Antichrist rising

Suddenly, the whole chapel lit up with a supernatural light and on the altar appeared a cross of light which reached the ceiling. In a clearer light, on the upper part of the cross, could be seen the face of a man with His body to the waist, on His chest a dove, equally luminous; and nailed to the cross, the body of another man. A little below the waist of Christ on the cross, suspended in the air, could be seen a chalice and a large host, onto which some drops of blood were falling, which flowed from the face of the crucified One and from the wound in His breast. Running down over the host, these drops fell into the chalice.

Under the right arm of the cross was our Lady with her Immaculate Heart in her hand. Under the left arm in large letters, was something like crystalline water which flowed over the altar, forming these words: “Grace and Mercy”

This is the account that Sr Lucia gave of her vision on June 13th, 1929, when she was also told that the time had come to consecrate Russia. I have been wondering why the words ‘grace and mercy’ are traced out on the left side in what appeared to her like water only. It has always struck me as a strange detail. No doubt water can signify purity, and there is also an obvious reference to Jn. 19:34. But since He won grace and mercy for mankind by shedding His blood, and since that grace and mercy is brought into our souls when this same precious blood is mystically offered in the Mass, one might have thought that the words would have been traced out in blood, not in water.

It is rather a bold hypothesis, but I wonder if there could be an allusion here to the new order of Mass that would be brought into the Church by Paul VI exactly 40 years later, in 1969. If it is true that this new order is deficient because it fails to be rooted in apostolic tradition in the way that a Eucharistic liturgy must, then it is not unreasonable to suppose that the offering of this liturgy does not bring down upon the Church the same abundance of grace and mercy as a Eucharistic liturgy which is so rooted; that it brings fewer graces and less mercy. Could one even say, a watery grace and mercy? This hypothesis would, at any rate, explain a great deal about the present state of the world, and the apostasy in Christendom.

‘This is worse than Mordor!’ said Sam. ‘Much worse in a way. It comes home to you, as they say; because it is home, and you remember it before it was all ruined.’

‘Yes, this is Mordor,’ said Frodo. ‘Just one of its works.’

Unless some enterprising army general turns up pretty soon, the Catholics in Ireland are going to have the experience of beings strangers in their own lands, as their brethren in England and Wales have done for so long. Many people have commented on the vote, and will comment. Of the things I have read, two in particular have struck me. The first is yesterday’s sermon from the Prior of Silverstream, of which this is a part:

Friday’s vote was not about abortion only; it was about  killing Ireland’s soul, about snuffing out all that made Ireland a beacon among the nations, about publicly renouncing all that, from the time that Saint Patrick kindled his blazing fire on the Hill of Slane, made this island home of ours a great welcoming Catholic hearth in a world grown cold and dark.

The other was from Joseph Shaw, who observes among other things: “we are living in an integralist society, […] just not a Catholic one.”

But seeing the pictures of young women singing in the streets, I was reminded most of all of John Lamont’s important and difficult paper, ‘Conscience, Freedom, Rights: Idols of the Enlightenment’. He argues that the doctrines of conscience, human freedom, and rights, in the form in which they have become dominant in the last few hundred years, coalesce to what may truly be called a religion, which has the self as its object of worship. This explains, he argues, why the Enlightenment ideology has proved so successful in winning converts, despite the failure of its promises.

Its success rests on the fact that the Enlightenment offers a religious goal, in the form of an ultimate authority and good to be sought; that making the self that goal has a powerful appeal to human nature in its fallen state; and that the depth of sin involved in choosing this goal produces an extreme form of bondage and spiritual blindness which is very hard to break.

This goal has presented itself in different guises – as communism, Nazism or consumerism – but the fundamental concept and its appeal remains the same. It is the driving force behind the vulgar and base consumerism and sexual depravity that characterizes modern society. Previous non-Christian societies would have found these practices shameful and embarrassing. This natural human reaction is overridden, and even made use of, by the Enlightenment religion. This religion gives these forms of decadence a deeper meaning, the meaning of adoration of the deified self. The natural guilt and shame they provoke are transmuted into a proclamation of the self, which by rejecting the moral law is declaring its total supremacy.

The deep and sincere belief in the human right to have an abortion gets its strength from being the ultimate expression of the Enlightenment religion. It supporters understand that abortion is the murder of an innocent child, although they may not publicly proclaim this fact, or even consciously admit it to themselves. It is precisely its status as murder of the most innocent that makes abortion the triumph of the deified self as the ultimate end.

As I was shaking off sleep this morning, the first of the year in the city of man, an image came to my mind of a dragon’s mouth, open, black, evil, and drawing living men inside itself. The dragon’s head was raised above the globe of the earth, whence it could bend down and consume any man or city on the world’s surface. And it seemed to me that the dragon was not sitting upon the earth, but rather was coiled around it like a great serpent, as some sailors swear that monsters of the deep will coil themselves around a sailing ship at sea. And even as such serpents are said to crack a ship in two by tightening their coils ever more, so it seemed to me that the serpent with the dragon’s head that I saw coiled around the earth might by tightening itself a little crack the earth in two, and that those who dwelt upon it would fall I knew not where.

And as I pondered on the image, some words came to my mind, spoken a long, very long, life-time ago by a holy pope when first he sat upon the throne of Peter and looked out across the world:

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 – indeed, every effort and every artifice is used to destroy utterly the memory and 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.


