This post is a follow up to a raging debate that occurred on the “motheofgod” forum, in which defenders of the Era of Peace were relentlessly labelled as heretics, etc., without any cause, and often treated without respect or charity. So instead of allowing for the perpetuation of that atmosphere, I deemed it better to step back and I decided to simply write this post to cap off the discussion on my part.
As any reader of this blog knows, I believe in a coming, temporal, Era of Peace. I do not pretend to have Divine Faith that this will happen, but I do nevertheless believe that it will. Allow me to briefly go into more detail as to why. But first, we must settle that this is a permissible opinion to hold for a Catholic.
Mark Mallett has done a truly stellar job in summarizing the countless statements from Popes and Fathers of the Church that blatantly support an Era of Peace. Instead of repeating his work, I simply encourage you to read it: Here, here, here, and here. Nevertheless, opponents of the Era of Peace will insist that the Church’s several condemnations of Millenarianism also condemn the anticipation of even a properly understood Era of Peace. Now let me be the first to say that, the very moment the Church condemns the notion of an Era of Peace will be the moment I abandon it. For I submit absolutely and unconditionally to every single the the Church ever has, or ever will, teach.
But this simply has not happened:
The Church Clearly Does not Condemn An Era of Peace
On the motheofgod forum thread that this post is a response to, I asked time and time again for the opponents of the Era of Peace to actually present the Magisterium that allegedly condemns an Era of Peace. They never fulfilled this request. And that should be very telling. [As general advice, dear friends, never say or imply that someone is a heretic without this fact being abundantly clear in actual Magisterial Documents (e.g. Council documents, Papal Encyclicals, Apostolic Exhortations, the Catechism). The Church alone has the authority to decide what views are and are not heretical and which people are and are not heretics.]
Now the Magisterium does clearly condemn Millenarianism as well as modified Millenarianism. Opponents of the Era of Peace insist that people like me and Mark are merely being stubborn by refusing to be broad enough in interpreting the word “modified.” Quite the contrary, though, Mark and I are merely taking the Magisterium at its word, and taking the Magisterium itself as the norm by which we interpret the word “modified.” The opponents of the Era of Peace insist upon such an unreasonably extensive interpretation of “modified” that, in sad truth, they have really condemned themselves to believe in an Eschatology of Despair; where the world is doomed to simply get worse and worse until, at the very depths of uninterrupted sin and misery, Christ comes to judge and definitively end history.
- In Millenarianism (condemned in the Catechism paragraph 676), Christ comes to physically, visibly reign over the world directly and literally for a thousand years. This common Fundamentalist Protestant opinion is blatantly contrary to a properly understood Era of Peace, in which Christ rules the world in a Eucharistic Reign; similarly to how He already now truly reigns Eucharistically in many holy places (e.g. particularly holy families, monasteries, etc.) throughout the world.
- Now the Church also condemns “modified” or “mitigated” Millenarianism, but in 1944 the Holy Office made it clear that even by “mitigated Millenarianism,” they are referring to a belief that entails Christ visibly ruling over the world. (“...mitigated Millenarianism, which teaches, for example, that Christ the Lord… will come visibly to rule over this world.” Decree of the Holy Office. July 1944). This is precisely the document that the Catechism refers us to (footnote #576) in order to instruct us on what is meant by “modified forms” of “Millenarianism.” So there is no use trying to insist that something more expansive is intended when the Catechism itself refers us to a much less expansive definition.
- The Church also condemns the Eschatology of Joachim of Fiore, a Franciscan from the middle ages who believed that the “Age of the Church” would end, to be followed by the “Age of the Spirit,” in which we would have a new public revelation and no more Catholic Church. This also is blatantly contrary to a properly understood Era of Peace, in which the Catholic Church does not end nor is there a new public revelation, but quite the contrary, the Catholic Church acquires her full triumph, and the very same Deposit of Faith we have always had is vigorously understood, loved, and lived worldwide.
