Flood and Fire

Authored By: Regis Scanlon

"I sometimes read the Gospel passage of the end times, and I attest that, at this time, some signs of this end are emerging" (Pope Paul VI).

FLOOD AND FIRE By Regis Scanlon

The moral temperature of the world society has plummeted since the beginning of with its mini- skirts and sex-saturated culture. Society rejected Paul VI's 1968 teaching that the scriptures reveal an "inseparable connection" between and or the "unitive" and the "procreative" act in marriage (Gen. 1:28, 2:23-24).[1] While some may have only intended to approve of contraception, the logic of separating life and love resulted in widespread social acceptance of murder and sexual immorality. and for example, are now accepted and spreading rapidly as the world becomes cold-hearted and increasingly more violent.

But, even though society may approve of abortion and homosexuality, God does not! People today may try to ignore it, but the human fetus is a person. The psalmist proclaims to Yahweh: "From my mother's womb you are my God" (Ps. 22:11); and "Truly you have formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother's womb" (Ps. 139: 13). Abortion, therefore, is murder! Also, while people today speak about homosexual lovers, St. Paul says that "no sodomites . . . will inherit God's kingdom" (I Cor. 6:9-10). Furthermore, St. Paul says that God punished homosexual activity in the past because it is "disgraceful," "shameful," "perverse," "depraved," and "unseemly" (Rom. I:26-28).

ABORTION AND HOMOSEXUALITY AS A SIGN

The Sacred Scriptures certainly condemn all sexual activity outside of marriage. St. Paul, for example, says that "no fornicators . . . or adulterers . . . will inherit God's kingdom" (1 Cor. 6:9-10). And St. Peter warns that the "darkest gloom" is reserved for those "with the lustful ways of the flesh" (2 Pet. 2:17- 18). But and seem to be the key scriptural indicators of a perverse and corrupt society. The people of Noah's time, for example, were murderers, even of children (Gen. 4:23-24). God said to Noah: "from man in

regard to his fellow man I will demand an accounting for human life" (Gen. 9: 5-6). God destroyed these people by a (Gen. 6-9). The perverted men of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, on the other hand, practiced homosexuality. They even wanted to have "intimacies" with the men (angels) that God sent to warn Lot (Gen. 19:5). God destroyed these people with from the sky (Gen. 18-19).

Now, St. Jude says about the people of "Sodom and Gomorrah" that "they are set before us to as they undergo a punishment of eternal fire" (Jude 1:7. My emphasis). And, St. Peter says that God punished the "ancient world" at the time of "Noah" and "Sodom and Gomorrah . . . (2 Pet. 2:5-9. My emphasis). So, when widespread murder and homosexuality characterize a society, the people of that society should expect to be chastised by flood and fire and "undergo a punishment" which is "eternal," leaving only a remnant which is good.

THE SIGN OF THE RAIN AND THE SUN

Recall for a moment the 1917 apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the children, Lucia, Jacinta, and Francisco, in Fatima, Portugal. Remember that Our Lady requested "prayer" and "penance," and in particular praying to overcome evil in the world.[2] Who could forget that Our Lady showed the children a vision which Lucia says "horrified us and made us tremble with fear."[3] Our Lady told them "you have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go."[4] Remember also that Blessed Jacinta Marto stated: "The sins that bring most souls to hell are the sins of the flesh. Certain fashions are going to be introduced that will offend our Lord very much.... Do not give yourselves to immodest clothes."[5] And, looking back, Sr. Lucia says that Jacinta knew that "the sins of the flesh" are the "kind of sins which offend God most," because "perhaps it occurred to her to put the question to Our Lady herself."[6]

In order to demonstrate the validity of her message in 1917 Our Lady provided a stunning miracle which was observed by 50 to 70 thousand witnesses. And these witnesses included atheists who printed the report of the event in their secular newspapers. Photos of the newspapers' stories are in books about Fatima.[7] The miracle consisted of the spinning and seeming to fall to the earth. The earth (the mud) and people's clothes, which had been previously drenched that day by a fitful continuous were completely dry in a matter of minutes and seconds. The secular newspapers could not explain this event since it involved an observable change in physical conditions outside the mind, and especially because "its exact time and location was publicly announced months in advance" by the children of Fatima.[8]

Finally, remember the famous Third Secret of Fatima which Our Lady said the Pope could reveal only after <1960>? When people at Fulda, Germany asked John Paul II in 1980 if the Third Secret of Fatima contained a threat from God, the Pope responded:

"If there is a message in which it is said that the oceans will flood entire sections of the earth; that, from one moment to the other, millions of people will perish . . . there is no longer any point in really wanting to publish this secret message.

