The spirit of the Antichrist in distorted pacifism, environmentalism, and ecumenism

The spirit of the Antichrist in distorted pacifism, environmentalism, and ecumenism

Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, this year’s preacher of the papal Lenten retreat, said this week that excesses of ecumenism and a tendency to downplay Christ’s sacrifice are signs of the Antichrist.

In a meditation preached during the Lenten Retreat for Vatican leaders this week, the outspoken Italian cardinal cited the vision of the Russian philosopher Vladimir Soloviev. “The Antichrist presents himself as a pacifist, ecologist, and ecumenist,” he said.

Cardinal Biffi decried the tendency of some Catholics to promote vague spiritual goals, rather than stressing the centrality of Christ’s Sacrifice.

Gosh, how many times have you heard someone say, “I’m not religious. I’m spiritual,” as if somehow it was better to have some vague notions of God while ignoring the His salvific message in the Gospel. Interesting also that “ecologist” is one of those signs of the Antichrist, considering my post the other day about the “global-warming religion” that seems to have sprung up. So many people act like pantheists, divinizing nature and the planet, almost to the point of worship. What is the Antichrist is not an attempt to divert us from the legitimate worship of God by distorting a good—in this case, respect for nature—into an evil.

Keep in mind two things. First, Biffi was not saying that there is one individual—or even a conspiracy of individuals—that are Antichrist in the way that Protestant apocalyptic literature often has it, e.g. the “Left Behind” books. I think he’s referring to the work of the Devil in the world, always trying to divert our attention from Christ, using different means in different eras. In the past, it took another form, but today it’s materialism, a distorted pacifism, an excessive ecumenism, and an enviro-pantheism. Second, this is not an official policy statement or universal teaching being promulgated to all the faithful, nor is it necessarily Pope Benedict’s view. This is Cardinal Biffi’s personal opinion. Of course, Pope Benedict could be in agreement with the cardinal too. Try not to make more (or less) of it than it is.

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  • Recently I was in disucussion of some Catholic mothers who were comparing how much different we are from our secular friends in the blogosphere.

    Below is an example of an UNACCEPTABLE blog:

    “Wow! My daughter started sitting up on her own today! We’re so excited.”

    Following is an example of an ACCEPTABLE blog:

    “This evening, while I was writing poetry, I was also channel surfing, and came across a documentary on the history of the Big Mac, and I thought it was such a commentary on society.” You would then go on to quote some obscure song writer who predicted that the world would come to this.

    If you cook a home cooked meal for your family from vegetables from the garden you’re wasting your life as a wife and mother, but if you cook as a protest to large corporations, trans fat, and artificial preservatives from in today’s over processed fast that’s ok. Doing things out of social cause is deep, but to do something out of Love is not.

  • I’m not a fan of Left Behind, so I’ve never read them, but—correct me if I’m wrong on this—isn’t the Anti-Christ supposed to be a specific person who will appear, someday?

  • The Catholic Encyclopedia, in the entry for “Antichrist”, speaks of a “man of sin” as described by St. Paul:

    The Pauline doctrine is this: “the day of the Lord” will be preceded by “a revolt”, and the revelation of the “man of sin.” The latter will sit in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God; he will work signs and lying wonders by the power of Satan; he will seduce those who received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved; but the Lord Jesus shall kill him with the spirit of His mouth, and destroy him with the brightness of His coming. As to the time, “the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way.” Briefly, the “day of the Lord” will be preceded by the “man of sin” known in the Johannine Epistles as Antichrist; the “man of sin” is preceded by “a revolt,” or a great apostasy; this apostasy is the outcome of the “mystery of iniquity” which already “worketh”, and which, according to St. John, shows itself here and there by faint types of Antichrist. The Apostle gives three stages in the evolution of evil: the leaven of iniquity, the great apostasy, and the man of sin. But he adds a clause calculated to determine the time of the main event more accurately; he describes something first as a thing (to datechon), then as a person (ho katechon), preventing the occurrence of the main event: “Only he who now holdeth, do hold, until he be taken out of the way.”
    (Close quote)

    St. Augustine wrote:

    This much is certain, that with His second coming, Jesus Himself will quench the fires of that final persecution which will be Antichrist’s.  For it is written:  ‘He will slay him with the breath of His mouth, and He will destroy him with the brightness of His coming.
    (Close quote)  (CITY OF GOD, Book XVIII, Chapter 53)

  • Actually, that is also the Catholic interpretation of the Antichrist as well.  In Augustine’s City of God, book 18.52&53;, where he also says that the Church will not be free of tribulation before the coming of the Antichrist. There has always been a distinction between antichrists and the Antichrist in Catholic exegesis.

    In Christ,
    Charles Robertson

  • Pius X used the word Antichrist in an encyclical, E Supremi, section 5.  He capitalized it, making it a proper noun:

    While, on the other hand, and this according to the same apostle is the distinguishing mark of Antichrist, man has with infinite temerity put himself in the place of God, raising himself above all that is called God; in such wise that although he cannot utterly extinguish in himself all knowledge of God, he has contemned God’s majesty and, as it were, made of the universe a temple wherein he himself is to be adored.
    Close quote

  • I think there is an “anathema” attached to saying Anti-Christ is not a real person.

  • In any case, Cdl Biffi is reading from Solovyev who was not Catholic, though he seems to have many fans at the Vatican.

