(Stephen Kokx, LifeSiteNews – May 16, 2019) Renowned Church historian Roberto de Mattei told attendees of the 2019 Rome Life Forum today that they are living “in an anti-Christian era” but that they have a duty to hope and to work for the restoration of the Church amid the “globalization of chaos” carried out by those striving to erect the diabolical City of Man over and against the City of God.
Professor De Mattei’s lecture, delivered in his native Italian, was titled “The Two Cities in History: Mysterium Iniquitias: From One Word Order to Global Chaos,” and drew primarily from Humanum Genus, Pope Leo XIII’s 1884 encyclical on Freemasonry, and the writings of St. Augustine (Read full lecture below).
De Mattei’s main point was that the Mystical Body of Christ, which he said is built on a love of God, and the “mystical body of the devil,” which is centered on “love of self,” have been “implacably” warring against one another ever since the angels withdrew themselves from God’s presence when he separated the light from the darkness. This battle is observable in the varied “revolutions” the world has witnessed in recent centuries as well as by the “worldwide chaos” of the New World Order.
Professor de Mattei was the third to speak at this year’s Rome Life Forum, the sixth such event, which was held at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, located just east of Vatican City. He explained that the mysterium iniquitatis or “mystery of iniquity” was “not the sin of Adam and Eve” but the sin of Lucifer. The devil’s “primary activity” is “temptation,” de Mattei noted. He seeks to “conquer both the visible and invisible leaders of the Mystical Body of Christ,” including and especially clergy.
Professor de Mattei made special mention of the work of 20th century Brazilian writer Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira, who showed how the battle between the City of God and the City of Man was at the center of the Protestant Revolution, the French Revolution, and the Communist Revolution.
“An intimate solidarity also exists among the children of darkness,” the 71-year-old historian said. “The link which binds them is hatred. They hate and detest one another, yet come together in the struggle against Good.” The Revolution, he added, “is satanic in essence because it aims to undo the work of the creation and Redemption [in order] to build the social Kingdom of the devil, a hell on earth which foreshadows that of eternity.”
De Mattei ended his lecture on a positive note, observing that while “the essence of the Revolution…is an organized march…towards nothingness,” it “cannot achieve its purpose, namely the radical and definitive destruction of the Church and Christian civilization” because “the gates of Heaven will also be thrown wide, and from them will emerge torrents of grace which purify the air and awaken the sleeping, giving them the strength to fight.”
The two cities in history: Mysterium iniquitatis: from one world order to global chaos
By Prof. Roberto de Mattei
Given at Rome Life Forum, Angelicum – 16 May 2019
St Augustine’s antithesis between the two cities which have fought one another throughout history, the Civitas Dei and the Civitas diabuli, is the key to interpretation of the Mysterium iniquitatis (2 Thess. 2,7). The City of God consists of the Church of Jesus, and the other City the followers of Satan, who opposes Christ. The two cities fight one another on earth as two armies: their aim is to annihilate one another and their encounter is therefore continuous and implacable. The globalisation of chaos represents the final historical phase of the centuries-old attack waged by anti-Christian forces against the Church and Christian civilisation.
The Mysterium iniquitatis according to Leo XIII
In seeking to throw a little light on the Mysterium iniquitatis, it is necessary to look back at the first moments of universal history.
In his Encyclical Humanum genus of 20 April 1884 against Freemasonry, Leo XIII asserts: “The race of man, after its miserable fall from God, the Creator and the Giver of heavenly gifts, “through the envy of the devil,” separated into two diverse and opposite parts, of which the one steadfastly contends for truth and virtue, the other of those things which are contrary to virtue and to truth. The one is the kingdom of God on earth, namely, the true Church of Jesus Christ; and those who desire from their heart to be united with it, so as to gain salvation, must of necessity serve God and His only-begotten Son with their whole mind and with an entire will. The other is the kingdom of Satan, in whose possession and control are all whosoever follow the fatal example of their leader and of our first parents, those who refuse to obey the divine and eternal law, and who have many aims of their own in contempt of God, and many aims also against God.”
