We Had Been Warned:
Father E. Sylvester Berry on the Persecution of the Church in the Last Days (Part 2): A False Church to imitate the True Church
The terrible afflictions Holy Mother Church has had to endure since the death of Pope Pius XII have been predicted and prophesied in Catholic Tradition, in one way or another. In Part 1 of this series of posts, we looked at Fr. E. Sylvester Berry’s explanation of Chapter 12 of the Apocalypse and how it is a prophecy of Satan’s persecution of the Papacy; in this current post we will look at what the same Fr. Berry had to say regarding the devil’s attempt to deceive the elect by means of a false church.
A professor of apologetics at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Maryland, Fr. Berry wrote an apologetic and dogmatic treatise on Catholic ecclesiology, the branch of theology that concerns itself with the Church. The book bears the title The Church of Christ and was first published in 1927.
Addressing the topic of false miracles which our Blessed Lord warned Satan would work (see Mt 24:24), Fr. Berry pointed out that those false signs and lying wonders would consist of the devil setting up a false church that would masquerade as the Catholic Church and imitate her but in fact be the work of the evil one:
The prophecies of the Apocalypse [book of Revelation] show that Satan will imitate the Church of Christ to deceive mankind; he will set up a church of Satan in opposition to the Church of Christ. Antichrist will assume the role of Messias; his prophet will act the part of Pope; and there will be imitations of the Sacraments of the Church. There will also be lying wonders in imitation of the miracles wrought in the Church.
(Rev. E. Sylvester Berry, The Church of Christ: An Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise [St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1927], p. 119; italics given.)
To prove that this quote is genuine, we are providing a scan of the actual page:
In 1955, Fr. Berry’s book was published again but using a different typeset, resulting in a significant change in the page numbering. The 1955 edition is the only one that’s in print at this time and can be ordered here:
- The Church of Christ: An Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise by Fr. E. Sylvester Berry (1955)
Since the text was re-typeset for the new edition, the above quote is not found on the same page: The quote found on p. 119 of the 1927 edition is found on pp. 65-66 of the 1955 edition.
In light of what has happened to the Catholic Church since the death of Pope Pius XII, this prophecy of a false church, a false messias, a false pope, and false sacraments takes on ever greater significance. There is no doubt about it: We are witnessing the fulfillment of prophecy.
This should fill all of us with hope and consolation, reminding us that everything Holy Mother Church has suffered through in this her greatest trial, is entirely within the Divine Plan and ultimately meant to assist us in our sanctification.
“And now I have told you before it comes to pass: that when it shall come to pass, you may believe” (Jn 14:29).