Friday, 12 March 2021

Knock Shrine Granted Special Status by the Vatican




In the year dedicated to St. Joseph, Pope Francis has recently announced that the shrine of Our Lady of Knock, in Mayo, Ireland, will be granted special status as an international Marian and Eucharistic Shrine, on March 19th, 2021 - the feast of St. Joseph.  The fact that the Holy Father has announced that Knock Shrine will be bestowed with this special honour just a few days after his pilgrimage to Iraq, where he visited the site of ancient Nineveh at Mosul, bears a striking parallel to the material in my book on the Knock apparition.  As most readers of this blog will be aware, in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, I argue that the symbolism of the Knock apparition is directly based on the opening of scroll sealed with seven seals described in chapter 5 of the Book of Revelation:

Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals." (Rev 5:1-5)

In my book, I argue that the opening of the scroll with the seven seals and the subsequent release of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse is recapitulated later in Rev 20, during the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the "thousand years":

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while...

And when the thousand years are ended, Satan will be released from his prison and will come out to deceive the nations that are at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, but fire came down from heaven and consumed them, and the devil who had deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and sulfur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever. (Rev 20:1-3; 7-10)
In my blog post The Sign of Jonah and the Unbinding of Satan, I argue at some length that the period of the unbinding of Satan described in the Apocalypse is directly associated with the original "sign of Jonah", which was a striking solar eclipse which had taken place near the site of ancient Nineveh during the ministry of the Prophet Jonah, which had caused the repentance of the Ninevites, sparing them from God's judgement. In my book, I also attempt to demonstrate the various parallels between the unbinding of Satan at the end of the Millennium and the vision of Pope Leo XIII, concerning the century in which the Devil would be granted a period of greater power. I go on to note that in the Gospel of Matthew, Christ had associated the binding of the "strong man" in Matt 12 with the appearance of the sign of Jonah: 

Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you. Or how can someone enter a strong man's house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? Then indeed he may plunder his house...

Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.” But he answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. (Matt 12:22-29; 39-41)

In his City of God, St. Augustine of Hippo had connected the above Gospel passage concerning the "binding of the strong man" with the binding of Satan described in Rev 20.  St. Augustine went on to propose that the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the thousand years would take place at the end of the Sabbath Millennium discussed by the Early Church Fathers, who proposed that the biblical chronology pointed to a prophetic "great week" of millennia:

Now the thousand years may be understood in two ways, so far as occurs to me: either because these things happen in the sixth thousand of years or sixth millennium (the latter part of which is now passing), as if during the sixth day, which is to be followed by a Sabbath which has no evening, the endless rest of the saints, so that, speaking of a part under the name of the whole, he calls the last part of the millennium — the part, that is, which had yet to expire before the end of the world — a thousand years; or he used the thousand years as an equivalent for the whole duration of this world, employing the number of perfection to mark the fullness of time. 
(St. Augustine of Hippo, City of God, XX:7)


St. Bede the Venerable had used  the "Hebrew Truth" of the Masoretic text of the Old Testament to recalibrate the biblical chronology, when when refined by the Anglican Archbishop, James Ussher of Armagh, relocated the prophetic significance of the end of the "great week" as the year 2000. Just over 100 years before the end of this "great week" of millennia, Pope Leo XIII had announced the consecration of the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in his 1899 encyclical Annum Sacrum, which was published on the feast of St. Bede. Later the same year had announced that this Anglo-Saxon monk would be made a doctor of the Church. This act of consecration was made in direct response to a request made by Christ to Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart, which in turn directly parallels the request made to consecrate France to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, given to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. Pope Leo XIII was almost certainly familiar with the fact that the French Revolution had occurred exactly 100 years after St. Margaret Mary had relayed this request to the Kings of France, which had went unfulfilled. This is why he described his consecration of the entire world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus as the "greatest act of my pontificate".

In Unveiling the Apocalypse, I note how the beginning of the First World War had coincided with a remarkable solar eclipse which had traversed the battlefields of Eastern Europe, before the path of totality made its way down to cross the site of ancient Nineveh. 



This striking event, known as the "First World War Eclipse", had occurred on 21st August, 1914 - the feast day of Our Lady of Knock, which had announced the opening of the scroll sealed with seven seals, which in turn heralds the inauguration of the period of the unbinding of Satan.  In order to mark the 100 year anniversary of Pope Leo's consecration of the human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Pope St. John Paul II published an Apostolic Letter reflecting upon the spiritual significance of this event in the life of the Church on 11th June 1999, and once again renewed this act of consecration. Just a few months later, the "sign of Jonah" had repeated itself when the great solar eclipse of 1999 had once again traversed the site of ancient Nineveh on Aug 11th, announcing the end of the period of the unbinding of Satan at the dawn of the new millennium.


Friday, 15 January 2021

Debunking the Destroyer Pope Prophecy




Below is a link to my latest article on Where Peter Is, critiquing the provenance of a prophecy falsely attributed to St. Francis of Assisi, which has been used to attack the legitimacy of the papacy of Pope Francis:

LifeSiteNews uses false St. Francis quote to attack the pope | Where Peter Is

Tuesday, 10 November 2020

The Third Secret of Fatima and the Visions of Bl. Elizabeth Canori-Mora



The prophetic visions of Blessed Elizabeth Canori-Mora contain some striking similarities with the Third Secret of Fatima, and appear more relevant to the Church of today than ever before. The below passage, taken from the 1878 book The Life of the Venerable Elizabeth Canori Mora, by Mary Elizabeth Herbert.  Worth noting in particular is Bl. Elizabeth's vision of a much weakened Church being restored after two angels gather up an offering of supplication in two chalices which are then given to St. Felix of Valois and St. John of Matha - the founders of the Trinitarian Order, which was dedicated to ransoming captive Christians. It appears to suggest that this vision of the restoration of the Church, which reflects the two angels gathering up the blood of the martyrs seen in the Third Secret, is in fact related to the end of the period of the unbinding of Satan described in Rev 20:


One day, during an ecstasy, S. John the Baptist conducted her into an august and mysterious temple. The Blessed Virgin laid the Infant Jesus upon an Altar, and began to pray for the Church, supplicating her Divine Son to suspend the rigours of His Justice, and not to disperse the Ministers of the Sanctuary. She reminded Him that she was His Mother, and that, as His Mother, she hoped to be heard.

