The following objections are, in my wording, those objections found on the Catholic Doors web site, in a section devoted to debunking certain claimed private revelations. The problem with this section of Catholic Doors is that true private revelations, such as Fr. Gobbi, Medjugorje, Garabandal, and Gianna Talone-Sullivan, are grouped together with several false private revelations. Also, their objections to Fr. Gobbi are exaggerations and distortions; they are not a fair representation of how a member of the Marian Movement of Priests might understand the text. In other words, they use a 'straw man' argument (which represents an opponent's views in a distorted way that makes it easier to refute).
#1 The Only Light Left Burning?
“You also will be persecuted: the time will come when you will be the only light left burning, and thus, through your fidelity to the Gospel and your sufferings, you will be able to point out the way of salvation to a vast number of souls. And through my intervention, this light of yours will never be completely extinguished.” (Mary to Fr. Gobbi, message #67).
It is not possible that Fr. Gobbi and his group, the Marian Movement of Priests, could be the only light left burning in the world, because that would imply a loss of the Holy Spirit and grace and faith in the rest of the Church. Also, doesn't this imply that this event will occur during Fr. Gobbi's lifetime?
The objection exaggerates the meaning of the quote beyond its intended scope. Mary was referring to the priesthood, not to the whole world or the whole Church on earth, when she said 'only light left burning.' It is entirely reasonable to say that, in the future, all faithful priests will have a devotion to the Virgin Mary and that the priests who lack this devotion will be unfaithful. In fact, even today, devotion to Mary is a good indicator of how faithful a priest is.
Thus, Mary is saying that the Marian Movement of Priests (MMP) will spread such that every priest who is devoted to her will want to be a member. (Now this statement is a general statement, true in general, but should not be taken to mean that it is not possible for a priest to be devoted to Mary without being formally a member.) Some of these members of the MMP may not be formal members, but only members in their hearts and intentions, by means of a true devotion to Mary. In fact, in the messages to Fr. Gobbi, Mary repeatedly asks for as little 'organization' (i.e. bureaucracy, hierarchy, external membership) as possible: “With simplicity and without organization, let them give themselves to me as a little child gives himself completely to his own mother.” (Message #73).
Obviously, if the priests who are devoted to Mary are pointing out the way of salvation to a vast number of souls, then the only light left burning cannot refer to the whole world or the whole Church, for the Spirit is certainly working in that vast number who are led by those priests, as well as with other persons not led by them. Also Mary says: “Do not become uneasy if you find that movements inspired by souls to whom I have revealed myself are springing up here and there: on the contrary, all is part of my great plan....” (message 73) Therefore, these messages do not claim that the MMP is the only light in the whole world or the whole Church.
Also, this quote does not imply that such things will happen during Fr. Gobbi's lifetime. But notice the last sentence of the quote. When Mary says that 'this light of yours will never be completely extinguished,' she implies that the Marian Movement of Priests, after a time period in which Marian devotion, (typically signified by membership in the MMP,) is a found in every faithful priest, there will come a time when the MMP fades and is not the typical indicator of Marian devotion in a priest. The 'never be completely extinguished' phrase implies at least a significant decrease in the prevalence of the MMP (but not necessarily of Marian devotion in general). But the MMP, in some form, will be able to continue indefinitely.
#2 The Physical Manifestation of Our Lady?
“The time has come when some of my priest-sons are preparing to openly oppose my Son, myself, the Pope and the Church. I will then be no longer able to recognize them as my children; I myself will come down from heaven to place myself at the head of the cohort of my beloved sons, and I will crush their plots.” (message 72).
Are we to believe that Mary will descend from heaven in physical form and lead an actual battle against evil? Is not the final victory of the faith merely spiritual?
In the distant future, the Antichrist will reign for a period of nearly seven years. During his reign, there will be no Pope (for he will have been killed at the start of the Antichrist's reign). Christianity will be an outlaw religion, for the Antichrist wants to be the only one that people worship. About halfway through the Antichrist's reign (Daniel's half a week of years; Dan. 9:27), the Antichrist tries to destroy the Christians who are resisting him by destroying the Church from inside. He supports those apostates and severely heretical Christians (who are Christian in name only), and he gives them permission, and the support of the laws, to practice and promote their severely distorted version of Christianity. These apostates set up the abomination of desolation, which is a false Eucharist, and they replace the true sacrifice of the holy Mass with their own perverted celebration, which has 'priests' that are not validly ordained. Some of these invalid priests, are women (who cannot be validly ordained to the priesthood).