Many want to know merely out of curiosity, or because of their taste for sensationalism, but they forget that "to know" implies for them a responsibility. It is dangerous to want to satisfy one's curiosity only, if one is convinced that we can do nothing against a catastrophe that has been predicted....

(At this point the Holy Father took hold of his Rosary and said:) Here is the remedy against all evil! Pray, pray and ask for nothing else. Put everything in the hands of the Mother of God!"[9]

John Paul II's reply seemed to imply that a threat of flood is part of the Third Secret of Fatima.

Later, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger admitted in an interview with journalist, Vittorio Messori, that he had read the Third Secret of Fatima. Messori then tells how he questioned the Cardinal about the "secret":

"Undenied versions are circulating in the world, I continue, which describe the contents of that "secret" as disquieting, apocalyptic, as warning of terrible sufferings. John Paul II himself, in his personal visit to Germany, seemed to confirm (albeit with prudent circumlocutions, privately, to a select group) the undeniably disconcerting contents of that text. Before him, Paul VI, during his pilgrimage to Fatima, also seems to have alluded to the "apocalyptic" themes of the "secret." Why was it never decided to make it public, if only to counter rash speculations?"[10]

Cardinal Ratzinger's response, that revealing the Third Secret would add nothing necessary for the Christian to know and that it "would mean exposing the Church to the danger of sensationalism, exploitation of the content," also seemed to "confirm (albeit with prudent circumlocutions)" that the contents of the Third Secret of Fatima did contain those "disconcerting" messages.[11]

Once more, Bishop John S. Ito, D.D., of Akita, Japan, visited with Cardinal Ratzinger about a pastoral letter he wrote approving a message given by Our Lady to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa on October 13, 1973, the 56th anniversary of the Fatima miracle of the rain and sun. While the Vatican did not give official approval to Bishop Ito's pastoral, the Vatican did say "there are no objections to the conclusions of the pastoral."[12] Bishop Ito states in his pastoral that Our Lady said:

"As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity. It will be a punishment greater than the deluge, such as one will never have seen before. Fire will fall from the sky and will wipe out a great part of humanity, the good as well as the bad, sparing neither priests nor faithful."[13]

Bishop Ito, himself, has been quoted in books as saying that "the message of Akita is the same as that of Fatima."[14] But, if the threat, "fire will fall from the sky," is part of the Fatima message, it must be contained in the Third Secret since it is not part of the already revealed messages of Fatima.

After a would-be assassin's bullet wounded John Paul II on May 13, 1981, the 64th anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima, John Paul II said that, by saving his life, the Virgin Mary was reminding him of the message of Fatima.[15] When John Paul II went to Fatima to thank Our Lady for saving his life, he stated that we have arrived at "a decisive moment in the life of the Church and this generation."[16] It would not be at all surprising if the "decisive moment" has to do with the miracle of the rain and sun. "Most likely, the rain symbolizes the punishment of the flood at Noah's time and the sun symbolizes the fire from the sky that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah." And, unless we change our ways the same thing will happen to us. Perhaps the 1993 flood in the Missouri and Mississippi Valleys and the 1993 fires in Southern California were a gentle warning of what could happen in a very short time if God chose to punish the world once again through flood and fire.

Some people may protest and say that the rainbow represents God's promise not to destroy the earth again through water. It is true that God promised that he would not destroy "all bodily creatures" or "all living beings" on earth again by a flood, but this does not mean that he would not destroy a part of it, even a great part of it, by a flood (Gen. 9:11,15-16).

RE-EVANGELIZATION OF CATHOLICS

However, Catholic people of the United States, who dissent from the Pope, must be warned first. The Second Vatican Council taught in its "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church" ("Lumen Gentium"), that the Pope and the bishops are the "successors" of the "apostles" and the faithful must give an "adherence" in "mind" ("will and intellect") to the Pope's faith and moral teachings "even when he does not speak "ex cathedra."[17] And Jesus said to the Apostles: "whatever town you enter, and they do not receive you . . . it will be more tolerable for Sodom in that day (of judgment) than for that town" (Luke 10:10-12). The Second Vatican Council taught the same thing when it declared that the faithful are given the grace of Jesus Christ, and "If they fail to respond in thought, word and deed to that grace, not only shall they not be saved, but they shall be the more severely judged."[18]

Now, John Paul II has reiterated the Church's teaching that contraception is "intrinsically immoral."[19] And, it is one thing to use contraceptives out of weakness and another thing to use contraceptives because one does not believe the "Dogmatic Constitution on the Church," which requires adherence to papal teaching on faith and morals. The first is certainly evil, but the second is spiritual apostasy from the faith (dogma).