(For those who don’t know, clerihews are named after Edmund Clerihew Bentley, a school-boy friend of Gilbert Chesterton. Sitting next to Chesterton one day in a dull Chemistry class, he picked up his pen and in an inspired moment wrote these lines: ‘Sir Humphrey Davy/ detested gravy./ He lived in the odium/ of having discovered sodium’. Thus was born a new literary genre.)



We (with hindsight) love you.

You knew that a wedding ring

Wasn’t a bit of bling.


Papa Ratzinger

Was fond of cats; linger

He didn’t, but made himself ex

In a manner that was bound to perplex.


Pope Jorge Bergoglio

Caused no small imbroglio.

Did he enter the Church to destroy ‘er?

And who exactly was his employer?





We have to be ready for the possibility, and I think the likelihood, that the present darkness will not soon be dissipated, but rather intensify. Two or three cardinals will no doubt soon make some kind of declaration, which may or may not be called  a ‘formal correction’, but it will probably serve at best to encourage the faithful, and not to relieve them. It is extremely unlikely that any of the cardinals will declare the pope pertinacious and thus guilty of the canonical crime of heresy; nothing in their known characters or public statements suggests it. Even if they did so act, it does not seem that a Catholic could follow such a declaration with security. There is not a sufficient consensus that even the entirety of the college of cardinals has the divine right to judge of the self-deposition of a pope – Billot, one of the principal ecclesiologists of the 20th century doubted or denied it, and John of St Thomas explicitly says that the task belongs to an ‘imperfect ecumenical council’ (which appears to me a chimerical concept), not to the sacred college. And I know of no authoritative writer of any century who suggests that 2 or 3 cardinals could ever judge of the self-deposition of a pope in a way that would give Catholics the right, let alone the duty, to follow a successor that those same cardinals might choose.

It may be that the evil does not end with Pope Bergoglio. It is quite easy to imagine that a successor, and perhaps a line of successors, will pursue the same policy that he has instituted, promulgating ambiguous documents and using other words and deeds to interpret them in a heretical manner. It may be that inter-communion with Protestants will be established in this way, lawlessly and yet by the lawful possessors of divine authority. It may be that a successor, or several successors, to Pope Bergoglio will continue to utter heresies in this or that discourse or interview. It may be that jurisdiction will be removed, diocese by diocese and abbey by abbey, from every prelate who resists the evil. Why should it not happen? “Very great wrath came upon Israel” in the time of the Maccabees, and the faithful were driven out of the holy city, and into such forts and strongholds as they could find; who will say that the people of God stands less in need of purification now than then?

It may be that the destruction of the Church will proceed apace, and that there will be nothing that the faithful can do to reverse or halt or retard it, nothing that they can do but seek to save their own souls and succour those who by nature and by chance (that is, by divine providence) are entrusted to them. It may be that the sacraments will be profaned more and more, the celibacy of the priesthood destroyed, the dogmas audible less and less.  It may be that the mystical body of Christ will be drawn toward its passion as was His physical body by the word of the high priest. It may be that not only by reason of famine and plague will the living come to envy the dead.

And the Lord said to me: Take to thee yet the instruments of a foolish shepherd. For behold I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who shall not visit what is forsaken, nor seek what is scattered, nor heal what is broken, nor nourish that which standeth, and he shall eat the flesh of the fat ones, and break their hoofs.

Do Muslims worship God? This question has long troubled me and I can never settle it in my head. I am not talking about supernatural and acceptable worship. Clearly, they do not believe in Jesus Christ as the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity so are unable to offer acceptable worship to God. Nor am I talking about the natural virtue of religion. Strictly speaking there are no true moral virtues apart from Charity. I am talking about material acts of religion that would be formal acts of the acquired virtue of religion in a state of pure nature. Do Muslims perform such acts. Do they worship God?

I have come across three basic views on this:

  1. No. Islam is Deist, a form of monotheistic paganism. Unlike the Jews their worship is not even naturally directed at the same entity as the true God adored by the Catholic faithful. They are idolaters.
  2. Yes. Muslims know God through natural reason (see: Romans 1 & Vatican I) they direct their material acts of religion to Him. They ascribe to God incorrect attributes (e.g. having revealed himself to Mohammed) but they know Him as creator and worship Him as such.
  3. Yes and no. The being who revealed himself to Mohammed is not God and acts of worship specified in this way are idolatrous. In the other hand Muslims are men like everyone else able to know the Creator by the light of human reason and when they worship the creator as such their incidental errors about His interventions in history do not transform their acts of worship into acts of idolatry.

There are good argument for all three. In regard to 1. this seems to be the testimony of a good many Muslim converts. They do not believe they worshiped God before they converted to Christianity. The Council of Florence seems to assume Muslims are to be placed in the ‘pagan’ column. Leo XIII and Pius XI in their formulae of Consecration of the Human Race to the Sacred Heart seem to make the same assumption. In defence of 2. this seems to be the doctrine of Lumen Gentium 16 (although what theological note that has is obscure) and the opinion of at least some popes (including even St Gregory VII). Of course 3. seems easiest to defend and in some sense is probably the position of most adherents of 1. and 2. Unfortunately, in a way, it only bumps the problem down the road. For what would be the key factor determining whether one is worshiping the being who revealed himself to Mohammed or the Creator of the universe? This is the central enigma and the answer to it would seem to resolve the entire question. I find it hard to believe that Muslims if they discovered that the two were not one and the same would chose the former. If it were a marriage that would be enough to make the consent valid. I’m pretty sure the Mormons and the Gnostics don’t worship God. I’m not at all sure William Lane Craig does. The Muslims it seems to me ought to get the benefit of the doubt… but I ‘m not sure.

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