A Dutch cardinal has said that Pope Francis’ failure to uphold the Church’s authentic faith makes him think of the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s prophecy of a “final trial” for the Church before the second coming of Christ.
Cardinal Willem Eijk, 64, the Archbishop of Utrecht, made the startling comment in an article dated 5 May 2018 at the National Catholic Register.
Eijk, who was created a cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012, got his medical degree before ordination to the priesthood and went on to complete three PhDs in medicine, philosophy and theology.
In the article, the Cardinal laments Pope Francis’ failure to bring clarity on the question of intercommunion with Protestants raised by German bishops. Early this year, the German bishops’ conference issued guidelines allowing Protestants of Catholic spouses to receive communion. The guidelines were issued following the approval of roughly three-quarters of the German bishops. Following the issuance of the guidelines, several dissenting bishops brought up the issue with the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) for resolution.
A meeting in April between the dissenting German bishops, leaders of the German bishops’ conference, and the CDF initially failed to get a resolution. The Pope told the German bishops to instead obtain unanimous approval on the issue. Cardinal Eijk said that he should have simply reminded them of the Church’s clear doctrine and practice.
“By failing to create clarity, great confusion is created among the faithful and the unity of the Church is endangered,” Cardinal Eijik said.
Last May, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) finally issued a formal rejection of the German guidelines, saying that the proposal was “not mature enough to be published.”
Up to the Local Bishops?
However, in a June 21 papal in-flight press conference after an ecumenical pilgrimage to Geneva, Pope Francis essentially contradicted the CDF’s ruling, emphasizing that it is up to the local bishop to decide under what conditions communion can be administered to non-Catholics, not local bishops’ conferences:
“The code says that the bishop of the particular church, and that’s an important word, ‘particular,’ meaning of a diocese, is responsible for this…it’s in his hands.”
Moreover, Francis said, that he had no problem with the content of the guidelines of the German bishops, and the only problem he had with it was that having an entire bishops’ conference deal with such questions “quickly becomes universal.” He likewise praised the bishops’ efforts, saying their document was “well thought out with a Christian spirit.”
German Bishops Officially Publish the Guidelines
On June 27, a mere six days after the in-flight press conference of the Pope, contrary to the initial ruling of the CDF, the German bishops officially published their controversial pastoral handout which allows Protestant spouses of Catholics, in certain cases, to receive Holy Communion. Since Pope Francis objected to a national bishops’ conference publishing such an official text, the German bishops now simply declare, as if by a rhetorical trick, that this just-released document is not a document of the German bishops’ conference. The title of the text is: “Walking with Christ – tracing unity. Inter-denominational marriages and sharing in the Eucharist.” The German bishops declare that the document is available as an orientation guide and its implementation is subject to the responsibility of individual bishops.
Final Trial of the Church?
Cardinal Eijk emphasised that the Pope should have taught and emphasised the perennial teaching of the Church, which expressly forbids non-Catholics from receiving communion, unless they embrace the Catholic Faith, and they fully believe in the Transubstantiation and the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.
“Observing that the bishops and, above all, the Successor of Peter fail to maintain and transmit faithfully and in unity the deposit of faith contained in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, I cannot help but think of Article 675 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” Cardinal Eijk wrote.
That article of the Catechism, which he quoted in full, warns of a trial that will “shake the faith of many believers.” It prophesies a persecution that 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.”
Cardinal Eijk warned publicly last year that by failing to clarify Church teaching over divorce and remarriage, Pope Francis was “fracturing” the Church.
Other Cardinals Recognize Sign of the End Times
He is not the first Cardinal to recognize the confusion in the Church caused by Pope Francis as a sign of the end times. At the Rome Life Forum last year, the late Cardinal Carlo Caffarra spoke of the confusion in the Church around marriage and the family as the fulfillment of a prophecy he received.
In a letter Cardinal Caffarra received from Sr. Lucia, the Fatima visionary wrote that the “final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Do not be afraid, (she added), because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.” That final battle, he said at the Rome Life Forum, “is being fulfilled today.”
Cardinal Burke too has identified the confusion and error in the Catholic Church under Pope Francis with the end times. “One may have the feeling that the Church gives the appearance of being unwilling to obey the mandates of Our Lord,” Cardinal Burke said in an interview with the Catholic Herald in November. “Then perhaps we have arrived at the End Times.”∎
John-Henry Westen, Lifesite News