The Year of Faith versus the Great Apostasy

Apostasy and Heresy

The tribulation includes an event called the great apostasy, in which the vast majority of Catholics leave the one true Church. Most laypersons, many religious, deacons, and priests, a substantial number of Bishops and even a few Cardinals will leave the Catholic Church. Some will leave the Christian Faith altogether. Others will try to form their own Church, one that accepts all the errors of sinful secular society, one that teaches many grave errors.

The foundation for the great apostasy is has been laid; the cement is dry and ready to be built upon. The foundation for the great apostasy is the widespread acceptance among Catholics of heresy and various lesser doctrinal errors, and the widespread rejection by Catholics of the Magisterium as their Teacher. Most married Catholics use contraception, despite the definitive teaching of the Magisterium that contraception is intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral. Many Catholics think that abortion is sometimes moral, that it should be legal, that it is somehow a right. Most Catholics do not believe the teachings of the Church on sexual ethics: against sex outside of marriage, against unnatural sexual acts, against masturbation, against homosexuality and gay marriage. Most Catholics do not believe many different teachings of the Church on matters of faith and morals, because they do not accept the Church as their Teacher. They accept whatever the prevailing opinion may be within sinful secular society, or within whatever socio-political group they choose to identify with.

But what event triggers the great apostasy? What event provokes the vast majority of Catholics, who have already departed from the Faith in the hearts and minds, to formally depart from the Church? I have long been predicting that it would be the next Pope, the one after Pope Benedict XVI, the one that St. Malachy calls Peter the Roman, who would prompt these unfaithful Catholics to leave the Church. How does the Pope do this? He simply requires Catholics to believe and practice the Catholic Faith, especially in order to receive holy Communion.

Basically, the next Pope will issue what will seem like an ultimatum to those who call themselves Catholic: reject contraception, reject abortion, reject gay marriage, reject the idea of women priests, and reject all sexual acts other than natural marital relations open to life — or leave the Church.

This ultimatum is not really a decision by the Pope, as if he were able to say otherwise. These many Catholics are already committing heresy by accepting ideas directly contrary to the definitive and infallible teachings of the Magisterium on important matters of faith and morals. The sin of formal heresy necessarily always results in automatic excommunication, regardless of Canon Law. Apostasy, heresy, and schism each excommunicate the person who knowingly commits such an act — by the very nature of each of these gravely immoral sinful acts. The Pope cannot somehow give permission for persons who commit formal heresy to remain members of the Church. They have excommunicated themselves. All this next Pope is really doing is acknowledging that fact.

The Year of Faith

Just recently, Pope Benedict XVI announced a year dedicated to faith, the Year of Faith:

“The pope said the observance would begin Oct. 11, 2012 — the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council — and conclude Nov. 24, 2013 — the feast of Christ the King.” (Pope announces ‘Year of Faith’ to help renew missionary energy)

I believe that this choice by the Pope, made under the providence and grace of God, is the context in which the next Pope will require those who call themselves Catholic to believe, in true and sincere faith, what the Church teaches, and to live according to that teaching. The great apostasy will begin during the Year of Faith. The Year of Faith prompts the next Pope and the faithful Bishops, priests, deacons, theologians and lay teachers to call unbelieving Catholics to repentance and conversion. But as the Church rightly calls its members to have faith in the teachings of Christ, many will draw away from the Church, just as happened when Christ called his disciples to faith in His teachings:

[John]
{6:61} Therefore, many of his disciples, upon hearing this, said: “This saying is difficult,” and, “Who is able to listen to it?”
{6:62} But Jesus, knowing within himself that his disciples were murmuring about this, said to them: “Does this offend you?
{6:63} Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending to where he was before?
{6:64} It is the Spirit who gives life. The flesh does not offer anything of benefit. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.
{6:65} But there are some among you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the beginning who were unbelieving and which one would betray him.
{6:66} And so he said, “For this reason, I said to you that no one is able to come to me, unless it has been given to him by my Father.”
{6:67} After this, many of his disciples went back, and they no longer walked with him.
{6:68} Therefore, Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”
{6:69} Then Simon Peter answered him: “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.
{6:70} And we have believed, and we recognize that you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

Jesus taught on the doctrine of the Eucharist, and as a result, many of His disciples departed from Him. This event was a foreshadowing of the great apostasy. The Church will require the faithful to believe Her teachings and to live by those teachings in order to receive the Holy Eucharist. In response, many who call themselves Catholic will depart from the Church, rather than believe and live according to Her teaching.