Pope Leo XIII therefore teaches that humanity is divided into two camps which are in incessant combat: the kingdom of God, consisting of the Church of Christ, and the kingdom of Satan, consisting of followers of the Devil. The combat is not merely an episode in history, but dates from the first moment of creation of the universe, and will continue until the end of time.
Angels were created together with light, but when God separated light from darkness, some angels separated themselves from the light, which is God, and plunged into darkness. This is repeated throughout history and in fact constitutes the mysterium iniquitatis: a mystery impenetrable in itself, because our intelligence is not capable of comprehending either the intimate essence of the Supreme Good, or the profundity of Evil, whose existence is allowed by God, although against His will. This is “an inapproachable light” (1 Tm. 6:16), in which God lives, but there is also an unapproachable darkness which the divine light does not illuminate. This is why we say that Satan works in the mystery. Like every mystery, the mystery of evil is beyond the understanding of reason, yet does not contradict it. Through reason illuminated by faith, we can grasp a reflection of light in this mystery which, as St Paul assures us, will be revealed in time (2 Thess. 2:6-8). Only “God is light, and in Him there can be no darkness” (1 John 2:5).
To explain this mystery of evil, Leo XIII refers to the two cities, described by St Augustine in his classic work The City of God in these words: “Two loves formed two cities: the love of self, reaching even to contempt of God, an earthly city; and the love of God, reaching to contempt of self, a heavenly one.”
The forces of attraction and cohesion which generate and maintain these cities is love. “Two forms of love have generated two cities: the earthly city, love of self to the extent of disdain of God; the heavenly city, love of God to the extent of disdain of self.” The radical choice is between God, to whom humility of heart is intimately joined, and the devil, to whom pride and self-love binds us. The essence of this encounter is moral and rooted in human liberty: a choice must be made according to the gravitational pull impressed on our life by love.
The “mystical body of Satan”
The City of God is the Church in its three states: militant, suffering and triumphant. A spiritual bond brings together, in a single Mystical Body, the faithful who fight on earth, the souls who suffer in purgatory and the blessed who rejoice in Heaven. Man is in fact a social being not only in the natural, but also in the supernatural order. The vital communication of supernatural blessings among members of the three churches is the Communion of Saints.
An intimate solidarity also exists among the children of darkness. The link which binds them is hatred. They hate and detest one another, yet come together in the struggle against Good, as stated in the Psalm: “convenerunt in unum adversus Dominum et adversus Christum eius” (Psalm 2:2).
Father Sebastian Tromp, a Jesuit theologian who collaborated in drafting the Encyclical Mystici Corporis of Pius XII and, in the II Vatican Council, was adviser to Cardinal Ottaviani, added an appendix to his treatise Corpus Christi quod est ecclesia to De corpore diabolic, demonstrating, on the basis of scriptural and patristic citations, that the City of Satan assumes the guise of a mystical body of the devil.
In his books entitled Moralium, St Gregory the Great speaks frequently of the corpus diabuli, which is the devil and his followers. “Just as the saints are members of Christ, so the ungodly without faith are members of the devil”; “The devil is the father of all the iniquitous and all the ungodly are members of this leader.”
Civitas diabuli is not merely a whole made up of errors and moral perversions, but an organised structure. It has dogmas, rights and hierarchies, representing as it does an imitation of the true Church. It is a counter-church, defined in the Apocalypse as the “synagogue of Satan” (Ap. 2:9; 3:9). Tertullian describes the rituals used in the second century, revealing that, even at that time, a diabolical parody of Christian mysteries was in existence. St Irenaeus speaks of the Cainites, who heralded as liberators the great rebels against God, Caine, Esau and Judas. The seven mediaeval Gnostics, like the Cathars, considered Cain, and those who built the tower of Babel, the inhabitants of the city of Sodom, to be their precursors. Freemasonry, which inherits the faith and customs of Gnosticism, formed the visible driving force of the civitas diabuli from the XVIII century onwards. No other sect has been the subject of such condemnation from the Church during the last three centuries, of which the Encyclical Humanum genus of Leo XIII is, to some extent, a compendium.
