Tuesday, April 01, 2008

We Catholics Are Blessed With Goofball End-Times Prophecy Fanatics, Too: the "Three Days of Darkness" Phenomenon

Someone asked on the Coming Home Network discussion board (where I work as "Network Apologist") about a private revelation being talked about, called "The Three Days of Darkness," where roughly one-third of the world's population will be killed as a judgment from God.

I'd never heard of this, but as part of my job there I needed to come up with some sort of reply, so I looked around the Net, with the help of good ole dependable Google. Here's what I found:

1) This site is sponsored by a "traditionalist" sect that thinks Vatican II was apostate and thinks Opus Dei is an "anti-Catholic Talmudic sect" or "cult." But even these nuts admit that the prophecy is not required belief:
The Church does not oblige us to believe in any particular prophecy as a matter of faith [de fide] . . .
2) The second site I found appears to be run by someone who is deep into conspiratorial scenarios and prophecy (in, I think, an unhealthy and excessive way). I don't find such people particularly credible (to put it mildly).

3) The third was put out by a "traditionalist" site that attacks the Novus Ordo Mass. Red flag! Ignore these sites!!

4) A fourth web page is part of a site that espouses the goofball Bayside "apparitions" that have been condemned by the Church as inauthentic.

5) The fifth one I found is part of a healing site that includes "messages from Jesus" from some anonymous "locutionist." Avoid stuff like this!!!

6) A sixth site is from a conspiratorial, prophecy-obsessed anti-Opus Dei site.

7) A 7th is from another nutburger page that is fanatical about endtimes prophecies.

8) An 8th appears to not even be Catholic at all. It's from some weird New Age or occultic site that espouses unChristian paradigms.

9) A 9th seems relatively more legitimate because the webmaster (Ronald L. Conte, Jr.) details 170 "false claims of private revelation" (including some mentioned above) and has a page on "Tricks Used by False Private Revelations". That's great and most helpful, but in the end he gets extreme and goofy too, with stuff like "Jesus will return in 2437 AD" and "nuclear attacks on New York in 2010 and Vatican City in 2013". This guy is a veritable modern-day Nostradamus. In one remarkable article he predicts that the Holy Father will die 2009 or 2010. World War III will begin in 2010 with the nuking of New York City. Two popes from now, there will also be an anti-pope. Both "popes" will be killed in the nuking of Rome in 2013.

Oh, here's a precious tidbit: Hillary Clinton will be elected President and will become pro-life in 2009 (that'll be a bigger miracle than the Second Coming itself!). Muslims will dominate the world from the 2020s to 2040s. In the 22nd century Russia dominates. Africa, India and China are the Big Cheeses in the 23rd. This guy is a modern marvel! We oughtta hire him to predict the NBA playoffs. It's gonna be a great year in the western conference!

10) The last web page on this topic I found is part of a madman site ("Vatican in Exile") run by a sad case who claims to be "Pope Michael." Nothing further need be said about that!

* * * * *

As you can see, then, I am thoroughly unimpressed by the folks who are pushing this purported prophecy. In all ten cases there was something seriously awry: either "traditionalist" schism or quasi-schism (one even by an anti-pope), conspiratorialism, extreme interest in prophecy, anti-Semitism, fanaticism against Opus Dei: a completely legitimate group that, for example, Scott Hahn is a member of, ridiculous date-setting, espousal of "apparitions" (Bayside) that the Church has not approved, erroneous opposition to the New Mass and Vatican II, anonymous oracles, and so forth. Even the New Agers have picked up on it (in one case).

While there is always a chance that a particular prophecy (especially if given by a saint) could be genuine and will actually come to pass (and I would be the last person to completely deny the possibility), we are not to be guided (especially not to excess and hyper-emphasis) by these sorts of private revelations, or to arrange our entire life around them, in the fanatical sense. This one has attracted every kind of goofball and nut. That is the warning flag.

I would urge anyone, in the strongest terms, to ignore this stuff like the plague. Read official documents of the Church and the Bible. Stick with the pope and ecumenical councils and writers who can be trusted as faithful and obedient to that magisterium, who have credentials, and who are not lone rangers trying to lead people astray for the sake of their egoes, or trying to make money by doing same.

The serious errors of the people who are pushing this prophecy are rather glaringly obvious, and we observe the same droning themes over and over. People like this give all private revelations and prophecies a bad name.

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