Notice that Mary refers to 'priest-sons.' This expression would seem to be redundant, since all priests are men. But Mary says this to counter the false claim by some persons that women could ever be validly ordained to the priesthood. Also, during the time of the last half of the Antichrist's reign, some women will claim to be priests and bishops. These apostates who claim to be the true Church, but are really just a perverse mockery of the Church, will even claim to elect a woman pope: but she cannot be validly a pope because any true Pope is also a Bishop and women can never be validly ordained as Bishops. This woman will be an antipope. She is also the false prophet predicted in the Book of Revelation.
Now the unfaithful priest-sons of that time consist in a few men who are validly ordained, who have joined with many falsely ordained women, along with men who are not validly ordained because false 'women bishops' invalidly 'ordained' them. These are given the authority by the Antichrist to set up their own version of the Church, to oppose the true Church, to deny that Jesus is the true Christ, to claim that the Antichrist is the Messiah, and to elect an invalid female antipope. Of course, they must completely deny the Virgin Mary, since she is the mother of Jesus Christ, whom they claim is not the Messiah. These are the ones that Mary says oppose her Son, herself, and the Church. They oppose the Pope (even though there is no pope at that time) in the sense that they oppose the Papacy, by electing an invalid antipope.
So, the reason that Mary says: “I will then be no longer able to recognize them as my children....” is that these have so distorted the faith and their own souls that they are unrecognizable as children of God.
Saint Paul teaches that the Antichrist, whom he called the Lawless One, will be destroyed by the Return of Jesus the true Christ (2 Thess 2:8). But what many of the faithful do not know, is that, with the Return of Christ, the Virgin Mary also returns. This is clear from the text of Nahum 1:15 (CPDV): “Behold, over the mountains, the feet of the evangelizer and the announcer of peace. Judah, celebrate your festivals and keep your vows. For Belial will never again pass through you; he has completely passed away.” The evangelizer is Jesus Christ, who gives us the true Gospel. His feet are over the mountains because this verse refers to His return. The announcer of peace is the Virgin Mary, the Queen of Peace. And the rest of the verse talks about the return of public religious feasts and celebrations after the destruction of the Antichrist (Belial, a false god).
So, when Christ returns, Mary returns with him. Now, at the time of the Return of Christ and Mary, all is not well on earth. The Antichrist had been thrown down, at his attempted false ascension, by the Archangel Michael; thus, he is broken and badly wounded, but not dead. At his defeat, his kingdom effectively ends, and, though there are many evil persons in the world awaiting punishment from God, the true faithful can publicly worship and preach and teach again. Christ teaches and leads the Church on earth. All the faithful priests of that terrible time have a strong Marian devotion. These true priests teach and preach, trying to convert the lost, teach the ignorant, and heal the wounds of the earth. Mary is their true mother and guide. Christ himself is on earth. Thereafter, that is, after a time for repentance and preaching, God punishes the unrepentant wicked with the Seven Bowls of God's Wrath. Then a time of peace begins (see more on this point below).
So, the reason that Mary says: “I myself will come down from heaven to place myself at the head of the cohort of my beloved sons, and I will crush their plots” is that she does return with Christ, and all faithful priests at that time have a strong Marian devotion. These priests, with Mary as their Mother, and with their Savior Christ on earth, teach and preach and provide the true Sacraments, thus crushing the plot of those apostates who tried to remake the Church in their own way.
#3 Divinely Guided?
“Thus it will again be the Spirit who will speak in you, and by means of the Spirit, making use of you, the whole world will be completely renewed.” (messages 84)
Are we to believe that the whole world will be renewed only by the Marian Movement of Priests, as if it has usurped or replaced the Church on earth? Is the indefectible Church in need of a renewal? Why do these messages speak of a 'new birth, new heaven, new earth, new time, new Covenant, new Church, new Jerusalem, new Israel, new world,' and so on?
These messages from Mary to Fr. Gobbi are not merely the words of Mary to Fr. Gobbi, but rather the words of Mary through Fr. Gobbi to all God's children in the world. These messages are addressed to all. Therefore, the whole world will be renewed by the Spirit working in all persons to whom the messages are addressed, namely every person of good will on earth.
