We Had Been Warned:
Father E. Sylvester Berry on the Persecution of the Church in the Last Days (Part 3):
A False Pope and a Vacant Holy See
We cannot emphasize often enough that the terrible afflictions Holy Mother Church has had to endure since the death of Pope Pius XII were predicted and prophesied in Catholic Tradition, in one way or another. We have had numerous posts on this topic in the past, and today we would like to call to mind a particular prediction made by Fr. Elwood Sylvester Berry (1879-1954), professor of apologetics at Mt. Saint Mary’s seminary in Maryland, as part of his interpretation of Chapter 13 of the book of the Apocalypse (a.k.a. Revelation).
In 1921, Fr. Berry published a wonderful commentary on the last book of the Bible, entitled The Apocalypse of St. John. Using his great erudition and understanding of the subject matter, Fr. Berry unpacks and explains the many mysterious chapters and verses of this important scriptural book in light of Catholic teaching. While we do not mean to get anyone caught up in an uncalled-for “end times mania”, as so many like to do, we do want to point out that the book of the Apocalypse is divinely inspired and was given by God for our instruction (cf. 2 Tim 3:16-17); and although one must tread very carefully when writing and thinking about it, it should not be altogether ignored, either. This is evident also from the fact that Fr. Berry published an entire book properly explaining Revelation.
In view of what has transpired in the 20th century in the Roman Catholic Church, and the counterfeit “Catholic” church that was set up after the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958 (which the same Fr. Berry predicted in 1927), the following passage from his book The Apocalypse of St. John is of particular relevance to us today. To appreciate the full import of this excerpt, we encourage you highly to read the entire chapter in context (see link further below):
The beast arising from the earth is a false prophet — the prophet of Antichrist. Our divine Saviour has a representative on earth in the person of the Pope upon whom He has conferred full powers to teach and govern. Likewise Antichrist will have his representative in the false prophet who will be endowed with the plenitude of satanic powers to deceive the nations.
If Antichrist be of Jewish extraction, as he probably will, the sea from which he arises signifies Judaism. Then the earth whence comes the second beast is a symbol of the Gentile nations in revolt against the Church. The two horns denote a twofold authority — spiritual and temporal. As indicated by the resemblance to a lamb, the [false] prophet will probably set himself up in Rome as a sort of antipope during the vacancy of the papal throne mentioned above. But the elect will not allow themselves to be deceived; they will recall the words of our Lord: “Then if any man shall say to you: Lo here is Christ, or there, do not believe him.”
(Rev. E. Sylvester Berry, The Apocalypse of St. John [Columbus, OH: John W. Winterich, 1921], p. 135; underlining added.)
Again, for more details and full context you will want to read the entire chapter, which is entitled, “Antichrist and his Prophet”, which begins on p. 129, as well as what precedes it. Here are the relevant links:
- Electronic version (free): The Apocalypse of St. John by Fr. E. Sylvester Berry (1921)
- Print and Kindle editions: The Apocalypse of St. John by Fr. E. Sylvester Berry (1921)
- Also by Fr. Berry: The Church of Christ: An Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise (1927/1955)
In the quoted portion we just looked at, Fr. Berry speaks of “the vacancy of the papal throne mentioned above”. The “above” is his commentary on Chapter 12 of the Apocalypse, highlights of which we have featured here. We have also put together a video clip about it that you can share with friends and family to make them aware of what is going on:
In these difficult times, in which so many good-willed people are struggling to be authentic Roman Catholics, we can take comfort in the fact that the vacancy of the Apostolic See and its usurpation by “a sort of antipope” is not a crazy idea concocted by a few whacky sedevacantists but is in fact part and parcel of what God’s revelation for the end times contains. In other words: The distressing situation the true Church is in today is not some “unforeseen” situation that has thwarted God’s designs but has been part of God’s very Will from all eternity. In this it follows the Sacred Passion of our Blessed Lord, which was, likewise, not a crossing of the Divine Plan but its most faithful fulfillment:
Therefore doth the Father love me: because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. No man taketh it away from me: but I lay it down of myself, and I have power to lay it down: and I have power to take it up again. This commandment have I received of my Father. (Jn 10:17-18)
From that time Jesus began to shew to his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the ancients and scribes and chief priests, and be put to death, and the third day rise again. And Peter taking him, began to rebuke him, saying: Lord, be it far from thee, this shall not be unto thee. Who turning, said to Peter: Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men. (Mt 16:21-23)
Then he said to them: O foolish, and slow of heart to believe in all things which the prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and so to enter into his glory? (Lk 24:25-26)
It is so important to remember this so that we be not discouraged but remain steadfast in Faith, hope, and charity.
Recall that Fr. Berry wrote his commentary on the Apocalypse in 1921, during the reign of Pope Benedict XV, approximately 40 years before the Vatican II revolution got underway. The insights he gives, therefore, are entirely unbiased with respect to what transpired after the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958; and nothing he wrote was in any way “tainted” either in favor of or in opposition to the Novus Ordo Sect or Sedevacantism. The book bears the nihil obstat and imprimatur of Bp. James Hartley of the diocese of Columbus, Ohio, indicating that the work is safe to be read by Catholics and contains no errors on faith or morals.
We know from Holy Scripture that in the final period of making war upon the Immaculate Bride of Christ, Satan will pull off a very great deception, so great that, if it were possible, even the elect would be deceived: “For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I have told it to you, beforehand”, our Lord Jesus Christ warned (Mt 24:24-25).
Now, we must bear in mind that something that is easily seen to be a fraud and identified as such by most could hardly constitute a “great deception”, for then virtually no one would be deceived. The good Fr. Frederick Faber, in a sermon given on Pentecost Sunday in 1861, told us all to beware:
We must remember that if all the manifestly good men were on one side and all the manifestly bad men on the other, there would be no danger of anyone, least of all the elect, being deceived by lying wonders. It is the good men, good once, we must hope good still, who are to do the work of Anti-Christ and so sadly to crucify the Lord afresh…. Bear in mind this feature of the last days, that this deceitfulness arises from good men being on the wrong side.
(Fr. Frederick Faber, Sermon for Pentecost Sunday, 1861; qtd. in Fr. Denis Fahey, The Mystical Body of Christ in the Modern World)
It is crucial to remember this: Just because someone has good intentions doesn’t mean he is doing the work of God. Let us pray that all people of good will shall be delivered from the great deception that is the Vatican II Church.
- Fr. Sylvester Berry (1927): “Satan Will Set Up a False Church”
- Mgr. Fulton J. Sheen on the Creation of a Counter-Church to deceive Mankind
- Fr. Herman Kramer (1956): If Satan could Hinder a Papal Election, Church would Suffer Greatly
- Fr. James O’Reilly on the Idea of a Long-Term Vacancy of the Holy See
- The Pope and the Antichrist: Cardinal Manning explains the Great Apostasy
- The Papacy and the Passion of the Church
- Bp. Donald Sanborn on the Antichrist
- Ex-FBI Consultant: U.S. Intel Docs show Cardinal Siri elected Pope in 1958
- Historical Precedents: Papal Impostors Falsely Thought to be True Popes (Video)
- Now What? How to be a real Catholic today
Image source: shutterstock.com