The Infant Jesus replied: "My justice will no longer support so many abominations. You are My Mother, but you are also My creature!"

With the august Queen of Heaven a multitude of Religious, united with their holy Founders, had also implored mercy. But scarcely had they heard the words of the Divine Infant, than they fell on their knees and adored the impenetrable decrees of the Most High. Then all the holy Religious offered to Him the incense of the good works of their respective Orders. The Infant God then raised His Hand, blessed them, and with them His faithful servant. The exile of the Sovereign Pontiff and the dispersion of the College of Cardinals took place very soon after this vision.

Another time three Angels conducted Elizabeth into a subterranean place where, in secret and in darkness, the impious were plotting the ruin of the Church. She there saw also persons covered with a mask of hypocrisy, who, under the specious pretext of doing good, secretly favoured the designs of the agents of Hell. The Venerable Mother was penetrated by a feeling of horror in presence of a sight of which the idea would never have presented itself to her mind. To console her. Our Lord showed her the re-establishment of the Society of Jesus, through the intercession of S. Ignatius Loyola. She also saw a Father of the same Society, illustrious by his knowledge and virtue, who, in union with other Fathers, defended the rights of Holy Church, and many others who shed their blood for Jesus Christ.

Actuated only by her zeal for the Church, Elizabeth, in her humility, addressed ardent prayers to Our Lord to obtain a cessation of this persecution. At that moment the All-Powerful caused His Justice to shine forth, and exterminated these wretches in a manner so prompt and terrible, that during several days her mind was troubled. She felt throughout her whole body a most intense terror, and experienced for a long time an icy coldness which ran through all her limbs. The following vision made an impression upon her no less vivid.

The Church appeared to her standing before the throne of God, supplicating Him to spare her children, and especially the Priests, Secular and Regular. But the Most High refused to listen, and said to her: "Take the part of My Justice, and judge your own cause." At these words the Church took off all her ornaments, aided by three Angels, executioners of Divine Justice; reduced to this sad state, she became so weak that she could not support herself. Then Our Lord gave her a staff to support herself upon, and a veil to cover her head.

In her desolation she bitterly sobbed, and deplored the solitude in which her children had left her. Suddenly the Spirit of the Lord invested her with a bright and intense light, which, spreading itself in four different directions, accomplished great and wonderful things. In the mild rays of this glory, those who slumbered in error arose, and re-entered her bosom, surrounding her with homage and respect. The Church appeared more beautiful and resplendent than ever. Six of the principal Religious Orders appeared as so many firm and strong columns destined to sustain her.

But, before enjoying this triumph, she had to pass through evils so frightful, that Elizabeth's Confessor was terrified by them. Desirous to avert them, he ordered his heroic penitent to go to S. Mary Major and make an entire offering of herself, of all the benefits she had received, and of those which she was to receive, in union with the offering of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. Elizabeth piously hastened to obey; and at the moment when she offered herself to Our Lord, two Angels descended from Heaven, received her offering in two chalices which they gave to S. Felix of Valois and S. John of Matha, who presented them to the Blessed Virgin, and she presented them to the Holy Trinity. The two chalices were placed before the throne of the Most High, and there remained to appease His just anger.

Our Lord confided to her His secrets ; she wept unceasingly at seeing Him prepared to discharge upon the world the weight of His anger. She would have wished to deliver men, at the price of all her blood, from the evils which threatened them. But her prudent Confessor told her not to oppose the designs of God, and to content herself with praying in conformity with His Holy Will. She did so, and Our Lord, showing that He was moved, said to her : "This is a prayer worthy of Me." One day, however, the ardour of her zeal caused her to forget this rule. Having seen that God was about to show forth His Justice, she flew in spirit to the foot of His Throne, and incessantly prayed that He would stop His avenging arm. At that moment the chastisement would have drawn down upon many the loss of both body and soul.

One day she could not see, without extreme pain, so many persons of all ages and of every condition attach themselves to the perverse maxims of the world, and without shame outrage the God of all Majesty. In the ardour of her zeal to remedy this grave disorder, she offered herself to God to suffer all sorts of torments at the hands of men, and all kinds of vexations from devils. The Heavenly Father accepted her offering, and gave her the power of binding the devil who perverted so many souls, and of enclosing him in the abyss with the aid of two Fathers of the Order of the Holy Trinity. 

Mary Elizabeth Herbert, The Life of the Venerable Elizabeth Canori Mora, (London: R. Washbourne, 1878), pp101-104

 

Monday, 7 September 2020

Apocalypse When? Catholic Millenarianism Rising

Below is a link to my article on Where Peter Is, covering the recent debacle concerning Fr. Michel Rodridgue and the milleanrian errors being promoted on the Countdown to the Kingdom website:

https://wherepeteris.com/apocalypse-when-catholic-millenarianism-rising/

Friday, 28 August 2020

The Great Monarch, the "Warning" and the Duration of the Period of Peace



Mark Mallett and Daniel O'Connor have recently issued a couple of videos on the Countdown to the Kingdom website attempting to address some of my criticisms of their promotion of Fr. Iannuzzi's ideas concerning a millenarian "era of peace". While I don't hold any personal animosity towards either Mark or Daniel, the version of eschatology they are espousing is leading their regrettably sizable audience into a grave and dangerous millenarian error. Both Mallett and O'Connor reject Church Tradition concerning St. Augustine's amillennial interpretation of the Apocalypse in favour of a millennial "era of peace", which is foretold in a number of contemporary unapproved "private revelations", some of which have been rejected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (such as those of Edson Glauber). 

