The  saying “the gloves are off” is, as far as I know, a reference to boxing gloves coming off, and that the fight is entering a new, brutal, bare fisted phase. I learned in my screenwriting class many years ago that in any action movie the climax has to be between the hero and his nemesis, and it has to end in a bare knuckles, kicking and biting, face to face, fight to the death. Step by step through the story the various weapons that shielded them from brutal battle are abandoned. Guns run out of ammo. The knives they had hidden are discovered and discarded. The excuses and the escapes are blocked. The two foes face off in a mortal battle.

So it is down through history in the battle against evil. Satan, who is the Father of Lies, wears a multitude of disguises. He hides behind masks of good manners, worldly sophistication, academic respectability, political posturing and artistic decoration. He is a cultural chameleon–changing his color and his complexion according to the times. However, this hiding, this play acting doesn’t really suit Satan–for he is a proud spirit and he likes center stage. He is a weary old ham actor who cannot bear to play a supporting role for very long. He wants the main part. He wants to be the King of the World. He longs to be recognized and adored because he longs to be like God.

Consequently, he eventually overplays his hand. He goes too far. Eventually the masks come down. He throws off his glittering rainbow cloak and we see him for what he really is. Consider, for a moment, the rise of Nazism in Germany. At first the movement was patriotic and supporting all good things: a good economy, family values, spirituality, health, welfare and the good life. Hitler promised to make Germany great again. But then, as time went on, the true nature of the regime began to be revealed. The masks came down and Satan’s real presence was apparent. That was when people of faith and true Christian values saw the regime for what it really was and began to stand against it. Of course many others simply went along with what was happening. They were too frightened and, by then, too powerless to do anything about the evil.

I believe Western culture–unfortunately being led by Britain and the USA–are now at the stage where the masks are beginning to drop. The piecemeal battle with the antiChrist will soon be over. The glittering costumes and the ornate Venetian masks are being put away. Satan is appearing in his full Mefistofolean glamor. When we see men dressed in outrageously “female” costumes dancing provocatively in front of little children–with the support not only of their parents, but of government, school districts and the media–we know the mask is dropping. When we see “Pride” parades featuring naked or nearly naked men strutting their sin in public, when we see hordes of women wearing hats like female genitalia protesting, when we see violence, murder, rioting in the streets with the police actually abetting the crime or not prosecuting, when we hear of pro life protesters being criminalized, arrested and charged with harassment simply for standing with a sign or praying we know that the masks are coming down. Satan is showing himself as he really is, and remember “Satan smiles before he snarls” but snarl he certainly does, and he does not only snarl. He bites. He devours. He kills for he is not only the Father of Lies he is also “a murderer from the beginning.”

So Christians (and especially faithful Catholics) should be prepared for an increasingly dark battle. We may be reaching that climax that my screenwriting teacher described in which it comes down to a bare knuckles, teeth bared, kind of battle.

Pray to St Michael.