1. Nexus. We would like to find out from the sources of Catholic Doctrines (like Scriptures and Tradition) the answer to the following questions; first, can there be an anti-pope. Secondly, is there an anti-pope today. And thirdly, can we know who he is. The answer to these questions is of great importance for us all because the great chastisement we are expecting is not a nuclear war but the great apostasy St. Paul wrote; that will include the layman, the priests, bishops ,cardinals....up to an anti-pope (that will exists side by side with a true Pope.)
Yes, Christ, Himself, taught that we would have anti-popes from the beginnings of Christianity, in the middle of the history of Christianity and at the end of the history of Christianity. While St. Peter stands for the true Pope, Judas eschatologically stands for all anti-popes being one among the first bishops who worked for the destruction of the Body of Christ, the Church.
The Catholic Church have seen everything; from the greatest saints, to the greatest sinner; from Holy Popes to anti-popes. So it would be easy to identify any of them if any appears today simply by comparing them with the established past. The sinner is as common as the anti-popes; while holy Popes are as common as saints. History will show we have had many anti-popes. The same history will describe to us how it happened so we can judge if we have an anti-pope today. But it is reserved to a few who have the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity to know who is the true Pope and who is the anti-pope. The natural man can answer the first and second questions. Only a saint can answer the third.
The history of the Catholic Church mentions more than 40 anti-popes. And confusion starts here. Some are saints, while others are visibly instruments of the devil. There were times there were two popes, sometimes three. Some list 30 anti-popes, others more than 40. Some lists are undecided who were the true popes and who were the anti-popes; we see stories of true Popes who gave in to anti-popes and ended up as an anti-pope. Today there are close to eight claiming to be Popes; one in Kansas, Montana, Croatia, Nigeria, etc.
Though anti-popes were common in the Church, it was a fact that the Catholic Church had no way of identifying them. We are, therefore, faced with a situation in which we can discuss the topic on the anti-pope but almost no one can make the conclusion on who is the anti-pope and who is the true Pope. This is worsened by the fact that some saints sided with the true Pope like St. Catherine of Sienna; while others sided with the anti-pope like St. Vincent Ferrer. Even historians today aided by the fact that they have merely to look back on history, have not really decided on the list of the anti-popes.
Since we need a point of reference we have to be content to stick to the portraits of the Popes in St. Paul outside the Walls. But the medallions there do not correspond to the list of St. Malachy. This is a choice between Italian workers putting up the medallion and a well-respected Bishop-saint highly praised by St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
Evidently, even Catholic priest, bishops and cardinals could not discern a true Pope from an anti-pope during their times. In fact, it was the cardinals who elected anti-popes in conclaves.
2. Then why deal with such a confusing topic? Because it is a mortal sin to be an anti-pope. And it is a mortal sin to acknowledge him as pope and participate in his audiences. Both are sins against Faith because we are obliged to check the things we believe in if they are true and good, or if they are part of Divine Revelation. The rise of anti-popes could occur at any time in the history of the Church because it was a sign of the decay of Faith in the Church. It had been so in the Old Testament and continues to be so in the New Testament specially at the end of time. An anti-pope is a sign that most laymen, priests, bishops and cardinals have no Faith. Sort of God gives us the leader we deserve.
3. History has already shown that the Catholic Church had more than 40 anti-popes. Because this was prophesied by Christ, we should expect to have one today. Christ prophesied that He will find no Faith when He comes at the end. Are we at the end? Christianity always worked at the assumption that the end started at the time of the apostles...which was described as the beginnings of the end. This lost of Faith is not among pagans since they never had it. It is in the Catholic Church; primarily in the cardinals, bishops, priests, brothers and nuns. Only as a consequence on the lay people. The picture of Christ's prophecy is the lost of Faith, primarily, in the hierarchy and, as a consequence, in the laity of the Church. That is practically the whole visible Church. If majority of the hierarchy will lose the Faith, then there is a great possibility that eventually one of those without Faith could be elected Pope. Then there will be a Pope without Faith.....in short an anti-pope....because a bishop without Faith is disqualified from being Pope.