The Mystical Body of Christ and Corpus diabuli are two kingdoms which oppose one another in history, as life and death, good and evil, light and darkness: their aim is to annihilate one another. The struggle between the two armies is perpetual and implacable, as summarised in these words: “And I tell you: You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” (Mt 16:18). On one side, the Church, which is the Kingdom of Christ, and on the other an enemy described as “the gates of hell”, which will, in vain, make every effort to prevail over the Church.
The devil and hell
It is important to emphasise that we cannot speak of the devil without speaking of hell. Earth, purgatory and paradise are places inhabited by souls which make up the Civitas Dei. But members of the Civitas diabuli also inhabit places, which are earth and hell, because for them there is no purgatory. According to Catholic doctrine, hell refers not only to the state of the damned, but also the place where the rebel angels and those who have died in mortal sin are eternally punished.
Why do members of the Civitas diabuli speak of the devil, yet not of hell, except to negate it? Because he who loves a person tends to speak of them always, for good or evil, and the devil can be spoken of seductively, can be presented as a victim, as a rejected angel who retains his sinister beauty, thereby smoothing the path for his cult. However, to speak of hell is to describe a place of eternal torment, in itself hideous and repulsive, and evoke the justice of a God who judges infallibly and condemns irrevocably. For this reason, the perpetrators of evil disregard hell and only speak of it to deny it or affirm its emptiness.
Father Garrigou-Lagrange states that the denial of hell by Freemasonry is evidence of its existence. Indeed, the fruit reveals the tree. He who hates God not only acknowledges His existence, because if he did not acknowledge Him, he would not fight Him, but, in his satanic perversity, also proves the existence of hell. What else are the profanations of the Eucharist, the sinister liturgies which culminate in blasphemies against all that is divine, if not manifestations of a hatred which has its source in hell and the devil?
The struggle between the two cities can be explained not only by the action of Satan, but also by the original sin passed down by Adam to his descendants. Sin is a hereditary disease. Everyone, after Adam, is born into sin, at any time and in any place. Humanity is therefore diseased, but not dead, because sin inclines the nature of man towards evil, but does not wholly corrupt him. The nature is diseased, but evil does not constitute the essence of the nature.
Original sin wounds the soul and body of man, producing a moral disorder culminating in sin, and a physical disorder culminating in death. However, the gravest consequence of Adam’s sin was not the introduction of the death of the body, but the introduction of the death of the soul, the severance of the sublime relationship which bound God to the rational creature. Death, disease, suffering, anguish, error, doubt, conflict: all are the outcome of original sin. Donoso Cortés writes: “Sin covered heaven with mourning, hell with flames and the earth with weeds. It brought disease, pestilence, hunger and death to the world. It dug the grave for the most illustrious and populous cities, presided over the destruction of Babylon, the city of the magnificent gardens, Nineveh the magnificent, Persepolis, daughter of the sun, Memphis of the profound mysteries, Sodom the impure, Athens the cradle of art, Jerusalem the ingrate, Rome the great. Sin is responsible for the groans which emerge from the breasts of men and the tears which, drop by drop, flow from the eyes of men.
Yet the gravest aspect of sin, which no intellect can conceive of and no words express, is that it could rend tears from the most holy eyes of the Son of God, the meek lamb nailed to the cross, burdened with the sins of the world.” In the Garden of Olives “He experienced sadness and agitation, and the horror of the sin was the cause of this extraordinary agitation and sadness. His brow sweated blood, and the spectre of the sin was the cause of this extraordinary sweating of blood. He was nailed to a wooden cross, and it was the sin which nailed him there; it was the sin which gave Him agony, the sin which gave him death.”
However, the origin of the mysterium iniquitatis was not the sin of Adam and Eve, but the sin of Lucifer. The disobedience of Adam and Eve was in fact under the influence of Satan, but no one influenced Satan, whose sin did not merit God’s pardon, unlike that of our progenitors, because Satan was the cause of the sin. For this reason, if Christ, the new Adam, is the leader of the City of God, it is not Adam, but Lucifer who is the leader of the Civitas diabuli. Therefore, according to the Book of Wisdom: “Invidia diabuli mors intravit in orbe terrarum” (Wisdom 2:24).
