Saturday 1 October 2011

The Prophecy of Pope Leo XIII

The St. Michael Prayer, which was said after Low Mass until the liturgical changes in 1965, was
instituted by Pope Leo XIII after he received a prophetic vision. The most widely known element of this vision is that the Holy Father overheard a debate between Our Lord and Satan, during which the Devil was granted more power and authority for a period of 75 to 100 years. According to the most widespread accounts, the events behind the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII run as following: 

On October 13, 1884, after Pope Leo XIII had finished celebrating Mass in the Vatican Chapel, attended by a few Cardinals and members of the Vatican staff, he suddenly stopped at the foot of the altar. He stood there for about 10 minutes, as if in a trance, his face ashen white. Then, going immediately from the Chapel to his office, he composed the prayer to St. Michael, with instructions it be said after all Low Masses everywhere. When asked what had happened, he explained that, as he was about to leave the foot of the altar, he suddenly heard voices - two voices, one kind and gentle, the other guttural and harsh. They seemed to come from near the tabernacle. As he listened, he heard the following conversation:

The guttural voice, the voice of Satan in his pride, boasting to Our Lord: "I can destroy your Church"

The gentle voice of Our Lord: "You can? Then go ahead and do so."

Satan: "To do so, I need more time and more power."

Our Lord: "How much time? How much power?

Satan: "75 to 100 years, and a greater power over those who will give themselves over to my service."

Our Lord: "You have the time, you will have the power. Do with them what you will." 

Current research suggests that the earliest version of this story to appear in print was in 1933, in a German Sunday newspaper. The way in which this prophecy first surfaced suggests that it originally circulated in oral form amongst the Vatican staff and hierarchy who were with the pope during this encounter. As such, it is impossible to trace back to an original documented source. After its initial publication in 1933, a German writer, Fr. Bers, attempted to find the origins of this prophecy for a 1934 article titled "Die Gebete nach der hl. Messe" (Theol-Prakt. Quartalschrift 87, 162-163). During his investigation, Fr. Bers failed to find any concrete source, leaving him to conclude that the prophecy was a later invention that was "spreading like a virus". However, 13 years after Fr. Bers had initially failed to find the original source of this prophecy, an eyewitness to the events behind the institution of the St. Michael Prayer eventually came forward. Writing in 1947, Fr. Domenico Pechenino, a priest who worked at the Vatican during the time of Leo XIII, provides a first-hand account of these events:

I do not remember the exact year. One morning the great Pope Leo XIII had celebrated a Mass and, as usual, was attending a Mass of thanksgiving. Suddenly, we saw him raise his head and stare at something above the celebrant’s head. He was staring motionlessly, without batting an eye. His expression was one of horror and awe; the colour and look on his face changing rapidly. Something unusual and grave was happening in him.

“Finally, as though coming to his senses, he lightly but firmly tapped his hand and rose to his feet. He headed for his private office. His retinue followed anxiously and solicitously, whispering: ‘Holy Father, are you not feeling well? Do you need anything?’ He answered: ‘Nothing, nothing.’ About half an hour later, he called for the Secretary of the Congregation of Rites and, handing him a sheet of paper, requested that it be printed and sent to all the ordinaries around the world. What was that paper? It was the prayer that we recite with the people at the end of every Mass. It is the plea to Mary and the passionate request to the Prince of the heavenly host, (St. Michael: Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle) beseeching God to send Satan back to hell."
(Fr. Domenico Pechenino, quoted in the 1955 Roman journal Ephemerides Liturgicae V. LXIX, pp 54–60)

Although he leaves out any mention of Pope Leo hearing a conversation between God and the Devil, and the prophecy of the 100 years of Satan's greater power, the fact that it was written 14 years after the original version of this prophecy first appeared in print would suggest that Fr Pechenino presumes that readers are already aware of the contents of the prophecy, and is merely writing to confirm what he saw that day. Fr. Bers had noted in 1934 that this prophecy was already in wide circulation, and was "spreading like a virus", so it was certainly well-known by the time Fr. Pechenino was providing his eyewitness testimony, and we can be sure that he was aware of it. It seems that the real reason Fr. Pechenino leaves out any mention of the 100 years element of this vision is due to the simple fact that he did not actually hear or see the vision himself, but was rather relating how he witnessed Pope Leo experiencing this event. Given that Fr. Pechenino is recalling these events solely as an observer, he could not have possibly known the content of the vision at this time, since by his own admission, the Holy Father did not reveal to him exactly what he saw or heard. He only knew that the Pope had composed the St. Michael Prayer immediately after this episode, which runs as following:

The St. Michael Prayer

Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

The fact that Fr. Pechenino's account confirms the later 1933 version, can be used to establish that the prophecy of the 100 years of Satan's greater power is in fact genuine. If we compare both texts above, we can see that Fr Pechenino's testimony concurs almost exactly with the original version of the story behind the prophecy. The only difference is that Fr. Pechenino was not told exactly what Pope Leo experienced during this vision, which suggests that the Holy Father confided what he saw to someone else - the retinue who Fr. Pechenino saw following the pope afterwards and was questioning him. Being a member of his personal entourage, the retinue would have been a close confidant of the pope, and the details of the vision were probably given to him. This would make the retinue the most likely source of this prophecy, and how it was circulated in the Vatican.

But when should this 100 year period be calculated from? Most interpreters think that the hundred years referred to the 20th century, and some later versions of this prophecy explicitly state this view. While the original version doesn't mention a specific starting point, there are only two real options - either the year the vision was first received, which according to the first account was 1884, or the turn of the century. It seems the latter position is the most likely, since in what he himself described as the "greatest act of my pontificate", Pope Leo XIII consecrated the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 11th 1899, as requested by Blessed Mary of the Divine Heart (see here). Since this was obviously a date of utmost importance to the pontiff, and it commenced at a symbolically significant turning point (the end of the century), it would be logical to assume that the dawn of the 20th century was the beginning of the 100 years allotted to Satan.
Rather interestingly, in the post The Seven Wandering Stars and the Heads of the Dragon, we note how the 20th century was framed by two extremely rare planetary alignments - in the year 1899 and the year 2000. And if we look closely at the Book of Revelation, it suggests that the opening of the abyss (during which Satan is released "for a little while" to gather the nations for war) is marked by just such an event. Rev 1 depicts Jesus holding seven stars in his right hand, and upon experiencing this vision, St. John is told that Christ has the keys to the abyss:

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.
(Rev 1:16-18)

The fact that Christ is holding an arrangement of stars in his hand, and then immediately afterwards informs us "I have the keys of Death and Hades", suggests that the keys to the abyss are to be directly identified with these seven stars. It also suggests that this arrangement of stars is in some way a remarkable and unique event involving the wandering planets, rather than being a fixed constellation comprised of seven stars. If the seven stars held in the hand of Jesus are interpreted as an alignment of the seven classical planets, then it would follow that the opening and closing of the abyss would be marked by the appearance of such phenomena:

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) 

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.
(Rev 20:7-8)

The amillennial approach towards the interpretation of the millennium, first forwarded by St. Augustine of Hippo in the 5th century, has been almost universally accepted by Catholic theologians as the standard for interpreting this prophecy for over 1600 years. In chapter XX of his monumental work City of God, St. Augustine equated the "millennium" with the age of the Church. For St. Augustine, the beginning of the "millennium" or age of the Church is thus traced back to ministry of Christ, when Jesus bound the power of Satan through his sacrifice on the Cross. As St. Augustine points out, this is alluded to by Christ Himself in the Gospels:

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man — meaning by the strong man the devil, because he had power to take captive the human race; and meaning by his goods which he was to take, those who had been held by the devil in various sins and iniquities, but were to become believers in Himself. It was then for the binding of this strong one that the apostle saw in the Apocalypse an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss, and a chain in his hand. And he laid hold, he says, on the dragon, that old serpent, which is called the devil and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,— that is, bridled and restrained his power so that he could not seduce and gain possession of those who were to be freed. (St. Augustine of Hippo, City of God, XX:7) 

For the past 1,600 years, Roman Catholic teaching on the millennium has developed around St. Augustine's amillennial view of the Apocalypse - a long history of interpretation which would eventually shape magisterial teaching on eschatology and the development of the Catechism. According to the amillennialist position, the millennium is not a literal thousand year period, but rather it represents a very long period of time during which the power of Satan is restricted, in order to allow the spread of the Gospel. The strong man is Satan, whilst the phrase the "strong man's house" refers to the Devil as the lord of this world:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.
(2 Cor 4:3-4)

