The Role of the Internet in Triggering the Great Apostasy

The Apostasy

The great apostasy is an eschatological event in which most Catholics depart from the Church, along with most religious, many priests, a significant number of Bishops, and several Cardinals. This event is associated with the tribulation (the end times, the apocalypse). But since the tribulation is divided into two parts, the first part for this generation and the second part for the distant future, so also does the great apostasy occur twice.

[2 Thessalonians]
{2:1} But we ask you, brothers, concerning the advent of our Lord Jesus Christ and of our gathering to him,
{2:2} that you not be readily disturbed or terrified in your minds, by any spirit, or word, or epistle, supposedly sent from us, claiming that the day of the Lord is close by.
{2:3} Let no one deceive you in any way. For this cannot be, unless the apostasy will have arrived first, and the man of sin will have been revealed, the son of perdition,
{2:4} who is an adversary to, and who is lifted up above, all that is called God or that is worshipped, so much so that he sits in the temple of God, presenting himself as if he were God.
{2:5} Do you not recall that, when I was still with you, I told you these things?
{2:6} And now you know what it is that holds him back, so that he may be revealed in his own time.
{2:7} For the mystery of iniquity is already at work. And only one now holds back, and will continue to hold back, until he is taken from our midst.

Sacred Scripture, speaking through Saint Paul the Apostle, teaches us that the great apostasy occurs about the time of the reign of the Antichrist, and that these sets of events lead up to the Return of Christ. What is it that holds this set of events back, so that these things cannot occur until the proper time? Jesus Christ in the Eucharist is the one who holds back, until he is taken from our midst by a great decrease in the true Masses that are said and in the number of churches that have the true Eucharist in their tabernacles. A great turning away from the Eucharist, as part of the great apostasy, is one factor that initiates the tribulation.

We are now on the threshold of the first part of the tribulation, which I believe will begin this year, in 2012. If so, then certain events will occur this same calendar year: the start of the great apostasy and the start of the first event of the tribulation, World War 3. This great war occurs between Iran with the other Arab/Muslim nations of the Middle East and northern Africa and the U.S. with its European Allies.

Several recent controversies in the Church indicate that the great apostasy is near.

1. The controversy over the HHS Mandate is not only about religious freedom. It is about the grave immorality of contraception, sterilization, and abortion. And this mandate would never have been politically viable, especially in an election year, except that the vast majority of Catholics in the U.S., even in the world, do not accept the teaching of the Magisterium on contraception, sterilization, and abortion. So the controversy reveals a longstanding heresy, first, of rejecting the Church as Teacher, and second, of rejecting the specific teachings of the Church on sexual issues and life issues.

2. The controversy over same-sex marriage is not only about whether laws should permit gay marriage. It is about the grave immorality of homosexual acts and the grave disorder of homosexuality. If Catholics and other Christians were faithful to the teachings of Sacred Scripture against homosexuality, then this type of legislations, permitting civil unions or same-sex marriage, would not have occurred. The political controversy has shed light on the falling away of Christians from the teachings of Christ.

3. The rebuke of the LCWR by the CDF is not primarily based on their support for Obamacare or for the HHS Mandate, nor on the doctrinal errors of particular leaders or speakers. It is based on a longstanding departure from magisterial teaching by a large number of theologians, religious, and priests. This rejection of the teaching authority of the Magisterium has been going on for generations. But it is only now coming to full light.

Why now?

Formerly, when theology faculty dissented from Church teaching, their dissent was known to relatively few persons. The dissenting theologian would openly proclaim his or her errors to a class at a university, and would hint (rather strongly) at that same dissent in articles published in obscure theological journals. But the faithful in general would seldom hear of these heretical ideas. Pope John Paul II complained openly about this type of dissent in Veritatis Splendor:

Pope John Paul II: “It is no longer a matter of limited and occasional dissent, but of an overall and systematic calling into question of traditional moral doctrine, on the basis of certain anthropological and ethical presuppositions…. In particular, note should be taken of the lack of harmony between the traditional response of the Church and certain theological positions, encountered even in Seminaries and in Faculties of Theology, with regard to questions of the greatest importance for the Church and for the life of faith of Christians, as well as for the life of society itself.” (Veritatis Splendor, n. 4)

Sometimes the CDF would issue a notification, about a particular theologian (especially if he was also a priest) and his works, rebuking a set of heretical ideas. But the number of heretical theologians, priests, and religious has increased to the point where the CDF cannot possibly rebuke each one individually. And over time, the problem has only worsened.

