An essential part of the message of Fatima is the warning of the corruption of the priesthood. Sister Lucia spoke of this to Father Agustin Fuentes:
“Father, the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Blessed Virgin. And the devil knows what it is that most offends God and which in a short space of time will gain for him the greatest number of souls. Thus, the devil does everything to overcome souls consecrated to God, because in this way, the devil will succeed in leaving souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders, thereby the more easily will he seize them.
That which afflicts the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Heart of Jesus is the fall of religious and priestly souls. The devil knows that religious and priests who fall away from their beautiful vocation drag innumerable souls to Hell … The devil wishes to take possession of consecrated souls. He tries to corrupt them in order to lull to sleep the souls of laypeople and thereby lead them to final impenitence.” (Sister Lucia of Fatima to Father Agustin Fuentes, December, 1957)
In a recent article, we quoted Pope Benedict’s address to the Curia in 2010 where he in turn, quoted from St. Hildegard von Bingen. However, although I have been unable to obtain that letter of hers wherein she related her vision of the Church, I have recently come across another version of the same vision in Volume 2 of “The Life and Revelations of Anne Catherine Emmerich“ by Rev. Carl Schmoger, C.SS.R. (TAN). This more detailed rendering of St. Hildegard’s vision provides significant insight, so we include it here. From pages 98-101:
“Confined to my bed by sickness, I had in the year of the Lord, 1170, a beautiful vision of a Lady more lovely and attractive than human mind can paint. Her form reached from earth to sky, her countenance shone with splendor, her eyes were fixed on heaven. She wore a shining robe of white silk and a mantle embroidered with precious stones, emeralds, sapphires, pearls and flowers of gold; on her feet were shoes of onyx. But her face was soiled with ashes, her robe was torn on the right side, her mantle was stained, her shoes were covered with mud. In a clear, plaintive voice she cried: “Hear O ye heavens! My face is disfigured! – Be afflicted, O earth, for my vesture is rent! – And thou, O abyss, tremble, for my shoes are soiled! The foxes have holes and the birds have nests, but I, I have none to assist or console me, I have no support on which to lean! – I was hidden in the bosom of the Father until the Son of Man, conceived and born of a Virgin, shed His blood in which he espoused me and endowed me with His grace, that in the pure regeneration of spirit and water, I might bring forth those anew whom the serpent’s venom had infected.
But my nurses, the priests who should have preserved my countenance resplendent as the aurora, my robe brilliant as the lightning flash, my mantle glittering as precious stones, my shoes white as snow, have sprinkled my face with ashes, have torn my robe, soiled my mantle, and stained my shoes. They who should have adorned me have allowed me to perish. They sully my countenance when they handle and eat my Bridegroom’s Flesh and Blood in spite of the impurity of their life, their fornications, their adulteries, and their rapacity in selling and buying, a thing unlawful to them. Yes, they cover His Flesh and Blood with opprobrium. It is like casting a new born babe to swine.
As man became flesh and blood at the very instant that God formed him from the slime of the earth and breathed into him the breath of life, so the same power of God, at the words of the priest, changes the offering of bread, wine and water upon the altar into the true Flesh and true Blood of Christ, my Spouse; which, however, on account of the blindness occasioned by Adam’s fall, man cannot see with his corporal eyes. The wounds of my Spouse remain fresh and open, as long as those of sinful man are not closed. They are outraged by those priests who, instead of preserving me pure and serving me in holiness, seek with insatiable avidity to heap up riches and benefice on benefice. They tear my vesture by their infidelity to the law, to the Gospel, to the priesthood. They stain my mantle by their neglect of the precepts laid down for them, instead of fulfilling them joyfully and perfectly by continence like unto the beauty of the emerald, by alms-giving like unto the sapphire, and by the practice of all other good works which honor God as so many precious stones. They soil my shoes by walking not in the right path, the rough and difficult path of justice, and by failing to give good example to their inferiors; but in my shoes I perceive the hidden light of truth among a few.
The false priests deceive themselves; they crave the honor attached to their functions while dreading the trouble. But it is impossible for them to have one without the other, since to no one who has not labored will wages be given. When God’s grace touches a man, it urges him to labor for the reward. God now punishes man by raining evils upon him. He covers the earth with them as with a mist until its verdure is disappears and it is clothed with darkness. But the abyss will tremble when He will come in His wrath, making heaven and earth the instruments of His vengeance and man’s destruction.
