“A priest goes to Heaven or a priest goes to Hell with a thousand people behind” – (St John Vianney).
The “smoke of Satan” that entered the Catholic Church at the time of the Second Vatican Council had as its main aim the corruption of the clergy. The Devil is no fool. He knows that if he can achieve the enslavement of just one single priest to his desires, he will be able to “drag innumerous souls to Hell” with him.
The grave Apostasy and falling away from the Faith of countless souls in the years following the Second Vatican Council and its “opening to the world” (and with the subsequent changing of the transcendental God-centred holy Tridentine Mass for a pale and inferior Mass more centered on the community) reveals the success the Devil has had so far. Modernism had taken a firm root and millions were falling for its errors.
In 1884 Pope Leo XIII had been given a prophetic vision of what was to befall the Church in the coming century; in abject horror he witnessed how Satan boasted to God that if given 75 to 100 years of freedom he could destroy the Catholic Church. The evil ideology of atheistic Communism that had already begun seeping into the world was the Devil’s first tool used to affect this destruction. The second, and linked to the first, was the infiltration of this ideology into the holy Catholic priesthood.
An article in Christian Order magazine (November 2000) recounts how Bella Dodd (who served as legal counsel to the Communist Party in the United States until her conversion to Catholicism) and her associate, Douglas Hyde, revealed the plan for communist subversion of the Church:
Ex-Communist and celebrated convert Douglas Hyde revealed long ago that in the 1930s the Communist leadership issued a worldwide directive about infiltrating the Catholic Church. While in the early 1950s, Mrs. Bella Dodd was also providing detailed explanations of the Communist subversion of the Church. Speaking as a former high ranking official of the American Communist Party, Mrs. Dodd said: “In the 1930s we put eleven hundred men into the priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within.” The idea was for these men to be ordained and progress to positions of influence and authority as Monsignors and Bishops. A dozen years before Vatican II she stated that: “Right now they are in the highest places in the Church” — where they were working to bring about change in order to weaken the Church’s effectiveness against Communism. She also said that these changes would be so drastic that “you will not recognise the Catholic Church.”
Dodd gave voluminous testimony on communist infiltration of Church and state before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee in the 1950s. In a lecture at Fordham University during that time, Dodd unveiled what would seem to be an uncanny prophecy of future chaos in the Church. The lecture was attended by a monk whose account of the talk is presented in Christian Order:
I listened to that woman for four hours and she had my hair standing on end. Everything she said has been fulfilled to the letter. You would think she was the world’s greatest prophet, but she was no prophet. She was merely exposing the step-by-step battle plan of Communist subversion of the Catholic Church. She explained that of all the world’s religions, the Catholic Church was the only one feared by the Communists, for it was its only effective opponent. The whole idea was to destroy, not the institution of the Church, but rather the Faith of the people, and even use the institution of the Church, if possible, to destroy the Faith through the promotion of a pseudo-religion: something that resembled Catholicism but was not the real thing. Once the Faith was destroyed, she explained that there would be a guilt complex introduced into the Church…. to label the ‘Church of the past’ as being oppressive, authoritarian, full of prejudices, arrogant in claiming to be the sole possessor of truth, and responsible for the divisions of religious bodies throughout the centuries. This would be necessary in order to shame Church leaders into an ‘openness to the world,’ and to a more flexible attitude toward all religions and philosophies. The Communists would then exploit this openness in order to undermine the Church. (Source)
This attempt to destroy the Church could not possibly have worked without first corrupting the shepherds of souls. For this reason all Catholics have a godly duty to love and pray unceasingly for our priests.
An essential part of the message of Fatima is the warning of the spreading of the “errors” of Communism and its primordial desire to corrupt the holy priesthood that has dedicated itself to God and the Church for the salvation of souls. Sister Lucia spoke of this to Father Agustin Fuentes:
“Father, the devil is in the mood for engaging in a decisive battle against the Blessed Virgin. And the devil knows what it is that most offends God and which in a short space of time will gain for him the greatest number of souls. Thus, the devil does everything to overcome souls consecrated to God, because in this way, the devil will succeed in leaving souls of the faithful abandoned by their leaders, thereby the more easily will he seize them.
