— INTRODUCTORY NOTE —
Offered below are excerpts of a recent catechetical radio broadcast in Italy by Padre Livio Fanzaga. Padre Livio, known as the "Radio Priest", is a Rome-educated theologian and director of Europe’s largest Catholic radio network , "Radio Maria". As one of Italy's best known Catholic writers and author of several books, his latest, WRATH OF GOD, was hailed by the Vatican's newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano. His radio program is heard internationally on "Radio Maria" through which he mainly seeks to acquaint ordinary Catholics with the Biblical and Church teachings necessary to evaluate various kinds of speculation about the end of the world ... to read the signs of the times and recognize the evils of our age ... to be spiritually prepared for the end whenever it may come. As an enthusiastic fan of Valtorta and her writings, in this particular broadcast Padre Livio dealt exclusively with Valtorta's revelations about the "End Times".The translation given below was made by a lady in Italy directly from Padre Livio's live broadcast. She says of this "Radio Maria" broadcast: "...this piece went on the air right after the morning program which has the highest number of listeners all across Italy (and the Vatican), especially among the clergy... I reiterate that at the hour this was broadcast, Padre Livio knew there were a good many prelates tuned in and so he spoke weighing his words with care, I think. Yet I must admit, he is always rather prudent."
Padre Livio:Good morning everyone. We take up our book of catechesis, "Prophecies on the Antichrist", which we are about to finish. We have already had a look at the Biblical aspect of it, a very ample section, very vast, and the teaching from the new Catechism, and now we are looking at a few exponents, let's say, of the great prophecies in modern times and which are based on the teaching of the Faith, of the Church and which certainly are not based on fantasy. So, we have had a look, above all, at the great prophecies of Montfort [Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort] on these times, the era of Mary, the era of the antichrist. For Montfort, the era of Mary and the era of the antichrist are one and the same thing--Mary appears on the battlefield precisely in order to vanquish the antichrist forces which are the forces of evil that operate throughout history and against the apostles, the apostles chosen by Mary whom she forms--Montfort calls these the apostles of the last times. Then we have seen the antichrist as hypothesized by [Vladimir] Soloviev, who came to the attention of the public through Cardinal Biffi [Archbishop Emeritus of Bologna]. The antichrist of Soloviev is a personality, a polyhydric personality, someone who is both political and religious and who has as his personal aid a wizard-magician. The antichrist of Soloviev promotes himself as someone who is in everything similar to Christ and who can substitute for Him. But, Christ is the Son of God while the antichrist instead had accepted to sell his soul to satan, we could say. Then we saw Benson's antichrist depicted in his novel, The Lord of the World. Robert [Hugh] Benson was an Anglican who converted to Catholicism and became a priest--and he described the antichristic culture of our times, that of the humanistic religion, the crisis of faith, of the great apostasy, of man's adoration of himself, the attack on Christianity with the intent to destroy it. And then indeed when the evil deed seems accomplished, Christ comes in His glory. These however are authors which were writing over a century ago, while closer, time-wise, to us are the works of Maria Valtorta.
The work of Maria Valtorta is a work that certainly brings honor to Italy. Maria Valtorta is a lay person, a writer who in my opinion is one of the Italian writers most widely read in the world. Her works are translated in ten languages, they know an eternal Spring we could say. This is a fact--this is reality. And so as a person, a personality, Maria Valtorta cannot be lightly regarded. I am unable to understand why if a thing has to do with religion, it can't be counted as part of Italy's great patrimony--like on the other hand, Radio Maria is part of Italy's patrimony--it pleased me very much that a certain institution which I won't mention, a prestigious institution here in Milano invited us to illustrate the presence of Radio Maria in the world through a series of conferences, which have as their theme, the excellence of Italy in the world. That is, this lay institution which had a few members who were listeners of Radio Maria, felt that Radio Maria was a perfect example of Italian excellence in the world. Well, in my opinion, Maria Valtorta is a perfect example of Italian excellence in the world, even if she writes about religious things, which doesn't mean anything--I mean what was Dante writing about after all?
So, the major works of Maria Valtorta are essentially two--the principal work is the life of Jesus in 10 volumes [5 volumes in the English edition], called The Poem of the Man God, which then came out under another title: The Gospel as it was Revealed to Me. In this work the entire life of Jesus is told and in a historical/geographical setting which is really extraordinary. We are on page 180 of my book, dear friends.