Furthermore, the Church on earth is a pilgrim Church, constantly in need of renewal through the Sacraments and prayer and the truths of Tradition and Scripture. As for the various phrasings referring to a renewal, we know that in the very distant future, Christ will return for Judgment Day, and at that time He will take away heaven and earth, and make a new heaven and a new earth (Rev 21:1). Now, in truth, prior to that ultimate renewal, there will be various stages and degrees of renewal on earth. The Church seeks constant renewal. Each devout disciple of Christ seeks constant personal renewal.
Now the understanding of the future often found in Catholic eschatology throughout the history of the Church speaks of a renewal during the reign of the great monarch (symbolized by the he-goat of Daniel 8:5-8, who is also the leader of Daniel 9:25). His reign is a time of relative peace and relative holiness throughout the world. It is a time of renewal for the Church and the world. This time of renewal also takes place during the reign of a very holy Pope called the Angelic Shepherd. The time of this renewal is the 2040's and 2050's, and to some lesser extent the subsequent years.
After that, the world slips gradually into greater and greater sinfulness. Centuries pass and the world, having become very sinful, is controlled by ten kings only. After some length of time, the Antichrist's reign begins (2430/2431 to 2437 A.D.). Christ returns in 2437 A.D. to reward the faithful and punish the unrepentant, and to establish His kingdom on earth. Christ then ascends to Heaven (Second Ascension) and sends out the Holy Spirit (Second Pentecost) to renew the whole earth. Then follows a long period of true peace and true holiness on earth, where Christ reigns through the Eucharist and the other Sacraments, and through Tradition, Scripture, and Magisterium.
#4 New Saviors?
“In fact, as your Mother, I have gathered you all into my Immaculate Heart. Here is your refuge, the altar on which you will be immolated for the salvation of the world.” (message 87)
There is only one Savior, Jesus Christ. His one Sacrifice is sufficient to save anyone and everyone. Are Fr. Gobbi and the other Marian priests equal to Christ, or is their sacrifice necessary or sufficient to save anyone?
Certainly it is true that Christ is the one Savior of all, and His one Sacrifice is both necessary and sufficient in itself to save anyone and everyone. However, all faithful Catholics understand that we followers of Christ must take up our crosses and even, in one way or another, be crucified with him. Our sacrifices, small though they are, can only effective when united with the one true Sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The idea of a sacrificial life offered (metaphorically) on the altar of Mary's Immaculate Heart in no way contradicts or undermines Catholic teaching about Christ's sacrifice and our lives of sacrifice and prayer to God.
Also, it is not merely Fr. Gobbi's life of sacrifice, nor that of all Marian priests together, but the sacrifices and prayers of all the faithful, which, when united with Christ's Sacrifice, assist Christ just as Mary assists Christ, in effecting the salvation of the world.
#5 The Falling of the Church?
“Darkness will descend upon the Church and will become even more dense after your heavenly Mother has come to get the soul of the first of her beloved sons, Pope Paul VI, who is consummating on the cross his supreme sacrifice. As long as he lives, thanks to his grievous martyrdom, I can still hold back the arm of God's justice. But after his death, all will come crashing down.” (message 147)
This predicted event did not occur. The Church did not come crashing down. Also, Jesus said that the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church, so how can it come crashing down?
In true private revelation, it is often the case that a set of future events, even stretching over a long period of time, is referred to by means of their starting point. So, an early event, within a long series of events, is given the significance of the entire chain of events. In the same way, the death of Pope Paul VI is cited as the start of everything coming crashing down, i.e. of the preparations for the tribulation and of the first part of the tribulation itself.
This event does not seem to have occurred because it is still in the process of occurring. One could cite the many heresies of a majority of modern Biblical scholars and of most Catholic theologians. There is also a widespread pattern among the faithful whereby those who call themselves Catholic do not practice the faith and do not believe in correct doctrine. But this is only the beginning of a long process that includes the great apostasy (in the 2010's, esp. 2013/2014).
The set of events referred to is the 'second advent,' which is the time period from 1970 (the 2000th anniversary of the Immaculate Conception) to 1999, a total of 30 years. The year 1997 was the year of the birth of the great Catholic monarch. Once this 30 year time period is completed, everything is in place for the next 40 years (see my book The Bible and the Future of the World, 5th edition, chapter 'The Forty Years'). Those 40 years include the first part of the tribulation, after which the Church will have great success in teaching and preaching the Gospel.
