Posted by: Thomas Richard | October 20, 2021

Final Trial of the Church?

The universal Catechism of the Catholic Church has three brief but meaningful paragraphs very appropriate to our times. Our times? I never thought or imagined I’d see times like these – in the Church or in the world. Many, both in the secular world and in the Church, have radically turned away from traditional values and practices, from good reason, from the balance of charitable compromise seeking the common good. As if by an interior hidden shared spirit these many have taken a hard left together, at once, toward a “progressive” fictional utopia-on-earth. These many, in two ideology-driven movements, are hammering hard to forge 1) a global anti-religious secular centralized government, and 2) a “progressive” church professing universal superficial brotherhood and shallow, paper-thin oneness with all in a unified one-world religion. This nightmare of a dream is the dystopia of past generations of science fiction: centralized, impersonal tyranny squashing human rights and dignity – and Truth – like a bug on the floor.

A popular song of my younger days describes that interior, progressive spirit that is consuming minds and hearts in serious, threatening ways today. John Lennon crafted and presented it in song, sung very artfully:

(from “Imagine: John Lennon” soundtrack)

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

It is seductive! “Progressivism” sounds good – almost. All well-crafted lies have sprinkles of truths in and on top of the poisons they seek to hide. In the leadership and direction of souls, seduction is to spiritual guidance as rape is to conjugal love. There are ravenous wolves among the secular politicians; there are Judases crept in among the faithful in the Church: the sweetness of tongue and sheep-skin tailored clothing of them all may mask their ravenous hearts, but their promises are like candy laced with deadly arsenic. They lie, they deceive, they poison, they kill.

Listen to this, from the Catechism, and see if it does not describe the news in politics and the news in the Church, especially for the last few years.

The Church’s ultimate trial

CCC 675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.<Cf. Lk 18:8; Mt 24:12> The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth<Cf. Lk 21:12; Jn 15:19-20> will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.<Cf. 2 Th 2:4-12; I Th 5:2-3; 2 Jn 7; I Jn 2:18, 22>

CCC 676 The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgement. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,<Cf. DS 3839> especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.<Pius XI, Divini Redemptoris, condemning the “false mysticism” of this “counterfeit of the redemption of the lowly”; cf. GS 20-21>

CCC 677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.<Cf. Rev 19:1-9> The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God’s victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.<Cf Rev 13:8; 20:7-10; 21:2-4> God’s triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.<Cf. Rev 20:12 2 Pt 3:12-13>

Today, it is as though the evil one knows that his time is short, and the destruction of humanity that he seeks is so close, and yet is not accomplished. There remains resistance. Some people see their human rights and freedoms being stolen away under the claim of “covid emergency,” or “economic emergency,” or “constitutional flaws and outdated interpretations.” Some of the faithful see their spiritual needs being denied and truth being abandoned under claims of “you are clinging to rigid outdated traditions”, or “you need to ‘accompany,’ not ‘judge’ the confused and lost.” Or the conscience-twisting moral gymnastics that created “tradition to be authentic must be ever changing.”

Faithful, do not be afraid! Jesus warned us that such times would be hard – very hard. The evil one will be raging, because he knows his time is limited: “Rejoice then, O heaven and you that dwell therein! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” (Rev 12:12) The faithful can be confident: His mercy will not be extinguished! The trial will be hard, but the time of trial is limited: “And if those days had not been shortened, no human being would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.” (Mt 24:22)

Truth will be challenged, threatened, yes – but Truth will not be lost, or defeated. Truth, holiness, righteousness – these are eternal realities long preceding these dark times – long preceding creation itself, and time itself. This trial is for a moment; security in the Truth, faithfulness in Christ, these are forever. Our Mother Mary is interceding; the saints in heaven are praying; they know the outcome; the faithful on earth know the last chapter. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, in Whom we set our faith, is holy and eternal Truth. This is very, very Good News.



  1. Dear Thomas,

    Yes, God is Truth Himself, and we can trust Him. As you said: “This trial is for a moment; security in the Truth, faithfulness in Christ, these are forever. Our Mother Mary is interceding, the saints in heaven are praying; they know the outcome…This is very, very Good News.”

  2. Thank you Thomas. I’m excited to hear this very Good News!!! The evil is very difficult to see and endure, So I keep my eyes on my Savior, our Lord, Jesus Christ. Jesus I trust in YOU!

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