Is a key prediction from Akita materializing?
To refresh us: there, at a convent, in northern Japan, in front of a weeping statue of Mary, a nun named Sister Agnes Sasagawa heard the Blessed Virgin’s voice, giving her several messages. The one we’re most interested in now took place on July 6, 1973. In it Mary allegedly said:
“Pray very much for the Pope, bishops, and priests,” the nun said she heard the “statue” say. “Since your Baptism, you have always prayed faithfully for them.
“Continue to pray very much…very much.”
The reason for that entreaty was explained in another message, on October 13 of that same year.
“The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops,” Mary reportedly said. “The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”
Curiously, ten years before, in 1963, an obscure German publication called Neues Europa had published what it claimed was a copy of the third Fatima secret. We know now that it wasn’t the actual secret (which the publication claimed it had intercepted from cables sent to John F. Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev). There was much said about coming global disasters. It was also a warning of war. The relevant part, for our discussion here, was what it said about the Church — for it was almost word-for-word what Sister Sasagawa would report a decade later.
Had she read the Neues Europa “secret,” despite its obscurity? Or did Akita simply confirm it?
‘There will also come a time of the hardest trials for the Church,” the publication quoted Mary as saying.
“Cardinals will be against Cardinals and bishops against bishops.
“Satan will put himself in their midst.
“In Rome, also, there will be big changes. What is rotten will fall, and what will fall must not be maintained. The Church will be darkened and the world plunged into confusion.”
Now — half a century later — one can be excused for wondering if at least that part of the alleged predictions is unfolding before our eyes.
Example: last Saturday, a column by a conservative Catholic convert, Ross Douthat, in The New York Times, bore this headline:
The War Between the Catholic Cardinals
Discussing two recent essays, one by conservative Australian Cardinal George Pell, who died last month, and whose memo, revealed upon his death, allegedly called the current state of Rome and its hierarchy “a catastrophe,” the other by a liberal, Cardinal Robert McElroy, of San Diego, who, as Douthat put it, “shares with Pell’s memo a premise that the Church faces debilitating internal divisions, but it argues that division should be resolved through the completion of the revolution sought by the Church’s liberals.”
“That the contending factions within Catholicism hold very different views is not a revelation, but it’s still striking to have them stated so frankly by prominent cardinals,” noted Douthat.
“And in the distance between their presuppositions, which start with differing sociological analyses of why the Church is struggling and end with a vast doctrinal gulf, you can feel the shadow of schism hanging above the 21st-century church. McElroy is not a radical theologian; Pell was not a marginal reactionary. These are mainstream figures laboring at the heart of the Catholic hierarchy, and yet the gap between their worldviews seems like it could place them in entirely different branches of the Christian faith.” [full text here]
It’s hardly the only recent case of cardinals in direct opposition.
Put in names such as Burke, Cupich, Müeller, Gänswein, Mahony, as cardinals at odds with each other.
At the other end of the spectrum is Paul Elie whose article, in The New Yorker magazine, came out a day before Douthat’s. It was sub-headlined: