And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, having ten horns and seven heads; and on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads were blasphemous names. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And the dragon gave it his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have received a death-blow, but its mortal wound had been healed. In amazement the whole earth followed the beast. They worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it? – Revelation 13:1-10
In the 2010 film, Clash of the Titans, there is a scene in which Zeus, angry with the humans, is persuaded by Hades to visit vengeance upon the mortals in the form of the Kraken, a giant monster from the depths of the sea. The visual of this great evil being unleashed is something to behold:
If this scene is evocative, perhaps it is because it’s familiar. Like a Kraken released, we have a colossal problem in our world today. There are few who are not stunned by the growing specter of evil; a darkness more profound and spreading more quickly across the globe than any civilized human being could have ever imagined. Many of those I speak with have admitted that they now abstain completely from watching the news: “It’s just too much,” they say. “It’s just so horrifying!”
For the past two years I have been confiding to close friends my own growing sense that something is happening, that something unholy is stirring. I have spoken with others who have admitted the same suspicion. The way I have tried to describe it in the past is like the rumblings felt just before a volcano explodes.
Now, I find myself wondering if the eruption is upon us.
Who could ever conceive of atrocities like those we are seeing executed in the name of religion? Where once we might see coverage of a tragic conflict far away, we now face an evil that is not confined to some distant corner of the planet. With the always-on, near-instant spread of information in our digital age, your next door neighbor can be radicalized from the comfort of their living room.
What we are facing is, first and foremost, a form of spiritual warfare. In a time where violence is rampant and the innocent are threatened, it is true that we must be ready to physically engage the malefactors. But if we deny the spiritual nature of this surge of evil we are facing, we will have no hope of victory.
When confronted with atrocity, the immediate reaction of most people is, “What can we do to stop it?” Yes! That is the exact question we need to be asking. Summoning us to courage, St. Augustine challenges us to do battle: “Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are anger and courage. Anger that things are the way they are. Courage to make them the way they ought to be.”
But to begin to answer the question of what we can do, we must first properly assess where we are. What are our capabilities? How is our strength? What is the state of our conditioning? Without this kind of brutal honesty, we are likely to flounder rather than fight.
Jesus warned, “Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth” (Luke 21:34-35).
And yet isn’t that exactly what has become of us? Consider this sobering analysis of our present condition from columnist Jeffrey Kuhner at the Washington Times:
For the past 50 years, every major institution has been captured by the radical secular left. The media, Hollywood, TV, universities, public schools, theater, the arts, literature — they relentlessly promote the false gods of sexual hedonism and radical individualism. Conservatives have ceded the culture to the enemy. Tens of millions of unborn babies have been slaughtered; illegitimacy rates have soared; divorce has skyrocketed; pornography is rampant; drug use has exploded; sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS have killed millions; birth control is a way of life; sex outside of wedlock has become the norm; countless children have been permanently damaged — their innocence lost forever — because of the proliferation of broken homes; and sodomy and homosexuality are celebrated openly. America has become the new Babylon.
This cultural assessment is bleak. And I believe that underlying it all is a deeper evil, a more ancient and intractable error which gives rise to all the rest. Many have pointed to “Modernism” as the heresy of our times. Modernism, while it takes many forms, is basically a break or rejection of our past in favor of all things new. And, while it seems evident that our Church is fully infected with the heresy of Modernism, I believe that it, too, is a symptom of this more fundamental threat.
What am I referring to? Something that impacts the very nature of human existence and the opportunity for our salvation. Lacking an official name, I call this monster, “Stealth Arianism.” Students of history know that the Arian heresy – the worst crisis in the Church before our present age – was rooted in the belief that Jesus Christ was merely a created being, not equal to God the Father. Stealth Arianism follows the same fatal error, but with a twist: while the Arians of the fourth century openly denied Christ’s divinity, today‘s Arians will profess Jesus as God, and yet through their actions deny it. In other words, they don’t even know they are heretics. Many even believe that they are doing God’s work in their attempts to elevate Christ’s humanity at the cost of His divinity.