This ponderous realization of the life of Jesus raised some reservations from Church authorities who nonetheless allow the work to be read. The objections do not regard eventual doctrinal errors, but rather the danger of putting this work on the same level as the four revealed Gospels, which are the word of God. A work, no matter how engrossing, which remains a human work; that is, it cannot be stated that Maria Valtorta in some way fills or completes the Gospels. The Gospels are the word of God, they are complete. Private revelations are like something 'more', like a help in understanding the Gospels. Maria Valtorta attributes her inspiration in writing this work to visions and to dictations of supernatural origins. In any event, the Church gives no other value to works of this nature (which have not been infrequent over the course of the centuries) than that of spiritually edifying the faithful. So, though it is said that they are inspired by supernatural visions or apparitions, for the Church they are works which, if they are good, they say you can read them, if they are not good they tell you not to read them. And even if they say to read them because they're good, the Church still attributes the work to the writer. Even St. Catherine of Siena said that her Dialogue of Divine Providence had been dictated by the Eternal Father, but the Church made doctor of the Church not the Eternal Father but St. Catherine of Siena.
The other important work of Maria Valtorta [...] are the Notebooks [Quaderni] which are her collected writings from 1943 to 1951. These too are big volumes and present supernatural dictations on a series of considerations. In these volumes the writer covers many topics, from dogmatic to Biblical themes, concentrating particularly on those questions dealing with the spiritual life. And it is in this work of Maria Valtorta that we find the famous considerations regarding the antichrist. Dear friends, just think, in the space of time that goes from 1943 to 1951 --so we are in the war/post-war era-- Maria Valtorta wrote something like 15,000 pages while being paralyzed and bed-ridden, and without the possibility of consulting any other book except the Bible. This period covered the terrible war years with bombardments, evacuations, food shortages and shortages of medicine. Valtorta wrote quickly and without any preparatory notes, corrections, drafts and often without even re-reading what she had written. By human standards, this is a most amazing feat. This literary work is one of the most read, most loved and perennially popular in the whole world. And this, dear friends, is what there is to say about Maria Valtorta. We must say that whether we like her works or not, whether we believe them or not, it's a fact that she constructed a veritable monument, which is the ten volumes of the Man-God and then the volumes of her writings and then there is her wonderful autobiography--all written in just a few years and under incredible circumstances. And the Poem of the Man-God really affects one profoundly the way it describes the life of Christ, re-creating perfectly the surroundings, the customs of the times, the geography and history--the descriptions as if she had been present, and yet she had never been there, she had never left her bed.
So, I was saying, that which interests us in this minute dear friends--undoubtedly is the figure of the antichrist which we find sprinkled throughout the writings of Maria Valtorta--so not in her principal work, Poem of the Man-God. As far as these dictations ['Quaderni'] of Maria Valtorta are concerned, the Church has never raised objections to them. The Church has never said anything about them or made any pronouncements with regard to the 'Quaderni' of Maria Valtorta, those writings going from 1943 to 1951. The Church had raised objections with regard to the volumes about the life of Jesus. These reservations as I just said, regard above all the simplistic idea of certain faithful to consider these volumes [Poem of the Man-God] like a fifth Gospel. No, there are only four Gospels which are the word of God. And the Church makes a point of saying that even if the writings are of supernatural origin, they are still human writings.
___________________________________So then, let us have a look at the figure of the antichrist, which is a very interesting figure as sketched by Maria Valtorta. According to Maria Valtorta, the period of the manifestation of the antichrist is the one we are living in right now. In fact, when she was writing in '43, alluding to certain well-known persons of those times, like, Hitler, just to name one, [...] she called these the precursors of the antichrist and she said, in her writings, that those who would see the fearful period of the manifestation of the antichrist were already living--were already alive back then in '43. I was alive then too at that time [laughs]--whatever. In any event the originality of Maria Valtorta was something else. She developed an idea which I would say is very important--the idea of false prophecy--that is, the false prophecy which would characterize the period of the antichrist and of the end times. In that regard we have seen this already when Jesus describes the world before His coming in glory, and I would say that the principle characteristic is the loss of faith on the one hand and a false faith on the other, caused by false prophets who have a great power of seduction and such a power to convince people that they can cause the faithful to swerve away from the truth, causing them to apostatize. False prophecy is also a subject which is present--in all the New Testament, especially in the writings of St. Paul, in the Apocalypse, but I would say that St. John, in his letter which speaks of it openly, using the word "antichrist" and which says of them that, ' they have come forth from among our own--that is, the antichrist is in the Church [comes forth from the heart of the Church] and this is the one who denies that Christ is God.
So...we could say... that Maria Valtorta does not present a political antichrist, she doesn't present the antichrist [as coming from a political milieu] she doesn't concentrate on the political aspect of the antichrist as much as she does the false prophecy, that is, the anti-christ is a false prophet. Rather, the antichrist, according to Maria Valtorta, is comparable to Judas Iscariot, he is one of the members of the Apostolic college who betrays like Judas, who sells himself to satan. This is certainly a frightening vision but it is in any case in line with Sacred Scriptures. It is in line with Sacred Scriptures where, in fact, satan convinces Judas to betray the Lord--"satan entered in Judas". And we see in St. John's theme of the antichrists among us; we see it in the Apocalypse, which is also a work by St. John, where it speaks of the beast which is similar--has the face of a goat but the voice of a dragon. And it is a theme which is even present in the considerations which Pope Paul VI made when he said in fact that in the Church there is a way of thinking that is being transmitted which is no longer Christian.
