Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


End Times Perspective — Part III — Cleansing the Church

November 8th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

It is so easy in this time of distress to focus on shock, repulsion, anger, fear and even retribution.

What the evil one has wrought against God’s Holy Church provokes such emotions, no matter how much we might seek to preface them with words like “justifiable” or “understandable.”  But, as we look much closer, and dwell with prayerful attention on all which has happened, a different attitude may arise.  An incredible blessing has been visited on the Church, and especially on the Faithful among the clerics and laity, a blessing hardly noticed among the debris. Debris? Yes, look at the posts on this site about the fire at Notre Dame Cathedral.  

She is a metaphor for the Church herself. The roof, the very top and single spire destroyed, totally given to the flames, but the pews preserved. Oh, and the high altar untouched, while the “table altar,” as some call it, lies under a pile of rubblsh. A metaphor indeed. 

We know that Christ promised to be with His Church, especially to the end of the world: And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”  Matthew 28:18-20.

So, we might begin to wonder during current events, how can there be such a turn of events in the Church, with evil seeming to prevail? What we may forget is how effective God is in turning the actions of evil against the evil itself. Sometimes it seems that He permits just enough unchaining of Satan to bring about God’s own will. 

  • Consider Pharaoh’s refusal to let the Israelites go a three days’ journey to worship their God!  As the Egyptian leader’s heart hardened, his stubbornness redounded to the death of the first born of his own people and animals, then escalated to even trying to kill all God’s people in their crossing the Red Sea. But we know what happened. God retrieved His people from Egypt without their bloodshed, and to His own glory.
  • Consider how God used Nebuchadnezzar, a foreign potentate, to discipline the tribes of Judah and Benjamin by taking the people into exile for 70 years a few centuries before the coming of the Messiah, and by destroying the Temple so that they would have to begin anew without the beauty of Solomon’s Temple, which may have become more worshiped than God Himself.
  • Consider, especially, how God used the pagan and merciless Roman Empire as persecutors who caused the infant Church to scatter in all directions, bringing Christianity to the world. Yes, the blood of martyrs does indeed water the seed of the Faith, but God doesn’t do the persecution; He allows the free will of others to cause the flight.

There is a certain amount of concern expressed in these later days about whether or not God is still with His Church, keeping His promise to be with us always. From one view, many churchmen seem to be falling deeply into homosexual sin, paganism and other heresies. (Perhaps it seems like many because those in Satan’s grasp are wont to brag about their sin! They are apt to go on speaking tours and write defenses of sin. Those who are rightfully ashamed of their sins don’t brag about them; rather they brag about the mercy of God.)

The deposit of faith all of a sudden seems to be on shaky ground when even
very high ranking prelates question the teaching of two millennia. But God is also raising up heroes, like Cardinal Raymond Burke, Archbishop Vigano, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, and many more.  Lay leaders are also arising in defense of Holy Mother Church, not in a teaching capacity (to which they are not entitled) but in spreading vital and truthful information and challenging the Body of Christ to defend Mother Church. What the printing press was to the Protestant Rebellion so too is the Internet and modern media to today’s communications.

Is the current onslaught demonically based? Of course it is, but in the same sense as the Crucifixion of Christ had a satanic involvement from among Christ’s very own hand-picked disciples, when we read regarding Judas: “Then after the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, “What you are going to do, do quickly.” John 13:27. And so the source of betrayal now is the same as then, when Judas gave “lip service” to his role as disciple, with a kiss upon the Lord’s cheek. Christ (and obviously His Teaching) is still being betrayed; He is allowing His enemies a little leeway, as He has done so many times before, for a higher good. He permits, but does not cause the evil.

What is the higher good this time? It would seem to be the purgation of the Church, perhaps even with an eye to the end times. Exposure of the homosexual filth inside seminaries, parishes, dioceses and especially the Vatican may be seen by some as damaging the Church, but it is a necessary cleansing, although especially painful to the flock, as were the plagues and escaping Egypt, as was being exiled from one’s home without a way to worship, and as were the numerous and sadistic persecutions by the enemies of God. God permits Job’s burden to rest wherever His Divine Will chooses, and owes us no explanation.