- The Magisterium has also condemned extreme liberation theology, which especially grotesquely advocates for a type of secular Messianism by which man’s political effort establishes the Kingdom of God on earth. Of all the various Eschatological heresies, this is particularly irrelevant/opposed to the Era of Peace, which is entirely the fruit of God’s intervention on Earth and has nothing to do with some man-made Utopia. Those who await the Era of Peace await the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and they strive to hasten it through the Rosary, the Eucharist, Confession, etc. Not through advocacy for quasi-Communistic principles as the liberation theologians do.
This is what the Church condemns. And, in this regard, this is all that the Church condemns. Search every letter of every Magisterial document ever written and you will not find one iota of Church Teaching condemning an Era of Peace. You will find all sorts of opinions expressed by laity and clergy in various degrees of authority interpreting “modified” in a much more broad sense, but you will not find any actual Magisterium doing so. Now, if you feel that choosing not to believe in a coming Era of Peace is a “safer” opinion, then by all means, hold it. I will not begrudge that. But it is abundantly obvious that a Catholic may indeed licitly anticipate a properly understood Era of Peace, so I and all others who do so would appreciate no longer being called “heretics” for it.
Trustworthy Private Revelation Supports an Era of Peace
Now that we have demonstrated that it is indeed a permissible opinion with respect to Catholic Teaching to anticipate an Era of Peace, let me explain why I believe in one. My approach to Eschatology is not to pour over countless theological tomes of opinions from various authors and try to piece it all together like a jigsaw puzzle on top of Sacred Scripture. The essence of that approach is very common in Protestant Fundamentalist circles, and I want nothing to do with it. Rather, I use Church-sanctioned methods of discernment to determine what private revelations (whether approved or not yet fully approved) are most likely to be true, and then I shut up and listen. What is really needed today in Eschatology is more Catholics willing to be like children instead of insisting that they are the experts and Heaven needs to just shut up and listen to them.
So here is just a sample of the private revelations that indicate to me that an Era of Peace is indeed coming, within the realm of time.
- The approved volumes of writings of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta which teach that, in time, His Will shall be done on earth as it is in Heaven, as He prayed and taught us to pray in the Our Father.
- The approved apparitions to the Servant of God Maria Esparanza, in which Our Lady said she was coming to bring peace to the whole world.
- The prophetic writing of St. Louis de Montfort who saw the triumph of Mary indeed occurring on Earth
- The approved apparitions at Itapiranga, Brazil. (E.g. “Through your prayers and the living out of my messages the world will be renewed, living the peace which my Son so longs for among you all.”)
- Countless prophecies regarding the coming worldwide peaceful reign of the Great Catholic Monarch from St. John Vianney, St. Francis of Paola, St. Bridget, and many others
- Countless prophecies regarding a renewal and purification of the world (not a mere ending of it) through the Three Days of Darkness, persecution of the Church, extremely widespread natural disaster, etc.
- St. Faustina said “In spite of Satan’s anger, The Divine Mercy will triumph over the whole world [that is, not just in Heaven] and will be worshiped by all souls.” (paragraph 1789) This is contrary to the opinion of the opponents of an Era of Peace, who believe that, in the world, the Divine Mercy will only triumph in individual souls, and will only triumph universally in Heaven.
- Our Lady’s promise at Fatima that her Immaculate Heart would triumph and “a period of peace would be granted to the world. [not merely to this or that continent/country]” This is the really amazing thing to me — that opponents of the Era of Peace are actually willing to argue that this promised “period of peace” has already occurred. Since Our Lady said this, the world has been, without intermission, inundated with the most widespread, gravest evils in history. Abortion, the greatest destroyer of peace in the world (which is clearly true on its own right, but was also affirmed as such by Bl. Teresa of Calcutta), has been annihilating millions (and more recently, billions) of lives since it was first legalized in Communist Russia in 1920. Western culture died in the 1920s and hasn’t been revived since. Contraception has been demolishing countless lives since it became mainstream at the 1930 Lambeth conference. We had World War I, plagues more destructive than the war immediately after, economic disaster, genocides, World War II, the Cold War beginning immediately after that which put the whole world in dread until 1989, 50 million killed in the by Mao’s genocide which started in 1949 and peaked in the late 50s, continual mass-starvation due to famine in Africa, constant extreme violence in Africa from WWII onward, etc. etc. etc. (Even if one somehow utterly, radically misunderstands Our Lady’s use of the word “peace” to mean the mere absence of obvious institutional physical violence to post-birth people, even then it is clear that this hasn’t happened. But of course, in truth, Our Lady’s use of the word “peace” means harmony between God and Man.)
