Time magazine reports there have been so many sightings of the "Virgin Mary" around the world that "the late 20th century has become the age of the Marian pilgrimage" to the many shrines established to commemorate these appearances. There are 937 Marian shrines in France alone.4 From 1961 to 1965 there were about 2000 visitations to northwest Spain's village of Garabandal accompanied by occultic phenomena and apocalyptic messages to the world. In 1983 hundreds of Palestinian Arabs "saw the Virgin Mary" near Bethlehem, Israel. She has appeared in every corner of the world:
There is also Dozule ... and Kibeho in Rwanda ... apparitions of Our Lady at Akita in Japan ... apparitions in Chile, in Australia and in Poland ... in Canada ... San Damiano [in Assisi, Italy], Cairo ... Amsterdam,[New York, etc.].5
These apparitions have brought millions of people to faith in Catholicism's Mary. The shrine at Lourdes, France, attracts about 5.5 million pilgrims annually; Poland's Black Madonna draws 5 million; Fatima, Portugal, "draws a steady 4.5 million pilgrims a year from an ever widening array of countries."
Since John Paul II visited the shrine of Mary at Knock, Ireland, "attendance has doubled to 1.5 million people each year. To handle the influx, a new international airport was opened at Knock in 1986."6 A "Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine" has recently opened in Orlando, Florida. The shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe near Mexico City "draws some 20 million visitors a year"!7
Mary's powerful protection is celebrated around the world. Our Lady of Lanka, credited with preventing a Japanese invasion during World War II, has been the patron of Sri Lanka since 1948. Our Lady of Copacabana is "the patron of the Bolivian navy ... Our Lady of Coromoto, patron of Venezuela."8 Polish President Lech Walesa made a pilgrimage to Fatima, where he "offered prayers of thanks for the liberation of Poland."9 John Paul II believes "Mary brought an end to communism throughout Europe." 10 Similarly convinced, Moscow's Archbishop Kondrusiewicz, in 1991, made a pilgrimage to Fatima that was carried on prime-time Soviet national TV. A shrine to "Our Lady of Fatima," who appeared in the Soviet Union just before the Berlin Wall came down, will soon be established in Moscow in gratitude for her defeat of Communism.' 1 Kondrusiewicz wants her shrine to be a perpetual reminder of that great conquest.'2
The apparitions consistently preach the coming world religion of Antichrist: All religions are basically the same and must come together for peace. Offering an ecumenical gospel that can be "accepted by Catholic, Protestant, Moslem or Jew," 13 "Mary" declares: "Everyone worships God in his own way with peace in our hearts." 14 So says Our Lady of Medjugorje in Southern Bosnia-Herzegovina, where visionaries claim the Virgin has been appearing daily for the past 13 years15 in the heart of Ustashi Croatia.
Apparitions and Official Catholic Doctrine
Marian apparitions would hardly attract such a huge following if official dogmas did not support them. Catholics are taught to pray to Mary and are promised that she will protect them from every danger and supply their every need. Quoting Vatican II,16 the new Catechism of the Catholic Church declares, "From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of `Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs." 17 Here is official Roman Catholic doctrine from the highest level attributing to Mary authority and power which belong to God alone! Amazingly, this reference is quoted in This Rock (the premier Catholic apologist magazine) in an article arguing that although a large percentage of Catholics consider Mary to be equal to God, that view is not official Church doctrine. 18 But the quote proves it is. The "faithful fly [to Mary for] protection ... in all their dangers and needs." Could anyone less than God give protection to all the faithful and supply all their needs?
