Priest in 1955: Apocalypse indicates False Prophet will be Fake Pope while Papal Chair is Vacant and Church Appears Destroyed
In 1955, Fr. Herman Kramer (1884-1976), a diocesan priest in Sioux City, Iowa, published a work called The Book of Destiny, which is an explanation of the Apocalypse, the last book of the Holy Bible (otherwise known as Revelation).
The Book of Destiny bears a nihil obstat and imprimatur given on Jan. 26, 1956. This official diocesan approval does not guarantee that the book is free from error, only that anything proposed in it does not contradict the Catholic Faith — the book is therefore safe for a Catholic to read.
What makes The Book of Destiny so interesting is that it is an interpretation of the Apocalypse released shortly before the death of Pope Pius XII and the Modernist takeover. That is, Fr. Kramer was able to draw from all of the research and insights into this last book of the Bible that had been gathered and made available up until that time, and yet his work was in no wise tainted by the Modernist Novus Ordo religion that was about to be introduced just a few short years later.
In the excerpt we wish to share of Fr. Kramer’s interpretation, the author is commenting on Apocalypse 13:11-12. These verses read as follows: “And I saw another beast coming up out of the earth, and he had two horns, like a lamb, and he spoke as a dragon. And he executed all the power of the former beast in his sight; and he caused the earth, and them that dwell therein, to adore the first beast, whose wound to death was healed.”
Father’s explanation of these two verses merits being quoted in full. See if certain elements sound familiar to you:
In the vision of the Seer now appears a second beast rising out of the earth, having two horns like a lamb but speaking like a dragon. This beast is the prophet of Antichrist. In other places he is called the “False Prophet” (XVI. 13; XIX. 20). Antichrist will have a forerunner or prophet, who will prepare the way for him. It will undoubtedly be someone who has done great work of evil in the world so as to be especially fitted for the position. Many may have developed so evil a character as to be fit for such a job, but this one may be at the head of a strong world-power. Satan will not know long beforehand the time of these events, as he will not know when he shall be cast out of the Church. So choosing the False Prophet will be the work of Antichrist himself after he has made his own pact with Satan. This prophet may re-establish the pagan Roman Empire and build the “Great Harlot”, Babylon. He comes out of the earth, which is the term for the Gentile nations from which he springs.
He is briefly described. He has two horns; Antichrist has ten. These two horns might stand for two kings subject to him, if the phrase “like a lamb” were not added. That gives the horns a different significance. He may have two world-powers subject to himself; but the added phrase seems to intimate that he is an apostate bishop or cardinal, or he resembles one. The Church having fled from Rome after the murder of the pope leaves the papal chair vacant. This false prophet possibly at the behest of Antichrist usurps the papal supremacy and proposes himself as emperor of Rome. His assumed spiritual authority and supremacy over the Church would make him resemble the Bishop of Rome, and his temporal regency over the re-established empire would make him emperor of Rome. He would be Pontifex Maximus, a title of pagan Roman emperors, having supreme spiritual and temporal authority. Assuming authority without possessing it makes him the False Prophet. Does this allude to what our Lord said?
Though he poses as a lamb, a Christian, his doctrines betray him, for he preaches the doctrines of the dragon. His principles and dogmas to be accepted, his moral and civil law will be of diabolical inspiration. It maybe communism or plain idolatrous paganism; it will comprise emperor-worship and devil-worship coupled with persecution of the true believers. They will know him at once as an impostor and will not be misled. He will be in league with the antichristian world-powers and adopt their principles of government and civil law. As spiritual head of his empire, he may declare it treason against the state to accept Christianity or the moral law of God. He will evidently do in his own empire what Antichrist will do in his, who as Daniel writes, “shall think himself able to change times and laws”.
