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A couple of years ago, I read in a magazine that when a society starts advancing by leaps and bounds (e.g. the Industrial Revolution, our current high-tech age), people begin to turn from technology to things spiritual.

Spiritualism, mesmerisation and seances were popular in the 19th century.  Today, we have New Age mysticism and Marian apparitions.  In our churches, we have seen the charismatic movement, healing services, unusual carnality (the infamous Anglican Nine O’Clock Service at a church in England in the 1990s) and many other unbiblical aberrations.

As modern Western society, we have been knee-deep in emotion over the past two decades.  We are losing our characteristic sang froid, stiff upper lip, objectivity and intelligence which got us through two world wars and other conflicts.  The West is now mainly filled with fearful jessies — big girls’ blouses — who cry at the drop of a hat.

Where does it all lead?  Enslaved to our emotions, we start looking for deep, powerful sensations that will transcend our daily lives.  These sensations must be big and bold.

At the same time, we sometimes forget that Satan is looking for any flaws in our armour.  He is there, ready to persuade us to discard our reason and discernment for falsehood and error.  And it’s not just on a personal level but a churchwide one, too.

If you stopped by last week you will have read posts about Mariology and Mariolatry.  Along with many other members of the online keyboard brigade, I believe that we face the very real  possibility of a One World Religion (OWR).  Because many of us are biblically illiterate, find the idea of crucifixion too ‘offensive’, think God is too authoritarian, dislike the idea of classically beautiful churches and idolise feminine qualities, it could well be that Satan has a plan to get us to replace the Holy Trinity with a goddess who could unite everyone — man, woman and child.  If you look at that sentence again, he is already doing quite well at paving the way for this.

In 1991, Time magazine published an article by Richard N Ostling, ‘Mary: Handmaid or Feminist?’ Ostling runs through an extensive list of Marian apparitions — many in obscure, out-of-the-way places, as John MacArthur said — and writes that the then-Pope, John Paul II, could only have been pleased with this revival of ‘growth of faith in the Virgin’.

Remember, at that time, the Berlin Wall had fallen two years before and a coup had taken place in Russia in August 1991.  Communism had supposedly died, the Pope was popular and it seemed as if devotion to Mary — in line with the messages received at Fatima in 1917 — had made it all possible.

However, John Paul II’s interpretation of Mary was a traditionalist one.  Ostling notes (emphases mine throughout):

The Pontiff’s 1988 apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), citing positions taken at Vatican II, declared that “the Blessed Virgin came first as an eminent and singular exemplar of both virginity and motherhood.” He extolled both states as ways women could find their dignity …

John Paul’s traditionalist leanings find their most pointed expression in the Pope’s continued refusal to consider the ordination of women as priests. The Vatican’s argument is that if Christ had wanted women priests or bishops, Mary above all would have become one.

There is an even better reason: 1 Timothy 3.

However, Ostling observed that a tension had begun to develop over Mary’s role in the Church and what all of us could derive from it.  Some women, particularly nuns and feminist professors, were looking for the Church to promote a stronger, politicised, more assertive Mary.  On the other hand, various Protestant clergy and theologians, especially Anglicans and Lutherans, were revisiting their objections to Catholicism’s high esteem of Jesus’s mother.

He touches on the belief of many in Mary as a Co-Redemptrix, for which there was pressure to formalise as dogma during Vatican II in the early 1960s.  Instead, the participating bishops incorporated her into the Constitution on the Church, with the result that Mary’s position was closer to that of Catholics as a body of the faithful than on a par with Christ.

Fast-forward to 1997, where Newsweek examines the clamour for a new Marian dogma.  In ‘Hail Mary’, the then-Religion Editor Kenneth L Woodward wrote that the Vatican had received 4.3m signatures from 157 countries between 1993 and 1997 in support of a new dogma to make Mary Co-Redemptrix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate for the People of God.  Woodward explains:

This is what theologians call high Mariology, and it seems to contradict the basic New Testament belief that “there is one God and one mediator between God and man, Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). In place of the Holy Trinity, it would appear, there would be a kind of Holy Quartet, with Mary playing the multiple roles of daughter of the Father, mother of the Son and spouse of the Holy Spirit.

He notes that the proposal is not without its opponents:

Rumors of the potential new dogma have triggered blistering criticism from other Christian denominations and ignited a battle within the church itself. “Calling Mary a Co-Redeemer is a heresy in the simplest sense,” says the Rev. George G. Passias, chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America. ” It is one thing to ask Mary to intercede with her son, but it is another thing to exalt her as the Mediatrix between God and men.” Episcopal theologian R. William Franklin, a veteran of the ecumenical dialogue between the Anglican and the Roman Catholic Churches, is equally outraged. A new papal dogma on Mary, he warns, “would be a further nail in the coffin of ecumenism” by stressing two points that Protestants cannot accept: “the Marian de-emphasis of Jesus and the re-emphasis of the dogmatic authority of the pope.” But, says Franklin, “I don’t think the church gives a damn. It’s an arrogance which stems from the mystical Marian devotion of the current pope.’

This is true even amongst Catholic theologians.  In June 1997:

… the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, reported that the Holy See had asked a commission of 23 Mariologists to study the proposal. These are specialists in the theology of Mary and the scholars most likely to applaud the initiative. But, by a vote of 23-0, the commission advised against promulgating the new dogma. It was, the panel argued, contrary to the teaching of Vatican Council II, ambiguous in its wording and insensitive to “”the ecumenical difficulties” such a definition of dogma would cause.

