A member of my discussion group, CatholicPlanet.net, asked if a particular prophecy attributed to Saint Francis were genuine.
“1. The time is fast approaching in which there will be great trials and afflictions; perplexities and dissensions, both spiritual and temporal, will abound; the charity of many will grow cold, and the malice of the wicked will increase.
2. The devils will have unusual power, the immaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured that there will be very few Christians who will obey the true Sovereign Pontiff and the Roman Church with loyal hearts and perfect charity. At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavor to draw many into error and death.
3. Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, and many others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to error instead of opposing it.
4. There will be such diversity of opinions and schisms among the people, the religious and the clergy, that, except those days were shortened, according to the words of the Gospel, even the elect would be led into error, were they not specially guided, amid such great confusion, by the immense mercy of God.
5. Then our Rule and manner of life will be violently opposed by some, and terrible trials will come upon us. Those who are found faithful will receive the crown of life; but woe to those who, trusting solely in their Order, shall fall into tepidity, for they will not be able to support the temptations permitted for the proving of the elect.
6. Those who preserve in their fervor and adhere to virtue with love and zeal for the truth, will suffer injuries and, persecutions as rebels and schismatics; for their persecutors, urged on by the evil spirits, will say they are rendering a great service to God by destroying such pestilent men from the face of the earth. but the Lord will be the refuge of the afflicted, and will save all who trust in Him. And in order to be like their Head, [Christ] these, the elect, will act with confidence, and by their death will purchase for themselves eternal life; choosing to obey God rather than man, they will fear nothing, and they will prefer to perish rather than consent to falsehood and perfidy.
7. Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days JESUS CHRIST WILL SEND THEM NOT A TRUE PASTOR, BUT A DESTROYER.””
My answer is that, in the light of my study of eschatology, the above prophecy seems genuine to my judgment.
However, Pope Francis is NOT the antipope described in the prophecy. The grace and providence of God would not permit anyone to be accepted as Pope by the Church on earth, that is, by the body of Christ, if he were an imposter. The election of Pope Francis is confirmed as valid by that acceptance. And the fact that some persons, unfaithful or weak in faith, have opposed or even rejected him, is like Judas betraying Christ, and does not indicate an invalid Pope.
My view is that the antipope so described occurs after the end of the next Pontificate. When Pope Francis resigns (or dies), the next Pope will be a valid Roman Pontiff, who is very conservative. Then after his death (a martyrdom, I think), two elections are held: one for the true Pope and the other for a very prominent antipope. And that is the antipope described in some true private revelations.
The antipope in question will be liberal, not conservative. He will not be orthodox, like Pope Francis and Pope John XXIII. He will propose changes to Church doctrine and discipline, which accord with the ideas of sinful secular society. Pope Francis is falsely accused of behaving in that way. But the actual antipope, whose time is perhaps only several years away, will clearly reject Church teaching, and teach heresy. He is permitted by God to teach heresy, while true pope are prevented by grace from all grave errors, because he is not a valid Pope from the beginning. His election will not be valid. I think he will take the papal name Pope Peter II, so as to emphasize his (false) claim to be a valid successor of Peter. We should call him Pope Judas, as he will be an antipope from the beginning of his election.
But a true Pope will be elected at the same time. This true Pope will not be pleasing to most Catholics, which is why so many go over to the antipope of that time. The antipope will be charming, eloquent, and pleasing to the most sinful in the Church. He will make excuses for grave sins, just as many unfaithful theologians and many Catholics are already doing, in articles and posts online. He will “teach” them what they already mistakenly think is true, and so they will declare him to be their Pope.
I believe that this situation (two claimants to the papacy) occurs because of World War 3. The Islamic extremists capture Europe, including Italy and Vatican City, and they martyr the Pope (the one after Francis). Then the next election must take place outside of Rome. And there will not be enough Cardinals available for the election, so the Cardinals will decide to permit Bishops to vote also. This decision is valid, but contrary to the rules for electing a Pope. In the absence of a Pope, and in case of dire necessity, the Cardinals have the authority to govern the rules of the conclave. So then they will elect a new valid Pope.
But the unfaithful will realize that an election can be considered valid outside of Rome and with a few Cardinals and many Bishops. So they will gather a few Cardinals and many Bishops, outside of Rome, and elect their own claimed Roman Pontiff, a prominent antipope. Then the two men will each claim to be the Vicar of Christ and true pope.
God has decided to put the members of the Church on earth to the test, at the beginning of the tribulation. Conservatives are being tested right now, and many are failing miserably, due to pride. “For you declare, ‘I am wealthy, and I have been enriched further, and I have need of nothing.’ And you do not know that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Rev 3:17). The Vicar of Christ himself offered them correction, and they rejected his correction and his person. For they cannot imagine that they themselves would be in need of teaching or correction from anyone.
But after Pope Francis’ pontificate ends, I think with his resignation, the next Pope will be very conservative. And then liberal Catholics will be put to the test. Many will fall away under each Pope, that is, Francis and his successor. For pride and attachment to various grave sins has gripped many of the followers of Jesus Christ.
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