“You hear that Mr. Anderson? That is the sound of inevitability.” –Agent Smith, The Matrix
Allow me, if you will, to think out loud a bit. I had a theory pop into my head this morning after reading two pieces of Church news that were so unfathomably stupid that they jarred something loose.
First, the stories, in the order I saw them.
It was announced today that the Jesuit superior general, Fr. Arturo Sosa, was elected head of the International Union of Superiors General (USG), a group that “represents religious orders and congregations of brothers and priests around the world in almost all countries” and “brings together General Superiors of the male religious orders and congregations.”
Fr. Sosa is one of the most heterodox religious leaders in the Church today. He has expressed Marxist sympathies and praised Fidel Castro. During the debate on Amoris Laetitia, he told an interviewer, regarding Jesus’s teaching on divorce, “There would have to be a lot of reflection on what Jesus really said. At that time, no one had a recorder to take down his words.” He went on to say that “the word is relative, the Gospel is written by human beings, it is accepted by the Church which is made up of human persons[.] … So it is true that no one can change the word of Jesus, but one must know what it was!” When this statement stirred up controversy – Cardinal Burke said Sosa should be “corrected” – he defiantly stood his ground. He has also said that he believes the Devil is a “symbolic figure” created by man to “express evil.” (Even a quasi-denial from his spokesman couldn’t put out that dumpster fire.) And for added flair, he was described by a Jesuit website as the first Jesuit superior to officially “baptize himself Buddhist” after he participated in a ceremony of some kind during a conference in Cambodia “between Buddhists and Christians who work for peace.”
I’m sure there’s more. This is just what comes to mind from the past year or two. And yet this is the man who was just elected to head a global organization representing religious orders of men from around the world.
They have decided they want this.
The second piece of news today was the appointment of Cardinal Blase Cupich to the organizing committee for the upcoming meeting of the heads of the various bishops conferences in Rome in February to tackle the issue of abuse.
Cupich, who was the one prelate observers said looked unsurprised when the gathered American bishops were blindsided by an announcement that Rome was putting a stop to their action plan to deal with abuse during their annual fall meeting in Baltimore earlier this month.
Cupich, who, during what appeared to be a prepared interruption of USCCB head Cardinal DiNardo making the announcement about the Holy See’s intervention, expressed his support for the pope and said, “It is clear the Holy See is taking the abuse crisis seriously” when it was clear that the case was anything but.
Cupich, who was reported by the Catholic News Agency to have worked ahead of time with the disgraced-but-not-dismissed Cardinal Wuerl on an alternative action plan to deal with bishops accused of abuse – and who has flatly denied it.
Cupich, who locked parishioners out of their TLM parish during the Easter Triduum, pressured his own priests not to participate in pro-life activities, works with pro-abortion politicians, has said he would give communion to remarried and gay couples and promoters of abortion, dismissed the founder of St. John Cantius parish in Chicago for unproven allegations, and drove a priest who was himself a childhood victim of clerical sex abuse into hiding over the burning of a rainbow flag that had been used in promotion of the homosexual agenda in his parish.
Cupich, who has brown-nosed his way from obscurity in small American dioceses to ascending the third largest episcopal see in America, with a red hat to boot.
This entire debacle is on rails, and it is accelerating. Constantly.
No matter how bad it looks, no matter what it costs, they just keep doing the same things. The Vatican intervention in the U.S. bishops’ meeting was so controversial, one lay organization has decided to withhold $1 million in tithe money from the Vatican over it.
But the single supportive voice of that move? He gets appointed by the pope to keep doing what he’s doing.
So here comes the theory.
It is known that while demons have free will, their wills are locked. They make a choice, and that’s it. Fr. Chad Ripperger, who has become arguably the most noteworthy exorcist of our age, talks about this in one of his conferences (I can’t recall which one, or I’d quote him directly). He says exorcists have actually asked demons if, given the opportunity to make their choice again – serve God or not – they would make a different one. They always say no. No matter the torments and sufferings they endure, for the angels, free will is predicated upon a perfect knowledge that we men cannot understand. They make a decision, and they never go back on it. It’s a hard thing to wrap your mind around.
We are all tempted. We all sin. To the extent that we allow ourselves to be participants in evil, we give the devil and his minions some level of control over our lives. But when I watch the leaders of our Church make the same idiotic choices again and again, when I watch the pope and his cabal making one self-defeating move after another, provoking public backlash and turning even those most sympathetic to the “reform” agenda against them – I cannot help but wonder if we are seeing the results of a much more direct form of demonic influence. The only way any of what they are doing makes sense is to look at their agenda as though there is only one goal: destruction of the Church. The leading of souls into perdition. Scandalizing the faithful and causing them to doubt the promises Christ made about the Church’s ability to withstand the gates of Hell.
They are not even acting in their own apparent self-interest. The only thing that seems to matter is the cause.
To a lesser extent, I also see this when observing those who are not active proponents of the crisis, but who have been deceived by its architects. People who, seemingly once of sound faith and good will, are intoxicated, for lack of a better word, into a clearly false view of the events that are unfolding. They become so incapable of recognizing what is happening that they will fiercely attack anyone who tries to simply point out the obvious. They give terrifying meaning to the axiom, “There are none so blind as those who will not see.”
Even within the resistance to what is being perpetrated against our beloved Holy Mother Church, there is an increasing factionalization. Conspiracy theories deepen and distract and divide us as we become fixated on ways to make sense of what is going on and how to fix it. Bitterness and divisions set in, even over petty things. There is a seeming intractability, a hardening of positions that leads to endless, circular arguments about things we ultimately cannot change.
With all of this in mind, it would be well, I think, for us to reflect upon and pray against what may in fact be a far deeper preternatural battle than most of us realize. It looks more and more like a runaway train, and the devil is doing the driving.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.