Even though St. Augustine's amillennialism has never been formally defined dogmatically, after his position concerning the Millennium of Rev 20 was first forwarded in the 5th century, it was universally accepted by the Tradition of the Church and has been ever since, becoming part of the sensus fidelium - the supernatural sense of the faithful.  Mallett and O'Connor also ignore the prophecies of the Great Catholic Monarch and Angelic Pope in Catholic Tradition, made by numerous saints and blesseds, as well as apparitions which have full ecclesiastical approval, such as those of Our Lady of La Salette. The Great Monarch and Angelic Pope are foretold to restore the Church immediately before the coming of the Antichrist and the final Passover of the Church, as part of a ministry which echoes that of the Two Witnesses.

According to Mallett and O'Connor's view, the "era of peace" will only arrive after the Antichrist, and will last for a prolonged millennial epoch which will persist until the arrival of Gog and Magog at the end of a future thousand year binding of Satan, which they equate with a "final antichrist". As you can see from around the 45 minute mark on the below video, Mark Mallett repeatedly stumbles around the concept of the Great Monarch, before stating that he would not object to these prophecies if this figure arrives after the downfall of the Antichrist during the mooted invisible "Middle Coming" of Jesus to reign on earth in the Eucharist. Instead of attempting engage in a respectful academic dialogue, Daniel O'Connor also advises his audience to ignore my writings - without mentioning my name, lest he inadvertently alerts his audience to my research.




When we look to the doctors of the Church who have written about this subject, they concur that the Antichrist will only arrive at the very end of the world, immediately before the Second Coming of Christ:

Whereby He shows, that when Antichrist has come, the pursuit of unlawful pleasures shall be more eager among the transgressors, and those that have learned to despair of their own salvation. Then shall be gluttony, then revellings, and drunkenness. Wherefore also most of all He puts forth an example corresponding to the thing. For like as when the ark was making, they believed not, says He; but while it was set in the midst of them, proclaiming beforehand the evils that are to come, they, when they saw it, lived in pleasure, just as though nothing dreadful were about to take place; so also now, Antichrist indeed shall appear, after whom is the end, and the punishments at the end, and vengeance intolerable...(St. John Chrystom, Homily on Matthew, Chap 77)

But he who reads this passage, even half asleep, cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church before the last judgment of God shall introduce the eternal reign of the saints". (St. Augustine of Hippo, City of God XX:23)

For the Lord clearly teaches that after the persecution of Antichrist the last judgement will immediately follow [Matt 24]. Then all the good are going to eternal life, while all the wicked into the eternal fire, hence there is not going to be another thousand years, nor any battle. 
(St. Robert Bellarmine De Controversiis Book 3 Chap XVII)

We can thus see why Mallett and O'Connor have chosen to ignore the figure of the Great Monarch, since in Catholic Tradition this figure is equated with the biblical katechon - the restraining force holding back the appearance of the Antichrist mentioned by St. Paul:

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. (2Thes 2:3-8)

One of the oldest prophecies of the Great Monarch is found in the Apocalypse of Methodius, which also foretells the appearance of the sign of the cross before the Last Judgement. Ironically, this prophecy is also related to the central subject matter of Christine Watkins' book The Warning: Testimonies and Prophecies of the Illumination of Consciences, which has recently popularised Mallett and O'Connor's writings due to her endorsement of the Countdown to the Kingdom website:

…the Cross on which our Lord Jesus Christ hung for the common salvation of all will begin to appear before him at his coming to convict the lack of faith of unbelievers… When the Cross has been lifted up on high to heaven, the king of the Romans will directly give up his spirit. Then every principality and power will be destroyed that the Son of Perdition may be manifest.

According to Church Tradition, the Great Monarch will bring about the restoration the Church after a period of desolation, which I argue in my book Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, is related to the current apostasy we are experiencing due to the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the "thousand years". After the Great Monarch brings about the renovation of the Church, the prophetic tradition tells us that he will lay down his crown on the Mount of Olives just immediately before the appearance of the Antichrist:

Some of our teachers say that a King of the Franks will possess the entire Roman Empire. He will be the greatest and last of all Monarchs. After having wisely governed his kingdom, he will go into Jerusalem and will lay his sceptre and his crown upon the Mount of Olives. Immediately afterwards, Antichrist will come.                                               (Adso of Montier-en-Der, De ortu et tempore Antichristi)

The only Church approved private revelation to give some indication of the duration of the period of peace is Melanie's 1849 version of the Secret of La Salette, which explicitly states that this period of renewal will not last long before the appearance of the Antichrist, and similarly connects the period of the restoration of the Church with the reign of the Great Monarch:

A great king will go up on the throne, and will reign many years. Religion will re-flourish and spread all over the world, and there will be a great abundance. The world, glad to be lacking nothing, will fall again into disorder, will give up God, and will return to its criminal passions. (Our Lady to Melanie Calvat)

The Church doctor St. Bonaventure also associates the renovation of the Church with the reign of the Great Monarch, and indicates that the restoration brought about by this figure will not last long before the arrival of the sudden destruction after the time of peace forewarned by St. Paul:

"no one knows how long that time of great peace will last since "when they said 'Peace and security,' then suddenly destruction came upon them" (Matt 24:21). The seventh time or age, that of quiet, begins with the shout of the angel who "swore through Him who lives forever and ever that there would be no more time; but in the days of the seventh angel the mystery of God will be completed" (Rev 10:6-7).
In the sixth age three things take place - excellence of victory, excellence of teaching, and excellence of the prophetic life.... In this age there ought to come a life through an order which will possess the prophetic life. This age is double. Just as in the Lord's Passion there was first light, then darkness, and then light, so it is necessary that first there be the light of teaching and that Josiah succeed Hezekiah, after which came the tribulation of the Jews through their captivity. It is necessary that one ruler, a defender of the Church, arise. He is either still to come or has already come. (He added: Would that he has not already come!) After him will come the darkness of tribulations..."

