A Trad seminarian I knew from New York City became convinced by an autodidact in biblical prophecy and apparitions. The “prophet,” whom I’ll call “Ed,” spoke in an almost constant stream of profanities like a Martin Scorcese character, but he wore a full-body scapular sewn with hundreds of first-class relics, so he was clearly on to something. Ed swore, among other things, that the Third Secret of Fatima was a save-the-date note predicting the Second Coming… on Oct. 13, 1994. “Our Lady’s gonna let her divine Son tear this planet a new one,” Ed said with an equable smile. His disciple, my friend, dropped out of the seminary and moved back in with his mother to wait for the End. I waited too—for Oct. 14, 1994, on which date I phoned this seminarian at the office to point out, “That was subtle.”
As John points out, the itch to have the inside track on The Future[TM] is not confined to one subculture of the Church, nor even to Christians. I would argue, in fact, that Communism was an apocalyptic cult that simply added the innovation of trying to hurry the Millennium along at gunpoint. It all comes back to pride and fear. Pride over having the Inside Track denied lesser beings and fear of the future. Like John, I suggest avoiding this stuff and sticking with things like the Mass, the Bible, the sacraments, and the works of mercy. Gnosis puffs up. Love builds up.