This Our Lady prophecied, beginning with Italy where Rome is, when she said: "Italy will be punished for her ambition in wanting to shake off the yoke of the Lord of Lords. And so she will be left to fight a war; blood will flow on all sides. Churches will be locked up or desecrated. Priests and religious orders will be hunted down, and made to die a cruel death. Several will abandon the faith, and a great number of priests and members of religious orders will break away from the true religion; among these people there will even be bishops." Italy indeed did go through a great punishment. World War II under the ambitious Mussolin took its toll in numerous monasteries being destroyed, including the original Benedictine Abbey Montecassino founded by Saint Benedict fourteen hundred centuries before. Freemasonry and Communism slithered into the boot and soon Italy, as she is today, was a fractured country. Catholicism, once so strong in this beloved land where the Church flourished, where countless saints contributed to her culture, was and is today in great peril on Italian soil as well as everywhere throughout Europe and across the seas in the western hemisphere as well.
Our Lady foretold of the unleashing of the evil one and his legions, something that was manifested clearly to Leo XIII years later, and which the Gospa in her Medjugorje messages, constantly reminds us: "In the year 1864, Lucifer together with a large number of demons will be unloosed from hell; they will put an end to faith little by little, even in those dedicated to God. They will blind them in such a way, that, unless they are blessed with a special grace, these people will take on the spirit of these angels of hell; several religious institutions will lose all faith and will lose many souls." Look at the state of Holy Mother Church over the last century. Through the first part of the 20th Century there was an undercurrent of apathy and clamors for reform. Strong pontiffs such as Pope Saint Pius X, Pope Benedict XV, Pope Pius XI, and Pope Pius XII all strove to keep Holy Mother Church on the right path but world events took their toll and during the reign of Pope John XXIII the 21st Ecumenical Council was convened. The rest, as they say, is history. Had John known then what would be wrought it is unlikely he would have called together this landmark Vatican II Council. Maybe, had he heeded the words of Our Lady of LaSalette he might have taken a different course; maybe, had he truly realized the essence of the Third Secret of Fatima, he would have pulled in the reins a little more and not allowed so many to influence him, or delegated so many liberals to make policy. We probably will never know, though there are excellent works on what happened behind the scenes such as "The Rhine flows into the Tiber" about the liberal German influence and power within Vatican II. Had John XXIII known then, had we known then what was happening - what was going to happen in the Church, the Holy Father and the faithful would have stood up and emphatically said "no!" But hindsight is a dime a dozen.
Our Lady referred to the Pope several times in her messages at LaSalette. Was she talking just about the current pontiff Pope Pius IX or the papacy in general? We believe it was the latter for nearly every pontiff to follow experienced what Our Lady said to Melanie: "The Holy Father will suffer a great deal. I will be with him until the end and receive his sacrifice. The mischievous would attempt his life several times to do harm and shorten his days but neither him nor his successor will see the triumph of the Church of God." Pope Leo XIII suffered for his loyalty and faith, as did St. Pius X who died literally of a broken heart after the outbreak of World War I. Pontiffs succeeding him such as Benedict XV, Pius XI and of course Pius XII who had to deal with the likes of Hitler and Mussolini. Add to that the travails of John XXIII and Pope Paul VI who suffered because of his conservative bent to preserve all that is Catholic and whose Humanae Vitae was largely ignored. He realized, nearing death, that Vatican II had backfired when he said, "We had intended to open a window of fresh air for the Holy Spirit; instead the doors have been flung open and satan is in the sanctuary." His successor Pope John Paul I suffered what many believe was martyrdom at the hands of a secret assassin after only one month in the papacy, and our present Holy Father Pope John Paul II has definitely suffered, so much that Mary's LaSalette message seems to be directed toward him and our present time: "The Vicar of my Son will suffer a great deal, because for a while the Church will yield to large persecution, a time of darkness and the Church will witness a frightful crisis."