Antichrist shall endow the False Prophet with his own satanic might and authority, who will then exercise it in the presence of his master. Seeing Antichrist invest another with his own superhuman power shall win the admiration of the infidels. Satan will hold himself at the service of Antichrist at all moments and also at the beck and call of the False Prophet invisibly working signs and lying wonders in the presence of Antichrist. Being the constant guardian angel of Antichrist, so that his apparent supernatural powers might seem personal, Satan can be at the service of the False Prophet only in Antichrist’s presence. He is present only in one place, and though he can move with swifter than lightning speed, he is not omniscient and could not know when in Pekin [Beijing] with Antichrist, what the False Prophet might have in mind for him to do at Rome, unless the communication were brought him by other devils. Then he would need to leave Antichrist’s presence to attend to the wishes of the False Prophet. Antichrist’s power would then be suspended, and the charmed life he will possess under the tutelage of Satan would be endangered. The False Prophet will therefore be able to work his signs only in Antichrist’s presence, who shall thus easily win the antichristian Jews and be proclaimed the long expected messias by them. His “signs” will gain credence for himself among all infidels who have been or shall become unfaithful to the Church. The False Prophet will exercise his borrowed power for Antichrist’s honor and glory and will persuade all infidels, apostates and apostate nations to worship and adore him. And Antichrist will support his prophet and secure him in his empire.
One of the main reasons why people will accept Antichrist is the healing of the “wound to death” of one head of the beast. That one head is ancient Roman paganism, which shall be restored by the False Prophet through the power of Antichrist. This seems to locate the prophet’s capital at Rome. It would make possible a literal fulfillment of the prophecies of chapters XVII. and XVIII. In chapter XVII., the beast carries the scarlet woman, showing the re-establishment of the pagan empire made possible by his power. The covenant between Antichrist and his prophet will probably stipulate the submission of all people in the restored empire to the former, the acknowledgement of his divinity and the acceptance of his doctrines and morality. The empire will not be as large as formerly, for the empire of Antichrist shall occupy some of the ancient empire’s territory. The influence of the False Prophet shall induce the unchristian and apostate nations to deify Antichrist. His doctrines will be enunciated in a high-sounding literary style and ornamented with an alluring mysticism, the better to fit them for fostering every degree of pride and moral abandonment. They shall then be enthusiastically accepted by all sinners. And these enthusiasts shall proclaim the resurrection of the Roman Empire the miracle of the ages. The Church is defeated. The papacy is abolished.
St. Paul says that Antichrist “sitteth in the temple of God” to receive divine worship as if he were God (2 Thess. II. 4). This is not the ancient Temple of Jerusalem, nor a temple like it built by Antichrist, as some have thought, for then it would be his own temple. In chapter XI. 1 and 19, this temple is shown to be a Catholic Church, possibly one of the churches in Jerusalem or St. Peters in Rome, which is the largest church in the world and is in the full sense “THE temple of God”. If Antichrist went in person to that great temple to receive the worship of his followers, the False Prophet would accomplish his mission eminently. The capital of Antichrist will be in Jerusalem until the resurrection of the Two Witnesses. But if he were never seen by the peoples outside his capital, his power and influence would remain very limited. He will surely travel from country to country to show himself, teach his doctrines, work his lying miracles, establish his empire and be worshipped by his votaries. By personally appearing in all the principal cities of his empire, he will persuade the wicked to mobilize great armies enabling him to crush the nations opposed to him.
(Rev. Herman Bernard F. Leonard Kramer, The Book of Destiny: An Open Statement of the Authentic and Inspired Prophecies of the Old and New Testament [Belleville, IL: Buechler Publishing Company, 1955; reprinted by TAN Books, 1975], pp. 318-321; italics given; underlining added. Full text available online here and also on Google Play.)
Clearly, the Apocalypse is a mysterious and mystifying book. It behooves us Catholics not to waste our time desperately trying to unravel every cryptic prophecy in it, especially not if this is attempted out of vanity or curiosity. In fact, we must be on guard against “obsessing” over end-times prophecy, as some people tragically do, wrongly putting knowledge above charity (cf. 1 Cor 13:2). At the same time, a prudent and modest study of this subject can be very beneficial, since it too belongs to the holy Faith revealed by God.