In Matt 12:29, Christ tells us that in order for Him to plunder the worldly realm of Satan and open the eyes of unbelievers to the Gospel, He would first have to "bind the strong man". Although evil still exists during this period, and Satan can still interfere with human affairs, his power would be limited in order to facilitate the growth of the Gospel. As the Catechism teaches, even though Satan was definitively defeated by Jesus' sacrifice on the Cross, the reign of Christ's kingdom on earth in the Church will always be subject to the attacks of evil powers until the creation of the new heaven and the new earth after the Last Judgement:

Though already present in his Church, Christ's reign is nevertheless yet to be fulfilled "with power and great glory" by the King's return to earth. This reign is still under attack by the evil powers, even though they have been defeated definitively by Christ's Passover. Until everything is subject to him, "until there be realized new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells, the pilgrim Church, in her sacraments and institutions, which belong to this present age, carries the mark of this world which will pass, and she herself takes her place among the creatures which groan and travail yet and await the revelation of the sons of God."
(CCC 671)

The Book of Revelation tells us that this "millennium" or age of the Church will come to a close towards the end of the world, when Satan would once again be set loose for "a little while" to deceive the inhabitants of the earth, and gather the nations together for war. During this age of apostasy, Satan would once again have the power to blind the minds of unbelievers from the light of the Gospel, and would be able to inhibit its growth. And given that this is exactly the situation we are faced with today in the fulfilment of the prophecies of the Great Apostasy, we can only be left to conclude that the "millennium", or age of the Church has already came to end, and that the forces of Satan have already been unbound. The Apocalypse tells us that once the forces of hell have been unleashed at the end of the "thousand years", they will gather the nations together for war, and surround the Heavenly Jerusalem, which represents the Church:

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...
(Rev 20:7-9)

As St. Augustine elaborates:

The words, And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and encompassed the camp of the saints and the beloved city, do not mean that they have come, or shall come, to one place, as if the camp of the saints and the beloved city should be in some one place; for this camp is nothing else than the Church of Christ extending over the whole world. And consequently wherever the Church shall be—and it shall be in all nations, as is signified by the breadth of the earth,— there also shall be the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and there it shall be encompassed by the savage persecution of all its enemies...
(City of God, XX:11)

The end of the "thousand years" in Rev 20 is the age spoken of by Christ in his eschatological discourse on Mount Olivet, when wars would increase in intensity and there would be a mass departure from the Faith - the age of the Great Apostasy, when the light of the Gospel would once again be veiled to the minds of unbelievers:

And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name's sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.
(Matt 24:6-12)

During this "little while" at the end of the "thousand years", Satan would be granted a period of greater power, much like in the Book of Job.  Indeed the prophetic vision of Pope Leo XIII directly bases itself on the story of Job in the Old Testament. Here, Satan is granted greater power over Job, God's faithful servant, in order to test his level of faith. While Satan believes that he will be able to make Job turn his back on God by heaping atrocities upon him, the Heavenly Father is certain that Job will remain faithful in patient suffering. Job then has to endure a series of trials inflicted upon him at the hand of Satan, in order to prove his faithfulness to God. But in the vision of Leo XIII, the Church itself takes the place of Job.

During this new "trial of Job", Satan uses the increase in lawlessness (in the horrors of war and genocide) in an attempt to destroy peoples' faith in God, making the love of many grow cold. And in the light of the general apostasy which followed the horrors of the two World Wars and the genocides of the 20th century, it seems that this tactic has paid off spectacularly. Which isn't at all surprising, given the fact that the exposition of the philosophical problem of evil is one of the primary weapons of modern atheism. Once the "thousand years" were over, the forces of evil really did surround the City of God, and the Church is still being besieged by the modern secular values espoused in the principles of Freemasonry. 