In the entire Bible there is not one prayer to Mary, not one instance of her miraculously helping anyone, nor any promise that she would or could. From Genesis to Revelation, protec-tion and help are sought from, promised by, and found in God and in Christ alone. This fact is attested by hundreds of verses, of which the following are only a small sampling:
The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms (Deuteronomy 33:27); God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1); In God is my salvation ... my refuge is in God (Psalm 62:7); The Lord... is my refuge ... in him will I trust (Psalm 91:2); Fear not. .. I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy redeemer, the Holy One of Israel (Isaiah 41:14); Lord [Jesus], save me! (Matthew 14:30); Lord [Jesus], help me! (Matthew 15:25); Let us therefore come boldly unto [God's] throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
The infinitely powertul and loving God, and Christ (who is one with the Father), have protected, as promised, all who trusted in them through the centuries. Then why would anyone call upon Mar y? Is she mightier than God or more compassionate or more reliable or quicker to respond? Though most Catholics would deny it, Mary subtly displaces the Christian Trinity. The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe was credited with miracles during its recent tour of the United States. Some of the honor she receives in Mexico includes:
Public buses in Mexico City suburbs have flower-adorned shrines to the Virgin on their dashboards, Mexican factories often post pictures of the Virgin to discourage bad behavior and tens of thousands of annual pilgrims to the Basilica finish their journey crawling on their knees. 19
To beseech Mary for help and protection implies that she is at least equal to God in power and is preferred over God and Christ. This is not the Mary of the Bible, but the woman who rides the beast. Faith in Catholicism's Mary, supported by her thousands of apparitions, prepares the way as perhaps nothing else could for a world religion, a New World Order, and the reign of Antichrist.
A Unique Role for the Amazing Mary
Worldwide, today's women are asserting themselves as never before in history. Contrary to popular opinion, "women instigate most domestic violence [and] hit men more frequently and more severely [than men hit them]" and violence is far more frequent in lesbian relationships than between husband and wife.20 Women are taking over what were once men's jobs, and there is a growing acceptance of women at the highest levels of leadership in business, government, and religion. Only God could have given John, 1900 years ago, a vision that so fits our day-a woman in control.
From current trends, it seems inevitable that a woman must ride the beast. And of all the women in history, none rivals Roman Catholicism's omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent "Mary." Could it be that in preparation for her unique role in the New World Order astride the beast she is now appearing to millions around the world in a dazzling display of power? The script is ingenious! John Paul II has said:
Mary ... should inspire all who cooperate in the Church's apostolic mission for the rebirth of humanity.... The Church journeys through time ... along the path already trodden by the Virgin Mary.21
The ecumenical power of this Mary is found in the fact that she provides a new deity to whom the followers of all religions can look-a female deity in step with the spirit of our age. Even Protestants find her appealing. At a women's conference in November 1993, "more than 2,000 participants recited a liturgy to ... a female deity ... [and] in a ritual that resembled holy communion, the women partook of milk and honey to honor the goddess." A far-out New Age gathering? No, "most of the participants represented mainline Protestant denominations .... "22
A woman Lutheran pastor "boasted that Jesus Christ's name was never mentioned" while another church leader urged attendees to overthrow "the patriarchal image of [a] Father God." Korean theologian Chung Hyun Kyung "urged Christians to adopt a `new Trinity' composed of Buddhist, Hindu and Filipino goddesses."23
Catholicism is a jump ahead. Its "Mary," a goddess suitable for all religions, is already adored by a quarter of earth's population. Moreover, her ability to command the loyalty of multitudes has been demonstrated on a national level for centuries:
Mary was "declared Queen of the Ukrainian people" in 1037, and Hungary was dedicated to her by King St. Stephen at about the same time. "Richard II solemnly consecrated England to Mary as `her Dowry'. .An 1381." France was consecrated to Mary in 1638 by the order of Louis XIII, who said, "We consecrate to her particularly our person, our State, our crown and our subjects"; Poland in 1656 by King Casimir. All of the "South American Spanish colonies were dedicated to Mary through a `solemn consecration' in 1643 at the command of King Philip IV"; and in 1664 the same "was done for Portugal and all her colonies at the instigation of King John IV ... Austria the following year" etc. In 1846 the bishops of America wrote, "We ... place ourselves and all entrusted to our charge ... under the special patronage of the holy Mother of God ....”24
