Pornocracy, pt. 2: the Coming Reign of Antichrist

Read part I The Third Pornocracy: the Current Crisis in the Church

The term “pornocracy” is brutally grotesque, and yet it is honest. It is helpful, I believe, because the term truly describes the reality of how bad the corruption is. But it also reminds us that the Church has been through two other times of at least similar corruption and ultimately prevailed.

Further, each of these two pornocracies in the past were unprecedented at the time and worse than the last. So we should not be surprised that the Church crisis is now unprecedented in certain ways but also the worst that it’s ever been. Practically every Church crisis in history is the worst crisis it’s ever been up to that point.

It is also a dogma of the faith that the final crisis (the reign of Antichrist himself) will also be the worst crisis up to that point (CCC, 675):

Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers … in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth … a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

So if your faith is failing now, what will you do when Antichrist comes? But yet the Son of man, when he cometh, shall he find, think you, faith on earth? (Lk. xviii. 8). But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved (Mt. xxiv. 13).

How can we persevere?

But when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand (Lk. xxi. 28). Thus even under the reign of Antichrist, we will rejoice. Why? That wicked one shall be revealed whom the Lord Jesus shall kill with the spirit of his mouth (II Thess. ii. 8). The reign of Antichrist is a sign of the coming triumph of the Lord who will destroy Antichrist.

This is the reality of every Church crisis, every pornocracy – it is a sign of a coming triumph of Christ. This is shown gloriously in the prophecy of the Apocalypse.

The Church understands the book of the Apocalypse as having a threefold depth: 1.) it was written to the early Church to encourage our fathers against “666” (the gematria of “Caesar Nero” in two languages); 2.) a prophecy about the whole history of the Church and 3.) a prophecy about the end of time.[1] (Only the infallible Holy Scriptures can say three things at once – being present, as it were, in three different times in the chronology of history!)

Therefore when we encounter crises in the Church, we need to look to the end of time and the reign of Antichrist, as the season of Advent teaches us every year, to give us a proper perspective of our own time. If we don’t have faith now, we will fail in our faith at the time of Antichrist, should we be chosen to live during that horror. This is why Our Lord says In your patience you shall possess your souls (Lk. xxi. 19). The virtue of patience means to suffer evils well (II-II q136). We must suffer these evils well, looking to the end of time and Our Lord’s second Advent, and never losing faith and hope.

Pornocracies Include Doctrinal Corruption

All pornocracies include a corruption of doctrine and scandal to the faith coming from the papacy itself. It is historically absurd to suggest that the first two pornocracies were orthodox in their teaching, since the most common Magisterial teaching act of a pope – throughout history – is to give sermons and addresses orally. The vast majority of these are not written down – especially if a pope is hated for his wickedness!

It is foolish to assume that every other part of a given pope’s life was wicked (like John XII) but when he happened to publicly address the faithful somehow he could speak – like Barlaam’s ass – the words of doctrinal orthodoxy.

Outside of Barlaam, his ass, and the Church’s infallibility, God does not prevent error, ambiguity and scandal to the faith coming from the words and deeds of men, including the pope.

Nevertheless our own pornocracies do present a particularly unprecedented problem due to the false spirit of Vatican I. But we also cannot underestimate the influence of technology as well – from newspapers in the 19th century to the Twitter feed and airplane-shoot-from-the-hip scandal in the 21st century.

The Sacramental Spotlessness

Here we need to come back to that critical theological truth about Church corruption: Christ loves His Church and makes her pure, no matter what. This is the reality that we must put our faith and hope in, for this is what animated our fathers to fight for the Church even in the darkest times. It is the love of Christ which vindicates His Church at the end of time against Antichrist. Yet this love of Christ begins with every soul.

Each one of us must accept this love of Christ which is most perfectly expressed in the Blessed Sacrament of His Sacred Heart. Or again in the Sacrament of Penance, in which we are cleansed from our sins. Our Lord “forgets,” as it were, all the pornocracy in your soul.

In an instant the evil is swallowed and disappears in the Precious Blood of Jesus, and the soul returns to the beauty and purity of the state of grace. It is impossible to overestimate the glory and the spotless character of sanctifying grace. Thus does the prophet express the mystery: thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow (Ps. l. 9).

Every soul which is joined to the Church by the Sacraments of initiation is whiter than snow, at least in potency. Christ has loved every member of the Church, no matter how evil they may be, and has held out to them His own Precious Blood to wash them immediately upon true repentance (which itself is a work of His grace).

This washing of the eternal punishment then gives every soul the divine help to take on the temporary punishment – that healing and transforming life of penance – which binds up the wounds of sin and impurity which still remain, so that grace can make a saint out of a sinner.

This possibility is literally present in every member of the Church by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation. This is present in the Church no matter how evil the tares are that the devil planted among the wheat.

Thus besides the first reason already discussed, we also see a real, concrete reality in the Sacraments that makes the Church totally spotless, at least in potency, for every member, and for an unknown number of souls, a reality. Therefore the love of Christ for His Church causes Him to cleanse her and ultimately defend His bride at the end of time.

For the pornocracy and the reign of Antichrist are ultimately an accusation against every soul and against the Church herself. The Protestants dared to attack the mercy of Christ in the Sacraments. They dared to attack the honor due to Our Lady, and the honor due to the Bride of Christ. They failed to see how Christ could make a spotless Bride out of an adulterous, New Israel. They lost faith in the Church and thus accused her and her purity.

But this is ultimately the work of the Devil, for it is an accusation against the love of Christ Himself for His Bride. It is an act of distrust in His promises. Therefore the Holy Ghost says when a woman clothed with the sun (Apoc. xii. 1) appears (typifying both Our Lady and the Church):

And that great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him. And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying: Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night (Apoc. xii. 9-10).

Just as the Angel armies (Lk. ii. 13) announce the birth of Christ the King at Christmas, so too the armies of heaven announce His triumph against Antichrist at the end of time.[2] Between Christmas and the Second Coming is the death and resurrection of Christ in His Church throughout history. The Third Pornocracy that we are living through is an announcement of His coming triumph. So let us turn now in history to the first two pornocracies and show how these periods of ultimate darkness only preceded greater triumphs of the light of Christ.

Read part III: Good out of Evil Papal Corruption


[1] For an introduction to the Catholic understanding of the Book of the Apocalypse, see Hahn and Mitch. Also Marshall’s book The Eternal City: Rome & the Origins of Catholic Christianity of which he includes a great deal in his audio series.

[2] Lk. ii. 13: πλῆθος στρατιᾶς οὐρανίου.

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