Yet the Lord has told us how He will deal with such sinfulness within His Church, and so He seems to be doing.  Jeremiah 13:26 states:   “I myself will lift up your skirts over your face, and your shame will be seen.” And, in more detail, as the world stands awestruck by the confusion, failures and sexual sins ‘approved’ by some successors to the Apostles, the prophetic words of Nahum 3:5 seem even more fully to the point:  “Behold, I am against you, says the LORD of hosts, and will lift up your skirts over your face; and I will let nations look on your nakedness and kingdoms on your shame.” The applicability of this graphic is hard to deny as being full-fledged scandal. If we needed more indication that God Himself is purging, consider the words of the first Pope: “For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?” 1 Peter 4:17

While impetus for the needed shaming and cleansing has been pursued by the laity, this is no matter of pride for them. How long did such abominations continue before eyes were opened and courage embraced? How many turned the other way? How many, even now, “just don’t want to know!” Many Catholics see Church as a social occasion; many were never exposed to true worship and adoration. Many priests don’t want to preach the truth, about abortion e.g., and refuse to risk their collection plate. Real conversion today is often one by one, not a group event.

Even Queen Esther quaked at the risk, of telling her husband, the king, about the planned murder of the Jews, and her interceding for them.  But her Uncle Mor’decai’s words are as true today for Catholics wanting to look the other way, as they were for the Queen: “Then Mor’decai told them to return answer to Esther, ‘Think not that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews.  For if you keep silence at such a time as this, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another quarter, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’”  Esther 4:13-14. It is a great honor and blessing to be allowed to do even a tiny part of the work which needs to be done.

The parallel for Catholics today might be that to have turned the other way, to have ignored
the threat to the Deposit of the Faith, not to have spoken up, to have pursued preachers who see nothing as a sin, not to have preserved their own house for their children’s sake, all makes such Catholics share in the guilt. For, perhaps, they were born for just such a time as this? To confront the purgation and return?

For those who have done what they are able to do, the message is different, and it is not yet “heroic,” although the young men throwing pachamamas off the bridge are commendable nonetheless.  But for them and for all the loyalists who take repeated risks for the Lord, we remember the words of Luke 17:10:  So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'”

Finally, but incessantly, we are called to make great prayers of gratitude for all that has been happening in Rome and the Vatican, for the shaming and purging of serious sin throughout the Church, especially homosexual sin, paganism and heresy. God has undertaken a great work that desperately needed to be done, and He has performed such a marvelous deed in our own lifetimes. We might have lived our lives never confronting the truth. But we are here, in this time and place, to do otherwise, to witness. It is actually an amazing and miraculous work which the Lord has undertaken.  For the children, so seriously under-catechized, there is a new learning about how God reaches out to protect His Church as He promised.

While, in one sense, it is never too late as long as one is alive and has the faculties to respond to God’s grace, the path back is getting narrower and more difficult for those who left the Church. Now, with such exposure of sin and corruption, there is an egotistic response typical of Satan, which is basically: “I can’t go back now. My friends will think I’m crazy, given all the public sin and problems.” And the lost soul, being more tempted than ever not to return, is at ever greater risk.

This Part III is a continuation of Parts I and II from August. It is intended to be some thoughts and reflections on the times we are in, and not teaching per se, for which the author claims no particular authority.


One Response to “End Times Perspective — Part III — Cleansing the Church”

  1. avatar Diane Harris says:

    Re: Advent Scripture related to the endtimes:

    I have learned a lot over the years from reading so many excellent explanations of Holy Scripture by Scott Hahn; however, the approach he takes to this week’s Gospel is troubling to me. See:

    Hahn attempts an explication of Matthew 24:37-44 by opening with the words: “Jesus exaggerates in today’s Gospel when He claims not to know the day or the hour when He will come again.” And further asserts: “He occasionally makes such overstatements to drive home a point we might otherwise miss (see Matthew 5:34; 23:9; Luke 14:26).” First, reading the Gospel for the First Sunday of Advent, one might ask “What exaggeration?” It is not the text usually reflecting what Christ “knows” or “doesn’t know.”

    But assuming an exaggeration issue, we next consider the supporting arguments in other verses,and note that 3 of Hahn’s 4 charges of ‘exaggeration’ examples are from Matthew, which can raise issues of the style of the author, and not merely charging’exaggeration’ by Christ as the cause. So, the supposed proof verses of exaggeration do not really seem to support being exaggerations from a straightforward reading, with the possible exception of the Lucan citation, in which “hating” one’s father, mother etc. is generally taken in the context of all that Christ said, as the requirement to love all others (even ourselves) less than we love Christ. (Actually, including “wife” in the same context might more easily be viewed as text as support for priestly celibacy than as an exaggeration by Christ!

    And that points out the danger of attributing “exaggeration” to Christ’s words, because it puts the burden on the reader/hearer to then determine how much is exaggeration and how much isn’t, leading each and everyone to become definer/interpreter of the text. Fortunately, Christ has not left us in such a state of confusion; He left us the Church as teacher.

    So, if you follow Hahn’s scripture commentary for each Sunday, perhaps this weekend’s is a good opportunity to examine it very carefully.

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