Mary and Islam
It is easy to imagine Buddhists, Hindus, New Agers, and liberals-as well as both Catholics and Protestants-uniting in a world religion, but the billion Muslims pose a special problem. Mary, however, seems to be the unique one through whom even they could be united into a universal faith. A British Catholic magazine reports that "a Marian revival is spreading throughout Africa, with alleged apparitions of the Virgin Mary finding a following among Muslims .... "25 African Muslims themselves are seeing apparitions of the Virgin Mary and "are not required to become Christians" to follow her.26 Our Sunday Visitor pointed out the honor given to Mary in Islam's Koran and the intriguing connection between her and Muhammad's favorite daughter, Fatima.27
Bishop Fulton J. Sheen wrote an interesting book in which he predicted that Islam would be converted to Christianity "through a summoning of the Moslems to a veneration of the Mother of God." He reasoned thus:
The Koran ... has many passages concerning the Blessed Virgin. First of all, the Koran believes in her Immaculate Conception and also in her Virgin Birth.... Mary, then, is for the Moslems the true Sayyida, or Lady. The only possible serious rival to her in their creed would be Fatima, the daughter of Mohammed himself. But after the death of Fatima, Mohammed wrote: "Thou shalt be the most blessed of all the women in Paradise, after Mary."28
Sheen goes on to say how remarkable it was that "our Lady" had the foresight to appear in the Portuguese village of Fatima (named after Muhammad's daughter during the Muslim occu-pation) and thus become known as "Our Lady of Fatima." It is a fact that when a statue of "Our Lady of Fatima" is carried through Muslim areas of Africa, India, and elsewhere, Muslims turn out by the hundreds of thousands to worship her. In two days an estimated 500,000 came to give their respects to this idol in Bombay, India.29
Mary and John Paul II
No one is more convinced of the validity of the Fatima visitations than the present pope. Nor is anyone more devoted to Mary. John Paul II, who has "dedicated himself and his Pontificate to Our Lady,"30 bears the M for Mary in his coat of arms; his personal motto, embroidered on the inside of his robes in Latin, is totus tuus sum Maria (Mary, I'm all yours). The pope has unusual personal reasons for this special devotion. The assault upon his life occurred on May 13, 1981, the anniversary of the Virgin's alleged first appearance on May 13, 1917, at Fatima, Portugal.31 In a vision during his convalescence she told him that she had spared his life for a special mission he must fulfill in bringing peace.32
Returning to the Vatican after his recovery, John Paul II prayed at the tombs of his immediate predecessors and declared, "There could have been another tomb, but the blessed Virgin ... has willed otherwise."33 He added gratefully and reverently, "For everything that happened to me on that day, I felt that extraordinary Motherly protection and care, which turned out to be stronger than the deadly bullets."34 Why would you need God when you have Mary's protection?
The thankful pope made a solemn pilgrimage to Fatima on May 13, 1982, where he "prayed before the statue of Our Lady of Fatima. Thousands heard him speak and consecrate the world to Mary as she had requested." On at least three other occasions, "on October 16, 1983; on March 25, 1984; and on December 8, 1985 ... he consecrated the world to our Lady"35 with "special mention" of the Russian people. Now that the Berlin Wall has come down and Soviet Communism has unraveled throughout Eastern Europe, credit is being given to Our Lady of Fatima for fulfilling her promise that if the popes and bishops would consecrate the world and Russia to her Immaculate Heart, "My Immaculate Heart will triumph, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace!"36
Such a statement is in the fullest opposition to the clear teaching of the Bible, which offers "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1) as a free gift of God's grace-a peace that was bought "through the blood of his cross" (Colossians 1:20). Individual peace comes by faith to all who believe the gospel. World peace will only be established when Christ returns to reign from Jerusalem as the prophets foretold.
Yet Catholicism's Mary has taken the place of Christ as the one through whom peace will come, and the present pope and his Church support this heresy. Today's world (including those who call themselves Christians) is only too willing to accept a solution to its problems that leaves out Christ. That the woman is astride the beast seems to indicate that this pseudo-Mary of the apparitions will play a key role in the false peace by which Antichrist "shall destroy many" (Daniel 8:25). Declaring that the Lord had "confided the peace of the world to her," the apparition that appeared as the Virgin of Fatima offered its own peace plan in the place of Christ:
Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace for the world.... Pray, pray, a great deal, and make sacrifices for sinners, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and pray for them....
