From Mr. Michael Brown at Spirit Daily:
A MATTER TO DISCERN: FROM APPARITION TO EXORCISMS WERE CLAIMS ON AN ANTI-CHRIST
When we left off, we were speaking about the claims from exorcists and others that a special evil entered the world during the past two centuries and especially the claim that it occurred since the pontificate of Pius IX -- who tirelessly fought the heresies of the 19th century (and instituted the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception).
As he himself said, "Since we have fallen on these evil times let us take care first and foremost, as good soldiers of Christ, not to lose heart. Indeed, in the very storms in which we are tossed, there is a certain hope of achieving future tranquility and greater serenity in the Church."
So tumultuous were those times that for a while Pius was forced to flee Rome. He faced a myriad of other challenges, challenges that continued after his pontificate and remain with us in ways that seem to be intensifying.
At LaSalette, France, where Mary appeared in 1846 -- the same year that Pius rose to the Throne of Peter -- a "secret" prophecy related that "in the year 1864, Lucifer, together with a large number of demons, will be unloosed from hell. They will put an end to faith little by little, even in those dedicated to God. They will blind them in such a way that, unless they are blessed with a special grace, these people will take on the spirit of the angels of hell; several religious institutions will lose all faith and will lose many souls." As we have noted, the year 1864 was smack in the middle of Pius IX's pontificate, which was the longest in history (1846-1878).
While the Church declared the apparition itself and an initial prophecy (concerning a coming famine and disease) as authentic, the secret portion referred to above was treated separately and has gone through both acceptance and rejection. Among a long list of coming evils, it asserted that many priests would fall away from the Church and that convents would no longer be houses of God but rather "the grazing ground of Asmodeus" (a pagan idol).
"It will be during this time," said the controversial part of LaSalette, "that the anti-christ will be born of a Hebrew nun, a false virgin who will communicate with the old serpent, the master of impurity."
He would perform wonders, said a message conveyed by seer Melanie Mathieu, and would have brothers who would "each lead armies."
At this time, claimed Melanie, "the seasons will be altered" and "the anti-christ will perform great wonders on earth and in the atmosphere." He would be preceded, it was said, by "ten kings of the anti-christ" as "the wicked will give themselves over to all kinds of sin."
The Church would be in "eclipse."
From this would precipitate an anti-christ, several mystics have discerned, and such was also claimed by evil spirits that were commanded to speak during exorcisms conducted by Father Theophilus Riesinger, a well-respected and especially holy twentieth-century priest (1868-1941) who said an evil spirit spoke through the mouth of a woman in 1928 while she was going through a famous and unusually difficult deliverance in Earling, Iowa. During those sessions, Father Theophilus ordered the demons to answer certain questions -- including queries about anti-christ.
"It must be clearly borne in mind that the questions directed to the devil and the answers given by him were by no means an entertaining dialogue between the evil spirits and the exorcist," wrote Father Carl Vogl in Begone Satan!, a booklet about the exorcism. "On occasions a long time intervened before an answer could be forced out of Satan."
But certain answers led the exorcist to a particular conclusion.
"Father Theophilus, who has had nineteen cases of possession under his care within recent years, seems convinced that present indications point to the beginning of a great battle between Christ and anti-christ," wrote Vogl, who said that at one point when Father Theophilus tried to banish the devil, he refused to go, mentioning that he had to prepare the way for the anti-christ.
As at LaSalette, Father Theophilus believed that this "anti-christ" would "perform wonderful deeds and false miracles." He saw the anti-christ as a person controlled by a demon calling itself Judas.
"At one time Satan became rather talkative about the anti-christ," wrote Vogl. "When asked whether he meant that the furious rage of the anti-christ would be directed against the Church of God, he asserted that such was self-evident and insolently continued: 'Yes, Satan is already abroad, and the anti-christ is already born in Palestine. (On another occasion he also mentioned America.) But he is still young. He must first grow up incognito before his power can become known."
These are strong claims in need of discernment. A "young" man in 1928 (when the exorcism occurred) would now be in his nineties! So too did an expert on exorcism from Germany state that due to evil in the world, "it almost seems that the millennium mentioned in Apocalypse 20:7 is at hand" (he wrote about a period in the late 1800s).
Can we trust anything out of the mouths of demons, which by definition are "deceiving spirits"?
The argument: when commanded to speak the truth by an exorcist, they must do precisely that.
Are there various "anti-christs"? Was Hitler, was Stalin, was Mao an "antichrist"?
The only place in the Bible where the word "anti-christ" is actually used is 2 John, and it is employed there in the plural. There it is defined as someone who denies that Christ is the Son of God.
Anne Catherine Emmerich, the famed mystic from Germany, saw a wave of evil beginning "fifty or sixty years" before the year 2000 -- which precisely fits with the time frame leading up to the notorious Sixties.
Is that different from the one of a century earlier -- is it a subsequent episode -- or a heightened part of the same surge of evil?
When Pius IX's successor, Leo XIII, had a famous vision in 1884 in which it is said he heard the devil ask for a 100 years of extended power with which to test mankind, was a hundred years to be taken literally, and if so, did that too relate to the period announced at LaSalette just twenty years before? In Ecuador, a seer claimed in the 1990s that the anti-christ was a young man.
Whatever turns out to be the truth, there is no doubt that we live in special times and no doubt that there has been an upwelling of evil that presents us both grief and challenges. Just before he was made Pope, John Paul II was quoted as saying that our time is an "apocalyptic" one in which good and evil are battling each other and one of his very last writings, to youth, mentioned that "darkness" seemed to be gathering -- and enveloping the planet. He was to speak further on this the Sunday after he died.
But he also held a rosary as the remedy.
And as Pius IX -- Blessed Pius -- said: "Let us arouse ourselves and the toiling clergy and laity, propped up by Divine help and inspired by that most noble statement of Chrysostom: 'Many waves and dire storms press on but we do not fear lest we be submerged, for we stand on a rock. Let the sea rage, it cannot dissolve the rock. Let the waves rise, they cannot sink the bark of Christ. Nothing is stronger than the Church. The Church is stronger than the heavens. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words will not pass away. What words? Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build My Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.'"
Read more from Michael Brown at: http://www.spiritdaily.com