Also, the expression 'darkness will descend' and 'all will come crashing down' are not to be taken literally, nor are they to be understood as implying that the Church will fail or fall or cease. Rather, the meaning is that the Church will pass through a difficult time. And the difficulties will include not only exterior sufferings for its members, but the interior sufferings of some members betraying the faith. Recall that the Apostles themselves, all but one, abandoned Christ during his time of suffering. Similarly, during the first part of the tribulation, many members of the Church and the hierarchy will abandon Christ in one way or another, by serious sins, or by apostasy, or by heresy.
Finally, the 'all will come crashing down' phrase is an allusion to the destruction of Vatican City in July of 2013. A new Vatican will not be built to replace it until after the first part of the tribulation.
#6 The Second Birth of Christ?
“His second coming, beloved children, will be like the first. As was his birth on this night, so also will be the return of Jesus in glory, before his final coming for the last judgment, the hour of which, however, is still hidden in the secrets of the Father.” (message 166)
“He will come suddenly and the world will not be ready for his coming. He will come for a judgment for which man will find himself unprepared. He will come to establish his kingdom in the world, after having defeated and annihilated his enemies.” (message 166)
“Even in his second coming, the Son will come to you through his Mother. As the Word of the Father made use of my virginal womb to come to you, so also will Jesus make use of my Immaculate Heart to come and reign in your midst.” (message 166)
It is a heresy to claim that Jesus will experience a second Incarnation or a second Birth when He return at His Second Coming. Furthermore, the heresy of millenarianism has already been condemned by the Church, including a reference in the Catechism (CCC, n. 675, 676).
The messages of Fr. Gobbi do not claim that Christ Jesus will become Incarnate again, nor that He will have a literal second Birth. Mary makes a comparison between Christ's Birth and His Return, but the similarities are figurative, not literal. Notice that Mary says Christ's return makes use, not of her virginal womb, as before, but of her Virginal Heart. For true devotion to Mary will become a part of every devout Christian's life, as the Church increases in holiness in the time leading up to the return of Christ. And Jesus Christ will return in glory as an adult, not a child.
Notice that, after Christ returns, he first defeats his enemies, namely the unrepentant followers of the Antichrist (with the Seven Bowls of God's Wrath). And only after that event does He establish His kingdom on earth.
Reply concerning millenarianism:
The majority view in the Church has been that the text of Revelation 20:1-10 is to be understood figuratively. In this view, there is no first resurrection of martyrs and Saints, and Christ returns only once, at the end of the Antichrist's reign which would also then be Judgment Day (the time of the general Resurrection of the just and the unjust. The thousand year reign is then understood to be figurative, and, in the view of many, to be already underway.
However, this majority view has never been definitively declared by the Magisterium. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, when it was led by Cardinal Ratzinger, responded that the Magisterium has not decided the question definitively. (Fr. Albert G. Roux, In Defense of the Orthodoxy of the Marian Movement of Priests...., 2001, p. 34).
Also, there is significant support for the minority view, that Christ will return twice, with an intermediate spiritual reign lasting over a thousand years, in the writings of the Saints and the Fathers of the Church. See the extensive documentation on this point by Fr. Iannuzzi. Also, the private revelations to Fr. Gobbi and to Gianna Talone Sullivan clearly teach two returns of Christ with an intermediate spiritual or Eucharistic reign.
Nevertheless, it is a heresy to claim any of the following things: (1) that the faithful have only an earthly kingdom to look forward to, not also a heavenly one, (2) that Christ will return merely to reign on earth in person, like an earthly king, for a long period of time, (3) that the long period of peace and holiness between Christ's two returns is a time of sensual and worldly pleasures and indulgences, (4) that this long time of peace and holiness is achieved by human efforts, whether gradual or sudden, and not by Divine intervention, (5) that there will be no sin on earth during that period of time.
In addition, there are other possible errors about this topic, which, though not heresy, are incorrect, including the following: (1) that the long period of peace and holiness between Christ's two returns is exactly one thousand years, (2) that this long period of time begins anytime before the year 2437 A.D.
#7 The Illuminating Of All Consciences
“Every person will see himself in the burning fire of divine truth. It will be like a judgment in miniature. And then Jesus Christ will bring his glorious reign in the world.” (message 383).
This teaching is also found in the messages to Gianna Talone Sullivan. Have not her messages been already condemned by the Church? This teaching is also found in the messages of Garabandal, yet in those messages Jesus does not return soon after the Illumination (also called the Warning).