It was said to the angel of Philadelphia, the sixth angel: "He who is holy and true, who has the key of David, who opens and no man closes, closes and no man opens, says this - 'I know your works, and behold I have placed an open door before you'" (Rev 3:7). (And he said that now for the first time the understanding of Scripture would be given and that the revelation, or key of David, would be given to a person or a large group, but I think rather to a large group.) 
In the seventh age we know that these things will take place - the rebuilding of the Temple, the restoration of the city, and the granting of peace. Likewise in the coming seventh age there will be a restoration of Divine worship and a rebuilding of the city. Then the prophecy of Ezekiel will be fulfilled when the city comes down from heaven (Ezek 40); not indeed that city which is above, but that city which is below, the Church Militant which will then be conformed to the Church Triumphant as far as possible in this life. Then will be the building and restoration of the city as it was in the beginning. Then there will be peace. God alone knows how long that peace shall last.
(St. Bonaventure, Collation 16:17-19. Translated by McGinn, B. Visions of the End, pp199-200)

These numerous authentic prophecies concerning the restoration of the Church before the arrival of the Antichrist are closely associated with the ministry of the Two Witnesses, which is chiefly concerned with the bringing in of the fullness of the Gentiles and the conversion of the Jews before the Second Coming of Christ. Both scripture and the magisterium of the Church clearly teach that the conversion of the Jews will only take place immediately before the Parousia of Christ at the very end of the world.
St. Augustine explains how the ministry of Elijah is intimately connected to the conversion of the Jews foretold by the Prophet Malachi:

After admonishing them to give heed to the law of Moses, as he foresaw that for a long time to come they would not understand it spiritually and rightly, he went on to say, And, behold, I will send to you Elias the Tishbite before the great and signal day of the Lord come: and he shall turn the heart of the father to the son, and the heart of a man to his next of kin, lest I come and utterly smite the earth. Malachi 4:5-6 It is a familiar theme in the conversation and heart of the faithful, that in the last days before the judgment the Jews shall believe in the true Christ, that is, our Christ, by means of this great and admirable prophet Elias who shall expound the law to them. 
(St. Augustine of Hippo, City of God, XX:29)

Basing itself on chapter 11 of St. Paul's Letter to the Romans, the Catechism also explains that the Second Coming of Christ will take place immediately after the conversion of the Jews, which leaves absolutely no scope for an intervening millennial "era of peace" after this event:

The glorious Messiah's coming is suspended at every moment of history until his recognition by "all Israel", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus. St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost: "Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old." St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?" The "full inclusion" of the Jews in the Messiah's salvation, in the wake of "the full number of the Gentiles", will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all". (Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 674)

The Early Church Fathers had connected the conversion of the Jews promised in Rom 11 with the prophecy of Zech 12 and the appearance of the Sign of the Cross, which was later connected to the prophecies of the Great Monarch already mentioned above:

Then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven; Matthew 24:30 that is, the cross being brighter than the sun, since this last will be darkened, and hide himself, and that will appear when it would not appear, unless it were far brighter than the beams of the sun. But wherefore does the sign appear? In order that the shamelessness of the Jews may be more abundantly silenced. For having the cross as the greatest plea, Christ thus comes to that judgment-seat, showing not His wounds only, but also the death of reproach. Then shall the tribes mourn, for there shall be no need of an accusation, when they see the cross; and they shall mourn, that by His death they are nothing benefited; because they crucified Him whom they ought to have adored.

Do you see how fearfully He has pictured His coming? How He has stirred up the spirits of His disciples? For this reason, let me add, He puts the mournful things first, and then the good things, that in this way also He may comfort and refresh them. And of His passion He suggests to them the remembrance, and of His resurrection, and with a display of glory, He mentions His cross, so that they may not be ashamed nor grieve, whereas indeed He comes then setting it forth for His sign. And another says, They shall look on Him whom they pierced. Therefore it is that they shall mourn, when they see that this is He.                      (St. John Chrysostom, Homily on Matthew, Chap 76)

It is thus fully apparent why Mallett and O'Connor wish to avoid discussing the prophecies of the Great Catholic Monarch and the conversion of the Jews, since they clearly establish that the period of the renewal of the Church takes place immediately before the time of the Antichrist, not after, during a millenarian "era of peace". The timeline presented by the authors of Countdown to the Kingdom is deeply flawed, and is effectively priming Catholics to reject the idea that the Church could be restored by the figures of the Great Monarch and Angelic Pope before the arrival of the Antichrist, as has been held from the earliest traditions of the Church, in accordance with the plain sense of Scripture. According to this timeline, the Great Monarch and Angelic Pope who bring about the restoration of the Church will potentially be rejected by the followers of Countdown to the Kingdom as the Beast and False Prophet of Rev 13, all in order to support the idea of a millenarian "era of peace" being espoused by alleged "seers" who are either unapproved or condemned by the Church. Therein lies the inherent dangers of rejecting the long standing Tradition of the Church concerning the Millennium and the restoration of the Church in favour of the millenarian prophecies of contemporary soothsayers.  

