Monday, 15 May 2017
Saturday, 13 May 2017
The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old." St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?" The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles", will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all". (CCC 674)
Finding myself alone one night, I knelt down near the Communion rail, in the middle of the chapel, to recite the prayers of the Angel, lying prostrate ... Feeling tired, I got up and continued to recite them with my arms in the form of a cross. The only light was that of the [sanctuary] lamp.
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 ... (She appeared as Our Lady of Fatima, with Her Immaculate Heart in Her left hand, without sword or roses, but with a crown of thorns and flames) under the left arm [of the cross], in large letters, like crystalline water which flowed over the altar, forming these words: "Grace and Mercy". I understood that the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity was shown to me, and I received lights about this mystery which I am not permitted to reveal.
Then Our Lady said to me: ‘The moment has come in which God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means. So numerous are the souls which the justice of God condemns for sins committed against Me, that I come to ask for reparation. Sacrifice yourself for this intention and pray.’
I rendered an account of this to my confessor, who ordered me to write down what Our Lord willed to be done. (Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, pp198-199).
Then shall the tribes mourn,for there shall be no need of an accusation, when they see the cross; and they shall mourn, that by His death they are nothing benefited; because they crucified Him whom they ought to have adored. Do you see how fearfully He has pictured His coming? How He has stirred up the spirits of His disciples? For this reason, let me add, He puts the mournful things first, and then the good things, that in this way also He may comfort and refresh them. And of His passion He suggests to them the remembrance, and of His resurrection, and with a display of glory, He mentions His cross, so that they may not be ashamed nor grieve, whereas indeed He comes then setting it forth for His sign. And another says,
They shall look on Him whom they pierced.Therefore it is that they shall mourn, when they see that this is He.
And forasmuch as He had made mention of the cross, He added,
They shall see the Son of Man coming,no longer on the cross, but
in the clouds of Heaven, with power and great glory.
(St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of Matthew LXXVI)
"Elijah is indeed coming and will restore all things" (Matt 17:11)
"Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse." (Mal 4:5)
There was a consensus among the Church Fathers that the above words of the Prophet Malachi referred to the future conversion of the Jews, which St. Paul told us would follow in the immediate wake of the "fullness of the Gentiles" being brought into the Church. For example, St. Augustine of Hippo informs us:
After admonishing them to give heed to the law of Moses, as he foresaw that for a long time to come they would not understand it spiritually and rightly, he went on to say,
And, behold, I will send to you Elias the Tishbite before the great and signal day of the Lord come: and he shall turn the heart of the father to the son, and the heart of a man to his next of kin, lest I come and utterly smite the earth.Malachi 4:5-6. It is a familiar theme in the conversation and heart of the faithful, that in the last days before the judgment the Jews shall believe in the true Christ, that is, our Christ, by means of this great and admirable prophet Elias who shall expound the law to them.
(St. Augustine of Hippo, City of God XX:29)
So, according to both Scripture and Tradition, the conversion of the Jews will be brought about by the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man foretold in Zech 12, which in turn is in some way inextricably linked to the culmination of the ministry of the Elijah to come. The reference to the wailing at Megiddo in Zech 12 concerns the death of the good King Josiah, who was killed during the battle of Megiddo in 606BC. We can find the next parallel between Our Lady of Fatima and the prophetic ministry of Elijah in her appearance as Our Lady of Mount Carmel during the Miracle of the Sun.
After Our Lady had disappeared into the immense distance of the firmament, we beheld St. Joseph with the Child Jesus and Our Lady robed in white with a blue mantle, beside the sun. St. Joseph and the Child appeared to bless the world, for they traced the Sign of the Cross with their hands. When, a little later, this apparition disappeared, I saw Our Lord and Our Lady; it seemed to me that it was Our Lady of Dolours. Our Lord appeared to bless the world in the same manner as St. Joseph had done. This apparition also vanished, and I saw Our Lady once more, this time resembling Our Lady of Carmel. (Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, pp172-173)
The primary historical and religious importance of Mount Carmel is in connection to the prophet Elijah, given that this was the location of the legendary battle between the champion of Yahweh and the prophets of the Phoenician deity Baal Melqart. Indeed, this contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal appears to have been the symbolic archetype for the battle of Armageddon foretold in the Book of Revelation.
The word Armageddon is derived from the Hebrew Har Megiddo - the "mountain of Megiddo". A curious aspect of this phrase is that there is no "mountain" in the immediate vicinity of Megiddo, which is in fact situated on a plain at the foot of Mount Carmel. The actual fortress town of Megiddo was situated on a small mound (or Tel) on the plain of Megiddo, strategically located at the head of the Carmel Ridge, overlooking the Valley of Jezreel. The section of hills behind Tel Megiddo (called the Menashe mountains) are actually a lower eastern extension of Mount Carmel.So the most likely point of reference for the "mountain" of Megiddo, is in fact Mount Carmel - the location of the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:20-40. It is here that Elijah emerged victorious over the prophets of Baal, and successfully managed to steer the wayward Israelites back to orthodox praxis.
As I looked, this horn made war with the saints and prevailed over them, until the Ancient of Days came, and judgment was given for the saints of the Most High, and the time came when the saints possessed the kingdom. (Dan 7:21)
It is ‘the Mother of Heaven’ who says to her: ‘be at peace and write what they command you to, but not that which you were given to understand about its meaning,’ intending to allude to the meaning of the vision that the Virgin herself had revealed to her.
Right after – says Sr. Lucia – ‘I felt my spirit flooded by a light-filled mystery which is God and in Him I saw and heard: the point of the flame-like lance which detaches, touches the axis of the earth and it [the earth] shakes: mountains, cities, towns and villages with their inhabitants are buried. The sea, rivers and clouds leave their bounds, they overflow, flood and drag with them into a whirlpool, houses and people in a number unable to be counted; it is the purification of the world from the sin it is immersed in. Hatred, ambition, cause destructive wars. Afterward I felt in the increased beating of my heart and in my spirit a quiet voice which said: ‘in time, one faith, one baptism, one Church, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic. Heaven in eternity!’ This word, ‘Heaven,’ filled my heart with peace and happiness, so much so that, almost without realizing it, I continued to repeat for some time: Heaven, Heaven!’
That is how she was given the strength to write the Third Secret.
The key event described in this vision is the eschatological earthquake mentioned in various places throughout the Bible, which is paired here with the occurrence of a devastating tsunami. This vision confirmed a theory that I had proposed in the first edition of my book, published in 2011 - that a purported "hidden text" related to the Third Secret of Fatima was directly concerned with the words of St. John Paul II at Fulda, Germany, in 1980:
"On the other hand, it should be sufficient for all Christians to know this: if there is a message in which it is written that the oceans will flood whole areas of the earth, and that from one moment to the next millions of people will perish, truly the publication of such a message is no longer something to be so much desired."
(As reported in the journal Stimme des Glaubens, on October 1981)
In the first edition of my book, I also forwarded the hypothesis that the occurrence of the eschatological earthquake could set in motion a chain of geophysical events that will eventually lead to the eruption of the volcano Cumbre Vieja in the Canary Islands (the "great mountain, burning with fire" described in Rev 8:8); producing a mega-tsunami that will devastate the East Coast of the Americas. As I attempt to demonstrate in the second edition of my book, the exact location of this "burning mountain" is described in the Book of Enoch, which is known to have influenced several of the writers of the New Testament. When we study the relevant portion of the Book of Enoch in light of its roots in Greek mythology, we can determine that it does indeed refer to a volcano based in the Canary Islands. The section of the Book of Zechariah which was associated with the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man by the Early Church Fathers is also closely linked with the occurrence of the eschatological earthquake. A reference to this event can be found at the very start of Zech 12, and it is expanded upon in more detail later in chapter 14.
The oracle of the word of the Lord concerning Israel: Thus declares the Lord, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: “Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. (Zech 12:1-2)
After the scene depicting the inhabitants of Jerusalem looking on the "one whom they have pierced", the Prophet Zechariah then describes the opening of a fountain for the cleansing of the sins of Israel - the future conversion of the Jews.
