodox symbolism itself, as it exists in truly traditional organizations … the inverted interpretation which is specifically characteristic of the ‘counter-initiation.”[171]

Guénon concurs with Christian tradition in noting that the regime of Antichrist will be short: “all the prophecies (the word is of course used here in its rightful sense) indicate that the apparent triumph of the ‘counter-tradition’ will only be a passing one, and that at the very moment when it seems most complete it will be destroyed by the action of spiritual influences which will intervene at that point to prepare for the final reinstatement.  Nothing less than a divine intervention of this kind would in fact suffice to bring to an end, at the chosen time, the most formidable and the most truly ‘satanic’ of all the possibilities”[172] of the current age.

Charles Upton, a present-day metaphysician and comparative religion scholar, sums up the confusing and disorienting nature of the situation that we may be facing:  “The looming One World Government shows many signs of being the predicted regime of Antichrist. But … it’s not quite that simple, since the ‘tribal’ forces reacting against globalism are ultimately part of the same system. According to one of many possible scenarios, the satanic forces operating at the end of the Aeon would be quite capable of establishing a One World Government only to set the stage for the emergence of Antichrist as the great leader of a world revolution against this government, which, if it triumphed, would be the real One World Government. Or the martyrdom of Antichrist at the hands of such a government might be a deliberate or even staged self-sacrifice, counterfeiting the death of Christ and leading to a counterfeit resurrection. I am not saying that this will happen; I am not prognosticating. I only wish to point out that Antichrist, as a counterfeit manifestation of the Divine universality, will have the capacity to use all sides in any conflict, including a global one, to build his power – except the ultimate Messianic Conflict, called Armageddon in the Apocalypse, which is initiated and concluded by God Himself.”[173] 

 

What Is To Be Done?

How are we to respond to the dual perils before us – whether or not these constitute the Final Trial?

In part, and as the first step, by examining ourselves, repenting of our own sin and our participation in collective evil and deception.  The prayer for our time, as for all earthly times, is “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”  Bernard McGinn ends his magisterial history of Antichrist thus: “Contemporary forms of deception, especially deception on a worldwide scale never possible before, might spur our meditation on the meaning of the legend of Antichrist as the image of essential human evil.  The dominance of appearance over substance may not have been invented in the electronic era, but some contemporary social critics remind us that deceit has reached a new level of sophistication as we approach the beginning of the third millennium.    If we are all part of a culture in which forms of deceit, both overt and covert, are present in many ways, we can admit that the most dangerous form of deceit is self-deceit, our ability to convince ourselves that we are doing what is best and for the best reasons, even when this is not the case – and somehow, however obscurely, we know it not to be the case.  That is just another way of putting Augustine’s ancient message: ‘There you have the Antichrist – everyone who denies Christ by his works.’”[174]

Having removed the logs from our own eyes, we may accurately discern the specks that are in the eyes of our opponents (Mt. 7:3-5).  We should then pray on their behalf, for their salvation and conversion to the fullness of Truth; in doing this, we are asking God to bestow the greatest of blessings on them (Mt 5:44).  Such prayers may have great, unforeseen effect – results that may not be known to us until the Last Day.

In addition to repentance and prayer, it is also essential to be spiritually alert and to discern the signs of the times.  As Jesus said, “Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” (Matt. 24:42)  A holy priest in Michael O’Brien’s apocalyptic novel Father Elijah reminds us of the difficulties associated with this discernment: “The apocalypse is not a melodrama.  If it were, most people would wake up and see the danger they are in.  That is our real peril.  Our own times, no matter how troubled they may be, are our idea of what is real.  It is almost impossible to step outside of it in order to see it for what it is.    The living apocalypse radiates a sense of normality.  We are inside it.”[175]  To use a business cliché: we need to “think out of the box.”  Prayer and repentance are the only way that we will see beyond the confines of the “box,” to perceive what is really occurring.

Some who read this may have a calling to activism, in the churches and in the public square.  I am not an organizer myself, neither a politician nor a cleric, neither a financier nor a senior executive.  Therefore, I cannot venture a guess at an activist strategy that might successfully oppose or mitigate the present trends toward global religious deception, apostasy, and tyranny.  (I am skeptical that social and political action can work any longer, but my assessment of the lateness of the hour may be incorrect.  Such efforts might still turn the tide, and grant the world a season of peace and liberty.)  Each reader who hears and receives these admonitions has his unique talents and station in life; the appropriate response will necessarily be different for everyone.

However anyone responds to these challenges, let it be a response based on love and humility.  Everyone should reflect on the lessons that Solzhenitsyn learned while imprisoned in Stalin’s gulag:  “In the intoxication of youthful successes I had felt myself to be infallible, and I was therefore cruel.  In the surfeit of power I was a murderer, and an oppressor.  In my most evil moments I was convinced that I was doing good, and I was well supplied with systematic arguments.  And it was only when I lay there on rotting prison straw that I sensed within myself the first stirrings of good.  Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either – but right through every human heart – and through all human hearts.  This line shifts.  Inside us, it oscillates with the years.  And even within hearts overwhelmed by evil, one small bridgehead of good is retained.  And even in the best of all hearts, there remains .  .  . an un-uprooted small corner of evil.  Since then I have come to understand the truth of all the religions of the world: They struggle with the evil inside a human being (inside every human being).  It is impossible to expel evil from the world in its entirety, but it is possible to constrict it within each person.  And since that time I have come to understand the falsehood of all the revolutions in history: They destroy only those carriers of evil contemporary with them (and also fail, out of haste, to discriminate the carriers of good, as well).  And they then take to themselves as their heritage the actual evil itself, magnified still more.”[176]  Let any of us, when tempted to be crusaders, heed this wisdom bought by Solzhenitsyn at so high a price!

 

Sed Contra: Against Extreme-Right “Solutions” to the Crisis

At the beginning of the book, I replied to the objections to my thesis that might be raised by a challenger from the Left.  I now reply to some possible – and very undesirable – extreme rightist responses to the present and pending crises.[177]  As a literary convention, I allow the adherents of each of these positions to speak through one representative; he quotes his allies.  I have named these zealots after Job’s  friends (Job 2:11 and 32:2). 

The positions that I describe are held by relatively few people now, but such fanaticism can easily spread as traumatized people react to global upheaval.  Who in Germany in 1913 would have foreseen what Germany became in 1933?  Who in Russia in 1897 would have expected 1917?

 

Eliphaz: You have missed the point.  You don’t seem to understand that these are the times of the end, and America will stand or fall based on whether or not we support Israel to the hilt.  “Israel is invincible, because it is flowing in the tide of divine prophecy.”[178]  A new Temple – located on the Temple Mount, where the Muslim Dome of the Rock now stands – is “an absolute necessity for the completion of the prophetic picture.”[179]  “If we want to be observers of prophecy we can, or we can be participants.  We choose to be participants …  doing everything we can to ensure the survival of Israel and …  to support the building of the Temple.”[180]  “We shouldn’t wait for God … but, as it were, hurry Him up.  We should take up the burden first … and afterward He will agree and help us.”[181]  “When the Temple’s rebuilt, it ushers in the Second Coming, but it also ushers in the Tribulation.”[182]  When prophecy is fulfilled, “God says he will lay the land of the Arabs waste and it will be desolate.”[183]  “Any attempt to divide the land of Palestine is contrary to God’s word, for it has been set aside by God as the exclusive home for Israel.”[184]  “I see the rise of Islam to destroy Israel and take the land from the Jews and give East Jerusalem to [Palestinian Authority Chairman] Yasser Arafat. I see that as Satan’s plan to prevent the return of Jesus Christ the Lord.    God says, ‘I’m going to judge those who carve up the West Bank and Gaza Strip.    It’s my land and keep your hands off it.’”[185]  “Theologically, any Christian has to support Israel, simply because Jesus said to.”[186]  “If the US ever turns its back on Israel, we will no longer exist as a nation.”[187]

Author:  Maybe you’re right, and we are in the very Final Days before the Second Coming of Christ.  Even so, what you propose makes no sense – theologically or morally.  The idea that God guaranteed the land of Palestine to a restored nation of Israel is not found anywhere in the New Testament or the Church Fathers.  It is, as a Christian mass movement, a sectarian Protestant innovation dating to the early 1800s.[188]

Jews in Israel have the right to life and peace.  So do the Arabs and Palestinians.  (Some of them, by the way, are Christian.)   No peace can be built on oppression and murder; “drive them into the desert” is as evil as “drive them into the sea.”

The proponents of building the Third Temple are not part of the Israeli mainstream.[189]  Every year, the Temple Mount Faithful attempt to carry a cornerstone to the Temple Mount to ceremonially begin the rebuilding; every year, they are intercepted and turned away by the Israeli police.  A historian of the Dispensationalist prophecy movement notes, “In their obsession with the rebuilding of the Temple, these prophecy popularizers ignored the fact that most Israelis rejected the whole notion.  Epithets like ‘a bunch of nuts’ and ‘dangerous lunatics’ routinely dotted Israeli press accounts of groups like the Temple Mount Faithful.”[190]

The idea that we ought to “hurry Him up” to speed the Second Coming is presumption and blasphemy.  The only way that we Christians should attempt to hasten the Kingdom of God is by faithful witness for Christ, works of love and mercy, and praying the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom come!” 

It might be that a Third Temple is destined to be rebuilt on the site of Herod’s Temple.  If this is a true view of prophecy, then as Jesus said, “It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!” (Luke 17:1, KJV)  It is not necessarily good to act in fulfillment of prophecy; Judas did so when he betrayed Christ, and Christ called him the “son of perdition” (John 17:12).  How could God bless the rebuilding of a structure that He had said would be destroyed so that “there will not be left here one stone upon another, that will not be thrown down.” (Matt. 24:2) – especially when that rebuilding could start a global religious war? 