God wishes to establish in the world the devotion to MY IMMACULATE HEART. If people do what I tell you, many souls will be saved and there will be peace.37
Souls "go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices"? Christ has already made the only saving sacrifice!
A Seducing Spirit
Here is a blatant denial, accepted and promoted by Rome, that Christ's sacrifice paid the full debt for sin. Every pope in the last 60 years has honored Our Lady of Fatima.38 Devotion to a mythical "Immaculate Heart" substitutes for devotion to God and Christ, and obedience to "Our Lady" brings peace. The apparition is surely not Mary! Claiming for itself the authority and attributes of Christ, the apparition at Fatima also declared:
I will never leave you. [This is the promise of Christ to His disciples, and it presupposes omnipresence, an attribute of God alone.] My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God....
Sacrifice yourselves for the conversion of sinners [only Christ's sacrifice avails for sinners], and in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary....
I promise to assist at the hour of death with all the graces necessary for salvation all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, go to Confession and receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary and keep me company for a quarter of an hour while meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary with the intention of making reparation to me.39
This counterfeit Mary's offer of "the graces necessary for salvation" and her promise to "lead you to God" is one more denial of the sufficiency of Christ's finished work upon the cross, a denial which is implicit in Catholic dogma and rituals. It is to Mary's heart that the world must make reparation for the evil it has done against her-another blasphemous teaching. David said, "Against thee, thee only, have I sinned" (Psalm 51:4). Sin is against God, not against any of His creatures. Thus to teach that reparation must be made to Mary for sins against her is again to put her in the place of God. This elevation of the woman not only fits John's vision but also blends paganism and "Christianity" as foretold.
"Say the Rosary every day to obtain peace.... "A popular Catholic television program advertises, "There is no problem that cannot be solved with the Rosary," and gives an 800 number to call for further information. To say the Rosary one must repeat The Lord's Prayer and "Glory be to the Father. . . Son ... and Holy Spirit" six times each and the "Hail Mary, full of grace" 53 times. Yes, the woman dominates. The world is being prepared for the one who rides the beast, and even evangelical leaders and their flocks are being deceived. (One popular evangelical prophecy expert known for his Bible memorization repeatedly praises the pope on TV and quotes "Our Lady of Fatima" as though she speaks the truth.)
Clearly these "apparitions" oppose the biblical gospel of salvation by grace through faith in the finished sacrifice of Christ, and glorify a counterfeit Mary in His place. A "seducing spirit" (1 Timothy 4:1) is at work. Yet John Paul II has said, "The message of Fatima is addressed to every human being and is more relevant and more urgent than ever. "40 The offer of a pseudopeace is given by apparitions everywhere. Consider the following ad in The Dallas Morning News by the local "Queen of Peace Center":
PRESCRIPTION FOR PEACE. A Voice Cries Out in the Wilderness... a woman's. This event has been reported in the New York Times, 20/20, Life, Time Magazine and The Wall Street Journal, etc. Millions of people have visited this site and most have returned home with a renewed faith in God, peace in their hearts, and a desire to live the Gospel message ... we're talking about the appearance of the Virgin Mary in Medjugorje, BosniaHerzegovina as well as dozens of locations around the world.
WHY THE VIRGIN MARY? The Blessed Virgin Mary was the vessel that brought Jesus into the world the first time. Could it be that she is heralding His second com-ing?. .. "Begin by first creating peace within your own hearts," she says, "then in your families and in the world."41
Catholicism's Jesus: Subordinate to Mary
The apparitions are given credit for pointing people to Jesus, yet there is little sign of real devotion to Christ among pilgrims to Marian shrines. It is Mary who has the honor. The Rosary is prayed over and over, the talk is all about Mary rather than Christ or God, the devotion is to her, and pilgrims see themselves as her servants doing her bidding. Mary, not Christ, is the one who will bring peace. It is her peace plan for the world, reparation must be made to her for the sins committed against her, and she must hold back the hand of her son from judgment. Mary, not Christ, is glorified.