Arrogant princes and nations will rise up against you, O ye priests who have hitherto neglected me! They will drive you forth, they will rob you of your wealth, because you have neglected your sacred ministry. They will cry: “Cast out of the church these adulterers, these robbers full of iniquity!” In so doing, they think they render God a service, saying you have polluted His Church; therefore the Scriptures say, “Why have the nations raged and the people devised vain things?” By God’s permission the nations will rise up against you; they will have vain thoughts of you; they will esteem as naught your priestly dignity and consecration. The princes of the earth will unite to cast you down. Your rulers will drive you from their territories, since your crimes have driven the innocent Lamb far from you.
And I heard a voice from heaven saying: “This vision represents the Church – wherefore, O daughter of man, who dost see these things and hear these lamentations, announce it to the priests who have been instituted and ordained to guide and instruct the people, for to them in the person of the apostles it has been said: “Go into the whole world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” When God created man, He delineated in him every creature, as are written upon a scrap of parchment the seasons and numbers of a whole year; therefore it was that God named man “every creature”.
And I, poor woman, saw again a drawn sword floating in the air, one edge toward heaven, the other toward the earth. And it was raised above a spiritual race that the prophet foresaw when he exclaimed in astonishment: “Who are these, that fly as clouds, and as doves to their windows?” (Isaiah 1x.8); for they who are raised above the earth, separated from ordinary men, they who should live holily, showing forth in their actions the simplicity of doves, are evil in their works and manners. And I saw the sword strike the priestly race in many places as Jerusalem was destroyed after the Savior’s Passion; and I saw also, that in the time of tribulation God will spare many pure and upright priests who fear Him, as He said to Elias that he had left in Israel a thousand men who had not bent the knee to Baal. May the inextinguishable fire of the Holy Spirit be enkindled in you to convert you to better things!”
There is much to think about in this vision of St. Hildegard’s. It is axiomatic in applying the revelations of Scriptures and Saints that “What has been will be again”. And thus, Pope Benedict obviously was correct in offering the Curia – and the priests of the Church – the prophecies of St. Hildegard as relevant to our times.
The gist of the above vision appears to substantiate Sister Lucia’s contention that Satan is especially targeting priests to corrupt them and by that corruption, dragging countless numbers of Catholics to hell. In scripture, very often, sins of impurity of the flesh are linked with sins of impurity in belief and worship. Thus adultery and fornications and other foul sins can also apply to heresy and apostasy from the faith. And we see now how closely the sins of sodomy, adultery and fornication are linked. All are based in narcissism and an arrogant determination at self-aggrandisement. Once a poor sinner is caught up in this morass, he becomes blind and maimed and covered with putrescence, although unable, in his spiritual blindness, to see what is obvious to those who retain the clear vision of faith and the light of grace. Therefore it is essential for those who retain the faith to offer penance and prayers for the relief of these sinners.
We must know that if we have the faith, it is through no great merit of our own, but through the ineffable mercy of God, and this faith is not given us for our sole comfort but entrusted to us that we help others repent, be converted and saved. So many arrogantly “consider themselves Catholics” without knowing their faith. They follow blindly after blinded Churchmen, themselves steeped in corruption. The poor prelates today, stuck on stupid, as it were, cannot help themselves. Pope Francis cannot see what a ridiculous caricature he has made of the papacy; he needs our prayers, our penances on his behalf.
The Church offers us many stellar examples of saints who generously suffered to bring forth an increase in sanctity for poor sinners. St. Hildegard, St. Catherine Siena, St. Jean Vianney, St. Padre Pio, Anna Emmerich and so many more inspire us. Although we may not rise to their heroism, we must offer everything, each silly little detail of our daily trials and burdens, for the repentance and conversion of sinners, especially those among our clergy.
“Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore Thee profoundly, and I offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the same Son Jesus Christ present in the Tabernacles of the world, in reparation for all the sacrileges, outrages, and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. Through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.” (The Prayer of the Archangel Michael of Fatima)
Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us.
Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
Precious Blood of Jesus, save us, save our priests!
~ by evensong for love of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary