So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Monday, May 15, 2017

The stranger claim. Who is the 'bishop dressed in white'?

Foreword

We are required to test the spirits to learn what is of God and what is not. To that end, let us subject recent comments made by Pope Francis on the occasion of the beatification of the shepherd children of Fatima to a brief analysis, a series of observations and comparisons to distill, if possible, clarity amidst confusion.
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are of God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God. This is the spirit of antichrist, of which you heard that it was coming, and now it is in the world already. Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world, therefore what they say is of the world, and the world listens to them. We are of God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and he who is not of God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 1 John 4:1-6
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We, all of us, are called to embrace without reserve the entirety of the Gospel. Discipleship requires openness to grace. Openness to grace is itself a grace form God. To acknowledge that we, any of us, tend to fall short of the call to embrace the Gospel whole-heartedly is to state the obvious. We require, that is, need God's forgiveness, and the Sacrament of Penance provides relief from the obstacles we place between us and God and restores us to grace.

What do we call someone's witness to the Gospel whose public behaviour contradicts the humility he sets out as his and everyone's norm? A sham? Shameful? Is 'hypocrisy' too strong a word?

The great anniversary of the Fatima apparitions has been the occasion for a strange association between Pope Francis and the "bishop dressed in white" image communicated by the Fatima seers. Who is the mysterious bishop dressed in white? Pope St John Paul II? Pope Francis? An other?
And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'.—Third Secret of Fatima
Ghostwriter in disguise?

Pope Francis, or his ghostwriter, seems to identify him(self) with said figure in white. Rorate Caeli blog captures the moment from Pope Francis' Fatima (")Prayer("):
Hail Mother of Mercy, Lady of the white robe! At this place where one hundred years ago you showed all the designs of our God's mercy, I look upon your robe of light and, as bishop dressed in white [como bispo vestido de branco], I remember all those who, robed in baptismal white, want to live in God and pray the mysteries of Christ to attain peace.
Pope St John Paul II has the better claim to the mysterious reference, if indeed the word 'claim' is an appropriate description of St. John Paul II's relationship to Fatima.

Prayer or Promotion? Pretence? Presumption?

As for Pope Francis' "Fatima Prayer", even if the association he has chosen is a benign attempt to contextualize current events, could not his choice of words be thought of as containing no small hint of arrogance, a shameless act of self promotion? Could not his words be chosen to better draw attention to the tens of millions of victims of communism, the error of a Russia given for a time to the devil?
Fatima is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions. The first and second parts of the “secret”—which are here published in sequence so as to complete the documentation—refer especially to the frightening vision of hell, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism.—The Message of Fatima, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Are Pope Francis' words an obfuscation of the prophecy? Was Pope Francis a vessel through whom God brought down Soviet communism? Did Pope Francis ensure the world was properly consecrated to Mary's Immaculate Heart? Did Pope Francis suffer the assault of an assassin's bullet, a bullet fired at point blank range but miraculously deflected through the intercession of Mary?

Role Playing

It is one thing to wear the white robes of the Sovereign Pontiff. One might be more inclined to believe someone's association with (appropriation of?) a prophetic image if that attire was/is stained with the blood of the very same Pontiff whose blood was shed for his fidelity to Christ. Was Francis that Pontiff?
As regards the passage about the Bishop dressed in white, that is, the Holy Father—as the children immediately realized during the “vision”—who is struck dead and falls to the ground, Sister Lucia was in full agreement with the Pope's claim that “it was a mother's hand that guided the bullet's path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death” (Pope John Paul II, Meditation from the Policlinico Gemelli to the Italian Bishops, 13 May 1994).—The Message of Fatima, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Additional commentary from the Vatican webpage:
The next phrases of the text show very clearly once again the symbolic character of the vision: God remains immeasurable, and is the light which surpasses every vision of ours. Human persons appear as in a mirror. We must always keep in mind the limits in the vision itself, which here are indicated visually. The future appears only “in a mirror dimly” (1 Cor 13:12). Let us now consider the individual images which follow in the text of the “secret”. The place of the action is described in three symbols: a steep mountain, a great city reduced to ruins and finally a large rough-hewn cross. The mountain and city symbolize the arena of human history: history as an arduous ascent to the summit, history as the arena of human creativity and social harmony, but at the same time a place of destruction, where man actually destroys the fruits of his own work. The city can be the place of communion and progress, but also of danger and the most extreme menace. On the mountain stands the cross—the goal and guide of history. The cross transforms destruction into salvation; it stands as a sign of history's misery but also as a promise for history.
At this point human persons appear: the Bishop dressed in white (“we had the impression that it was the Holy Father”), other Bishops, priests, men and women Religious, and men and women of different ranks and social positions. The Pope seems to precede the others, trembling and suffering because of all the horrors around him. Not only do the houses of the city lie half in ruins, but he makes his way among the corpses of the dead. The Church's path is thus described as a Via Crucis, as a journey through a time of violence, destruction and persecution. The history of an entire century can be seen represented in this image. Just as the places of the earth are synthetically described in the two images of the mountain and the city, and are directed towards the cross, so too time is presented in a compressed way. In the vision we can recognize the last century as a century of martyrs, a century of suffering and persecution for the Church, a century of World Wars and the many local wars which filled the last fifty years and have inflicted unprecedented forms of cruelty. In the “mirror” of this vision we see passing before us the witnesses of the faith decade by decade. Here it would be appropriate to mention a phrase from the letter which Sister Lucia wrote to the Holy Father on 12 May 1982: “The third part of the ‘secret' refers to Our Lady's words: ‘If not, [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated'”.

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