There is nothing contrary to the faith in this teaching, that God will illuminate everyone's conscience to show them the state of their soul, their sins and failings, the state of their conscience. The messages to Gianna, and those of Garabandal, and those of Fr. Gobbi have not been condemned by the Church. It often happens that true private revelation, like that of Saint Faustina, passes through a time of persecution and rejection, before being generally accepted.
Furthermore, the statement that Christ's glorious reign will begin after the Illumination should not be understood to mean that Christ will return at that time, nor that sin will pass from the world at that time, nor that peace and holiness will reign over all the world at that time. Rather, it should be understood that the Illumination is merely the beginning of a long series of events leading up to the Return of Christ and his glorious Eucharistic reign on earth. Private revelation about the future, and eschatology in general, often refers to a long series of events, or even to the culmination of that long series of events, by means of its starting point.
There will be an Illumination of consciences, also called the Warning. It will occur during the reign of Pope Benedict XVI. The date will be announced beforehand.
#8 False Prophecies, Second Coming?
“It is a period of ten years. These are ten very important years. These are ten decisive years. I am asking you to spend them with me because you are entering into the final period of the second Advent, which will lead you to the triumph of my Immaculate Heart in the glorious coming of my son Jesus.
“In this period of ten years, there will come to completion that fullness of time which was pointed out to you by me, beginning with La Salette all the way to my most recent and present apparitions.
“In this period of ten years, there will come to its culmination that purification which, for a number of years now, you have been living through, and therefore the sufferings will become greater for all.
“In this period of ten years, there will come to completion the time of the great tribulation, which has been foretold to you in Holy Scripture, before the second coming of Jesus.
“In this period of ten years, the mystery of iniquity, prepared for by the ever increasing spread of apostasy, will become manifest.
“In this period of ten years, all the secrets which I have revealed to some of my children will come to pass, and all the events which have been foretold to you by me will take place.” (message 389).
This message was given in September of 1988. The next ten years did not see the return of Jesus or the fulfillment of any of the secrets, or the start of the great tribulation, or the apex of the great apostasy.
These ten years, from 1988 to 1997, inclusive, are called decisive years, during which we enter into the final part of the second Advent. From these words it is clear that these ten years are the end of the second Advent, but also merely the beginning of a long series of subsequent events, including the secrets, and the great tribulation, and the glorious return of Christ. The 'culmination' and 'completion' refer not to the end of the end, but to the end of the time of preparation (second Advent) and the subsequent beginning of the series of events leading to the return of Christ.
The sequence of events is as follows:
Second Advent - from 1970 (the 2000th anniversary of the Immaculate Conception) to 1999. This time period includes the 2000th anniversary of the Incarnation and Birth of Christ in 1986, and even the birth of the great Catholic monarch in 1997. This time period is called the second Advent because it prepares for subsequent periods of time which eventually reach fulfillment with the return of Christ.
the Forty Years - from the Jubilee Year of 2000 to the end of the three days of darkness in either late 2039 or early 2040. This time period includes a preparatory period from 2001 to 2009, with increased sufferings for the world. This time period also includes the first part of the tribulation (also known as the 'lesser' tribulation) from 2009/2010 to 2039/2040.
the reign of the great monarch and the Angelic Shepherd - in the 2040's and 2050's
a long period from the late 21st century to the early 25th century when the world slips gradually into greater and greater sinfulness
the reign of the ten kings in the 24th century
the nearly seven year reign of the Antichrist from 2430/2431 to 2437 A.D.
the Return of Christ, with Mary, in 2437 A.D.
the Seven Bowls of God's Wrath
the first Resurrection, Christ's Second Ascension, Mary's Second Assumption, Second Pentecost.
the Millennium of peace and holiness over all the earth
the second Return of Christ and Mary on Judgment Day, at the general Resurrection
God makes a new heaven and a new earth
Mary says that 'there will come to completion the time of the great tribulation' because, during the 'second advent' (1970 to 1999) all the preparations for the tribulation will be in place. The ten years about which she speaks is from 1988 to 1997, inclusive. The year 1997 was the year of the birth of the great Catholic monarch, who has such an important role during the first part of the tribulation (and his reign even prepares for the second part of the tribulation centuries later).
Again, Mary speaks in the manner of referring to a long series of events by means of their starting point, in this case, the ten years leading up to the birth of the great Catholic monarch, near the end of the second Advent. Mary is not saying that the secrets or the tribulation or the return of Christ take place during those ten years, but merely that all the preparations will be completed for that long series of events to occur.