A recent Gallup poll claimed that about 70 to 87 percent of so- called Catholics in the United States do not agree with the Pope's teachings on human sexuality, like contraception.[20] Also, Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago recently stated that "according to a Gallup poll only 30% of our faithful believe what the Church teaches on the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist."[21] Most likely, the 70%, who dissent from the Pope on human sexuality, and the 70%, who do not believe the Church's teaching on the Eucharist, are one and the same. Now, these Gallup polls are not infallible, but it does appear from a common opinion that about 70% of our

Catholic people dissent from the Pope and receive Holy Communion while ignoring Confession.

John Paul II has warned Catholic Bishops in the United States that it is "a grave error" to think that "dissent from the Magisterium is totally compatible with being a 'good Catholic' and poses no obstacle to the reception of the sacraments."[22] And St. Paul said:

"whoever eats the bread and drinks the cup unworthily sins against the body and blood of the Lord. A man should examine himself first; only then should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup. He who eats and drinks without recognizing the body eats and drinks a judgment on himself. That is why many among you are sick and infirm and why so many are dying. If we were to examine ourselves, we should not be falling under judgment in this way; but since it is the Lord who judges us, he chastens us to keep us from being condemned with the rest of the world" (I Cor. 11:27-32).

Beside the merciful judgment of getting sick and dying (yet attaining eternal life), there is a more severe judgment from God for receiving the Eucharist unworthily. Both St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas say that what happened to Judas, when "Satan entered him" after receiving communion (John 13:27), is "as happens to them who receive Christ's body unworthily.[23] And Judas ended up "lost" (John 17:12)!

The serious concern here about Catholics in the United States is that, since many do not seem to be getting sick and dying from receiving Holy Communion while dissenting from the Pope, perhaps they are receiving the more severe punishment of Judas and losing their Catholic faith in the Eucharist. Indeed, would this 70 70 who dissent from the Pope be willing "in the presence of men" to "acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh" by kneeling in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament during the Consecration at Mass, if others did not do it (Luke 12:8-9; 2 John I:7)?

SIGNS OF THE END TIMES

The mass occurrence of those specific immoral acts prevalent at the time of Noah and Lot (murder and homosexuality), along with the mass dissent from the authority of the Church and disbelief in the Eucharist, could lead one to believe that we have actually arrived at the i.e., the For Jesus said:

"As it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They ate and drank, they took husbands and wives, right up to the day Noah entered the ark--and when the flood came, it destroyed them all. It was much the same in the days of Lot: they ate and drank, they bought and sold, they built and planted. But on the day Lot left Sodom fire and brimstone rained down from heaven and destroyed them all.

It will be like that on the day the Son of Man is revealed (Luke 17:26-30)."

St. Paul speaks of the end times as beginning with a "mass apostasy" and ending with the "coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thess. 2:1-3). St. John speaks of the coming of the "Antichrist" as involving the rejection of "the teaching of Christ" for a "progressive" view of Christianity (2 John I:4-9). Also, our Lord speaks of the end times as occurring "when you see the abominable and destructive thing which Daniel foretold standing on holy ground" (Matt. 24:15). And, Daniel said that "he" (presumably the Antichrist) with his forces will "defile the sanctuary stronghold, abolishing the daily sacrifice and setting up the horrible abomination" (Dan. 11:31). Now, a mass rejection of the teaching of the Church and Sacred Scriptures on homosexuality, abortion, contraception, and the Real Presence of Christ in the daily sacrifice of the Eucharist by the majority of so- called Catholics due to would qualify as a "mass apostasy" or loss of faith under the guise of being "progressive," which is characteristic of the end times.

In fact, the growing rejection of the teachings of the Church, and the reluctance of bishops to fight against it, caused Paul VI to say a year before his death (1977): "I sometimes read the Gospel passage of the end times and I attest that, at this time, some signs of this end are emerging."[24] Paul VI made a similar statement when he described the significance of the fall of the sun at Fatima: "'It was eschatological in the sense that it was like a repetition or an annunciation of a scene at the end of time for all humanity assembled together.'"[25] And, shortly before becoming Pope, Karol Cardinal Wojtyla seemed to indicate the same thing when he stated:

"We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through. I do not think that wide circles of the American society or wide circles of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel."[26]

Yes, he did say "final" confrontation!

So, are we in the end times? The signs of the end times are certainly here: widespread murder (abortion), rampant homosexuality, and mass dissent from the Church (apostasy), especially in regard to the Real Presence of Christ in the daily sacrifice of the Eucharist. The statements of Our Lady of Fatima, Our Lady of Akita, Paul VI, and John Paul II only lend support.