Those who wish to rebuild the Temple are following in the footsteps of Julian the Apostate the fourth-century Roman Emperor who sought to discredit Christ by rebuilding the structure upon which Christ had pronounced a sentence of doom.  Julian ended the reconstruction after the Temple Mount was shaken by repeated earthquakes, and workers were killed by fires of unknown origin.  Soon thereafter, the forsworn Emperor was killed on the battlefield.[191]

 

Bildad:  Thanks for dealing with those Christian Zionists.  But you have not looked at the real problem: the entire Jewish race!   “It is no right-wing extremism to claim that money is controlled by a Judeo-Masonic clique.”[192]  “There is, of course, convincing bibliographical evidence of a Judeo-Masonic plot from the 18th century onwards,”[193] a plot to destroy Christianity and morality.  Indeed, “the Mystery of Iniquity will find its completion in the earthly kingdom of the Jews under Antichrist.”[194]  “God hates Evil, and the Jews after they had our Lord Jesus crucified, became the greatest evil.    the Jews are a band of thieves and murderers, and it is understandable that the just punishment of God is frequently bestowed upon them for their bloody misdeeds.”[195]  “Duns Scotus, the Doctor Subtilis, went still further than Thomas of Aquinas and proposed to Christianity a solution to the Jewish problem on the basis of the complete destruction of this devilish sect.”[196]  Therefore, “subjugation of the Jews is the theologically, morally and politically correct, rational social policy.”[197]  The times are with us, and against the Jews.  “A vast and violent storm is rising up in the distance, a storm that will sweep away jewish [sic] control in Western civilization as surely as it was swept away in pre-WWII Germany...and for precisely the same reasons.”[198]

Author:  I regret the need to quote you, and do so only as evidence that there are those who think as you do.  Although my response is brief, my revulsion against anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism is profound.  I use an Eastern Orthodox manual for examination of conscience before going to confession, and it asks, “Have I honored God as my Heavenly Father by treating others as my brothers?    Have I defamed others who needed help, or failed to stand up for those unjustly treated?  Have I been cruel to anyone?    Have I told lies, or added to or subtracted from the truth?”[199]  These questions hold for anyone, and I can’t imagine how the anti-Semitic opinions expressed above can pass muster.

Jesus, Mary, and the Apostles were all Jewish.  Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, “Salvation is from the Jews.” (John 4:22)  St. Paul reminds us that “a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in, and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, ‘The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob;’ ‘and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.’ As regards the gospel they are enemies of God, for your sake; but as regards election they are beloved for the sake of their forefathers. For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable. Just as you were once disobedient to God but now have received mercy because of their disobedience, so they have now been disobedient in order that by the mercy shown to you they also may receive mercy. For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.”  (Rom. 11:25-32)  The story of salvation is not about “God hates Jews” (or “God hates fags”),[200] but about God’s providence and mercy. 

Furthermore, the Catholic Church opposes anti-Semitism and other forms of racism.  In September 1938, Pope Pius XI told a group of Belgian pilgrims, “Anti-Semitism is unacceptable. Spiritually, we are all Semites.”[201]  (The Pope’s view was shared by C. S. Lewis, an Anglican.  Lewis said in 1955 that Christ’s “shocking reply to the Syrophenician woman[202] (it came alright at the end) is to remind all us Gentile Christians – who forget it easily enough and even flirt with anti-Semitism – that the Hebrews are spiritually senior to us, that God did entrust the descendants of Abraham with the first revelation of Himself.”[203])

What one Pope said privately before Vatican II was said authoritatively by the bishops of the entire Catholic Church at the Council. 

In the decree Nostra Aetate, the Catholic Church declared: “The apostle Paul maintains that the Jews remain very dear to God, for the sake of the patriarchs, since God does not take back the gifts he bestowed or the choice he made.  Together with the prophets and that same apostle, the Church awaits the day, known to God alone, when all peoples will call on God with one voice …  Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ (cf. John 19:6), neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion.  It is true that the Church is the new people of God, yet the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed, as if this followed from holy Scripture.  Consequently, all must take care, lest in catechizing or in preaching the Word of God, they teach anything which is not in accord with the truth of the Gospel message or the spirit of Christ.  Indeed, the Church reproves every form of persecution against whomsoever it may be directed.  Remembering, then, her common heritage with the Jews and moved not by any political consideration, but solely by the religious motivation of Christian charity, she deplores all hatreds, persecutions, displays of antisemitism leveled at any time or from any source against the Jews.”[204]

The Council Fathers added, “We cannot truly pray to God the Father of all if we treat any people in other than brotherly fashion, for all men are created in God’s image.  Man’s relation to God the Father and man’s relation to his fellow-men are so dependent on each other that the Scripture says: ‘he who does not love does not know God’ (1 John 4:8).  There is no basis therefore, either in theory or in practice for any discrimination between individual and individual, or between people and people arising either from human dignity or from the rights which flow from it.  Therefore the Church reproves, as foreign to the mind of Christ, any discrimination against people or any harassment of them on the basis of their race, color, condition in life, or religion.”[205]

This Conciliar teaching should be heeded by all Christians, whether they are Catholic or not  Its truth applies to all Christian confessions and denominations alike.

It might be that, before the end, there will be a “religious” neo-Nazi regime, presenting itself as a forceful and justified reaction against decadence and secularism.  This “New Order” may imitate Hitler, and unleash a global anti-Semitic pogrom.  This regime – if it comes – will serve Satan, not God.

 

Zophar:  Those other guys are crazy, and you responded to them well.  But you worry needlessly.  America is a chosen nation, blessed and set apart by God as a “shining city on a hill.”  “God hath graciously patronized our cause, and taken us under his special care, as he did his ancient covenant people.”[206]  As Lincoln said, “All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Buonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.  At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide.”[207]  America cannot fall.

But – even if the worst that you fear comes to pass, there are two answers.  First, everyone should stockpile goods and prepare to retreat to the country if the Antichrist arises.  Hole up and wait him out; Scripture says his reign will be short. 

And if need be, we can terminate any tyrant, even the Antichrist, “with extreme prejudice.”  It’s the American way.  God, guts, and guns made America great, and will keep us so, till the end.

Author:  I too love America.  But the US, like all nations, is mortal.  As C. S. Lewis said, “Nations, cultures, arts, civilisations – these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat.”[208]  Some day our nation, like all institutions and associations established by mankind, will come to an end.  May that day be long delayed!

The idea of surviving the final Tribulation by guarding a hoard of goods in a rural retreat is an illusion.  Prudence is one thing; the ideology of survivalism is quite another.  When the Tribulation comes, it will be global.  No one can say where the natural and social disasters, as symbolically described in the book of Revelation, will strike hardest.  And there is nothing in the Gospel or the Epistles that commends the amassing of possessions as a hedge against disaster.  The truth seems to be otherwise.  Jesus offered a parable against “reasonable” avarice: “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’  And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’  But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21)

Nor does armed resistance offer a solution to an evil, apocalyptic tyranny.  Again, Scripture offers a consistent witness, from the ministry of Jesus through the prophecy of Revelation.  Jesus rejected violent resistance to his arrest by Roman soldiers and the masters of the Temple.  “Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, ‘Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?’”  (John 18:10-11).  Additionally, “Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him.”  (Luke 22:51).  He also warned: “all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matt. 26:52).  Thus ended history’s shortest war, and the most just, a war in defense of the Son of God:[209] Jesus healed his enemy, and told the first Pope to put his weapon down. 

When the Roman Empire’s first persecution of Christians began under Nero, the Epistles and Revelation did not sound a call to insurrection or to tyrannicide. 

Peter – who was to be one of Nero’s victims – said in a letter sent from Rome after the persecution began, “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing right you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men. Live as free men, yet without using your freedom as a pretext for evil; but live as servants of God.” (1 Pt. 2:13-16). 

In the book of Revelation, it seems that an apparently mortal attack upon the Beast does not kill him; it merely gives the Deceiver an opportunity to show his power with a false “resurrection:” “And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems upon its horns and a blasphemous name upon its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority.  One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth followed the beast with wonder. Men worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, ‘Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?’” (Rev. 13:1-4). 

Amidst the frightening and obscure symbols, the Revelator offered earthly advice: “If any one has an ear, let him hear: If any one is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if any one slays with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.”  (Rev. 13:9-10).  This is a call to fidelity and to endure to the end – not a recommendation that the faithful should gather weapons for earthly battle.  The absence of a call to arms in Revelation remains relevant, since most Biblical scholars – the orthodox as well as the Modernists – believe that the original “666” was the Emperor Nero.[210]

If we face the end times, the prudent and realistic World War II counsels of Reinhold Niebuhr and Dietrich Bonhoeffer would not hold.[211]  We would be facing a different kind of battle, and would be called to use a different strategy.

 

Elihu:  These other people are uncouth, Anglo-Saxon barbarians – Protestant heretics and Americanists, no doubt.  They do not understand history or Catholic culture. 

Yes, the Chastisement, and persecution of Christians, is coming soon.  “The coming disaster will be of such magnitude that our whole civilization would be destroyed were it not for the presence of the Church.  It is the Church that will save civilization.”[212]  The Church, as a visible and hierarchical institution, a “perfect society” led by the Pontiff, the Successor of Peter, cannot fail.  Ever.  Remember Christ’s promise to Peter: “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  (Matt. 16:18-19)  The Roman See never has been, and never will be, heretical or apostate. 

