Satan’s Role in Sowing Chaos

The publication of the Vatican declaration on same-sex blessings has generated a great deal of resistance within the Catholic Church. Numerous bishops in various parts of the world have refused to comply with its directives, and the African Bishops Conference has rejected it outright, forcing Pope Francis to grant an exemption to the whole continent on the basis of cultural differences.

Many Catholics take this resistance as a sign that things are about to change for the better in the Church—that the fog of confusion created by Francis will soon dissipate. Some have hope that Francis himself will come to see the error of his ways. After all, for a number of years many Catholics have been praying for his conversion. Maybe the prayers are beginning to have an effect. Others take solace in the occasional attempt by the Vatican to present itself as a defender of tradition. Thus, some Catholic theologians have praised the latest DDF document, Gestis Verbisque  (“Deeds and Words”), for its concern with protecting the validity of sacraments and eliminating liturgical abuse.

But such optimism seems premature. The harm done to the Church by Francis and his clerical allies is not just their work. It’s also the work of Satan. The undermining of Catholic teaching and morality has been carried out with such efficiency that it’s difficult to avoid the impression of an intervention by dark spiritual powers.

It’s disturbing, of course, to think that the spiritual underworld is actively seeking to destroy the Church. It’s more comforting to blame the Church’s troubles on human folly and venality—something that can be dealt with given enough time and effort.

But keep in mind that Jesus was deeply concerned about the activities of Satan. He frequently warned his disciples about the fires of Hell, the deceptions of Satan, and the necessity of keeping watch. He made it clear that Satan would attack his Church and that even the elect would be led astray.

Likewise, Saint Paul warned the Thessalonians that the day of the Lord’s return would not come unless the rebellion [or apostasy] comes first, and “the man of lawlessness is revealed” (2 Thess 2:3). Moreover, “The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception” (2 Thess 2:9-10). Paul also describes the lawless one as taking “his seat in the temple of God.”

Theologians are not agreed upon the identity of the lawless one, nor about which temple is referred to. But according to one school of thought, the lawless one is a human ruler whose appearance comes after, perhaps long after, the time of Paul. Some believe that the temple refers to the Jerusalem Temple, while others believe it is a reference to the Church. This suggests that the lawless one will be a person who holds authority within a religious institution.

 Could Francis be the lawless man? He sits in the “temple of God.” He disregards the laws of the Church and he flouts the moral law, particularly those rules that govern sexuality. He believes not in a fixed moral law but in a fluid morality that is relative to time and place (e.g., Western priests must give the same-sex blessing, but African priests are exempt). In many respects, the term “lawless” does seem to fit him.

Francis, however, may be just a warm-up. Although the situation in the Church seems very bad, it could get much worse. The future tribulations that Jesus describes in Matthew 24 are far worse than anything that is currently happening in the Western Church. Moreover, the wars, famines, and earthquakes that will signal the last days, says Jesus, are “but the beginning of the birth-pangs.”

So, it may be that the papacy of Francis, bad as it is, is just a prelude to something worse. He could be succeeded by some one far more destructive. After all, Francis has stacked the College of Cardinals with men who think as he does. And they will elect his successor. Instead of waiting to see what happens next, Catholics would do well to resist him and those who support him. Just because Francis and Fernandez seem to be making some concessions to traditional Catholics, now is not the time to sound the all-clear signal.

The point is that prophecies about false prophets and antichrists yet to come are present in the Bible. And you don’t have to search far to find them. Some of the prophecies are quite frightening. Moreover, in Matthew 24, Jesus does not say that these things may happen, but that they will happen. Indeed, he says, “This must take place” (Mt 24:6).

Consequently, these prophecies should not be ignored in favor of explanations of the current chaos that are more in tune with “modern” thinking than with the repeated warnings in scripture.

Something strange has happened in the Church and in the world. We should not try to explain it away with familiar observations such as “nothing has changed” and “we’ve seen all this before.” On the contrary, we seem to be witnessing something altogether new.

Pictured above: Depiction of the Prophet Daniel

Picture credit: Pixabay