Monday, 27 July 2020

"Countdown to the Kingdom" and Millenarian Heresy



St Robert Bellarime


I would like to notify readers about a new website that has been established by Canadian evangelist Mark Mallett and Daniel O'Connor, a New York Ph.D student who lays a claim to professorship, called "Countdown to the Kingdom".  This new website is being promoted by a hugely popular Catholic author, Catherine Watkins, whose book The Warning: Testimonies and Prophecies of the Illumination of Conscience, is currently one of the best-selling titles in the area of Mariology. Watkins has established her own publishing company, Queen of Peace Media, and has featured on Shalom World TV. Given this platform, Queen of Peace Media's YouTube channel has quickly developed a huge following, and Watkins' promotion of Mallett and O'Connor's new website has in turn garnered a substantial following for them.

Mallett closely follows the type of spiritual millenarianism promoted by Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi and the Divine Will Movement, which is essentially a "Catholic" version of the popular form of millennialism espoused by the Protestant dispensationalist movement in America. Various media outlets heavily promote the Rapture theology of dispensationalism, and as a direct result of this influence, a large number of Catholics in America have attempted to align this popular form of millennialism with certain prophetic elements found in Catholic eschatology - most notably the "period of peace" promised by Our Lady of Fatima. The result of this religious syncretism is the millenarian teachings of the Divine Will Movement, which has been given its most systematic treatment in the collective works of Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi, and widely promoted by his various followers, including the likes of Mark Mallett. It is no coincidence that this eschatological novelty first arose in North America from around the middle of the 20th century, just as the millennialism of the dispensationalist movement found increasing popularity in wider American culture, mostly due to the influence of preachers such as Hal Lindsey and Billy Graham.

The Divine Will Movement rejects the amillenialism of St Augustine in favour of a "spiritual" version of the Chiliasm held by some early Christians, and holds that the "period of peace" promised by Our Lady of Fatima is actually an "era" that is equated with the Millennium of Rev 20. During this future "era of peace", they hold that Satan will be fully chained and all evil on earth will cease to exist. This is because the freedom of choice necessitated by human free will is going to be removed, and every person on earth will live according to the "Divine Will", during the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in heaven, in fulfilment of the Lord's Prayer that "thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven". This notion is essentially the same as Quietism, which condemned as a heresy by Pope Innocent XI in 1687 in the papal bull Coelestis Pastor.

In his papal encyclical Spe Salvi, Pope Benedict XVI categorically ruled out the idea that the "kingdom of the good" could be definitively established on earth because of the permanent reality of human free will and original sin:

Since man always remains free and since his freedom is always fragile, the kingdom of good will never be definitively established in this world. Anyone who promises the better world that is guaranteed to last for ever is making a false promise; he is overlooking human freedom. Freedom must constantly be won over for the cause of good. Free assent to the good never exists simply by itself. If there were structures which could irrevocably guarantee a determined—good—state of the world, man's freedom would be denied, and hence they would not be good structures at all. (para 24)

The Divine Will Movement teaches that the establishment of this terrestrial paradise will be inaugurated on earth during a "Middle Coming" of Christ to reign with the resurrected saints for the duration of the Millennium of Rev 20. They closely follow the dual-antichrist eschatology of Joachim de Fiore, and posit the arrival of two separate antichrist figures, one before and one after the Millennium.  The first antichrist figure will be slain by Christ during the event of the "Middle Coming" to establish the millennial reign on earth, and the final "tail/Gog" antichrist rises up to make one last assault against the Church at the end of the Millennium, when the forces of Satan once again surround the camp of the saints before the "Final Coming" of Christ in glory.  This contradicts the most authorative account on the Antichrist given by the Church Doctor St. Robert Bellarmine, who  teaches that there is only one Antichrist who comes at the very end of time, and that the opinion of Lactantius:

"...was also of many of the older Fathers, such as Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Tertullian, Apollonaris and of a few others, as Jerome relates in chapter XXXVI of Ezechiel, and Eusebius. But for a long time it had been refuted as an investigated error. For the Lord clearly teaches that after the persecution of Antichrist the last judgement will immediately follow [Matt 24]. Then all the good are going to eternal life, while all the wicked into the eternal fire, hence there is not going to be another thousand years, nor any battle. 
(St. Robert Bellarmine De Controversiis Book 3 Chap XVII)

St. Augustine of Hippo reiterates this point forcefully:

"But he who reads this passage, even half asleep, cannot fail to see that the kingdom of Antichrist shall fiercely, though for a short time, assail the Church before the last judgment of God shall introduce the eternal reign of the saints". (City of God XX:23)

The adherents of the Divine Will Movement attempt to bypass the charge of millenarianism by arguing that this only rules out a physical return of Christ in "the Flesh" to establish the Millennium on earth, and that because they teach that this "Middle Coming" of Jesus will be spiritual in nature, this is not the same as the form of millenarianism that was condemned by the Church. In doing so, they confine the meaning of the word millenarianism to relate solely to the teachings of ancient Chiliasm - which is specifics which this word simply does not have. Since the middle of the 20th century, the word millenarianism has been used by academics to cover a wide range of eschatological theories which postulate the imminent arrival of an earthly utopia. The teachings of Joachim de Fiore are classified in modern academia as the most famous example of millenarian thought in the Middle Ages, and they similarly posit an earthly utopia in the form of an "age of the Spirit", rather than the physical return of Christ to rule on earth for the duration of the Millennium posited in Chiliasm. So to attempt to argue that millenarianism is solely confined to a physical return of Jesus in the Flesh is an utter fallacy which can be discarded from the outset.