#9 Restoration of the Kingdom on Earth?
Quote: “Christ Risen wills to restore his kingdom in your midst, that He may be glorified by the whole created universe.” (message 402)
Objection: Are we to believe that the Church is in need of restoration or renewal? Doesn't this imply that evil has prevailed or that the Holy Spirit has failed? Christ's kingdom in Heaven, so why would we expect Him to establish His kingdom on earth?
Reply: The Holy Spirit never fails to guide and protect and enliven the Church on earth. But, because of free will and sin, the Church on earth is in need of constant renewal and restoration. The Church on earth is a pilgrim Church, on a constant journey toward greater holiness and knowledge of God.
The kingdom of Christ is in Heaven. But He also taught us to pray “your will be done, on earth as in Heaven.” Therefore, the request of this prayer shall be granted by God. The kingdom of Christ will be established on earth; the Church will prevail over sin after Christ Returns. More on this in the Reply concerning Millenarianism.
# 10 False Prophecy?
Quote: “666 indicated thrice, that is to says for the third time, expresses the year 1998, nineteen hundred and ninety-eight. In this period of history, Freemasonry, assisted by its ecclesiastical form, will succeed in its great design: that of setting up an idol to put in the place of Christ and of his Church. A false christ and a false church.” (message 407)
Objection: In the year 1998, and in the time since, there has been no false christ or false church set up. Also, freemasonry, which was a minor problem for the Church in the distant past, is no longer a threat.
Reply: Earlier in this same message, Mary talks about 666 indicated once (666), which signifies the time period from about 666 A.D. to about 1332 A.D. So that number once indicates a long subsequent period of time. That general time period saw a rise in Islam, which denies the Trinity and Christ's Divinity. Then the number 666 indicated twice (1332) signifies the time period from about 1332 to about 1998. Again, it is a long period of time after 1332 to which she refers. In that period science and reason tried to prevail over and do away with faith. Therefore, the number 666 indicated three times (1998), does not refer to the exact year 1998, but to a long period of time following 1998, in which time period various sins and failings lead to a state of sin in the world which allows for the Antichrist to arrive hundreds of years later.
The reason that Mary uses the number 666, in this particular figurative manner, is that all of these sins and failings during these time periods lead eventually to a state in the world so sinful that the Antichrist can arise.
The literal masons were brick and stone workers, who built buildings, including church buildings; they operated under restrictions of local guilds. The literal freemasons were free from those restrictions and operated more widely, working on buildings, including churches. Eventually, some of the freemasons went beyond merely working a trade, forming organizations that sought political power and undue influence over Church and State.
Freemasons are referred to by Mary figuratively. Figurative masons are those persons in the world today who want to build the parishes and dioceses, at the local level, according to their own ideas and desires. Figurative freemasons are those persons who want to rework the worldwide Church according to their own ideas and desires. Such person are like masons, who build and rebuilt churches, who cut and shaped stones for those churches, and they are like freemasons, who want to be free from restrictions and who want to exercise power over the Church and the State to rework the figurative stones upon which the Church is built.
The ecclesiastical form of freemasonry refers to those persons within the clergy and religious life, within even the hierarchy of the Church, who want to rework the stones of the Church according to their own ideas (which are typically just the ideas taught to them by sinful secular society).
#11 The New Jerusalem
Quote: “Thus you are already contributing to the forming of the new Jerusalem, the holy city, which must come down from heaven, as a bride adorned for her husband.” (message 413)
Objection: I do not even see why Catholic Doors objects to this quote. They say something about the new Jerusalem is already on earth.
Reply: This quote from the messages merely refers to the Scripture: “And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband....” (Rev. 21:2). And since she says that we are already preparing for that holy city, i.e. on earth, it is clear that the Church on earth does prepare for and bring about the descent of the holy city from heaven to earth.
#12 False Prophecy of the Second Coming?
Quote: “And, as Mother, I want to take you by the hand and accompany you on the threshold of this decade....It is a very important decade. It is a period of time particularly marked by a strong presence of the Lord among you. During the last decade of your century, the event which I have foretold to you will have reached their completion....I am the Mother of the Second Advent.” (message 417)
Objection: This prediction that Christ would return by the year 2000 did not take place. The events that were foretold did not reach their completion, for none of those event occurred. Christ did not return then, so how could that time be a Second Advent?
