Dearly beloved in Christ,
Today, on this First Sunday of Advent, we begin a new ecclesiastical year, and our Holy Mother, the Catholic Church, presents to us in the Gospel of the Mass, the same theme as last week for the Last Sunday after Pentecost, which is the prophecy of Christ on the signs that will precede the end of the world and His Second Coming. There are two reasons for this repetition.
The first reason is that, as the ecclesiastical year parallels the history of mankind with the Life of Christ as the focal point, the Gospel for the Last Sunday after Pentecost concludes this history with the events which will occur before the end of the world. The second reason is that Advent is a time of preparation for the feast of our Divine Savior’s first coming, some 2000 years ago, and the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent reminds us that this same Divine Savior will come again to “judge the living and the dead” at the final Judgment. Thus, the Gospels for this Sunday and last Sunday both repeat the same theme.
When we consider the words of Christ on the events which will precede the end of the world, we should remember to be balanced in our judgments and not fall to extremes on these matters. And what are these extremes? On one hand, there are those who would foolishly attempt to predict exact dates and events, and this is absolutely contrary to the teaching of Christ that “no man knows the day nor the hour” in regard to the end of the world. Then, on the other hand, there are those who would disregard entirely the prophecies found in Sacred Scripture and who would simply deny that these matters were even a possibility in our times. We need to be not only prudent and careful, but also realistic.
Suffice it to say, we live in the most unprecedented time in the history of the Catholic Church. Since the convocation of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), new doctrines have been introduced into the Church which were previously condemned by past popes. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has been replaced by a new “mass” which no longer represents the unbloody renewal of Calvary, the propitiary Sacrifice of the New Law, and which is in reality a Lutheran memorial of the Last Supper. The false ecumenism of the “hierarchy” of the modern so-called “Catholic Church” with heretics, schismatics, Buddhists, Hindus, and many other leaders of the false religions of the world, has become commonplace. These events are so absolutely opposed to the teachings of Christ and His Church that Catholics shudder in complete dismay and exclaim, “What has happened to the Catholic Church?!”
From these considerations, it should be no wonder why the Blessed Virgin Mary at Fatima chose the year 1960 as the date for the revelation of the Third Fatima Secret. It should be no wonder why the very ones who were responsible for Vatican Council II, squelched the revelation of this Third Secret of Fatima to the world.
It is not our purpose to repeat topics which we have considered in past pastoral letters. Our purpose is to consider how these events since Vatican II are a fulfillment of Scriptural prophecies.
In this pastoral letter, let us consider one particular reference of Sacred Scripture which most certainly pertains to our times.
The Scriptural reference is found in the Epistle of St. Paul to the Thessalonians:
“Brethren, let no one deceive you in any way, for the day of the Lord will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thess. 2:3-4).
The word “apostasy” is defined as the total rejection of faith by a baptized Christian. Perhaps, at first glance, some may ask how such a thing is possible in the Catholic Church today. Where has there been a total rejection of the Faith? But before we answer this question, let us recall the words of Christ in last Sunday’s Gospel:
“For false Christs and false prophets will arise... so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect” (Matt. 24:14-15).
If “even the elect” must be careful not to be deceived, it is certain that the apostasy will take place in a most deceitful manner.
Furthermore, St. Paul in his Epistle to Timothy also makes reference to these times:
“But know this, that in the last days, dangerous times will come....” (2 Tim. 3:1).
“For there will come a time when they will not endure the sound doctrine; but having itching ears, will heap up to themselves teachers according to their own lusts, and they will turn away their hearing from the truth and turn aside rather to fables” (2 Tim. 4:3-4).
To return to the question: Has there been an apostasy since Vatican Council II? The answer can be found in the teachings of Pope Pius XI in Mortalium Animos on Fostering True Religious Unity, January 6, 1928, for it was during his pontificate that efforts were made to promote unity among all religions in the charity and toleration. Pope Pius XI most eloquently addressed this situation and explained the Church’s position on this ecumenical movement.
Let us briefly review some of the main highlights of this encyclical to recognize and to understand how the Second Vatican Council brought about the modern apostasy of our times.
The first and foremost teaching which Pope Pius XI reiterated in Mortalium Animos is that the Catholic Faith is the religion revealed by God:
“God, the Creator of all things, made us that we might know Him and serve Him; to our service therefore, He has a full right. He might indeed have been contented to prescribe for man’s government the natural law alone, that is, the law which in creation He has written upon man’s heart, and have regulated the progress of that law by His ordinary Providence. He willed, however, to make positive laws which we should obey, and progressively, from the beginning of the human race until the coming and preaching of Jesus Christ, He Himself taught mankind the duties which a rational creature owes to his Creator.
