Fulton Sheen and the Anti Christ

Archbishop Fulton Sheen

This weekend is the Feast of Christ the King–reminding us that his kingdom is not of this world and therefore to be wary of any ideological system or world system or leader with plans to simply make this world a better place.

Last week the Holy Father warned against the “adolescent progressivism” that is only another guise of secular humanism. He  referenced Robert Hugh Benson’s novel Lord of the World in which the world has sunk into a secular, socialist dream, out of which arises a charming anti Christ, Julian Felsenburgh who promises the world to the worldlings. It’s an apt subject for the weekend when we celebrate the Feast of Christ the King, for the anti Christ hates Christ the King and will set  himself up as “the People’s Prince”–a populist ruler who plans total domination. C.S.Lewis’ sci-fi horror story That Hideous Strength (Space Trilogy, Book 3) explores the same theme as a cadre of elite academics plan a brave new world.

Holy Deacon Ballard has sent me this excellent quotation from Fulton Sheen’s Communism and the Conscience of the West in which he discusses the Antichrist:

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 him, the more power he exercises.

We must always remember that Satan comes as an angel of light. What he presents is always eminently reasonable. He offers the seemingly sensible way, the soft way, the way of compromise and ease. If he showed himself as the monster he is all would run howling in terror. Instead he offers a way out when we are in a jam, an alternative when the way of Christ seems difficult.

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.

All the world’s systems combine to convince us of this fact. Materialism: there is no other world. This is it. Scientism only scientifically tested knowledge is valid. Historicism there is not over-arching providence. History is random. Evolutionism the natural world develops at random. There is no divine plan. Utilitarianism what works is all that matters. Efficiency and economy are our gods. Moral Relativism there is no great Law. Therefore you may do as you wish. In fact this is the motto of diabolism: “Do as you Will.”

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.

Of course the elect will be deceived and follow the antichrist. They already do. To see what I mean continue reading Archbishop Sheen.

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.

Always beware the promise of a better world. There is always a price to pay for Utopia. Do not swallow the bait. Remember there is always free cheese in a mousetrap. Do not spend your time making this world a better place without first making sure you are going to the Best Place. The antichrist always offers us this world. He offered Christ himself all the kingdoms of this world. He does the same to us. He offers a wonderful world…one without God and his Son Christ the King.

this is 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.

The antichrist will not believe in God, but he will be religious. Watch the political leaders give lip service to Christianity and the Church. During the election the politician will pray to get into office. After the election the people pray to get him out of office. The antichrist follows the Lord of this World and you can tell because all he cares about is this world.

Because his religion will be brotherhood of Man without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counter church 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. . . .

“The Ape of God” what a phrase! It reminds me of The Last Battle by C.S.Lewis in which an ape named Shift finds an old lion skin and persuades a stupid donkey named Puzzle to dress up as Aslan. The faithful Narnians are fooled by Shift and Puzzle because they had already given in and forgotten about Aslan. They had already compromised, so when the anti Aslan appeared they fell down before him.

American Christians need to wake up. Already most of us have adapted to the Spirit of the new age. Already we have compromised our standards and lowered our defenses. It has been a slow, gradual process, but why do we think that we might stand up to the antichrist when we have already swallowed his candy?

Christians–look at the world around you. How many church leaders do you know who already preach a gospel that is no more than watered down socialism? How many sweet talking, smiling preachers do you already know who parade their political activism while neglecting the reality of Christ’s true gospel? How many religious people do you know who already believe that it is all about the brotherhood of Man while neglecting the Fatherhood of God?

Already they have put before us “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.”

Wake up, and don’t be deceived. Remember the only thing Satan knows how to do is to lie. He is the Father of Lies and the Father of Flies, and where the flies gather there is already a corpse.

Brantly Millegan writes here on the history of the Feast of Christ the King and how it was instituted by PopePius XI as a bulwark against Communism and secular atheism.

Book Recommend: If you are in the mood for some apocalyptical reading for Advent I recommend Paul Thigpen’s powerful book of prophetic poetry, The Burden: A warning of things to come


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