Retreatants Hear of Guises of the Antichrist
Preacher Draws On Work of V.S. Solovyov
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The Antichrist is the reduction of Christianity to an ideology, instead of a personal encounter with the Savior, says the cardinal directing the retreat which Benedict XVI is attending.
Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, retired archbishop of Bologna, delivered that message during a meditation Tuesday, drawing on the work of Russian philosopher Vladimir Sergeyevich Solovyov.
The cardinal's meditation came during the weeklong Spiritual Exercises being attended by the Pope and members of the Roman Curia. The retreat ends this Saturday. The Holy Father suspended his usual meetings, including the general audience, in these days.
According to Vatican Radio's summary of his preaching, the cardinal explained that "the teaching that the great Russian philosopher left us is that Christianity cannot be reduced to a set of values. At the center of being a Christian is, in fact, the personal encounter with Jesus Christ."
Quoting the work "Three Dialogues on War, Progress and the End of History," Cardinal Biffi told his listeners that "the Antichrist presents himself as pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist."
"He will convoke an ecumenical council and will seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions, granting something to each one. The masses will follow him, with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants," he said.
The cardinal added that Solovyov says in that work: "Days will come in Christianity in which they will try to reduce the salvific event to a mere series of values."
When I first read this (that the anti-christ would call an ecuemenical council), reason spoke to me in the form "only a pope can call an ecuemenical council" but my will blunted the obvious counsel of reason. Denial? Not willful, but more like the expression "deer in the headlights" (they freeze.. bad for night drivers, good for night poachers); a conclusion simply too horrific to fully comprehend, much like, I imagine, Sophia's parents' reaction to the news that an immense tumor was hiding in the brain of their beautiful child. The tumor in the mind and heart of the Church is so profound, it threatens to blind and stunt it, to kill it outright.
Thanks to Simon-Peter for figuratively jumping up and down and waving his arms and shouting is anybody listening? He gave me pause to reflect on the elephant in the living room, so to speak.
<edit 3/5/07> Elsewhere in private correspondence, it was pointed out that Bishop Fulton Sheen wrote on this in his book, "Communism and the Conscience of the West," that in Soloviev's story, the 'antichrist figure' calls together a World Council of Church (WCC) and makes various promises to each group...Orthodox, Protestant, Catholic and in each succession 2/3rds of each part move over to the side of the Anti-Christ. Later it speaks of Pope Peter, His Beatitude John of Constantinople and the protestant. These are the 3 witnesses of Revelation which in the end are struck dead.
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