The word millenarianism covers a much broader array of eschatological teachings, and refers to the creation of any sort of terrestrial paradise, and can be non-Christian or even secular in nature. When we look to the Catechism, the type of millenarianism which is most vigorously condemned is "secular messianism" - the idea that a secular state can fulfill the role of "messiah" through the creation of an earthly utopia:

The Antichrist's deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism... (CCC 676)

So the Catechism most certainly isn't condemning merely the idea of a return of Christ in the Flesh to establish the millennial kingdom on earth before the events of the new creation, but rather the secular type of millenarianism which gave birth to the communist and fascist movements of the 20th century. The revolutionary spirit which is fomented by the ideals of millenarianism is the main reason the Joachite movement was so vehemently rejected by the Medieval Church, most notably by St. Thomas Aquinas.

The central concept of millenarianism has practical implications which have historically led to bloody revolutions and genocides, all when the quest to establish the perfect society on earth has ultimately went awry. The goal of "immanentizing the eschaton" (Voeglin) lies at the very core of what is being condemned by the Catechism. This is the Promethean attempt to realise within history the messianic hope that can only be established on earth beyond the general resurrection of the dead, which takes place at the Last Judgement, after which the creation of the new heaven and the new earth is finally established. The temptation for humanity to place itself on the throne of the Creator is the goad which the Ancient Serpent first lay before Adam and Eve in the Book of Genesis:

But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.  (CCC 676)

Given the sudden popularity of Fr. Iannuzzi's millenarian theories through the promotion of Mark Mallett and Daniel O'Connor's new website by a best-selling Catholic author, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will now surely be forced into issuing a clarification on this matter. These authors have distorted the promises of Our Lady of Fatima into a bizarre millenarian heresy, and their collective works should be avoided by all faithful Catholics. 

Update:

It has recently emerged that Christine Watkins book The Warning: Testimonies and Prophecies of the Illumination of Conscience has been given a fake imprimatur from Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, who controversially granted a canonically invalid imprimatur to Vassula Ryden. Ryden was condemned by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for her espousal of a millenarian style "era of peace".

See the below post at Kevin Symonds' website:



Fr. Iannuzzi had used this fake imprimatur in a attempt to falsely assert that Ryden's book was approved by the magisterium of the Catholic Church. Church Militant TV has recently exposed the fact that not only was this imprimatur fake, but that Vassula Ryden also falsely claims that her book has been published by Cambridge University Press. See the below post:


Also, Mark Mallett appears to make some sort of effort to address some of the criticism in the above post at the Countdown to the Kingdom website: 


Mallett attempts to separate secular messianism from millenarianism, in order to keep the pretense that millenarianism only refers to the coming of Christ in the Flesh to rule with the saints for the future "thousand year" period described in the Apocalypse. However, the Catechism clearly states that secular messianism is a form of millenarianism. Indeed the very worst form of it: 

"The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the "intrinsically perverse" political form of a secular messianism" (CCC 676)

Of course, secular messianism has nothing to do with Christ coming in the Flesh, but instead refers to the danger of secular powers attempting to assume a type of messianism, promising deliverance from a current unjust political system through revolutionary means. In the footnotes to this paragraph in the Catechism, it specifically highlights the dangers presented by Nazism and Communism in the 20th century. The upshot of this is that if secular messianism is a form of millenarianism, then the spiritual Chiliasm espoused by Fr. Iannuzzi, Mallett and O'Connor is most certainly just yet another form of millenarianism, all of which are condemned by the Catechism as the "deception of the Antichrist".

Below is Norman Cohn's appraisal of the definition of millenarianism as used in the modern academic sense of the word. Cohn was one of the most influential scholars of the 20th century to specialise in the area of millenarianism, and his work had a clear influence on Cardinal Ratzinger when he composed the section in the Catechism condemning millenarian beliefs:

"... in recent years it has become customary amongst anthropologists and sociologists, and to some extent amongst historians too, to use the word 'millenarianism' in a more liberal sense still. The word has in fact become simply a convenient label for a particular type of salvationism. And that is the way it will be employed in this book.
Millenarian sects or movements always picture salvation as
(a) collective, in the sense that it is to be enjoyed by the faithful as a collectivity;
(b) terrestrial, in the sense that it is to be realized on this earth and not in some other-worldly heaven;
(c) imminent, in the sense that it is to come both soon and suddenly;
(d) total, in the sense that it is utterly to transform life on earth, so that the new dispensation will be no mere improvement on the present but perfection itself;
(e) miraculous, in the sense that it is to be accomplished by, or with the help of, supernatural agencies.
Even within these limits there is of course room for infinite variety: there are countless possible ways of imagining the Millennium and the route to it. Millenarian sects and movements have varied in attitude from the most violent aggressiveness to the mildest pacifism and from the most ethereal spirituality to the most earthbound materialism. And they have also varied greatly in social composition and social function.
There was certainly great variety amongst the millenarian sects and movements of medieval Europe. At the one extreme were the so-called 'Franciscan Spirituals' who flourished in the thirteenth century."
See Cohn, N. The Pursuit of the Millennium, (Oxford: OUP, 1957), pp15-16



Tuesday, 23 June 2020

The Seventh Seal and the Keys of the Abyss



The Angel Appearing to Zacharias, by William Blake


In a few days time from now, there is going to be yet another alignment of all seven of the classical planets known to the ancients, on 4th July, 2020, the American Day of Independence. In my book, Unveiling the Apocalypse: The Final Passover of the Church, I attempt to show how such the description of Christ holding the seven stars in right hand in order to symbolize the "keys to death and Hades" represents a series of planetary alignments connected to the timing of the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the "thousand years", when the gates of Hell are unleashed in an attempt to destroy the Church.