On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness. (Zech 13:1)
Zechariah then moves on to his vision of the shepherd being struck - a Scriptural passage which has often been associated with the martyrdom of the pope described in the Third Secret of Fatima:
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me," declares the Lord of hosts. "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered; I will turn my hand against the little ones. In the whole land, declares the Lord, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. (Zech 13:7-8)
Then in the following chapter, the Prophet Zechariah provides further detail on the occurrence of the eschatological earthquake and the opening of the fountain to cleanse the sins of Israel (which pours forth from the pierced side of Jesus):
Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward. And you shall flee to the valley of my mountains, for the valley of the mountains shall reach to Azal. And you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him. On that day there shall be no light, cold, or frost. And there shall be a unique day, which is known to the Lord, neither day nor night, but at evening time there shall be light. On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea. It shall continue in summer as in winter. And the Lord will be king over all the earth. On that day the Lord will be one and his name one. (Zech 14:3-9)
It is tempting to connect the above passage to the Second Coming itself, given the mention of God's feet touching the Mount of Olives - the place where Jesus ascended into Heaven. However, given the fact that we are told that this event has further consequences within history itself, we are forced to conclude that this verse should not be interpreted literally, and may be considered as one and the same as the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man mentioned earlier in Zech 12. The Church teaches that the Second Coming of Christ will only occur at the very end of human history, coinciding with the General Resurrection of the dead; while the event described in the Book of Zechariah is clearly concerned with the future conversion of the Jews. The light foretold to appear in the eventide therefore must be one and the same as the great cross of light spoke of by the Church Fathers and numerous mystics, including Sr. Lucia's 1929 Tuy apparition. So the vision of the earthquake and tsunami that Sr. Lucia saw while she was instructed to write down the contents of the Third Secret in 1944 was a prophetic extension of the vision of 1929, informing us that these apparitions, together with the Third Secret itself, form a visionary triptych based on chapters 12-14 of the Book of Zechariah. A section of the Bible which revolves around the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man and the Jews' recognition of Jesus as their promised Messiah.
Given the fact that the various apparitions received by Sr. Lucia occurred at key moments in Jewish history - the Balfour Declaration of 1917, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and subsequent rise to power of Hitler in 1933, this strongly suggests that the Jewish Holocaust was a central feature of the message of Fatima, and will play a significant role in the future redemption of Israel. Indeed, in his book The Last Secret of Fatima, Cardinal Tarcisco Bertone relates how Sr. Lucia highlighted the importance of the Jewish Holocaust had in interpreting the Secret of Fatima itself:
Giuseppe De Carli:
What value can prophecy such as Fatima possibly have if it doesn't mention the Shoah, the extermination of the Jews at the hands of the Nazis? Why is the prophecy so lopsided? But now even the hypercritical are satisfied. A recently published booklet for the use of pilgrims to Fatima contains a sort of spiritual diary written by Sister Lucia at the request of the then general of the Carmelite Order, Anastasio Ballestrero, who went on to become cardinal archbishop of Turin. In this diary, Sister Lucia adds an interesting---sensational?---coda to the second part of the message, which predicts that World War I is about to end and warns that another war may break out during the ponificate of Pius XI.
"The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI." In what sense would it be worse? Sister Lucia asks. "In the sense that it would be an atheistic war that attempted to exterminate Judaism, which gave the world Jesus Christ, Our Lady, the Apostles, who transmitted the Word of God and the gift of faith, hope, and charity. The Jews are God's elect people, whom he chose from the beginning: 'Salvation is from the Jews.'" This passage is surprising. Lucia wrote these words in 1955. The text was then sent to Rome by order of Paul VI, where it ended up forgotten in the Vatican Archives (where else?). I won't swear to this, but Sister Lucia's words do sound as if they could be a completion of the Secret as a whole...
What you are saying is something of a surprise to me. They certainly do introduce a new aspect of our topic. They also give us a better insight into how interaction with the supernatural worked in Sister Lucia's life. The words referring to the extermination of the Jews are italicized and appear in quotation marks. This means that Sister Lucia considered them to have a prophetic meaning. So they may be part of the interpretation of the Secret, or perhaps they are a further development of it. In 1955, knowledge about the Shoah was still pretty shaky. It would have been even more confused in a place like Coimbra, where Lucia entered Carmel on March 25, 1948. The horrific discovery of what the Nazis had done, and the ensuing debate about the Holocaust that shook the world's conscience, happened only afterward...
(Card. Bertone, The Last Secret of Fatima, pp85-86)
We should note Sr. Lucia's quotation of Christ's words in John 4:22: "Salvation is from the Jews". This passage of Scripture has historically been associated with the future conversion of the Jews, which both St. Paul and St. Peter inform us must take place before the Second Coming of Christ.
As I have previously discussed at some length in the post Our Lady of Fatima and the Jewish Holocaust, the fact that the Blessed Virgin appeared to the shepherd children adorning a yellow star appears to have been in a symbolic act of solidarity with her fellow Jews. The presence of this star, accompanied by the fact that Our Lady always appeared to the shepherd children on the 13th of each month, strongly alludes to the Jewish feast of Purim and the biblical story of Esther (whose name means "star"). The feast of Purim celebrates the victory won on the 13th of the Jewish month of Adar, when Esther, the Jewish Queen of Persia, rescued her people from destruction at the hands of the evil Haman, who wanted to kill all the Jews living in the Achaemenid Empire. Purim is celebrated each year on the 14th of Adar, the day after Esther achieved victory over Haman by exposing his plot to her husband, the King of Persia. It is worth noting that Sr. Lucia died on the 13th of February, 2005 - the month in the Gregorian calendar which corresponds to that of Adar. Taken together, this strongly suggests that the intercession of the Blessed Mother was involved in the rescue of the Jewish people from total extermination by Nazi Germany and the creation of the modern State of Israel - which was proclaimed on 14th May, 1948 - the day after the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.
The future conversion of the Jews during the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man over Jerusalem was only made possible through the gathering of the Jews to the land of Israel in the wake of the Holocaust. It is this appearance of a great cross of light over Jerusalem, paired with the ministry of the Elijah to come, that effects the conversion of the Jews. As St. Paul tells us in Rom 11, the conversion of the Jews will come in the immediate wake of the fullness of the Gentiles during the proclamation of the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Christ informs us that the end of the world will follow immediately after this:
And this gospel of the kingdom swill be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt 24:14)
The Antichrist will then put to death the very person who effects the conversion of the Jews - the Elijah to come. Once the testimony of the Elijah to come is complete, "turning the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers", the Antichrist will then bring about the martyrdom of the Two Witnesses:
And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. (Rev 11:7-8).
The Apocalypse informs us that the eschatological earthquake which splits apart the city of Jerusalem in Zech 14, will occur during the resurrection of the Two Witnesses:
And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.
The reason the Blessed Virgin appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel during the Miracle of the Sun thus appears to be referencing the victory of the Prophet Elijah over the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel by calling down fire from heaven, restoring Israel to the true worship of God. The calling down of fire from heaven is what was indicated by the movements of the Sun on October 13th, 1917, once again recalling the words of the Prophet Malachi:
Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction. (Mal 4:5)
Although the shepherd children saw the hand of the angel with the flaming sword being stayed by Our Lady to allow for a period of penance and conversion, the 1944 Tuy vision shows that it will eventually be allowed to strike the earth, and bring about the eschatological earthquake and subsequent destruction of Babylon in the tsunami caused by the "great mountain, burning with fire" being thrown into the sea:
The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath.
Following the words of St. Paul in Rom 11:15 "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?", the Prophet Daniel informs us that the words of his book concerns the future destiny of the Jewish people, and that the moment of their deliverance will ultimately lead to the General Resurrection of the dead at the end of time:
At that time shall arise Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. (Dan 12:1-2).
Immediately after the conversion of the Jews, which takes place once the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in, the Antichrist will then rise up from the abyss to bring about the final Passover of the Church foreseen in the Third Secret of Fatima. As the Church Doctor St. Robert Bellarmine affirms, the preaching of the Gospel to the ends of the world must take place before the Antichrist will finally be revealed to the world at the end of time:
Many false suspicions and errors exist in regard to... the time of the coming of Antichrist both among Catholics and heretics. Yet with this distinction, Catholics know that Antichrist is not coming until the end of the world (which is true), but some err in that they think the end of the world
is nearer than it really may be. On the other hand, the heretics err in the fact
that they think Antichrist is coming long before the end of the world and that he really already has come. (Antichrist (de Controversiis) Chap 3)
Yet, because our adversaries do not admit this reasoning (nor is it now the time to deduce from their own principles), we will prove it from the testimonies of the Fathers. Thus Hilary, explains these words of Matthew: “The Gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world, and then the consummation will come.” Clearly he teaches that Antichrist, which he calls the abomination of desolation, is not going to come unless the preaching of the Gospel will precede him throughout the whole world. St. Cyril, Theodoret, and St. John Damascene teach the same thing with eloquent words, and besides, the same is gathered from the text because the Gospel says that before that greatest and last tribulation shall come, the Gospel must be preached such as it was not before nor will be afterward. The Fathers and above all, St. Augustine, teach that the persecution of Antichrist is meant by such a tribulation.."
