Mystic Tied To Gibson Movie Saw Special Period Of Testing By The Devil In A Way That Links To Famous Modern Apparition
By Michael H. Brown
Mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich, the German seer made famous because her cause for beatification is approaching and her revelations have helped spark a Mel Gibson movie, once made the startling comment that Satan was to be unbound and that hell was about to unleash a torrent of evil spirits.
The statement is startling because Emmerich, whose visions began in 1798, and whose major revelations occurred in the 1820s, specifically mentioned the period around the year 2000. They are also significant because what she said was later confirmed in a vision reputedly granted to Pope Leo XIII many years later -- in 1884. They also tie into major messages granted at the as-yet unapproved apparition site of Medjugorje, a spot where the Blessed Mother is said to be appearing.
Describing a vision in which she saw Christ's descent into limbo and then hell after His Crucifixion (where He went to reveal Himself to souls), Emmerich wrote that "many were chained down in a circle which was placed around other circles. In the center of hell I saw a dark and horrible-looking abyss, and into this Lucifer was cast, after first being strongly secured with chains; thick clouds of sulfurous black smoke arose from its fearful depths, and enveloped his frightful form in the dismal folds, thus effectually concealing him from every beholder. God Himself had decreed this; and I was likewise told, if I remember rightly, that he will be unchained for a time fifty or sixty years before the year of Christ 2000."
In her book The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Emmerich went on to say: "The dates of many other events were pointed out to me which I do not remember; but a certain number of demons are to be let loose much earlier than Lucifer, in order to tempt men, and to serve as instruments of the Divine vengeance. I should think that some must be loosened even in the present day, and others will be set free in a short time."
This is remarkable in juxtaposition with a vision that Pope Leo had on October 13, 1884, in which he supposedly saw demons and heard the atrocious, guttural voice of Satan boasting to God that he could destroy the Church and drag the world to hell if he were given sufficient time and power. According to the pontiff, Satan asked for between 75 and 100 years of enhanced worldly influence and it was granted. Leo was further given to understand that if the devil didn't accomplish his purpose in the allotted time, he would suffer a crushing and humiliating defeat. It was after this alleged vision that Leo penned the famous prayer to the Archangel Michael.
It has never been clear, however, when this general frame of time -- the period of testing -- would begin. If Emmerich is right, it began around 1950 -- precisely when a great wave of evil, in the form of cultural revolution, was germinating, soon to sweep the world.
At Medjugorje, at least one seer, Mirjana Dragicevic Soldo, has been quoted as saying that she too was informed about a century of testing. In a letter to Pope John Paul II on December 2, 1983, a parish priest wrote that Mirjana had received a message from the Virgin pertaining to a strikingly similar time period. Significant is the fact that the seers from Medjugorje were not aware of Pope Leo XIII at the time of the early apparitions, and in fact were not familiar with Lourdes and Fatima in this remote Bosnian hamlet which was under the yoke of Communism. "Excuse me for this, but you must realize that Satan exists," said the message quoted to the Pope by Father Tomislav Vlasic. "One day he appeared before the Throne of God and asked for permission to submit the Church to a period of trial. God gave him permission to try the Church for one century."
The current time is under the power of the devil, Mirjana was quoted as saying -- but when the secrets granted to the seers materialize, she and other seers have said, that enhanced power will be broken.
"Even now he is beginning to lose his power and has become aggressive," the Virgin Mary warned. "He is destroying marriages, creating division among priests, and is responsible for obsessions and murder."
It was in the 1950s, and then especially the 1960s, that a different breed of music came onto the cultural scene, the sexual revolution was spawned, divorce became an acceptable alternative, rock music infiltrated the popular mindset, drug use grew common, and sexual predation became commonplace among a number of priests and other clerics -- along with division.
These scandals clearly seem like the "trial" prophesied for the Church as leaders have grappled with the greatest threat to Catholicism since the fall of Communism and perhaps in several centuries.
The Emmerich message also connects in an electrical way to a message given to a second Medjugorje seer, Marija Pavlovic Lunetti, who on January 1st, 2001, during an apparition on Podbrdo (Apparition Hill) at Medjugorje, reported that "tonight when Our Lady came, I recommended all of us, our intentions, and all the sick people present here. Our Lady prayed over us and she blessed us. Our Lady was joyful and she came with five angels. She gave a message: 'Tonight in a special way I desired you to be here. In a special way now when Satan is free from chains, I invite you to consecrate yourselves to my Heart and to the Heart of my Son."
The expression "free from chains" is identical to Emmerich's use of the term "unchained" -- confirming that the trial is in progress.
While the seers at Medjugorje have never set a time table, they have been told that the secrets they have been granted, which have to do with a coming purification or chastisement, will occur in their lifetimes. If they live a normal span, that would mean between now and 2040, which jives with the notion that Satan's special power may have started around the midpoint of the 1900s -- around 1940 or 1950, if Venerable Emmerich is to be believed -- and would last approximately a century, with events intensifying up to the point. Many who have followed the Leo prophecy believed the period of testing began around the time of his vision and thus would have elapsed around 1984 or at least by the turn of the millennium, after 2000. But the Emmerich revelation suggests that the time of trial has years left to go.