The Book of Revelation gives a number of signs concerning the opening of the Abyss at the end of the thousand years, which I attempt to show is connected with Pope Leo XIII's prophetic vision of the period of Satan's greater power. One of these signs is an angel descending to earth with the keys to open the shaft of the Abyss, from which emerges a demonic swarm of apocalyptic "locusts" - which I argue corresponds to the emergence of military aircraft at the beginning of the First World War:

The fifth angel sounded his trumpet, and I saw a star that had fallen from the sky to the earth. The star was given the key to the shaft of the Abyss. When he opened the Abyss, smoke rose from it like the smoke from a gigantic furnace. The sun and sky were darkened by the smoke from the Abyss. And out of the smoke locusts came down on the earth and were given power like that of scorpions of the earth. (Rev 9:1-3)

It is these same keys that are seen held in the right hand of Christ at the start of the Apocalypse, only here they are also identified with seven stars:

In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
(Rev 1:17-20)


The seven stars represent the seven lamps of the Jewish Menorah, which stood before the Holy of Holies in the Temple of Jerusalem, following the stipulations given in Exod 25:31-40. The seven candelabra of the Menorah are a distinctive feature, and notable for their perfect alignment. So if the seven stars held in the right hand of Jesus are to be equated with the seven angels of the seven churches, then it would logically follow that these stars in the hand of Christ are in perfect alignment - just like the seven lamps of the Menorah. Indeed the Menorah itself is highly reminiscent of an astronomical orrery depicting an alignment of the planets, and it was interpreted as such by several ancient writers, including Clement of Alexandria, who stated that:

The lamp, too, was placed to the south of the altar of incense; and by it were shown the motions of the seven planets, that perform their revolutions towards the south. For three branches rose on either side of the lamp, and lights on them; since also the sun, like the lamp, set in the midst of all the planets, dispenses with a kind of divine music the light to those above and to those below.
(Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 5:6)


St. Jude also mentioned the seven classical planets in relation to the chaining of unclean spirits, which he refers to as "wandering stars", made in the wider background context of the rebuke of Satan by the Archangel Michael:

...when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively. Woe to them! For they walked in the way of Cain and abandoned themselves for the sake of gain to Balaam's error and perished in Korah's rebellion. These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever. It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him.” (Jude 1:5-15)

So it is clear that an alignment of the seven classical planets is also involved in the interpretation of the prophecy of the "keys to the Abyss", which delineates the period of the unbinding of Satan at the end of the thousand years:

Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain. And he seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the pit, and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he might not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be released for a little while.
(Rev 20:1-3)


It is surely of no coincidence then that an alignment of the seven classical planets took place on 2nd-3rd December 1899, just six months after Pope Leo XIII's consecration of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in June 1899, at the very cusp of the turn of the 20th century. The seven lampstands of the Jewish Menorah also figure prominently in another biblical vision which the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII is based on, when the Prophet Zachariah is shown the Jewish High Priest Joshua in stained garments, being accused by Satan in a manner virtually identical with the scene described by St. Jude concerning the "seven wandering stars":

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by. 

(Zech 3:1-5)

The Jewish High Priest in this vision represents the figure of the pope as Pontifex Maximus, which explains why God chose to reveal this important prophecy to a reigning Roman Pontiff.  It is therefore important to note that this prophecy some way involves a charge that Satan levels against the holder of the papacy, who is similarly conferred with the keys of the kingdom of heaven as the Successor to St. Peter:

Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” (Matt 16:17-19)

It is surely yet again beyond coincidence that at the end of this period of Satan's greater power that the very indefectible nature of the papacy is being called into question, plunging the Church into one of the greatest crises it has ever faced. Yet, there appears to be a certain amount of hope in Zechariah's vision, in that the soiled garments worn by Jewish High Priest are removed and replaced with fresh clean linen, representing some kind of purification of the Church, in a vision which is strikingly similar to that of St. Hildegard of Bingen:

The image of the woman before the altar in front of the eyes of God that I saw earlier was now also shown to me again so that I could also see her from the navel down. From the navel to the groin she had various scaly spots. In her [genitalia] there appeared a monstorous and totally black head with fiery eyes, ears like the ears of a donkey, nostrils and mouth like those of a lion, gnashing with vast open mouth and sharpening its horrible iron teeth in a horrid manner.

From that head to the knees the image was white and red, bruised as with many a beating. From the knees to the two white transverse zones which crosswise seemed to touch the bottoms of the feet from above, the image appeared to be bloody. Lo, the monstrous head removed itself from its place with so great a crash that the entire image of the woman was shaken in all its members. Something like a a great mass of much dung was joined to the head; then, lifting itself upon a mountain, it attempted to ascend to the height of heaven. A stroke like thunder came suddenly and the head was repelled with such strength that it both fell from the mountain and gave up the ghost. After this a stinking cloud suddenly enveloped the whole mountain. The head was surrounded with such great filth in the cloud that the people standing by were struck with the greatest terror as the cloud stayed upon the mountain somewhat longer. The people standing there beheld it and struck with much fear said to each other: " Woe! Woe! What is this? What does that seem to be? Who will help us, unfortunate as we are? Who will deliver us? We are ignorant of how we have been deceived. Almighty God, have mercy on us. Let us, oh let us return. Let us prepare the covenant of Christ's Gospel, since we have been bitterly deceived." Behold, the feet of the aforementioned female image appeared to be white, giving out a brightness above that of the sun. I heard a voice from heaven saying to me: "Even though all things on earth are tending toward their end, so hardships and calamities is bowed down to its End, nevertheless, the Spouse of my Son, though much weakened in her children, will never be destroyed either by the heralds of the Son of Perdition or by the Destroyer himself, however much she will be attacked by them. At the End of time she will arise more powerful and more secure; she will appear more beautiful and shining so that she may go forth in this way more sweetly and more agreeably to the embraces of her Beloved. The vision which you saw signifies all this in mystic fashion."
(Scivias 3:11; Translated by B McGinn, Visions of the End, pp101-102)

Pope Benedict XVI had equated St. Hildegard's vision of the "filth" within the Church with the pedophile scandal that has ultimately led to a mass apostasy of lukewarm Catholics from the faith:

We were all the more dismayed, then, when in this year of all years and to a degree we could not have imagined, we came to know of abuse of minors committed by priests who twist the sacrament into its antithesis, and under the mantle of the sacred profoundly wound human persons in their childhood, damaging them for a whole lifetime.