(St. Robert Bellarmine, Antichrist (de Controversiis) Chap 4)
After a brief period of peace is given to the world to allow for a time of penance and conversion during the proclamation of the eternal Evangel to the ends of the earth, St. Paul warns us that sudden destruction will then soon follow, which will take the form of the final persecution of the Church by the Antichrist:
Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. (1Thes 5:1-3)
This follows the sequence of events described by Christ:
Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot—they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day when Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulfur rained from heaven and destroyed them all— so will it be on the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17:26-30)
As the Catechism states, it is only through enduring this last persecution of the Church under the Antichrist that the Church will truly experience its ultimate triumph - a triumph which is rooted in the way of the Cross:
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 (CCC 675)
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 Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.
The scene of the final persecution of the Catholic Church described in the Third Secret of Fatima shows that we are set to follow in the path of the Shoah of the Jewish people, once they have accepted Christ as their true Messiah. Just as the Jews only regained entrance to the Promised Land through their collective crucifixion, the Church can only fully emerge victorious over its enemies by undergoing its own Passover. The victory over the Beast of Revelation can only be achieved through the endurance and perseverance of the saints, once our robes have been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb:
And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God. (The Third Secret of Fatima)
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 language and nation. (Rev 13:7)
If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints. (Rev 13:10)
As soon as the Bride has adorned itself with the pure white garments won through the blood of the martyrs, it will be ready to meet the Groom. It is then that the appearance of the Antichrist will be brought to nothing by the Parousia of Christ, in order to fully establish God's Kingdom on earth during the New Creation:
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. (2Thes 2:8)
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure...
It is this future reality that the Church must endure which Pope Francis alludes to today in his prayer to Our Lady of Fatima, whose words concerning the "column of light" refers to the shepherd children's mirror-like vision of the "immense light that is God" - a vision which is intimately connected to the appearance of the Sign of the Son of Man:
In the joy of the Gospel, we will be the Church robed in white,
the whiteness washed in the blood of the Lamb,
blood that today too is shed in the wars tearing our world apart.
And so we will be, like you, an image of the column of light
that illumines the ways of the world,
making God known to all,
making known to all that God exists,
that God dwells in the midst of his people,
yesterday, today and for all eternity.
Tuesday, 4 April 2017
Trani, 30 marzo 2017
Egregio Dott. Emmett O'Regan,...
Preciso che detto sacerdote non appartiene a questa Arcidiocesi e non ha ricevuto da parte mia alcuna autorizzazione, permesso o mandato di nessun genere sia in relazione alle pubblicazioni sia in riferimento allo studio e alla diffusione.
In questo momento l’Arcidiocesi e l’Associazione “Luisa Piccarreta – P.F.D.V.” sono impegnati nella elaborazione dell’edizione tipica e critica degli scritti della Serva di Dio sulla base della quale sarà possibile compiere le necessarie traduzioni in altre lingue e ulteriori studi di natura teologica.
Ad ogni buon conto, tutte le attività di studio ufficiali in questo momento vengono concordate e coordinate in sintonia con la Congregazione delle Cause dei Santi per il tramite della postulazione.
Nell’assicurarle la piena disponibilità ad ogni ulteriore chiarimento, la saluto cordialmente e le auguro una Santa Pasqua.
Giovan Battista Pichierri
Trani, March 30, 2017 Prot. 128/17 / C2
Dear Mr. Emmett O'Regan,
Dear Mr. Emmett O'Regan, I received your e-mail of 21 February 2017 which informed me of your study and the response made on the publications of the priest Joseph Iannuzzi. Point out that this priest does not belong to this Archdiocese and did not receive from me any authorization, permission or warrant of any kind and in relation to publications both in reference to the study and dissemination. Right now the Archdiocese and the Association "Luisa Piccarreta - PFDV" are engaged in the typical edition processing and critical writings of the Servant of God on the basis of which it will be possible to complete the necessary translations in other languages and additional theological research to be conducted. In any event, all of the official study activities at this time are agreed and coordinated in harmony with the Congregation for the Causes of Saints through the postulation. I assure you full availability for any further clarification, I greet you cordially and a Happy Easter.
Giovan Battista Pichierri
You can find the official text of the letter here.
Below is the text of the original email that I sent to the Archbishop:
I am a theology graduate and writer from Ireland, and have been doing some research into Servant of God Luisa Piccaretta and the “Divine Will Movement” in North America. I am concerned about 2 books containing translations of Luisa’s writings that appear to breach the moratorium you placed on her writings in 2007. The books in question are “Proper Catholic Perspectives: On the Teachings of Luisa Piccarreta” (2010) and “The Gift of Living in the Divine Will in the Writings of Luisa Piccarreta” (2013), both by Rev Joseph Iannuzzi OSJ. Neither of these translations of Luisa’s writings into English contain imprimatur, contrary to Canon 829: "The approval or permission to publish some work is valid for the original text but not for new editions or translations of the same." Father Iannuzzi claims that he has received official ecclesiastical approbation for his 2013 book from the Pontifical Gregorian University, which appears to usurp your singular authority over these writings. In his books, Father Iannuzzi claims that he received your official written endorsement for producing these translations. I presume by this he means your correspondence with him in 2003, in which you rescinded certain statements made by your Vicar General, Mons. Savino Giannotti, concerning Father Iannuzzi’s authority within the Archdiocese of Trani in relation to the writings of Luisa. Would you be able to confirm for me if you really did officially endorse Father Iannuzzi’s books, as he himself claims? My suspicion is that these books were in fact published without your permission, and that Father Iannuzzi misinterpreted your letter as an act of “endorsement”.
Yours faithfully in Christ,
My suspicions were based on the fact that none of Fr. Iannuzzi's works have the imprimatur of his responsible ordinary or the imprimi potest of his major superior, which contradicts Canon Law. In addition to this, in a communique from the Vicar General of Trani dating from 2003 we find the following statement:
"Rev. Giuseppe Iannuzzi never had any position within the Archdiocese of Trani-Barletta-Bisceglie. He is concerned with finishing his studies on the mystical life, examining the texts of Luisa Piccarreta, up until now never being recognized by the Archdiocese; and neither has he ever been a Censor or preacher."
Compare the above with the wording of the 2007 moratorium issued by the Archbishop of Trani:
"This Archdiocese following the opening of the Diocesan Inquiry has never appointed any theologian or official censor of the writings of Luisa. So likewise has not appointed any official translator of the writings in Italian into other languages"
Friday, 17 March 2017
Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” (Rev 5:1-5)
Later in the Apocalypse, we are told that the scroll of the seven seals was given to St. John the Apostle so that he could consume the Word of God:
Then the voice that I had heard from heaven spoke to me again, saying, “Go, take the scroll that is open in the hand of the angel who is standing on the sea and on the land.” So I went to the angel and told him to give me the little scroll. And he said to me, “Take and eat it; it will make your stomach bitter, but in your mouth it will be sweet as honey.” And I took the little scroll from the hand of the angel and ate it. It was sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it my stomach was made bitter. And I was told, “You must again prophesy about many peoples and nations and languages and kings.” (Rev 10:8-11)
One of the eyewitnesses to the Knock apparition, Mary Byrne, had described St. John as holding an open book in his hands during this vision:
The figure before me on this present occasion of which I am speaking had a book in the left hand, as I stated, and the index finger and the middle finger of the right hand raised, as if he were speaking, and impressing some point forcibly on an audience. It was this coincidence of figure and pose that made me surmise, for it is only an opinion, that the third figure was that of St. John, the beloved disciple of Our Lord…
Therefore the theme of the opening of the scroll sealed with seven seals is a predominant feature of the Knock apparition, and the entire symbolism of this vision must be understood within this context. In my book, I argue that the opening of the scroll of the seven seals described in the Apocalypse is synonymous with the unbinding of Satan at the end of the “thousand years” described in Rev 20, and that the appearance of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse during the opening of the sealed book was directly related to the “wars and rumours of wars” mentioned in the Olivet discourse, which Christ said must take place before His Second Coming. So the Knock apparition appears to be intimately connected to the vision of Pope Leo XIII, wherein the Holy Father was made to understand that Satan was to be granted a period of greater power. A period which not only encompassed the turmoil of the 20th century, but which was also marked by one of the most remarkable events in Church history – the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima and the occurrence of the Miracle of the Sun.