You see, once we diminish the identity of Christ as the Son of God, we are left to view Him as simply a historical figure that was a nice guy, a respectable teacher and a good example for how we are to live. Religion is then reduced to a nice organization that does nice things for people as we seek a kind of psychotherapy for self-actualization. And this is not only not what He came to give us, but it’s something He made sure to leave no room for.
In his Christological examination, [easyazon_link asin=”0060652926″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”onep073-20″]Mere Christianity[/easyazon_link], C.S. Lewis makes the case plain:
I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg—or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronising nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.
Over the past 50 years, the Stealth Arians have done everything within their power to remove from our lived experience of Catholicism anything that would point to the divinity of Christ, and the supernatural quality of our faith. Everything has been stripped from our churches – sacred art, sacred architecture, sacred music, and the sacred elements of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass – and we are left in the barren desert of the banal. It is no wonder many Catholics think nothing of approaching the Most Holy Eucharist dressed in a t-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops, and grabbing the host like they’re reaching into a bag of chips. As Flannery O’Connor said, “If it’s a symbol, to hell with it.” It’s more surprising that these individuals even bother to attend Mass at all.
Moreover, the Stealth Arians have deliberately chosen to keep their teachings muddled, ambiguous and elusive in an effort to increase “pastoral sensitivity” as the highest of all values, which keeps people feeling good about themselves just the way they are – though never challenged to strive for sainthood! Of course, when people like the way their church makes them feel about themselves, that keeps the money flowing into the collection basket. But whether confused and uncertain, or simply spiritually blind for lack of true pastoral care, the faithful who have been abandoned by their spiritual leaders are prone to be conformed to the world and its prince, a murderer and liar from the beginning.
St. John Chrysostom exhorts, “Let us be filled with confidence, and let us discard everything so as to be able to meet this onslaught. Christ has equipped us with weapons more splendid than gold, more resistant than steel, weapons more fiery than any flame and lighter than the slightest breeze … These are weapons of a totally new kind, for they have been forged for a previously unheard-of type of combat. I, who am a mere man, find myself called upon to deal blows to demons; I, who am clothed in flesh, find myself at war with incorporeal powers.”
That sounds noble for St. John, but about for us? Are we really prepared to such a fight? Just when we need mighty spiritual warriors for these dangerous times, Satan has spent the past 50 years diminishing the Church’s legions to little more than a bunch of Girl Scouts. Now that we are left in our weakened state, Satan seems to be calling out to deal the last blow, “Release the Kraken!”
Indeed, what can we do?
St. Paul gives us the answer in his epistle to the Ephesians (6:10-18):
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. With all of these, take the shield of faith, with which you will be able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert and always persevere in supplication for all the saints.
Originally published on September 18, 2014.
Fr. Richard M. Heilman is a priest of the Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin, and the Wisconsin State Chaplain for the Knights of Columbus. He is a regular guest host on Relevant Radio’s The Inner Life, and is the founder of the Knights of Divine Mercy, which is an apostolate for Catholic men’s faith formation..
He is also he founder of the Ladies of Divine Mercy, which is an apostolate for Catholic women’s faith formation. He is the author of the Church Militant Field Manual and the Roman Catholic Man website, which are both dedicated to helping Catholics understand and train for their role in the mission of combating evil and rescuing the souls of our loved ones who have lost the precious gift of faith.
Thank you Fr. Richard for having the moral courage to express what way too many have long dismissed: Truth. Godspeed.
As Our Lady of Good Hope told Adele Brise in 1859, a year after the Marian Apparitions at Lourdes, France: “I am the Queen of Heaven, who prays for the conversion of sinners, and I wish you to do the same. What are you doing here in idleness, while your companions are working in the vineyard of My Son? Make a general confession and offer Communion for the conversion of sinners. If they do not convert and do penance, my Son will be obliged to punish them. Gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation. Teach them their Catechism, how to sign themselves with the Sign of the Cross and how to approach the Sacraments; that is what I wish you to do. Go and fear nothing. I will help you”.