"In a special way now, my dear children, I invite you to be close to me through your prayers," the Blessed Mother added. "Carry blessed objects with you. Put them in your homes, and restore the use of Holy Water."
Focus On Pope Is Also Focus On A Church That Mystic Foresaw Attacked By Devil
It could not come at a more dramatic time -- with celebration of an infirm, aging pontiff's 25th anniversary, with an historic gathering of cardinals, with the Church still reeling from the abuse scandals, with all eyes on the Vatican: the astonishing realization that mystic Anne Catherine Emmerich foresaw a special period of testing, of evil, afflicting the world and the Church beginning around 1950.
Decades before the same notion was pronounced by Pope Leo XIII -- who had a similar vision in 1884 (and by seers from LaSalette, France, to Medjugorje) -- Venerable Emmerich, in the news of late because she is heading for beatification, accurately foresaw Satan attacking mankind "fifty or sixty years" before the year 2000.
Looking back to those decades, we see how evil moved from a focus on specific people like Adolf Hitler and moved into a general, tsunami-like spread into the Church and the general populace.
As we have pointed out before, a survey by The New York Times indicated last winter that "most priests accused of abuse were ordained between the 1950s and the 1970s, a period of upheaval in the Church, when men trained in the traditional authoritarian seminary system were sent out to serve in a rapidly changing Church and society."
In point of fact the first serious cases often trace back to a few isolated ones in the 1940s and 1950s, but then 256 known cases in the U.S. in the 1960s, 537 in the 1970s, and 510 in the 1980s before declining in the 1990s.
Thus we see how the pattern was shoved into high gear around the time indicated by Emmerich, a German mystic who died in 1824. Beginning in 1967 -- ironically, the year after the church of Satan was inaugurated in America -- priests began to leave their vocations in droves.
Compare this to a vision by Emmerich in the 1820s during which she saw hell, and in the center of it, "a dark and horrible-looking abyss, and into this Lucifer was cast, after first being strongly secured with chains; thick clouds of sulfurous black smoke arose from its fearful depths, and enveloped his frightful form in the dismal folds, thus effectually concealing him from every beholder. God Himself had decreed this; and I was likewise told, if I remember rightly, that he will be unchained for a time fifty or sixty years before the year of Christ 2000."
That Emmerich would use terms like "thick clouds" and "sulfurous black smoke" is doubly astonishing when compared with a later statement of Pope Paul VI -- who after Vatican II feared that the Council would be used for the wrong purposes and reportedly fretted in a homily on June 29, 1972: "We believed that after the Council would come a day of sunshine in the history of the Church. But instead there has come a day of clouds and storms, and of darkness ... And how did this come about? We will confide to you the thought that may be, we ourselves admit in free discussion, that may be unfounded, and that is that there has been a power, an adversary power. Let us call him by his name: the devil. It is as if from some mysterious crack, no, it is not mysterious, from some crack the smoke of satan has entered the temple of God."
Venerable Emmerich's prophecy likewise coincides with a vision by Pope Leo XIII, who six decades after Emmerich saw Satan allowed to test the Church for 75 to 100 years, and dovetails with an alleged prophecy from the Church-approved site of LaSalette -- where a girl named Melanie Calvat claimed to have been told twenty years after Emmerich that "Lucifer, together with a large number of demons, will be unloosed from hell; they will put an end to faith little by little... they will blind them in such a way that, unless they are blessed with a special grace, these people will take on the spirit of these angels of hell; several religious institutions will lose all faith."
While that prophecy seemed off in its time frame (predicting this happening in 1864), or perhaps pertained only to locales in France, Emmerich's prediction has struck what appears to be a bullseye -- one of the most remarkable prophetic items since the revelation of the Third Secret of Fatima.
For indeed it was in that period around 1950 and then in the 1960s and 1970s that something new entered the Church, something dark, something sinister and sinful -- leading not only to priestly abuse, but also to changes that demystified the Catholic Mass, stripped it of the prayer to St. Michael, paved the way for a modernistic approach to church architecture -- an approach that created a profound spiritual sterility -- and led to both an emptying of the pews (a decrease of registered Catholics to13 percent in nations like Holland and weekly Church attendance in the U.S. dipping to 41 percent, by some estimates less) and the huge exodus of clergy.
Accused priests first became a significant proportion of ordination classes in 1956, the Times study found. "In the 1940s and 1950s, when you were talking to a priest, it was like you were talking to Jesus Christ Himself," noted one abuse victim. But as the Times said, "By the mid-1960s young priests emerged from their cloistered seminaries and stood blinking at a world changing around them."
What was going on in society? And how did evil enter there? We'll be exploring that next week.
But it is a time for now to think about the Church, whose slide has been stanched by the heroic efforts of John Paul II.
Before moving on to more serious matters, we will celebrate this great man this week.