On the exact same day of the Knock apparition, on Aug 21st, 1879, Pope Leo XIII had granted a canonical coronation of the icon at the Basilica of Our Lady of La Salette, which was solemnly performed by the Cardinal Archbishop of Paris, Joseph-Hippolyte Guibert, who acted as Papal legate. This coronation took place 33 years after the apparition of Our Lady of La Salette in 1846. So while the icon of Our Lady of was being formally crowned at La Salette, Our Lady of Knock (who is recognized by the Irish as Queen of Ireland) appeared together with the Lamb of Revelation in order to announce the opening of the scroll sealed with seven seals.
But what exactly is the bridging connection between the apparitions of Our Lady of Our Lady at La Salette and those at Knock? The reason the Blessed Virgin decided to appear in County Mayo during this canonical coronation appears to directly linked with the public message Our Lady gave to Melanie Calvat and Maximin Giraurd at La Salette, which foretold the Potato Famine that would have devastating consequences for the population of Ireland:
Come near, my children, be not afraid; I am here to tell you great news.
If my people will not submit, I shall be forced to let fall the arm of my Son. It is so strong, so heavy, that I can no longer withhold it. For how long a time do I suffer for you! If I would not have my Son abandon you, I am compelled to pray to him without ceasing; and as to you, you take not heed of it.
However much you pray, however much you do, you will never recompense the pains I have taken for you. Six days I have given you to labor, the seventh I had kept for myself; and they will not give it to me. It is this which makes the arm of my Son so heavy. Those who drive the carts cannot swear without introducing the name of my Son. These are the two things which makes the arm of my Son so heavy.
If the harvest is spoilt, it is all on your account. I gave you warning last year with the potatoes but you did not heed it. On the contrary, when you found the potatoes spoilt, you swore, you took the name of my Son in vain. They will continue to decay, so that by Christmas there will be none left. Ah, my children, do you not understand? Well, wait, I shall say it otherwise.
If you have wheat, it is no good to sow it; all you sow the insects will eat, and what comes up will fall into dust when you thresh it. There will come a great famine. Before the famine comes, the children under seven years of age will be seized with trembling and will die in the hands of those who hold them; the others will do penance by the famine. The walnuts will become bad, and the grapes will rot.
[Here the two private messages were given to Mélanie and Maximin.]
If they are converted, the stones and rocks will change into mounds of wheat, and the potatoes will be self-sown in the land.
The Blessed Virgin has appeared to mark some of the most notorious instances of genocide in history, most notably those at Fatima, which coincided with the rise of Soviet Communism and the countless deaths that would ensue under militant atheism. Her appearances at Beauraing and Banneux in 1933 had coincided with the rise to power of Adolf Hitler, while those at Kibeho in 1981 augured the Rwandan Genocide. The apparitions of Our Lady at Zeitoun in Egypt in 1968 were similarly related to the modern day “slaughter of the innocents” in the holocaust of abortion. So Our Lady had appeared at Knock in order to mark the atrocity that was perpetrated against the Catholics of Ireland by the British Government, who exploited the events of the Famine as a means of kerbing the growth of the Irish population, in much the same way the Soviets had used the Holodomor to deplete the population of ethnic Ukrainians.
When we turn back to the opening of the scroll of the seven seals, we find that the theme of St. John being urged to eat the little scroll is rooted in the Book of Ezekiel:
“But you, son of man, hear what I say to you. Be not rebellious like that rebellious house; open your mouth and eat what I give you.” And when I looked, behold, a hand was stretched out to me, and behold, a scroll of a book was in it. And he spread it before me. And it had writing on the front and on the back, and there were written on it words of lamentation and mourning and woe.
And he said to me, “Son of man, eat whatever you find here. Eat this scroll, and go, speak to the house of Israel.” So I opened my mouth, and he gave me this scroll to eat. And he said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly with this scroll that I give you and fill your stomach with it.” Then I ate it, and it was in my mouth as sweet as honey. And he said to me, “Son of man, go to the house of Israel and speak with my words to them." (Ezek 2:19-3:4)
The Prophet Ezekiel was similarly commanded to eat a scroll containing the Word of God when he was commissioned to prophesy to the people of Israel, warning them of their fate. Immediately after Ezekiel eats the little scroll, he was then taken to the exiles at the Chebar Canal:
Then the Spirit lifted me up, and I heard behind me the voice of a great earthquake: “Blessed be the glory of the Lord from its place!” It was the sound of the wings of the living creatures as they touched one another, and the sound of the wheels beside them, and the sound of a great earthquake. The Spirit lifted me up and took me away, and I went in bitterness in the heat of my spirit, the hand of the Lord being strong upon me. And I came to the exiles at Tel-abib, who were dwelling by the Chebar canal, and I sat where they were dwelling. And I sat there overwhelmed among them seven days. (Ezek 3:12-15)
The Chebar Canal is a location found along the River Euphrates, where Ezekiel was granted his vision of the Four Living Creatures in Ezek 1 – the four cherubim who restrain the appearance of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse until the opening of the seven seals. As I show in the book, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are one and the same as the “four angels bound at the great river Euphrates” mentioned in Rev 9, who are released to kill a third of “the people” (i.e. a third of the world’s Jewish population during the Holocaust):
Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God, saying to the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.” So the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour, the day, the month, and the year, were released to kill a third of [the people]. (Rev 9:13-15)
We are told that the four angels bound at the Euphrates are released after the appearance of the other signs which herald the unbinding of Satan at the end of the “thousand years” – the star falling to earth with the keys to the abyss and the rise of the apocalyptic locusts (which I argue refers to the Tunguska event and the invention of military airplanes). The Prophet Ezekiel was shown a vision of the Four Living creatures who restrain these fallen angelic beings at the Chebar Canal, which has been idenfied with the Khabur River in modern Syria - one of the largest tributaries to the River Euphrates. The exact spot where the Khabur River flows into the Euphrates lies at the site of Deir ez-Zor, which was the major concentration camp used by the Turkish government during the Armenian Genocide, which began in 1915. As I detail in Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, it was the Armenian Genocide that the provided the Nazis with the template for perpetrating the Jewish Holocaust, when a third of the world's total Jewish population was exterminated by Nazi Germany.
Another link between the Jewish Holocaust and the appearance of Our Lady at Knock can be found in the fact that the apparitions took place at around the same time of the discovery and subsequent excavation of the Pergamon Altar in 1879 – which is the “throne of Satan” described in Rev 2:12-13. The Pergamon Altar was first erected in Berlin at the turn of the century, in 1900 – at the very beginning of the period of Satan’s greater power.
It thus seems to be of great significance that the upcoming total solar eclipse that will traverse America later this year takes place on the feast day of Our Lady of Knock, on 21st August, 2017. As I attempt to elaborate in the previous post, The Sign of Jonah and the Binding of Satan, another of the signs which heralded the beginning of the short time of Satan occurred on the feast day of Our Lady of Knock. The path of totality of the solar eclipse of 21st August, 1914 made its way across war-torn eastern Europe before crossing the site of ancient Nineveh. This was especially significant in the fact that there is evidence to suggest that the original “sign of Jonah” took the form of the Bur Sagle eclipse over Nineveh in 763BC, and that Christ had made His prophecy about the sign of Jonah in the immediate context of the binding of Satan.
The proximity of the August 21st solar eclipse in relation to the so-called “Rev 12 sign” that will take place later this year on 23rd September, 2017, gives us pause for thought. This date marks the culmination of an astronomical event which began on 20th November 20, 2016, when Jupiter (the King planet) entered into the body of the constellation Virgo. This date, which commemorated the feast of Christ the King, also saw the Polish Church and government officially proclaim Christ as King of Poland at the end of the Year of Mercy, styled after the canonical coronation of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa as Queen of Poland.
If the American eclipse of 21st August, 2017 is indeed part of a “sign of Jonah” sequence related to this event, serving as a prophetic warning to the people of America, it is tempting to place it in relation to the words of the Prophet Jonah himself:
Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.” Jonah obeyed the word of the Lord and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very large city; it took three days to go through it. Jonah began by going a day’s journey into the city, proclaiming, “Forty more days and Nineveh will be overthrown.” The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. (Jon 3:1-5)
It appears that the Ninevites only believed in Jonah’s prophecy of doom after the appearance of the Bur Sagle Eclipse. So, it will be interesting to see if anything happens around the time of the 21st August solar eclipse to act as a call to repentance for America. It is worth pointing out that exactly 40 days after the date of 21st August brings us up to the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel on 29th September, 2017, which coincides this year with the Jewish feast of Yom Kippur – the Day of Atonement. According to Jewish tradition, Yom Kippur is the date when the verdict of judgement against a person is sealed at the close of the year, after the opening of the Book of Life takes place at the beginning of the year, on Rosh Hashanah.