Even now, the ground is being prepared for a New Springtime of the Church, to be led by the New Ecclesial Movements: Opus Dei, the Legionaries of Christ, the Neo-Catechumenal Way, and other soldiers of God yet unrevealed.  “If we consider the manner in which a handful of doctrinally well-trained and determined Bolsheviks took over Russia in 1917, and if we consider that there exists at present [1973] in Europe an equally well-trained and dedicated association of Catholics  who are sparing no efforts to sow the seeds of renewal and are spreading the sound concepts of Catholic thinkers and philosophers who are just as unknown as Karl Marx was in 1850 – but not less capable, one can see, then, that God has already set the stage for the marvelous renewal which He will work.”[213]  “To the extent possible, the Counter-Revolution should try to win over the multitudes.  However, it should not make this its chief goal in the short run.    An objective view of history shows that the factor of mass is secondary; the principal factor is the formation of elites.”[214]

Out from the coming chaos, there will be a real New Order, led by a victorious Great King and a Holy Pope – a Pope who will “rule with a rod of iron” [215] and “restore the former disciplines” [216] of the Roman Church.  “The resurrection will be spectacular; the Great King will be the Emperor of Western Europe, and anointed by the Holy Pontiff.  Many Jews and all non-Catholic Christians will turn to the True Faith.  The Mohammedans will embrace Christianity, as also the Chinese.  In short, virtually the whole world will be Catholic.”[217]  This “era of peace” may last a long time before a new apostasy ushers in the Antichrist. 

So let us not be afraid, but rather follow the inspired teachings of St. Escrivá, the Founder of Opus Dei:  “When a layman sets himself up as an arbiter of morals, he frequently errs; laymen can only be disciples.”[218]  “Obedience, the sure way. Blind obedience to your superior, the way of sanctity. Obedience in your apostolate, the only way: for, in a work of God, the spirit must be to obey or to leave.”[219]  The Church will lead; let us follow!  We’ll learn soon enough that secular government and separation of Church and State are Masonic delusions, “musty, old fashioned ‘Voltairianisms’ or discredited liberal ideas of the nineteenth century.”[220]  “If, to save an earthly life, it is praiseworthy to use force to keep a man from committing suicide, are we not allowed to use the same coercion – ‘holy coercion’ – to save the Lives (with a capital) of so many who are stupidly bent on killing their souls?”[221] 

The dark days of the Enlightenment will soon pass.  “Liberalism is a mortal sin.”[222]  “If the Revolution is disorder, the Counter-Revolution is the restoration of order.  And by order we mean the peace of Christ in the Reign of Christ, that is, Christian civilization, austere and hierarchical, fundamentally sacral, antiegalitarian, and antiliberal.”[223]

Author:  The promise of an Earthly utopia of the Right is a delusion, just as illusory as the idea of a leftist utopia.  Go back and read this epilogue again, and think! 

Note, as well, that there are parallels between the ideology of left-wing utopians and the beliefs of the right-wing zealots described here. 

In the late 1930s, Escrivá wrote, “If, to save an earthly life, it is praiseworthy to use force to keep a man from committing suicide, are we not allowed to use the same coercion – ‘holy coercion’ – to save the Lives (with a capital) of so many who are stupidly bent on killing their souls?”[224]  The Theosophist Alice Bailey likewise exalted Life over individual lives (or, as she called them, “form”): “let us never forget that it is the Life, its purpose and its directed intentional destiny that is of importance; and also that when a form proves inadequate, or too diseased, or too crippled for the expression of that purpose, it is – from the point of view of the Hierarchy – no disaster when that form has to go.”[225] 

Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (the right-wing Catholic founder of Tradition, Family, and Property) says, “An objective view of history shows that the factor of mass is secondary; the principal factor is the formation of elites.”[226]  Leninists, with their belief in the “vanguard party,” a leader of Global Education Associates, with her belief in “creative minorities,”[227] and Ted Turner, with his disdain for the “dumb majority,”[228] would agree on him on sociology.  Their only disagreement is the end toward which mankind is to be driven – for our own good, whether we like it or not.

If you continue as you appear to have begun, you will – however sincere you are now – go straight into the arms of the Final Deceiver, the one who will counterfeit Christ.  Beware!

 

A Challenge: Is Orthodoxy Better Than Heresy?

Additionally, I warn against a peril that is already emerging among those engaged in the “culture war”: an apparent belief that use of bitter invective against enemies is proof of one’s own zeal for the cause, that such epithets will rally the good against the evil, and that foes will be shocked to awareness and repentance by the strength of the curses hurled in their direction.  Among some orthodox Christians, as throughout the world, the spirit of hatred runs free.

A few illustrations of this trend will suffice, drawn from some items recently published by those who ought to know better. 

In its commentary on the deepening scandal of sexual abuse and cover-up in the Catholic Church, New Oxford Review (a steadfast, orthodox Catholic magazine) has taken to writing of “fag and/or fag-friendly priests”[229] and distinguishes itself from Our Sunday Visitor, a centrist Catholic publication, thus: “The Visitor ‘respects the human dignity’ of active homosexuals, but we at the NOR do not.    How can any Catholic respect their ‘human dignity’?” [230] 

Another orthodox Catholic magazine, Culture Wars, has recently gone off the deep end regarding the Jews.  Its editor says, “If salvation comes from the Jews who prepared the way for Christ and accepted him when he came, what comes from the Jews who rejected Christ?  The answer is clear: what comes from this group is the opposite of salvation, namely, the work of Satan culminating in the arrival of the Antichrist.  The answer is not only clear; there is no other possible answer to this question.    the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews was a reaction to Jewish Messianism (in the form of Bolshevism) every bit as much as the Chmielnicki pogroms flowed from the excesses of the Jewish tax farmers in the Ukraine.    Just as a small remnant of faithful Jews brought the Catholic Church into being after Christ’s death and resurrection, so too a small number of Jews brought the ‘synagogue of Satan’ into existence at around the same time.    The ‘synagogue of Satan,’ as its name implies, has as its purpose not preparing the world for the second coming of Christ but rather preparing the world for the coming of the Antichrist.  Because of their rejection of Christ, the Jews who comprise the synagogue of Satan will have a special role to play in that event.    The contemporary Synagogue of Satan, whether in America or Israel, now poses the greatest threat to world peace.”[231] 

Catholic Answers, a mainstream group which engages in apologetics and evangelical outreach for Catholicism, sent out fundraising letters in early 2004 saying: “Islam is worse than Communism ever was.    Islam is and always has been a religion of violence.    it seeks to eliminate Christianity and Judaism.    The great threat of the twenty-first century is Islam.”[232]  

Such vituperation – and the attitude toward enemies that it manifests – will not bring victory for the cause of Christ.  Instead, those who engage in it are fulfilling an apocalyptic prophecy of Christ: “And because wickedness is multiplied, most men’s love will grow cold.” (Mt. 24:12).   They are also acting as predicted in the Didache: “the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall change to hate.  For as lawlessness increaseth they shall hate one another and persecute and betray …”[233]  

A Catholic and a Protestant offer salutary warnings against being possessed by the spirit of hatred during the present (and pending) conflicts.  Philip Trower, an orthodox Catholic, says in his history of the crisis in the Roman Catholic Church, “It is right to feel an abhorrence for heresy.    The faith has to be defended.  But there are better and worse ways of doing it, and if one is not careful, love of the Church and faith can become entangled with natural bellicosity or the spirit of domination.  We can forget that our opponents need prayers more than maledictions.”[234]  An evangelical Protestant writer for Christianity Today related an account of her meeting with a spiritually confused, heretical man who had been raised by a zealous mother, a preacher.  She concluded her tale with a warning for us all, especially those of us who consider ourselves orthodox or faithful: “For being so surrounded with Christianity, my friend knew nothing of the grace of God.  All he heard and felt was judgment on his inadequacy: that he was not as fiery as mom, not as moral as church people, not as powerful as Catholics.  Here was a man who needed more than anything the thoroughly orthodox word that his salvation comes by faith, not by works – in particular, not by religious works – but no one was speaking it to him.  Why was the open fact of God’s inviting love the one secret he didn’t know about, and why were the heresies blazing in full neon color?  I take it as a cautionary tale.  If orthodoxy does not lead the hungry to the Bread of Life and the thirsty to living waters, is it any better than heresy?”[235]

As we face multiple global perils that may test us to extremity, I ask all to remember these two warnings.  “We can forget that our opponents need prayers more than maledictions,”[236] and, “If orthodoxy does not lead the hungry to the Bread of Life and the thirsty to living waters, is it any better than heresy?”[237]

Kyrie eleison! Lord, have mercy!

Marana tha! Our Lord, Come! 


Lee Penn Home Page


[1] Donald Frew, Covenant of the Goddess, “1999-2000 Interfaith Report,” http://www.cog.org/interfaith/cogdf00.html, printed 2/8/03.

[2] Drudge Report, “Ted Turner: I Am A Socialist At Heart,” September 29, 1999, http://www.drudgereport.com/matt2.html, printed in 1999; no longer on the Net.  The same information is still accessible at John Howard, “Ted Turner’s A Socialist?,” Scoop Headlines, The New Zealand Edge,  October 1, 1999, http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL9910/S00001.htm, printed 05/21/03.

[3] Rev. Livio Fanzaga, Wrath of God: The days of the Antichrist, Roman Catholic Books,1998, p. 28.

[4] Bernard McGinn, Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination With Evil, Harper San Francisco, 1994, pp. 80-81.

[5] Bernard J. McGinn, John J. Collins, and Stephen J. Stein, eds., The Continuum History of Apocalypticism, Continuum, 2003, pp. 290-291.

[6] Sister Faustina Kowalska, Divine Mercy In My Soul, Marian Press, 1987; see sections 83, 429, 474, 635, 793, 848, 965-966, 1146, 1155, 1589, and 1732.

[7] Pope St. Pius X, E Supremi, Encyclical of Pope Pius X on the Restoration of All Things in Christ, October 4, 1903, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_x/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-x_enc_04101903_e-supremi_en.html, sections 3, 4, and 5; printed 04/27/04.

[8] Pope Pius XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor, Encyclical of Pope Pius XI on Reparation to the Sacred Heart, May 8, 1928, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xi_enc_08051928_miserentissimus-redemptor_en.html, sections 1, 4, 15, and 17, printed 04/28/04.

