Did a holy fellow named Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser have legitimate visions of the future of our Church, especially the current time?
That’s for you to determine. We’ll report simply that Holzhauser — Father Holzhauser — was a special priest who was born in Augsburg, Germany, back in 1613 (around the time the first Europeans were settling in America).
His mysticism went back to boyhood — a vision of the Lord and Blessed Virgin, accompanied by a luminous Cross in the sky: a Cross he saw on subsequent occasions and that seemed to be an omen of trials and afflictions he would encounter in life.
He also had the gift of tears, healing, and prayer (including the instant healing of a lame boy). His holiness led to obloquy from lax, worldly-minded ecclesiastics, as also occurs, to the mystical and devout, in our own time.
But let’s get to the visions.
In them were various beasts, among them a stallion that symbolized impurity (see the strange stallion statue at the Denver airport); a hog wallowing in a slough, as if to symbolize intemperance and gluttony (a good thing to purge during Lent); and a dead beast that he did not relate to any animal with which we are familiar.
“In the same vision,” says a biography, “he saw a land, called the Priests’ Land, wherein was a tree watered by rivulets, but which even in summer bore no leaves or fruits,” typifying, in one writer’s opinion, “unworthy” members of the Catholic priesthood “whose works are dead.”
That has happened with priests throughout the history of the Church. Is it now more pronounced that hitherto?
Father Holzhauser foresaw various epochs of the Church, one of which — the fifth — may be connected with the current era.
“This,” said the priest, “is a state of trouble, desolation, humiliation, and poverty for the Church. We may with just reason call it a state of purification, in which the Lord Jesus Christ has sifted His wheat, and will sift it again by wars, by seditions, by famines, by epidemics, and other scourges, by the tribulation and the poverty which He will suffer to weigh on the Latin Church, by means of heretics and bad Christians, who will take from her the greater part of her bishoprics and countless monasteries, especially the wealthier ones.”
“The correspondence of this period with the fifth age of the ancient world, from Solomon down to the Babylonian captivity, is extremely striking. Then Israel fell into idolatry, and Judah and Benjamin were alone true to the covenant. So in the times we speak of, a large portion of the Catholic population has fallen away from the true Church, while a number only of good Christians hath survived.”
The whole world, said the mystic, “will sink into poverty.”
After this, however, would come a “sixth period for the Church” that begins with “the Holy Pope and the Powerful Emperor,” culminating with “the birth of the Antichrist.”
The world will be desolated by war; the Church and priest will have to pay taxes; Catholics will be oppressed by heretics. Perhaps we see a bit of every age in every historical period.
“Nothing can be more vivid,” says the biographer, “than the portraiture which Holzhauser has traced of the times of Anti-christ. His arrogance — his impiety — his lust — his savage persecution of the Christians, who can scarcely find a retreat in his universal empire, but must bury themselves in caverns and clefts of rock,” will be accompanied by lying wonders and signs.
And then the surprise:
“We must add that, according to venerable Holzhauser, Islam [Mohametanism] will become extinct,” notes the biography, “and that out of that remnant” — out of the last Muslims — “Antichrist will be born.”
[Full account here]