The feast of Yom Kippur also happens to be one of the central features of the Third Secret of Fatima, which describes two angels gathering up the blood of the martyrs and sprinkling it on the souls of those making their way to heaven. This imagery explicitly evokes the sprinkling of the sacrificial blood on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant by the Jewish High Priest on the Feast of Yom Kippur, as is detailed in the Book of Leviticus:
And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times. Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins.
After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.
Tuy-3-1-1944.(The Third Secret of Fatima)
So not only does the feast of Yom Kippur occur exactly 40 days after the “sign of Jonah” eclipse on 21st August, 2017, but it also occurs on the Feast of St. Michael – the angel with the flaming sword seen in the Third Secret of Fatima. Could something of prophetic importance transpire around these dates just before the centenary of the Miracle of the Sun on 13th October, 2017? It is tempting to think so, given the apparent sensus fidelium that appears to have been arrived at concerning the significance of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. Especially when we take the various other accompanying “signs” that appear to be settling around these dates.
Monday, 6 March 2017
I would like to draw your attention to Stephen Walford's excellent new book Communion of Saints: The Unity of Divine Love in the Mystical Body of Christ. This book is about eschatology in the truest sense of the word, in that it primarily focuses on the de novissimis - the four last things of death, judgment, Heaven and Hell. Walford is a gifted and erudite author, and his latest work on the mystical nature of the Church is quite beautifully written. The fact that Walford's Communion of Saints draws not only on the writings of the popes, but also various saints and doctors of the Church, makes this book an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the subjects of ecclesiology and eschatology.
Of particular interest to both myself and the readers of this blog, the epilogue to Walford's new book contains an excellent survey of the errors perpetuated by the spiritual millenarian movement within Catholicism, which is spearheaded by various influential individuals such as Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi and the popular Catholic evangelist Mark Mallett. Walford presents a detailed critique of Iannuzzi's spiritual millennialism, which erroneously equates the period of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima with the binding of Satan detailed in chapter 20 of the Apocalypse. By encouraging their followers to do, the spiritual millennialists not only advocate a complete rejection of the eschatology of St. Augustine of Hippo, but also steer their readers into the trap of millenarian heresy, contrary to the teachings of the Catechism:
The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism (CCC 676).
Over the course of the next few months on this blog, I will attempt to address several of the serious errors perpetrated by the spiritual millenarian movement, and how their theology undermines the Catholic Faith to its very core. Stephen Walford's book is a great gift to the Church in this time of confusion, and the fact that he boldly throws down the gauntlet to this modern heresy deserves high praise indeed.
Also worth noting is that all proceeds of Communion of Saints goes to Aid to the Church in Need for the persecuted Christians of the Middle East.
Friday, 10 February 2017
With the upcoming celebration of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima in May 2017, there is a greatly renewed interest amongst many Catholics in a famous prophetic vision purportedly granted to Pope Leo XIII, in which he came to understand that Satan would soon be granted a period of greater power. According to a number of accounts stemming from highly reputable sources in the Vatican, Pope Leo XIII received this vision near the cusp of the 20th century - a century which saw war and genocide being unleashed on an unprecedented scale, bringing about a general increase of lawlessness which eventually led to the decline of the Catholic Church. The duration of this period of Satan’s greater power was generally understood to last for 100 years, an extent of time which many came to associate with the 20th century itself. However, the crux of this prophecy lies in the fact that the period of Satan’s greater power is only finite in nature, and as soon as it elapses, we should expect the amount of evil in the world to return to normal pre-20th century levels.
As the 21st century progressed, it became evident that there was no tangible sign of the decline of Satan’s increased power at the end of the 20th century. Instead, immorality continued to rapidly slide in tandem with the decreased influence of the Church. In fact, rather than seeing a reduction of evil since the end of the 20th century, many exorcists have reported a massive spike in demonic activity in recent years, leading to calls for the training of more diocesan exorcists in order to meet with the level of demand for exorcisms.
In order to explain this apparent discrepancy, while still upholding the validity of the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII, many Catholics subsequently connected this 100-year period with the celebration of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima. So instead of beginning at the start of the 20th century itself, this period of Satan’s increased power is presumed to have been marked by the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, which directly coincided with the rise of Soviet Communism.
One of the major factors for this shift in the anchor point of this prophetic timeline lies in the fact that during an apparition of Christ to Sr. Lucia at Rianjo, Spain in 1931, Our Lord had compared the request to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with the request given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque concerning the consecration of the France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus – which similarly consisted of a time-frame involving a 100-year period.
Make it known to My ministers, given that they follow the example of the King of France in delaying the execution of My requests, they will follow him into misfortune. It is never too late to have recourse to Jesus and Mary.
We can find yet another reference to the request given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in Fatima in Lucia’s Own Words:
They did not wish to heed My request! Like the King of France they will repent of it, and they will do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread its errors in the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer.
St. Margaret Mary Alacoque was originally given this request on 17th June, 1689, and exactly 100 years later, after a series of French kings had refused to acknowledge this request, the Third Estate rose up against the Monarchy on 17th June, 1789, stripping King Louis XVI of his legislative powers, setting into motion the terrible events of the French Revolution. So the requests of consecration to the two hearts of Jesus and Mary appear to be intimately connected with a period extending over a 100-year time-span. The connection made between the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima to the visions of St. Margaret Mary Alacoque has led many to conclude that the expiration of this 100-year period may be met with some form of terrible chastisement if no attention is paid to these requests, just as what happened with the King of France.
While the threat of chastisement always remains a possibility, the true significance of the end of the period of Satan’s greater power lies in the hope for the restoration of the Church, which can only happen once the grip of the Devil’s increased influence over world affairs is finally broken. It is this hope that was alluded to by Pope Benedict XVI while on pilgrimage to Fatima on 13th May, 2010:
We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic mission is complete. Here there takes on new life the plan of God which asks humanity from the beginning: “Where is your brother Abel […] Your brother’s blood is crying out to me from the ground!” (Gen 4:9). Mankind has succeeded in unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end… In sacred Scripture we often find that God seeks righteous men and women in order to save the city of man and he does the same here, in Fatima, when Our Lady asks: “Do you want to offer yourselves to God, to endure all the sufferings which he will send you, in an act of reparation for the sins by which he is offended and of supplication for the conversion of sinners?” (Memoirs of Sister Lúcia, I, 162).
At a time when the human family was ready to sacrifice all that was most sacred on the altar of the petty and selfish interests of nations, races, ideologies, groups and individuals, our Blessed Mother came from heaven, offering to implant in the hearts of all those who trust in her the Love of God burning in her own heart. At that time it was only to three children, yet the example of their lives spread and multiplied, especially as a result of the travels of the Pilgrim Virgin, in countless groups throughout the world dedicated to the cause of fraternal solidarity. May the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions hasten the fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, to the glory of the Most Holy Trinity.
The above words of Pope Benedict XVI have been used to further bolster the idea that the significance of the centenary of Fatima in 2017 is in some way related to the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the end of the period of Satan’s increased power. The theme of the horrors of the 20th century is certainly prevalent in this homily, and there appears to be a possible allusion to the prophecy of Satan’s greater power when the Holy Father states that at this moment in history humanity had succeeded in “unleashing a cycle of death and terror, but failed in bringing it to an end…”
Throughout the course of this article, we will attempt to further draw out the thought of Pope Benedict XVI on the significance of the centenary of Fatima in 2017 in relation to the possible fulfilment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In addition, we shall also determine if this can shed any further light on the central hypothesis I forward in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church – namely that the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII should be directly identified with the unbinding of Satan foretold to take place at the end of the Millennium in the Apocalypse:
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while. (Rev 20:1-3)
And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. (Rev 20:7-8)
In my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, I show how there are a remarkable number of widely varying considerations which all indicate that Pope Leo XIII’s vision of the period of Satan’s greater power is one and the same as the unbinding of Satan mentioned in the Apocalypse. According to the amillennialist eschatology of the Church Doctor, St. Augustine of Hippo, the binding of Satan took place during Christ’s death, His descent into Hades and His Glorious Resurrection from the dead. As the Catechism points out, Christ Himself had described this unique event as the “Sign of Jonah” – a phrase which is used in the immediate context of Christ’s discourse on the binding of Satan in the Gospels:
It is Jesus himself who on the last day will raise up those who have believed in him, who have eaten his body and drunk his blood. Already now in this present life he gives a sign and pledge of this by restoring some of the dead to life, announcing thereby his own Resurrection, though it was to be of another order. He speaks of this unique event as the "sign of Jonah," the sign of the temple: he announces that he will be put to death but rise thereafter on the third day… (CCC 994)
The amillennialist interpretation of the Apocalypse provided the working basis for the historical development of several key doctrines of Catholic eschatology, such as the doctrine of purgatory and the dogma of the immediate resurrection of the soul after death during the particular judgment. In addition, it has also influenced the development of the Creed, the doctrine of the resurrection of the flesh at the Last Day and the Church’s teaching on the nature of the Kingdom of God.
