Rorate Caeli

Anti-Christ is among us

This is an interesting report about the retreat given by Cardinal Biffi. It reminds me of some sermons of John Henry Cardinal Newman. He thought that liberalism was a figure of Anti-Christ. ( He gave these sermons before his conversion to the catholic Church and it was in the XIX Century... what would he say today? )
Father Laurent Demets, FSSP
Pope's Retreat Preacher Speaks on Antichrist as a "pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist"

By John-Henry Westen VATICAN CITY, March 1, 2007 ( -
Papal watchers are wondering what message Pope Benedict XVI was giving when he selected retired Bologna archbishop Cardinal Giacomo Biffi to preach the annual Lenten retreat to the Pope and the top members of the Vatican. Rocco Palmo, expert Vatican reporter for The Tablet, the international Catholic weekly published in London England has noted the significance of the selection of the Lenten retreat preacher. "Since time immemorial -- or, at least, the retreat's heightened profile over the 20th century -- the selection of the preacher has become a closely-watched indicator of the prevailing winds in the papal apartment," said Palmo on his blog.
"The choice often falling to a voice the Pope might like to tout... and not just for a higher prominence on the preaching circuit." Palmo added weight to his remarks noting that "Before their respective elections to the papacy, both Joseph Ratzinger and Karol Wojtyla were tapped to lead the annual exercises."
This year's selection when it became known created a stir since Cardinal Biffi, while he is known for orthodox faith and frank words, is most well known, at least in the secular media, for his preaching on the Antichrist. In fact, the Times of London reported in 2004 that the Cardinal described the Antichrist as "walking among us".The Lenten retreat did not disappoint. Cardinal Biffi picked up on his oft repeated theme of the Antichrist, basing his remarks on the works of Vladimir Soloviev, a Russian theologian who has received praise from Pope Benedict prior to his elevation to the pontificate.Quoting Soloviev, the Cardinal said "the Antichrist presents himself as pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist." "He will convoke an ecumenical council and will seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions, granting something to each one. The masses will follow him, with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants," he said according to a Zenit translation of a Vatican Radio summary here: .
In his "Tale of the Antichrist" Solovyov foresees that a small group of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants will resist and will say to the Antichrist: "You give us everything, except what interests us, Jesus Christ". For Cardinal Biffi, this narrative is a warning: "Today, in fact, we run the risk of having a Christianity which puts aside Jesus with his cross and resurrection." The 78-year-old cardinal added that if Christians "limited themselves to speaking of shared values they would be more accepted on television programs and in social groups. But in this way, they will have renounced Jesus, the overwhelming reality of the resurrection." The cardinal said he believes that this is "the danger that Christians face in our days … the Son of God cannot be reduced to a series of good projects sanctioned by the prevailing worldly mentality."
The preacher of the Spiritual Exercises added that "there are relative values, such as solidarity, love of peace and respect for nature. If these become absolute, uprooting or even opposing the proclamation of the event of salvation, then these values become an instigation to idolatry and obstacles on the way of salvation." Cardinal Biffi affirmed that "if Christianity -- on opening itself to the world and dialoguing with all -- dilutes the salvific event, it closes itself to a personal relationship with Jesus and places itself on the side of the Antichrist."Cardinal Biffi's reflections, in fact, are very similar to remarks Pope Benedict made last Fall in a meeting with Swiss Bishops. While Pope Benedict did not speak of the Antichrist, he spoke of a new false or "substitute" religion, calling it also a "successor" of religion."Modern society is not simply without morality, but it has, so to speak, 'discovered' and professes a part of morality", the Pope told the Swiss bishops. "These are the great themes of peace, non-violence, justice for all, concern for the poor, and respect for creation."However, the Pope warned that these "great moral themes" have "become an ethical complex that, precisely as a political force, has great power and constitutes for many the substitute for religion, or its successor."
"It is only if human life is respected from conception to death that the ethics of peace is also possible and credible," concluded the Pope. "It is only then that non-violence can express itself in every direction; only then that we truly welcome creation, and only then that we can arrive at true justice."


  1. Well, I don't know that there's really alot to add to that.

    Now I ask, Holy Father, please give us back the Catholic liturgy in its fullness, bluntly objective religion, and demand that the bishops and clergy live up to it. You have the power to make such a demand, and they have the free will to either heed it, or disregard it. The only question is whether they have the discipline to obey it, but that is their affair, and the responsibility to demand it is yours.

