Jesus’s words console us that the Church will never be defeated, but they also warn us that the gates of hell will attempt to overcome the Church, and may at times even appear to be close to succeeding. Cornelius a Lapide expanded upon Our Lord’s words in his commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew:
“Therefore, by His word Christ first encourages His Church that she should not be faint-hearted when she sees herself attacked by all the power of Satan and wicked men. In the second place, He as it were sounds a trumpet for her, that she may always watch with her armor on against so many enemies, who attack her with such hatred.”
When we see the Church attacked by Satan we should not despair — Our Lord told us this would happen, so our response should be to trust God and fight as true Christians.
Satan has always waged this war not only against the Church but against all mankind. Today we perceive that he attacks with more intensity than any of us have ever witnessed, and without having to hide.
Satan has always waged this war not only against the Church but against all mankind. Today we perceive that he attacks with more intensity than any of us have ever witnessed, and without having to hide. Although we could all identify various ways in which these attacks have become more apparent in recent years, the following horrors indicate the extent to which Satan has gained tremendous power over secular society:
- The championing of abortion not merely as a regrettable last resort but as a fundamental right to be cherished
- Attacks on children, particularly in the form of widespread pedophilia
- The militant promotion of transgenderism and fluid gender identity as a non-negotiable truth which we must all accept if we wish to participate in society
- An insistence that we must all accept the most preposterous and wicked lies from our government, the media, and so-called “educators”
- A growing medical tyranny that elevates self-contradictory “science” over common sense and clearly observable reality
- The apparent fulfillment of Sister Lucia’s prophetic warning to Cardinal Carlo Caffarra that the "decisive battle between the kingdom of Christ and Satan will be over marriage and the family”
- The rise of explicit “Satanism,” with Satan clubs in schools and even Satanic messages in children’s entertainment
So we have these, and other, clear signs of Satan’s growing influence in society. We may not know why Satan has more tangible influence today, but we cannot dispute the fact that he does.
Because Satan is wielding greater influence throughout secular society, we would expect him to be in a position to wage an intensified war on the Church. And indeed we have many indications of this increased attack on the Catholic Church, including, among others:
- Francis’s worship of the Pachamama
- The Vatican’s support of the various anti-Catholic Great Reset initiatives, including the “vaccine”
- The overtly heretical and immoral Synod on Synodality
- Francis’s increasingly direct and vile attacks on Traditional Catholicism, as he embraces various non-Catholic religions
In light of these blasphemous realities and others, we can see that the gates of hell appear to be close to prevailing against the Church. As Cardinal Gerhard Müller said of the Synod on Synodality in his groundbreaking interview with Raymond Arroyo, “If they succeed, it will be the end of the Catholic Church.”
Our Lord’s words about the gates of hell — far from being an indication that the Church is not from God, the viscous attacks from the gates of hell place a spotlight on the institution Satan hates the most.
We must recognize, however, that unlike the scandals present in non-Catholic religions, all of these blasphemous realities are foreign to the nature of the Church. Satan and his followers have used all such manifestations of the Spirit of Vatican II to attack the Catholic Church in much the same way that a combatant might try to poison his enemy. We cannot blame the Church for these evils any more than we would blame the poisoning victim for the poison his enemy has introduced into his body.
For some uncritical thinkers, though, these increasing scandals from Rome suggest that the Catholic Church cannot possibly be the true Church established by Our Lord. But such a conclusion would completely ignore or misunderstand Our Lord’s words about the gates of hell — far from being an indication that the Church is not from God, the viscous attacks from the gates of hell place a spotlight on the institution Satan hates the most. In fact, if we read the words of St. Jerome, we would have to conclude that a lack of persecution from Satan, especially today, would be a conclusive proof that the Church is not from God:
“We know that the Church will be harassed by persecution until the end of the world, but it cannot be destroyed: it shall be tried, but not overcome for such is the promise of an omnipotent God whose word is as a law of nature.”
Thus we have this paradoxical reality: because the gates of hell are so viciously attacking the Church, we can be confident that the Church is the only place for us to be now. Were it not for Jesus’s promise that the gates of hell would not prevail against the Church, we might think it would be better to leave the Church. But Our Lord’s promise applies only to the Catholic Church, which is the only church He established — the Church is the only “safe-harbor.” As Michael Matt emphasized in his recent Remnant TV video, if we were to abandon the Catholic Faith we would lose this protection promised by Our Lord.