Revolution and Counter-Revolution
While St Augustine is the genius who, in unequalled depth, describes the antithesis between the two cities, no one except Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira (1908-1995), in his succinct work Revolution and Counter-Revolution, has better described the history of the struggle between the Civitas Dei and Civitas diabuli in recent centuries. For the Brazilian thinker, a revolutionary process exists whose origins date from the XIV to the XV centuries, when Europe was experiencing a profound change in the spirit of the age. The philosophy of pleasure associated with humanism triggered the Protestant religious Revolution which, excluding apparent divergences, was one with humanistic beliefs. The French Revolution welcomed the liberal and egalitarian tendencies of humanism and Protestantism and introduced them to the political and social spheres. The Communist Revolution spread throughout the world and led the egalitarian hatred of the French Revolution to its ultimate consequences.
A new worldwide civilisation was to have replaced Christian civilisation. During the French Revolution, on 17 June 1790, a Prussian revolutionary, Anacharsis Clootz (1755-1794), presented himself to the Assembly as “the orator of the human race”, heading a deputation of persons of different languages and nationalities, announcing the construction of a universal Republic which would embrace all peoples of the earth. Another protagonist of the Revolution, Abbott Henri Grégoire (1750-1831), demanded, in the name of universal equality, abolition of the “aristocracy of the skin”. On 4 June 1793, a masquerade was organised and a delegation of black men and women infiltrated the Convention, preceded by a banner depicting a mulatto and a negro, armed with a pike, who wore the Phrygian cap, the symbol of the Revolution. “Citizens – announced Grégoire, amid the enthusiasm of Convention delegates – there still exists an aristocracy: that of the skin. You will make it disappear.”
The utopia of ethnic mixing is therefore of early date and an expression of the egalitarian pantheism of the French Revolution, which claimed that they would destroy every inequality, whether social or in nature, to create an imitation of the mediaeval Christian Republic. It was only after the collapse of the Habsburg Empire in 1918 that this utopia was apparently realised, with the (almost contemporaneous) advent of the dictatorship of the Communist proletariat, the National Socialist Third Reich and the League of Nations, later renamed the United Nations Organisation. However, all these projects failed miserably. The dream of building the “novus ordo saeculorum”, emerging at the beginning of the XX century, was replaced by an opposing dream, that of destruction: the Kingdom of Chaos.
The New World Order is in reality worldwide chaos, which today has the colours of the Amazonia, the happy paradise in which indigenous peoples pass on the wisdom of the cult of nature, and the Earth Charter replaces the Declaration of Human Rights, now superseded by the tribal phase of the fourth and fifth Revolutions. The Amazonia has been elevated from a physical territory to a theological place, the object par excellence of geolatry, the cult offered to Mother Earth which embraces all creatures, animate or inanimate, where everything coexists and nothing is, because, once every inequality is eliminated, nothingness is revealed as the ultimate secret of the universe. The metaphysics of the nothing is the heart of the new religion.
Yet even this nihilistic dream is of early date. In the period when Clootz and Grégoire were presenting their utopias, the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814), secretary of the notorious Jacobin section of the Pikes, revealed the true objective of the Revolution in his pamphlet entitled Frenchman, greater effort is needed if you wish to be Republicans, in which he celebrated the apotheosis of evil and the dissolution of all moral standards.
Before de Sade, the theoretician of the metaphysics of dissolution was Dom Léger-Marie Deschamps (1716-1774), an atheist Benedictine monk, who secretly influenced Diderot and the French Encyclopaedists. His manuscripts were discovered almost a century after his death and first published in Bolshevik Russia in 1930. The Russian scholar Igor Safarevic and the Polish academic Bronislaw Baczko emphasise the significance of these writings, which deify evil. Deschamps proclaimed a general equality in which everything coincides with nothingness: “All beings flow out and into one another and all persons are merely different aspects of a single universal race.” Pantheism coincides with nihilism, because everything is nothing and everything must make itself nothing. Nothingness is the only rigorous antithesis of being. Anticosmism, which is the negation and annihilation of every reality, is manifested in the dissolution of every ethic, every right, every society, every family, every propriety.