__________________________________So this is a very important motif which converges with others, in the sense that the antichrist figure has an universal socio-political aspect, but at the same time he also has an aspect...well, the antichrist is a synthesis of the two beasts of St. John's Apocalypse. There is a beast which resembles a panther--which is a beast that rises up from the sea. It is a beast that has political, economic and military power--human power. Then the other beast is the beast of false prophecy. Together, dear friends, they realize the antichristic fraud: seduction and persecution. Maria Valtorta concentrates on the aspect of false prophecy.
So let's have look at the texts--these well-known texts from Maria Valtorta--which concern themselves specifically with this aspect.
She writes in a style as if she were receiving dictation from Jesus, this is from 1943, and the text says:
"Go ahead and think that these times are already here---but it is still not the moment."--That is, Maria Valtorta thought that there already existed the precursors of the Antichrist.
"There are the precursors of him who I said would be able to call himself..."--listen to these names of the antichrist--
"...negation, evil incarnate, horror, sacrilege, son of satan, vendetta, destruction, and I could go on pronouncing his names of fearful indications, but he does not yet exist."
--In 1943 he didn't exist yet--
"He will be a person with a very high position, he will be like a bright star, not like a human star that shines in the human sky, but a star from a supernatural sphere, who, giving in to the flattery of the enemy..."--that is, satan--
"...he will become haughty and proud after having been humble, he will become an atheist after having had great faith, he will become lustful after having been chaste, he will hunger for gold after having known evangelical poverty, he will thirst for recognition after having lived a hidden life."
--As appears evident, the antichrist will go the same route as Judas, the one who had been chosen an Apostle, but became perverted and yielded to the temptations of satan. Then Valtorta continues:
"It is less frightening to see a star fall to earth from the sky than to see this chosen, preordained creature fall into the clutches of satan, which, [with his father of election, will commit sin--?]. Lucifer, on accent of his haughty pride became the dark, damned one; the antichrist, for his haughty pride of one hour will become the dark damned one after having been a shining star in my ranks."
" The sinister work of the antichrist will cause grave damage above all within the Church, whose members will be shaken in their faith, contaminated by the apostasy, while in the world satanism will spread. For the price of abjuring..."
--Thus Jesus says to her. This description is one of extraordinary strength, and also the Biblical aspects in it.
_______________________--says Maria Valtorta, of this Apostle, this shining star in the ranks of God's hosts, who goes over to the enemy--
"...in reward for his abjuration, which will make the heavens shudder with horror, and the columns of My Church will tremble appalled, he will obtain all help from satan who will give him now the keys to the well of the infernal abyss so that he shall open it. But it shall be opened wide so that all the instruments of horror may pour forth, which satan has fabricated in the course of millennia in order to bring men to utter desperation--and in such a manner that they invoke satan as king and run to follow the antichrist, who is the only one who can open the gates of hell so as to free the king of hell; thus aping the manner in which Christ opened the gates of heaven in order to free grace and forgiveness."
--A frightful thing, a new Judas who attains power, who sells himself to satan and who then opens the gates of hell freeing satan so that he may become the king of the world. Is it possible [...?], it's possible, indeed it's possible dear friends, and why not. It is indeed possible. Certainly in the end times there will be something very similar to this, as is explained in the Apocalypse-- but...that this should transpire in our own times, this I don't know. Dear friends, what can I tell you. However, apart from the historical period [in which this dictation is given], which in my opinion is very pertinent, because in these our own times, we are witnessing this phenomenon of apostasy which certainly isn't to be regarded lightly, and together with the crumbling of the faith--
"The fascinating charm of the antichrist will be such as to seduce those fragile in faith but he will also attract those who are the enemies of Christ--[there will be a unified front of the forces of evil] who will recognize in him their leader. As the Father gave to Me every power, so satan will give to him all power of seduction in order to pull the weak ones into his wake, the corrupt ones, corroded by fevers of ambition like their leader. But his unrestrainable ambition..."--This haughty pride, this ambition dear friends--this wanting to be God in place of God--
"...will find insufficient the supernatural help of satan and so he will look for more help from the enemies of Christ, who are armed with ever deadlier weapons [...?] which spur the masses to greater desperation, and they will help him."