According to St. Augustine, there were only two possible legitimate amillennialist interpretations of the Millennium:
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man — meaning by the strong man the devil, because he had power to take captive the human race; and meaning by his goods which he was to take, those who had been held by the devil in various sins and iniquities, but were to become believers in Himself. It was then for the binding of this strong one that the apostle saw in the Apocalypse an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a chain in his hand. And he laid hold, he says, on the dragon, that old serpent, which is called the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,— that is, bridled and restrained his power so that he could not seduce and gain possession of those who were to be freed.
Now the thousand years may be understood in two ways, so far as occurs to me: either because these things happen in the sixth thousand of years or sixth millennium (the latter part of which is now passing), as if during the sixth day, which is to be followed by a Sabbath which has no evening, the endless rest of the saints, so that, speaking of a part under the name of the whole, he calls the last part of the millennium— the part, that is, which had yet to expire before the end of the world— a thousand years; or he used the thousand years as an equivalent for the whole duration of this world, employing the number of perfection to mark the fullness of time. (City of God XX:7)
While his first suggestion concerning the duration of the Millennium remains mostly forgotten, it actually has a considerable degree of merit in relation to the exact timing of the prophetic vision of Pope Leo XIII. Here, St. Augustine opines that the end of the “thousand years” mentioned in Rev 20 may be equated with the end of the Sabbath Millennium discussed by the Early Church Fathers. This view was subsequently largely overlooked, since many of the Church Fathers held that the Sabbath Millennium would come to an end circa AD500, at the end of a six thousand year period after the biblical date of creation determined by the chronology of the Greek Septuagint version of the Old Testament (the LXX). As the original various dates calculated for the end of the Sabbath Millennium circa AD500 came and went without any possible applications for this first interpretation, St. Augustine’s second proposal (that the thousand years symbolises an indefinite period extending from the time of Christ to the unbinding of Satan towards the end of the world), became the most widely accepted version of the amillennialist approach.
However, writing in the 8th century, the Church Doctor St. Bede the Venerable noted that the reckoning of the biblical chronology yields a vastly different result when using the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible, differing by a period of around 1,500 years from the date of creation (Anno Mundi). St. Bede proposed that this version of biblical chronology, which he used to revise the date of creation to circa 3952BC, was the most accurate, since it was derived from the “Hebrew truth” of the original Jewish Bible, rather than its Greek counterpart. St. Bede’s method for determining the chronology of the Hebrew Bible was further refined by the Anglican Archbishop James Ussher, who working from the various genealogies given in the Bible, established the date of creation to 4004BC.
If we view the primary value of this date to be prophetic in nature (rather than providing us with a literal date for creation), this revised version of the biblical chronology has enormous implications for St. Augustine’s first suggestion concerning the meaning of the end of the “thousand years” in Rev 20 and how this ties into the patristic idea of a Sabbath Millennium. It puts the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the “thousand years” directly within the scope of Pope Leo XIII’s vision of the Devil being granted a time of greater power in order to test the Church.
Given the fact that St. Bede the Venerable was proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII at the turn of the 20th century on Nov 13th, 1899, it invites us to ponder whether this action was linked in any way to this saint’s influence on the revision of the Anno Mundi calendar. The prophetic implications of Bede’s chronology cannot be overstated. Not only did it recalibrate the timing of the conclusion of the Sabbath Millennium to the modern era, but once combined with St. Augustine’s thesis presented above, it could also be used to indicate that the period of the unbinding of Satan would begin to unfold in the present age. Is it possible that Pope Leo XIII was aware of these implications? If we can find any evidence that the Holy Father had interpreted his famous vision within the context of the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the thousand years in Rev 20, we could conclude that his raising of St. Bede to the status of Church Doctor on the very eve of the 20th century was a deliberate action intended to reflect his influence on determining the prophetic significance of the Sabbath Millennium.
Thanks to the research of academics such as Kevin Symonds (the author of the excellent book Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael), we now be fully confident that the Holy Father did in fact experience this event, and that it was also accompanied by a vision which directly parallels the scene of the encirclement of the camp of the saints described in Rev 20. Symonds notes that in his Pastoral Letters for Lent, published in 1946, Cardinal Giovanni Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano related how the origins of the Prayer to St. Michael were explained to him by the private secretary of Pope Leo XIII, Msgr. Rinaldo Angeli:
It wasn’t for naught that the most wise Pontiff, Pope Leo XIII, whose superior intelligence and certainly not narrow-minded or small spirit, himself wrote that beautiful and powerful prayer, and then ordered its recitation by all priests after the celebration of the Holy Mass…
And that part of the prayer – “who prowl about the world” – has an historical explanation, which has been shared numerous times by the Holy Father’s most faithful Secretary, who was very close to him throughout most of his pontificate, Msgr. Rinaldo Angeli. Pope Leo XIII truly had a vision of demonic spirits, who were gathering on the Eternal City (Rome). From that experience – which he shared with the Prelate and certainly with others in confidentiality – comes the prayer which he wanted the whole Church to recite. This was the prayer which he recited (we heard this many times in the Vatican Basilica) with a strong, powerful voice, which resonated in an unforgettable way in the universal silence beneath the vaults of the most important temple of Christianity. Not only that, but he wrote a special exorcism, which is found in the Rituale Romanum (c.3, Tit.XI) with the title “Exorcismus in Satanam et angelos apostaticos”. The Pontiff recommended to the Bishops and Priests that these exorcisms be recited often in their Dioceses and in their parishes, by the priests who had received the proper faculties from their Ordinaries. However, to set a good example, he recited it himself frequently throughout the day. In fact, another Prelate familiar with the Pontiff used to tell us that even on his walks through the Vatican Gardens, he would take out a small book – worn with much use – from his pocket and repeated his exorcism with fervent piety and deep devotion.
(Cardinal Nasalli, cited in Symonds, K. Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael pp25-26)
This vision of demonic spirits converging upon the city of Rome is clearly intended to symbolise the encirclement of the camp of the saints by the forces of Satan at the end of the Millennium described in the Apocalypse:
And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city... (Rev 20:7-9)
As St. Augustine elaborates, the camp of the saints represents the Church itself, which is beset by the forces of Satan during the period of his unbinding:
The words, And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city, do not mean that they have come, or shall come, to one place, as if the camp of the saints and the beloved city should be in some one place; for this camp is nothing else than the Church of Christ extending over the whole world. And consequently wherever the Church shall be—and it shall be in all nations, as is signified by the breadth of the earth,— there also shall be the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and there it shall be encompassed by the savage persecution of all its enemies... (City of God, XX:11)
Given how closely Pope Leo’s vision parallels this portion of the Apocalypse, it is entirely feasible that the Holy Father had also made this connection in light of his mystical experience, and related it to the encirclement of the camp of the saints at the end of the Millennium. The historical circumstances that the Church was facing at the time the Prayer to St. Michael was composed was indeed strongly evocative of the encirclement of the camp of the saints at the end of the thousand years. Ever since the Italian Army had reached the Aurelian Walls on 19th Sept 1870 (the feast of Our Lady of La Salette), placing the city of Rome under a state of siege, the forces of Satan (inspired by the principles of Freemasonry) had quite literally encircled the camp of the saints. So again, it is not entirely unreasonable that Pope Leo XIII would have interpreted the contemporary problems facing the Church in line with the scene described at the end of the thousand years in Rev 20.