In this context, a vision of Saint Hildegard of Bingen came to my mind, a vision which describes in a shocking way what we have lived through this past year. “In the year of our Lord’s incarnation 1170, I had been lying on my sick-bed for a long time when, fully conscious in body and in mind, I had a vision of a woman of such beauty that the human mind is unable to comprehend. She stretched in height from earth to heaven. Her face shone with exceeding brightness and her gaze was fixed on heaven. She was dressed in a dazzling robe of white silk and draped in a cloak, adorned with stones of great price. On her feet she wore shoes of onyx. But her face was stained with dust, her robe was ripped down the right side, her cloak had lost its sheen of beauty and her shoes had been blackened. And she herself, in a voice loud with sorrow, was calling to the heights of heaven, saying, ‘Hear, heaven, how my face is sullied; mourn, earth, that my robe is torn; tremble, abyss, because my shoes are blackened!’

And she continued: ‘I lay hidden in the heart of the Father until the Son of Man, who was conceived and born in virginity, poured out his blood. With that same blood as his dowry, he made me his betrothed.

For my Bridegroom’s wounds remain fresh and open as long as the wounds of men’s sins continue to gape. And Christ’s wounds remain open because of the sins of priests. They tear my robe, since they are violators of the Law, the Gospel and their own priesthood; they darken my cloak by neglecting, in every way, the precepts which they are meant to uphold; my shoes too are blackened, since priests do not keep to the straight paths of justice, which are hard and rugged, or set good examples to those beneath them. Nevertheless, in some of them I find the splendour of truth.’

And I heard a voice from heaven which said: ‘This image represents the Church. For this reason, O you who see all this and who listen to the word of lament, proclaim it to the priests who are destined to offer guidance and instruction to God’s people and to whom, as to the apostles, it was said: go into all the world and preach the Gospel to the whole creation’ (Mk 16:15)” (Letter to Werner von Kirchheim and his Priestly Community: PL 197, 269ff.).

In the vision of Saint Hildegard, the face of the Church is stained with dust, and this is how we have seen it. Her garment is torn – by the sins of priests. The way she saw and expressed it is the way we have experienced it this year. We must accept this humiliation as an exhortation to truth and a call to renewal. Only the truth saves. We must ask ourselves what we can do to repair as much as possible the injustice that has occurred. We must ask ourselves what was wrong in our proclamation, in our whole way of living the Christian life, to allow such a thing to happen. We must discover a new resoluteness in faith and in doing good. We must be capable of doing penance. We must be determined to make every possible effort in priestly formation to prevent anything of the kind from happening again. This is also the moment to offer heartfelt thanks to all those who work to help victims and to restore their trust in the Church, their capacity to believe her message. In my meetings with victims of this sin, I have also always found people who, with great dedication, stand alongside those who suffer and have been damaged. This is also the occasion to thank the many good priests who act as channels of the Lord’s goodness in humility and fidelity and, amid the devastations, bear witness to the unforfeited beauty of the priesthood.

Could this planetary alignment, coming so closely on the back of a great liturgical silence falling upon the Church during the Coronavirus pandemic, represent the closing of the Abyss and thus herald the ultimate reversal of the fortunes of the Bride of Christ? We can only hope and pray that the terrible stains that have sullied the garments of the Church during the unbinding of Satan will soon be cleansed, and that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary promised at Fatima will restore Christ's Bride to her former glory. It is perhaps worth noting that St. Bonaventure had linked the restoration of the Church with a "time of quiet" before the coming of the Antichrist, which sounds remarkable similar to the "silence in heaven" at the opening of the seventh seal:

"no one knows how long that time of great peace will last since "when they said 'Peace and security,' then suddenly destruction came upon them" (Matt 24:21). The seventh time or age, that of quiet, begins with the shout of the angel who "swore through Him who lives forever and ever that there would be no more time; but in the days of the seventh angel the mystery of God will be completed" (Rev 10:6-7).
In the sixth age three things take place - excellence of victory, excellence of teaching, and excellence of the prophetic life.... In this age there ought to come a life through an order which will possess the prophetic life. This age is double. Just as in the Lord's Passion there was first light, then darkness, and then light, so it is necessary that first there be the light of teaching and that Josiah succeed Hezekiah, after which came the tribulation of the Jews through their captivity. It is necessary that one ruler, a defender of the Church, arise. He is either still to come or has already come. (He added: Would that he has not already come!) After him will come the darkness of tribulations..."

It was said to the angel of Philadelphia, the sixth angel: "He who is holy and true, who has the key of David, who opens and no man closes, closes and no man opens, says this - 'I know your works, and behold I have placed an open door before you'" (Rev 3:7). (And he said that now for the first time the understanding of Scripture would be given and that the revelation, or key of David, would be given to a person or a large group, but I think rather to a large group.)
In the seventh age we know that these things will take place - the rebuilding of the Temple, the restoration of the city, and the granting of peace. Likewise in the coming seventh age there will be a restoration of Divine worship and a rebuilding of the city. Then the prophecy of Ezekiel will be fulfilled when the city comes down from heaven (Ezek 40); not indeed that city which is above, but that city which is below, the Church Militant which will then be conformed to the Church Triumphant as far as possible in this life. Then will be the building and restoration of the city as it was in the beginning. Then there will be peace. God alone knows how long that peace shall last.
(St. Bonaventure, Collation 16:17-19. Translated by McGinn, B. Visions of the End, pp199-200)