PopeWatch: Bishop Sheen



How PopeWatch wishes it were possible to have an analysis of the current situation of the Church by Bishop Sheen!  Hold it.  Perhaps we do have one:


Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first “red.” Rather is he described as an angel fallen from heaven, as “the Prince of this world,” whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil. But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he would deceive even the elect–and certainly no devil ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion?


 The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves. . . .




 . . . The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a religion to destroy a religion, or a politics which is a religion–one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s.




 In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counterchurch which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ. . . .




. . . But the twentieth century will join the counterchurch because it claims to be infallible when its visible head speaks ex cathedra from Moscow on the subject of economics and politics, and as chief shepherd of world communism.
Fulton J. Sheen, Communism and the Conscience of the West (1948)


But of course Pope Francis is not the anti-Christ, although it is quite disturbing that so much of Sheen’s prophecy has such a current ring of familiarity.


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  1. Gulp!

    Bad dreams are so much easier to take than today’s reality. We depression and WWII Catholics were so gifted in a way–to have known a much more different Church, with its rock-solid foundation, which we all knew without doubting, could withstand anything.

  2. Pope Francis may not be THE antichrist, but John tells us in one of his epistles that there will be many little antichrists.

  3. Then someone should tell PF he sounds way too similar. Mercy without contrition, salvation without the cross or even Christ’s one true church and material wellbeing as the ultimate end. If it walks like a duck?

  4. So prescient of Bishop Sheen. We are not quite there yet but well on our way. One can certainly understand why Bishop Sheen’s cause for canonization was aborted as he is perhaps the best rebuke of what is happening in the Church today especially Pope Francis,who with his communistic cohorts, is busy emptying the Church of all transcendence.

  5. It seems too many people are “on” to PF for him to be THE Antichrist. That said, even THE Antichrist needs his version of “a voice crying out in the wilderness.”

  6. “Tin God’s!”- Archbishop Fulton Sheen’s description of a priest who has moved Jesus’ tabernacle off the center of the altar to a side.
    In the 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia he spoke those words.

    What would he say of today’s Church?
    It wouldn’t be sweet or shallow.

  7. Jacques Maritain brilliantly exposed the fatal flaw in“the Religion of Humanity.”

    “Thomas Huxley said that positivism is “Catholicism without Christianity”. It is a fact that at Comte’s time a notable part of the French bourgeoisie had already inaugurated this kind of Catholicism. If Comte could dream of founding an atheistic Catholicism, it was because the class in question had among its most solid members a number of practical atheists, more or less brought up by Voltaire and Béranger. They called themselves Catholic, though in all their principles of conduct they denied God, Christ and the Gospel, and upheld religion for merely temporal and political reasons — preserving social order and prosperity in business, consolidating their economic power, and keeping the lower classes in obedience by means of a virtuous rigor sanctioned from on high. The existence of this type of so-called Catholics made the idea of creating an atheist version of Catholicism less impossible; at the same time, the sort of inconsistency and hypocrisy which affected them was for the Founder of Positivism an incitement to endeavor to regenerate them. The Religion of Humanity was, so to say, a reply to their negativeness. It told them: “Admit what you are — and instead of adoring God with your lips without really believing in Him, and instead of being socially useless, because you despise the commandment given to you to love each other, adore the Great Being [Humanity] which is made known to you by sociology, and make yourselves useful by serving it with that atheistic love which is called altruism.”
    Such an appeal was bound to remain unheard, because no matter what love and devotedness one spoke of, this was precisely what the persons thus addressed did not want at any price; besides, they had no desire to deprive themselves of the slim chance offered to them by a Christian death, in case the priests were prating more than fairy tales.”

  8. MPS. Excellent comments. What you said sounds very much like the basis of Modernism which much of our clergy supports particularly since Vatican II with such ideas as preferential option for the poor with its various social justice programs, a concomitant deemphasis of Catholic doctrine especially on sin, abandonment of transcendence and the need for holiness, an over emphasis on personal conscience, and basically a Christianity without Christ and a Church of What’s Happening Now.

  9. Michael Dowd wrote, “What you said sounds very much like the basis of Modernism which much of our clergy supports particularly since Vatican II…”

    Maurice Blondel described it half a century earlier, in his attack on the “Catholic Atheism of Charles Maurras and his Action française movement; “A Catholicism without Christianity, submissiveness without thought, an authority without love, a Church that would rejoice at the insulting tributes paid to the virtuosity of her interpretative and repressive system… To accept all from God except God, all from Christ except His Spirit, to preserve in Catholicism only a residue that is aristocratic and soothing for the privileged and beguiling or threatening for the lower classes—is not all this, under the pretext perhaps of thinking only about religion, really a matter of pursuing only politics?”

  10. I too have been well aware of this famous 1948 quotation of the revered Bp. Fulton J. Sheen: but I dared not quote it in, comparison to the present pontificate—because those who are in the thrall of Great Humanitarianism demonstrate greatly that humanitarianism by being Greatly Vicious to any critical comparisons, any attempts to wake them from sleep.

    You, my friend, have more courage, clearly. But beware the incoming assault of the on-line Pope Francis Faithful. Time to clutch the vorpal sword..

    (“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
    The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
    Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!” – Lewis Carroll)

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