Did Archbishop Fulton Sheen prophesy or predict about the condition of (many parts of) our Church today?
Today let us look at Mgr. Fulton J. Sheen in his book, Communism and the Conscience of the West (1948)
“[Satan] will set up a counterchurch which will be the ape of the [Catholic] Church … It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content.” We are living in the days of the Apocalypse, the last days of our era. The two great forces – the Mystical Body of Christ and the Mystical Body of the anti-Christ – are beginning to draw battle lines for the catastrophic contest.
The False prophet will have a religion without a cross. A religion without a world to come. A religion to destroy religions. There will be a counterfeit Church. Christ’s Church the Catholic Church will be one; and the false Prophet will create the other. The False Church will be worldly, ecumenical, and global. It will be a loose federation of churches and religions, forming some type of global association. A world parliament of Churches. It will be emptied of all Divine content, it will be the mystical body of the anti-christ. The Mystical Body on earth today will have its Judas Iscariot, and he will be the false prophet. Satan will recruit him from our Bishops.
The Antichrist will not be so called; otherwise he would have no followers. He will not wear red tights, nor vomit sulphur, nor carry a trident nor wave an arrowed tail as Mephistopheles in Faust. This masquerade has helped the Devil convince men that he does not exist. When no man recognizes, the more power he exercises. God has defined Himself as “I am Who am,” and the Devil as “I am who am not.” Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first “red.” Rather is he described as an angel fallen from heaven, as “the Prince of this world,” whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil. But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he would deceive even the elect–and certainly no devil ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion?
The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves … The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a religion to destroy a religion, or a politics which is a religion–one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s. In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counterchurch which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ … But the twentieth century will join the counterchurch because it claims to be infallible when its visible head speaks ex cathedra from Moscow on the subject of economics and politics, and as chief shepherd of world communism.
The words of Bishop Sheen echo in the ears of history and roar in the ears of the 21st century Church goer who has witnessed the challenges of a changing Church. Can we simply side aside and do nothing? Can we use these very words to rise and and to do something for ourselves and our future. This is not a time to set back and to let things happen. What would have happened to the Church if Bishop Fulton Sheen was right?
Did Archbishop Fulton Sheen prophesy about these times?
In a talk 72 years ago, Bishop Fulton Sheen appeared as visionary as prophets of old.
“We are at the end of Christendom.” Archbishop Fulton Sheen said during a talk in 1974. Making clear he didn’t mean Christianity or the Church, he said, “Christendom is economic, political, social life as inspired by Christian principles. That is ending — we’ve seen it die. Look at the symptoms: the breakup of the family, divorce, abortion, immorality, general dishonesty.”
Prophetic then, he was already a visionary and forewarning in a Jan. 26, 1947 radio broadcast.
“Why is it that so few realize the seriousness of our present crisis?” he asked 72 years ago. Then gave the answer: “Partly because men do not want to believe their own times are wicked, partly because it involves too much self-accusation, and principally because they have no standards outside of themselves by which to measure their times… Only those who live by faith really know what is happening in the world. The great masses without faith are unconscious of the destructive processes going on.”
Certainly seems a snapshot of the usual suspects — the headlines and stories of today. To highlight his point, Sheen emphasized that the “very day Sodom was destroyed, Scripture describes the sun as bright; Balthasar’s realm came to an end in darkness; people saw Noah preparing for the flood 120 years before it came, but men would not believe. In the midst of seeming prosperity, world-unity, the decree to the angels goes forth but the masses go on their sordid routines. As our Lord said: For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, even till that day in which Noah entered into the ark, and they knew not till the flood came, and took them all away; so also shall the coming of the Son of man be.” (Matthew 24:38-39)
Sheen wondered if we’re even aware of the signs of the times because “basic dogmas of the modern world [were] dissolving before our very eyes.” Replacing them were the assumptions man has (1) “no other function in life than to produce and acquire wealth,” (2) the idea man is naturally good and “has no need of a God to give Him rights, or a Redeemer to salvage him from guilt, because progress is automatic thanks to science-education and evolution, which will one day make man a kind of a god,” and (3) the idea reason isn’t for discovering “the meaning and goal of life, namely the salvation of the soul, but merely to devise new technical advances to make on this earth a city of man to displace the city of God.”
Isn’t technology, advancing at a dizzying rate, demanding the obedience of so much of the population?
The words of Sheen relate to us today because we are living in the days he was talking about. It has been 40 years since his death and the words are more true today then ever before. We need to wake up and listen to what Bishop Sheen told us. He told us by thought, word and deed. He told us by books, radio and TV. He told us again and again. Through the magic of his work he has been able to speak to us for the past forty years.
Watch what is happening, pay attention, learn from these articles. See what Bishop Sheen told and taught us. Are we facing a new challenge or are we facing the same old challenge we have also faced- the Devil?