"The Lord God said to the woman, 'Why have you done this?' The woman (Eve) said, 'The serpent deceived me and I ate" (Genesis 3:13). At some point before the end of time everyone on earth whose name has not been written in "the book of life of the Lamb" will be deceived by the devil. They will be so deceived as to fall down and worship "the beast," by which we understand the Antichrist. We read in the book of the Apocalypse:
"And I saw a beast coming up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon its horns ten diadems, and upon its heads blasphemous names… And it was allowed to wage war with the saints and to overcome them. And there was given to it authority over every tribe, and people, and tongue, and nation. And all the inhabitants of the earth will worship it whose names have not been written in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain from the foundation of the world" (Apoc.13:1;7,8).
We have a recent example of deception on a huge scale - the people of the world, rulers and presidents, leaders of the world religions, Jews, Muslims, media giants, and plain ordinary people - speaking in glowing terms of the late John Paul II, not for his strong support of the traditional family or his stand against abortion, but for all the wrong reasons. When even the Vice-President of the United States calls him John Paul the Great, you know something is wrong, for Our Lord said,
"If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me before you. If you were of the world, the world would love what is its own… No servant is greater than his master. If they have persecuted Me, they will persecute you also…" (John 15:18,19a;20b).
Catholics are in a mood to be deceived, as they bask in the glow of the world's adulation for John Paul II. Kofi Annan, U.N. secretary-general, called him "a tireless advocate of peace, a true pioneer in interfaith dialogue and a strong force for critical self-evaluation by the Church itself." Fidel Castro, president of Cuba said: "Humanity will preserve an emotional memory of the tireless work of His Holiness John Paul II in favor of peace, justice and solidarity among all people" (Zenit.org, April 9, 2005).
The national director of the ADL (Anti-defamation League), Abraham H. Foxman, (who made life a "hell on earth" for Mel Gibson during the production of his movie, The Passion of The Christ) said this among other things: "John Paul II has denounced the evils that led to the Holocaust and questioned whether the Church's attitudes provided an environment for the deadly anti-Semitism in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. Most importantly, the Pope rejected the destructive concept of supersessionism and has recognized the special relationship between Christianity and the Jewish people, while sharing his understanding of Judaism as a living heritage, of the permanent validity of God's covenant with the Jewish people" (worldjewishcongress.org).
Supersessionism is the word used to describe the belief that the Church is the inheritor of the promises God made to Abraham, which were fulfilled in Jesus Christ. As Jesus Himself says: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but through Me" (Jn.14:6). Jews who reject Jesus as the Messiah, of course, abhor this teaching, and find the Church guilty of promoting anti-Semitism because of it. But we cannot accept John Paul's confidence in the permanent validity of God's covenant with the Jewish people. There is only one valid Covenant, of which Jesus Christ is the Mediator, the New Covenant sealed in His Blood.
St. Malachy, in his famous, though controversial, prophecies about future popes, did not distinguish between true popes and false popes. The words of his prophecy that apply to the papacy of John Paul II are "De labore solis," which may be translated, "of the eclipse of the sun." Our Lady said in 1846 at La Salette that the day would come when the Church would be in eclipse. It may be no coincidence that Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II) was born during a solar eclipse (May 18, 1920), and that his funeral Mass took place on the day of another solar eclipse (April 8, 2005). In any case, his pontificate corresponded with the eclipse of the Church in her Mass, in her Sacraments, and in her teaching, as well as in her leadership.
The true Church will soon emerge from behind the shadow of the false church which is eclipsing it, only to be persecuted, as Our Lord predicted in today's Gospel: "Amen, amen I say to you, that you shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy" (John 16:20). We await His glorious return as our King.
But we must not look for a true pope to emerge from the papal conclave which begins in Rome on Monday (April 18, 2005). The conclave is "stacked" with cardinals who will be sure to elect a new "pontiff" in the image of John Paul II. Moreover, nearly all of the "cardinals" lack Episcopal consecration due to the invalidity of the new Sacrament of Orders. They may wear the red hat and strut about in cardinal's robes, but authority to elect a pope they do not have.
There is a further reason, if we needed one, why we must not expect a true pope to emerge from the conclave. The enemies of the Church, such as the Jewish Masonic organization, B'Nai Brith, have interfered, and with stunning success, in all of the papal conclaves since 1958. Will they now give up the game and allow someone to be elected who will nullify all they have gained in the last fifty years? Not a chance! If the conclave goes their way, they will again have their man seated on the papal throne, ready to carry out their plan for world domination.
Pope Leo XIII had a famous prophetic vision in 1888, through which he knew of the danger to the papacy. Afterwards he composed the Prayer to St. Michael, which originally contained the following passage concerning the enemies of the Church and their plans to overcome it by controlling the papacy: "In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered."
Will they deceive us this time? The woman, Eve, lacking wisdom, was deceived by the devil. We must call upon the New Eve, the Blessed Mary ever Virgin, by whom the devil and his deceits are put to flight: We fly to thy patronage, O holy Mother of God; despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us always from all dangers, O glorious and blessed Virgin. Amen.