“Evidently therefore, no religion can be true save that which rests upon the revelation of God, a revelation begun from the very first, continued under the Old Law, and brought to completion by Jesus Christ Himself under the New. Now, if God has spoken — and it is historically certain that He has in fact spoken — then it is clearly man’s duty implicitly to believe His revelation and to obey His commands. That we might rightly do both, for the glory of God and for our own salvation, the only-begotten Son of God founded His Church on earth.”
From this divine truth, i.e., that God has revealed to mankind the one true religion by which He is to be worshipped, there flows the Catholics principle which forbids Catholics to participate in false ecumenism.
To continue from the teachings of Pope Pius XI:
“With this object, congresses, meetings and addresses are arranged, attended by a large concourse of hearers, where all without distinction, unbelievers of every kind as well as Christians, even those who unhappily have rejected Christ and denied His Divine Nature or mission, are invited to join in the discussion. Now, such efforts can meet with no kind of approval among Catholics. They presuppose the erroneous view that all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy, inasmuch as all give expression, under various forms, to that innate sense which leads men to God and to the obedient acknowledgment of His rule... to favor this opinion, therefore, and to encourage such undertakings, is tantamount to abandoning the religion revealed by God.”
Let us focus attention on the phrase “tantamount to abandoning the religion revealed by God.” This phrase is another definition of the word “apostasy.” According to Pope Pius XI, to hold to false ecumenism and to encourage it, is equivalent to apostasy. The Pope then continued his explanation:
“Shall we commit the iniquity of suffering the truth, the truth revealed by God, to be made a subject for compromise? For it is indeed a question of defending revealed truth. Jesus Christ sent His Apostles into the whole world to declare the Faith of the Gospel to every nation, and, to save them from error. He willed that the Holy Ghost should first teach them all truth. Has this been obscured, in the Church of which God Himself is the Ruler and Guardian? Our Redeemer plainly said that His Gospel was intended not only for the apostolic age but for all time. Can the object of faith, then, have become in the process of time so dim and uncertain that today we must tolerate contradictory opinions? If this were so, then we should have to admit that the coming of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, the perpetual indwelling of the same Spirit in the Church, nay the very preaching of Jesus Christ, have centuries ago lost their efficacy and value. To affirm this would be blasphemy.”
If Pope Pius XI were alive today, what would he think of the widespread false ecumenism of our times? What would he think of the following prayer which was recommended in the modern so-called “Catholic” parishes of Germany for World Mission Sunday, 1989, sponsored by MISSIO?
Prayer Recommended for Vatican II Parishes in Germany for Mission Sunday
“Be praised, O Lord,
God of Israel.
You led through impassible lands.
You liberate from slavery and oppression.
You promise a new world.
“Be praised, O Lord,
God of Mohammed.
You are great and exalted.
You are incomprehensible and unapproachable.
You are great in Your Prophets.
“Be praised, O Lord,
God of Buddha.
You live in the depths of the world
You live in every person.
You are the fullness of silence.
“Be praised, O Lord,
God of Africa.
You are the life in the trees.
You are the fertility of father and mother.
You are the soul of the world.
“Be praised, O Lord,
God of Jesus Christ.
You spend Yourself in Love.
You surrender Yourself in goodness.
You triumph over death.”
What would Pope Pius XI think of John Paul II’s 1986 invitation of all the religions of the world to come to Assisi to pray to their false gods? What would he think if he saw the statue of Buddha placed on the altar in the Church of St. Peter in Assisi and worshipped by Buddhist priests with burning incense?
We know what Pope Pius XI would think for he already expressed it in Mortalium Animos:
“This being so, it is clear that the Apostolic See can by no means take part in these assemblies, nor is it in any way lawful for Catholics to give to such enterprises their encouragement or support. If they did so, they would be giving countenance to a false Christianity quite alien to the one Church of Christ.”
True ecumenism is to pray and to work for the conversion of mankind to Jesus Christ, to His One, True Church, to the Catholic religion — the one religion revealed by God.