Moreover, the Jesus promoted in the apparitions is a counterfeit who is always subordinate to Mary. The visions of "Mary" at Fatima, Portugal, which have meant so much to all of the popes since then and especially to John Paul II, are very explicit in their diminishment of Christ and the elevation of Mary in His place. The false gospel of salvation through Mary is even endorsed by a demon posing as Jesus who accompanies Mary. The official account of the apparitions of "Our Lady of Fatima" declares:
On the 10th of December, 1925, the Most Holy Virgin Mary appeared to Lucia, with the Child Jesus by Her side, elevated on a cloud of light. [Jesus is no longer a child!]
Our Lady rested one hand on Lucia's shoulder, while in the other hand She held a heart surrounded with sharp thorns. At the same time the Child Jesus spoke:
Have pity on the Heart of your Most Holy Mother. It is covered with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce it at every moment, and there is no one to remove them with an act of reparation.42
On February 15, 1926, "the Child Jesus" appeared again and urged Catholics to "spread this devotion of [and] reparation to the Immaculate Heart of His Holy Mother," declaring that reparation must be made to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for mankind to be saved!43 Here again is blasphemy of the worst kind. It would never be uttered by the real Mary or by Jesus.
Christ is no longer a child and thus could not possibly appear in that form-and why should He even if He could? A mature man when He died for our sins, He is now in a resurrected, glorified body at the Father's right hand. It defies all bounds of rational thought and reality to imagine that Christ is still a babe accompanying His mother. Yet those who find no problem believing that millions of different wafers can each be the true physical body of Christ, "whole and entire," have no difficulty believing that Christ, while a mature man in heaven in His resurrected body, can and does at the same time appear as a babe on earth.
Furthermore, the real Jesus, after His resurrection, told His disciples that "repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations" (Luke 24:47). In his preaching, Paul declared that "through this man [Jesus] is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins, and by him [not Mary] all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:38,39). The Bible contains no hint of reparations being made to Mary, much less that this is essential "for mankind to be saved."
All of the apparitions boldly offer a false gospel of salvation through Mary and the usual sacramental Catholicism of purgatory, ritual, and works. "Our Lady of Medjugorje" has said:
There are many souls ... who have been in Purgatory for a long time because no one prays for them.(7/21/82) God has placed His complete trust in me. I particularly protect those who have been consecrated to me.(11/6/82)
At Christmas the greatest number of souls leave Purgatory. There are in Purgatory souls who pray ardently to God ... [and] God permits them to manifest themselves ... to their relatives on earth in order to remind them of the existence of Purgatory ... (Spring, 1983).
Clearly we are seeing what Paul warned would occur in the last days: "Some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils" (1 Timothy 4:1). What these apparitions teach are definitely doctrines of devils that deny the sufficiency of Christ's death for our sins, that deny His position as Lord of all and exalt a false Mary above Him. She becomes the way to Jesus and the door to heaven (standard Catholic doctrine but not biblical). Typical is the following excerpt from a letter from the Office of the Bishop, Diocese of San Angelo, Texas, concerning a shrine to be built to "Our Lady of Guadalupe": When our Blessed mother appeared to Juan Diego on the hill of Tepeyac in 1531, Mary asked that a shrine be built in her honor so that through her, God's love, com-passion, help and assistance could be poured out on the pilgrims who would come to this sacred place....
Let us pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. and ask our Blessed Mother to give us her guidance. [signed] Your servants in Christ and Mary, Most Reverend Michael D. Pfeifer, OMI, Bishop of San Angelo and Rev. Domingo Estrada, OMI, Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The Shrine Offering slip enclosed said, "Yes! I want to help build a shrine to honor Our blessed Mother so all can be comforted by her presence." But earlier shrines to "Our Lady of Guadalupe" exist. There are thousands of Marian shrines around the world. Can her presence be at all of them simultaneously? She would have to be God for that to be true. In fact, the Catholic Mary promises to be with each individual Catholic worldwide. It is undeniable that Catholics look to Mary as though she were even greater than God and certainly more merciful and likely to favor them than God or Christ. As goddesses dominated in the past, so this goddess will play a dominant role in the immediate future.