Two years later, Ralph E MacKenzie wrote an article, ‘New Marian Dogmas for Roman Catholicism?’ for Christian Research Institute:

While predisposed toward Marian devotion, many Roman Catholic leaders (including the Pope) are hesitant to embrace the new dogmas. Doing so would certainly curtail most ecumenical activity toward Eastern Orthodoxy and Protestant groups. Ecumenism is very important to the contemporary Catholic Church.

Some Mariologists who are presently against any pronouncement feel that the situation may change in the future. This is similar to the position taken by Henry Cardinal Newman concerning the dogma of the infallibility and universality of papal authority, proposed and ratified by Pius IX at Vatican I in 1870. Newman was opposed at the time. Some Catholic apologists claim that his opposition came not because he thought the promulgation was “inaccurate,” but “inopportune.”

Evangelicals are guided by Scripture alone and not extrabiblical traditions and papal decrees. They are convinced that the Marian proposals are not only “inopportune” now but also “inappropriate” at any time.

In 2001, Donald Anthony Foley examined the surge in Marian apparitions for the Homiletic and Pastoral Review.  He urged readers to be cautious about these visions as well as the calls for a new dogma, emphasising the need to discern the motivations and desires behind them:

In conclusion we can say that the lesson of history regarding the general area of genuine writings, revelations and prophecies is that a major problem is that they are subject to imitation at the instigation of Satan, the father of lies; that is the devil attempts to drown out the truth by a deluge of confusion. (This is not to deny though that false apparitions may well have a purely human origin, in some psychological disorder, or hallucination, or desire for money or fame). Thus there is more than a danger that true apparitions will be followed by false ones – in fact it is pretty much a certainty. We are apparently seeing this in our own time, as the message of the genuine Marian apparitions is in danger of being submerged by a host of alleged apparitions, visions, messages, and other dubious and unauthenticated claims.

In the end, as Our Lady proclaimed at Fatima, her Immaculate Heart will triumph, but in the meantime it is up to us to be vigilant, and not allow ourselves to be deceived. It is thus opportune for all those genuinely devoted to Mary to honestly examine their position, look at what the Church is saying about Fatima, take up the message given through the recently beatified children, and then put it into practice in everyday life. The alternative could well be a continued vain quest for new “signs and wonders,” a quest that that may well end in disappointment and possibly disaster.

‘Signs and wonders’ says it all, doesn’t it?  How many laypeople — and clergy — have been deceived by such sensationalism:  ‘Show me a sign, Lord, show me a sign!’

And this is where we could have problems.  ‘Queen of All’ posits that the major Marian sites feature healing or planetary phenomena (the Miracle of the Sun — recall that in Jeremiah 44, the ‘Queen of Heaven’, not Mary but a pagan goddess, is connected with the sun or the moon, depending on interpretation).  Those signs and wonders!  Isn’t the Bible enough?

So, we have sensation and a type of carnality — both man-centred.  ‘Wow — what will I experience?  What will I see?  It’s all about me!’

‘Queen of All’ quotes a 1996 Life magazine article which reported that interdenominational Marian prayer groups are springing up all over the world.  The Koran mentions Mary 34 times.  Hindu and Buddhist goddesses share Marian characteristics.  This must come as excellent news to the Catholic Church.

Note that Mary’s messages in apparitions revolve around unity and peace.  Beware of deception here!  The two most overused words by collectivists — whether among the elite or politicians — are unity and peace:

The following message from the “Lady and Mother of All Nations” states her clear mission:

‘Try to understand the reason for My coming on this day. The Lord Jesus Christ has selected this great day for “the Lady of All Nations.” Her mission is to establish unity among Her nations. She is sent to make one great Community of Her nations. To gather all nations into one Community, that is the task set before the world in this present time, which I have heralded repeatedly.’ …

Global peace, unity, and tolerance are repeatedly heralded by the Queen of Peace — as she is often called. This is a common reason for the Marian apparition’s universal appeal.

Hmm. We got a very similar message — without Mary — a couple of weeks ago from the unelected EU president, Jesuit-educated Herman van Rompuy.

In closing — and looking towards the future — here is an interesting observation from a rather sensible forum thread discussing OWR:

Doxiemom: IMHO, the Catholic Church will play a huge role in the OWR because it is a world wide governmental system already in place.  And, obviously, many of its characteristics can be found in scripture as others have pointed out.

It will be stripped, however, of all connections with Christ. Why would Anti-christ want to have the paintings, the crucifixes, the beautiful art all depicting Jesus? Why would he want the stores of items in the Vatican vaults? Those will be destroyed, I think.

What will be used, I think, is everything connected to Mary. Imagine another “vision” of Mary, this one captured on television, making some announcements that will be hard to ignore. Suppose this came from jerusalem itself, and from Rome. How powerful will that be for a world that the Age of grace had ended?

Islam venerates Mary as has the RCC. The other faiths will [find it] hard to ignore what is seen. The world loved Mother Teresa, she was Catholic, she believed in Mary. Easy to accept Mary, therefore, no? Even the mother-earther can hold onto a vision of Mary, the incarnation of mother earth goddess. This “Mary” could do miracles.

The Ac will have as his false prophet a “pope” who of course denounces Christ. Even the RCC has prophecies concerning this “false pope”, which, is to come in the not too far future.

Islam and the RCC will merge under Mary and all others will fall into place.

Further reading:

‘The Charmer and the Enforcer’

‘Has there been an increase of reported Marian apparitions in recent years?’

‘Myths about Mary’

‘Mary: “The Mother of My Lord”‘

‘Mary: Handmaid or Feminist’

‘Hail, Mary’

‘New Marian Dogmas for Roman Catholicism?’

‘Is Islam Going to Be the One World Religion?’

‘Queen of All, Chapter One Excerpt’

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