Living in the End Times
The question was posed why I was writing this series on “Living in the End Times”. Besides an interior realization that the Holy Spirit was calling me to once again present and update this material at this time, it is also my intent, with the help of God’s grace, to expose the evil which Satan is perpetrating against the Holy Roman Catholic Church, the very Church which Christ founded upon the shoulders of Peter and the Apostles.
If this series brings about the salvation of at least a single soul – saving one or more of God’s children from the deceptions and corruptions from the Evil One in today’s world – then everything I present today and in the weeks to come is well worth all the effort.
Last week, we discussed the radical right element within the Church, the Sedevacantists, and the damage their ultra-conservatism is causing to the souls of God’s children who are embracing this heretical movement.
Today, I wish to begin to address the flip-side of this same heretical and schismatic coin – the radical left – progressive liberalism at its very worst and its demonic agenda, subverting and relativizing God’s Truth and the Magisterial teachings of our Holy Catholic Church!
The Radical Left
Unbeknown to many people, this liberal movement among the Church’s clergy has been slowing progressing throughout the 20th century, but most especially after the Second Vatican Council, and during the papacy of Pope St. Paul VI, when, in 1972, he had stated, “…from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”
And on October 13, 1977, on the anniversary of the last apparition at Fatima where the Miracle of the Sun occurred, Pope St. Paul VI stated, “The tail of the devil is functioning in the disintegration of the Catholic world. The darkness of Satan has entered and spread throughout the Catholic Church even to its summit. Apostasy, the loss of the Faith, is spreading throughout the world and into the highest levels within the Church.”
The prince of lies, Satan, is very cunning, constantly scheming to find a weak link in the armor of the Church, and he has found it and is exploiting the social agenda of the Church, especially in its efforts to reach out to all who feel separated from the Bride of Christ through sins of the flesh – adultery, fornication, homosexuality, sodomy, and this sad list continues.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church (§ 2380) teaches us, just on the topic of adultery itself, “Adultery refers to marital infidelity. When two partners, of whom at least one is married to another party, have sexual relations – even transient ones – they commit adultery. Christ condemns even adultery of mere desire. The Sixth Commandment and the New Testament forbid adultery absolutely. The prophets denounce the gravity of adultery; they see it as an image of the sin of idolatry.” (Exodus 20:14; cf. Matthew 5:27-27, 32; 19:6; Mark 10:11; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; cf. Hosea 2:7; Jeremiah 5:7; 13:27; et al.).
It goes on to say, “Adultery is an injustice. He who commits adultery fails in his commitment. He does injury to the sign of the covenant which the marriage bond is, transgresses the rights of the other spouse, and undermines the institution of marriage by breaking the contract on which it is based. He compromises the good of human generation and the welfare of children who need their parents’ stable union” (§ 2381).
And there is much more written in the Catechism on this topic, as well as all the other carnal sins which I listed above. But what is happening within certain areas of the Church today is a social activism which goes beyond the Church’s Magisterial teaching, ultimately rejecting and rewriting Church doctrine in certain areas.
The evil of this radical left movement recently “picked up steam” when Pope Francis published his apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia [The Joy of Love]”, and was released to the public on April 8, 2016.
But first, I wish to lay some groundwork before discussing “Amoris Laetitia”. In 2013, Pope Francis announced that in October 2014 there would convene an Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on topics related to the family, marriage and evangelization.
According to the “National Catholic Register”, Cardinal Walter Kasper introduced the idea of Holy Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried. There was heated discussion and much push-back by members of the synod, arguing that entertaining such a proposal would threaten the Church’s fidelity to the Word of God.
The cardinal then amended the original idea by stating that if the Eucharist cannot be offered universally, then, perhaps, it could be offered by the local ordinaries (diocesan bishops), as a way of welcoming back the separated brethren into the Church.
When the Synod was finally adjourned in October 2015 and after the final report published, the apostolic exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” was issued. Overall, Pope Francis’ exhortation was pastorally welcoming and very uplifting.