Ancient Rome's Religion Revived
Clearly, along with a worldwide revival under Antichrist of the Roman Empire there will be a revival of its religion which, as we have seen, was paganism surviving under a thin veneer of Christian terminology. It eventually became known as Roman Catholicism.` Statues of the fertility goddess were renamed Mary. Images had been made of the Roman emperors, and all who refused to bow to the images and worship the emperors as gods were killed. As the successors to the Roman emperors, the popes also killed those who refused allegiance to them and their religion. This is irrefutable history, which the Bible says will repeat itself under Antichrist:
[They will] make an image to the beast [Antichrist] ... and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed (Revelation 13:14,15).
A pope will not be the Antichrist, but will be his right-hand man, the false prophet of Revelation 13:11-17; 19:20; 20:10. At current papal appearances, however, one observes adoration like that which the world will give Antichrist when it worships him as God. Consider this eyewitness account from the 1993 World Youth Day at Denver. Pilgrims who had fasted and walked the 15 miles to Cherry Creek Park for an all-night vigil before "Our Lady of the New Advent" awaited the pope's return the next morning. What followed was almost terrifying to the few Christians present:
Suddenly, the whirring of the white-topped helicopter is heard above the music. "It's the Pope! Papa!"... The crowd becomes ecstatic ... people press forward. Some are clutching rosaries ... crying. .. [others] cheer ... the orchestra begins the Abba Ojcze Fanfare, the Pope's entrance music.
The crowd noise now is deafening as the small figure of Pope John Paul II walks out from the stage ... smiles and waves to the crowd.... The adoration of this man by these people is amazing to behold.... In his presence people lose ordinary defenses. They are vulnerable under this high-caliber "spirituality." He smiles with approving eyes, hugging and kissing those he can reach....
John Paul II in his white attire approaches the steps leading to his chair, a throne-like structure of oak. He waves again to the standing pilgrims then climbs the steps and sits down.... The music continues softly as a young person from the International Youth Forum reads from offstage: "Behold a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne, and to the Lamb!"
The implication of that particular Scripture in this setting ... induces a sense of alarm and dread from Protestants. The Scripture is from Revelation 7:9-10 and presents a view of Christ on his throne in heaven. "The great multitude which no man could number" is the true church, the Bride.... However, at Cherry Creek Park the pope sits on a throne among youths of many nations and tongues. They cry out to him as this Scripture is read.
Is this pope insinuating that he is Christ on his throne and the youths below him are his sheep. .. ? ... The arrogance is overpowering despite John Paul's seeming humility. However, those unaware of Scripture and the translated meaning of the Polish hymn neither see nor sense arrogance. They see and sense love.
Pope John Paul II definitely has an enormous spirit of seductiveness ... respond[ing] to Abba/Father while sit[ting] in white vestments on a throne....
Youths dressed in native costumes and representing each of the continents come forward carrying their national flags. They proceed up the center steps and place their flags at the podium, literally at John Paul's feet.45
Here We Go Again!
Pagan Romans who worshiped the emperor were not narrowminded. They had many gods and tolerated a wide range of beliefs. Christians were not persecuted because they believed in Jesus Christ but because they believed in Him alone and would embrace no other gods, but only the God of the Bible. Catholicism is similarly tolerant of every religion and allows its members to practice everything from Yoga to voodoo so long as they remain in the Church. Both popular opinion and legislation are solidifying similar attitudes.
"Hate laws" are coming on the books in Canada and the United States (and elsewhere) which will make it a crime to suggest that anyone is wrong in his religious or moral beliefs or practices. Likely, it will soon be against the law to say that homosexuality is sin or that any religion is wrong. The "Genocide Treaty" signed by the United States and many other nations (though not yet enforced) already makes it a crime to suggest that someone's religious belief is false and to try to convert others to what one considers to be the truth.
