Stephen Grieve
Identity of the (κατέχων)
Restrainer/Withholder = (Πέτροσ)
Therefore: The Papacy/Pope
By

Stephen Grieve

Editor's Note: Stephen hails from across the pond in England and has agreed to provide interesting articles that should stir the sensibilities of those who continue to elude the inevitability that a true pope would never and could never do what the conciliar leaders in Rome have done for the past 50 years. Steve continues a multi-part series on proving the basis for a sede vacante stance based on holy Scripture itself. Thus the title of his columns, "Our Scriptural Roots", all based on the divine Word; the same Word Who was made flesh, suffered and died for us, all prophesied in the Old Testament. Steve continues his treatise on the meaning of St. Paul's words in 2 Thessalonians 2: 6-7 and today focuses on identifying who the restrainer/withholder (κατέχων) truly is. He shows by deduction and logic that it could only be the Papacy and ergo the Pope. This makes perfect sense when you read his arguments and syllogism on how Sacred Scripture reveals that the Pope will remove himself from the Church and there will be no one in authority to abate the "Mystery of Iniquity" - the "man of lawlessness" who is commandeered by the devil himself.


    First off, it's important to note again that the term Katechon, or Restrainer, κατέχων can be misleading in that it presupposes a title. It was never used in the early Church as a title. Therefore if you asked a Christian in Corinth, Rome or even Thessalonica 'Who is the Restrainer?' he would probably have looked blankly at you unless you had first explained the concept.

    To identify the Restrainer, ALL of the following requirements must be met.

    1. The restrainer must be able to fit the description of the neuter το κατέχον(to katechon), "that which restrains"; and the masculine ό κατέχον (ho katechon), "he who restrains" or 'the one (masc.) restraining/ holding down'.

    2. The restrainer must be both powerful enough, and willing, to restrain or hold back Satan because the mystery of lawlessness lies under Satan's control.

    3. The Restrainer must be demonstrated to have been active since the time of St. Paul right up to the present or very recent past.

    4. The restrainer must have been known by the Thessalonians and presumably by the entire first generation Church.

    5. The restrainer should be one who is seen in other portions of Scripture as engaged in the restraint of the mystery of lawlessness or who has been given the authority to do so.

    6. The restrainer must be able to fit the description of someone or who "comes to be out of the middle."

    7. The Restrainer's ministry must be seen to be primarily spiritually effective but also with some effect on secular society.

    8. The Restrainer must have shown himself, throughout the Church's history, to be an effective agent, exercising an effective ministry in 'holding fast' to the Apostolic Tradition which is the sole bulwark against the final apostasy.

    9. With the Restrainer's absence, the mainstream Church must already be either apostate or fall into quasi immediate apostasy. Secular society too must experience unprecedented lawlessness and a revolt against all that is godly.

    10. The absence of the restrainer, or a general awareness of something missing, something out of its place, should at least be commented on by that part of the Church which is 'holding fast' to the Apostolic Tradition during the Great Apostasy. The 'Remnant Church' should be struck with profound spiritual malaise.

    The emphasis in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 is that, at an appointed time in the prophetic programme, the restrainer, whose ministry has been concurrent with the 'secret' unfolding of the 'mystery of iniquity' will be absent from his office, allowing the Rebel to launch his rebellion forthrightly in the Church and on the earth. Lawlessness (in the supernatural sense 'the spirit of antichrist') has been secretly working since Christ founded the Church on Peter (and it made an immediate attack on Peter). No merely human champion, agent or agency could live long enough to cover a time period which now stretches out over two thousand years. Except the Papacy. Only the Papacy fits all of the requirements in every detail and without any forcing.

    Let's consider each requirement separately.

1. The restrainer must be able to fit the description of the neuter το κατέχον (to katechon), "that which restrains"; and the masculine ό κατέχον (ho katechon), "he who restrains".

        The Caesars could fit this but the Caesar's are not here. Neither do they fit any of the other necessary requirements. Only the Papacy allows for an 'it' (Office/Ministry) and a 'one who'. There are no immortals so we must necessarily conclude that the restraining office is to be connected to a perpetual succession of individuals until such a time as one of them defects from his office; and this is confirmed by the term ό κατέχον which indicates that only one man (it is masculine) occupies the office at any particular time: the one presently now holding down/restraining.