[9] Pope Pius XII, Evangelii Praecones, Encyclical of Pope Pius XII on Promotion of Catholic Missions, June 2, 1951, http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xii/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-xii_enc_02061951_evangelii-praecones_en.html, section 70, printed 04/27/04.

[10] As quoted in “Notable and Quotable,” The Wall Street Journal, November 9, 1978, page 30 (editorial page).  This source indicates that the then-Cardinal Wojtyla made this statement in his last speech during his visit to the U.S., in September 1976.

[11] World Goodwill, The Problems of Humanity: Building Right Human Relations, “Study Six: The Churches and Organised Religion,” http://www.lucistrust.org/goodwill/pdf/poh6.pdf, p. 25.

[12] Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Life of Christ, Image Books, 1977, p. 10.

[13] Ronald Knox, The Belief of Catholics, Ignatius Press, orig. ed. 1927; rev. ed. 2000, p. 220.

[14] Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins, authors of a 12-book series beginning with Left Behind and ending with Glorious Appearing, Tyndale House Publishers, 1996-2004.

[15] Robert Hugh Benson, Lord of the World, Wildside Press, 2002 ed.; this is a reprint of the book originally published in 1907.

[16] Michael D. O’Brien, Father Elijah: An Apocalypse, Ignatius Press, 1996.

[17] abcNEWS.com, “Reference – Newsmakers – Vladimir Putin,” 2001, http://abcnews.go.com/reference/bios/putin.html, printed 04/27/04.

[18] The M+G+R Foundation, “The General Sequence of Events Leading to the End of These Times,” November 28, 2003, http://www.mgr.org/sequence.html, printed 04/27/04; also, “The Spiritual Ambush of a Universal Religion: How It Will Be Used For the Manifestation of the False Christ,” February 4, 2004, http://www.mdep.org/owr.html, printed 04/27/04.

[19] C. S. Lewis, “Lilies That Fester,” ch. 3 of The World’s Last Night And Other Essays, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973, p. 40.

[20] Ibid., p. 48.

[21] C. S. Lewis, “Screwtape Proposes a Toast,” ch. 4 of The World’s Last Night And Other Essays, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973, p. 70.

[22] C. S. Lewis, letter of January 17, 1940, in C. S. Lewis, Letters of C. S. Lewis, Walter Hooper, ed., Harcourt Brace, rev. ed. 1993, p. 336.

[23] J. R. R. Tolkien, The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, ed. by Humphrey Carpenter and Christopher Tolkien, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1981, pp. 332-333; drafts of a letter to Mrs. Eileen Elgar, September 1963.

[24] Brooks Alexander, “The Coming World Religion,” Spiritual Counterfeits Project, 1983 pamphlet, p. 2.

[25] Alexander Men, Christianity for the Twenty-First Century: The Prophetic Writings of Alexander Men, Elizabeth Roberts and Ann Shukman, eds., Continuum, 1996, p. 176.

[26] Rev. Livio Fanzaga, Wrath of God: The days of the Antichrist, 1998, p. 63.

[27] C. S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength: A Modern Fairy-Tale for Grown-Ups, Collier Books, Macmillan Publishing Company, 1946, p. 99; the speaker is Miss Hardcastle.

[28] John Lukacs, The Hitler of History, Vintage Books, 1998, p. 106.

[29] Gordon Urquhart, a former member of Focolare, notes that recruitment of former leftists by new ecclesial movements has already proven successful: “Paradoxically, despite their right-wing position in church politics and their middle-class membership – at least in the western world – all three new movements [Focolare, Communion and Liberation, and the Neo-Catechumenal Way] have had considerable success in attracting recruits from the political far left.  In fact, these two extremes have a great deal in common: the promise of a new world in the dim and distant future; the need for a tough, centralized, totalitarian but efficient structure in order to achieve the ambitious goals; the total obedience of individual members with no room for dissent.    Before the fall of communism, Lubich saw Focolare as a mirror image of the socialist world.  ‘We are made for them,’ she would say.  ‘They have the right structures; all they need is our spirit to animate those structures.’”  (Gordon Urquhart, The Pope’s Armada: Unlocking the Secrets of Mysterious and Powerful New Sects in the Church, Prometheus Books, 1999, pp. 276-277).  Chiara Lubich is the founder of Focolare.

[30] “In the Third Reich, the majority gave not only its passive but its active consent to the Führer.”  (John Lukacs, The Hitler of History, Vintage Books, 1998, p. 111).  “For every two children born in 1932, three were born four years later.  In 1938 and 1939, the highest marriage rates in all Europe were registered in Germany, surpassing even those among the prolific peoples of Eastern Europe.”  (ibid., p. 97)  “From 1932 to 1939, the number of suicides committed by Germans under twenty dropped 80 percent during the first six years of the Hitler regime.” (ibid., p. 98)  Lukacs , a historian who wrote extensively on World War II and Hitler, ends his book thus: “That Hitler was the enemy of almost everything that was ‘bourgeois’ needs no further explanation.  He belongs to the end of an age, and he was defeated, and – for a while – bourgeois civilization has been restored, at least in Western Europe and West Germany.  But if Western civilization melts away, threatening to collapse, two dangers lie in the future.  During a rising flood of barbarism, his reputation may rise in the eyes of orderly people, who may regard him as a kind of Diocletian, a tough last architect of an imperial order.  At the same time he might be revered by at least some of the New Barbarians.  But this book is the work of a historian, not of a prophet.” (ibid., p. 268).

[31] George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier, 1937, as quoted in John Lukacs, The Last European War: September 1939/December 1941, Yale University Press, 2001, pp. 305-306.

[32] John Lukacs himself drew out the parallel between Hitler and St. John’s prophecy of the Final Deceiver.  Lukacs said, “The Antichrist will not be horrid and devilish, incarnating some kind of frightful monster – hence recognizable immediately.  He will not seem to be anti-Christian.  He will be smiling, generous, popular, an idol, adored by masses of people because of the sunny prosperity he seems to have brought, a false father (or husband) to his people.  Save for a small minority, Christians will believe in him and follow him.  Like the Jews at the time of the First Coming, Christians at the time of the Antichrist – that is, before the Second Coming – will divide.  Before the end of the world the superficial Christians will follow the Antichrist, and only a small minority will recognize his awful portents.  Well, Hitler did not bring about the end of the world, but there was a time – not yet the time of the mass murders but the time of the Third Reich in the 1930s – when some of St. John’s prophecies about the Antichrist accorded with this appearance and his appeal.  And it may not be unreasonable to imagine that in the coming age of the masses he was but the first of Antichrist-like popular figures.”  (John Lukacs, The Hitler of History, Vintage Books, 1998, p. 266, footnote).

[33] John Lukacs, The Last European War: September 1939/December 1941, Yale University Press, 2001, p. 325.

[34] The same admonition appears in the other Synoptic Gospels, in Mark 13:5-6, Mark 13: 20-23, Luke 17:22-23, and Luke 21:8.

[35] The web site of this camera-shy Antichrist wanna-be is at Share International, http://www.shareintl.org; the beliefs of this organization are derived from Alice Bailey’s Theosophy.  The “John the Baptist” for this person is Benjamin Creme, who has traveled the world for more that two decades proclaiming the imminent public appearance of “Maitreya.”  The “World Teacher,” however, has not shown his face, except for a few fleeting apparitions.

[36] In 1921, René Guénon said, “In addition, today more than ever those claiming to be prophets and messiahs strangely abound in all those groups occupied with occultism.  We have known a certain number of these apart from Alcyone and Theosophy, and still others are spreading in spiritist circles.  Must this be seen as a sign of the times?  Whatever the case and without venturing the least prediction, it is quite difficult in the presence of all these things not to recall the words of the Gospel, ‘For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.’  Assuredly, we are not yet there; the false Messiahs we have seen until now have offered wonders of a very inferior quality, and those who have followed them were probably not very difficult to seduce, but who knows what the future holds in store?  If one reflects that these false Messiahs have never been anything but more or less unconscious instruments in the hands of those who have raised them up, and if one looks at the series of attempts made by the Theosophists, one is led to think that these are no more than trials, experiments which will be renewed in various forms until success is achieved.  In the meantime, these efforts always have the result of troubling some minds.  We do not believe moreover that the Theosophists, any more than the occultists and the spiritists, have the strength to succeed in such an enterprise by themselves.  But behind all these movements is there not something more fearsome, of which their leaders perhaps do not themselves know, and of which they are in their own turn merely the instruments?  We merely raise this question without seeking to resolve it here.”  (René Guénon, Theosophy: History of a Pseudo-Religion, tr. by Alvin Moore et al., Sophia Perennis, 2001, pp. 271-272).  When Guénon cited “Alcyone and Theosophy,” he was referring to the promotion of Jeddu Krishnamurti as the coming World Teacher by the Theosophical Society in the early 1920s; “Alcyone” was the Theosophical movement’s nickname for Krishnamurti.

[37] “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles to the Heathen,” sec. XIII, vv. 3-4, in M. Basil Pennington, Alan Jones, and Mark Booth, eds., The Living Testament: The Essential Writings of Christianity Since the Bible, Harper and Row, 1985, p. 4.  This text is also known as the Didache.

[38] Bernard McGinn, Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination With Evil, Harper San Francisco, 1994, p. 5.

[39] Ibid., p. 61, quoting from ch. 6 of Hippolytus’ On the Antichrist.

[40] Ibid., p. 5.

[41] Ibid., p. 279.

[42] Charles Upton comments, “It is important to note here that this view of Antichrist is not limited to the Christian world. Islam – which has more strictly canonical material on al-dajjal  than even Christianity, mostly from the prophetic traditions collected by Muslim, though al-dajjal does not appear in the Qur‘an – sees the Antichrist as a kind of anti-Mahdi, destined to be slain by the Prophet Jesus when he returns at the end of time.” (E-mail from Charles Upton to Lee Penn, 6/11/04).