--So, the antichrist seduces within the Church with the strength of satan, with the power of satan, with the ability to present lies as if they were truths, which is characteristic of satan, and at the same time the enemies of the Church ally themselves [to this satanic campaign]...until God pronounces his "enough" and He will incinerate them all with the fury of His presence. After this defeat of the antichrist, according to Maria Valtorta, a period of peace will begin for the world. That which has struck me most in this description dear friends, is this attack on the faith which comes from within the Church and made possible, says Maria Valtorta, by the crisis of faith in priests. Let's look at this, because it makes one wonder about a lot. In another passage Maria Valtorta completes the whole picture affirming that the epiphany of the antichrist will be made possible not only by the corruption of the world but also by the spiritual and moral crisis of many men of the Church. She writes:
"When the time comes, many luminaries will be struck down by the [darkness?] of Lucifer who, in order to win, must diminish the light that is within souls. This will be able to take place because not only the laity but also the clergy will have lost, and continues to lose, the solid grounding of faith, charity, strength, purity, of being detached from the seduction of the things of this world which is necessary in order to remain in the orbit of the light of God."
--Here Valtorta seems to have seen before time the undeniable crisis of the clergy which has overwhelmed the Church in these last few decades--
"Understand", says Jesus, "who are the bright stars about whom I speak. They are those whom I described as the salt of the earth and the light of the world, my ministers. The pointed study of satan's maliciousness is to put out these lights, overwhelming them, these luminaries who are the reflected light of my light [...]. If, notwithstanding the still great amount of light that the priestly Church emits, souls are still falling deeper in darkness, we can intuit the measure of darkness which will crush the masses when many stars in the heavens shall go out."
--As you can see here dear friends, when Maria Valtorta speaks about the crisis among the priests, more than a moral crisis, it is a crisis of faith, which is far graver, and which paves the way for even worse betrayals. Maria Valtorta writes:
"...Satan knows this and so sows his seeds in order to prepare the weakness of the priest in order to overwhelm him easily with sins, not so much of the senses as sins of thought. In mental chaos, it will be easier for satan to provoke a spiritual chaos. In spiritual chaos, the weak ones, facing [...] persecution, will commit the sin of cowardice, denying their faith".
--these are descriptions in my opinion which are plausible--that is, very possible. I am reminded of something that St. Therese of Lisieux said, "I pray for those who will be alive in the terrible times when the antichrist will become manifest". This then is the epiphany of evil, but the Church resists and wins. In any event Jesus' words will not fail; Jesus solemnly promised that the gates of hell would not prevail. In fact, Maria Valtorta writes,
"The Church will not die because I [Jesus] will be with her, but it will know hours of darkness and horror similar to that which I experienced during My Passion, multiplied in time, because that is the way it should be. As the Church started off persecuted and nourished with a supernatural power from on high in the years of its beginning and in the best of her sons and daughters, thus will it be for [the Church] when the end-times come, when it shall exist, subsist, and resist the satanic flood and the [...] of the antichrist with the best of [the Church's] sons and daughters--a painful selection but necessary."
--Here Maria Valtorta echoes Montfort and also echoes the Catechism of the Catholic Church which says that the Church in the last battle will have to re-live the Passion of Christ. Be careful, though, friends, because Maria Valtorta says that these times which are our times, in which the power of the antichrist, the power of evil, will become manifest, these times are not yet the end of the world but [it is the time of] those who will see the manifestation of the antichrist, after whom will follow a time of divine peace in the world before the final explosion of evil and the coming of the Son of Man in glory. So, for Maria Valtorta, after this explosion of the antichrist, today in these times, there will be time of peace. And this ties into Fatima and Medjugorje up until the [final] explosion of evil.
These times--these, our times, dear friends--which Maria Valtorta describes, are characterized by incredulity and a general godlessness that will be sifted through the fine sieve of the Church. And it is in this context of great spiritual darkness that the reign of evil can affirm itself. "It is logical," she writes,
"that in a world where many of the luminous spiritual stars of the faith will be dead, that the brief but tremendous reign of the antichrist will be established, generated by satan the way Jesus Christ was generated by the Father. Christ, Son of the Father generated by chaste Love; antichrist, son of satan, generated by hate with triple-headed impurity," that is, with triple-headed concupiscence.
So, dear friends, these are pages...these are extraordinary pages—extraordinary pages which hold within them this tremendous battle between good and evil within the very Church itself, where satan operates with that subtle force of seduction which he demonstrated in seducing Judas, and we know well how in the course of history he has seduced many, and how many seductions he has accomplished over the last few decades as he decimated the priesthood. Dear friends [...] this antichristic formulation has a Biblical flavor, and the prophecies should be embraced to the extent that they help you understand this historical moment from a supernatural point of view. As for all the rest--when, where, how, who it is--it is best not to give it too much attention. The important thing is not to be like small frogs which jump right into the serpent's mouth.