Yet, while Catholics do not have to believe the non-doctrinal statements of Fatima, Akita, Paul VI, and John Paul II, they should give them a careful hearing, since Fatima has official Church approval, the publication of Akita has been permitted, and Paul VI and John Paul II are no mere uneducated evangelical street preachers. Few people are as qualified as Paul VI and John Paul II for making theological and philosophical judgments concerning the events of our time.

Our times, therefore, are for the end times. This is not, however, the same as saying that we have in fact entered the end times. Jesus talked about his second coming by saying: "As for the exact day or hour, no one knows it" (Matt. 24:36). He also criticized those who could not "judge the signs of the times" and "the present time" (Matt. 16: 2-3; Luke 12:54-56). We must be cautious, therefore, but not blind to signs! It is hazardous to think either that the end of the world is imminent or that there are no signs of the end times. In either case the majority of people do nothing to overcome the evil of our day. In the first case they think it is too late to do anything (2 Thess. 2:1; 3:11) and in the second they think it is too soon to be concerned.

THE RESPONSIBILITY TO WARN OTHERS

What should be done, then, when mankind does not progress as God intends, but takes a radical turn for the worse as it has today? Recently, in Denver, John Paul II stated: "Like the great Apostle Paul, you too must feel the full urgency of the task: 'Woe to me if I do not evangelize' (I Cor. 9: 16). "[27] And, one can add, especially, "Woe to the shepherds" if they do not defend life and "warn the wicked man that he shall surely die" (Ezek. 33:7-9; 34:2)! St. Augustine, applying this statement from Ezekiel to the pastors of the Church, says: "The wicked one then justly suffers death and the watchman rightly suffers damnation."[28]

Many today believe that God no longer punishes people in this life for sin, but St. Peter says: "The Lord indeed knows how to rescue devout men from trial, and how to continue the punishment of the wicked up to the day of judgment" (2 Pet. 2:9). And, if one considers the cold-hearted bloodshed (the rape and murder of thousands upon thousands of women and children) in Bosnia-Herzegovina, one might conclude that the scriptural passage foretelling the proximity of the day of judgment, "the love of many will grow cold," seems to be coming to fulfillment (Matt. 24:12). Add to this the fact of AIDS and the increasing natural disasters occurring around the world and one would think that the has already begun. Indeed, John Paul II, himself, has stated:

"We must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not-too- distant future; trials that will require us to be ready to give up even our lives, and a total gift of self to Christ and for Christ. Through your prayers and mine, it is possible to alleviate this tribulation, but it is no longer possible to avert it, because it is only in this way that the Church can be effectively renewed. How many times, indeed, has the renewal of the Church been effected in blood? This time, again, it will not be otherwise. We must be strong, we must prepare ourselves, we must entrust ourselves to Christ and to His Mother, and we must be attentive, very attentive, to the prayer of the Rosary."[29]

So, we must pray the Rosary, do penance, and always remember that everything can be changed at any moment because: "For God all things are possible" (Matt. 19:6). Remember also that, when Lot asked God if he would spare Sodom and Gomorrah if Lot found "at least ten" "innocent" men in the town, God said: "For the sake of those ten . . . I will not destroy it" (Gen. 18:28, 32). Perhaps, only a few innocent people could change the cold hearts of many to charity through prayer and penance. We must recall the words of the King of Nineveh who urged his people to reform their lives when Jonah warned that God was going to destroy Nineveh: "Who knows, God may relent and forgive, and withhold his blazing wrath, so that we shall not perish" (Jonah 3:9). (Jonah 3:10).

ENDNOTES

1. Paul VI, "Humanae Vitae," No. 12, "Vatican II: More Post Conciliar Documents" (Northport, New York: Costello Pub. Co., 1982), p. 403.

2. John Paul II, "Message of Fatima: Call to Conversion and penance," "L'Osservatore Romano" (May 24, 1982), 3.

3. Sr. Mary Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, Fatima in "Lucia's own words: Sister Lucia's Memoirs," Fr. Louis Kondor, SVD (Fatima, Portugal: Postulation Centre, 1976), distributed by The Ravengate Press, Box 103, Cambridge, Mass. 02138), p. 108.

4. Sr. Mary Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, p. 108.

5. Don Sharkey, "The Woman Shall Conquer" (Milwaukee: Bruce Publishing Co., 1952), p. 141; Robert J. Fox, "Fatima Today" (Front Royal, Virginia: Christendom Pub., 1983), p. 100; Irma Lucia de Jesus Santos, O.C.D., "Memorias e Cartas," introduced, annotated, and translated by Fr. Antonio Maria Martins, S.J. (Porto, Portugal: L.E., 1973), p. 225.

