BISHOP FULTON J. SHEEN ON THE APOSTATE CHURCH
Apostate Church that will successfully deceive even the elect of God.
Almost from the beginning of the church the devil has been successful
in planting the seeds of false teachings in preparation for the
establishment of a new and Apostate Church.
Fulton Sheen Prophecy 1948: Satan will set up Counter-Church
"[Satan] will set up a counter church which will be the ape of the
[Catholic] Church. . . . It will have all the notes and characteristics of
the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content."
The Antichrist will not be so called; otherwise he would have no followers.
He will not wear red tights, nor vomit sulfur, nor carry a trident nor wave
an arrowed tail as Mephistopheles in Faust. This masquerade has helped the
Devil convince men that he does not exist. When no man recognizes, the more
power he exercises. God has defined Himself as "I am Who am," and the Devil
as "I am who am not."
Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of
the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first "red." Rather is he
described as an angel fallen from heaven, as "the Prince of this world,"
whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is
simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then
there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is
no judgment then evil is good and good is evil. But above all these
descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he
would deceive even the elect--and certainly no devil ever seen in picture
books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win
followers to his religion?
The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the
Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means
to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves. . . .
. . . The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and
all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to
have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a
religion to destroy a religion, or a politics which is a religion--one that
renders unto Caesar even the things that are God's.
In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of
freedom and equality, he will have one great secret which he will tell to no
one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood
without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set
up a counter church which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the
Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of
the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a
mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the
mystical body of Christ. . . .
(Fulton J. Sheen, Communism and the Conscience of the West [Bobbs-Merril
Company, Indianapolis, 1948], pp. 24-25)