 So if the "millennium" or age of the Church really did end at the turn of the 20th century, as is suggested by the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII, and indeed the actual unfolding of world events, we are left with the inescapable conclusion that the unbinding of Satan described in the Apocalypse is directly related to the two world wars. Turning back to the Book of Revelation, we find an earlier parallel reference to Satan being unbound from his prison in Rev 20, which is to be directly equated with the opening of the abyss in Rev 9. These two passages undoubtedly refer to the exact same event, only this time we are given the additional detail that the opening of the abyss at the end of the millennium or "age of the Church", would be marked not only by the "keys of the abyss" (which we have already established as an alignment of the seven classical planets) but also by a star falling to earth and the appearance of locust-like "demons":

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit. He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft. Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.
(Rev 9:1-3)

In my book, I show how this prophecy of the appearance of demonic flying armour-clad locusts actually concerns the invention of military aircraft at the turn of the 20th century - right at the beginning of the 100 years of Satan's greater power. And that this was timed to exactly coincide with a "star" falling to earth - the Tunguska event of 1908 - when a large meteorite or asteroid exploded above the wilderness of Siberia (see the post Tunguska, Pope Leo XIII and the Opening of the Abyss, for further details on this subject). So just as the "little while" given to Satan mentioned in Rev 9 and 20 is marked by the appearance of the apocalyptic locusts and a star falling to earth, the beginning of the 100 years of Satan's greater power foretold by Pope Leo XIII coincided with the invention of military aircraft and the Tunguska event. In order to find out more information on what happens during the "little while" given to Satan, we must turn back to Rev 20, where we are told that after the Devil is released from his prison, he "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" (vv7-8). Once again, this corresponds almost exactly with the reality of the situation at the beginning of the 20th century - at the start of Satan's 100 years of greater power. The nations at the four corners of the earth truly were gathered together for battle, in the two greatest wars the world has ever known.
The theme of Satan gathering the nations together for war is also emphasised in a parallel passage in chapter 16:

The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east. And I saw, coming out of the mouth of the dragon and out of the mouth of the beast and out of the mouth of the false prophet, three unclean spirits like frogs. For they are demonic spirits, performing signs, who go abroad to the kings of the whole world, to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty.
(Rev 16:12-16)

In the book, I argue that the three "woes" described in chapters 9-11 of the Book of Revelation correspond to three world wars, and that each of these "woes" are also represented by the three unclean spirits like frogs that issue from the mouths of the Dragon, False Prophet and the Beast. The first two woes refer to the two world wars, while the third woe represents the last great war - the battle of Armageddon. We are told above in Rev 16 that a noteworthy event precedes the coming of the unclean spirits of the Dragon, Beast and False Prophet to gather the nations for war - the drying up of the river Euphrates in Mesopotamia. It is interesting then to note that construction on the Hindiya Barrage on the river Euphrates lasted between the years 1911-1913 - just immediately before the outbreak of WWI in 1914. The Hindiya Barrage was the first modern dam erected on the Euphrates. During its construction, a new river bed was excavated and then inundated after its completion, while the old river bed was blocked with dams. So the Euphrates was indeed "dried up" just before the three demonic spirits began to assemble the armies of the whole world for battle. Which helps us to further establish that this parallel passage concerning the gathering of the nations for war is exactly the same event described as occurring at the end of the "thousand years": "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." (Rev 20:7-8).

Also if we are to take the "75 years" element of this prophecy as an indication of a different date other than the end of the century, as an alternative span for determining the dates connected to Satan's "little while", then it is noteworthy that calculating 75 years from 1914 brings us to the year 1989 - the year of the fall of Communism. The fruits of the "spark from Poland" which St. Faustina predicted would pave the way for the Second Coming of Christ. In the earlier post The Three Days of Darkness and the Angelic Pope, we have already noted that this year was highly significant to the Third Secret of Fatima, especially given the connection with the dates which can be calculated from the 153 fish of the Second Pentecost (153 times 13 - the number of Jesus and the 12 apostles - gives 1989).

We can find even more evidence that the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII is directly concerned with the unbinding of Satan at the end of the "millennium", in that the vision was actually composed of two separate parts - one auditory, and one visionary. While the auditory element of this vision is legendary (Pope Leo hearing the conversation between God and the Devil), what is not so well known is that according to first-hand reports, the Holy Father simulateanously experienced a visionary element in this prophecy - where he seen a huge number of demonic spirits converging upon Rome. A vision which matches the events described at the end of the millennium in the Apocalypse perfectly:

"And they marched up over the broad plain of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city"
(Rev 20:9)

Although it is virtually unheard of, the visionary element of this prophecy was recorded for posterity by Cardinal Giovanni Nasalli Rocca di Corneliano. The aforementioned article in Ephemerides Liturgicae V. LXIX (which contained the testimony of Fr. Pechenino), also notes that Card. Corneliano gave an explanation for the exact wording of the St. Michael Prayer in his Pastoral Letters for Lent - stating that:

 "the sentence 'The evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls' has a historical explanation that was many times repeated by his private secretary, Monsignor Rinaldo Angeli. Leo XIII truly saw, in a vision, demonic spirits who were congregating on the Eternal City (Rome). The prayer that he asked all the Church to recite was the fruit of that experience. He would recite that prayer with strong, powerful voice: we heard it many a time in the Vatican Basilica. Leo XIII also personally wrote an exorcism that is included in the Roman Ritual. He recommended that bishops and priests read these exorcisms often in their dioceses and parishes. He himself would recite them often throughout the day."

This would suggest that the original source of the prophecy of the 100 years of greater power was actually the Pope's private secretary - Mgr. Rinaldo Angeli, and that this is the same retinue mentioned by Fr. Pechenino - the one who followed the pope immediately after he received his vision. Given that Mgr. Angeli had been the Holy Father's private secretary since shortly after his election in 1878, this would make him the most likely candidate for the source of this prophecy.

On 18 May 1890, a different, much longer prayer to St. Michael was approved for use by Pope Leo XIII, which may help to shed some further light on the thoughts of the Holy Father after years of reflection on this vision. This is the same exorcism prayer in the Roman Ritual mentioned by Card. Corneliano:

O glorious Archangel St. Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, defend us in battle, and in the struggle which is ours against the principalities and Powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against spirits of evil in high places (Eph 6:12). Come to the aid of men, whom God created immortal, made in his own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil (Wis 2:23-24, 1 Cor 6:20).
Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. But that cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan, who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with all his angels (Rev 12:7-9).
Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of man has taken courage, Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of his Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.
These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions (Lam 3:15).
In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.
Arise then, O invincible prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and bring them the victory.
The Church venerates thee as protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of this world and of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude.
Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations.
(Rituale Romanum, 6th ed. post typicam, (Ratisbon: Pustet 1898), 163ff).

 Note that towards the end of the prayer, we find the rather telling statement: "do thou again make him captive in the abyss", which can only suggest that the prayer of Pope Leo XIII concerns the unleashing of Satan after he had already been captive in the abyss - i.e. after the "thousand years" were over. The era which Rev 20 tells us that a hoarde of demons would be unleashed from hell to encircle the Heavenly Jerusalem, the Holy City of Rome - a scenario which corresponds exactly with the vision experienced by Pope Leo XIII. In this respect, it is noteworthy then that Pope Leo XIII issued Humanum Genus (his encyclical against Freemasonry) in the exact year he was reported to have first received his famous vision - in April 1884. And the primary theme of this encyclical is based on St. Augustine's City of God:

The race of man, after its miserable fall from God, the Creator and the Giver of heavenly gifts, "through the envy of the devil," separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ; and those who desire from their heart to be united with it, so as to gain salvation, must of necessity serve God and His only-begotten Son with their whole mind and with an entire will. The other is the kingdom of Satan, in whose possession and control are all whosoever follow the fatal example of their leader and of our first parents, those who refuse to obey the divine and eternal law, and who have many aims of their own in contempt of God, and many aims also against God.

2. This twofold kingdom St. Augustine keenly discerned and described after the manner of two cities, contrary in their laws because striving for contrary objects; and with a subtle brevity he expressed the efficient cause of each in these words: "Two loves formed two cities: the love of self, reaching even to contempt of God, an earthly city; and the love of God, reaching to contempt of self, a heavenly one."(1) At every period of time each has been in conflict with the other, with a variety and multiplicity of weapons and of warfare, although not always with equal ardour and assault. At this period, however, the partisans of evil seems to be combining together, and to be struggling with united vehemence, led on or assisted by that strongly organized and widespread association called the Freemasons. No longer making any secret of their purposes, they are now boldly rising up against God Himself. They are planning the destruction of holy Church publicly and openly, and this with the set purpose of utterly despoiling the nations of Christendom, if it were possible, of the blessings obtained for us through Jesus Christ our Saviour.

(Pope Leo XIII, Humanum Genus, 1884. See here for the full text)




Anonymous said...

Anne Catherine Emmerich stated in her visions, the 100 years given to Lucifer for the destruction of the church began in the year 1960.

Look at what began in that time period!

Patrick R.