“What are our capabilities? How is our strength? What is the state of our conditioning?”
The brutal answer is zero. It would be rash to entertain the notion of the US as a nation with a future that isn’t Islamic. Westerners, Americans included, have no will to fight and to sacrifice all for final victory as our enemies have, be they Muslims, Russians or Chinese.
I think part of the problem is that the vast majority of American citizens have not been personally affected by the evil of Islam. It is someone else’s son getting their head cut off, it is someone else’s son being blown up by an IED. When the persecution becomes more personal (your neighbor got his head hacked off at the mall last week) then the people will begin to wake up. Islam, however, is just one head of the dragon, and probably one of the weakest heads. The other heads, like widespread heresy and apostasy among Christians, which has led to the breakdown of western culture, is in my opinion, a more potent foe. At any rate, when there is almost nothing left to save, the people will wake up. Whether they will resist is another matter. Evil will eventually wear itself out and implode one way or another. A remnant will remain to pick up the pieces and rebuild civilization. Or, Christ will have returned and history will have ended. The battle against evil begins in our own consciousness and as Fr. refers to St. Paul’s words above, we each need to have our armor on, burnished, and arms at the ready. Not easy when the whole world has gone mad and no one can rely on the institutions that kept us together and strong in the past.
I think it to be more likely that Western civilization won’t recover, but that its decadent ruins will be ground to powder by Islam. Christianity might well take over and re-energize Chinese civilization, but frankly the Church in the West is too weak to rebuild anything.
Perhaps. I sometimes wonder if Islam let loose is simply an ends to a means for our western leaders, the ‘accomplishing’ of ideological goals that dovetail with political goals. Islam triumphant would mean the end of western leadership as we know it, and I doubt the secularists would be willing to convert or give up personal power (or their heads) when push comes to shove. The west lies in ruins from within. Its thinkers and leaders have said, “We will be as gods.” Of course, their pretensions to Olympus are a farce and will end as soon as Islam threatens their own necks. When they decide that the liabilities of Islam outweigh its ‘benefits’ it will cease to be a force in the west. Immigration will cease, sharia neighborhoods will be cleared out, the sexual grooming of young western girls by Muslim men will be rooted out. Beheadings will cease, and the unfortunate Muslims will be left once again to fight amongst their own while a few despots hold onto the oil. Without the west propping it up, Islam is impotent. The bigger issue, to me, is the spiritual wasteland of western culture. It is said, with reason, that the Irish saved civilization. It is usually like that — a small group of people are uniquely positioned to keep the flame alive. I cannot help but believe that it will happen again. That is why it is so important to take on the ‘kraken’ ourselves, in our own spiritual and moral lives. God uses the small and weak things of the world, after all.
Western secularists can’t get their brains around the notion that people could possibly believe in religion or be motivated by religious beliefs in God as the supreme Lawgiver and final Judge of the living and the dead. For them there are no consequences of casting one’s commitment to this dogma of faith or to that. So it is inevitable that, when faced with the ultimatum to convert to Islam or die, they will become Muslims when it becomes necessary to save their lives. After that, they will spend the rest of their lives convincing themselves that Islam is true, while their children and grandchildren are raised in Islam, never having known anything else.
You know that Catholic teaching says despair is a sin. 😉
No need for despair, true–we know that Christ and His Church win in the end! The sad question remains, though: how many will suffer, and, most tragically, how many souls will be lost along the way.
Yes, Sister, it is grievous to think of the suffering and lost souls. On a good day, I do not despair. On a bad day, I need someone to remind me.
Yes, we must continue to remind each other! And remind the world.
Sister, I beg a favor of you. My daughter, whose confirmation name is Brigid, is not living her Catholic faith at the moment. Would you remember her in your prayers today? Thank you and God bless you.
Absolutely! My confirmation name is also Brigid, by the way. I have her in prayer as of this moment, and will keep her there.
May our blessed Lord be with you!
