The major problem in the church today is when Christians exchange the Divine and supernatural economy of redemption for an attempt to do no more than change the world.
Many Catholics have forgotten that the Church is established for the forgiveness of sins and the proclamation of the gospel, and believe instead that the Church is here to make the world a better place, and that this needs to be accomplished by all sorts of educational, social welfare, political and even revolutionary activities.
Preachers, priests and prelates have decided Jesus’ kingdom really is of this world after all and have exchanged the gospel of salvation for the gospel of political activism. They are more concerned with saving the planet than saving souls.
“The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the hame of millenarianism, especially the intrinsically perverse political form of a secular messianism.” para. 676
Remember, those words were written during the papacy of Pius XI who witnessed the rise of communism and fascism in Europe.In other words, whenever you see a system like socialism or Marxism or capitalism attempt to bring in a utopian new world order–it’s the spirit of Antichrist, and be assured the Catholic Church will be its Public Enemy Number One.
Whenever you see a church or pastor or pope more involved in social reform, political renewal or plans to change the social order (no matter how well intentioned) you see an apostate. Whenever you see the secular press, the media manipulated masses and the celebrity stars idolize a new political hero who is going to save the world–be alert and watchful. Persecution is around the corner.
Persecution is around the corner because all tyrants and those intent on a New Secular World Order know that the Kingdom of God is the enemy of the Kingdom of this World which is always the Kingdom of the Prince of this world who is also the Prince of Darkness.
Paragraph 675 of the catechism teaches, “Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution will unveil the mystery of iniquity in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo messianism by which man glorifies himself in the place of God.”
Therefore, be sober and vigilant because your adversary, like a roaring lion, stalks about seeking whom he may devour.
[…] “Tell it straight. This is the message of anti-Christ.” — Fr. Dwight Longnecker […]
“…that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment.”
I believe this, but I’m curious how it fits with the request in the Lord’s prayer “Thy kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Good question. That the kingdom of unity, peace, justice and love might prevail–but for this to be accomplished through the sacraments of salvation and the influence of Christians in the world–not excluding political and economic tools, but not limited to them as a replacement for the work of grace.
I’m reminded of two Scripture passages: Luke 21:8 (JB) “Take care not to be deceived,” [Jesus] said, “because many will come using my name and saying ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time is near at hand.’ Refuse to join them.” Also, 1 John 4:1-3 (NAB) “Do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. This is how you can know the Spirit of God: every spirit that acknowledges Jesus Christ come in the flesh belongs to God, and every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus does not belong to God. This is the spirit of the antichrist that, as you heard, is to come, but in fact is already in the world.”