Emmett O'Regan said...

Hi Patrick,

I think the specific prophecy by Blessed Emmerich you mention there is the following:

In the centre of Hell I saw a dark and horrible-looking abyss, and into this Lucifer was cast, after being first strongly secured with chains; thick clouds of sulphurous black smoke arose from its fearful depths, and enveloped his frightful form in the dismal folds, thus effectually concealing him from every beholder. God himself had decreed this; and I was likewise told, if I remember rightly that he will be unchained for a time fifty or sixty years before the year of Christ 2000. The dates of many other events were pointed out to me which I do not now remember; but a certain number of demons are to be let loose much earlier than Lucifer, in order to tempt men, and to serve as instruments of the divine vengeance. I should think that some must be loosened even in the present day, and others will be set free in a short time.


Most people see in this a prediction of events beginning with the Second World War, and some connect this prophecy with Pope Leo's vision. Perhaps you got it mixed up with Sr Lucia's contention that the Third Secret should be released by 1960, as then it would be better understood? (Unless you know of a different prophecy?) The Great Apostasy the Church is enduring today certainly began in the
1960's, and many feel that the hidden text of the Third Secret refers to this event.

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

My last comment was written incorrectly thinking you were referring to the request of consecration from Fatima. Sorry for the mistake.

God Bless,

Emmett O'Regan said...

Hi Daniel,

It's an easy mistake to make. I don't think that a lot of people know about Pope Leo XIII's consecreation of the world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in 1899. You can find details about it in the encyclical Annum Sacrum (Holy Year):

It is interesting that the turn of the 20th century and the turn of the millennium are framed by consecrations of the world to the Two Hearts of Jesus and Mary (Pope John Paul II performed an "act of entrustment" of the world and the third millennium to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
But Russia itself wasn't specifically singled out in any of the consecrations done so far, which leaves a big question mark hanging.
Each consecration does appear to gain a great level of grace however - such as Pius XII's consecration just before the fall of Stalingrad - which was a pivotal turning point in the war. And the 1984 consecration has often been linked with the fall of communism.
I would assume if it was going to be carried out exactly as specified, then it would have to take place by the centenary of the Fatima apparitions in 2017. As Sr. Lucia herself prophesied:

‘They did not wish to heed My request! ... Like the King of France they will repent of it, and they will do it, but it will be late. Russia will have already spread its errors in the world, provoking wars and persecutions against the Church. The Holy Father will have much to suffer."’

St. Margaret Mary requested that France be publically consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus by the King on June 17, 1689. This wasn't carried out until exactly 100 years later, on June 17, 1789. By this stage it was too late though, as the French Revolution was already well underway.
If this is the parallel to go by, then I wouldn't expect any specific consecration of Russia to take place until the centenary of Fatima.

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...


BubbaC said...

You:"seven stars held in the hand of Jesus..." Me:There were 7 new planets discover yesterday. Could be the these are the sign.

Unknown said...

1984 pope John Paul II consecrated officiallyto fall of the iron curtain the third secret was the pope getting shot

NJada said...

Fascinating article, Emmett! I'm not totally sure what to make of all this, but I'm gradually putting pieces together in my understanding.

It's very believable as far as I can tell that the fruits of the 20th/21st centuries point to an increase in satan's power over the world. But certainly he had influence over people before. Do we know what is different about what he can do that he couldn't before?--not that I want to probe too much into guessing the nature of his designs if it isn't my place to know.
But I was very surprised to hear that some victims souls were even *physically* attacked by satan himself. It occurred to me that the only of those I've heard of are from the 20th century--like St. Gemma and St. Padre Pio. Do you happen to know if these physical attacks are a phenomenon unheard of until the 20th century?

I asked a monk about this and the impression I got is that God allows the devil to even physically manifest himself to the mystic because it actually renders him extremely vulnerable, sheds light on his dark plans, and draws him away from other souls, since he is so busy attacking the holy mystic whose trust in the Lord is firm. And that would be the case for any victim soul like St. Anthony the Great, but it sounds like the physical attacks of recent Saints shows something about that increase in power. So the harder the evil one tries, the more ultimately self-defeating are his methods. You'd think he would understand that then?--but I guess he is too enraged to think straight, big as his intellect is. It made sense to me, since sometimes I think I foolishly picture satan as if he is omnipresent, but in fact, as powerful as he is, he is still a limited creature. So I guess if he wants to put all his effort in to removing one great Christian soul from the will of God, he has to condense his focus even to a physical location.