Reply: When Mary said that these events 'reached their completion,' she meant that the preparations for those future events were completed, so that the events could then begin. Again, she speaks of a long series of events by indicating the starting point of that series of events. This last decade, ending with the year 1999 (or some would say 2000), was the last years of the Second Advent (from the 2000th anniversary of the Immaculate Conception in 1970, to the birth of the great monarch in 1997, to the Jubilee Year 2000 (which began with Advent of 1999).
Notice that Mary says only that it is 'a very important decade,' not the last decade ever, not so important as to mark the Return of Christ. Notice that in speaking about this decade, she refers to the Second Advent and its completion, but not to the completion of every time period and every event.
I have been told that Fr. Gobbi, some years before 2000, thought and openly taught that Christ would return before the year 2000 (or in the year 2000?). It is not uncommon for someone receiving a private revelation, not to understand portions of that revelation. For example, the king who received a revelation from God in the Book of Daniel could not understand its meaning and needed Daniel to interpret it for him. In another example, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich misunderstood some of her own private revelations. In yet another example, it is clear that the early Christians misunderstood the revelation in Scripture, thinking that Christ would return in their own generation.
The triumph of Mary's Immaculate Heart in the year 2000 refers to that year as the start of a long series of events, eventually culminating in the Return of Christ with Mary hundreds of years later.
Quote: “The glorious reign of Christ will coincide will be established after the complete defeat of Satan and all the spirits of evil, and the destruction of Satan's diabolical power. Thus he will be bound and cast into hell, and the gate of the abyss will be shut to that he can no longer get out to harm the world. And Christ will reign in the world.” (message 505)
Objection: This message refers to the 20th chapter from the Book of Revelation, which has often been used in the history of the Church to support millenarianism, the belief in a thousand year literal reign of Christ on earth. Saints Augustine and Aquinas interpreted that passage spiritually, not literally, such that Christ would return only once, not to establish His kingdom on earth, but to judge the living and the dead. What Fr. Gobbi teaches contradicts the understanding of this passage by those two Saints and by a majority of theologians and Church leaders.
Reply: The Church does not condemn terminology, but only ideas or teachings contrary to faith or morals. The term 'millenarianism' has been used in various ways, to indicate various ideas. In the most general terms, millenarianism refers to the 20th chapter of the Book of Revelation:
And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. And he cast him into the bottomless pit and shut him up and set a seal upon him, that he should no more seduce the nations till the thousand years be finished. And after that, he must be loosed a little time. And I saw seats. And they sat upon them: and judgment was given unto them. And the souls of them that were beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God and who had not adored the beast nor his image nor received his character on their foreheads or in their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. The rest of the dead lived not, till the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection. In these the second death hath no power. But they shall be priests of God and of Christ: and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Rev 20:1-6).
During this thousand year period of time, the devil is restrained, the souls of martyrs live again in a first resurrection, and they reign with Christ. A number of different interpretations of this text are possible, and are within acceptable belief at this point in time (2005), since the Magisterium has not decided definitively between the various interpretations.
However, Augustine and Aquinas both correctly reject the following ideas: (1) a visible reign of Christ, as an earthly king would reign, (2) a thousand years of worldly indulgences and carnal pleasures. Both of these rejected ideas are heresy. The Catechism, on the question of millenarianism, merely rejects a worldly version of this doctrine, with specifying or rejecting particular points (CCC 676). Therefore, the Catechism is not definitive on this question.
The remaining questions are as follows: (1) whether the thousand years is the present time (from Christ's resurrection until the general resurrection), or a future time (from the first resurrection to the general resurrection), (2) whether the first resurrection is to an earthly body, like Lazarus, or to a glorified body, just as all the faithful will have later, at the general resurrection. The exact length of the 'thousand years' is not at issue, when it is taken to refer to a future time.
Augustine and Aquinas taught that the first resurrection is that of Christ, and that our participation in it is merely spiritual until the general resurrection. Also, they taught that Christ reigns in the present time, through the Church and the Sacraments.
The messages of Fr. Gobbi support the idea of a future reign of Christ, not visibly, but through the Church and the Sacraments (esp. the Eucharist, which is Christ), lasting for a long time (perhaps over a thousand years), beginning with a bodily resurrection of only some of the faithful (the holy martyrs and Saints), awaiting a future second return of Christ at the time of the general resurrection. This view is contrary to some of what Augustine and Aquinas taught, however, it is not contrary to the Magisterium, which has not decided the interpretation of that passage.
by Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Nov. 17, 2005