THE DECAY OF FAITH.
1. Apparently the Hermeneutics of continuity that shows that a present truth is in continuity from Divine Revelation, the Fathers of the Church and from the teachings of the past Pontiffs should be the Catholic doctrine. The Hermeneutics of discontinuity which states that the present church is not a continuation from the past ancient church but is a product of Vatican II is clearly a protestant notion that should be junked; and yet the whole Vatican bureaucracy is teaching this latter heresy propagated by the School of Bologna.
Now, let us try getting a truth from Divine Revelation. And see how it develops through the Fathers of the Church and through the Popes following the course of the development of Christian Doctrine. Then let us see if it is still the same identical truth.
2. Let us take two truths from Divine Revelation. The first is when Christ said "when I come, will I find Faith on earth." This is the decay of Faith. The second is God's chastisement on the Church when her Faith decays and that is she gets a leader that she deserves, an anti-pope. So we have a true Pope ruling the wheat and an anti-pope ruling the cockles.
Let us define these two truths more clearly. In the first, Christ said that when He is about to come on the Second Coming, there will be no Faith among the Catholic Cardinals, bishops, priests, nuns and the common laymen. That is practically all known Catholics. And where would the true Catholics be? We shall give the answer in a separate post using the words of Pope Emeritus Benedict quoting the words of St. Bonaventure. In short, the true Catholics will be hidden as Christ was during His hidden life.
And secondly, because of the world wide decay of Faith whoever will eventually be elected Pope will be chosen amongst those without Faith and, therefore, will be an anti-pope, since a pope without Faith is neither a priest, nor a bishop, nor a pope because he is not even a Catholic.
3. History attest to the fact that from the beginning of Christianity the Church progressed into two prongs. The development of the cockles from little Faith to the total decay of Faith that happens to the visible church. And the development of the wheat from little Faith to perfect Faith, Hope and Charity which occurs to the invisible Church. The visible church is led by an anti-pope while the invisible or spiritual church is led by the true Pope. The progress of these two prongs will go on up to the end of the world and will make up the signs of the end times.
4. What was the main cause of the decay of Faith? Christ saw to it that the knowledge He taught the apostles was complete and perfect. But the first apostles could not teach this complete and perfect knowledge to their successors because their pupils were spiritually inferior to them. So the successors of the apostles had complete but imperfect knowledge of the teachings of Christ; that made up their Faith. The Holy Spirit was supposed to complete and perfect this knowledge gradually up to the end of the world. After the Apostles the church had complete but imperfect knowledge of Christ' teachings. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and the leadership of a true Pope the Church gradually would complete and perfect their knowledge until the end of the world which would end with the her wedding with the bridegroom Jesus Christ
On the other hand, the cockles would have an incomplete and imperfect knowledge of the teachings of Christ. But as they went towards the Second Advent, their incomplete knowledge became even more incomplete and the imperfect knowledge became more imperfect. Being unworthy to have a worthy leader God chastises them by giving them an anti-pope. In other words, their Faith decayed more and more as they approached the end times.
Let us put aside first, the progress of the spiritual church towards the complete and perfect knowledge of the teachings of Christ. The signs of their progress is spiritual and without Faith, is impossible to explain.
Let us look at the progress of the decay of the Church from ignorance to greater ignorance as they approach the end times. Because the signs of decay are visible to everyone and easy to describe.
5. The apostles had complete and perfect knowledge of the teachings of Christ. The Fathers of the Church had complete but incomplete knowledge. So some of their followers being inferior spiritually could have had incomplete and imperfect knowledge of doctrines. This could have caused their Faith to be very weak and easily make them lost their Faith. Thus the first heretics, apostates and schismatics in Montanus, Arius and Pelagius. This gradual decay in their Faith caused God to chastise them with the usual chastisement including having an anti-pope in Hypolitus, who fortunately resigned and even became a saints.
This progress in the decay of Faith which was natural to fallen man continued with God giving the corresponding chastisements specially the rise of anti-pope, more than 40 of them up to the 1400.
