Fr. Frederick Faber’s warning…

What will make the Antichrist so Deceptive?

Fr. Frederick W. Faber (1814-1863) warned his flock

Although the person of the Antichrist is perhaps not yet in our world, it is clear that the mystery of iniquity that will culminate in his arrival has been at work ever since the fall of Lucifer, and has never been more active than in our own day.

In his Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, St. Paul the Apostle warned: “For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Th 2:7). Although this interpretation is not required as a matter of Catholic doctrine, according to the research done into the Church Fathers and subsequent theologians by Cardinal Henry Edward Manning, “he who now holdeth” that will “be taken out of the way” towards the end of time is none other than the Pope — not any particular Pope but the Pope as such.

In other words, the Antichrist movement is being held at bay for an appointed time by the restraining force of the Papacy, just as our Blessed Lord was untouchable and invincible until He decided that He should be overcome for a short while by His enemies as a condition of His ultimate victory: “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; cf. Jn 7:30).

Holy Mother Church, modeling her Divine Lord in all things, must pass through her own Mystical Passion: “From the outset it should be noted that the society established by the Redeemer of the human race resembles its divine Founder who was persecuted, calumniated and tortured by those very men whom He had undertaken to save” (Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Mystici Corporis, n. 3).

Just as Jesus Christ was persecuted from the very beginning (see Mt 2:13), so His Vicar has always been the object of the devil’s hatred, especially since the inception of the Masonic sects and anti-Catholic secret societies, regarding whose plots against the Church the Popes warned incessantly. It almost stands to reason, therefore, that before the Church can enter into her own glorious triumph, her visible head, Christ’s Vicar, too, must undergo his own apparent defeat. But, as with the One he represents, this will not take place until the appointed time and only because God so wills it.

Hence Pope Pius IX could declare:

Now you know well that the most deadly foes of the Catholic religion have always waged a fierce war, but without success, against this Chair; they are by no means ignorant of the fact that religion itself can never totter and fall while this Chair remains intact, the Chair which rests on the rock which the proud gates of hell cannot overthrow and in which there is the whole and perfect solidity of the Christian religion.

(Pope Pius IX, Encyclical Inter Multiplices, n. 7)

Note well that in this the Church’s Mystical Passion, the Pope is the victim of the persecution and not its chief executor, as the apologists of the false opposition would have you believe.

On May 19, 1861, Fr. Frederick Faber of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, a convert from Anglicanism, preached a sermon on Holy Mother Church for the Feast of Pentecost. In it he touched upon the deceptions that would accompany the Antichrist and his wicked works, which would be so great as to deceive, if possible, even the elect (see Mt 24:24). Fr. Faber explained what it would be that would render the infernal deceit so powerful and convincing:

We must beware then of dangers from within. We must be upon our guard even against catholic books, periodicals, journals, and pamphlets, however specious they may be. Our Blessed Redeemer said of the false prophets of the last days (St. Matt. xxiv. 24.) that they should “deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Now 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 any one, 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 Antichrist, and so sadly to crucify afresh the Lord whom they do more than profess to love. Bear in mind this feature of the last days, that their deceitfulness arises from good men being on the wrong side.

(Rev. Frederick William Faber, Devotion to the Church, 2nd ed. [London: Richardson and Son, 1861], p. 27. Available in hardcopy here.)

This is a most valuable and salutary lesson: We will see “good people” — people who truly love God and mean to work for His glory, people who are quite possibly in the state of sanctifying grace — unwittingly but no less truly do the work of the Antichrist. In one way or another, their words and deeds will serve to attack God’s Kingdom on earth and contribute to the ruin of souls. Despite their noblest of intentions, what they do will objectively help bring about the tyrannical reign of Antichrist and all its spiritual destruction.

This concept is not new. We saw it when the Church was just beginning to be born: “But the author of life you killed, whom God hath raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. And now, brethren, I know that you did it through ignorance, as did also your rulers” (Acts 3:15,17; cf. Lk 23:34; Jn 16:2).

The lesson to be learned here is that we must not attach ourselves to human beings, no matter how highly we may think of them, because they can (and many will) fail. In other words, there will be no excuse to refuse to abandon one’s theological errors on the grounds that some Novus Ordo cardinal, bishop, priest, or layman holds it who is “such a holy and pious man”. It is with good reason that Sacred Scripture counsels: “It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in princes” (Ps 117:9); “Put not your trust in princes” (Ps 145:2). The Pope would be the only one a Catholic could always safely attach himself to, since he has the divine guarantees and promises; but of course his absence is precisely the cause of the current darkness.

Oftentimes people will try to brush all the known facts about the current ecclesiastical nightmare aside and say that God “would never allow it to happen” that we should be without a true Pope for decades and that so many should be so greatly deceived. And yet He has told us that He would, and why: “And in all seduction of iniquity to them that perish; because they receive not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. Therefore God shall send them the operation of error, to believe lying: that all may be judged who have not believed the truth, but have consented to iniquity” (2 Thess 2:10-11). Could the phrase operation of error describe anything more fittingly than the Vatican II Sect?

When Simon Peter, shortly before becoming the first Pope, similarly protested that God not let anything evil befall his Lord and Master, Christ rebuked him sharply: “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 16:23). When it comes to God and divine revelation, we are always dealing with mystery. Whether it be the inner workings of the Most Holy Trinity, the creation of all things from nothing, the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, the Incarnation and Hypostatic Union of God the Son, the Divine Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Transfiguration, Transubstantiation, Christ’s Redemptive Sacrifice on the Cross, His holy Ascension, the birth and spread of His Mystical Body the Church, the conversion of St. Paul, we are always dealing with incredible mystery. Why should it be any different for the arrival of the prophesied Antichrist, the end times, and the consummation of the world?

The following links provide further important information pertinent to this topic:

God had told us beforehand about the mess we would be in. As we patiently suffer through the Church’s darkest hour at this time, let us never forget that this eclipse of the Papacy is nothing short of the divine pledge of her future restoration.

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