        Furthermore, it must refer to some great office the power of which can only be sustained by the Will of Christ Himself, and the power of the Holy Ghost: the lawlessness that it is holding in check is of a magnitude that far surpasses ordinary crime and rebellion.

2. The restrainer must be both powerful enough, and willing, to restrain or hold down the mystery of lawlessness brewing under Satan's control.
        No mere man (qua man) can bind Satan. The popes are not 'mere men'. They, uniquely, have been given supreme Authority with the underlying legitimate power (Jurisdiction) to rule as Vice-Regents of Christ, that is to say as the Chief Stewards of Christ's House until He is away. Christ has given them the Keys to His own household which is the Household of Faith.

        The first Pope, St. Peter, was divinely mandated by Our Lord Jesus Christ to preach the Gospel and Rule the Church of God; and he was given the divine power that must necessarily uphold that authority. Anyone who has power also has authority, but anyone, who has authority, does not necessarily also have the power that sustains the authority. That this powerful authority is effective against Satan is evident from the words in the Petrine Mandate: 'And the gates of Hell shall never prevail against it.'

        The Roman pontiffs, the Successors of St. Peter have, alone among men, uniquely claimed to be the Vicars of Christ, that is to say the Vice-regents of God on this earth. They alone claim 'the Keys' with Plenitudo Potestatis - the fullness of power (exousia). You can call such claims presumptuous, preposterous or downright blasphemous but the fact remains the claims were made, and in no small voice.

        Note: the fact that the Papacy eventually fails to prevent the advent of 'the man of sin' and the ensuing full outbreak of iniquity, is not due to any lack of power in the Office willed by Christ but to the fact that the one holding it has displaced himself at this time. Abrogation, dereliction of duty, voluntary abdication of, or resignation from that power will be discussed presently (I really advise the reader to study Griff Ruby's thesis here).

3. The Restrainer must be demonstrated to have been active since the time of St. Paul right up to the present or very recent past.
        Peter, Linus, Cletus, Clement, Evaristus, Alexander… Pius… The Petrine/Papal Succession speaks for itself. Throughout history, the Roman pontiffs have thundered mighty anathemas and shaken The Keys so that the whole world has heard and been left in no mistake,
4. The restrainer must have been known by the Thessalonians and presumably by the entire first generation Church.
        Whereas the majority in our First Generation were probably acquainted with the names of all the Apostles, it is morally certain that all of them knew of one, in particular. The man who was known as 'Rock' or 'The Rock': Cephas.

        In writing to the Galatians (1:18-19), St. Paul says:

      "Then three years later I went up to Jerusalem to become acquainted with Cephas, and stayed with him fifteen days. But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother."

        Notice how nonchalantly St. Paul throws the names out; of course the Thessalonians knew who he was talking about: he had no need to introduce them. And notice how the Apostle keeps to the Grecisised Cephas (Aramaic Kephas) rather than the Greek Peter (Πέτροσ) (Petros). This amounts to a permanent reminder, each time the name Cephas was used, of the Petrine Mandate given at Caesarea Philippi. This was the first time in history, I believe, that the word kephas had been used as a personal name, and each time someone heard it for the first time he would have said "'Rock'? That's an odd name, haven't heard that before. Why does he call himself 'Rock'?' 'Well, because the Lord Jesus called him that.' 'Oh… why?'."

        Given this, and given the apostolic oral Gospel tradition(s) (and probably written, authentic, proto gospels in circulation), there is no way that the Thessalonians could have been unfamiliar with the apostolic power 'to bind and loose', particularly as focused in St. Peter. (See Appendix: St. Paul and the Papacy: The First Generation).

5. The restrainer should be one who is seen in other portions of Scripture as engaged in the restraint of the mystery of lawlessness or who has been given the authority to do so.
        Singled out from 'the eleven', St. Peter preaches the first sermon which is distinctly eschatological in scope. The secular city immediately accepts Peter as leader of the Apostles and speaker for the others. (Acts 2: 14, 37-41). The authoritative proclamation of the Gospel 'in the name of Jesus Christ' (2:38) is already, in itself, a supernatural restraining of iniquity.