6. Sr. Mary Lucia of the Immaculate Heart, p. 111.

7. John Demarchi, "Fatima From the Beginning" (Fatima: Missoes Consolata, 1988), pictures between pages 96-97.

8. Francis Johnston, "Fatima: The Great Sign" (Rockford, 111.: Tan Bks, 1980), pp. 52, 54, 69; John Demarchi, pp. 135-142, 251-254; Severo Rossi and Aventino de Oliveira, "Fatima" (Fatima, Portugal: Consolata Missions, 1981), p. 18.

9. John Paul II, interview with Catholics at Fulda Germany, Nov. 1980, published in the German Magazine, "Stimme des Glaubens," English found in Daniel J. Lynch, "The Call to Total Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary" (St. Albans, Vermont: Missions of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, Pub., 1991), pp. 50-51.

10. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger with Vittorio Messori, "The Ratzinger Report" (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1985), p. 109.

11. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger with Vittorio Messori, p 110.

12. Teiji Yasuda, O.S.V. (and John M. Haffert), "Akita: The Tears and Message of Mary" (New Jersey: 101 Foundation, 1989), pp. 190-199; Editors, "The Vatican: Reports of the Weeping Virgin 'Reliable,"' "30 Days: In the Church and in the World," 6 (October 1988), 56; Stafano M. Paci, "Tears of Akita," "30 Days: In the Church and in the World," 7 (July-August 1990), 42-45, esp. p. 43.

13. Teiji Yasuda, O.S.V., p. 77.

14. Teiji Yasuda, O.S.V., p. 115 (inscription under picture).

15. John Paul II, "I have arrived in Fatima, a pilgrim in spirit of prayer and penance," L'Osservatore Romano (May 31, 1982), 8; John Paul II, "Message of Mary's Maternal Love," "L'Osservatore Romano" (May 17, 1982), 1; Valentine Long, "Our Lady of Victory Then and Now," "Homiletic & Pastoral Review" (Aug.-Sept., 1987), 18.

16. John Paul II, "I have arrived at Fatima," 9, under words to English speaking people. My emphasis.

17. Vatican Council II, "Lumen Gentium," Nos. 20 & 25, "Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents" (Vol . I), edited by Austin Flannery, O. P. (Northport, New York: Costello Pub. Co., 1992), pp. 371-372, 379.

18. "Lumen Gentium," No. 14, p. 366.

19. John Paul II, "Familiaris Consortio," No. 32, "Vatican Council II: More Post Conciliar Documents," p. 840. My emphasis.

20. Arthur Jones, "Gallup Poll results unlikely to please Vatican," "National Catholic Reporter" (July 3, 1992), 6.

21. Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, in Gianni Cardinale, "Clinton and Us," "30 Days," No. 12, 1992, p. 32.

22. John Paul II, "Meeting with the Bishops of the United States: Our Lady Queen of the Angels Minor Seminary," Wednesday, September 16, 1987, found in "Unity In The Work Of Service" (Washington, D.C.: United States Catholic Conference, Inc., 1987), p. 144.

23. St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa Theologica," III, q. 81, art. 2, reply to obj. 3.

24. Paul VI, found in Jean Guitton, "The Secret Paul VI" ("Paul VI Secret"), (Paris: Desclee De Brouwer, 1980), pp. 152-153, English translation found in "To the Priests: Our Lady's Beloved Sons," locutions of the Virgin Mary to Don Stefano Gobbi (St. Francis, Maine, P.O. Box 8, 04774-0008: The Marian Movement of Priests, 1991), p. ix.

25. Francis Johnston, "Fatima: The Great Sign" (Rockford, IL: Tan Bks., 1980), p. 69.

26. Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, "Notable & Quotable," "Wall Street Journal" (Nov. 9, 1978), 30. My emphasis.

27. John Paul II, "Place your talents at the service of life!" "Homily for the Solemnity of the Assumption at the Eighth World Youth Day," No. 6, Aug. 15, 1993, at Denver, Colorado, "L'Osservatore Romano" (August 18, 1993), p. 10.

28. St. Augustine, "Sermon on Pastors," Sermon 46, 20-21; CCL 41, 546-548, in "The Liturgy of the Hours" (Vol. IV), (New York, N. Y.: Catholic Bk. Pub. Co. 1975), pp. 298-299.

29. John Paul II, interview with Catholics at Fulda, Germany, Nov. 1980, p. 51.

This article was taken from the April 1994 issue of "The Homilectic & Pastoral Review", Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., 86 Riverside Drive, New York, NY 10024, $24.00 per year.