What makes the present time different from past times of widespread dissent? The mass media and the internet have affected dissent in the Church. If a theologian or priest or religious dissents from Catholic teaching, he or she can obtain much support from similarly unfaithful laypersons all over the world. A dissenting view quickly spreads via the internet to very many persons — to far more persons that were ever reached by every theological journal put together in past generations. In particular, if a point of dissent is based on the widespread views of sinful secular society, then the dissenting teacher is bound to find a ready-made large audience among secularized Catholics — that is to say, among Catholics who take their beliefs from the pseudo-dogmas taught by modern culture, rather than from the Church.

These dissenting teachers realize that, among the one billion or so persons who call themselves Catholic in the world, they can easily obtain the agreement of millions of unfaithful Catholics. And so they speak and act ever more boldly. A captain on the battlefield is more aggressive in attacking his opponent if he has a million fellow soldiers at his back.

By means of the internet and other modern means of communication, it has become known that the majority of Catholics in the world today do not accept the Magisterium as their Teacher. The majority have departed from a number of different magisterial teachings, especially on matters of sexuality. For they accept modern culture as their teacher and they practice a type of false freedom of thought, so as to reject the authority of the Church over them on matters of faith and morals.

Worse still, many entirely unqualified persons have used the internet to exalt themselves as alleged teachers of the Catholic Faith, often anonymously. This trend can be seen in Catholic blogs, discussion groups, and in the comments at the end of many blog posts. Anonymous persons proclaim, with a sinful boldness, that the Church is wrong on numerous points of faith and morals. They speak as if the faithful should accept their anonymous (false) teachings instead of the teachings of Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium. Examples of this type of false and anonymous teaching can be seen at Catholic Answers discussion group, and on many other sites.

Of course, many false teachers also use the internet to spread their dissent and their heresies under their real name. Often, these false teachers will explain to their listeners that their heretical errors are not heresy, or error, or dissent at all, but simply a correct understanding of what the Magisterium teaches:

[2 Cor]
{11:13} For false apostles, such as these deceitful workers, are presenting themselves as if they were Apostles of Christ.
{11:14} And no wonder, for even Satan presents himself as if he were an Angel of light.

Some examples of this type of false teacher:
The heresies and doctrinal errors taught by Fr. Ryan Erlenbush

The heresies and doctrinal errors taught by Jimmy Akin

The heresies and doctrinal errors taught by Michael Voris

By means of the internet, the many heretics among the faithful rise up and mislead a large number of their fellow Catholics. It has reached the point where many Catholics are confused as to what the Church really teaches, whether one idea or its opposite. It has reached the point where many Catholics have the impression that they can think and believe whatever they wish. For the multiplicity of false teachers, who do not even agree among themselves, teach them by example that they can adhere to any idea that they wish.

The internet has emboldened false teachers, by giving them a large audience of vocal supporters. The internet has been used by dissenters, very effectively, to spread false teachings. The internet has been used by faithful Catholics to draw attention to dissent and heretical teachers. The mass media has been used, very effectively, by leader of modern sinful culture, to spread ideas that undermine the true teachings of the Church. By means of the modern methods of communication, dissent has spread and also become more noticeable, thereby advancing the progression toward the great apostasy.

I believe that Pope Benedict XVI will die in 2012, and that the next Pope will be Cardinal Arinze, who will take the name Pope Pius XIII. This next Pope will not tolerate dissent or false teachers. He will require that the faithful, in order to receive the Eucharist, believe and practice the Roman Catholic Faith. His harshness against dissent will be fitting, since his reign will include the Year of Faith proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI, which begins in the fall of 2012.

The reaction of most Catholics to this requirement, simply that Catholics must believe and practice the Catholic faith as taught by the Roman Catholic Magisterium, will be unfaithfulness. They will be outraged at being required to believe what Christ teaches through His Church. They will depart from the Faith in vast numbers, and some will eventually attempt to set up a competing Church.

More on this future set of events in my booklet: The Future and the Popes

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic moral theologian and
translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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8 Responses to The Role of the Internet in Triggering the Great Apostasy

  1. sunimal says:

    Thanks for giving information about Vatican and HHS obama-care. .Is Cardinal Arinze supporting use of contraceptives or false teachers? Is he the leader of this opposition group against Pope Benedict XVI?

  2. John Platts says:

    I have read erroneous opinions published on the web regarding the issues of unnatural sexual acts (including homosexual acts and masturbation) and contraception. Unnatural sexual acts and contraception are intrinsically evil and always gravely immoral, but some people erroneously claim that these types of acts are not always gravely immoral. Our Lady of Fatima even said the following regarding sexual sins back in 1917: “More souls go to hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason.”