- Is there any need for me to go on? The period of peace promised by Our Lady at Fatima has not happened yet. I am saddened that I even have to argue this, because those who would deny it are really making Our Lady out to be an incredible miser. If she promises a period of peace for the world, you better believe that it is going to be a heck of a lot better than anything we’ve seen since she promised it (which has, quite simply, been worldwide misery).
I could go on for much longer with this list. But at this point I hope the opponents of an Era of Peace are willing to ask themselves “In light of all of these messages from heaven indicating that there will indeed be an Era of Peace, can I find a single private revelation that specifically says there will not be an Era of Peace?” And indeed, there is not, to my knowledge, a single private revelation that disputes an Era of Peace.
Scripture Cannot be Used to Refute an Era of Peace
Realizing that the Magisterium does not condemn an Era of Peace, and Private Revelation quite supports it, the opponents of an Era of Peace then move on to insist that there cannot be one because, for hundreds of years, the common opinion of theologians of the Church has insisted that the “first resurrection” and “thousand year reign” of the Book of Revelation refer to Baptism, and the Age of the Catholic Church, respectively, so that cannot refer to an Era of Peace. I respond:
- First of all, this is at best a moot point. Although I do think that the Book of Revelation does largely speak of what is to come (including the Era of Peace — and Mark Mallett has done an excellent job arguing for this view), I also understand that the proper interpretation of the Book of Revelation is extremely difficult, and thus it is not my primary motivation for believing in an Era of Peace, but rather the clear consensus of trustworthy private revelation is.
- Secondly, a common opinion of theologians, even if it persists for hundreds of years, does not somehow magically become Magisterium. The Magisterium has never definitively ruled that the First Resurrection and Thousand Year Reign of Revelation cannot also refer to future temporal events.
- Thirdly, one meaning of Scripture does not preclude an additional meaning so long as it is not contradictory to it. Genesis 6-9 refers to a prefigurement of Baptism. It also refers to a historical event (the Flood). It also teaches what happens when we abandon God. It is also a symbol of the Catholic Church (the Ark of Salvation) in the midst of a world of sin (the flood itself). Opponents of the Era of Peace seem to think that the allegorical, moral, anagogical, and eschatological senses of a given Scripture passage must be chosen between instead of understood in harmony. Even within one sense of a passage, there can be multiple correct interpretations/applications of it.
- Fourthly, those who argued that the “chaining of Satan” during the “thousand years” of Revelation was merely a reference to time since the birth of the Church did so on the grounds that Satan’s influence largely was restrained by Christianity, in comparison to the Pagan civilization that preceded it. This view is no longer a reasonable one to hold, especially considering early 20th century Papal Proclamations to the effect that the times were then (and it has only gotten worse), more evil than at any point in history. And any honest Catholic observing the world today will see what Satan is most definitely not chained, even with respect to pagan pre-Christian society. It is not possible to argue that this corresponds to his “short while” of being loosed before Gog/Magog, because that view would imply we have already lived through the Antichrist, which is clearly not the case. Furthermore this current over 100 year rampage of Satan is not, in any way, shape, or form, a “short while.”
- Above all, though, remember: what, specifically, the Book of Revelation refers to is truly a moot point for those who deny an Era of Peace. It can be used to support an Era of Peace, but it cannot be used to refute one, since it is not as if Scripture is the sole or even primary reason we await one.