INIMICA VIS: The prophetic teaching of Pope Leo XIII to the Bishops of Italy

His Holiness Pope Leo XIII

His Holiness Pope Leo XIII

Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII promulgated on December 8, 1892.

To the Bishops of Italy:

The enemy forces, inspired by the evil spirit, ever wage war on the Christian name. They join forces in this endeavor with certain groups of men whose purpose is to subvert divinely revealed truths and to rend the very fabric of Christian society with disastrous dissent. Indeed, how much damage these cohorts, as it were, have inflicted on the Church is well-known. And yet, the spirit of all previous groups hostile to Catholic institutions has come to life again in that group called the Masonic sect, which, strong in manpower and resources, is the leader in a war against anything sacred.

2. Our predecessors in the Roman pontificate have in the course of a century and a half outlawed this group not once, but repeatedly. We too, in accordance with Our duty, have condemned it strongly to Christian people, so that they might beware of its wiles and bravely repel its impious assaults. Moreover, lest cowardice and sloth overtake us imperceptibly, We have deliberately endeavored to reveal the secrets of this pernicious sect and the means by which it labors for the destruction of the Catholic enterprise.

3. Now, though, a certain thoughtless indifference on the part of many Italians has resulted in their not recognizing the magnitude and extent of the peril. And so the faith of our ancestors, the salvation won for mankind by Jesus Christ, and, consequently the great benefits of Christian civilization are endangered. Indeed, fearing nothing and yielding to no one, the Masonic sect proceeds with greater boldness day by day: with its poisonous infection it pervades entire communities and strives to entangle itself in all the institutions of our country in its conspiracy to forcefully deprive the Italian people of their Catholic faith, the origin and source of their greatest blessings.

4. This is the reason for the endless artifices they employ in their assault on the divinely inspired faith; this is the reason why the legitimate liberty of the Church is treated with contempt and beset with legal oppression. They believe that the Church does not possess the nature and essence of a true society, that the State has priority over it, and that civil authority takes precedence over sacred authority. This false and destructive doctrine has been frequently condemned by the Holy See. Among many other ills, it has been responsible for the usurpation on the part of civil authorities of that to which they have no right and for their unscrupulous appropriation of what they have alienated from the Church. This is clear in the case of ecclesiastical benefices; they usurp the right to give or withhold the revenues of these according to their good pleasure.

5. Likewise, in a manner no less insidious, they plan to soften the opposition of the lower clergy with their promises. Their purpose in this endeavor can easily be detected, especially since the very authors of this undertaking do not take sufficient pains to conceal what they intend. They wish to win over the clergy by cajolery; once the novelties have confused them, they will withdraw their obedience to legitimate authority. And yet in this matter they seem to have underestimated the virtue of our clergy, who for so many years have given manifest examples of their moderation and loyalty. We have every reason to be confident that, with God’s help, they will continue their devotion to duty no matter what circumstances may arise.

6. This summary indicates both the extent of the activity of the Masonic sect and the goal of its endeavors. What compounds this harmful situation, however, and causes Us deep anxiety is that far too many of our compatriots, driven by hope of their personal advantage or by perverse ambition, have given their names or support to the sect. This being so, We commend first and foremost to your efforts the eternal salvation of those whom we have just mentioned: may your zeal never waver in constantly and insistently recalling them from their error and certain destruction. To be sure, the task of extricating those who have fallen into the snares of the Masons is laborious, and its outcome is doubtful, if we consider the cleverness of the sect: still the recovery of no one should ever be despaired of since the force of apostolic charity is truly marvelous.

7. Next, we must heal those who have erred in this respect out of faint-heartedness, that is, those who, not because of a debased nature but because of weakness of spirit and lack of discretion, have allowed themselves to be drawn into supporting the Masonic enterprises. Sufficiently weighty are the words of Our predecessor Felix III in this regard. “An error which is not resisted is approved; a truth which is not defended is suppressed…. He who does not oppose an evident crime is open to the suspicion of secret complicity.” By reminding them of the examples of their forefathers, the broken spirits of these men must be reanimated with that courage which is the guardian of duty and dignity alike, so that they may be ashamed and regret their cowardly actions. For surely our whole life is involved in a constant battle in which our salvation itself is at stake; nothing is more disgraceful for a Christian than cowardice.