Oddly enough, Roman Catholicism, while claiming to be the one true Church, at the same time embraces all religions, as we have seen. On this count as well, the Vatican qualifies uniquely as the woman astride the beast in Revelation 17. We have seen John Paul II's embrace of all religions and his claim that all gods are the same, while at the same time denouncing fundamentalist Christians. His friend and admirer, televangelist Robert Schuller, presents similar ideas from an alleged evangelical petspective: The way to "tell the good religion from the bad" is whether it is "positive." Schuller urged "religious leaders ... whatever their theology ... to articulate their faith in positive terms ... in a massive, united effort by leaders of all religions [to proclaim] the positive power ... of world-community-building religious values."46
"World-community-building religious values" acceptable to all religions? Antichrist couldn't improve upon that New Age doubletalk! Yet Schuller is commended by evangelical leaders and has the largest audience each Sunday morning of any televangelist. Schuller's embrace of Roman Catholicism and his advocacy of Protestants "coming home" to Rome has been well-documented.47
The coming world religion will be subtly, not blatantly, antiChristian. It will, like Hitler's National Socialism, pose as positive Christianity and will be irresistibly appealing to the whole world. Like so much that we are already seeing even within evangelical circles, it will be a perversion of Christianity in the name of Christ. The same acceptance of all religions is preached by the apparitions of Mary and by the most appealing Catholic evangelist, Mother Teresa, whom no one dares criticize because of her outstanding charitable deeds of self-sacrifice.
The worldwide fame of Mother Teresa of Calcutta has given Catholicism acceptability with Protestants, who rightly admire her life of sacrificial charity. Rome calls her "one of the world's greatest evangelists."48 Yet her "evangelism" leads no one to Christ but encourages trust in whatever god they believe in:49
[T]hey brought [us] a man with half his body eaten away. Worms crawled all over him.... I went to clean him, and ... he asked, "Why are you bothering to do this?"
"I love you..," I said. "For me you are Jesus coming in his distressing disguise ... I am only sharing the joy of loving you, and loving Jesus in you."
Then what did this Hindu gentleman say to me? He just said, "Glory be to Jesus Christ." . . . He realized that he was someone loved.50
This Hindu gentleman was not told the most wonderful evidence that "he was someone loved": that this "Jesus Christ," who is God, became a man to die for his sins and thereby paid the debt demanded by God's justice, so that he could be forgiven and receive eternal life as a free gift of God's grace. He was not evangelized in the biblical meaning of that term at all. He was left a Hindu with all of his superstitions and false beliefs intact-left in his sins to die without Christ, a Hindu who was "loved," but not loved enough by "one of the world's greatest evangelists" to be told the truth that would rescue him from hell! Such is Catholicism's new "evangelism" that proposes to "convert" the world by the year 2000. "I love all religions," says Mother Teresa, an idea that fits the coming world religion perfectly.51
The Vatican and the New World Order
The new world religion will be similarly tolerant of all beliefs which are willing to unite with one another in the charitable rescue of mankind. Uncompromising Christians will be put to death for standing in the way of unity and peace. David Koresh was a false Messiah, but the massacre at Waco shows how easily the Antichrist could justify the destruction of any who deviate from the world religion. President Clinton said:
I hope very much that others who will be tempted to join cults and become involved with people like [David] Koresh will be deterred by the horrible scenes they have seen [of the immolation of the Branch Davidians at their Mount Carmel compound near Waco, Texas].... There is, unfortunately, a rise in this sort of fanaticism all over the world. And we may have to confront it again.52
It is almost frightening that the President of the United States commends the massacre at
Waco as the "justice" deserved by religious fanatics. In contrast, governments cultivate partnerships with Roman Catholicism. This was so not only in past centuries, but today as well. John Paul II's relationship with Reagan, Bush, Gorbachev, Arafat, et al is wellknown. His willingness to ignore injustice to keep such relationships was demonstrated early in his pontificate. He visited Argentina's "three-man ruling junta [but] refus[ed] to grant an audience to the relatives of about 20,000 people who were abducted by the military and `disappeared.' "53
One reason for Antichrist's close partnership, at first, with the Vatican is seen in the importance which every nation on the earth puts upon good relations with "the most extensive international organization in the world outside of the United Nations."54 U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican Raymond Flynn has said, "The Vatican relationship to the United States is extraordinarily important ... it is in the national interest of the United States of America to have strong diplomatic relations with the Vatican."55