The quoted passage by Fr. Kramer is most instructive. Although no one could seriously claim that it completely matches what has transpired so far — remember, it is an interpretation and may not be entirely accurate — there definitely are stunning resemblances to our situation today. For instance:
- The False Prophet is likely someone who at least resembles an apostate bishop or cardinal. We know Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”) was never a valid bishop or cardinal but appeared to be such.
- After the Pope’s death — and there are rumors that Pius XII was actually murdered by poisoning — the papal chair remains vacant indefinitely and the Church flees Rome, however that is exactly to be understood.
- The False Prophet will usurp the Papacy and so pass himself off as the Pope of the Catholic Church while the Throne of St. Peter is actually vacant (interestingly enough, Barnhardt didn’t quote that part!). His claim to being the “emperor of Rome” could perhaps just mean that he will claim to be the head of Vatican City State.
- The doctrines taught by the False Prophet will be diabolical, and this is clearly verified in Francis’ infernal teachings expressed, for example, in Evangelii Gaudium, Laudato Si’, Amoris Laetitia, Querida Amazonia, Fratelli Tutti, and the Declaration on Human Fraternity. Besides, we have most certainly witnessed plenty of Communism/Marxism and Paganism under Bergoglio.
- That true Catholics have immediately recognized Bergoglio to be an impostor, is also true. That he is “in league with the antichristian world-powers and adopt[ing] their principles of government and civil law” is clearly visible in his obsession with the United Nations and his welcoming of the secular-globalist elite and its ideas.
- So far, we have not really seen “signs and wonders” yet (except this kind maybe, and there are already claims he is the “healing Pope”), although it is clear that some people are extremely gullible in that regard and will be easy to fool when the rubber hits the road. But then, Fr. Kramer says the False Prophet isn’t able to work any of those fake miracles except in the presence of the Antichrist, who has not yet manifested himself to the world.
- Perhaps most notably of all, Fr. Kramer describes a scenario that, to the eyes of the world, will appear as follows: “The Church is defeated. The papacy is abolished.” Does this not describe more or less what appearances suggest in our day, or soon will, to those without Faith?
These are just some observations offered to demonstrate that the situation of sede vacante (no Pope) we have found ourselves in for decades now is not only the necessary conclusion that follows from Catholic doctrine applied to the historical facts, it was even predicted in a way by some of those who have studied in depth the Apocalypse and have published their findings with the approbation of the Church.
Thus, while no one is required to accept Fr. Kramer’s interpretation per se as entirely accurate, the point is that it is a possible and an acceptable view, one entirely compatible with traditional Church doctrine, being entirely untainted by the doctrines or historical developments of the Vatican II Church.
Here are some more reliable and insightful resources regarding the Papacy, the False Prophet, and the Antichrist:
- Fr. Kramer: Apocalypse indicates Satan may try to impede Papal Election to cause Long-Term Vacancy
- Bp. Donald Sanborn on the Antichrist (4-part sermon series)
- Bp. Mark Pivarunas on the Antichrist (3-part sermon series)
- Fr. Frederick Faber on what will make the Antichrist so deceptive
- The Pope and the Antichrist: Cardinal Henry Manning on the Great Apostasy as foretold in Scripture and Tradition
A few remarks regarding the person of Fr. Kramer, taken from the biographical blurb found in the book, are in order:
He served as a priest in the Diocese of Sioux City for 40 years in various capacities, including a two- year term as chancellor and 37 years as a pastor. He is presently retired (1975) and residing in Oakland, California. Father Kramer learned to read and write seven languages. He became interested in the Apocalypse after reading it as a student in the seminary, and it later became a life-time study. His world famous Book of Destiny took 30 years to complete and is the result of these years of study.
It is tragic, of course, that Fr. Kramer apparently died as a member of the Novus Ordo Sect (in 1976), but it is irrelevant to the extremely valuable insights he provided in his 1955 book.
Let us pray a Hail Mary for the repose of his soul.
Image source: TAN Books
License: fair use