The Power that Satan has had over the Church throughout the centuries, although important, can be considered as normal. The Church has been dodging Satan’s attacks and coming out victorious even in very difficult times. We are referring to the heresies of the early centuries, the sweeping winds of Arianism, medieval Nominalism, the terrible crisis of the Protestant Revolution, the Enlightenment and the Age of Enlightenment, Rationalism, the birth and expansion of Marxism, and the perfidious attempted invasions carried out by Modernism; although these onslaughts were initially checked and almost choked by the pre-conciliar Popes, they had free rein after the Second Vatican Council, giving such a turnabout to the Church as She had never experienced throughout Her entire history. And this is the extent to which what we have termed the normal Power of Evil had gone.
The Second Vatican Council, convened by Pope John XXIII in 1959 and concluded by Pope Paul VI in 1965, marked a sea change in the history of the Catholic Church. The opening of the windows of the Vatican, carelessly proclaimed by John XXIII at the beginning of his Pontificate, resulted in the entrance of strong winds, and even hurricanes, very different from that fresh air anticipated by the Pope, who apparently was not aware of the kinds of winds that were blowing at the time. These winds, inflated, in turn, by the famous aggiornamento of the Church also undertaken by John XXIII, led to the incursion, now unfettered, of the Modernism that had been until then laboriously stopped by Pius IX, Saint Pius X, and all the subsequent Popes up to the convening of the Council.
Preliminary note: The editorial series Letter to the Church of Pergamus makes up a chapter of my book Seven Letters to Seven Bishops, Volume II, which has not yet been published.
And to the angel of the church of Pergamus write:
These things saith he that hath the sharp two-edged sword:
“I know where thou dwellest, where the seat of Satan is. And thou holdest fast my name and hast not denied my faith. Even in those days when Antipas was my faithful witness, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have against thee a few things: because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaites. In like manner do penance. If not, I will come to thee quickly and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.”
He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: To him that overcometh I will give the hidden manna and will give him a white counter: and in the counter, a new name written, which no man knoweth but he that receiveth it.
1. Introduction to a Difficult Issue
It is easy to understand the difficulty involved in undertaking any reflection on the Seven Letters of the Book of the Apocalypse. Writing about eminently prophetic themes, which is in itself problematic, forces the author to enter tortuous paths that always end up leading to controversial and sensitive issues.
Regarding the veracity to be attributed to the Books of Holy Scripture, we have always said that they are inspired; therefore, it is indisputable that the Corpus of the written Revelation is historically true, written for men of all times and all places (as is well known, the sources of revelation are Scripture and Tradition). Consequently, we cannot limit the content of these Letters to the particular places for which they were written. It would be ridiculous, for example, to assume divine inspiration for a message addressed only to the Church of Sardis or of Smyrna. As for minimizing or reducing the content of Scripture, it is well known that this tactic is but another constant trend of Modernism. And, as we have mentioned before, one must also take into account the prophetic nature of the Book of the Apocalypse.