Antichrist rising

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.


pastorbonus  (more…)


Emeth is a character in The Last Battle the seventh and final volume in C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia. He is a Calormene. That is, he belongs to the human southern desert nation opposed to the heroic Narnian talking beasts of Lewis’s stories and to their human allies in Archenland. Allegory in C.S. Lewis is a lot more prominent than in Tolkien. Tolkien only really employs allegory in Leaf by Niggle and officially disapproved of the form. Certainly, a lot of the Chronicles of Narnia is non-allegorical but it is hard to deny that some elements, and they are key elements, cannot be classified any other way. This is especially true of The Magician’s Nephew, The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Last Battle which provide the creation narrative, the salvation narrative and the eschatological climax to the series. (Incidentally, I can never quite escape the suspicion that Prince Caspian is intended as a pro-Anglican parable about the Reformation). The Last Battle describes the Narnian end of the world in ways that clearly imitate classical Christian eschatology. There is a false prophet (a monkey called Shift) and an (oddly invincibly ignorant) Antichrist (a donkey called Puzzle). Key to the narrative is the infiltration and conquest of Narnia by the Calormenes. The Calormenes are pretty transparently based on the Muslims. This is one reason why I doubt very much that either The Horse and His Boy or The Last Battle will ever be adapted for film. The central role of Islamic conquest in Lewis’s view of the end times is very interesting, especially as it must have been far less obvious that this was at all likely when he wrote in the nineteen fifties. The Calormenes worship a god called Tash who is quite obviously Satan. They sneak into Narnia disguised as merchants and seize control of the country under the auspices of the monkey Shift who persuades his dim-witted friend Puzzle to dress up in a lion skin and pose as Aslan (the Lion who in the Chronicles of Narnia symbolises Christ). It seems from this that Lewis believes that the deception of the Antichrist will be a treason from within Western culture by non-believers posing as believers and manipulating the credulity of the mass of the people but that it will be accomplished in alliance with and ultimately to the profit of Islam. This is very interesting especially when one reflects upon the alliance between Liberalism and Mohammedanism in contemporary Western culture.

Emeth is among the Calormene soldiers who enter Narnia in disguise to assist Shift in his overthrow of the legitimate king Tirian and establishment of an indifferentist pseudo-theocracy centred on the government and worship of Tashlan. Emeth is naturally virtuous sincere believer in Tash and is sickened by the duplicity of the methods by which the conquest of Narnia is to be accomplished and sickened by the suggestion that Aslan and Tash are one and the same. In the event, the conspiracy issues in the destruction of the the entire Narnian world, the defintive expulsion of Tash, and the second coming of Aslan. Emeth, however, is saved and finds himself in heaven. Emeth encounters Aslan, is ravished by his beauty, confesses his lifelong worship of Tash and awaits death at the hands of the true God. He is told instead that every sincere and naturally virtuous act he performed for the sake of Tash (who Aslan describes as his ‘opposite’) was in fact done in honour of Aslan and all evil acts done in Aslan’s name are really done for Tash. For this reason Emeth, as an anonymous worshiper of Aslan, is saved.

“Then I fell at his feet and thought, Surely this is the hour of death, for the Lion (who is worthy of all honour) will know that I have served Tash all my days and not him. Nevertheless, it is better to see the Lion and die than to be Tisroc of the world and live and not to have seen him. But the Glorious One bent down his golden head and touched my forehead with his tongue and said, Son, thou art welcome. But I said, Alas Lord, I am no son of thine but the servant of Tash. He answered, Child, all the service thou hast done to Tash, I account as service done to me. Then by reasons of my great desire for wisdom and understanding, I overcame my fear and questioned the Glorious One and said, Lord, is it then true, as the Ape said, that thou and Tash are one? The Lion growled so that the earth shook (but his wrath was not against me) and said, It is false. Not because he and I are one, but because we are opposites, I take to me the services which thou hast done to him. For I and he are of such different kinds that no service which is vile can be done to me, and none which is not vile can be done to him. Therefore if any man swear by Tash and keep his oath for the oath’s sake, it is by me that he has truly sworn, though he know it not, and it is I who reward him. And if any man do a cruelty in my name, then, though he says the name Aslan, it is Tash whom he serves and by Tash his deed is accepted. Dost thou understand, Child? I said, Lord, thou knowest how much I understand. But I said also (for the truth constrained me), Yet I have been seeking Tash all my days. Beloved, said the Glorious One, unless thy desire had been for me thou wouldst not have sought so long and so truly. For all find what they truly seek.”

This seems like pretty pure Pelagianism. In fact, it helpfully illustrates how utterly Pelagian the Implicitist heresy is. A determination to worship God in whatever manner God has appointed is a requirement of natural reason. If natural moral virtue combined with a determination to worship God in whatever manner He has established, combined with error of fact as to what this religion is, can save us then nature and reason alone suffice for the forgiveness of sins and participation in the divine nature. This is not just heresy it is the central claim of Satan in his rebelion against God. Is Lewis then, ironically, preaching the greatest of all deceptions in a work supposed to warn us about the Antichrist?

I think it may be possible to save Lewis from this most serious charge. I do not deny that Lewis’s theology is often sloppy. Without the solemn defintions of Councils and Popes to guard him against rash speculations and unable, as a Protestant, to submit to the consensus of the Fathers, he often strays too far and entangles himself in positions he probably would repudiate if baldly stated. He also has an odd tendency to fall into dualism (displayed here in the reference to Tash as Aslan’s ‘opposite’) and an unhealthy fascination with platonic angelology probably derived from Charles Williams. Nevertheless, it is not clear that there has been any kind of fall in Narnia or that the Calormenes are descended from Adam. It may be that the non-earth descended inhabitants of the Narnian world have a purely natural end and that if they do receive supernatural beatitude it is by a purely gratuitous elevation at the end of time, not because they possessed supernatural grace (or original sin) during their lives. Furthermore, it is not altogether clear that Emeth is even dead when he meets Aslan.

Of course the entire premise of the story is impossible. It is not possible for there to be non-human rational animals. There are no rational animals who are not descended from Adam. There have not been and will not be multiple incarnations. Furthermore, it is hard not to conclude that Lewis did have a rationalist Pelagian understanding of salvation as the story is almost certain to be taken this way by any ordinary reader. The Last Battle was published in 1956 and Lewis is generally seen as a champion of classical conservative western Christianity against liberalism. The problem of Emeth shows how much the Implicitist error already went by default on the eve of the Neo-Modernism revolution.

“People shouldn’t call for demons unless they really mean what they say.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle

Some original footage of the asteroid (cf. Miss Hilary White, passim)

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