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Playing With Fire: Rosica, Francis, and the Spirit of the Antichrist

“And he shall speak words against the High One, and shall crush the saints of the most High: and he shall think himself able to change times and laws, and they shall be delivered into his hand until a time, and times, and half a time.” –Daniel 7:25

wrote before, years ago, that I believe Pope Francis to be a type of the Antichrist. A forerunner. A precursor. A man who “shares some noteworthy characteristics and ideological predilections that have long been foretold” of this apocalyptic figure.

Some people bristled at this. Some scoffed. Fewer, I think, would do so today, especially when re-reading in our present ecclesiastical context the quote I provided from Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen’s Communism and the Conscience of the West:

The Antichrist will not be so called; otherwise he would have no followers…he will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves… He will tempt Christian(s) with the same three temptations with which he tempted Christ… He will have one great secret which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counterchurch … It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ.

I invite you to read and compare this to the words of the Basilian father, Vatican spokesman, and founder of Canada’s Salt & Light TV, published yesterday, about Pope Francis:

Pope Francis breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants because he is “free from disordered attachments.” Our Church has indeed entered a new phase: with the advent of this first Jesuit pope, it is openly ruled by an individual rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture.

He shall think himself able to change times and laws, and they shall be delivered into his hand…

The same Fr. Rosica gushed, back in 2015 during the pope’s visit to the United States, that he had “often wondered how Jesus taught on a Galilean hillside.” And that “tonight in Philadelphia,” he “saw how Jesus taught.”

Again, the following day, as a caption to a photo of the papal motorcade, “‘See, your king comes to you, gentle & riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey’ -Matthew 21:15 (not in Philadelphia!)”

Most disturbingly, Fr. Rosica said during an interview with Fox News:

The backdrop [of the papal visit] is a world steeped in violence and bloodshed and rancor and hatred, and here we have coming — to your city, to your diocese — a real prince of peace. If there’s any princely title that should be associated with Francis, it’s “The Prince of Peace.”

This, Our Lord’s prophetic title in Isaiah 9:6, applied to a man who “breaks Catholic traditions whenever he wants” and who rules the Church by his own dictates “rather than by the authority of Scripture alone or even its own dictates of tradition plus Scripture”?

This is some very dangerous fire Rosica is playing with here. Rosica, again, is not just any obscure priest with a papal idolatry problem. According to his own biography:

Following the announcement on February 11, 2013 of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation, Fr. Rosica was invited by the Vatican to join the staff of the Holy See Press Office and serve as one of the official spokespersons for the transition in the papacy that included the resignation, Sede Vacante, Conclave and election of the new Pope. Fr. Rosica assisted the Vatican during a critical period in Church history. At the end of the Papal transition in April 2013, the Vatican asked him to serve as English language assistant to the Holy See Press Office. From 2013 to the end of 2016, he served in this capacity on behalf of the Holy See Press Office.

He is a man known to the pope.

He has made comments that are idolatrous and arguably blasphemous. Comments so far beyond the pale that the Zenit news agency quietly made them disappear from an initial report that originally included them.

Where is the correction from the pope?

How could a good shepherd allow such a thing to be said without reproof?

How could a man universally acclaimed as humble fail to be horrified at being described in such a way? In having it suggested that he could simply override Scripture and Tradition at whim?

I’ll give you one theory as to how: he agrees. Because he has demonstrated time and again that what Rosica said is exactly what he believes.

If not this, then what? Is he too busy overturning Catholic teaching to read someone talking about him doing it and, consequently, to correct him?

As Francis continues to unmake the papacy, to shake the foundations of Catholic belief, and to chip away at the deposit of faith, the American Church awaits a grand jury report from the state of Pennsylvania outlining the alleged abuses perpetrated by three hundred priests in six of the state’s eight dioceses. Around the country, more allegations are surfacing as the faithful grow increasingly angry at an episcopacy that has betrayed their trust again. 

In Chile, just minutes before I began writing this, news broke that authorities were raiding the offices of the Catholic bishops’ conference to obtain evidence on clerical sex abuse. Chile, where Pope Francis stubbornly kept Bishop Juan Barros, accused of complicity in the abuse of young men, calling the people of that country “stupid” for believing the accusations, shaming the victims, until at last public pressure forced his hand. Chile, from whence comes Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz, one of the pope’s council of nine cardinal advisers – a man also accused of complicity in abuse, but nevertheless allowed to retain his position by the pope.

Last night, I was asked by someone what the path forward from here is. How can the Church restore the glory she once had?

My answer:

I don’t think there is a path from where we are to what needs to happen. There are many small communities doing it – intentionally living and believing as closely as possible the way Catholics always did before the second half of the 20th century – but I think they’ll always be marginalized as long as there’s an institutional need to perpetuate the lie that the changes were good and that they’ll ever bear fruit. We know they weren’t. We know they haven’t. The post-conciliar Church is a barren tree. And like the fig tree from scripture, I think Christ has cursed it. It is imploding at an astonishing pace as the errors, the perversions, and even the heresies it promotes continue to be ever more brazen. So I think, as I wrote in my Infinity War piece, that the Church must be almost completely destroyed to be raised up again. It’s the only way. And God is letting it happen – perhaps even accelerating it.

It has to happen. And it’s actually a good thing, even though it doesn’t look like it, that it’s happening in conservative dioceses, too. Because the idea that there’s somewhere to hide from sin, or that careful cultivation of orthodoxy (or, often as not, the veneer thereof) can keep you safe is a big fat lie. I was inside the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi. Their conservatism, their vocations program, their superficial orthodoxy would put the Lincoln Diocese to shame.

We all know how that turned out.

People need to be led back to personal holiness. They need to develop a sense of the worship of God, not this humanistic garbage. They need to understand the role of the Church in the world and in relationship to other religions, Christian and otherwise. They need to grasp the differences in the roles of the baptismal and ministerial priesthood, respecting and revering the latter without falling into the dangerous kind of clericalism.

There’s so much we’ve lost. We need to get it back and then keep going.

In this, as in all things we’ve suffered over these years of the true Church in exile, the only way out is through.

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