Of Russian mystics and renegade Jesuits

Have you ever heard of Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov? Me neither, but Pope Benedict XVI invited Cardianl Giacomo Biffi to speak on Slovyov’s prophecies during a week long retreat at the Vatican back in 2007.

Came across an article from February, 2007 on Zenit which recounts a retreat preached at the Vatican for Pope Benedict XVI and the Curia by Cardinal Giacomo Biffi. On Tuesday of the week long retreat, the Cardinal based his meditations in part on the work of the Russian philosopher and mystic Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov, considered by many to be the greatest Russian philosopher.

Solovyov, who died in the year 1900 proposed the reunion of Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches under the Pope. He also foretold that the twentieth century would be a century of unparalleled horror and bloodshed. Cardianl Biffi quoted from Solovyov’s work “Three Dialogues on War, Progress and the End of History,” and  told his listeners, including Pope Benedict, that:

“the Antichrist presents himself as pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist.” …

“He will convoke an ecumenical council and will seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions, granting something to each one. The masses will follow him, with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants,” he said. …

The Cardinal added that Solovyov says in that work: “Days will come in Christianity in which they will try to reduce the salvific event to a mere series of values.” …

Cardinal Biffi warned, “Today, in fact, we run the risk of having a Christianity which puts aside Jesus with His cross and resurrection.” …

The Cardinal said he believes that this is “the danger that Christians face in our days … the Son of God cannot be reduced to a series of good projects sanctioned by the prevailing worldly mentality.”

However, “this does not mean a condemnation of values, but their careful discernment. There are absolute values, such as goodness, truth, beauty,” Cardinal Biffi then distinguished  those absolute values from the relative values of the secular world, such as solidarity, love of peace and respect for nature.

If the relative values are allowed to become absolute, uprooting or even opposing the proclamation of the event of salvation, then these values become an instigation to idolatry and obstacles on the way of salvation.”

Cardinal Biffi affirmed that “if Christianity — on opening itself to the world and dialoguing with all — dilutes the salvific event, it closes itself to a personal relationship with Jesus and places itself on the side of the Antichrist.”

Cardinal Biffi had been speaking about Solvyov’s prophecies on the anti-Christ for several years. In March, 2000, the BBC reported that Cardinal Biffi had recently spoken of Solvyov’s predictions of the horrors of the twentieth century. After listing the  Nazi Holocaust, the Turkish genocide, and Stalin’s purges, Cardinal Biffi mentioned that the twentieth century had also witnessed a sexual revolution with unparalleled vulgarity and shamelessness.

Solovyov was not Catholic and held to many errors, but he seemed to have correctly intuited the secularization of the faith. It makes one wonder if this Pope intends to call another Vatican Council, as foretold by Solovyov. Remember Kasper’s statement that Pope Francis knows he can only put things in motion. In that way, his role may be much like John XXIII, another pope who simply got the ball rolling, also irreversibly changing the Church.

Solovyov’s prediction of an ecumenical church based on the environment and worldly concerns reminded me of something Malachi Martin said in 1990 when speaking about the incursion of New Age paganism into Catholic teaching. Here is what he said:

“The New Age is built on one principle … that mankind, without religion and religious authorities is able to build a paradise on earth. … God is the father of earth … of fruits and flowers … of  lambs, gardens, trees and meadows … there is no pie in the sky.”  He then said, “The New Age sounds very democratic, very compassionate and very human. The trouble is, the message of Christ is not democratic … it is supernatural. It is meant to prepare us for eternity. So the New Age is the most subtle of attacks on the Church.” (Kingdom of Darkness, Triumph Communications)

It’s been about 25 years since Father Martin spoke those words, I wonder what he would think of this Pope’s New Age encyclical? And I wonder why Pope Benedict was so intrigued with Cardinal Biffi’s meditations on the Antichrist. Lots to wonder over, isn’t there?

Remember, pray the Rosary and confound the devil!