If we apply to our own times a celebrated page written by Mons. Jean-Jacques Gaume (1802-1879), we can say: “If, stripping the mask from Revolution, you will ask: Who are you? I will tell you: I am not what people believe. Many speak of me and very few know me. I am neither the financial oligarchies, nor American globalism, nor the Russian Moloch, nor the Chinese Dragon. I am not the Islamic migrants who invade Europe to conquer it, nor the sodomites who demonstrate against the family in order to destroy it. I am neither Marco Pannella nor Emma Bonino. I am neither Obama nor Soros. These people are my children, they are not me. These things are my works, they are not me. These men and these things are short-lived and I am a permanent state.
I am hatred for every religious and social order which man has not established and in which he is not king and God together. I am the proclamation of human rights against the rights of God. I am the philosophy of rebellion, the politics of rebellion, the religion of rebellion: I am the armed negation (nihil armatum); I am the foundation of the religious and social state underlying the will of man instead of the will of God! In a word, I am anarchy, because I am God dethroned and man instead of Him. This is why I call myself Revolution, that is overthrow.”
Nihil armatum: this definition captures the essence of the Revolution, which is not nothingness, because if it were nothingness, it would not exist. But it is an organised march, an armed march towards nothingness, guided by the dark power spoken of so frequently in the letters of St Paul (Eph. 6:12; Col. 1:13; Lk. 22:53).
The suicide of revolution
To the Lord who says of himself “I am He who is” (Exodus, 3:14), Satan, leader and animator of the Revolution, shrieks: “There is nothing beyond me and I hate myself because I am.” The devil wishes to precipitate the creation of nothingness and cast himself into nothingness. The mysterium iniquitatis is the mystery of the urge of evil towards nothingness, without the ability to reach that goal. If this total suicide could be accomplished, the Revolution would have prevailed over God, since annihilation is the supreme act of dominion, possible only for God, but also because evil exists only as the privation of good, and without the good it cannot exist, just as disease cannot exist without the body of the diseased person attacked. Death signifies the end not only of the diseased person, but also of the disease.
This is why the journey of the Revolution towards nothingness cannot achieve its purpose, namely the radical and definitive destruction of the Church and Christian civilisation. The good which remains and which the Revolution needs to survive is the germ of its defeat.
We perceive this principle in history, where God always uses a small number of the truly faithful to achieve the grand return of the truth and the good. An eminent biblical scholar, Mons. Salvatore Garofalo, has devoted an exhaustive study on The prophetic notion of the “Remainder of Israel”, in which he shows this concept to be the cornerstone of the prophetic tradition. This principle is expressed as: residuum revertetur. In fact God wishes to make use of the weak and the small before men and defeat the powerful.
The self-destructive march of the Revolution is destined to shatter against a remnant of truth and good which is the principle and prerequisite of its defeat. Where there is a candle which burns, light shines, with greater or lesser intensity, depending on the flame of love which consumes it. The, albeit minimal, remnant of light which shines in the night contains in itself the irresistible force of dawn, the potential of a new day as the sun rises. Light penetrates, illuminates, warms and revives, as does the good, by nature communicable, fertile and extensive. Evil is by nature sterile and barren. The drama of evil is this: it cannot extinguish the final remnant of the good which survives. Evil can certainly be propagated. However, its strength is not intrinsic, but extrinsic. It is propagated through the actions of the wicked, men and demons, and imposes itself through cunning and violence, not through the peaceful and conquering force of the truth and the good. It is in this sense a “nihil armatum”.
Jesus says “I am the light of the world” “He who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) The devil wishes to extinguish the light of the world, plunge the world in darkness, in the image of his kingdom. But darkness does not contain in itself the strength to defeat the light entirely and definitively, because it is from the light that darkness draws its existence.
The infernal world is the world of dark chaos, expressed in the malformed creatures sculpted on the outside of mediaeval cathedrals and the grotesque figures depicted by Hieronymus Bosch.
The image of Heaven cannot be portrayed in a painting. Perhaps only a Gothic or Romanesque cathedral can give us a distant reflection. If a cathedral burns, this means hell has penetrated it, because the language of symbols does not, even in the twenty first century, lose its expressive force.
The devil’s seductive works
The Revolution is satanic in essence, because it aims to undo the work of the creation and Redemption to build the social Kingdom of the devil, a hell on earth which foreshadows that of eternity, just as the social Kingdom of Christ also foreshadows the kingdom of the celestial paradise.