The decay of Faith and the rise of anti-popes were well recorded in Church History. And many studies were made in their regard.
Recently, Pinckners, the Dominican theologian attributed the worsening of the decay of Faith with the heresy of Nominalism by an English Franciscan theology professor around the 13th century, William Ockam whose heretical infiltration of seminaries produced faithless priests who would fill up the Church for centuries with bishops, Cardinals and eventual Popes. At this point the worsening decay of Faith was the rule in the Church. Together with this decay was the rise of the anti-pope Nicholas V.
6. The decay of Faith became a full blown terminal cancer around the 1500 and aggravated by the rise of the anti-pope Anacletus who was popular; who was chosen by majority of the Cardinals, applauded by all the clergy and populace of Rome and took control of Rome. This prompted the Church to call the Ecumenical Council of Trent. Here all the dogmas and moral teachings of the Church were clarified. But the cancer of the decay of the Church was terminal. The post Council commissions could not arrest it. After the Council of Trent it was noticed that the Church had reached what Christ prophesied in the Gospel, there would be no Faith in the earth. And this state would be aggravated by the rule of a very popular and well loved anti-pope. God was, indeed, giving the world a dry run of what is to follow.
In the visible Church led by the visible hierarchy there would be no new Pentecost nor new spring. What was to follow was what was prophesied in the Gospel and the Apocalypse.......a very bad winter of darkness and unsurpassed evil the world would ever experience.
7. The Marian and Papal warnings on the decay of Faith and on the anti-popes. The first Pope who dared to say the warnings from Scripture and the Fathers was Pope Pius IX during his exile in Gaeta, Italy. Knowing the exact words of Christ describing the state of the faith of the Catholic Church and the warnings of John in the Apocalypse, he initiated the proper solution prescribed by the Apocalypse of St. John.....Marian devotion. Thus Pius IX declared the dogma of the Immaculate Conception which is the first official image of the invisible Catholic church as St.Augustine and 'Lumen Gentium' described her. Pius X seeing the future warned the Church of the great possibility of an anti-pope.
During the 1800s up to the present, both the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Popes from Pius IX to Benedict XVI had warned the Church of the great decay of Faith in the visible Church and the rise of an anti-pope. Pope John Paul II, declaring the 'Year of Faith' and Our Lady of Guadalupe as the Patroness was reminding us of the Apocalyptic Woman, the invisible Church, who left the world because of the great evil therein and, therefore, fled to the desert. And Pope Benedict XVI, quoting St. Hildegard of Bingen (a 10th century) Benedictine Abbess whom he raised as a Doctor of the Church, reminded us of the rise of an anti-pope during this time.
Even mere spiritual writers like Henry James Coleridge, S.J. in his 'The return of the King' (1800) wrote of the great decay of Faith in this our present age. And Robert Benson, a convert from Anglicanism, whose prophetic novel Pope Francis read and commented on recently described both the decay of Faith and the rise of the anti-pope who would lead the cockles whose name was Francis; and the true Pope who would lead the wheat as Sylvester. Benson described his anti-pope Francis as very popular with the anti-catholic and evil democratic heads of the world.
Notice the progress of the decay of Faith. It begun with one or two heresiarchs; then it became a whole town of catholics who became heretics; then a catholic nation becoming heretic; then several catholic nations becoming heretics and even a catholic continent becoming apostates. This is followed worldwide by all religious orders, all Catholic organizations and communities together with Cardinals, Bishops, priests and nuns suddenly becoming totally ignorant on how to made the Act of Faith as shown by all church documents after Pope Emeritus Benedict. And these were accompanied by more than 40 anti-popes. The decay of Faith and anti-popes always go together as shown in Scriptures, in the writings of the Fathers of the Church, and in the writings of the Popes. Even mere spiritual writers had written about these. Even Fulton Sheen in one of his famous TV talks mentioned about the rise of an anti-pope from one of our bishops who would connive with the 'man of evil.' The total decay of Faith and the 'great chastisement' which is the reign of an anti-pope had indeed come upon us as Christ, Himself, had foretold.