[43] Vladimir Solovyov, War, Progress, and the End of History: Three Conversations – Including a Short Story of the Anti-Christ, Lindisfarne Press, 1990, p. 120.  These are the words of “Mr. Z,” a viewpoint which Solovyov described as “absolutely religious and which will yet show its decisive value in the future,” a viewpoint which Solovyov “unreservedly accept[s].”  (Ibid., “Author’s Preface,” p. 20).

[44] Yves Dupont, Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1973, p. 90.  It should be noted that Dupont carries anti-Semitic baggage, as well.  He says of the present day, “In fact, the so-called ‘national prosperity’ is in the hands of a very few, and it is no right-wing extremism to claim that money is controlled by a Judeo-Masonic clique.” (Ibid., p. 79).

[45] Paul Thigpen, The Rapture Trap: A Catholic Response to ‘End Times’ Fever, Ascension Press, 2001, p. 221.  He says, “Visions and prophecies of this sort have been attributed to St. Caesar of Arles, Blessed Rubanus Maurus, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Francis of Paola, St. Hildegard, Venerable Magdalene Porzat, and countless others of wise and holy reputation.”

[46] The books that set forth this tradition for a conservative Catholic audience include Edward Connor, Prophecy for Today, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., orig. ed. 1956, rev. ed. 1984; Yves Dupont, Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1973; R. Gerald Culleton, The Prophets and Our Times, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., orig. ed. 1941, rev. ed. 1974; R. Gerald Culleton, The Reign of Antichrist, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., orig. ed. 1951, rev. ed. 1974.  The 1956 Connor book carries an imprimatur from Bishop A. J. Willinger, of the Catholic Diocese of Monterey-Fresno; Culleton’s 1941 Prophets and Our Times carries an imprimatur from Bishop Philip G. Scher, of the same Diocese.  The 1941 Culleton book includes the following speculation: “Towards the end of the world the Jews are to commit some atrocious crime for which they will be gravely persecuted.  Could this crime be a veering away of many Jews from the belief in a personal God and personal Messiah and all that such belief implies?” (R. Gerald Culleton, The Prophets and Our Times, ibid., p. 28).  Culleton added, “The present war is causing great misery to the Jewish people.  Its eventual effect upon Jewish aspirations to the Holy Land cannot well be forecast, but if its outcome opens up to them their ancient heritage, and we see at long last a Jewish state there, it means that interesting events in the history of the world are probably not too distant.  The prophets do not necessarily forecast a universal Jewish migration, but certainly a Jewish Palestine.”  (R. Gerald Culleton, The Prophets and Our Times, ibid., pp. 34-35).  The most modern of the books setting forth the “Great King” tradition is Desmond Birch, Trial, Tribulation, and Triumph: Before, During, and After Antichrist, Queenship Publishing Company, 1996.  Birch’s book is free of the anti-Semitic overtones of the other books listed in this note.

[47] Bernard McGinn, Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination With Evil, Harper San Francisco, 1994, p. 89.

[48] Paul Thigpen, The Rapture Trap: A Catholic Response to ‘End Times’ Fever, Ascension Press, 2001, pp. 223-224.

[49] Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Second Edition, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997, section 66-67, p. 23; see also Paul Thigpen, The Rapture Trap: A Catholic Response to ‘End Times’ Fever, Ascension Press, 2001, p. 216.

[50] Paul Thigpen, The Rapture Trap: A Catholic Response to ‘End Times’ Fever, Ascension Press, 2001, p. 225.

[51] Chakravarti is the Sanskrit word for “universal monarch,” and literally means “turner of the wheel.”

[52] René Guénon, The Reign of Quantity & The Signs of The Times, orig. ed. 1945, reissued by Sophia Perennis et Universalis, 1995, p. 325.

[53] The classical list of criteria for brainwashing, and (by extension) religious cultism was put forward by Dr. Robert J. Lifton, in his book about the “thought reform” that prisoners of the Chinese Communists underwent during and after the Korean War.  The criteria are these:

“1. Milieu Control.  This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.

2. Mystical Manipulation.  There is manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority or spiritual advancement or some special gift or talent that will then allow the leader to reinterpret events, scripture, and experiences as he or she wishes.

3. Demand for Purity.  The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection.  The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here.

4. Confession.  Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group.  There is no confidentiality; members’ ‘sins,’ ‘attitudes,’ and ‘faults’ are discussed and exploited by the leaders.

5. Sacred Science.  The group’s doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute.  Truth is not to be found outside the group.  The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism.

6. Loading the Language.  The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand.  This jargon consists of thought-terminating clichés, which serve to alter members’ thought processes to conform to the group’s way of thinking.

7. Doctrine over person.  Member's personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.

8. Dispensing of existence.  The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not.  This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group's ideology.  If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the  members.  Thus, the outside world loses all credibility.  In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also.”  (American Family Foundation, “Dr. Robert J. Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform,” http://www.csj.org/studyindex/studymindctr/study_mindctr_lifton.htm, printed 05/28/04.  A fuller explanation of these criteria is at the web page http://www.csj.org/infoserv_articles/lifton_robert_thoughtreform.htm, maintained by the same organization; printed 05/28/04.)   These criteria were from Robert J. Lifton, Thought Reform and the Psychology of Totalism: A Study of Brainwashing in China, University of North Carolina Press, 1989, ch. 22.  Anti-cult activists usually refer to these or similar criteria in analyzing the behavior of cults, sects, and new religious movements.

[54] E-mail of 8/13/04 from a conservative defender of the New Ecclesial Movements in the Catholic Church.

[55] For a discussion of the irregular, occult, Theosophical branch of Masonry, see Lee Penn, “The Masonic Quest,” SCP Journal, Vol. 26:2-26:3, pp. 51-67.  (This is the magazine issued by the Spiritual Counterfeits Project.)

[56] C. S. Lewis, “The Inner Ring,” in C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, Macmillan, 1980 ed., pp. 93-105.

[57] J. R. R. Tolkien, “The Shadow of the Past,” in The Fellowship of the Ring, 2nd ed., Houghton Mifflin Co., 1978, p. 56.

[58] Moon has written, “Then what is God’s Will? It does not mean the separation of church and state. It should be the unity of church and state,” and has reiterated this position over the years.  (The Rev. Sun Myung Moon, “The Way for the True Child,” “The Providential Time and the Way of the Second Generation,” http://www.unification.org/ucbooks/HDH/TC/TC3b.html, printed 06/09/04.)

[59] The center of this movement is the Chalcedon Foundation; see their web page, “Faith For All Life,” http://www.chalcedon.edu/, printed 06/08/04.  The Reconstructionist vision is this: “The role of every earthly government—including family government, church government, school government, vocational government, and civil government—is to submit to Biblical law. No government in any form can make men Christians or truly obedient; this is the work of God’s sovereign grace. Much less should civil government try to impose Biblical law on an unbelieving society. Biblical law cannot be imposed; it must be embraced.    Though unapologetically Reformed, Chalcedon supports the kingdom work of all orthodox denominations and churches.”  (Chalcedon Foundation, “Chalcedon Vision Statement,” http://www.chalcedon.edu/desk/vision_statement.shtml, printed 06/08/04).

[60] David V. Barrett, The New Believers: A Survey of Sects, Cults, and Alternative Religions, Cassell & Co., 2001, p. 203.

[61] Sandro Magister, “The Legionaries of Christ: ‘They’re Accusing Us In Order to Attack the Pope,’” L’espresso, www.Chiesa, http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,41358,00.html, viewed 06/09/04.

[62] John Allen, “The Word From Rome,” “Opus Dei: No surprise it gets top billing in this papacy,” National Catholic Reporter, November 9, 2001, http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word1109.htm, viewed 06/09/04.

[63] David V. Barrett, The New Believers: A Survey of Sects, Cults, and Alternative Religions, Cassell & Co., 2001, p. 200.

[64] Ibid.

[65] Sandro Magister, “The Seven Capital Vices of the Movements, According to ‘La Civiltà Cattolica,’” L’espresso, www.Chiesa, http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,42202,00.html, printed 07/16/04.

[66] Gordon Urquhart, The Pope’s Armada: Unlocking the Secrets of Mysterious and Powerful New Sects in the Church, Prometheus Books, 1999, p. 7.

[67] Ibid., p. 6.

[68] Sandro Magister, “Nomads of God: The New Paths of Religion in Europe,” L’espresso, www.Chiesa, http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,42217,00.html, printed 08/17/04.

[69] Sandro Magister, “Church or Little Churches? The Sectarian Threat of Catholic Movements,” L’espresso, www.Chiesa, http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,41797,00.html, viewed 06/09/04.

[70] Sandro Magister, “The Seven Capital Vices of the Movements, According to ‘La Civiltà Cattolica,’” L’espresso, www.Chiesa, http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,42202,00.html, printed 07/16/04.

[71] For critiques of these movements, see Gordon Urquhart, The Pope’s Armada: Unlocking the Secrets of Mysterious and Powerful New Sects in the Church, Prometheus Books, 1999 (pertaining to Focolare, Communion and Liberation, and the Neo-Catechumenate); Jason Berry and Gerald Renner, Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II, Free Press, 2004 (pertaining to the Legionaries of Christ); Maria del Carmen Tapia, Beyond the Threshold: A Life In Opus Dei, Continuum, 1997 (pertaining to Opus Dei); Fergal Bowers, The Work: An Investigation into the History of Opus Dei and how it operates in Ireland Today, Poolbeg Press (Ireland), 1989 (pertaining to Opus Dei); Michael Walsh, The Secret World of Opus Dei, Grafton Books (UK), 1989; reprinted in the US as Opus Dei, Harper San Francisco, 2004 (pertaining to Opus Dei); and Joan Estruch, Saints and Schemers: Opus Dei and Its Paradoxes, Oxford University Press, 1995.  For a defense of the new ecclesial movements, and an argument that they are not “sects in the Catholic Church,” see Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, “Are There Sects in the Catholic Church,” L’Osservatore Romano, English language edition, 13/20 August 1997, p. 3; on-line at the web site for the Eternal Word Television Network, http://www.ewtn.com/library/CHRIST/ORSECTS.HTM, printed 08/03/04.  The Cardinal said, “It is therefore wrong if communities which are approved by the Church are called sects (by institutions, individuals, or in media reports), or if a life according to the three evangelical counsels is seen as a sect-like practice.”