But within the 264 page document itself, however, there lies a very real ambiguity or indistinctness within the contents of Chapter 8, which addresses the spiritual life of a remarried couple (without benefit of a decree of nullity – annulment), specifically those who are in “irregular” situations, most specifically those Catholics who had been sacramentally married, civilly divorced and are now living in a new conjugal union, either common-law cohabitation or civil marriage.
In other words, they are living conjugal lives while being validly married to someone else. And Pope Francis addressed the possibility of how such couples could participate “fully in the life of the Church”, in other words being able to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.
Consequently, there has been considerable discussion and much confusion regarding the overall tone of this particular chapter, so much so that four cardinals privately asked the pope, in what is formally called a “dubia”, whether the exhortation conforms to Catholic teaching on marriage, the Sacraments, and conscience. Sadly, even to this day, the pope has failed to satisfactorily answer their questions in order to clear up any ambiguity.
And this apparent refusal on the part of Pope Francis to render a clear understanding of those areas in question has been interpreted by many as a tacit approval for the heretical thinking and actions of other members of the Church’s hierarchy as well a growing number of parish priests.
In an apparent effort to answer the questions posed by others, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, who was the Vatican prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated, “‘Amoris Laetitia’ must clearly be interpreted in the light of the whole doctrine of the Church”. He also made clear that it must be interpreted in its entirety and not taken piecemeal. “One cannot refer only to little passages present in ‘Amoris Laetitia’, but it has to be read as a whole, with the purpose of making the Gospel of marriage and the family more attractive for persons.”
In voicing his displeasure with the contradictory opinions offered by various cardinals and bishops around the world concerning the papal exhortation, Cardinal Müller went on to state, “I don’t like it, it is not right that so many bishops are interpreting ‘Amoris Laetitia’ according to their way of understanding the pope’s teaching. This does not keep to the line of Catholic doctrine.”
Schismatic Consequences of “Amoris Laetitia”
And yet, the radical left element of the Church openly embraced this ambiguity within “Amoris Laetitia” by marginalizing long-standing Church doctrine, doctrine which was based upon Divine Law and can never be altered. The following heretical actions, all without papal correction, are a sad consequence of the evil of this marginalization:
- Bishop Robert McElroy, the bishop of San Diego, California called upon priests in his diocese to welcome members of the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual] community and to consider allowing divorced and remarried couples to receive Holy Communion, contrary to longstanding Church practice. Parishes within the diocese were advised “…to assist those who are divorced and remarried and cannot receive an annulment to utilize the internal forum of conscience in order to discern if God is calling them to return to the Eucharist.” The statement went on to indicate “a spirituality of family life which is deeply inclusive” and involves embracing “LGBT families”, among others.
- Archbishop Charles Scicluna, the archbishop of Malta, released guidelines claiming that the divorced and civilly remarried may, if conscience permits, in some cases, access the Sacraments. He also threatened seminarians who refused to implement the Maltese bishops’ vision of “Amoris Laetitia”, i.e. allowing Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried. According to the archbishop, if seminarians disagreed with this interpretation, “the seminary gate is open.” – in other words, they should leave the seminary and forget about their calling to the Holy Priesthood of Jesus Christ!
- Bishop Mario Grech, diocesan bishop of Gozo, threatened to suspend priests who did not give Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried. Based on this reasoning, the pro-LGBTdissident group “New Ways Ministry” argued that the same logic extended to active homosexuals.
- Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesemann of Speyer, Germany, announced on December 17, 2016, his intention to publish guidelines instructing priests how to give the sacraments to civilly remarried Catholics. The bishop stated that Pope Francis, in his apostolic exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” has made this possible on a case-by-case basis.
- Bishop Wiesemann is the second German bishop to implement this heretical change, following Archbishop Stephan Burger of Freiburg, in which the change was effective in November 2016. According to Archbishop Burger, a central message of “Amoris Laetitia” was admitting remarried Catholics to the Sacraments.
