St Joseph and the Era of Peace

'Childhood of Christ', c1620. Artist: Gerrit van Honthorst

by Hugh Owen

At the end of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, St. Joseph appeared with the Child Jesus blessing the world so that there could be peace. A number of insightful commentators have interpreted this as a sign that St. Joseph would play a central role in protecting the faithful through the fiery trial that the Church and the world would undergo, if–as, unfortunately has been the case–her requests were not promptly obeyed. I would like to invite all of you to join us in praying a novena to St. Joseph from April 23 until the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker on May 1, that we may all live our consecration to Jesus through Mary and that the Holy Father may consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary with all the Bishops as soon as possible.

Novena Prayer

O glorious St. Joseph, spouse of the Immaculate Virgin,
obtain for me a pure, humble, and charitable mind,
and perfect resignation to the Divine Will.
Be my guide, father, and model throughout life
that I may merit to die as you did
in the arms of Jesus and Mary.
Please obtain for the Pope the grace to consecrate Russia
to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
with all the Bishops as soon as possible,
and keep me and all the members of the Church faithful unto death. Amen.

In his book Trial, Tribulation, and Triumph, researcher Desmond Birch cites a number of holy men and women of recent centuries who prophesied an Ecumenical Council during the future era of peace promised by Our Lady of Fatima that will define the sense of Scripture on certain important, unresolved questions. In particular, he mentions the seventeenth century founder of an institute for priests, Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser; Sr. Jeanne le Royer, a French nun and mystic of the eighteenth century; and a nineteenth century French nun known as the Ecstatic of Tours.

Before presenting the prophecies of a final Ecumenical Council during the Era of Peace, Birch cites the work of Scripture scholar Fr. Kramer whose analysis of the Book of Revelation argues that “the seven thunders” of chapters eleven and twelve of the Apocalypse refer to the declarations of an Ecumenical Council during the Era of Peace, before the appearance of the final Antichrist. According to Fr. Kramer:

The Seven Thunders may then be declarations of an ecumenical council clearing up all that was left unfinished by the magisterial office of the Church, before God will permit Satan to exert his supreme efforts to destroy her from without. The Seven Thunders will strengthen the faithful and loyal clergy in their belief and practices, expel all who are addicted to corrupt lives and superstitions and manifest the unwavering stand of the Church on the then prevailing maxims of the world . . . Through the Seven Thunders, God gave him (St. John) a special revelation of great importance, indicating what would immediately precede the coming of Antichrist, but it was to remain a secret to the Church.

Venerable Bartholomew Holzhauser was a holy priest of the seventeenth century, founder of an Institute for the formation of priests approved by Pope Innocent XI in 1680. Holzhauser accurately predicted the execution of Charles I of England and the persecution of the Catholic Church in England for 120 years. (Prohibition of Mass under penalty of death lasted from 1658 until 1778.) The documents for his cause of canonization attribute miracles of healing to him. In one of his works, Venerable Hozhauser divided the history of the Church into seven periods and situated the seventeenth century Church in the fifth of these periods. He wrote:

During the fifth period, we saw only calamities and devastation; oppression of Catholics by tyrants and heretics; execution of Kings, and conspiracies to set up republics . . . Are we not to fear, during this period, that the Mohammedans will come again, working out their sinister schemes against the Latin Church? . . . During this period men will abuse the freedom of conscience conceded to them . . . there will be laxity in divine and human precepts. Discipline will suffer. The holy canons will be completely disregarded, and the clergy will not respect the laws of the Church. Everyone will be carried away and led to believe and to do what he fancies, according to the manner of the flesh . . . But, by the hand of God Almighty, there occurs so wondrous a change during the sixth period that no one can humanly visualize it.

The sixth period of the Church will begin with the powerful Monarch and the holy Pontiff . . . and it will last until the revelation of Antichrist. In this period, God will console His Holy Church for the affliction and great tribulation she has endured during the fifth period. All nations will become Catholic. Vocations will be abundant as never before, and all men will seek only the Kingdom of God and His justice. Men will live in peace, and this will be granted because people will make their peace with God. They will live under the protection of the Great Monarch and his successors.

All nations will come to worship God in the true Catholic and Roman faith. There will be many Saints and Doctors on earth. Peace will reign over the whole earth because God will bind Satan for a number of years until the days of the Son of Perdition. No one will be able to pervert the Word of God since, during the sixth period, there will be an Ecumenical Council which will be the greatest of all councils. By the grace of God, by the power of the Great Monarch, by the authority of the Holy Pontiff, and by the union of all the most devout princes, atheism and every heresy will be banished from the earth. The Council will define the true sense of Holy Scripture, and this will be believed and accepted by everyone.

It is difficult for twenty-first century readers to imagine how unbelievable Venerable Holzhauser’s predictions of the rise of republics must have seemed to seventeenth century Catholics in nations where Christian monarchies had existed for many centuries. In our proud and unwavering faith in “progress,” we fail to consider that the restoration of monarchies in the future is no less likely today than the prophesied rise of republics in the seventeenth century. Moreover, Venerable Bartholomew was not the only authentic Catholic prophet to predict a future Ecumenical Council in similar terms.
Is it possible–or even probable–that the account of the six days of creation in Genesis 1 would be among the passages of Holy Scripture whose true sense will be defined once and for all during the Era of Peace?

The answer emerges where Venerable Holzhauser remarks that “atheism and every heresy will be banished from the Earth.” Given the intimate connection between the denial of the six days of creation and the acceptance of evolution–in dogma and in morals, as well as in nature–the definition of “day” in Genesis One as a 24-hour day would irrevocably seal the Church’s condemnation of that error. (That modern Biblical scholarship has confirmed that interpretation beyond a reasonable doubt is demonstrated by Dr. Mark Koehne in his essay on the meaning of “yom” or “day” in Genesis 1 on the Kolbe website. The case is made even stronger in the book From Heaven I Have Spoken to You: A Catholic Defense of Creation in Six Days where Dr. Koehne’s essay first appeared and which received the imprimatur of Bishop Korir, Bishop of Eldoret, Kenya, on the Feast of St. Jerome, September 30, 2015.)

Like Venerable Holzhauser, Sister Jeanne le Royer foretold a great Council of pastors after a time of trial and tribulation:

I see in God a large assembly of pastors who will uphold the rights of the church and of her Head. They will restore the former disciplines. I see, in particular, two servants of the Lord who will distinguish themselves in this glorious struggle and who, by the grace of the Holy Ghost, will fill with ardent zeal the hearts of this illustrious assembly.

Similarly, the Ecstatic of Tours predicted:

The Council will meet again after the victory. But, this time, men will be obliged to obey; There will be only one flock and one shepherd. All men will acknowledge the Pope as the Universal Father, the King of all peoples. Thus mankind will be regenerated.

Since the Ecstatic of Tours had lived during the first Vatican Council, which was interrupted by strife between French and Italian forces, it was logical for her to see the future council as a continuation of the work of Vatican I. On the other hand, as a “pastoral council,” which did not define doctrine or condemn errors, Vatican II could not complete the work of Vatican I, which was a Council in the traditional sense, defining doctrine and condemning errors in faith and morals. Thus, the Ecstatic’s prophetic announcement of a council “after the victory” of the Church points to a future Council that will complete the unfinished work of the First Vatican Council.

Through the prayers of the Mother of God and of St. Joseph, may the Holy Spirit hasten the fulfillment of the requests of Our Lady of Fatima, the conversion of Russia, and the restoration of the Church during the promised era of peace!

Yours in Christ through the Immaculata,

Hugh Owen
Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation

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