[72] Opus Dei Awareness Network (ODAN), “ODAN Home,” http://www.odan.org/index.htm, printed 06/08/04.

[73] Religious Groups Awareness International Network, http://www.regainnetwork.org/, printed 06/08/04.  They say, “We have been able to assist many in their post legionary experience and inform others of the dangers that the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi pose to the Church and those who wish to be faithful to Her.”

[74] Opus Dei Awareness Network (ODAN), “Links,” http://www.odan.org/links.htm, printed 06/08/04; this web page contains a list of ten anti-cult web sites.

[75] ZENIT.org, “New Movements in Church Are Not Sects, Says Scientific Study; Researcher Thinks Groups Are Revitalizing Ecclesial Life,” July 15, 2003, http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=38882, printed 07/16/03.

[76] Concilium English Edition, Concilium, http://www.concilium.org/english.htm, printed 08/03/04.

[77] Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, “Are There Sects in the Catholic Church,” L’Osservatore Romano, English language edition, 13/20 August 1997, p. 3; on-line at the web site for the Eternal Word Television Network, http://www.ewtn.com/library/CHRIST/ORSECTS.HTM, printed 08/03/04.

[78] Zenit.org, “26,000 attend Communion and Liberation Retreat,” May 26, 2000, http://www.zenit.org/english/archive/0005/ZE000526.html, printed 08/13/04.

[79] Michael Walsh, Opus Dei, Harper San Francisco, 2004, pp. 165-166.

[80] Ibid., p. 185.

[81] Sandro Magister, “Saturday Night Masses for Everyone! Carmen and Kiko’s Church of Many Rooms,” L’espresso, www.Chiesa, http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,40205,00.html, viewed 06/09/04.

[82] Jason Berry and Gerald Renner, Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II, Free Press, 2004, p. 297.

[83] ZENIT, “Pope Calls New Movements a ‘Providential Answer,” May 30, 2004, http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=54481, printed 05/31/04.

[84] John Allen, “The Word From Rome,” “The Trouble With Labels,” National Catholic Reporter, January 10, 2003, http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word0110.htm, viewed 06/09/04.

[85] Jason Berry and Gerald Renner, Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II, Free Press, 2004, p. 203.

[86] Jason Berry and Gerald Renner, “Sex-related case blocked in Vatican,” National Catholic Reporter, December 7, 2001, http://www.natcath.com/NCR_Online/archives/120701/120701g.htm, viewed 06/09/04.

[87] John Allen, “The Word From Rome,” “Legionaries hold orientation for bishops,” National Catholic Reporter, September 27, 2002, http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word0927.htm, viewed 06/09/04.

[88] John Allen, “The Word From Rome,” “The Trouble With Labels,” National Catholic Reporter, January 10, 2003, http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word0110.htm, viewed 06/09/04.

[89] For details of these allegations, see Jason Berry and Gerald Renner, Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II, 2004, Free Press, pp. 209-221, 253, 289, 294-300.

[90] Sandro Magister, “Vatican Letters – The Pope and His Court – A Thousand Curial Maneuvers,” L’espresso, www.Chiesa, http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,41939,00.html, viewed 06/09/04.

[91] John Allen, “The Word From Rome,” “Opus Dei: No surprise it gets top billing in this papacy,” National Catholic Reporter, November 9, 2001, http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word1109.htm, viewed 06/09/04.

[92] Josemaría Escrivá, The Way / Furrow / The Forge, Scepter, n. d., maxim 61 from The Way, p. 14.

[93] Ibid., maxim 387 from The Way, p. 95.

[94] Ibid., maxim 398 from The Way, p. 97.

[95] Ibid., maxim 399 from The Way, p. 97.

[96] Ibid., maxim 457 from The Way, p. 110.  Charles Upton comments, “The idea, implied here, that one’s spiritual superior is necessarily superior in personal sanctity is clearly heretical in a Christian context.  It may in fact be a mis-appropriation of the Hindu concept of the satguru (teacher whose essence is Truth), or the Shi’ite Muslim doctrine of the perfect Imam. Certainly the priest represents Christ, the one true Master for all Christians, and possesses as an objective fact the charisma of the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Just as certainly, he may be deluded on the psychological plane and/or in a state of mortal sin on the spiritual one. When Dante, in his Inferno, placed a pope in Hell, he was directly in line with traditional Christian doctrine as to such a possibility. It is true that one's spiritual master (a Sufi shaikh, Orthodox Christian geron or staretz, Hindu satguru, Zen roshi, or Tibetan Buddhist vajraguru) will indeed, if he is genuine, function as a direct manifestation of God for his disciple; but certainly not everyone who claims to be such a guide is in fact what he claims.” (E-mail from Charles Upton to Lee Penn, 10/15/04.)

[97] Josemaría Escrivá, The Way / Furrow / The Forge, Scepter, n. d., maxim 643 from The Way, p. 160.

[98] Ibid., maxim 650 from The Way, p. 161.

[99] Ibid., maxim 849 from The Way, p. 214.

[100] Ibid.., maxim 936 from The Way, p. 239.

[101] Ibid., maxim 941 from The Way, p. 239.  Just as Escrivá upholds “blind obedience,” the Rev. Sun Myung Moon holds out the necessity for “absolute obedience.”  Charles Upton comments: “As for ‘blind’ obedience, to be genuine it must be based on faith, ‘the evidence of things not seen.’ A ‘disciple’ is not a pawn, but someone who is being taught. In order to learn an art, the apprentice must sometimes simply obey his master without yet understanding why – and this includes the art of contemplation. He obeys his master ‘blindly,’ however, not in order to remain blind, but that, God willing, he may learn how to see.” (E-mail from Charles Upton to Lee Penn, 10/15/04.) 

[102] Josemaría Escrivá, The Way / Furrow / The Forge, Scepter, n. d., maxim 979 from The Way, p. 249.

[103] Rod Dreher, “The Pope Has Let Us Down,” The Wall Street Journal, editorial page, August 25, 2002, http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110002177, printed 06/08/04.

[104] Letter from Fr. McCloskey to the Wall Street Journal, as quoted in Amy Welborn’s blog, at http://www.amywelborn.blogspot.com/2002_08_01_amywelborn_archive.html, viewed 06/08/04.

[105] Letters to the Editor, “Criticizing priests,” Catholic World Report, March 2003, http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodicals/Igpress/2002-03/letters.html, printed 06/09/04.

[106] John Allen, “The Word From Rome,” “A Look at the New Cardinals,” National Catholic Reporter, October 3, 2003, http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word100303.htm, viewed 06/09/04.

[107] John Allen, “Vatican official comments on Geoghan murder,” National Catholic Reporter, August 25, 2003, http://nationalcatholicreporter.org/update/bn082503.htm, viewed 06/09/03.

[108] From the printout of an on-line conversation between Lee Penn and an Opus Dei cooperator, 02/04/02. 

[109] John Allen, “The Word From Rome,” “Cardinal Schotte’s views on Dallas,” National Catholic Reporter, June 14, 2002, http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word0614.htm, viewed 06/09/04.

[110] Sandro Magister, “The Confessions of an ex-Legionary: ‘Why I Broke The Silence,’” L’espresso, www.Chiesa, http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,40388,00.html, viewed 06/09/04.  See also Jason Berry, “Mahony Better Watch Out for Legion of Christ,” Los Angeles Times, September 26, 2004, http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-op-berry26sep26,1,2822993.story?coll=la-news-comment, printed 09/27/04.

[111] Rev. Richard P. McBrien, “The Legion of Christ,” The Tidings, October 22, 2004, http://www.the-tidings.com/2004/1022/essays.htm, printed 10/22/04.

[112] Philip Jenkins, The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity, Oxford University Press, 2002, p. 147.

[113] World Church News, “New cardinals mirror John Paul’s papacy,” The Tablet, January 27, 2001, http://www.thetablet.co.uk/cgi-bin/citw.cgi/past-00005, printed 06/09/04.

[114] World Church News, “The Americas,” The Tablet, September 6, 2003, http://www.thetablet.co.uk/cgi-bin/citw.cgi/past-00144, printed 06/09/04.

[115] Ibid.

[116] John Allen, “The Word From Rome,” “The ‘Secret’ Norms,” National Catholic Reporter, November 29, 2002, http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word1129.htm, viewed 06/09/04.

[117] ZENIT.com, “Cardinal Stafford on the Church’s Crisis,” August 23, 2003, http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=39931, printed 08/03/04.

[118] John Allen, “The Word From Rome,” “New Movements changing Spain,” National Catholic Reporter, May 9, 2003, http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word0509.htm, viewed 06/09/04.

[119] John Allen, “The Word From Rome,” “Pope Displeased by Europe’s rejection of Christian roots,” National Catholic Reporter, June 25, 2004, http://www.nationalcatholicreporter.org/word/word062504.htm, printed 06/26/04.

[120] Sandro Magister, “Church or Little Churches? The Sectarian Threat of Catholic Movements,” L’espresso, www.Chiesa, http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,41797,00.html, viewed 06/09/04.

