The Thirty-First Clarion: Mobilizing the Laity
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you."
Matthew 7: 7 and Luke 11: 9
We treated several instances of attempts to unseat Pope John Paul II by liberal, radical modernist factions in our last few installments and how the laity of the Church can rally to his cause. Today we cite several examples of how the laity mobilized throughout history to rescue Rome when all looked lost. We have already covered what Saint Catherine of Siena accomplished, but how many know of another holy warrior who God rose up to save the Holy See? One such "savior" was in the time just before the dawn of the sixteenth century and the Protestant Reformation. It was in 1439 when the college of cardinals removed Pope Eugene IV because the 17th Ecumenical Council ruled that the Pope was superior to a Council. This did not set well with many cardinal power-brokers on the Council who had placed their hopes on the 1432 Council of Constance which had ruled the Council was superior to the Supreme Pontiff. With this overturned, the Council of Basle, realizing Eugene had only six cardinals in his corner, recruited other council members but not official conclave confreres and elected their own pope - the antipope Felix V.
Enter Saint Nicholas Von Flue, a Swiss native, who ,with his wife Dorothea Wissling, had ten children. It was to this family man Jesus revealed through private revelation that this disobedience would wreak havoc in the Church and have far-reaching effects. In a book by Pere Clement, it is recorded that Our Lord conveyed to Nicholas, "O My children, do not let yourselves be misled by any innovations! Stay together and hold fast. Stay on the same way, the same paths as your pious ancestors. That is how you will resist the attacks, tempests and storms that are going to rise up with violence." Christ was, of course, referring to the pending Protestant revolt that would forever split millions from the One, True Church. It was less than a century away. A century away was the Council of Trent which would restrengthen Holy Mother Church and set a course of growth and stability that has lasted to this day. But it was to a layman, not a cardinal or even a pope who God chose to use to impart the wrongs done in the action of men of the cloth who removed one of His Vicars. Jesus allowed Nicholas to see a vision of the schism and apostasy in these times and Nicholas later wrote, "The Church will be punished because the majority of its members, great and small, will become very perverted." We can see that happening today in the aftermath of Pope Paul VI's encyclical Humanae Vitae which was universally rejected as Catholics throughout the world sought their own agendas and decided on their own if they wanted to use birth control methods. From this disobedience abortion has raised its ugly head to such enormous proportions that it now registers as the greatest holocaust the world has ever known. St. Nicholas also wrote, "The Church will sink deeper and deeper until it finally seems to have been destroyed and the succession of Peter and the Apostles will seem to have ended." Society in the nineties has become so depraved and immoral that even many Church leaders today turn their heads at transgressions, having become immune to the offenses against God and His laws.
The Blessed Mother said at LaSalette nearly four centuries later "Rome will lose the faith and be the seat of the antichrist." so all that Nicholas received bears out. The events in these times and the troubles looming within Christ's Holy Church portend to the crisis in the very near future. Nicholas, for his part, at the age of fifty and with approval of his loving wife and children, received special permission to become a hermit, subsisting solely on the Holy Eucharist as his means of nourishment - all in reparation for what was being done to Christ's Church and what would be done. He became known far and wide for his holiness and was sought out by Popes and prelates for his counsel, especially in regard the private revelations he received. It's interesting to note that Nicholas, who was a captain in the Swiss army, set the mold for what would become the elite Swiss Guard which Pope Julius II would establish less than forty years later. It has served the Vicars of Christ well, defending to the death their holy pontiffs including 147 members of the Swiss Guard who were felled in battle protecting Pope Clement VIII on the Vatican grounds against the Lutheran army of Charles Vin 1527 in a fulfillment of what had been revealed to Nicholas who had died forty years earlier. Ironically, it was a commemoration of this event and the installation of a new Commander this week in the person of Swiss national Alois Estermann that led to more trouble for the Church when one of the members of the Guard, a dissident corporal upset over not being commended, killed Estermann and his wife before emptying the last bullet in his own skull. Indeed, violence has risen up.
In the next installment we will fastforward three centuries from Nicholas' time to the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century when the Emperor Napoleon wreaked havoc on the Church. We shall bring you an account of another layperson God rose up to smite the mighty "little general" and preserve Holy Mother Church.