President Clinton considered his meeting with the pope in Denver to be of the utmost importance. He met several times with Ambassador Flynn in preparation for that meeting, and Flynn flew out with him in the presidential plane for continuing consultation. Less than a year later Clinton journeyed to Rome to meet with the pope in the Vatican. The whole world recognizes the importance of this relationship (and so will Antichrist):
From Rome to Washington, geopolitical analysts are talking about a "new alliance" between the world's chief military power, the U.S., and the world's chief spiritual leader, the pope.56
Soon the alliance will be between the world ruler and the Vatican. Indeed, the woman will ride the beast, so vital will be her role. Antichrist will know there can be no political peace without religious peace. Until all religions are willing to embrace one another as partners in working toward common goals there can be no global peace-and the pope, for the reasons we have documented, will be essential to establish full ecumenism. Robert Muller, a Catholic and former U.N. Assistant Secretary-General and Chancellor of the University for Peace, has said:
We need a world or cosmic spirituality.... I hope that religious leaders will get together and define ... the cosmic laws which are common to all their faiths....
We must also hope that the Pope will come before the year 2000 to the United Nations, speak for all the religions and spiritualities on this planet and give the world the religious view of how the third millennium should be a spiritual millennium .... 57
When finally the religious leaders and political leaders unite to accomplish the same goals, the kingdom of Antichrist will have arrived. Such was the situation (in imperfect union) under Vatican leadership for more than a thousand years in the past.
And so it will be again, but this time with the terrifying full control that only today's computers and spy satellites can effect.
A Solemn Warning from Heaven
How could religious leaders and their followers tolerate such totalitarianism? Consider the example of a 266-member delegation of America's National Council of Churches (NCC) which visited the Soviet Union in June 1984. They toured 14 cities and visited numerous state-licensed churches. The New York Times reported that the NCC delegation offered "praise for the status of religion in the Soviet Union and condemnation of the United States' role in the arms race ...
[and] voiced irritation that the harmony of their visit had been marred when two demonstrators, demanding religious freedom, held up banners [reading `This is not a free church'] during a Baptist church service."58 The NCC delegation's leader, Bruce Rigdon of McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, "expressed offense at the protest and admiration for the Soviet authorities who suppressed it."59
In Santiago De Compostela, Spain, during August 4-13, 1993, the World Council of Churches (WCC) held its Fifth World Conference on Faith and Order. Roman Catholics were official and full participants for the very first time at any WCC meeting. The goal toward which participants were working was a world church-and not one which is united so much by faith as one which is visibly united in the eyes of the entire world. The delegates adopted the statement:
There is no turning back. .. from the single ecumenical movement that unites concern for the unity of the church and concern for... the struggles of the world.
That significant declaration recognizes that the world church must operate in partnership with the world government. WCC Central Committee Moderator Aram Keshishian declared in his address that the WCC "must relate its doctrinal work more closely to social ethics.... Faith and Order cannot ignore the socio-political and economic dimension in its quest for church unity.... Any dichotomy between Christian Faith and political involvement, between unity of the church and struggles for justice, is an ecumenical heresy."61
That goal will be realized. The marriage of convenience, however, between Antichrist and the false World Church won't last indefinitely. When the honeymoon is over, Antichrist will turn on and destroy the "whore" (Revelation 17:16), effecting God's will in the process (verse 17). One of the most damning indictments God makes against the woman on the beast is that she will have trafficked not only in costly "merchandise of gold and silver and precious stones" but also in "slaves and souls of men" (Revelation 18:12,13). We have documented that as well.
In the meantime, there is a "voice from heaven" saying in awesome tones:
Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.
How much she hath glorified herself and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her, for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
Therefore shall her ,plagues come in one day: death and mourning and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her (Revelation 18:4-8).May all those who love Christ and His gospel come together in compassion and true union to rescue as many as possible from this dire judgment.