[121] Sandro Magister, “A Parish of the People, Not of the Elite. Italy Renews its Model of Church,” L’espresso, www.Chiesa, http://213.92.16.98/ESW_articolo/0,2393,42028,00.html, viewed 06/09/04.

[122] Gordon Urquhart, The Pope’s Armada: Unlocking the Secrets of Mysterious and Powerful New Sects in the Church, Prometheus Books, 1999, p. 409.

[123] Ibid., p. 413.

[124] E-mail from Charles Upton to Lee Penn, 10/15/04.

[125] Thomas Ellis, book review of Four Witnesses: The Early Church in Her Own Words, in New Oxford Review, November 2003, p. 48.  This statement exemplifies the institution-centered outlook of some Catholic apologists.  However, New Oxford Review has carried prominent stories criticizing some of the Vatican’s prudential judgments.  For example, in March 2004, it ran a cover story by David Palm, titled “Catholic Confusion at the Very Top.”

[126] Thomas Storck, book review of Mary: A Catholic-Evangelical Debate, in New Oxford Review, July-August 2004, p. 45.

[127] Ibid.

[128] Ignatius Loyola, “Rules for Thinking with the Church,” in “Readings from the Protestant and Counter Reformations,” http://www.thecaveonline.com/APEH/reformdocument.html, printed 05/08/04; this version lists the first 13 of Ignatius’ rules.

[129] Archbishop Charles Chaput, “Consecrated life meant to be leaven in the Church,” April 24, 2002, Archdiocese of Denver, http://www.archden.org/archbishop/docs/4_24_02_consecrated_life.htm, printed 05/08/04.  This rule is part of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola; the full set of eighteen rules may be found on-line at http://www.ccel.org/pager.cgi?file=i/ignatius/exercises/exercises1.0.html&up=i/ignatius/exercises/exercises.html&from=RTFToC159 and at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/loyola-spirex.html, as of 05/19/04.

[130] Rod Dreher, as posted on April 16, 2004, in the discussion thread “Archbishop Chaput weighs in,” at the web log Open Book (run by Amy Welborn), http://amywelborn.typepad.com/openbook/2004/04/archbishop_chap.html, printed 05/27/04.

[131] George Orwell, 1984, New American Library edition, 1961, p. 205.

[132] Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Second Edition, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997, sections 675 and 677, pp. 176-177.

[133] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, tr. by Walter Kauffmann and R. J. Hollingdale, Vintage Books, 1968, “Book four: Discipline and Breeding,” section 957, p. 501.

[134] This line of research was suggested by Tom Wolfe, in his 1996 essay: Tom Wolfe, “Sorry, but your soul just died,” Forbes ASAP, December 2, 1996, pp. 211-223.

[135] Friedrich Nietzsche, section 1 of “Why I Am a Destiny,” in Ecce Homo, in the collection On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, ed. and tr. by Walter Kaufmann, Vintage Books, 1969, p. 327.

[136] Friedrich Nietzsche, section 283 of The Gay Science, in Walter Kaufmann, ed., The Portable Nietzsche, 1982 ed., p. 97.

[137] Friedrich Nietzsche, section 7 of “Why I Am a Destiny,” in Ecce Homo, in the collection On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, ed. and tr. by Walter Kaufmann, Vintage Books, 1969, p. 333.

[138] Friedrich Nietzsche, section 343 of Book V of The Gay Science, in Walter Kaufmann, ed., The Portable Nietzsche, 1982 ed., p. 447.

[139] Friedrich Nietzsche, section 9 of “On the uses and disadvantages of history for life,” in Untimely Meditations, tr. by R. J. Hollingdale, Cambridge University Press, 1983, pp. 112-113.

[140] Friedrich Nietzsche, section 11 of “Richard Wagner in Bayreuth,” in Untimely Meditations, tr. by R. J. Hollingdale, Cambridge University Press, 1983, p. 251.

[141] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, tr. by Walter Kauffmann and R. J. Hollingdale, Vintage Books, 1968, “Preface,” section 2, p. 3.

[142] Ibid., “Book One: European Nihilism,” section 125, pp. 77-78.

[143] Ibid., “Book four: Discipline and Breeding,” section 868, p. 465.

[144] Papal warnings against the evils of Nietzsche’s time (1844-1900) included the following encyclicals: Pius IX, Quanta Cura (“On Current Errors”), 1864; Pius IX, Diuturnum Iliud (“On Government Authority”), 1881; Leo XIII, Humanum Genus (“On Freemasonry and Naturalism”), 1884; and Leo XIII, Libertas Praestantissimum (“On Human Liberty”), 1888.  Even though Nietzsche and the Popes utterly disagreed on the cause, nature of, and cure for the disorders of their time, they were in agreement in diagnosing the society of their time as gravely ill.  The reactionary Popes and the revolutionary philosopher both saw through the then-standing façade of Progress.  All the Papal encyclicals just listed are in the following collection: Anthony J. Mioni, Jr., ed., The Popes Against Modern Errors: 16 Papal Documents, TAN Books and Publishers, 1999.

[145] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, tr. by Walter Kauffmann and R. J. Hollingdale, Vintage Books, 1968, “Preface,” section 2, pp. 3-4.

[146] Ibid., “Preface,” section 2, p. 4.

[147] Ibid., “Preface,” section 2, p. 4.

[148] Green Cross International, “The Hague Speech by Mikhail Gorbachev,” the Hague, 24 May 1993, “Extracts,” http://www.greencrossinternational.net/GreenCrossFamily/gorby/hague.html, printed 05/13/03.

[149] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, tr. by Walter Kauffmann and R. J. Hollingdale, Vintage Books, 1968, “Book four: Discipline and Breeding,” section 957, p. 502.

[150] Ibid., “Book four: Discipline and Breeding,” section 957, pp. 502-503.

[151] Ibid., “Book four: Discipline and Breeding,” section 960, p. 504.

[152] Friedrich Nietzsche, section 4 of “The Birth of Tragedy,” in Ecce Homo, in the collection On the Genealogy of Morals and Ecce Homo, ed. and tr. by Walter Kaufmann, Vintage Books, 1969, p. 274.

[153] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power, tr. by Walter Kauffmann and R. J. Hollingdale, Vintage Books, 1968, “Book four: Discipline and Breeding,” section 868, p. 464.

[154] Ibid., “Book four: Discipline and Breeding,” section 868, p. 465.

[155] Ibid., “Book four: Discipline and Breeding,” section 900, p. 479.

[156] Friedrich Nietzsche, section 283 of The Gay Science, in Walter Kaufmann, ed., The Portable Nietzsche, 1982 ed., p. 97.

[157] Friedrich Nietzsche, section 39 of “Skirmishes of an Untimely Man,” in Twilight of the Idols, in Walter Kaufmann, ed., The Portable Nietzsche, 1982 ed., p. 542.

[158] René Guénon, The Reign of Quantity & The Signs of The Times, orig. ed. 1945, reissued by Sophia Perennis et Universalis, 1995, p. 77.

[159] Ibid., p. 139.

[160] Ibid., p. 198.

[161] Ibid., pp. 208-209.

[162] Ibid., p. 251.

[163] Ibid., pp 255-256.

[164] Ibid., p. 331.

[165] Ibid., p. 313.

[166] Ibid., p. 319.

[167] Ibid., p. 238.

[168] Ibid., pp. 325-326.

[169] Ibid., p. 358, note 162.

[170] Ibid., p. 321.

[171] Ibid., pp. 247-248.

[172] Ibid., p. 314.  Thomas Day, a current critic of the spiritual decay of the modern Church, discerned the present-day meaning of the trivialization and manipulation of religious symbols.  After describing a liturgical horror that occurred in a Protestant church (at the end of a book that catalogued similar events in Catholic churches), he said, “What does it all mean?  First of all it means that Roman Catholics are not the only ones capable of liturgical nuttiness.  Secondly, it means prepare for the worst.  We must surely be living in a dangerous era when any religion begins to treat human beings as if they were little kitsch toys – without yearnings, without imperfections, without imagination, without the gift of a soul, without art.  We would expect dictators, radical political theorists, and others who have a low opinion of people to indulge in amusing games with symbols, as a sign of their contempt for the idiots called human beings, but in religion this sort of thing is bad news.  It means the end of that idea of a special, creating human ‘soul,’ and the beginning of an age when people in churches will be manipulated as if they were stupid machines – easily turned on or off [with a gimmick] by smart machines.  It means head for the hills.”  (Thomas Day, Where Have You Gone, Michelangelo?  The Loss of Soul in Catholic Culture, Crossroad, 1993, p. 226.)

[173] Charles Upton, The System of Antichrist: Truth & Falsehood in Postmodernism and the New Age, Sophia Perennis, 2001, pp. 506-507.

[174] Bernard McGinn, Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination With Evil, Harper San Francisco, 1994, pp. 279-280.

[175] Michael D. O’Brien, Father Elijah: An Apocalypse, Ignatius Press, 1996, pp. 156-157.  The speaker is Father Elijah, the hero of the novel.

[176] Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, Vol. 2, tr. Thomas P. Whitney, Harper and Row, 1975, part IV, ch. 1, pp. 615-616.

[177] In this section, I am speaking against extreme Zionism and premillennial dispensationalism, anti-Semitism, militia-style survivalism, neo-monarchism, and “traditionalist” religious cultism.  Those who hold these positions generally self-identify with the Right, as they define it.  However, all of these stances are antithetical to the humane, sober conservatism of Edmund Burke and his intellectual descendants, and are contrary to the American tradition established by the Founding Fathers, a balance of order and liberty in a Constitutional republic.  The far-right stances that I debate in this section are not the conservatism of Robert Taft or Barry Goldwater.

[178] An anonymous writer in 1974, as quoted by Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Harvard University Press, 1992, p. 195.

[179] John Wesley White, 1980, as quoted by Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Harvard University Press, 1992, p. 199.