Thank you, Sister. I am very grateful.
Eerie and tragic, isn’t it, that we now have seen a woman in Oklahoma beheaded in her own workplace by a Muslim zealot. NOW, it’s here.
I do wonder if Islam is, indeed, the beast.
If not, it is certainly being utilized by the beast.
Hi Sister. I think it was Fr. Cameron (editor of Magnificat) who asked me, when I queried him on this, “What is a good working definition of the Anti Christ?” I started to stumble for an answer and he then said, “The one who denies the divinity of Christ.” Then he asked me to read what is written on the Dome of the Rock….. Low and behold, the very same thing (among other things! Then it sort of all fell together for me: millions being led astray, etc. I can’t see how it works any other way. God bless you, sister, and I’ll be praying for you, too!
I am so glad to have found this site. It’s like a castle built on bedrock while all around is quicksand…
You just made my day. Thank you!
You’re most welcome…
I shudder, because you are right. However, I still have hope that you are wrong. Never give up on prayer! With God, all things are possible.
what is wrong with “radical individualism”? I’ll answer – done correctly, nothing. Jesus was our ultimate radical individual.
Thank you, Father! We do need to recognize our old enemy, and do battle! I am a daily communicant, and I am not alone.
This is simply brilliant, thank you, Fr. Richard! I am a new subscriber, and grateful to have found this site. As a novice in a religious community, I constantly witness evil nibbling away at the Church…and it is nibbling not at the edges, but at our core–the Holy Eucharist! So much of our sense of the sacred has been lost, even within religious communities. And you’re right, most don’t even know it…it’s all about “mercy” and “inclusiveness.” Some warped sense of “mercy” seems to justify all sorts of heresy. Sigh. Please keep writing, Father, and may God bless you.
Thank you, Sister, for your uplifting comment — it made my entire day. My family will pray for you.
I’m not saying I’m right about this, but only that it popped into my head as I read this, as a possibility. Could it be that what we are seeing now is just a return to what has been, until the advent of Christian culture, “normal”? Read a little about the history of pre-Roman, pre-Christian civilisations and wyou will see something that will make the current news stories look like a re-run of a 70s sit com. The enslavement of whole nations and their deporatation used to be the *normal* outcome of wars. When they didn’t involve the total eradication of the civilian population, that is. The routine slaughter of infants, the use of slaves for gladitorial entertainment, paid for by the government. We have got so used to Christian moral dictates being the foundation of a civilisation that perhaps we have just forgotten what the world looked like without them.
Thank you, Father, for this insightful and powerful reminder and to all who are running and contributing to this website. It truly is a God-send! Yes, I concur that “something is coming.” I must say that I have been begging our Lord to give me the strength and courage to do His Will, particularly as our world seems to be unraveling. We are losing the sense of the sacred and deep understanding of the sanctity and miracle that is life. There are countless reasons for it, but at the heart of it all, is our pride. I regularly go back to Genesis and then compare it to the life of the Blessed Mother and the humility of our Savior, Jesus Christ. How can I look upon a crucifix and not be moved by the love…and by the selfishness of my own sins. No, we have lost the sense of sin and if we do not believe we have sinned, we have no need of a Savior, so on and so forth. The spirit of relativism clothed in “social justice” is moving a lightning speed and we have lost our sense of sin. Arianism is also prevalent in our Church, as of us commented earlier here. We have forgotten Who Jesus said He Is! I have heard “faithful” – both clergy and laity – state that Jesus could not have really meant what He said….SIGH. I ask for prayers and I will pray for all of us that we may stay close to Him so that we may bring others to the Truth.
I don’t get this type of sky-is-falling paranoia.
We are living in the most peaceful time in human history:
As far as the Washington Times article – “For the past 50 years, every major institution has been captured by the radical secular left”. Are they paying attention? The US is becoming more libertarian, not more liberal. We see increasing income and wealth inequality and policies that promote inequality. 50 years ago the top marginal federal income tax rate was 70% Now it is under 40%. http://www.businessinsider.com/history-of-tax-rates-2012-5
The world is becoming more friendly to the wealthy and more libertarian. And certainly more peaceful.