  2. Anonymous10:06 PM

    Here's an excerpt from one of Newman's discourses on the Antichrist that Father referred to (

    "Surely, there is at this day a confederacy of evil, marshalling its hosts from all parts of the world, organizing itself, taking its measures, enclosing the Church of Christ as in a net, and preparing the way for a general Apostasy from it. Whether this very Apostasy is to give birth to Antichrist, or whether he is still to be delayed, as he has already been delayed so long, we cannot know; but at any rate this Apostasy, and all its tokens and instruments, are of the Evil One, and savour of death. Far be it from any of us to be of those simple ones who are taken in that snare which is circling around us! Far be it from us to be seduced with the fair promises in which Satan is sure to hide his poison! Do you think he is so unskilful in his craft, as to ask you openly and plainly to join him in his warfare against the Truth? No; he offers you baits to tempt you. He promises you civil liberty; he promises you equality; he promises you trade and wealth; he promises you a remission of taxes; he promises you reform. This is the way in which he conceals from you the kind of work to which he is putting you; he tempts you to rail against your rulers and superiors; he does so himself, and induces you to imitate him; or he promises you illumination, {61}—he offers you knowledge, science, philosophy, enlargement of mind. He scoffs at times gone by; he scoffs at every institution which reveres them. He prompts you what to say, and then listens to you, and praises you, and encourages you. He bids you mount aloft. He shows you how to become as gods. Then he laughs and jokes with you, and gets intimate with you; he takes your hand, and gets his fingers between yours, and grasps them, and then you are his."

  3. Anonymous10:08 PM

    This is absolutely one of the most interesting bits of news and teaching that I have read from Rome in ages.

    The Anti-Christ as pacifict, ecologist and ecumenist. Are the American bishops listening?

    Still waiting for the Motu Proprio here in New Mexico, even though its doubtful that there is a priest in this diocese who can say a Latin Norvus Ordo Mass, let alone a Traditional Mass.

  4. Anonymous10:20 PM

    The destruction of european nations is on the way ; our evil vatican II council clergy remains silent (if not encouraging the devil), complicit of the antichrist :

  5. Anonymous11:12 PM

    Absolutely unbelievable ! Does it mean that we have to hope again ?
    Pacifist, ecologist, ecumenist new Anti Christ ! My dear French bishops must be red of shame !

  6. Anonymous11:53 PM

    Vegetarian, pacifist, ecumenist ...According to that description, the anti-Christ must surely be a modern Conventual Franciscan friar.


  7. What-is-going-on? I can only hope the Holy Father is about to drop a high-yield therm.

    This *IS* unbelievable stuff...just as the LA Misedumaction Confluence begins too.

    I thought his remarks about relative and absolute values were right on the mark.

  8. Anonymous12:40 AM

    "Vegetarian, pacifist, ecumenist ...According to that description, the anti-Christ must surely be a modern Conventual Franciscan friar"

    ROFL!! I see you've met what passes for the disciples of St. Francis nowadays! If he were still alive today, the good saint would have kicked them out of their La-Z-Boys, smashed their flatscreen widescreen TVs, and lit their new cars on fire.

  9. Anonymous12:50 AM

    Yup, and so much for pacifism. He would have told them off in no time flat.

    If you've ever read St. Francis' last testament, you wouldn't doubt that. He's not the storybook birth bath saint everyone now thinks.

  10. Anonymous12:57 AM

    Hey. S,-P. – love the fuming baby!


  11. Anonymous1:06 AM

    Is it the pope? He fits all the characteristics. When he visited Turkey there were people with banners calling him the AntiChrist.

  12. Well, the story is not on EWTN, not on CNA, and CWN or whoever feeds them has done a classic piece of editing...a real piece of work...I really do hate to do this, but you'll have to go here,

    It's just quicker. Latest post.

  13. Anonymous2:02 AM

    What is of interest to me is the selection of Cardinal Biffi for the role of the retreat's homilist. Under JPII, Cardinal Biffi had been hung out to dry, and virtually silenced.
    For some may recall that in September, 2003, the then active cardinal railed from the pulpit of Bologna's main cathedral of the need to stop further Muslim immigration into Italy. He warned that unfettered Muslim immigration into Italy would create the same problems seen in France with the "banlieu" rioting a common occurrence. The Vatican intervened: two days later, Biffi apologized, and he never broached the subject again.
    Perhaps Biffi's reappearance under Vatican auspices indicates that this pope, unlike the previous one, recognizes the mortal danger that Islam poses to the Church. Perhaps.