The Tribulation

The announcement by the Pope of the Year of Faith is a preparation for the great apostasy — an event that can only occur during the tribulation. Therefore, the beginning of the tribulation is very near. I predict that the tribulation will begin before the Year of Faith begins — before October 2012 — and the great apostasy will begin during the Year of Faith. This call to faith during that special year is (ironically) what triggers the great apostasy. Many Catholics will be offended by the requirement to believe what the Magisterium teaches; they will turn back and no longer walk with Jesus and His Church.

If anyone does not love our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema! Maran Atha. (1 Cor 16:22)

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and Bible translator

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3 Responses to The Year of Faith versus the Great Apostasy

  1. John Platts says:

    I certainly agree that there are some Catholics who have rejected the Church’s teaching against contraception, homosexuality, and other grave sexual sins. However, I believe there are some Catholics in our sinful secular society who commit gravely sinful sexual acts without full knowledge of its gravity.

    Here are some of the Catholic Church’s teachings on sexuality and marriage that some Catholics might not even know about:
    – For a human sexual act to be morally good, the sexual act must have the marital, procreative, and unitive meanings. Only marital sexual relations open to new human life has the marital, procreative, and unitive meanings.
    – In a sexual act, the husband must totally give himself to wife and the wife must totally give herself to her husband.
    – Sexual acts other than marital sexual relations open to new human life are intrinsically evil. These types of sexual acts are also always gravely immoral since they offend against goods of high moral value. These acts lack one or more of the following meanings: the marital meaning, the procreative meaning, or the unitive meaning.
    – Unnatural sexual acts, such as masturbation, anal sex, oral sex, and homosexual acts, are always intrinsically evil and gravely sinful.
    – Artificial human procreation, including in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination, is always morally wrong since it involves human procreation by means other than natural marital relations.
    – Consummation of a valid marriage creates a bond that cannot be broken while both the husband and the wife are still living. Consummation is essential to the fullness of the sacrament of marriage.
    – Consummation can only occur by a natural marital sexual act that is open to procreation of a new human life. Contraception and unnatural sexual acts cannot consummate a marriage.
    – Under Canon Law, the Pope can dissolve unconsummated marriages for a just cause, but a consummated marriage can never be dissolved of except by death of one of the spouses.
    – A person suffering from impotence that exists prior to entering into a marriage, is permanent, and is incurable is unable to validly marry, since he or she lacks the capacity to properly consummate a marriage. However, a validly married person who becomes permanently impotent after the proper consummation of a valid marriage is still validly married.
    – There is the impediment of crime under Canon Law, which invalidates marriage when a person commits or cooperates in the murder of his or her spouse or the spouse of the other party of the marriage with the intention of marrying the other party of the marriage.
    – To validly marry, the couple must intend the following at the time of the wedding: a permanent, unconditional marriage, consummation of the marriage, openness to children, and fidelity to each other.

  2. John Platts says:

    There are married couples in our sinful, secular society who do not have children. I do understand that some of these couples might be suffering from infertility. Some of these couples might have properly consummated their marriages, even though the sexual act that consummated their marriage did not result in the procreation of a new child. On the other hand, some of these couples are contracepting, or refusing to have children without a good reason, or delaying consummation without a good reason. Certainly some couples might have good reasons that are serious enough to delay consummation or to engage in intercourse only during the infertile times. Engaged couples need to be taught about the following in marriage preparation programs: the grave immorality of contraception, the grave immorality of unnatural sexual acts within marriage, the importance of marital consummation, and the fact that sexual acts within marriage must have the marital and procreative meanings.

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