Let us return to the Old Testament where we read the early prophets describing God removing from the priests the power to offer the Sacrifice. It is like taking away from Catholic priests the power to consecrate the Body and Blood of Christ. And this was, precisely, a pre-figuring of what will happen today. How can this happen? The rampant Liturgical abuses and disobediences to how the Mass must be celebrated as decreed in 'Summorum Pontificum.' Disobediences to the instructions could invalidate a mass because it is not being celebrated according to the mind of the Church necessary for the efficacy of the sacraments. Videos all around the world on these abuses are proofs of the fulfillment of this O.T. prophecies. With the rampant destruction of the Liturgy by priests, one of them could be sitting in the throne of St. Peter. A priest whose mass is invalid cannot be Pope since, St. Robert Bellarmine writes, he is not even a Catholic.
Of course, God is controlling all of this. He has allowed anti-popes many times. Yes, as a chastisement for a church that had ceased to believe. Well, the unbelief is greater today and the possibility is even greater that God will chastise the Church today with what is considered as the worst chastisement; worst than a nuclear war or an ebola epidemic.......an anti-pope amidst the danger of a nuclear war and an out of control ebola epidemic. Up to this point we still can identify an anti-pope because this is still in the natural level. All men can do this.
Why are we undertaking a seemingly impossible task? Because it was prophesied and we must find out if the prophecy had been fulfilled. The biggest mistake of the Jews was that they knew about the prophecy of the coming messiah but they did not occasionally check if He was born. For not checking it up, they completely missed Him...until today. And that can happen to us. Having seen the prophecies of the possibility of an anti-pope, which had been fulfilled many times, we must check if it is being fulfilled today again.
3. Further prophecies from Divine Revelation.
Good Friday is a good pre-figuring of the eschatology of these days. Christ described the end days by relating it to what happened on Good Friday. Firstly, none of the Jewish priests believed in Christ; in fact they planned His crucifixion. Only Nicodemus was believing. That is one out of many. That will also be the case in these times. A very small percentage of the priests will have Faith. The majority will have no Faith. Caiaphas, the chief priest , was the figure of the anti-pope and will be the leader of the apostasy. And to further impress this message on us, Satan enters into Judas. This was a spiritual possession and not a merely physical possession.
In these days, the evil spirits will be released and will spiritually possess the majority of priests, lay people and the rest of the world . Exorcists are weaponless against such possessions; the apostles, themselves, were helpless in Judas' case of possession. And one of these priests could be elected by similarly possessed cardinals during a conclave. Judas is a figure of a bishop turned anti-pope. An anti-pope is a duly concentrated bishop who is unqualified for the papacy.
4. Let us look at some more Gospel passages.
The Gospel of the stewards in the vineyard. The Master arrived and saw the vineyard untended. The Gospel relates that the Master took away the vineyard from the stewards who were the priests, bishops, cardinals and possibly an anti- pope and gave it to others who would take good care of it. Christ, clearly prophesied that one day He will find His vineyard totally neglected by the anti-Pope, by cardinals, bishops and priest.....who are the stewards. He will take away the vineyard from them. The vineyard is the Catholic Church.
Is Christ hinting that as He had prophesied that there will a decay of Faith among the priests and laymen...and as a chastisement He will remove the Catholic Church from parishes, dioceses and even from the Vatican? Yes, that is what He meant...whether we like it or not. Again the message is clearly the great possibility of an anti-pope today.
5. What does the Blessed Virgin say in her apparitions? In an apparition in Quito, Ecuador, around the 1600 the Blessed Virgin simply confirmed Christ's prophecies; but she described it so vividly that it will be at its worst around the 20th century and onwards. Mary's description 500 years ago of todays world is so detailed it does not need further interpretation or elucidation. It was a world where cardinals, bishops, priests, lay adults and children will be devoid of Faith....a whole Church in complete darkness due to the absence of Faith.
The Blessed Virgin assured the 20th century that inspite of the total darkness, God will raise a holy shepherd amidst the unbelieving hierarchy side by side with a possible anti-pope. Though the Catholic Church had many anti-popes St. Hildegard of Bingen specifically mentioned an anti-pope in her 10th vision that will exist exactly around this time. The Benedictine Abbess was raised as Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict who was working on his thesis describing the Catholic Church today.
