I’ve studied Catholic eschatology for over 20 years. I know things. I know terrible things that will occur during the reign of the Antichrist. And I know what the Mass will be like during that time.
Then I compare the traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo to the Mass of faithful Catholic Christians during that future time of great persecution for the Church. The comparison is instructive.
The traditionalists today: refuse to attend Mass unless it is in Latin; refuse to attend unless it is has all the correct rubrics of the 1962 version of the Pope Saint Pius V Mass; refuse to receive Communion unless someone places the host on their tongue while they are kneeling; and will avoid even the traditional Latin Mass (TLM), if they know that the priest accepts the most recent Ecumenical Council or has a favorable view of the Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis.
1. Catholics just before the rise to power of the Antichrist: live in a time of great persecution of Christianity. The only form of Christianity during that time will be Catholicism. The persecution will be pervasive. If you are known to be a Christian, you will find a difficult time getting a job. You won’t be able to be a teacher, nurse, physician, politician, law enforcement officer, or soldier during that future wicked time, as those jobs will, in the future, require the commission of grave sins. Christians will be poor. There will not be many priests, as the life of a priest will be one of constant persecution. “You will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake” (Mt 24:9). I don’t know what the form of the Mass will be like at that point, but the faithful will be so happy to be able to attend a Mass anywhere at any time, they will not care about the form of the Mass.
2. Catholics during the first 1010 days of the Antichrist’s reign: all houses of worship will be closed; Christianity will be outlawed; bishops and priests will be hunted down and imprisoned, tortured, and/or killed; Mass will be held only in secret and it will be extraordinarily difficult to find a Mass anywhere. Attending Mass means risking imprisonment, torture, death as well as persecution for your family. The faithful will be fortunate to find any priest, of any theological or political outlook, who will say Mass using any form permitted by the Church. There will not be music at Mass, as the service will be in secret. If your neighbors find out, they will turn you in to law enforcement for the reward. There will be very little in the way of vestments, incense, altar cloths, candles, etc. Being caught with any of these items might result in death or imprisonment. No one will care what form of the Mass is used, except that it must be the bare minimum, as short as possible, and as quiet as possible.
Just as Christ was stripped and scourged, so will the Church be stripped and scourged. All her property and churches will be taken from the Church. The last Roman Pontiff before the return of Christ will be killed by the followers of the Antichrist.
Christians will not be attending the TLM in that time. The form takes too long and requires too many different items. And then there will not be many priests who know Latin and can say the TLM. Priests will be few and far between. Christians will have to accept whatever priest and Mass is available.
If anyone in that time refused to go to Mass, which will be available rarely and only in secret, UNLESS it were the form of the Mass that they prefer, the other Christians will think they are wicked or insane. If anyone in that time says, “I won’t receive Communion unless someone places it on my tongue, while I am kneeling,” they will not be welcome at Mass because of this sin. People and priests especially will be risking their lives to go to Mass, and so it would be wicked self-idolatry to refuse to receive Christ unless you have the form of the Mass and the form of reception of Communion that you prefer. Everyone else is risking their life to go to Mass, and you won’t go unless you get the exact form of the Mass and of Communion you judge to be best??! Stay home.
3. Then for the second half of the Antichrist’s reign, the half a week of years (1290 days), the Antichrist and the false prophetess attempt to devise a formal structure for his false religion and to impose it on everyone. They pattern their false Church in perverse imitation of Catholicism as well as Judaism, Islam, and other world religions of the past. This is the one world government and one world religion that people fear. They will have a perverse liturgical service and a perverse imitation of the Eucharist, called the abomination of desolation. People will be pressured to attend and to join the Antichrist’s false Church. All the houses of worship in the world, which had been closed during the 1010 of his reign, will now be opened for use by the Antichrist’s false religion.
During that time, persecution of the Catholic Christian Church will be greatly intensified. It will be even more dangerous to attend Mass than ever before. There will be a great drought and famine. Bread and wine will be almost impossible to obtain. Few bishops and priests will be left alive. The faithful will depend upon baptism as their main sacrament. Valid Sacraments of Marriage will be rare, even among the faithful. Mass will be a licit and valid service, but stripped bare of all but the absolute essentials, to be held in a short a time as possible, as quickly as possible. Nothing will be used in the way of vestments, candles, incense, music, etc. All these things will endanger lives and be illegal with strict penalties. The form of the Mass will be as follows. Before Mass, there will be Confessions, if the priest has time; otherwise, general absolution will be licit and valid due to the constant danger of death. Then after absolution, the Mass begins with some prayers, Sacred Scripture, a brief simple sermon, and then simple and brief Eucharistic prayers, consecration of the Eucharist and reception. Then the faithful will scatter to spend time alone in prayer, without seeming to be praying. The only items used in the Mass will be bread, wine, a little water, a few clean cloths, and perhaps a cross put together before Mass and taken apart immediately after or hidden somewhere. That will be the form of the Mass in use in the months before Jesus the true Christ returns.
And today, we have some self-righteous self-centered persons, demanding that Mass be in Latin, complaining if every little rubric is not exactly right, and refusing to receive Communion if it is not placed on their tongue by an ordained persons while they are kneeling. They don’t want to go to Mass if the priest is faithful to all the Popes and Councils. They want the priest-celebrant to reject Vatican II and Pope Francis. Imagine what the Christians living during the time of the Antichrist’s reign will think of these Christians, who won’t go to Mass if it is the Novus Ordo Mass, who drive 50 or more miles to find a Mass where the priest hates the Pope, who are obsessed with every little exterior point of the Mass, that will be entirely gone in the Mass of that future time. Imagine what Christians who would be willing to risk their lives to attend ANY Mass and to receive holy Communion under ANY discipline (hand, tongue, kneeling, standing) think of Christians today who refuse to go to Mass unless it is in Latin, unless they have their way on every point of discipline, and unless the priest despises the Pope. The last Pope before the Return of Jesus the true Christ will be martyred.
At the general Resurrection, the Christians who attended Mass during the time of the Antichrist will rise up and condemn the schismatics and heretics of the far right today — for idolizing the form of the Mass, for self-idolatry, and for refusing to be faithful to the Popes and Councils of holy Mother Church.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.