So is it part of God's reason for this unchaining of satan that by letting him have a stronger hand upon the earth, he will only more greatly expose the self-defeating nature of his designs?--or at least it will be clearer to those who love the truth more than wickedness, and unclearer to those who love wickedness more than the truth. So things will be more black-and-white.

I'm looking to understand. Does any of that sound correct?

Emmett O'Regan said...

Hi Nick,

St. Augustine goes into some detail on what the binding and unbinding of Satan entails in chapter 20 of City of God. He pointed out that the key factor in what occurs during the unbinding of Satan is the ability of the Devil to prevent the spread of the Gospel. Satan was bound during the ministry of Jesus in order to allow the spread of the Gospel to the whole world. Christianity enjoyed worldwide growth until relatively recently - around the turn of the 20th century, since when it has entered a period of decline. This is just one of the other indicators that we are now living during the period of the unbinding of Satan. We will know this period is truly over when the Gospel is once again freely proclaimed throughout the whole world. It is not about the total restraint of evil, which will remain a necessary feature of the vale of tears until the end of time. All of Satan's other powers (including his ability to physically attack saints) stayed intact during the period of his binding, which appears to have lasted from the Crucifixion up to the start of the modern era. As you state, St. Anthony is a good example of this fact, as was St. Teresa of Avila and St. John Vianney, besides many, many more.

Jim said...

My own take on this 100 years period is that we are just about at the end of it right now. I am basing it on starting in 1917. Not because that was the year of Fatima, but for another, darker reason.

Think about it, if you were in Satan's position, and God gave you 100 years to attempt to destroy the Church, what would be your first move? What about having Christianity outlawed in the largest nation on earth? Well, the Bolshevik Revolution took place on November 7-8, 2017, and we all know what the USSR (the largest nation on earth) did to the Christian faith.

On top of that, look at everything which has happened in the last few years. Terror attacks everywhere. The renewed threat of nuclear annihilation. Things which Catholics have considered mortal sins forever are becoming legalized. In the last days of the 100 years, Satan is going into hyper-overdrive, because he knows the clock is ticking louder and louder, and he hasn't destroyed the Church. He's desperate.

It all makes a lot of sense.

jongricafort said...

The visions by Pope Leo XIII was in 1884...and it started in 1884...Let's explore the years boasted by Satan 75 to 100 years...the 75th year would be 1959...the year the Vatican II was publicly announced...the 100th year would be 1984 the year St. JP2 consecrated the world..1985 up to present is the Time of Mercy...because Satan failed to destroy the we are under God's Providence and God the Father is now outside the Vineyard looking from afar the Prodigal sons who will come back & Pope Francis said 'the Divine Mercy is INFINITE but the TIME OF MERCY is NOT"...the way Im seeing it Satan will forced his entry into the Chair of St. Peter by ousting Pope Francis thru public consensus...but Gen3:15 will meet Satan on the Seat of Peter...and that will be Triumph of the Church...this will pave the way for UNITY and the Reign of Christ for thousand years w/ Satan restricted...and the rest is unfold in the New Garden of Eden...for Satan ULTIMATE DEFEAT...Godbless!

Ross Johnson said...

The miracle of the sun occurred at Fatima 33 years to the day that Pope Leo XIII witnessed a conversation between satan and Jesus. Jesus said you have the "power and the time". Satan ,to have the power must have power over the papacy. Therefore the year 1960 when the final part of the secret was to be released becomes prominent in determining the period of time. Vatican II had been called and ultimately sanctioned the errors of the French revolution, Religious Liberty, Collegial Equality and Ecumenical Fraternity. These errors were condemned by previous Popes. The Vatican II "popes" have upheld these errors that led to the new " sacraments, doctrines and disciplines" of the Vatican II church. Sister Lucy used the word " apostasy" to describe the "diabolical disorientation" sweeping through the Church. And Father Alonso described the third part of the Secret as a warning that progressivism would take over from traditionalism. Sr.Lucy also told us that the contents of the third secret are to be found " in the gospel and the apocalypse". Chapter 12 describes the dragon as having ten horns and seven heads and on those heads seven diadems. The ten Horns are the empires he controls. The diadem represents power. Therefore the seven heads are the seven "popes" who do the work of destroying the church internally. These started with John XIII and will end with the seventh. This is the period of time and power allotted to satan and ends with the Pope brought forth by the church who rules with a rod of iron verse 5 . He will return the Church to Tradition. There will be much unrest after his election. This is probably the Pope that Jacinta saw in vision;" they were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language". This Pope calls another council {mainly scriptural } and lives long enough to enact its decrees in reforming the Church. Then he is taken up to Heaven. So after Francis we have one more "pope" before satan's time runs out.

jim.carroll said...