Our Lady of LaSallete was more precise in describing the Vatican as the abode of evil spirits. This was given credence further by Gabriel Amorth, Vatican exorcist, who thinks that most bishops do not believe in the devil nor in exorcism. This unbelief is a sin against Faith making Amorth joked that most bishops are not Catholics.
6. We are not saying that there is a Pope and that he is an anti-pope. The conclusion from the above facts mentioned is that God continues to guide the Church with His own chosen Pope. But because of the darkening of Faith among the men of the Church, the cardinals are quite capable of electing an anti-pope according their own heretical hearts. And this anti-pope will be applauded and received by an entire Church devoid of Faith.
7. Church history had shown that we had more than 40 anti-popes. History, also, showed us two things; first, that most of the laymen, priests, bishops and cardinals did not know who was the true Pope and who was the anti-pope. In most cases, they did not know that there were two or three popes. Only the saints could distinguish between the two because the state of the papacy is a supernatural state since he has the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. These virtues are supernatural virtues. The true Pope has these three virtues. An anti-pope does not have them. To recognize these three virtues one must be in the supernatural state. That is why only saints can distinguish between the two. So the whole world that is experiencing the 'decay of Faith' will not be able to detect an anti-pope and that is God's chastisement for them. They will become blind followers of the blind.
Those without Faith, Hope and Charity (those who are not Catholics) can never know the true Pope. But they can recognize the anti-pope because both are in the natural level; by using natural theology.What is this?
8. The interpretation of the teachings of Christ in the New Testament are in the supernatural level. That is why no human can interpret His teachings, as the Protestants are trying to do. As Christ told Peter; 'it is not man who taught you this but My Father in heaven.' The true meanings of the Words of the New Testament can only be taught by God. And He does this when a soul is in contemplative prayer.
But these spiritual doctrines are expressed in words that can be heard. And though those without Faith cannot know the spiritual meaning of the words, they can know the dictionary meaning of the words. And from this dictionary meaning those without Faith can recognize an anti-pope.
Let us take an example. The ten commandments of the O.T. are in the natural level. All men, pagans or otherwise, can understand the commands of God in the O.T. The commands of Jesus Christ in the New Testament, commonly referred to as the Beatitudes, can only be understood by those who are in the supernatural state.
Take the 6th and 9th commandment in the O.T. All men know adultery and same sex attraction are forbidden by those two commands. The N.T. explanation of those two commands is the description of spiritual virginity which only those with the theological virtues can understand. A true Pope will preach spiritual virginity. A pagan may teach avoidance of adultery and same sex relationship. But when a pope proposes in a Synod to allow adulterers to receive Holy Communion and to welcome same sex relationships within the family....he is teaching something not only against the supernatural teaching of the Catholic Church. He is teaching disobedience to the natural teachings of the Church. This makes him, not a true Pope; it makes him a bad priest and bishop. He makes, himself, an anti-pope....if he is pretending to be pope.
Here is an analysis of the results during the last October Bishop's Synod. There is no known news that any of the attendees spoke about the N.T. praises on the life of spiritual virginity or pure chastity which is spiritually commanded by the 6th and 9th command of God. We withhold saying that no one had the theological virtues because it is possible that they had but they did not speak out.
Two thirds spoked out against the proposal violating the 6th and 9th commandments. They showed they were in the natural level and obedient to the O. T. command of God. They did not show they were in the level of the N.T. but were definitely in the level of the O.T.
But those who proposed violating the 6th and 9th commandment of God were neither in the N.T. nor in the O.T. They were totally out of the Catholic Church. If they were cardinals and bishops they would be described as anti-christs. If he was a Pope he would be an anti-christ for disobeying the commands of Christ; and he will be an anti-pope because he would go against the commands of the Popes who merely repeat the commands of Christ.
It is noticeable that some cried out 'schism.' Which means they noticed the physical departure from the commands of God in the natural level. But they did not cry out 'anti-pope' because they did not attempt to look at the happenings from the supernatural level.
We have shown that the Catholic Church have had numerous anti-popes. And the teachings of Christ teaches us we can have more even today. If it is possible to have one right now, who can he be? We shall describe him as all past anti-popes were described by the Church.