[Resources: The Dolorous Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Our Lady Speaks from Medjugorje, The Day Will Come, The Final Hour]
Exorcist Confirmed Period During Which Pope Leo XIII Foresaw a Demonic Invasion
An exorcist whose records were approved by the Holy Office in Rome and who worked in the field of deliverance for more than a quarter of a century claimed in a reflection on his encounters that a demonic invasion was in progress by the time of Leo XIII -- who wrote the famous prayer to the Archangel Michael -- and delineated the dramatic way the Blessed Mother was sent to repel this "invasion."
During his years specializing in exorcisms, the priest -- who lived in Germany and whose identity has been carefully shielded -- said that numerous encounters with evil spirits revealed a strategy in which the Virgin Mary was choosing a small group to counter the onslaught -- especially through the use of "victim souls" in whom the exorcist said demonic entities are captured and returned to the netherworld.
It is a striking perspective on the phenomenon of those mysterious persons who suffer what seem like the trials of Job -- often even struggling with possession itself, despite their own piety. "According to the revelations of the demons, the Blessed Virgin has selected a little army of noble souls who are prepared to suffer everything and to offer themselves freely to God as a holocaust in atonement for souls," the exorcist wrote in a remembrance entitled Mary Crushes the Serpent (a booklet we are trying to make available). "She has selected them to fight directly against the demons. They will break the might of Lucifer's legions upon earth and will deprive him of at least a part of the victims he already counts as his own."
The treatise -- which was edited by Father Theodore Geiger, cathedral rector in Bamberg -- time and again documents the crucial role that Mary has been given to crush the head of the serpent, underscoring the fallacy of those who question devotion to her.
"According to the constant confessions of the demons, it is the Blessed Virgin who leads the suffering souls against the demons and forces them to battle with the victim souls until they are overpowered," said the exorcist, who began his work in 1878 and died in 1909. "The Blessed Virgin ties a host of these to this or that victim. When one horde is made helpless, another one follows to meet the same fate."
It is weighty stuff, but it goes a long way to explain the often bizarre phenomena that can break out around a suffering mystic. An internal struggle is taking place, often with phenomena from both sides engaged in the battle.
"Despite the sympathy of her motherly heart, she sacrifices her loving children, the victim souls, by permitting them to suffer for the benefit of the Church and for the salvation of souls in view of the glorious victory that she will attain over the powers of hell," he wrote in this revealing and dynamic analysis that was declared free of errors by the Vatican. "That is the program of the Blessed Virgin."
The angels engaged in protecting victim souls are seraphs, asserted the exorcist (who also penned a treatise called Begone Satan, in our bookstore). The presence of such potent angels causes terror in demons, he said -- but aside from Jesus Himself, nothing shakes them up like the presence of Mary. "Her plan is to give constant battle to the demons," said the exorcist, who dramatically quotes the Blessed Mother as telling one victim soul in January 1882: "Dear child, hell has broken out anew with an army" -- a remarkable comment in light of a revelation two years later to Pope Leo XIII, who on October 13, 1884, was allegedly shown the vision of an onslaught from hell and thus composed the famous Michael prayer.
A similar revelation was reported by a seer at Medjugorje, and a great upswing in demonic activity prophesied in the 1820s by German stigmatist Anne Catherine Emmerich -- who saw the intensity expanding fifty to sixty years before the year 2000 -- a time during which cultures around the world saw great infiltration of darkness.
Countless demonic hordes are passed through special victim souls to test their strength, explained the exorcist -- and are totally weakened and turned into cowards when the victim souls prevails. "The Blessed Virgin ties the infernal spirits in groups to the victim soul in regular order," wrote the priest. "The demons cannot leave the victim soul. They are enclosed in the victim as if they were locked in a prison. They are forced to combat with her until one or the other is conquered. The conquered demons are then forced back into hell."
For the victim soul, this victory comes with a sudden, miraculous deliverance -- and the bliss of the Heavenly presence.
However much the torment, it always pales in comparison to the joy.
The victim souls will bring peace back into the Church when they complete their sufferings, he said. A faithful soul, he says one demon itself admitted to him, is more powerful than all of hell -- while a crucified soul is more powerful than a thousand hells.
"God has ordained that there will always be demons upon the earth to try and test mankind," he wrote. "But the main leaders have to return to hell and those remaining will be weakened. The demons told me this themselves. They also told me that once they are defeated that the time will also come when members of the secret societies will be humiliated."
"On April 29, 1878, an unexpected change took place in the presence of the witnesses," he said in this rare little booklet of one exorcism. "At precisely the moment when the demon drew back, the face of the possessed, fiercely distorted up to that time, suddenly assumed a radiant appearance of peace and happiness. It was a joy to see her. Without regaining consciousness and without any transition, the possessed suddenly went into an ecstasy. She was favored with a heavenly vision the moment the demons left. Demanding obedience, I asked her what she was seeing. Still in ecstasy she answered in a weak voice that she was seeing her good Mother."