Greetings! I ran across this article (again) while trying to find some sources that might support a view that just as Job's trials occurred in two separate sections, so might the "100 years" occur in two separate periods, rather than in a single 100-year block.

I was struck by your quote of Blessed Emmerich, that Satan would be unbound fifty or sixty years before the year 2000 (i.e., possibly as early as 1940) "... but a certain number of demons are to be let loose much earlier than Lucifer, in order to tempt men, and to serve as instruments of the divine vengeance." I believe one of those "earlier demons" was the Lambeth Conference of 1930, which approved the use of artificial contraception on 15 August, 1930. Other Protestant denominations followed suit.

One year later, on 18 September 1931, World War 2 started with the Japanese invasion of China. Italy invaded Abyssinia on 3 October 1935; in 1938 Germany annexed Austria; and the Great Aurora of January 25–26, 1938 occurred and was recognized by both St. Lucia and St. Faustina as the great sign in the sky marking that God was going to punish the world with an even greater war.

What is VERY interesting to me is that Saint Bridget of Sweden (1873) prophesied (Reader's Digest version here) that in 2038 "the world will cry 'Woe.'" That would be 100 years from the date of the Great Aurora.

Enoch 76 said...

Great research and a very informative post. I will bet that you are surprised at the relevancy of this post to this week's events regarding the recent scandal and new assault on the Church? I believe your article is very important and a re-post would be of great benefit to your readers. I am going to post your link for my friends and Catholic brothers and sisters because they need this information to help gird themselves for future assaults on the Church.

Anonymous said...

I only accept the Fr. Pechenino account, and Pope Leo XIII's prayer, that is sufficient. It is too widely accepted as fact that the conversation Leo purportedly heard took place, and even more so that it mentions the 75 or 100 years. His Holiness was very stricken by the experience and gave us a wonderful prayer and specific warnings and declarations in this regard. If he wanted us to know the particulars of what he saw that day, we would have been told. It was his wisdom that chose not to share it, because it could have been from the Devil. It is enough to know he had a vision that brought results. I am not going to believe anonymous descriptions of the private event first mentioned, and without sources, 49-50 years later without any corraboration and neither should any of us. Fr. Pechenino's account should be enough for everyone.

V said...

There is some conversion about the 100 yr countdown relating to Fatima and here are my observations. In 1917 Our Lady says she will come again to ask for the consecration of Russia. In 1929 the request is officially made. In 1931 Jesus warns of the example of the French King not consecrating France to the Sacred Heart where 100 yrs later to the date the King of France was beheaded. Therefore, the 100 yrs Fatima countdown begins on the 1929 or 1931 date. I think 1929 is more likely.

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GraceNotes77 said...

I have personally met two popes, John XXIII and Paul VI (whom I covered as a journalist based in Rome). My singular impression of both was that of their deep humility. Their discourses and their encyclicals evince a foundation in prayer and intellectual elucidation of the virtues of love, compassion, and hope. It is inconceivable to me that either one of these popes was "taken over" by demonic forces and used to subvert the church. Those who posit such an atrocious hypoethesis must bear the burden of presenting proof. As to John Paul II his life, writings, speeches and actions all manifest constant caring for the severe task of evangelizing the world and combating the tide of a virulent secularism.

GraceNotes77 said...

May the Holy Spirit enlighten those sharing their comments here. As Cardinal Suenens once remarked, "Submission to the Holy Spirit is the key to sanctity."

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Many could compare The Catholic Church World Youth Days (WYD) as to when The Holy Family lost Our Savior for 3 days

The way I see it is that since the year 2000, our Catholic Church have made a mistake by allowing too many changes to take place and long story short, I believe that The Devil has been using our Catholic Youth to make un-needed changes...

God Bless

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