Some of the primary figures involved in the Italian nationalist movement, such as Giuseppe Garibaldi, were prominent Freemasons, and within the Vatican hierarchy itself, it was widely believed that the annexation of the Papal States was part of a wider Masonic plot to destroy the Catholic Church. Pope Leo himself had vigorously condemned Freemasonry in his 1884 encyclical Humanum Genus, wherein he specifically compared the binary opposite entities of the Church and Freemasonry as the two cities described by St. Augustine - the City of God and the city of the Devil:
The race of man, after its miserable fall from God, the Creator and the Giver of heavenly gifts, "through the envy of the devil," separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ; and those who desire from their heart to be united with it, so as to gain salvation, must of necessity serve God and His only-begotten Son with their whole mind and with an entire will. The other is the kingdom of Satan, in whose possession and control are all whosoever follow the fatal example of their leader and of our first parents, those who refuse to obey the divine and eternal law, and who have many aims of their own in contempt of God, and many aims also against God.
This twofold kingdom St. Augustine keenly discerned and described after the manner of two cities, contrary in their laws because striving for contrary objects; and with a subtle brevity he expressed the efficient cause of each in these words: "Two loves formed two cities: the love of self, reaching even to contempt of God, an earthly city; and the love of God, reaching to contempt of self, a heavenly one."(1) At every period of time each has been in conflict with the other, with a variety and multiplicity of weapons and of warfare, although not always with equal ardour and assault. At this period, however, the partisans of evil seems to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself. They are planning the destruction of holy Church publicly and openly, and this with the set purpose of utterly despoiling the nations of Christendom, if it were possible, of the blessings obtained for us through Jesus Christ our Saviour. (Pope Leo XIII, Humanum Genus)
According to St. Augustine himself, the two cities would only come into such open confrontation at the end of the thousand years, during the unbinding of Satan, when “Gog and Magog” set out to assemble the nations of the earth for war:
And when the thousand years are finished, Satan shall be loosed from his prison, and shall go out to seduce the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, and shall draw them to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. This then, is his purpose in seducing them, to draw them to this battle. For even before this he was wont to use as many and various seductions as he could continue. And the words he shall go out mean, he shall burst forth from lurking hatred into open persecution. For this persecution, occurring while the final judgment is imminent, shall be the last which shall be endured by the holy Church throughout the world, the whole city of Christ being assailed by the whole city of the devil, as each exists on earth. (City of God XX:11)
In my book, I attempt to show how the appearance of “Gog and Magog” at the end of the thousand years should be identified with the figures of the False Prophet and Antichrist, rather than being four separate eschatological antagonists who bookend the Millennium (as is proposed in the millennialist interpretations of the Apocalypse).
Given that Pope Leo XIII appears to have interpreted contemporary events in light of St. Augustine’s meditations on the final confrontation between the two opposing cities at the end of the Millennium, it would follow that he would have personally understood his prophetic vision to be related to the period of the unbinding of Satan described in the Apocalypse.
We can find further evidence that the Holy Father made such a connection in the later 1890 “Exorcismus” prayer composed by Pope Leo XIII, which demonstrates that he had perceived that Satan had now “risen up terribly” during this particular moment in history. A phrase which is certainly highly suggestive of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the thousand years:
Behold the ancient enemy and murderer has risen up terribly! Transformed as an angel of light he goes about at large with a whole troop of wicked spirits and attacks the earth, there to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, and to steal souls destined for a crown of eternal glory, that he might afflict and destroy them in everlasting death.
(Pope Leo XIII “Exorcism against Satan and the Apostate Angels”, cited in Symonds, K Pope Leo XIII and the Prayer to St. Michael, p63)
This particular portion of the exorcism prayer was obviously directly influenced by the vision recounted to Cardinal Nasalli by Msgr. Angelli. Only now we are presented with the additional insight that Satan had “risen up terribly” against the Church. Given the fact that Pope Leo had most likely understood his prophetic vision as being explicitly related to the short time granted to Satan described in the Apocalypse, it is quite possible that his elevation of St. Bede to the status of Church Doctor on the very eve of the 20th century was an intentional act, aimed to highlight the prophetic importance of the patristic idea of the Sabbath Millennium. This would be doubly significant if he was aware of how St. Augustine had originally proposed that the unbinding of Satan would take place towards the end of the Sabbath Millennium, and how the significance of St. Bede’s recalibration of the Anno Mundi calendar reapplied the interpretation of this prophecy to the modern age.
It is surely beyond coincidence then that Pope Leo XIII chose to issue his encyclical Annum Sacrum announcing the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on 25th May, 1899 – the feast day of St. Bede the Venerable. Given the fact that the Holy Father was preparing to proclaim St. Bede a Doctor of the Church just a few months later, it would seem that his choice of this saint’s feast day to announce the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was quite deliberate. If not, it was a striking coincidence that still augurs a level of prophetic significance. However, once we take into consideration that one of St. Bede’s most lasting contributions to Western culture was in the area of biblical chronology (indeed it was due to his influence that we use the Anno Domini calendar today), it is quite likely that this was an intentional act, since it accords with the central theme of his encyclical Annum Sacrum (which means “Holy Year”), pertaining to the significance of the turn of the century.
Pope Leo had called the consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus “the greatest act of my pontificate”, and it appears that he viewed this solemn action as a way of providing a counterbalance to the grave perils that awaited the Church in the following century. As we have already seen, the 100-year period alluded to by Sr. Lucia was itself rooted in a request for a consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, when Christ had appeared to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. If Pope Leo had understood his vision to be related to a similar 100-year period, it is quite likely that his choice of the feast day of St. Bede for announcing the consecration of the world to the Sacred of Heart was yet another deliberate act, intended to nod towards St. Augustine’s teaching on the Sabbath Millennium.
Pope Leo XIII had performed the consecration of the world to the Sacred of Jesus in direct response to his correspondence with Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, who had received several apparitions of Our Lord while staying at the Covenant of the Good Shepherd Sisters in Porto, Portugal. During these apparitions, Christ had instructed Blessed Mary to send a letter to Pope Leo XIII to request the consecration of the entire world to His Sacred Heart, which was sent by her confessor on 10th June, 1898. Pope Leo was sceptical at first, and initially refused to pay heed to this request, apparently due to the theological difficulty presented by consecrating non-Christians. Undeterred, Blessed Mary sent the Holy Father a second letter, this time mentioning a serious illness the pope was suffering, and assured him that he would live to perform the consecration. The fact that Leo XIII was subsequently healed from his illness had a profound impact upon the pontiff, who made sure to include mention of it in his encyclical:
"There is one further reason that urges us to realize our design; We do not want it to pass by unnoticed. It is personal in nature but just as important: God the author of all Good has saved us by healing us recently from a dangerous disease."
(Pope Leo XIII, Annum Sacrum, 25th May, 1899)
Pope Leo established a theological commission into the apparitions of Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, and quickly set about preparing to meet Our Lord’s demands concerning the consecration. Blessed Mary died on the vigil of the Feast of the Sacred Heart on June 8th, 1899, at the age of 35, just three days before Pope Leo eventually carried out the consecration on June 11th.
We are left to ponder why the unbinding of Satan would occur at the beginning of the 20th century, rather than at the end of the Sabbath Millennium itself (circa 2000 according to Ussher’s chronology, or 2047 using St. Bede’s methodology)? According to St. Augustine, the period of the unbinding of Satan would occur at the very end of the “thousand years” during which Christ reigns with the saints, and should be included within this timeframe itself, rather than occurring immediately after it. St. Augustine pointed out that if the unbinding of Satan took place after the “thousand years” were over, this would suggest that Christ’s reign was finite in nature, and would effectively cease at the close of the Millennium during the appearance of “Gog and Magog”. We should take note here however that St. Augustine himself believed that the short time of Satan would only last for the duration of the reign of the Antichrist, for the vastly reduced period of three and a half years. He most likely would have baulked at the suggestion that the short time of Satan would in reality be substantially longer than three and half years, since he knew full well the dangers that would be presented to the Faith during this time.