[180] David Lewis, National Christian Leadership Conference for Israel, as quoted by Gershom Gorenberg, The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, The Free Press, 2000, p. 127.

[181] Yehudah Etzion, an Israeli extremist, as quoted by Gershom Gorenberg, The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, The Free Press, 2000, pp. 179-180.

[182] A former high school pastor at Chuck Smith’s Calvary Chapel, as quoted by Gershom Gorenberg, The End of Days: Fundamentalism and the Struggle for the Temple Mount, The Free Press, 2000, p. 174.

[183] Arthur Bloomfield, 1971, as quoted by Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Harvard University Press, 1992, pp. 201-202.

[184] Lehman Strauss, 1965, as quoted by Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Harvard University Press, 1992, pp. 203-204.

[185] Pat Robertson, as quoted in Associated Press, “Evangelist Pat Robertson leads pilgrims to Israel,” Haaretz.com, October 4, 2004, http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/484433.html, printed 10/23/04.

[186] Jerry Falwell, as quoted by Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Harvard University Press, 1992, p. 203.

[187] Hal Lindsey, 1981, as quoted by Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Harvard University Press, 1992, p. 203.

[188] For refutations of pre-millennial Dispensationalism, the Christian heresy that is the basis of these extreme Zionist perspectives, see T. L. Frazier, A Second Look at the Second Coming: Seeing Through the Speculation, Conciliar Press, 1999 (Eastern Orthodox); Paul Thigpen, The Rapture Trap: A Catholic Response to ‘End-Times’ Fever, Ascension Press, 2001 (Roman Catholic); Carl E. Olson, Will Catholics Be ‘Left Behind’?: A Catholic Critique of the Rapture and Today’s Prophecy Preachers, Ignatius Press, 2003 (Roman Catholic).  Many other such refutations exist from mainline and Evangelical Protestants, as well.

[189] Charles Upton comments on the mainstream Jewish movement away from millennialist messianism in the last few centuries: “After the debacle of the false messiah Shabbetai Zevi in the 17th century, who electrified international Jewry before unexpectedly apostatizing to Islam, the consensus within Hasidism leaned toward a prohibition of ‘pressing for the End.’ The ‘millennialist’ attempt to bring about the advent of the Messiah and the Day of Judgment through human action on the stage of history was largely replaced by an emphasis on inner spiritual purification, by which the People of Israel would become worthy to receive the Messiah.”  (E-mail from Charles Upton to Lee Penn, 10/15/04).

[190] Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Harvard University Press, 1992, p. 199.

[191] Warren H, Carroll, The Building of Christendom: A History of Christendom, Vol. 2, Christendom College Press, 1987, pp. 53-54.  The account of Julian’s attempt to rebuild the Temple is from Ammianus Marcellinus, a pagan historian who served in the army under Julian in 363 and wrote of these events soon thereafter.  Another account of these events, from the fifth century, is in the “Jewish History Sourcebook: Julian and the Jews 361-363 C. E.,” at http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/jewish/julian-jews.html.

[192] Yves Dupont, Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1973, p. 79.

[193] Ibid., p. 52.

[194] Ibid., p. 53.

[195] Maurice Pinay, The Plot Against the Church, 1st English ed. 1967, 2000 reprint, Christian Book Club of America, p. 644.

[196] Ibid., pp. 642-643. 

[197] The Father Feeney Internet Archive, “The Necessary and Urgent Struggle of the Church against the Jew, and its Culmination in the Apocalypse,”  http://www.fatherfeeney.org/cain/cain13.htm, printed 08/07/04.

[198] Edgar J. Steele, “That’s Mr. Antisemite to You!,” Conspiracy Pen Pal Newsletter, December 19, 2003, http://www.conspiracypenpal.com/columns/irving.htm, printed 08/12/04.

[199] Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese, A Pocket Prayer Book for Orthodox Christians, 1956, 11th printing 1997, pp. 41-42.

[200] There really is a web site of this name: http://www.godhatesfags.com/main/index.html - the home page of the Westboro Baptist Church, in Topeka, Kansas.  They have another web site, as well, http://www.godhatesamerica.com/, and affirm there that “Ronald Reagan is in HELL!”

[201] Pope Pius XI, address to Belgian pilgrims, September 6, 1938, as quoted in We Remember: A Reflection on the Shoah, a Vatican document issued on March 12, 1998, http://www.catholicherald.com/articles/00articles/shoah.htm, printed 08/16/04.

[202] Lewis is referring to Christ’s encounter with the Syropheonician woman, in Mark 7:24-30: “And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house, and would not have any one know it; yet he could not be hid.  But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet.  Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.  And he said to her, ‘Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.’  But she answered him, ‘Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.’  And he said to her, ‘For this saying you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.’  And she went home, and found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone.”

[203] C. S. Lewis, letter of May 14, 1955, in C. S. Lewis, Letters of C. S. Lewis, Walter Hooper, ed., Harcourt Brace, rev. ed. 1993, pp. 448-449.

[204] Vatican II; Nostra Aetate, 28 October 1965, section 4, in Austin Flannery, O.P., General Editor, Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post-Conciliar Documents, 1992 rev. ed., Costello Publishing Company, Northpoint, New York, p. 741.

[205] Vatican II; Nostra Aetate, 28 October 1965, section 5, in ibid., p. 742.

[206] A New Hampshire minister in 1788, as quoted by Paul Boyer, When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture, Harvard University Press, 1992, p. 75.

[207] Abraham Lincoln, “Lyceum Address,” January 27, 1838, http://showcase.netins.net/web/creative/lincoln/speeches/lyceum.htm, printed 08/12/04.  The spelling of “Buonaparte” (Napoleon) is as stated in the original.

[208] C. S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory,” in C. S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory and Other Addresses, Macmillan, 1980 ed., p. 19.

[209] A turn of phrase derived from Peter Kreeft, a Catholic author.

[210] T. L. Frazier, A Second Look at the Second Coming: Seeing Through the Speculation, Conciliar Press, 1999, pp. 238-242.

[211] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran theologian, joined the underground resistance to Hitler, and was executed by the Nazis in the spring of 1945.  Reinhold Niebuhr, an American theologian, battled against Christian pacifism in the late 1930s and 1940s, urging Christian support for the Allies in World War II.

[212] Yves Dupont, Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1973, p. 28.

[213] Ibid., p. 44.

[214] Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993 ed. , pp. 86-87.

[215] Yves Dupont, Catholic Prophecy: The Coming Chastisement, TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1973, p. 21.

[216] Ibid., p. 21.

[217] Ibid., p. 90.

[218] Josemaría Escrivá, The Way / Furrow / The Forge, Scepter, n. d., maxim 61 from The Way, p. 14.

[219] Ibid., maxim 941 from The Way, p. 239.

[220] Ibid., maxim 849 from The Way, p. 214.

[221] Ibid., maxim 399 from The Way, p. 97.

[222] Don Felix Sarda Y Salvany, What Is Liberalism, tr. by Condé B. Pallen, TAN Books and Publishers, 1979 reprint of 1899 ed., p. 27.

[223] Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993 ed. , p. 75.

[224] Josemaría Escrivá, The Way / Furrow / The Forge, Scepter, n. d., maxim 399 from The Way, p. 97.

[225] Alice A. Bailey, Education in the New Age, 1954, Lucis Publishing Company, p. 112.

[226] Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, Revolution and Counter-Revolution, The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, 1993 ed. , pp. 86-87.

[227] Patricia Mische, “Religion and World Order: Introduction and Overview,” Religion and World Order 1994 Symposium, Global Education Associates, http://www.globaleduc.org/RWO3.pdf, printed 08/03/04.

[228] Tracey C. Rembert, “Ted Turner: Billionaire, Media Mogul … And Environmentalist” (Interview), E Magazine, January/February 1999, Volume X, number 1, p. 12.

[229] Dale Vree, New Oxford Notes, “A Bigger Sin Than Buggery?,” New Oxford Review, September 2003, p. 22.

[230] Dale Vree, New Oxford Notes, “Is Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Inevitable,” New Oxford Review, February 2004, p. 18.

[231] E. Michael Jones, “Salvation and the Jews,” Culture Wars, February 2004, Vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 40, 41, 43.  Charles Upton comments, “Very similar rhetoric is often heard from certain Islamicist extremists. In view of the very real threat to the West from such militants, who are sworn enemies of the State of Israel, one would have thought that anti-Semitism among conservative Christians would now be a thing of the past. Could its resurgence indicate an unconscious admiration by some conservative Christians for the Islamicists, who are willing and able to go to war in the name of religion – albeit by evil and essentially anti-religious means – against the same modernity that conservative Christians hate, but feel powerless to effectively oppose?” (E-mail from Charles Upton to Lee Penn, 10/15/04.)

[232] From a fund-raising letter received twice in the spring of 2004, issued by Karl Keating, the president of Catholic Answers.

[233] “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles to the Heathen,” sec. XIII, vv. 3-4, in M. Basil Pennington, Alan Jones, and Mark Booth, eds., The Living Testament: The Essential Writings of Christianity Since the Bible, Harper and Row, 1985, p. 4.  This text is also known as the Didache.

[234] Philip Trower, Turmoil & Truth: The Historical Roots of the Modern Crisis in the Catholic Church, Ignatius Press and Family Publications/Oxford, 2003, p. 196.

[235] Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, “The Heresy Itch: Unlike gnosis, the gospel is not for the few, the proud, the knowledgeable,” Christianity Today, January 2004, p. 67; the author is a doctoral student in systematic theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.

[236] Philip Trower, Turmoil & Truth: The Historical Roots of the Modern Crisis in the Catholic Church, Ignatius Press and Family Publications/Oxford, 2003, p. 196.

[237] Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, “The Heresy Itch: Unlike gnosis, the gospel is not for the few, the proud, the knowledgeable,” Christianity Today, January 2004, p. 67.


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