        Peter works the first miracle on behalf of the Church and comments on it to those standing by. (Acts 3: 1-10). He says that it is not by his own (intrinsic) power that the miracle has been performed but in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, i.e. by His power. He defends the Church before the rulers (Acts 4: 8ff). The authorities recognise Peter's power (and the others) and seek to stop them from preaching. Lawlessness has been challenged and is reacting.

        Peter is so filled with the power of God that even his shadow is enough to cure the sick on whom it falls (Acts 5:15). He utters the first anathema and God ratifies his word (Acts 5: 2-11). It is to him that it is revealed that the Church is open to Gentiles (Acts 10:)

        Before the arrival of St. Paul, he baptizes the first Gentiles and convinces others to do likewise (Acts 11) - an astonishing act of self-aware independence with the most enormous consequences for the Church. We see him binding and loosing: here he is loosing the universal Church from the Jewish 'monopoly' on salvation and opening up the Church to the entire world.

        He opens the first Church Council and authoritatively lays down principles: "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe." (Acts 15: 6-12).

        The emphasis In 2 Thessalonians 2:7 is that, at an appointed time in the prophetic programme, the restrainer, whose ministry has been concurrent with the 'secret' unfolding of the 'mystery of 'lawlessness' will be devoid of authority, or absent from his office, allowing the Rebel to launch his rebellion forthrightly in the Church and then on the earth. The restraining of the Antichrist spirit has been going on two millennia. No merely human champion or agency could live long enough to cover a time period stretches out some two thousand years, apart from the Petrine Succession.

6. The Restrainer's ministry must be seen to be primarily spiritually effective but also with some effect on secular society.
        St. Peter defends the Church before the rulers (Acts 4: 8ff). The authorities recognise Peter's power (and the others) and seek to stop them from preaching. Lawlessness has been challenged and is reacting. Peter gave the Roman Empire a run for its money in a (finally lethal) cat-and-mouse game that stretched over 25 years. The 'temporal power' of the popes has long been an issue in Church history and a thorn in the side of the secular State. All this is well-known, established fact.
7. The Restrainer must have shown himself, throughout the Church's history, to be an effective agent, exercising an effective ministry in 'holding fast' ('stand firm') to the Apostolic Tradition which is the sole bulwark against the final apostasy.
        Our Lord used κατέχον [katechô] to describe the opposite of apostasy (Luke 8:13-15): "But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it κατέχουσιν (katechousin) and by perseverance produce a crop."

        The Thessalonians were familiar with this word and the condition it expressed since the Apostle had previously used it when he wrote "hold fast to that which is good" in his FIRST letter to them (1 Thessalonians 5:21 κατέχητη. He noted the Thessalonian experience of "holding fast" (2 Thessalonians 2:6 κατέχητη ) as evidence that the apostasy has not yet occurred. [St. Paul uses the same word, again, in Hebrews 3:14: 'We have come to share in Christ if we hold firmly till the end the confidence we had at first.']

        Before 1958, Catholics held fast to the Apostolic Tradition ("the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints,"St. Jude 1:3b) by simple reason of being in communion with the Bishop of Rome. No special effort (beyond the ordinary exigencies of faith) was required. The popes held fast to the Catechesis and zealously handed it on to every succeeding generation. Since that time, however, Catholics have had to make a concerted effort to maintain and keep within the Apostolic Tradition which is no longer guaranteed by the pseudo 'superlative apostles' in today's Rome.

        Until 1958, every single Roman pontiff, whatever his faults or even crimes, had unequivocally declared to the whole world: 'One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,' (Ephesians 4:5). With Lumen Gentium (and its infamous novelty 'subsistit'), signed and promulgated by Paul V1 (1964), the One True Faith and One Baptism were presented as being simply the best of all faiths, her unique exclusivity (Extra Ecclesia nullum salus), once jealously and zealously preserved , discarded. Baptism became little more than an initiation rite into 'the best club in town' (but there are others). With Nostra Aetate and Dignitatis Humanae (1965), the One True God was not so much discarded as subtly delegated to being the chief god in a pantheon of many, despite the religiosity and 'form of religion' (counterfeit Catholicism) that necessarily prevailed if it was to pass.