That which afflicts the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Heart of Jesus is the fall of religious and priestly souls. The devil knows that religious and priests who fall away from their beautiful vocation drag innumerable souls to Hell … The devil wishes to take possession of consecrated souls. He tries to corrupt them in order to lull to sleep the souls of laypeople and thereby lead them to final impenitence.” (Sister Lucia of Fatima to Father Agustin Fuentes, December, 1957)
In one of her approved visions St Hildegard recounts:
“As man became flesh and blood at the very instant that God formed him from the slime of the earth and breathed into him the breath of life, so the same power of God, at the words of the priest, changes the offering of bread, wine and water upon the altar into the true Flesh and true Blood of Christ, my Spouse; which, however, on account of the blindness occasioned by Adam’s fall, man cannot see with his corporal eyes. The wounds of my Spouse remain fresh and open, as long as those of sinful man are not closed. They are outraged by those priests who, instead of preserving me pure and serving me in holiness, seek with insatiable avidity to heap up riches and benefice on benefice. They tear my vesture by their infidelity to the law, to the Gospel, to the priesthood. They stain my mantle by their neglect of the precepts laid down for them, instead of fulfilling them joyfully and perfectly by continence like unto the beauty of the emerald, […]
The false priests deceive themselves; they crave the honour attached to their functions while dreading the trouble. But it is impossible for them to have one without the other, since to no one who has not laboured will wages be given. When God’s grace touches a man, it urges him to labour for the reward. God now punishes man by raining evils upon him.”
The gist of the above vision appears to substantiate Sister Lucia’s contention that Satan is especially targeting priests to corrupt them and by that corruption, dragging countless numbers of Catholics to Hell. In scripture, very often, sins of impurity of the flesh are linked with sins of impurity in belief and worship.
Two of the Catholic Church’s most renowned priests of recent times, St John Vianney and St Padre Pio, whose untiring and devoted work for souls converted innumerable men from lives of sin or lukewarmness to lives of holiness, were under constant attack from the wrath of the Devil. Many witnesses recalled how they were not only attacked verbally in the foulest language, but even physically abused, dragged from their beds at night and beaten. They never wavered in their “labours” and their love and trust in God, for neither priest nor layman will ever be tested beyond their ability to resist:
”No temptation has taken you but such as is common to man, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above what ye are able but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it“ – (1 Corinthians 10:13).
Many victim souls, like St Thérèse of Lisieux, of enclosed religious orders, offer the whole of their lives for priests, and in doing so they too are helping to save countless souls from Hell. But we can do the same: in whatever vocation we have chosen to follow, and from wherever we may be living, we can pray and make daily little sacrifices for our priests, that they should remain holy, pure, steadfast and strong in their faith.
Mary, Queen of the clergy, pray for priests.
O my beloved Jesus,
I bring Thee the poverty of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst enrich them.
I bring Thee the emptiness of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst fill them.
I bring Thee the coldness of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst warm them.
I bring Thee the loneliness of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst embrace them.
I bring Thee the sorrows of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst console them.
I bring Thee the illnesses of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst heal them.
I bring Thee the impurities of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst wash them clean.
I bring Thee the nakedness of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst clothe them.
I bring Thee the silence of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst speak to them.
I bring Thee the brokenness of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst repair them.
I bring Thee the infirmities of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst heal them.
I bring Thee the nothingness of Thy priests that Thou wouldst be their all.
I bring Thee the darkness of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst illuminate them,
I bring Thee the bitterness of Thy priests,
that Thou wouldst give them to taste of Thy sweetness.
I bring Thee the struggles of Thy priests, that Thou wouldst be victorious in them.
I give Thee the blindness of Thy priests that Thou wouldst give them clear vision.
I bring Thee the weariness of Thy priests that Thou wouldst be their rest.
I bring Thee the thirst of Thy priests that Thou wouldst quench it.
I bring Thee the fears of Thy priests that Thou wouldst give them confidence.
I give thee Thee the doubts of Thy priests that Thou wouldst strengthen their faith.
I bring Thee the despondency of Thy priests that Thou wouldst infuse them with hope.
I bring Thee the sadness of Thy priests that Thou wouldst be their joy.
I bring Thee all Thy priests, especially those in their last agony, those who are locked in spiritual combat, and those being tempted to sin against faith and against hope.
I bring Thee the death of Thy priests that Thou wouldst be their life eternal.
I bring Thee all those priest of Thine for whom Thy presence in the Most Holy Sacrament has become a matter of indifference, of routine, and of neglect.
Beloved Lord Jesus, have mercy on those priests of Thine whose minds have grown dark, whose hearts have grown cold, and who have succumbed to the enticements of the world, the weariness of the flesh, and the deceits of the devil. Deliver them all, O Jesus, for they are Thine, and Thou wilt not deny Thine own. (Source of Prayer, VULTUS CHRISTI)