That crisis, we firmly believe, is our current crisis in the aftermath of the changes and charges of Vatican II and the ensuing decline of morals and family values, of all that is sacred and holy. There have been previous crisises before our day, including the total persecution of the Church in Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, but nothing of global consequence like the liberal infiltration of heresies and laxity over the last 30 years that have depleted the numbers of faithful in almost every country of the world. Our Lady said this would all happen "little by little", and that's what happened after Vatican II. Little by little changes were made. Liberal elements in the liturgy and Church teachings were deftly added "little by little" not by the magisterium but those who would dupe not only the faithful, but the clergy and, yes, many within the magisterium. Little by little seminaries were closed down and vocations dropped drastically. Little by little religious orders discarded their traditional habits for worldly garb and the world took over as consecrated religious abandoned their vows. Little by little the illustrous, meaningful, and sacred liturgy of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was changed to resemble a service more akin to a Protestant celebration with Latin discarded in favor of vernacular and in favor of emphasizing the meal aspect while downplaying the sacrificial element. Little by little morals became more and more lax and the sacraments more and more abandoned in favor of a false philosophy touting that grown-up Catholics don't need as much of this "spiritual pablum." Little by little, with all these aspects in place, Catholics became less "Christ correct" and more politically correct, playing right into satan's hands just as Our Lady predicted at LaSalette. This is confirmed in her next message to Melanie: "Evil books will be abundant on earth and the spirits of darkness will spread everywhere a universal slackening in all that concerns the service of God. May the Pope guard against the performers of miracles. For the time has come when the most astonishing wonders will take place on the earth and in the air. They will have great power over Nature; there will be churches built to serve these spirits. People will be transported from one place to another by these evil spirits, even priests, for they will not have been guided by the good spirit of the Gospel which is a spirit of humility, charity and zeal for the glory of God. On occasions, the dead and the righteous will be brought back to life." Our Lady is indeed talking about today's technology. The wonders on earth and in the air are radio, television, motion pictures and satelite dishes that, like the evil books, are sending the wrong signal - the one of the world, the flesh and the devil. The same with modern transportation. They have not wrought the spirit of the Gospel but rather that of greed and corruption. "The demons of the air together with the antichrist will perform great wonders on earth and in the atmosphere, and men will become more and more perverted. God will take care of His faithful servants, and men of good will. The Gospel will be preached everywhere, and all peoples of all nations will get to know the truth." This is also confirmation of Our Lord's words in Matthew 24: 10-14, "And then many will fall away, and will betray one another, and will hate one another. And many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray. And because iniquity will abound, the charity of the many will grow cold. But whoever perseveres to the end, he shall be shaved. And this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, for a witness to all nations; and then will come the end." In fact, all Our Lady said at LaSalette, indeed, almost everything she has imparted through private revelation to visionaries and messengers over the last two millenniums Sacred Scripture can substantiate. This also is a confirmation first related in Joel and then Acts 2: 17, "And it shall come to pass in the last days, says the Lord that I will pour fourth My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. And moreover upon My servants and upon My handmaids in those days I will pour forth of My Spirit and they shall prophesy. And I will show wonders in the Heavens above and signs on the earth beneath..."
Our Lady warns of the collapse of the religious foundation when she talks about the desecration of holy places, "In convents, the flowers of the Church will decompose and the devil will make himself like the king of all hearts. May those in charge of religious communities be on their guard against the people they must receive, for the devil will resort to all his evil tricks to introduce sinners into religious orders, for disorder and the love of carnal pleasures will be spread over all the earth." This is what has happened in virtually almost every order over the years; this is how the bad element was introduced into the cleric ranks of the Church; this is how satanic and masonic influence infiltrated the Church; this is how and why the fruits of Vatican II turned sour; and this is why there have been so many scandals and heretical teaching by those we were supposed to trust. This is also why Our Lord and Our Lady have called for a return to the traditional customs and habits of religious orders of old; evidenced by Our Lord's appearances to Blessed Faustina, by a resurgence in Latin with the formation of The Priestly Order of St. Peter, by such movements as Opus Dei, the Legionaires of Christ, the return to the traditional habit by Mother Angelica and the calling of new contemplative, cloistered and very strict, traditional orders such as the Institute of Divine Mercy which was featured in issues 13 and 14, available for review in A CALL TO PEACE archives. It is through this resurgence and the increase of Heavenly visits to countless messengers and visionaries in this last decade that God's Will will prevail though not without sacrifice and persecution as Our Lady indicated at LaSalette: "The righteous will suffer greatly. Their prayers, their penances and their tears will rise up to Heaven and all of God's people will beg for forgiveness and mercy and will plead for my help and intercession...I make an urgent appeal to the earth. I call on the true disciples of the living God Who reigns in Heaven; I call on the true followers of Christ made man, the only true Savior of men; I call on my children, the true faithful, those who have given themselves to me so that I may lead them to my Divine Son, those who have lived on my spirit. Finally, I call on the Apostles of the Last Days, the faithful disciples of Jesus Christ who have lived in scorn for the world and for themselves, in poverty and in humility, in scorn and in silence, in prayer and in mortification, in chastity and in union with God, in suffering and unknown to the world. It is time they came out and filled the world with light. Go and reveal yourselves to be me cherished children. I am at your side and within you, provided that your faith is the light which shines upon you in these unhappy days. May your zeal make you famished for the glory and the honor of Jesus Christ. Fight, children of light, you, the few who can see. For now is the time of all times, the end of all ends."
In the next installment, we will deal with the time known as the "Three Days of Darkness" as Our Lady prophecied at LaSalette foretelling of a time when "The Church will be in eclipse, the world will be in dismay."