      "Know also this, that, in the last days, shall come dangerous times… 4 Traitors, stubborn, puffed up… 5 Having an appearance indeed of godliness, but denying the power thereof. Now these avoid. For (they are)… Ever learning, and never attaining to the knowledge of the truth." 2 Timothy 3:1-7
8. The restrainer must be able to fit the description of someone or something that "comes to be out of the middle."
        Yes indeed. Paul V1 came to be right out of the middle of the Temple/Church. The 'Middle', as we have seen, refers to the 'Court of the Priests'. Of these priests, only one, the High Priest, was allowed into the Holy of Holies, and then only once a year on the Day of Atonement. St. Peter and his successors may justly be termed the 'high priests' of the New Covenant. Paul V1, one-time 'high priest', stepped aside, resigned from being the Pope of the Catholic Church by introducing a new organization (cleverly disguised as Catholicism but not the Church of God founded by Jesus Christ) and making himself the head of that instead. Ergo, all his successors have signed up to his (Paul V1's) pseudo-catholic church and cannot be true popes of the only One Catholic Church.

        It is interesting to note that 'the middle' may not only denote the Court of the Priests as such, but an assembly of these priests. Right in the middle of the Church, amidst all his bishops (the largest assembly of Catholic bishops in history), Paul VI signed and promulgated the new definition of the Church of God, insinuating that salvation is not to be found in Jesus Christ alone, that membership of the Church founded by Christ is not necessary, that salvation can be found in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and even atheism.

9. The absence of the restrainer should lead to an immediate and dramatic increase in lawlessness in both the spiritual and secular realms.
        We know what has happened in both the Church and world. In the world the legalization of abortion, homosexuality, the breakdown of marriage, the prevalence of adulterous or fornicatory 'partnerships', organised crime in control of government, greed and hedonism run riot, unlimited experimentation in weapons of mass destruction, chemicals, psychological manipulation, the devastation of education, the systematic corruption of youth etc. Anyone born before 1954 knows how dramatically society has changed.

        In the Church…

      • "Your adversaries have roared in the midst of Your meeting place; they have set up their own standards for signs." Psalm 74:4
      • "For it is written: 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be dispersed'." St. Matthew 26:31

        Dossiers and 'libros accusationes' have been compiled detailing the extraordinary heresies and blasphemies of the last four and present fifth pseudo popes. It is not my intention to analyse or repeat them here. The devastation wrecked on the Lord's Household of Faith by and under these wicked pastors (who truly are the prophesied 'wolves in sheep's clothing' - discarding the tiara they still cling to the pure wool pallium) is generally known.

        But there is one very telling area which has perhaps not as yet received the attention it deserves and that is the state of EXORCISM in the Catholic Church today. Exorcism is a face-to-face confrontation with Satan, his devils and or demons. It is a front-line use of the Power of the Keys. In an interview published June 2001 30 DAYS, No. 6 - 2001 and reprinted in 2002 in the February 26 and March 5th issues of The DailyCatholic with The Smoke of Satan in the House of the Lord in which Stefano Maria Paci interviews Fr. Gabriele Amorth , the chief exorcist of Rome, who describes how the new rite of exorcism is 'a joke', that its instructions display massive 'incompetence' and effectively tie the hands of the priest in the Devil's favor.

        Catholic priests ordained in the new rite after 1968 no longer have the power to effectively exorcise. Only validly ordained priests using the old rites retain this power.