All of this should be reassuring for Catholics who resolve to remain in the Church, but we need to consider two other aspects to determine “where we should stand” as the gates of hell attempt to prevail against the Church: whether we must be Traditional Catholics; and whether Satan’s attacks on the Church impose any special obligations on us.
First, we must recognize that Satan is not “attacking” the so-called Conciliar Church (which Francis has conveniently called the Synodal Church). Rather, Satan uses the Synodal Church and its perversions to wage war on the Catholic Church.
First, we must recognize that Satan is not “attacking” the so-called Conciliar Church (which Francis has conveniently called the Synodal Church). Rather, Satan uses the Synodal Church and its perversions to wage war on the Catholic Church. In this fight, only the immutable Catholic Faith and Traditional Catholics are being attacked by the infiltrators. As such, it should be disconcerting to Synodal Catholics to find that although Satan has more power than ever over the world, and hates the Catholic Church more than anything else, their shepherds applaud a new springtime in which all beliefs (other than Traditional Catholicism!) are embraced. Like it or not, the Synodal Catholics stand with Francis, Cupich and Fr. James Martin, as those false shepherds attack Traditional Catholics for believing and practicing what all the saints believed and practiced; and because of this, Satan makes sure the gates of hell are always at the service of the Synodal Church.
Moreover, Our Lord told us to judge by fruits and we can readily observe that the fruits of Traditional Catholicism are uniquely wholesome and genuinely Catholic, whereas the fruits of the Synodal Church are astonishingly putrid and anti-Catholic. No reasonable observer can think that the Synodal Church is the beneficiary of Our Lord’s promise that the gates of hell will not prevail — it is far more logical to see the Synodal Church as a vital part of the gates of hell. So we must be “Traditional Catholics” if we want to remain Catholic.
This reality informs our analysis of the second consideration about where we should stand: whether the situation imposes any special obligations on us. Clearly we must defend Traditional Catholicism and oppose the Synodal Church and all its pomps. Although we can all play a role in this consistent with our duty of state, the bishops certainly have the greatest responsibilities.
Is it appropriate for good shepherds to find comfortable and safe hiding spots while the wolves devour the flock? Does it not seem, rather, that the shepherds have a duty to do everything in their power to repel the wolves? The shepherds cannot excuse themselves from this duty by lamenting that the wolves are fellow bishops, including one dressed in white: Our Lord told us to beware of wolves in sheep’s clothing. If He instead meant to patiently bear with wolves in sheep’s clothing, He obviously could have found words to express that idea.
On this point we ought to consider the grave harms caused by patiently bearing with the wolves as they devour the flock. Leo XIII made it clear that we become accomplices to the enemies if we remain silent:
“These are our enemies, whose plan it is (and do not even hide, but speak it abroad) to annihilate, if possible, the true religion, the true Catholic religion. To succeed, they recoil from nothing; they know full well that the intimidation of good souls will simplify their aim. . . . To desist or keep silence in the face of such a clamor against the truth is either pure weakness or a hesitation in the faith. In both cases, one would greatly dishonor God. The salvation of one’s soul and that of others would be put in grave danger since such an action would be to work for the enemies of the faith, because there is nothing that so encourages the audacity of evildoers as the weakness of good people. . . . Let us add: Christians are born to fight.” (from Fr. A Roussel’s Liberalism & Catholicism, p. 131).
So we have a duty to defend the truth, which means that we must defend it entirely, insofar as we are able to do so.
If we stand as Traditional Catholics determined to do everything in our power to defend the Mystical Body of Christ, Satan will hate us. But if this is where we stand, we can have absolute confidence that God will never abandon us.
It also seems fitting for each of us to cooperate with God’s grace to the best of our ability. If we were defending a fortress being attacked by an enemy that wanted to torture and kill the innocent souls within it, we would of course do all we could to overcome the enemy. We know that in this spiritual war we are stronger in proportion to our determination to do God’s will as saints. As we read from St. Paul at the beginning of Advent, we must put on the armor of light:
“Let us therefore cast off darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 13:11-14)
If we want to manfully defend against the gates of hell, we must act as though we truly believe what Jesus and His saints taught. This means we should strive to lead holy lives.
Where do we stand as the gates of hell seem so close to prevailing over the Church? If we stand as Traditional Catholics determined to do everything in our power to defend the Mystical Body of Christ, Satan will hate us. But if this is where we stand, we can have absolute confidence that God will never abandon us and that we will be among those He uses to defend His Church against these harrowing assaults from the gates of hell. May the Blessed Virgin Mary help us to always fight as true Christians! Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!
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