The dawn of the Great Apostasy

“When the Son of Man returns, will he find any faith left on earth?” (Luke 18: 18)

November 27, 2017 (LifeSiteNews) – As in every generation, the “near future” approaches, never quite materializing in ways we had imagined. Because of this, our perennial temptation is to dismiss the teleology of history, and the eschatology of revelation, as mental constructs produced by irrational fears or limited by enflamed analyses of contemporary situations, a cycle that is supposedly repeated without end, never delivering the promised omni-catastrophe. Even so, according to Christ in the Gospels and the Book of Revelation, and the letters of Sts. Peter, Paul, and John, and the Old Testament prophets, as well as the ecclesially approved private revelations that have increased in number and intensity for the past 150 years, the time is drawing near when all speculative scenarios will evaporate in the face of a real and ultimate peril for mankind. Then the future will become the present. Its prologue will be an apostasy unprecedented in scope. Indeed, day by day this apostasy spreads all around us. Its climax is the Day of the Lord, a day of fire.

In a number of sermons, Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman wrote prophetically about the near future that was looming in his own times:

I know that all times are perilous, and that in every time serious and anxious minds, alive to the honour of God and the needs of man, are apt to consider no times so perilous as their own. At all times the enemy of souls assaults with fury the Church which is their true Mother, and at least threatens and frightens when he fails in doing mischief. And all times have their special trials which others have not. And so far I will admit that there were certain specific dangers to Christians at certain other times, which do not exist in this time. Doubtless, but still admitting this, still I think that the trials which lie before us are such as would appall and make dizzy even such courageous hearts as St. Athanasius, St. Gregory I, or St. Gregory VII. And they would confess that dark as the prospect of their own day was to them severally, ours has a darkness different in kind from any that has been before it. The special peril of the time before us is the spread of that plague of infidelity, that the Apostles and our Lord Himself have predicted as the worst calamity of the last times of the Church. And at least a shadow, a typical image of the last times is coming over the world.1

Newman’s approach was conditioned partly by the context of the times he lived in and also by his understanding of the constant temptation of Christians, that is, to make compromises with the spiritus mundi. It was clear to him that the spirit of the world in his day was making ever greater advances against what remained of old Christendom. And in other sermons, he went farther, warning that the diabolic spirit was moving toward a final confrontation.2 Newman pointed out that eras of lukewarmness and laxity among the faithful had always been the prologue to persecutions, and that the ultimate persecution would be preceded by the greatest apostasy in the history of the Church.3 There had been, of course, other periods of apostasy and heresy, such as the Arian crisis, and severe as they were, they arose at a time of vastly diverse religious confusion when civilized man was still crawling up out of the fever swamps of paganism.

And that is the difference between what has occurred in the past and what is occurring now across the entire Western world. A civilization that has known Christianity (and is now largely ignorant about how dark paganism can be) is choosing to go back down into the swamp, and all along the downward trajectory is calling it progress, proclaiming at every turn its tragically stunted concept of freedom and aggressively imposing it on everyone.

That the revolution has so swiftly overturned the fundamental principles of civilization is one of its more ominous characteristics—principles recognized by any sane society. Needless to say, there are historical and sociological factors involved, such as the shattering of confidence in a benevolent God by two unthinkably destructive world wars, by the looming threat of nuclear war, by genocides, by the sexual revolution, and by the phenomenal growth of new media so powerful that it overwhelms consciousness, and hence conscience, making of the human will an instrument of its purpose—redefining not only the meaning of man but of Reality itself.

To be continued…



1. John Henry Newman (1801-1890), Sermon of October 2, 1873, “The Infidelity of the Future.”

2. Newman, Tracts for the Times, Volume V, 1838-40, Advent Sermons on Antichrist.

3. In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius of Caesarea, the fourth-century bishop and historian, also points out that all the major persecutions of the Church were preceded by periods of widespread laxity among the faithful.

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5 comments on “The dawn of the Great Apostasy

  1. Uh, huh.
    Note to Life Site News editors: The Church formally prohibits, as did Our Lord, sensational claims regarding the Apocalypse.

  2. It has been a long, long time since I had any interest in prophecies about the end times.
    There’s something about that little statement of Jesus Christ “It is not for you to know the times and the moments”.
    It just takes all the fun out of it, ya know? I mean, that means that all my speculations as to the possible meanings of this and that prophecy, and how it all ties into current events, and points to some definite future, is pretty much hooey.
    So obviously, prophecies are just meant to keep us on our spiritual toes.
    For instance, last Sunday’s gospel: “When you see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he who reads, let him understand…For there will be then great tribulation such as has not been since the beginning of the world till now, nor will be.”
    For centuries, many have thought that this refers to a time when the pope would be an apostate.
    Maybe, maybe not.
    Some would say that it refers to the present pope.
    Maybe, maybe not.
    IMHO, the prophecy was made not so that we would know the times or the moments, but so that, if a pope ever started actively working for Satan, as the current pope is most assuredly doing (whether consciously or not), we would know, not that this or that pope was a formal apostate, but that it has at least been commonly thought possible by theologians and saints that a pope *could* become one. So that we have no excuse to fall into hyperinfallibilism, and be scandalized and lose the Faith as a result (as some have done already).

    And as to being prepared for The End, that consists entirely in leaving sin behind and striving for sanctity.
    In the big eternal picture, we are *all* going to die — tomorrow.
    Tomorrow could mean 24 hours from now, 24 years from now, or later. It could happen during the great tribulation, or sooner, or later.
    In the face of eternity, it’s all just an eyeblink.
    For all we know, we could be destined to be smashed to a pulp in an auto accident just hours from now. What will all that speculating about the future be worth then?
    The only thing that will have mattered is what we did *today* to leave sin and serve God.

    • That “abomination of desolation” in the holy place is kind of haunting. It could be:
      – a pope
      – the Novus Ordo
      – “Catholic” birth control (NFP)
      – Amoralis Licentia

      I lean toward the latter two because the destruction of marriage begets desolation.

  3. The Dawn of the great Tony Orlando happened in the 70’s

  4. IMO thus is nothing to joke about. We have an apostate pope and if the following is not an abomination of desolation, then I don’t know what is:

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