10. The absence of the restrainer, or a general awareness of something missing, something out of its place, should at least be commented on by that part of the Church which is 'holding fast' to the Faith during the great apostasy. The 'Remnant Church' should be struck with a profound spiritual malaise.
        Millions of loyal, orthodox Catholics (still hanging on in there - by the skin of their teeth) realise that something is very wrong in the Church today and feel the 'lack'. It is a truism among the older faithful that 'It isn't the same Church anymore'; many younger Catholics and converts (who can still be identified as Catholics or as sincere 'wanna-be' Catholics) immerse themselves in traditional devotions and apologetics, attending 'Latin Masses' (sic) wherever possible and hope for the return of the Mass of Always, even while remaining in the orbit of the Novus Ordo. They have not yet come to logical conclusions nor put the term 'Sede Vacante' to it, but what they are experiencing is gut Catholic instinct. We must never think of these souls as being anything other than Christ's 'Elect': deceived they may be, but they are elect even so and we must be forever at their service. (I will have much more to say on our relations with our brethren still trapped in the Novus phantasm in future installments.)

        Militant and aggressively orthodox Catholics (the ones we should suppose to be 'most clued up' about the state of the Church) have indeed concluded that the Chair of Peter is vacant.

    There remain a few questions that should solidify the argument for the katechon being the Papacy/Pope:

Question 1: Would St. Paul have had St. Peter in mind as being the present, living Restrainer? Would the Thessalonians have concluded this? Aren't you drawing from the text more than the Apostle intended?

        There is no good reason to think that St. Peter was not in mind, or that the Thessalonians would have positively failed to reach this conclusion. Even so, our sacred authors may not always have been consciously aware of the full scope of what they wrote. They were writing by the Holy Ghost. And providing it does no violence to the text, readers may draw from various texts meanings (or further significance) of which the author was unaware at the time of writing.

        St. Paul's 'intention' must be regarded as open unless we are to regard the verses as purely historicist having no relevance today. And this cannot be said since the verses themselves are clearly eschatological and thus of particular concern to that generation which would find itself caught up in the events foretold. This generation, more than any other, would have cause to study the Apostle's words in greater detail than any heretofore since it would be directly applicable to them. The Christians of the generation actually involved, then, may well have a clearer understanding of the scope of St. Paul's inspired words.

        Clearly what was uppermost in the Apostle's mind was that the Thessalonians should preserve themselves from apostasy and this they could do only by holding fast to Apostolic Doctrine and not wavering from it. This is his explicit and immediate concern, and the context within which the whole chapter has to be read. But that St. Peter and his successors are

      • (1) legitimately and necessarily implied and
      • (2) that this explanation alone sufficiently draws out the full meaning of the text will become more apparent if we consider the extreme importance the First Generation attached to the person of St. Peter (Cf. Appendix 1: St. Paul and Papacy; and Appendix 2: 'The Secret').
Question 2: 'How is it that this interpretation forms no part of the early Church's remembrance, and that even Sts. Jerome and Augustine didn't know of it?'

        I wrote earlier that the entire First Generation would have been aware of St. Peter's restraining role but this would have been in large, not necessarily specific, terms; i.e. they did not know of him as 'The Restrainer' since this particular insight was

      • (1) not a title as such, and

      • (2) the specifics were for the Thessalonians who kept the secret very well; so much so that, once they had passed on, any specific reference to Peter would have died with them.

        It would only be a later generation, struggling with the Restrainers' absence from the Church (and the immediately ensuing apostasy) who would feel compelled to reflect more keenly on St. Paul's words and perhaps recapture exactly what the Thessalonians knew. This would at least be a great help to those in distress since it would explain things to them, letting them know where they stood, that such a catastrophe for the Church had been foretold, and that they (we) are never to worry providing we: 'Stand firm; and hold the traditions which you have learned,' (2 Thessalonians: 2:14). It is, primarily and fundamentally, by the almighty Will of our Divine Saviour Jesus Christ that the Church exists and will continue to exist (in whatever state) until He returns for us; it is not by our own efforts (although we must do our bit and truly 'labour' if we are to be the faithful Bride of Christ, mindful of our Solemn Marriage Vows).

Question 3: St. Paul says that the apostasy must come first. Doesn't your explanation presume that the absence of the 'restrainer' comes first, and then the apostasy?