  14. Perhaps some of the SSPX / rad trad crew will stop presuming malicious intentions on the part of our wonderful Holy Father and trust that he knows best. I am greatly encouraged by this news on Cardinal Biffi and the subject of his Lenten reflections. Coupled with the Pope's message to the Swiss Episcopacy it is especially edifying.

    The 'we resist the Pope to his face crowd' will become increasingly red in their own faces. Issuing orders from blog comments sections about 'giving us this and that'. To paraphrase John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your Pope can do for you, but what you can do for your Pope." Long live Beneddict XVI!

  15. Did anyone else think it was Al Gore as you were reading it? I can't keep my mind away from the global warming silliness long enough to think clearly.

  16. yeah, but what about the motu proprio?

  17. Anonymous4:34 AM

    Maybe Cardinal Biffi's frank and true words will help budge the motu proprio off the dime.

    Oremus--and hard.

  18. Anonymous5:03 AM

    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."

  19. Anonymous5:20 AM

    Don't forget the principal goal of the Biffi's text:

    "One of the inalienable goals of the pastoral commitment is that of helping the people of God -- the little ones, as we should all be -- the joy and pride of being part of the Church,"

    Of course, the most important thing it's our personal encounter with Jesus!

  20. Thorn: Well except that Al Gore can't call an ecumenical council, but when I described it to my friends after choir rehearsal tonight, the first person to pipe up sad, "Is it Al Gore?!" Personally, I've always imagined that the Anti-Christ would have considerably more personal charisma than Al Gore. Even if he is game for a few jokes at his own expense, he's just boring. Can't help it.

  21. Anonymous1:49 PM

    "Antichrist presents himself as pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist. He will convoke an ecumenical council and will seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions, granting something to each one. The masses will follow him, with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants"

    Creepy. Is this a prophecy? It sure reads like one. Is this theological work quoted by Cardinal Biffi written in prophetic language?

    By the way, does this suggest that the Antichist will also be an Anti-pope? Surely a pope cannot, on account of infallibility, teach errors in faith and morals or preside over a Council that promulgates erros in those fields. But the quotation speaks of the summoning of an Ecumenical Council, and only a pope can convoke one. Surely then, this Ecumenical Council is not a council proper, but a bogus council, convoked by the antipope.

    This if the prophecy is to be believed.

  22. Well, as I stated on my blog: Biffi is not talking about the "spirit" of the antichrist, but a person, a person who, however he does it, convokes and grants. Who has the authority to convoke an ecumenical council? A Pope. It cannot be just any old "charismatic" figure, Kofu Anan can't call an ecumenical council can he?

    If Biffi just meant some grand world gathering of peackniks, he wouldn't have said ecumanical council, would he? The man is not an idiot. The point about the antichrist is that it is all plausible. Bill Gates calling an ecumanical council wouldn't pass the straight face test. What can he grant? That's the point, it has to be someone who either has, or seems to have the power to grant, to bind and loose.

    Speculation aside, what everyone can surely agree on is that Biffi said what he said as a result of an invitation by the Pope, and said it in front of the Pope and Curia. Why? The Pope must have know what Biffi was going to say. I have my ideas on why...

  23. Anonymous2:22 PM

    A note of caution on a simple matter of logic: just because the Anti-Christ presents himself as a pacifist, ecologist and ecumenist doesn't mean that pacifism, ecologists and ecumenism are bad in themselves. On a practical level, it probably means the opposite -- that the Anti-Christ would try to appropriate good causes with which to disguise himself.

  24. Anonymous4:14 PM

    It's no good to speculate on the meaning of Biffi's preaching. In order to understand what he is talking about, you need to read Soloviev's story of the Antichrist.

  25. Anonymous4:14 PM

    Regarding the note of caution, the "relative value" of those positions is recognized in the speech itself. Those values, however, cannot be held as superior to the salvific message. Christianity cannot be watered down:

    "there are relative values, such as solidarity, love of peace and respect for nature. If these become absolute, uprooting or even opposing the proclamation of the event of salvation, then these values become an instigation to idolatry and obstacles on the way of salvation".

    Btw, I´m the anonymous that posted the message before Simon-Peter´s last one.

  26. Anonymous: A pope is only human. He has the capacity to make all the errors in judgement that any human being can make. It is precisely because of infallibility that if he DOES teach or promulgate heresy, he may with certainty be declared anti-pope. The criteria for infallibility is fairly specific, it would deal with a churchwide legislation on faith and morals, a dogmatic utterance. I suspect that that is why "infallible" utterances don't happen very often.