This has always been the teaching of the Catholic Faith down through the centuries; furthermore, the laws of the Catholic Church clearly reflect these teachings:
Canon 1258: The faithful are not allowed to assist actively in any way or to take active part in the religious services of non-Catholics. (communicatio in sacris)
Canon 2316: One who cooperates communicatio in sacris contrary to the provision of Canon 1258 is suspected of heresy.
What is most interesting about the Scriptural reference of St. Paul to the Thessalonians is that the Apostle continues to describe the circumstances of the Apostasy:
“...for the day of the Lord will not come unless the Apostasy comes first and the man of sin is revealed... so that he sits in the temple of God... for the mystery of iniquity is already at work; provided only that he who is at present restraining it, does still restrain, until he is gotten out of the way” (II Thess. 2:3-4).
Let us carefully consider these words of St. Paul:
“...the man of sin (the Anti-Christ) sits in the temple of God (in the once Catholic Church)...
“For the mystery of iniquity is already at work... provided only that he who is at present restraining it, does still restrain; until he is gotten out of the way” (II Thess. 2:3-7).
Who is this “one who is at present restraining,” and “does still restrain”?
To answer this question, we should consider the one person, down through the centuries, who has the supreme authority within the Church to teach, to rule, and to sanctify, and who is the rock upon which Christ founded His Church. It is he who restrained “the mystery of iniquity” in St. Paul’s time and who continued to restrain “until he is gotten out of the way; and then the wicked one will be revealed.” Apart from the theological arguments we have extensively considered in our review of Pope Pius XI’s condemnation of “false ecumenism,” we may also consider the excerpt from the book on Our Lady of La Salette, Light on the Mountain, by John S. Kennedy. In this book, the author makes reference to the seer, Melanie, and her writing down the Secret given her by Our Lady for Pope Pius IX to read:
“When it came to the actual writing out of her secret, Melanie temporized, burst into tears... She sat down, took hold of a pen, began to write. Once she looked up to ask the meaning of the word ‘infallibly’... A little later she asked the spelling and the meaning of ‘Anti-Christ’” (pg. 131).
We should also add the well-known excerpt from the book Grand Orient Freemasonry Unmasked by Monsignor George F. Dillon, D.D., published in 1950. In Chapter 14 of his book, Monsignor Dillon quotes extensively from the Permanent Instruction of the Alta Vendita issued by Italian Freemasonry:
“The Papacy has at all times exercised a decisive action upon the affairs of Italy. By the hands, by the voices, by the pens, by the hearts of its unnumerable bishops, priests, monks, nuns and people in all latitudes, the Papacy finds devotedness without end ready for martyrdom, and that to enthusiasm... This is an immense leverage which the Popes alone have been able to appreciate to its full power, and as yet they have used it only to a certain extent. Today there is no question of reconstituting for ourselves that power... our final end is that of Voltaire and the French Revolution, the destruction forever of Catholicism and even of the Christian idea....
“Now, then, in order to secure to us a Pope in the manner required, it is necessary to fashion for that Pope a generation worthy of the reign of which we dream. Leave on one side old age and middle age, go to the youth, and, if possible, even to infancy.
“In a few years the young clergy will have, by the force of events, invaded all the functions. They will govern, administer, and judge. They will form the council of the Sovereign. They will be called upon to choose the Pontiff who will reign; and that Pontiff, like the greater part of his contemparies, will be necessarily imbued with the Italian and humanitarian principles which we are about to put in circulation.
“Seek out the Pope of whom we give the portrait. You wish to establish the reign of the elect upon the throne of the prostitute of Babylon? Let the clergy march under your banner in the belief always that they march under the banner of the Apostolic Keys. You wish to cause the last vestige of tyranny and of oppression to disappear? Lay your nets like Simon Barjona. Lay them in the depths of sacrisities, seminaries, and convents, rather than in the depths of the sea, and if you will precipitate nothing you will give yourself a draught of fishes more miraculous than his... You will have fished up a Revolution in Tiara and Cope, marching with Cross and banner — a Revolution which needs only to be spurred on a little to put the four quarters of the world on fire.”
Thirty years have now passed since the conclusion of the false Council of Vatican II in December of 1965, and we still witness the ongoing disastrous effects of the false ecumenism, religious liberty, and the destruction of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Let us pray to God that the words of Our Lord from last Sunday’s Gospel will soon be fulfilled:
“And unless those days had been shortened, no living creature would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be shortened” (Matt. 24:22).
In Christo Jesu et Maria Immaculata,
Most Rev. Mark A. Pivarunas, CMRI