The major problem in the church today is when Christians exchange the Divine and supernatural economy of redemption for an attempt to 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.
This is the message of anti-Christ. In a telling passage the Catechism quotes Pius XI’s, encyclical Divini Redemptoris, “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 ofrm of a secular messianism.” para. 676
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 it’s Public Enemy Number One. Whenever you see a church or pastor or bishop 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 coming.
Paragraph 675 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 theat of the Antichrist, a pseudo messianism by which man glorifies himself in the place of God.”
Don’t emanitize the eschaton.
It’s immanentize the eschaton, GF. I don’t think the post did that, anyway.
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“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 threat of the Antichrist, a pseudo messianism by which man glorifies himself in the place of God.”Hmmm… where have I heard about this just recently?
Thank you, I knew that it didn’t look right, but I thought eschaton was spelled right and firefox had squiggly lines under it, too, so I shrugged it off.I didn’t mean to suggest he was–I meant to suggest that was the summary of his post. I should have put it in quotes or something in addition to spelling it correctly;)
The Holy Father writes about this very thing in his splendid book Jesus of Nazareth in the chapter on the Christ’s temptation in the wilderness. He also refers to a novel by Vladimir Soloviev entitled The Antichrist, in which the Antichrist is portrayed as just such a reasonable sounding social reformer. I highly recommend the Holy Father’s book to all who have not read it. I haven’t read the Soloviev novel, but I think it might be worth a look. Soloviev was a Russian Orthodox Christian who, interestingly enough, wrote a book defending the Catholic understanding of the papacy: The Russian Church and the Papacy.
Christ taught very clearly that humanity has the power to forgive sins. He told people that, “Whatever is forgiven by us, shall be forgiven us.”He also taught that, “Whatever you do to another, you do this also to me.”I think the social contract and human liberation and improving the world are excellent means of human progress. I do not feel this needs to be the antiChrist nor the destruction of God. Truth is eternal; it does not depend upon the belief of any one for its existence, but it is preferable when the truth is perceived.I am not surprised Father Dwight disagrees as my denomination is founded on what is heresy to Catholics – originally, this is the Unitarian doctrine, lacking either the Holy Ghost or Christ’s dual being as both god and man.I very strongly disagree with one aspect of this – that world service is the antiChrist.I very strongly agree with the value of the church being to nurture forgivenenss of sins and to nurture and guard the spirit in mankind on individual and global levels.I am also pleased to report that I have finished ‘skimming’ Saint Thomas Aquinas, and still have hours to go to complete the book summary about him. I am impressed by his work, even though I do not entirely agree with him.Miriam S PiaUnitarian Universalit
Do not misunderstand this post. Anti Christ is not being involved in peace and justice and helping the poor, but being involved in this as a substitute for, or the replacement of the supernatural salvation of souls through God’s saving grace.
How can I get my pastor and my parish to understand this? Of course, they won’t listen to the pope so I have little hope that they will listen to me!
Thank you. A very true and important post. Father, where’d you get that awesome illustration of Revelation?
I love this post but I don’t agree that “The major problem in the church today is when Christians exchange the Divine and supernatural economy of redemption for an attempt to change the world.” The major problem from my point of view is that Christians don’t love the Church or obey her or understand that her teachings are the teachings of our loving God. They are blind to the fact that, as St. Joan said, the Church is Christ and Christ is the Church and that it doesn’t help to complicate matters. If you don’t love the Church you second guess her teachings and question her authority and let the “wisdom” of the world rule you instead of the wisdom of God.
And so it is . . .Self-professed Christians standing idly by as millions of their brothers and sisters are murdered, with hardly a thing to say in response beyond an occasional statement of disapproval.Yet bring up the subject of politics and the legitimate affairs of state, and there they find Christ, preaching The Sermon on the Mount.
I’m glad you’re not implying that Obama is the antichrist. It is scary seeing juvenile blather like that coming out of the right wing, and fairly racist too, with the whole ‘mark of Hamm’ thing they’ve got going. See this link for some literal demonization.I agree with your sentiment that demagogary does play into the hands of the meme of antichrist in revelations whether it be Hitler or Putin.
Dear Unitarian,How very reasonable, how enlightened. Of course, Unitarianism is the child of the “Enlightenment”, so it’s not surprising that it would affirm its creator, but Reason did not create me, God did. Therefore, I must do exactly what you do–affirm my Creator.Utopianism is anti-Christ, not just in theology or some Pope’s encyclical, but in history–including recent history. And yes, it inevitably involves persecution of the Church. This has always been true, it still is, and it always will be. Contemporary mild example: It’s Reasonable to provide peaceful death, freedom from unwanted pregnancy, children to homosexuals, legitimacy to homosexual marriages, etc. And because it’s Reasonable, we should force all social agencies, doctors, all people everywhere to approve these things–which are not Christian. (Can you read anti-Christ?)
Great insights, Estiel! Thanks
I wouldn’t exclude Obama from exhibiting the spirit of antichrist, but then there are very few politicians I would exempt from following that false spirit…
“I’m glad you’re not implying that Obama is the antichrist.”Me too. On that note . . .“One” last time, for old times’ sake.One of the funniest ads of the campaign season. Only our beloved president-elect could take the soaring oratory of the late Martin Luther King Jr. and direct it toward himself.
Well, we’ve been asked to give it three months. Hmmm…that would be April, right? Let’s all resolve to regroup on this topic in April if the Church still exists intact, unthreatened and still speaking the Truth…
April is the cruellest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain.
Nothing could be more appropriate, Obpoet–or more ironic, seeing as how Eliot was Anglican.
Let us remember that there is a difference between banding together to help everyone succeed and communism. Communist China may use capitalism to increase their position in the world, but their one child one family rule is far and away more opposite the teachings of Christ than anything any politician in the US would propose. If the anti-Christ were to thrive in any nation, I think China would provide more furtile soil than the US. While we may look to a US democrat to be the next anti-Christ, there are areas of the world more friendly to such beings. Also let us remember that while the main function of the Church is evangelization, James writes that faith without works is a dead faith. We must not only preach Christ crucified, died and risen, but show his love in our actions. Rerum Novarum gives us a clear picture that we have a role in the world beyond just bringing the Word to the world. While their is a role for Billy Graham and Fr. Corapi and Bishop Sheen, there is also a role for committed Christians to work for peace and justice. If Rerum Novarum was not an immensely important document, it would have never been reaffirmed by 2 succeeding Popes over 100 years. That fact alone suggests that it should be front and center as we show Christ to others.
Radio 45, let us also remember that there is nothing remotely Communist about present day China. Has it abolished private property? Er no. Has it abolished the state? No again. Is it state capitalist up to the hilt? Yes, yes, yes. And there’s nothing Marxist about China’s one-child policy, either, I might add. Marx was one of Malthus’s most pungent critics, rightly regarding his theories on population as profoundly reactionary. Malthus’s pamphlet on population was, said Marx, “a libel on the human race”. And he was absolutely right.