You must be completely oblivious to the absolute evil that is abortion. 1.7 Billion humans slaughtered at the altar of Ba’al (procured abortion) during the past 50 years. Even more were (and continue to be) spontaneously aborted by the effects of the hormonal birth control pill. This is the most dangerous time to be a human. And this is the 1st sin that cried out to heaven for justice – the murder of innocent life. I bet you were wearing orange at our state capitol 2 summers ago.
And theft by wealth redistribution is still theft. The metric you need to look at is the average life span (once born). We now live longer, easier lives if we are allowed to be born. Why? A direct result of the free market that you despise. This is not so in the countries ruled by oligarchies (where we are headed unless we turn this ship around).
Abortion is a major problem, yes. But the original article said the world was falling apart, and it isn’t.
Where do you get off accusing me “the free market that you despise”? I am an active businessman, member of the Chamber of Commerce, employer, and advocate for free markets. You don’t know what you are talking about.
Maybe I misunderstood the intent of your claims and you are not actually a liberal. You are at least a little confused. I already showed you that we are in the most violent period for humanity. And the world is becoming more wicked and immoral by the day.
I just posted this comment yesterday over at lifesitenews and it seems fitting to re-post it here today. God bless you Fr.Heilman.
I’m afraid the time is fast approaching where we will all be tested, we will all have to choose. The question that remains is who will have the courage of their convictions, the courage to be shamed by the homofacists, the courage to be condemned and disowned by ones family’s, the willingness to sacrifice one’s job and means of temporal income and the courage to die for the truth of Jesus.
“For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens.” Eph. 6:12
“For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world.”
Thank you for telling the truth Father! It’s always refreshing to hear it after being subjected to the constant lies of those without and within who reject the One True Church.
Or it could be that we have a “crisis of catechesis” that directly stems from the failure of our clergy to preach like Jesus. The priests that include the Fullness of Truth are far and few between. When is the last time you heard a Homily on the Last Things? Jesus preached on this topic more than any other topic except for one, His divinity.
So what is the result of our priests “contracepting” the Gospel? People stop believing in the reality of hell and eternal damnation. Otherwise good priests say heretical statements like, “we can have reasonable hope that no humans are in hell.” So the enemy isn’t real and everybody goes to heaven? Pretty soon they fall into mortal sin of one sort or another (mostly sins of the flesh according to Our Lady of Fatima). They stop going to confession. Then, they decide why bother with this church stuff. And there you have the root of this great apostasy. The evidence is quite clear.
Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Pray that our priests and bishops wake up and pick up their cross!
One could argue that our government already released the “Kraken” back in 1960. It came in the form of a group 1 carcinogen that, by its use, separates couples from the grace of God. It fostered the contraceptive mentality that lead our society to accept: abortion, pornography, “no-fault” divorce laws, IVF, embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia, co-habitation, and abstinence plus sex education. All of these intrinsically evil things have been legalized and promoted and or provided by our government. These evils in turn led to 30 new STD’s with current epidemics of several, extreme divorce rates, extreme unwed pregnancy rates and extreme increases in breast cancer. Only 28% of children born today can expect their parents to stay married for life. There is no peace for the vast majority. Our children suffer because of our sins. Our only hope is in God. We must turn to Him, repent and live according to His plan.
It’s good that you are beginning to recognize the first half of Revelation chapter 13, although the literal Antichrist is not publicly ruling the world *yet*. What we have now is our spiritual chastisement of the second beast of Revelation 13 – the false prophet – who looks like a lamb (2 horns = mitre) but speaks like a dragon. He invalidly sits on the throne of Peter and has taken the name Francis. Just look at the neo-pagan documnts from the October 2014 Synod run by Francis’ hand-picked modernists for one example. Hey, and Francis says don’t breed “like rabbits.” If you don’t believe that, look it up.