It is the truth of faith: demons exist, they fight men, they tempt and at times invade them. Satan’s primary activity is temptation. The devil insinuates, instigates, induces us to sin. He is, at least indirectly, in this sense the cause of our sins. Jesus Christ himself experienced this act of the tempter, who said to him: “Haec tibi omnia dabo, si cadens adoraveris me”: “All these things I will give you if you prostrate yourself before me and adore me.” (Mt. 4:9)
The mystical Body of Christ rests on two pillars: its visible structure, whose leaders are the Pope, the Vicar of Christ, and its invisible structure, which is made up of the saints, of which Our Lady is the model and epitome, who can also be defined as the “Vicar of Christ”, because of the authority which is not visible, but invisible, exerted over the truly devout, who are the heart of the Church.
The primary work of the devil is to conquer both the visible and invisible leaders of the Mystical Body of Christ: the authorities which guide the Church and the saints who profess and live the Truth.
The temptation for men who represent the visible Church is power. The devil suggests that they serve not the Church, but their own ambitions, to satisfy their own cupidity. Yet the souls to whom the devil most clings are those called to sainthood. Satan seeks out in particular those who, like himself, have received most graces from God. The seduction consists in convincing those souls that the good which they do is the fruit of their own strength and their own merit, leading them to forget that all the good they perform is accomplished in them by God. To these souls, the tempter offers the gratification of gifts they have received, to change them from the humble to the proud and, where this is not possible, tempt them not to aim for the utmost good, which is perfection, but content themselves with the lesser good, which is frequently an evil, substituting the rough way of the Cross with an accommodating spirituality, which renounces heroism.
Satan prefers to conquer men of the Church rather than the laity, and from among the men of the Church, those who have the highest vocation; to lose a pure and generous soul, to lose a saint, to lose a bishop, to lose a Pope: these are Satan’s greatest conquests. This requires the highest level of seduction possible, which consists in offering his victim not vulgar material goods, but alternative spiritual goods, appealing to man’s desire for the absolute. As testified in his work Exorcism, Leo XIII saw the throne of abomination and godlessness, positioned even “ubi sedes beatissimi Petri et Cathedra veritatis ad lucem gentium constituta est.”
The gates of hell and the gates of Heaven
In the book of the Apocalypse, St John speaks of the abyss of which Satan is king (Ap. 9:11), because he holds the keys to it (ivi 9:1); when he opened the gates to unleash his henchmen on the world “smoke rose from the shaft as smoke rises from a great furnace, until the sun and the air were darkened.” (ivi 9:2)
Demons and infernal vapours arose from hell, spread throughout the earth, penetrated the temple of God. The smoke of Satan anaesthetised, before producing death. And yet the gates of hell will not prevail, because the gates of Heaven will also be thrown wide, and from them will emerge torrents of grace which purify the air and awaken the sleeping, giving them the strength to fight. The strength of grace reaches us through the sacraments, through the Blessed Virgin Mary, and through the innumerable actual graces we receive and to which we are equal. From the gates of Heaven also now pour out onto the earth legions of angels in combat with demons. While it is true, as declared by St Thomas, that “all physical things are governed by the Angels”, this means that everything which surrounds us, everything which happens, is governed by the Angels, present at every moment and in every place, protagonist of the divine plans, guides in the struggle against the devil, the world and the flesh in which we engage every day.
The two cities, made up of Angels and men, are always and everywhere close on earth and their clash is therefore continuous and universal. Between them there is no possible compromise. For as long as blood continues to flow, we believe we are at peace. In reality, we are at war. The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius remind us of the militant attitude of the Christian, called upon to choose from two banners, simply the two cities referred to by St Augustine. St Ignatius and St Augustine merely expound the Gospel maxim that “no-one can serve two masters or he will hate the one and love the other, or vice versa” (Mt 6:24; Lk 16:13). Our lives are but a moment in this struggle, the story of a relentless war between the servants of the order of God and the followers of infernal chaos. However, St Hildegard of Bingham properly writes that rationality, the highest prerogative of spiritual souls “consists in the possibility of choosing between two sides, embracing the side chosen and rejecting its opposite, because one cannot, in one choice, embrace two conflicting things at the same time.”