        Paul VI and a good number of bishops were already of an apostate mind when they raised their own standards in the Vatican Assembly. This prior (hierarchical and theological) apostasy was pretty well kept from the Catholic Faithful until it crept out into full public view in the 60's when vast numbers of the Faithful themselves were deceived by it. Keep also in mind that John XXIII allowed those clerics, who had previously been kept in check by Pope Pius XII and were in fact censored by him, to not only spread their errors but be key players at Vatican II...including one Fr. Joseph Ratzinger. The Katechon's (Paul V1's) 'disappearing act' (qua Katechon) ensued from his prior personal apostasy which he craftily disguised, as did his cohorts who were also impeded during the reign of Pope Pius XII. Once free of those restraints placed on them by Pius, a valid and possibly last true restrainer κατέχων(katechwn), Paul VI then foisted these errors and heretics on an already rather (doctrinally) ignorant Faithful.

Question 4: Have any other commentators come to the same or a similar conclusion regarding this text and the Papacy?

        Yes: Rev. E. Sylvester Berry, The Apocalypse of St. John, 1921, The Catholic Church Supply House, Columbus, Ohio, pages 120-138; Rev. Herman Bernard Kramer, The Book of Destiny, 1955, Buechler Publishing Company, Belleville, Illinois, reprinted by Tan Books, Rockford Illinois, pages 277-85; an article by Gary Giuffré (who is taking the Sirist position), and Steven Paul, 'The Apocalypse-Letter by Letter A Literary Analysis of the Book of Revelation (iUniverse, Inc. New York Lincoln Shanghai. Note: You can probably be sure that you are reading an orthodox Catholic commentator if he employs the word "Apocalypse" rather than "Revelation". The two words mean the same thing but "Revelation" has been commandeered by the modernist camp; so if a commentator uses 'Revelation', double-check to make sure the rest of his theology and exegesis is sound and in accordance with Catholic teaching.
Question 5: Has anyone else referred this text to the V2 'popes'?

    Not precisely. However Giuffré points out:

    "It was the learned opinion of the eminent, 20th Century scripture scholar, Father E. Sylvester Berry that the 12th and 13th chapters of the Apocalypse of St. John foretell a usurpation of the papal see by the false prophet of Antichrist resulting in great tribulations befalling the Catholic Church. Fr. Berry points out that it is the papacy, which is the principal target of those who seek to establish the reign of Antichrist. Heresy, schism and the introduction of false worship upon the altars of Catholic churches are, thus, to be the direct results of the removal of the true Pope from the See of Rome, and subsequent occupation of the Chair of Peter by the forces of Antichrist".

    Kramer also speaks of a coming anti-pope who will produce a counterfeit church and sacraments leading to general apostasy.

    These commentators (apart from Steven Paul who, though conservatively orthodox was even so under the spell of the Novus Ordo) wrote not too long before the awful events that have overtaken us since V2. Had Fathers Berry and Kramer been alive, I am morally certain that they would have put the dots together and seen the connection between Paul V1's resignation from the Papal Office and the 'absence of the Katechon'.

"Ladies and Gentlemen: the Katechon has left the Church."

    The Papal Tiara (Tri-Regno) symbolises the fullness of Authority and Universal Jurisdiction which Christ gave to St. Peter and his successors, and which was meant to be used by them to govern, to teach, and to sanctify the flock of Christ until He return to gather us unto Himself.

    This awful (‘psy-ops’) ‘photo (which looks so pious and was accompanied by all manner of specious [Judas-like] explanations) symbolises Paul V1’s abdication of his role as the supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church. Henceforth (and on his signing of Lumen Gentium) he became the head of a different church, with no further authority therefore, over the Catholic Church. It illustrates the greatest betrayal in the history of the Church, effectively breaking the tryst between Jesus and Peter (but only on Montini's part) and establishing a vacant chair in Rome; hence: sede vacante. The only time a Catholic pontiff can give away the Tiara (not necessarily a physical one but what it represents) is when he hands it over in filial submission to Jesus Christ.

CONCLUSION: I submit that this commentary (admittedly from an amateur) is consistent, makes sense and, so far from doing any violence to the text, provides a satisfactory exegesis that answers all the questions relating to its obscurity and which have heretofore not been resolved. I hope it helps provide strength and consolation to the reader. Keep (hold fast - κατέχητη!) the Faith!

Stephen Grieve



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