8. It is likewise necessary to strengthen those who fall because of ignorance. By this we mean those, not few in number, who, deceived by appearances and allured by various enticements, allow themselves without understanding it to be enrolled in the Masonic order. In these cases We hope that with divine inspiration they will be able some day to repudiate their error and perceive the truth, especially if you try to remove the false outward appearance of the sect and reveal its hidden designs. Indeed these can no longer be considered hidden since their very accomplices have themselves disclosed them in many ways. Why, within the last few months, the designs of the Masons have been publicly proclaimed throughout Italy, even to the point of ostentation! They wish to see the religion founded by God reudiated and all affairs, private as well as public, regulated by the principles of naturalism alone; this is what, in their impiety and stupidity, they call the restoration of civil society. And yet the State will plunge headlong into ruin if Christians are not willing to be vigilant and not willing to labor to support its well-being!

9. But in the presence of such audacious evils, it is not sufficient merely to be aware of the wiles of this vile sect: we must also war against it, using those very arms furnished by the divine faith which once prevailed against paganism. Therefore, it is your task to inflame souls by persuasion, exhortation and example, nourish in the clergy and our people a zeal for religion and salvation which is active, resolute, and intrepid. These qualities frequently distinguish Catholic peoples of other nations in similar situations. It is commonly claimed that the ancient ardor of spirit in protecting their ancestral faith has grown cold among the Italian people. Nor is this perhaps false; especially since if the dispositions of both sides be inspected, those who wage war on religion seem to show more energy than those who repel it. But for those who seek salvation there can be no middle ground between laborious struggle and destruction. Therefore, in the case of the weak and sluggish, courage must be stirred up through your efforts; in the case of the strong, it must be kept active; with all trace of dissent wiped out, under your leadership and command, the result will be that all alike, with united minds and common discipline, may undertake the battle in a spirited manner.

10. Because of the gravity of the matter and the necessity of repelling the danger, We have decided to address the Italian people in a letter which We are including along with this one; propagate it as widely as possible and, where needed, interpret it to your people. In this manner, with the blessing of God, we can hope that spirits may be aroused through the contemplation of the threatening evils and betake themselves without delay to the remedies which We have pointed out.

11. As a presage of divine gifts and testimony of Our benevolence We affectionately accord to you, Venerable Brethren, and the people entrusted to your care, the apostolic blessing.

Given in Rome at St. Peter’s, 8 December 1892, in the 15th year of Our Pontificate.

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[English translation from Papal Encyclicals online; compare the text at the Vatican website EnglishItaliano].

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Why does the Lord at times threaten His Church with chastisement?

Rome, January 21, 2015:  Nearly four years ago, while I lived as a hermit in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Noto, Sicily, I heard of other hermits living on the Island of Sicily, and sought them out for spiritual advice.  In the course of my travels I met a few such hermits, living in obscurity in the mountains of Sicily, and had the occasion to come to know of a vision which the Lord gave one hermit.  At that time, since I do not value private revelations that much, and because I did not know whether this vision was from God or not, I did not put much value in it.  But since that time I have come to see, with the passing events of time, that it was a prophetic vision of the doom into which the Church of Rome would fall.  For that reason, I now recognize it as of God, and for that reason I will publish it here, below.

But since many do not understand why the Lord, at times, threatens the members of His own Church with chastisement, let us first hear what St. Alphonsus dei Liguori, the Doctor of the Church, says on this matter, in his short treatise, entitled, Calamities, Chastisement, and the Love of God, in the first discourse:

CALAMATIES, CHASTISEMENT & THE LOVE OF GOD

FIRST DISCOURSE

by St. Alphonsus dei Liguori, C.Ss.R.

“Heu! consolabor super hostibus meis, et vindicabor de inimicis meis.”

“Ah, I will comfort Myself over My adversaries: and I will be revenged of My enemies.” Isaias 1.24.

SUCH is the language of God, when speaking of punishment and vengeance: He says that he is constrained by his justice to take vengeance on his enemies. But, mark you, he begins with the word Heu, “Ah”: this word is an exclamation of grief by which he would give us to understand, that if he were capable of weeping when about to punish, he would weep bitterly at being compelled to afflict us his creatures, whom he has loved so dearly as to give up his life through love for us. “‘Alas!'” says Cornelius a Lapide, “is uttered by one who is lamenting and not insulting; God signifies by this word that he is grieving, and that he is unwilling to punish sinners.”1 No, this God, who is the Father of mercies, and so much loves us, is not of a disposition to punish and afflict, but rather to pardon and console us. For I know the thoughts that I think towards you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of affliction.2

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1 “Heu! dolentis est, non insultantis; significat Deus hac voce se dolentem et invitum punire peccatores.”