- Sadly, this list continues to grow each week, as several other dioceses throughout the world are embracing this heretical view. In addition, multiple prelates, including Cardinals Reinhard Marx, Walter Kasper and Blase Cupich, to name only a few, have interpreted “Amoris Laetitia” as to offering Holy Communion to the divorced and remarried, using watchwords like “mercy” and “accompaniment” to make their case.
However, there are other members of the Church’s hierarchy who are truly faithful to the Body of Christ and embrace the Magisterial teachings of the Faith. One such person is Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan who denounced the “anti-Gospel” of liberal prelates, calling them “interiorly the true schismatics” in the Church.
In 2016 during a December 8th interview on the French station TV Libertés, Bishop Schneider stated, “We are witnessing today a strange sort of schism. On the surface, a number of Churchmen maintain formal union with the Pope, at times for the good of their career, or from a kind of papalotry [an erroneous belief that everything the pope says comes directly from the Holy Spirit and is, therefore, infallible]. And at the same time they’ve severed their ties with Christ the Truth, with Christ the True Head of the Church.”
He went on to say, “All these Churchmen who want another gospel, meaning a right-to-divorce gospel, a gospel of sexual liberty – in short, a gospel without God’s Sixth Commandment [You shall not commit adultery] – these Churchmen make use of every evil means, that is to say, ruses, deception, masterful rhetoric and dialectics, and even the tactic of intimidation and moral violence, in order to attain their objective of re-admitting so-called remarried divorcés to Holy Communion, without the latter fulfilling the condition of living in perfect continence, a condition required by Divine Law.”
Here, I wish to interject that the traditional pastoral practice of the Church has been that such couples may not receive absolution in the Sacrament of Reconciliation unless they are willing to cease their conjugal relationship – either by separation, or, if that is considered impossible, by abstaining from conjugal relations. Without at least an intention to do so, there would be lacking the required “purpose of amendment”, and perhaps even true contrition.
Without sacramental absolution, the person would not be able to receive Holy Communion, being guilty of extra-marital sexual relations, which are always objectively grave sins. In addition, given that receiving Holy Communion has a nuptial dimension (Christ the Bridegroom offering Himself to His Bride, the Church, in total and indissoluble fidelity), the divorced and civilly remarried present a counter-sign to the communion of Christ and the Church.
Sadly, for those who promote as well as embrace this kind of schismatic, heretical thinking, they have forgotten the words of Saint Paul in his First Letter to the Church in Corinth:
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself” (1 Corinthians 11:26-29).
And yet, what is happening today to the Bride of Christ was prophesied from the days of the Apostles, “But you, beloved, remember the words spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ, for they told you, ‘In [the] last time there will be scoffers who will live according to their own godless desires.’ These are the ones who cause divisions; they live on the natural plane, devoid of the Spirit” (Jude 1:17-20).
Today, I have only broached the surface regarding Satan’s agenda of stealing souls for himself, both clergy and laity, for when examining progressive liberalism within the Church, one can begin to identify that it is truly demonic, as it subverts and relativizes God’s Truth by unfaithful wolves wearing sheep’s clothing, who prey on God’s children and sadly lead them to commit sacrilege and grave sin –
- “…they are blind guides [of the blind]. If a blind person leads a blind person, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:14bc)
- “Woe to you…You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter.” (Matthew 23:13)
- “Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the last times some will turn away from the faith by paying attention to deceitful spirits and demonic instructions through the hypocrisy of liars with branded consciences.” (1 Timothy 4:1-2)
- “For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine but, following their own desires and insatiable curiosity, will accumulate teachers and will stop listening to the truth and will be diverted to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
Next Friday, I will discuss another great evil of the radical left – homosexuality and its immoral agenda, and how it is affecting the holiness within Christ’s Church on several different levels.
Please pray that I may be able to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit in all that He wishes for you to learn, in all that He wishes for you to know as we enter and live in these “End Times”.
And please take to heart always the words which our Lord spoke, “And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20b), for His Church shall truly survive within the hearts of His faithful children, until He comes again in all His Glory!
May God bless you, God love you, and may God always keep you. †