  • “how many times have you heard someone say, “I’m not religious. I’m spiritual,”

    I always say, “I’m not spiritual, I’m religious.”

  • The Scriptures speak of an antiChrist and the antiChrist.  It’s interesting to look at the instances.  See the Douay-Rheims search at

    The Catechism of the Catholic Church has 2 principle paragraphs about this:

    *675* Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.

    *676* The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism, especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.

    They’re a little spooky to tell the truth because it sure sounds like we’re getting there fast. Don’t you think so?

  • Actually, the personal Anti-Christ of these times which precede the Era of Peace and the chaining of Satan for the “thousand years” is before the “interim coming” of Christ in the Eucharistic age (not Anti-Christ’s rise again before the end of the world)  spoken of by the early Church Fathers found in theologian, Fr. Joseph Iannuzzi’s books – the only one granted permission by the Vatican to interpret Luisa Piccaretta’s writings on the Divine Will and Era of Peace associated with it while her cause is being studied.

    And, did Cardinal Biffi mention this personal Anti-Christ earlier?:

    In 2000, Biffi predicted that “Europe will either become Christian again or it will become Muslim.” He added ominously., “The vast majority of Muslims are coming here determined to remain outside our humanity.”

    That same year Biffi also said that he believed the Antichrist was alive and would soon rise to prominence.

    Biffi told a conference meeting in Bologna that the Antichrist was a prominent philanthropist who advocated causes like human rights, the environment and ecumenicism.

    Biffi said that this man – who he never identified – had a “fascinating personality” and espoused causes like vegetarianism, pacifism, environmentalism and animal rights.

    Biffi added that this Antichrist would be a Bible expert who would discard its truths to prosletyze for “vague and fashionable spiritual values.”

    They don’t mention his quoting of Soloviev as if it’s second handed.

  • Frank Sheed in Theology and Sanity has a chapter on the end of the world – He points out: “But if Antichrist is to be a real person and the Apostasy a real Apostasy coming at the end of the world, both Antichrist and Apostasy have their forerunners in every age of the world.For the truth is that just as every death is the end of the world in miniature,so every age is the last age in miniature.”

    I remember saying to my friends when I was in my 20’s if this isn’t the endtimes it’s a great preview of it.  I agree with everything said on ecology etc.  Michele Peate

  • Dear Domenico:  What a superb analysis of what the antichrist is by Cardinal Biffi and your lucid explanation of it.  Might I add to your sound explanation with a further addition of False Charity….

    How many abortion-minded and pro-homosexual minded Catholics today feel they are being ‘nice and tolerant’ toward others who opt for this life style by being SILENT, but are literally paving their way to hell with such a diabolical tolerance. They are crucifying Christ and His Church all over again!

    This is a prime example of FALSE CHARITY—another characteristic to be added to this revealing list above of what makes an antichrist: ecumenist, ecologist, and pacifist. False charity is the modernist theology of Satan, known as TOLERANCE, a device of the evil one to dress vice up like virtue to fool millions of souls today. Abortion is a woman’s choice and liberates her from large families or any children at all and homosexual marriage is a right of every man and woman to be sexually free. Both these sins are typical of Satan’s false charity and its rationale.

    What is the nature of false charity? It is, in truth, not charity at all or love of God, or love of one’s fellow man in the least, but a dastardly, diabolical cover-up like Judas’ false kiss of Christ that purports to be love but, in reality, has nothing whatsoever to do with love. In fact, it is the master of deceit in all of its subtleties, purporting to be one thing, yet being something else altogether.

    This false charity of the modern world is so devious and full of satanical deception that it deserved Our Lord Jesus Christ’s most powerful condemnation. After Judas betrayed Jesus with a false kiss, the Son of God uttered with authoritative finality:
    “It were better that thou were not born than to betray the Son of God with a kiss.”

  • Soloviev’s book that contains the short story of the antiChrist as a postscript is mostly about a European war with Islam which the Islamics win.  It’s not all that interesting, though somewhat gruesome.

    John Paul II also gave his ear to Cardinal Biffi’ focus on Soloviev.  Perhaps he did so because the Russian messianism preached by Soloviev dovetailed nicely with Polish messianism.  I have never been able to reconcile that with the passage 676 from the CCC which michigancatholic has quoted above.

    Soloviev experienced life-changing events associated with the Kabbalah and the materialization of an angel resulting from his study of it.

    An interesting book on Soloviev was written by D. Stremooukhoff (translated from French by Elizabeth Meyendorff) titled VLADIMIR SOLOVIEV & HIS MESSIANIC WORK.  He preached “free and universal theocracy, the true solidarity of all nations and all classes, Christianity practiced in public life, Christianized politics” according to the book (p. 195)  This quote comes from the same page:

    The role of the Slavs, as Soloviev sees it, is not only that of the development of the messianic seed of Russian Slavophilism, it is also to continue, at least idealistically, the Polish messianism which had blossomed in the beginning of the nineteenth century under the influence of German philosophy and mysticism.
    Close quote

  • MichiganCatholic:
    That’s more than a little spooky to me! It’s hard for me to believe that our day is not described therein. If we haven’t gone over a cliff, we’re sure hanging on by just a few fingers. This is surely motivation for more intense prayer. How many of the people we love are headed toward the brink of “charitable”  delusion?