Almost 100 years ago Soviet dictator Josef Stalin observed that Communism faced two primary obstacles in its efforts to dominate and eventually take over the entire world: the American middle class, and the Roman Catholic Church. Many books (such as David Kupelian’s The Marketing of Evil and Donald Wildmon’s Speechless) have been written documenting the deliberate, decades-long campaign by Communism and its allies to subvert American culture, restrict religious and political freedom, and undermine patriotism and morality in the United States. We are now witnessing, in the societal disintegration undeniably underway in America, the bitter fruits of this satanically-inspired project.
In its efforts to attack Catholicism, international Communism, under Stalin and other Soviet leaders, made concerted efforts to infiltrate the Church, particularly by targeting the priesthood. In the 1960s a briefcase belonging to a man killed in an auto accident in France was discovered to contain documentation on his involvement in this campaign. As described in AA-1025—The Memoirs of an Anti-Apostle, this man was recruited by the KGB (the Soviet Union’s secret police) to enter a Catholic seminary, be ordained a priest, and spend his life working to weaken the Church from within—and he was, in the early 1940s, the 1025th such agent assigned to this mission. Moreover, in the 1950s former American Communist Bella Dodd testified that she had helped almost 1000 young radicals enter Catholic seminaries in the United States; Communist agents hoped that many of these young men would not only be ordained as priests, but eventually become monsignors and bishops, giving them even greater influence and opportunities to destabilize the Church.
Warnings from History
Communism’s war on the Catholic priesthood has been underway for decades, but satan’s assault on the priesthood has been occurring for almost 2000 years. Jesus had warned Peter and the other apostles that “satan has demanded to sift all of you like wheat” (Lk. 22:32), and a number of saints and visionaries throughout the Church’s history have spoken of the devil’s relentless war against not only the laity, but especially the clergy. For instance, St. Gregory the Great (d. 604) predicted that prior to the arrival of the antichrist, “the sheep shall be changed into godless [persons] or fallen into heresy. Churches will be empty and dilapidated, priests will have little zeal for souls, and pious people will be few.”
Two hundred years ago, the visionary Bl. Anna Katarina Emmerick wrote, “I saw deplorable things: they were gambling, drinking, and talking in church; they were also courting women. All sorts of abominations were perpetrated there. Priests allowed everything and said Mass with much irreverence.” At her apparition at La Salette in France in 1846, Our Lady lamented, “The sins of consecrated persons cry out to Heaven and bring down vengeance, and now, here, vengeance is at the doors, because no one can be found to implore mercy and pardon for the people. . . . The leaders, the shepherds of the people of God have carelessly forsaken prayer and penitence, and the devil has beclouded their intelligence.” Later in the 19th century Mother Alphonse Eppinger perceptively observed, “Many priests have lost their fervor for the honor of God and the salvation of souls. Their hearts hang too much on the phantoms of this life. God will, by chastisements, cure them thereof and so thereby change them.”
Scripture tells us that God “chastises those who are close to Him” (Jdt. 8:27), and this is particularly true of consecrated souls who have lost their original love for God and His Church (cf. Rev. 2:4). According to St. Hildegard (d. 1179), “Toward the end of the world, mankind will be purified through sufferings. This will be true especially of the clergy, who will be robbed of all property. . . . When the clergy has adopted a simple manner of living, conditions will improve.” This message was echoed three centuries later by St. Nicholas of Flue (d. 1487), who foretold, “The Church will be punished because the majority of her members, high and low, will become so perverted. The Church will sink deeper and deeper until she will at last seem to be extinguished, and the succession of Peter and the other apostles to have expired. But, after this, she will be victoriously exalted in the sight of all believers.”
Warning from Hell
The Church will ultimately be triumphant over this world, for as Our Lord promised, “the gates of hell will not prevail against her” (Mt. 16:18). However, this does not mean that every one of the Church’s shepherds will be successful in his own personal struggle against iniquity. The evil one makes a special effort to ensnare bishops, priests, and religious—for he knows that corrupting them can lead many other souls astray.
In his short book A Depraved Priest Warns of Hell, author Bonaventur Meyer describes an exorcism that occurred in 1978. The unfortunate woman involved was possessed not only by evil spirits, but also by several damned souls in hell forced to do satan’s bidding. One of these was a 17th century cleric from southern France named Verdi Garandieu. At one of the exorcism sessions he was forced, by the Will of God, to reveal to the exorcist not only the reasons for the loss of his own soul, but also the spiritual dangers especially threatening priests today, and how the devil tries to weaken and corrupt priestly vocations. He explained:
At the beginning, I still used to confess my sins; I wanted to change myself and to fight against my bad faults, but . . . I did not succeed because I no longer knew how to pray adequately. I did not respond to grace because of this tepidity. I went further down to the stage of coldness. Between this tepidity and coldness, there is only the distance of an onion skin. If I had been warm and ardent, I would not have known this wretched destiny.
If the priests of your time do not pull themselves together, ah well! They will experience the same fate that I have. At the present time, there are thousands, tens of thousands of priests in the world who are like me, who give bad example, who are lukewarm . . . and who no longer respond to God’s grace.
The damned priest also revealed that today’s priests are assaulted by demons even more than the laity, for “since the priest has a very great power for blessing and can harm us, down here, in an awful way, we give preference to attacking the priest first of all.” Verdi Garandieu was forced to admit that if priests are to be successful in their vocations, they must strive for humility, regularly do penance, faithfully recite the Breviary (the daily prayers from the Divine Office), and be on guard especially against the sins of the flesh and the desire for luxury and ease. It’s also necessary for them to instruct the laity on the importance of praying for their priests and bishops. Furthermore, he reluctantly stated,
Formerly there were still many priests who were watchful for their own sanctification, but today they have adopted the wide road which is, at the same time, the road to perdition. If prayers are not said for them, if penitential souls do not rise to their defense and obtain graces for them, they are lost. That seems incredible; it is tragic, but I am obliged to tell it the way it is.
Warnings from Contemporary Apparitions and Prophets
This dire message was echoed by Our Lady at several of her apparitions. For instance, at Akita, Japan, she warned Sister Agnes Sasagawa that
The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their own confreres . . . the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demons will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God (October 13, 1973).
In addition, Our Lady told the four young visionaries of Garabandal, “Before, the cup was filling up. Now, it is flowing over. Many cardinals, many bishops, and many priests are on the road to perdition, and taking many souls with them. Less and less importance is being given to the Holy Eucharist” (June 18, 1965).
Over the course of many years, Mary allegedly spoke frequently to the Italian locutionist and priest Fr. Stefano Gobbi about the evil one’s success in infiltrating the Church and subverting the priesthood. For instance, she warned, “the flock of Christ will be torn to pieces by ravenous wolves, who have found their way in under the clothing of defenseless and meek lambs. Among them there are even some who occupy posts of great responsibility and, by means of them, satan has succeeded in entering and operating at the very summit of the Church” (Sept. 6, 1986).
Our Lady further stated, “Never as in your days have so many pastors become ‘mute dogs,’ who do not defend the flock entrusted to them from being menaced, seduced and devoured by so many rapacious wolves. It is because of this that the Gospel of my Son Jesus is being lacerated and torn to shreds in all its parts” (Aug. 5, 1995). As a result, “satan has succeeded in entering into the Church . . . with the smoke of error and sin, of the loss of faith and apostasy, of compromise with the world and the search for pleasure. During these years, he has succeeded in leading astray many bishops and priests, religious and faithful” (May 13, 1993).
The rest of this article will be published in Signs and Wonders Summer 2021 Newsletter. Become a member today to receive this issue!