    Just as the divine mandate that the gates of hell will not prevail against the church does not mean that the church cannot be attacked, hurt, or set back in its work, infallibility doesn't mean that a man supposed to be pope cannot prove himself anti-pope by speaking fallibly. Infallible and non contradictory church legislation is one guarantee oflegitimate papacy.

  27. Anonymous4:28 PM

    I agree with you, prof basto. It's just that some of the above comments seemed to infer that Biffi was holding pacifists and ecologists themselves suspect.

  28. Anonymous4:57 PM

    As soon as I saw this I thought "He's talking about John Paul II!" not, of course, as Antichrist but as one who championed false ecumenism, pacifism and, to a degree, ecomania. I thought "allowing this is Benedict's way of separating himself from the previous papacy which, one would hope, became more and more scandalous and abhorrent to him as it went on. This is as far as he can go in telling us how he really feels about his predecessor". I thought that this was so obvious that it would be all the chatter over at Rorate Coeli, but I see I was wrong, no one else seems to have seen it that way, but I still think that's what this is all about and reading here that Cdl. Biffi was persecuted by John Paul II for, essentially, being insufficiently ecumenist and pacifistic in his view of our wonderful Mohammedan brothers and sisters and that everyone in Rome knows it only confirms my view. Yes, indeed, as someone here said, this never could have happened under John Paul II, and that is the key to understanding what it is all about.

    As for the criticism that this is too much talk too little action. No, this is action, just firing this shot over the bows of Good Ship Liberalism, is a very definite act, one that has the possibility at least of changing the climate of ideas in the City and in the world so that action of a more concrete nature becomes possible. Of course we will not joining the rose colored glasses crowd and preach a deified pope whose bad appointments, for example, are not to be criticized because they are part of a Secret Agenda which sacrifices at little here and a little there for the achievement of the Master Plan. When souls are lost due to some bad papal decision we cry out because we care about souls and will never, ever be complacent when we see them being thrown away. We care about souls.

  29. Anonymous6:23 PM

    Oh Charles, you are the anchor that allows my soul to soar.

    But seriously...I agree.
    Not only did JP2's papacy get loonier as it went on, but Ratzinger even implied that he might well be called "John Paul, the great" in his eulogy. Was he playing to the crowd, to the upcoming enclave? And we know that Ratzinger said of 1968, "I didn't change, they changed."...but really now, he's just a lukewarm modernist who still wades through the amorphous, formless New Theology.

    So...seeing that Benedict XVI is now an octogenarian...who's going to be the next pope? or perhaps easier to answer...what will the new pope be like, given the current field?

  30. Anonymous6:45 PM

    John Paul II as ecomaniac? Wow. I'm getting the sense from this conversation that some so-called traditionalists are really just Rush-baby ditto heads with a little religion thrown in for good measure. Has tradition come to this -- that we identify with the Right in all things, even on the politics of the environment? Talk about "creepy!"

  31. Anonymous8:03 PM

    Re ecological enthusiasms: Of course when we speak of the Antichrist's enthusiasm for ecology we are talking, so obviously that one would hope that no mind dense enough to misunderstand us could be found, about the false use of same, ie., the kind of messianic, quasi religious, anti-factual, Algoreonian, political use of ecological concerns that Cardinal Pell recently warned of, not about genuine love for and desire to protect God's creation.

    Re John Paul II's ecological enthusiasms, a little bit over the top I'd say as evidenced by this passage from his 2001 "Ecological Conversion" General Audience speech:

    Therefore, not only is a "physical" ecology at stake, attentive to safeguarding the habitat of different living beings, but also a "human" ecology that will render the life of creatures more dignified, protecting the radical good of life in all its manifestations and preparing an environment for future generations that is closer to the plan of the Creator.

    In this newfound harmony with nature and with themselves, men and women will once again walk in the garden of creation, seeking to make the goods of the earth available to all and not just to the privileged few, exactly as the biblical Jubilee suggested (see Leviticus 25:8-13,23). In the midst of those wonders we discover the voice of the Creator, transmitted by heaven and earth, day and night: a language "without words whose sound is heard," capable of crossing all frontiers (see Psalm 19 [18]:2-5).

    The entire speech may be found at:

  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

  33. I'm throwing the flag, I request a moderator.


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