2 “Ego enim scio cogitationes quas ego cogito super vos, ait Dominus, cogitationes pacis, et non afflictionis.” Jer. 29.11.

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But some one will say, since such is his character, why does he now punish us? or, at least, appear as if he meant to punish us? Why so? Because he wishes to be merciful towards us: this anger which he now dis- plays is all mercy and patience.

Let us then, my brethren, understand how the Lord at present appears in wrath, not with a view to our punishment, but in order that we may cleanse ourselves of our sins, and thus enable him to pardon us. Such is the subject of our discourse: GOD THREATENS TO CHASTISE IN ORDER TO DELIVER US FROM CHASTISEMENT.

The threats of men ordinarily proceed from their pride and weakness; and so, if they have it in their power to take vengeance, then they will not threaten anything, lest they should thereby give their enemies an opportunity of escape. It is only when they lack the power to inflict their vengeance that they resort to using threats, in order to gratify their passion, by awakening at least the fears of their enemies. Not so the threats of which God makes use; on the contrary, their nature is quite different. His threats do not arise from his inability to chastise, because he can be avenged when he wills; but he bears with us in order to see us repentant, and thus exempt from punishment. You have mercy upon all, because You can do all things, and overlook the sins of men so that they may repent.1 Neither does he threaten from hatred, in order to tor ment us with fear; God threatens from love, in order that we may be converted to him, and thereby escape chastisement: he threatens, because he does not wish to see us lost: he threatens, in sum, because he loves our souls. But You spare all, because they are yours, O Lord, who love souls.2 He threatens; but in spite of this he bears with us and delays in punishing, because he wishes to see us converted, not lost. He deals patiently for your sake, not willing that any should perish, but that all should return to penance.3 Thus the threats of God are all acts of tenderness, and loving calls of his goodness, by which he means to save us from the punishment which we deserve.

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1 “Misereris omnium, quia omnia potes, et dissimulas peccata hominum propter poenitentiam.” Wis. 11.24.

2 “Parcis autem omnibus, quoniam tua sunt, Domine, qui amas animas.” Wis. 11.27.

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And now, here is what this Sicilian hermit told me he saw:*

Deutsche-Bank-Verantwortung-Responsibility_Villa-Romana

A beautiful house with a fence and garden: and in it there dwelt a most beautiful, immaculate virgin with her spouse.  Then came the day, when her spouse had to go on a long trip, and he left her at home to wait for him. At first, she waited with great fidelity, inside her house, and did not go out; but, as she allowed her impatience to overcome her, she started to look outside through her windows, to see if her spouse was returning; then, moved by greater impatience, she fell into imprudence, and she open the door and looked out on occasion for his return.  Moved by greater impatience and imprudence, and tinged now with the movement of curiosity, she would leave the door open for long hours, and occasionally go out into the yard of the home, to walk along its fence, and look out for her spouse.  But therein she was deceived, because her curiosity betrayed itself to vanity, and she began to take pleasure in going outside her house and spending time in her yard; and then, in looking beyond its fence, ostensibly to see if her spouse was returning, but more and more to enjoy what she saw there.

Then, one day an evil man dressed in the manner of a man of virtue came down the road, and caught her eye. She violated her marriage promise with her own spouse by delaying outside to speak with him. His speech was very pleasing and he praised her with many false words, seducing her with the appearance of virtue, so she betrayed her spouse by allowing this stranger into her house, where shutting the door, she fornicated with him.  He lived with her some time and squandered all the riches of her home on a life of impurity with her, until he died and she died. And that house fell into darkness and great was its ruin …

These are not the exact words, but rather my own attempt to remember what he told me and repeat it succinctly.

This vision is a warning from the Lord, our God; prophetic in the sense that it spoke of what had not yet come to pass, but what would come to pass if men did not repent.

The virgin is the Church of Rome, or rather, the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church; the house is the Diocese of Rome.  Who the seducer is, is now obvious to everyone in the world.

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* Here, I add the photo only for the sake of illustration. I heard of this vision in April of 2011, when I traveled to western Sicily to visit various hermits. For the hermit’s sake, I will not identify the hermit. Nor was I told the full import of the vision.