    I have seen one source on the Internet (located at that correctly claims that masturbation is a mortal sin, but claims that masturbation is a mortal sin “because a person consents in their own heart to take sexual gratification from impure thoughts.” Is the position taken by this source regarding masturbation correct, or are there doctrinal errors with this source?

    Some married contracepting women incorrectly claim in their comments that the use of contraception is actually necessary because of a medical condition that might result in serious pregnancy complications or severe birth defects in their unborn child. I know that this argument is clearly wrong for several reasons. First, the Catholic Church teaches that each and every sexual act must be open to children. Second, contraception is an intrinsically evil act that is always gravely immoral, and a woman can actually choose to completely abstain from sexual relations instead of choosing to engage in contracepted sexual acts. Third, a validly married woman can actually be morally obliged to completely abstain from sexual relations in some circumstances. Fourth, openness to children and the intention to properly consummate the marriage by means of a marital sexual act open to life are both essential to the validity of the marriage.

    • Ron Conte says:

      –but claims that masturbation is a mortal sin “because a person consents in their own heart to take sexual gratification from impure thoughts.” Is the position taken by this source regarding masturbation correct, or are there doctrinal errors with this source?
      No, that position is not correct.
      There are three fonts of morality: intention, moral object, circumstances.

      Masturbation is intrinsically evil due to the moral object, regardless of intention or circumstances. An intrinsically evil act is always the deliberate choice of an act that is inherently ordered toward an evil moral object. In the case of intrinsically evil sexual acts, the moral object is deprived of one or more of the meanings required by God: the marital meaning, the unitive meaning, the procreative meaning. Masturbation is deprived of the marital meaning, the unitive meaning, and the procreative meaning. So the act is thoroughly and objectively disordered. God requires every deliberate use of the sexual faculty to be marital, unitive, and procreative.

      What that person describes, consenting to sexual gratification from impure thoughts, is a different type of sin. Suppose that someone masturbates, not for the purpose of obtaining pleasure, but for some other intended end? The Magisterium has taught that the act remains intrinsically evil. The Holy See has condemned the idea that masturbation could be moral if used to obtain a sample for medical analysis. And the USCCB has rejected the idea that masturbation could be moral if used to obtain a sample for artificial procreation (ERD, footnote 29).

      So the intention does not determine the morality of any intrinsically evil act. But an intrinsically evil act, done with a bad intention, becomes more disordered, and therefore more sinful.

  3. John Platts says:

    There are married couples who do engage in unnatural sexual acts between the husband and wife, and some of these couples incorrectly believe that these acts within marriage are morally good. There are pamphlets and even web pages that wrongly claim that various unnatural sexual acts can be morally good within marriage. For example, one web page from a website that claims to be Catholic ( correctly claims that male climax must occur during natural intercourse, but incorrectly claims that oral genital stimulation can be morally good within marriage. Details about this error can be found on the following pages:

    Will Pope Benedict XVI or the next Pope address this problem? Will any of the Catholic bishops and priests address this problem? How should the problem of unnatural sexual acts be addressed in Catholic parishes?

    • Ron Conte says:

      The teachings of the Magisterium should be clear enough already. Unnatural sexual acts are inherently non-procreative, and so they are inherently immoral. And it is never the case, in any area of ethics, that a bad act can be justified by a subsequent or prior good act. But in the area of sexuality, people tend to look for rationalizations and excuses for their sins, rather than moral truth. And some false teachers are only too happy to offer theological rationalizations for grave sin.

      I believe that the Magisterium will have to rule explicitly on this topic in the near future. The sins of contraception, premarital sex, masturbation, and approval for homosexual acts and marriages are widespread among the members of the Church. The Magisterium will be compelled by the prevalence of these sins and by the spread of erroneous claims that these are not sins, to reply. The next Pope might well address these issues. I believe that the next Ecumenical Council will, for the first time in Church history, define many dogmas on specific moral questions, including addressing all of these grave sins. I think that all this will happen within the next 20 or 25 years.

  4. Matt says:

    Is a couple in danger of being condemned to Hell for engaging in unnatural sexual acts, i.e. oral sex, with their spouse in a Catholic marriage?

    • Ron Conte says:

      That type of sexual act is objectively gravely immoral; it is an objective mortal sin. If a mortal sin is committed with full knowledge of the grave immorality of the act, and full deliberation, then it is also an actual mortal sin.

      Everyone who die unrepentant from one or more actual mortal sins will be sent to Hell. Everyone else goes to Heaven, perhaps by way of Purgatory.

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