Kingdom of the Antichrist or Kingdom of Mary?
Today victory appears to be smiling on the devil and we can ask ourselves whether this era is coinciding with the era of the Antichrist, the supreme expression of evil in history. However, if this were the case, we would have to conclude that we are at the end of the world and have reached it while knowing the social reign of the devil, but not the social reign of Christ. Protestants, modernists and their precursors and followers, while acknowledging Christ, deny the Church or, while not denying it, hold it to be invisible, and therefore deny its triumph. Their notion is that of an Ecclesia spiritualis or invisibilis, reduced to a congregation of the predestined, and an Assembly of saints, destined to be persecuted, without ever, throughout history, being victorious. This generates an eschatology associated with catacombs and a victim mentality, which denies what is called the Constantinian Church and the ideal of the social Kingdom of Christ. Today many Catholics endorse this theology of Protestant and modernist history. Secularisation is regarded as irreversible and the Church is reduced to a minority of faithful who abandon attempts to conquer the public domain. Hence the temptation to believe that we are at the end of the world, we should lay down our arms and take refuge in waiting. We do not fight the world, because we do not believe in the duty to “instaurare omnia in Christo”, to rebuild Christian civilisation on the ruins of the modern world, according to the grand plan of St Pius X.
However, God does not instil into the heart of man unrealisable desires and the aspiration of so many devout Catholics to the social Kingdom of Christ is destined to be realised in history before the end of time. This means we are not living in the times of the Antichrist, but merely in an anti-Christian era, on which St John writes: “Nunc Antichristi multi facti sunt” (1 John 2:18). An era in which many are testes, or according to St Gregory the Great, “testiculi” of the Antichrist, without being the Antichrist. The primary evidence for this lies in the battle we are waging against the Revolution in order to reinstate the social Kingdom of Jesus and Mary, which will be simply the triumph of the Holy Church in society and men’s hearts. We fight because God has placed a love of the fight in our hearts.
The object of our hope
Ours is not a battle without hope. He who does not hope abandons the struggle and he who continues to fight does so because animated by hope. Hope is the virtue which illuminates the darkness of the night. In the night, we do not see and the object of hope is precisely that which our senses do not see, because hope is only practised when we cannot see that for which we are hoping. For this reason, we only practise the virtue of hope on this earth: in Heaven, we will possess what we now hope for. In this sense, he who hopes is similar to he who possesses. In hoping, man already possesses, imperfectly on earth, what he will one day possess perfectly in eternity.
The Council of Trent teaches that hope is a duty of the Christian: “In Dei auxilio firmissimam spem collocare et reponere omnes debent.” Given that, as the theologians say, one cannot hope without faith, the primary virtue of the militant Church is the mixture of faith and hope which is called trust, which means believing in and hoping for blessings which our senses tell us are most distant. St Paul defines confidence as “gloriam spei”, “the glory of hope” (Heb. 3:6) and St Thomas defines it as “spes roborata ex aliqua opinion”, “hope strengthened by solid belief”.
Hope fortifies our actions and renders our prayers effective. It is a fine thing to fight in defence of a Church, whose dazzling beauty is concealed, but which we love, because we believe and hope in it. If in Heaven there will be no hope, because we will possess the thing hoped for, in hell there will be eternal despair, because one will suffer the absence of the thing in which one has not believed and not hoped for. What we believe and hope for is none other than God and all the blessings which bring us close to Him. We must therefore repeat, with St Claude de la Colombière: “Je Vous espère Vous-même de Vous même, ô mon Créateur.”
We can lose everything, except trust. We trust not only that we will receive a reward for good works but also, according to St Augustine, for performing these good works with the help of God. We trust in the struggle until victory because we hope in it and because the object of our hope is God himself. We hope not only one day to possess it in heaven, but to glorify it on earth, fighting for the social Kingdom of Jesus and Mary, for the realisation of which He leads us to hope. The Lord ignites hope in the hearts of those who hope in Him; and he who hopes will do so because he has already received the gift of hope. An immense trust, nourished by the promise of Fatima, animates our struggle in the battle on earth, which is pleasing to Heaven.