Parallel Centuries

martin-luther-before-the-council-of-worms1
Engraving from 1894 showing Martin Luther at the Diet of Worms in 1521.

Looking at the historical Church parallels between the 16th century and the 21st century is shocking. For those of you who don’t know history, the 16th century was quite a mess. Corruption in the Catholic Church was extremely high. There were terrible popes. Sexual license was rampant throughout the Church but most especially in Rome. Many popes were more concerned with power than with holiness. Regional heresies were augmented by political upheavals and power grabs. It was a pretty rotten time to be alive actually.

At the same time, however, tremendous strides were being made toward religious reform and renewal in the Catholic Church at the grassroots level, starting in the early 1500s and finally culminating in the great Council of Trent from 1545 to 1563. The council was called just 28 years after the Fifth Lateran Council (1512 – 1517), which attempted many reforms, none of which were implemented properly, if even at all. After Trent, however, the Catholic Church was radically reformed and renewed, giving us nearly 500 years of growth and progress.

I look at the Second Vatican Council in the late 20th century much in the same way the Fifth Lateran Council in the early 16th century. It was a legitimate ecumenical council of the Church, but a failed one, in which reforms were attempted but they were never properly implemented, if at all. Part of the problem involved with the Second Vatican Council has a lot to do with the council itself. The conciliar fathers used vague and ambiguous language, uncharacteristic of previous councils, which allowed the documents to be interpreted in wild and unconventional ways. Furthermore, the conciliar fathers (including the pope himself) failed to reel in the press, both secular and religious, with faulty interpretations that injected Protestant and Modernist heresies.

Similarly, the era during and after Vatican II was marked by increasing sexual immorality, just as the era during and after Lateran V. The era between Vatican II and now has been marked by a mix bag of good popes and bad ones, just as the era between Lateran V and Trent. Likewise, a tremendous schism now threatens the Catholic Church, following Vatican II, just as a tremendous schism did happen following Lateran V.

Looking at these two eras, if the parallels hold consistent, we can begin to forecast what we think might be the trajectory of the Catholic Church during the 21st century. This is not soothsaying of fortune telling. Rather, it’s just logic. We don’t have a crystal ball, and we can’t peer into the future magically, but we can use our common sense to tell us if the 16th century went a certain way, and the 21st century has many parallels to the 16th, then logically we can expect a similar (not identical but similar) outcome toward the middle to latter-half of the 21st century.

Based on the historical trajectory of the 16th century, and its parallels to the 21st century, I believe things are going to get a lot worse before they get better. We should probably expect some government involvement in Church affairs in the near future. We should probably expect Rome to completely lose control of the Catholic Church in the near future. We should probably expect a major schism, or schisms, accompanied by gargantuan heresies that will radically alter the very nature of Christianity in the West. We can expect sexual license of unprecedented proportions, which may be intertwined with these gargantuan heresies. If history truly does repeat itself, then before the 21st century is over, we can expect this religious upheaval to bleed over into social and political upheavals, which will in turn result in the sacking of Rome (again), just like it happened in 1527, endangering the lives of the pope and the hierarchy of the Church. Only after these events take place, will real and true reform of the Church happen, based on the types of reforms that are already happening on the grassroots level now, ultimately culminating in another ecumenical council similar to Trent.

That’s the logical analysis based on historical parallels. Strangely enough, this logical analysis also parallels the basic outline of many Catholic mystics and saints, who have forecast similar events in much more dramatic ways. These include the prophecies (secrets) of Our Lady of Fatima, Akita, and Good Success. So it seems that both logical analysis of historical parallels, and mystical prophecies concerning our time, appear to be in some basic agreement, at least on general trends.

In all of this, I repeat the warnings of my previous essay. Get into a traditional Catholic Church, of some kind, sooner rather than later. It is essential for the spiritual well-being of yourself and your family. It is also essential for the spiritual renewal of the Church. Like Lateran V, it’s fair to say that Vatican II was never properly implement and probably never will be. It is a real ecumenical council of the Church, but a failed one. What is needed is a complete grassroots overhaul like we had at the Council of Trent, but that’s not going to happen for a while, and before it does, we can expect things to get much worse. Staying involved in the mainstream Novus Ordo Church is going to become increasingly dangerous in the days ahead, unless your bishop happens to be exceptionally good, and he’s running an unusually traditional and reverent diocese. We don’t see a lot of this happening in North America or Europe for that matter. This is why, unless you just happen to be unusually blessed in your peculiar diocese, I HIGHLY recommend getting into a traditional parish as soon as possible. Again, I outlined how to find such parishes in my previous essay.

4 thoughts on “Parallel Centuries

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  1. Shane,
    I dispute “The era between Vatican II and now has been marked by a mix bag of good popes and bad ones”. I think we only have had outstanding popes, notwithstanding that pope Francis is widely misunderstood. As for sexual license, the problem arises out of the sexual revolution of the late 50’s and 60’s which has had devastating consequences on the culture of the west and has infiltrated the church. The church is being forced to address these problems and it will be a struggle, as there is evil in the church resisting reform (there always has been.
    Jesus promised to be with the church till the end of time and He will.
    Fear mongering is not the way forward. Jesus’ constant admonition is “Do not be afraid”.

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    1. I don’t see any “fear mongering” in my essays. Rather, like you, I see this time merely as a transitional stage, and there are brighter days ahead. But I operate in the real world, and I’m not afraid to say that things will get worse before they get better. It’s a natural process for how things work. I see it all the time in my day job. Upon entering the ICU, patients with pneumonia often get worse before they get better. That’s standard in the healing process, and I make sure to tell their families that. It’s not what they want to hear, but they need to hear it, to avoid unnecessary levels of panic and worry when they see it happen. So it is with the Church. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, but it will get better. That I am sure of.

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      1. Shane,
        I don’t dispute that it will get worse before it gets better, but we need to trust God, it is his church, and he will look after it. We don’t need to run to run to traditional parishes and the like, but to pray constantly and do our part where God has put us.

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  2. We’ll just have to agree to disagree on that “WaterAndTheSpiritApologetics.” God puts us where he calls us, and that is not always to the parish down the street. It is essential that we protect our children from the heterodox teachings coming out of many mainstream parishes now, as well as the bad liturgy that reinforces such heterodoxy. Like I said, we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

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