“Though this time is brief, yet not without reason is it questioned whether it is comprehended in the thousand years in which the devil is bound and the saints reign with Christ, or whether this little season should be added over and above to these years. For if we say that they are included in the thousand years, then the saints reign with Christ during a more protracted period than the devil is bound. For they shall reign with their King and Conqueror mightily even in that crowning persecution when the devil shall now be unbound and shall rage against them with all his might…
But assuredly the victorious souls of the glorious martyrs having overcome and finished all griefs and toils, and having laid down their mortal members, have reigned and do reign with Christ till the thousand years are finished, that they may afterwards reign with Him when they have received their immortal bodies. And therefore during these three years and a half the souls of those who were slain for His testimony, both those which formerly passed from the body and those which shall pass in that last persecution, shall reign with Him till the mortal world come to an end, and pass into that kingdom in which there shall be no death. And thus the reign of the saints with Christ shall last longer than the bonds and imprisonment of the devil, because they shall reign with their King the Son of God for these three years and a half during which the devil is no longer bound. It remains, therefore, that when we read that the priests of God and of Christ shall reign with Him a thousand years; and when the thousand years are finished, the devil shall be loosed from his imprisonment, that we understand either that the thousand years of the reign of the saints does not terminate, though the imprisonment of the devil does—so that both parties have their thousand years, that is, their complete time, yet each with a different actual duration approriate to itself, the kingdom of the saints being longer, the imprisonment of the devil shorter. (City of God XX:13)
St. Augustine’s reckoning of the duration of the short time of Satan failed to take into account Christ’s words in the Olivet Discourse that before the appearance of the Antichrist there would be a succession of “wars and rumours of wars” leading to a departure from the Faith, after which the proclamation of the Gospel to the ends of the earth would take place. It is only after the Gospel has been preached to the all nations during the renovation of the Church by the Two Witnesses that the Antichrist appears.
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
Once we take into consideration that the period of the unbinding of Satan would encompass all of the events described in the Olivet Discourse, rather than being confined to the reign of the Antichrist, a much longer period of time is required. This would thus explain why the unbinding of Satan would have taken place around 100 years before the proposed date for the Sabbath Millennium had transpired, rather than occurring after the “thousand years” had elapsed – since the period of Satan’s unbinding takes place within the Millennium itself – at its very climax.
In my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, I attempt to show how the unbinding of Satan at the end of the Millennium recapitulates the opening of the scroll sealed with seven seals at the beginning of the Book of Revelation, when the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse are sent out to gather the nations of the world for war. This means that it is all of the events described in the Apocalypse and Olivet Discourse that should be incorporated into the span of the short time of Satan, rather than just the time of the Antichrist.
With this combined evidence, it thus appears quite likely that Pope Leo had interpreted his prophetic vision in light of the unbinding of Satan described in the Apocalypse. But what exactly occurs at the end of the short time of Satan? And should it be linked with the celebration of the centenary of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima later this year? There definitely appears to be some sort of sensus fidelium that has developed concerning the significance of this centenary year. Many Catholics are fearful that this year will bring some form of chastisement. While this is always possible, the words of Christ in the Olivet Discourse gives us the best sense of how this period will end.
Even though Jesus had warned the disciples that the love of many would grow cold due to the increase of lawlessness during this period, He also offered a sense of hope, in that the one who endured to the end would be saved, when the Gospel would be proclaimed to all nations before the end of the world. St. Augustine himself thought that the end of the period of the unbinding of Satan would see his powers to inhibit the spread of the Gospel once again restrained.
For in accordance with this true saying that order is observed— the strong one first bound, and then his goods spoiled; for the Church is so increased by the weak and strong from all nations far and near, that by its most robust faith in things divinely predicted and accomplished, it shall be able to spoil the goods of even the unbound devil. For as we must own that, when iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold, Matthew 24:12 and that those who have not been written in the book of life shall in large numbers yield to the severe and unprecedented persecutions and stratagems of the devil now loosed, so we cannot but think that not only those whom that time shall find sound in the faith, but also some who till then shall be without, shall become firm in the faith they have hitherto rejected and mighty to conquer the devil even though unbound, God's grace aiding them to understand the Scriptures, in which, among other things, there is foretold that very end which they themselves see to be arriving. And if this shall be so, his binding is to be spoken of as preceding, that there might follow a spoiling of him both bound and loosed; for it is of this it is said, Who shall enter into the house of the strong one to spoil his goods, unless he shall first have bound the strong one? (City of God XX:8)
For St. Augustine, the whole purpose of the binding of Satan by Christ during His Sacrifice on the Cross was in order to allow the spread of the Gospel:
The devil, then, is bound and shut up in the abyss that he may not seduce the nations from which the Church is gathered, and which he formerly seduced before the Church existed. For it is not said that he should not seduce any man, but that he should not seduce the nations— meaning, no doubt, those among which the Church exists— till the thousand years should be fulfilled,— i.e., either what remains of the sixth day which consists of a thousand years, or all the years which are to elapse till the end of the world…
Now the devil was thus bound not only when the Church began to be more and more widely extended among the nations beyond Judea, but is now and shall be bound till the end of the world, when he is to be loosed. Because even now men are, and doubtless to the end of the world shall be, converted to the faith from the unbelief in which he held them. (City of God XX:7-8)
The fact that Satan appears to have now retrieved his ability to blind the minds of unbelievers to the truth of the Gospel, bringing about the decline of the influence of the Church, is perhaps the best witness to the possibility that we are currently enduring the period of Satan’s unbinding at the end of the world. When Pope Benedict XVI further clarified his now famous prayer concerning the year 2017 in an interview with Peter Seewald, he further emphasized that his hope was that forces of evil would once again be restrained at this time:
I said that the “triumph” will draw closer. This is equivalent in meaning to our praying for the coming of God’s Kingdom. This statement was not intended—I may be too rationalistic for that—to express any expectation on my part that there is going to be a huge turnaround and that history will suddenly take a totally different course. The point was rather that the power of evil is restrained again and again, that again and again the power of God himself is shown in the Mother’s power and keeps it alive.
The Church is always called upon to do what God asked of Abraham, which is to see to it that there are enough righteous men to repress evil and destruction. I understood my words as a prayer that the energies of the good might regain their vigor. So you could say the triumphs of God, the triumphs of Mary, are quiet, but they are real nonetheless. (Light of the World, pp165-166).
So while we may reasonably expect that the power of Satan will once again be restrained after the period of his unbinding, there will always remain a significant level of evil in the world, just as evil continued to exist after the Devil was defeated by Christ’s Sacrifice on Calvary. As Pope Benedict XVI pointed out during his pilgrimage to Fatima in 2010: "The Lord told us that the Church would constantly be suffering, in different ways, until the end of the world." Here, the Holy Father attempted to pre-empt against any millenarian misinterpretation of his words concerning the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary by alluding to Christ's parable of the wheat and tares, which the Lord stated must exist side-by-side until the Last Judgement at the end of the world (Matt 13):
Jesus told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’” (Matt 13:25-30)
The binding of Satan takes place to allow the spread of the Gospel, rather than to allow for the creation of a millenarian-style earthly utopia, as is advanced by certain fringe groups within Catholicism, spearheaded by Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi. As the Catechism states, the pilgrim Church on earth must suffer the travails of the present age until the end of the world:
"Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled "with power and great glory" by the King's return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover. Until everything is subject to him, "until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God." (CCC 671)
While we can certainly hope that the Gospel will once again be effectively proclaimed to all nations to allow the restoration of the Church, the end of the world will immediately follow on from this event after the appearance of the Antichrist, as was affirmed by Christ in the Olivet Discourse. To distort the promises of Our Lady of Fatima into a future millenary “era of peace” is to venture into the heresy of millenarianism.
The Apocalypse tells us that towards the end of his period of power, the Devil is then thrown down to earth with a third of the angelic host, after being defeated in heaven by the Archangel Michael. Scripture informs us that this event is accompanied by the appearance of the Signs in Heaven. As I explain at some detail in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, all of these signs occurred at the turn of the millennium in order to mark the moment Satan is cast down to earth with his army of fallen angels. This event explains the incredible rise in demonic activity in recent years noted by several prominent Catholic exorcists. It also helps us to understand that the flood issued forth from the mouth of the Dragon in an attempt to sweep the Woman away is actually false prophecy issued through false demonic apparitions and manifestations described by St. Paul:
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their actions. (2Cor 13:14)
The fact that the idea of a millenary “era of peace” on earth during a period of blissful harmony is a staple of these false apparitions leads us to conclude this flood poured forth from the Dragon is related to this false prophecy; and it is intended to prevent the Catholic faithful from fully understanding the truth contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition. Instead, the Devil wants to present the faithful with the temptation of a millenarian utopia – an idea which the Catechism rejects as the deception of the Antichrist:
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 Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism. (CCC 675-676)
But this flood will now soon be swallowed up by the earth, when the Woman Adorned with the Sun will finally be given the two wings of a great eagle (representing the Two Witnesses), to flee to a place in the wilderness:
And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle to fly from the presence of the serpent to her place in the wilderness, where she was nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. Then from the mouth of the serpent spewed water like a river to overtake the woman and sweep her away in the torrent. But the earth helped the woman and opened its mouth to swallow up the river that had poured from the dragon’s mouth. And the dragon was enraged at the woman, and went to make war with the rest of her children, who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Rev 12:13-17)