Citing the famous prophecies of Fatima, traditionalist Roman Catholic Bishop Bernard Fellay warned in an address in Kansas City that Pope Francis is precipitating the church's decline and could be a herald that the world is entering the age of the Antichrist.
Fellay, who leads a society that has no canonical status in the Roman Catholic Church, said the “modernist views” professed by the pontiff are at odds with traditional Catholic teaching.
“The situation in the Catholic Church is a real disaster and the present pope is making it 10,000 times worse,” Fellay charged Oct. 12 at the Angelus Press Conference in Kansas City.
Fellay is superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, whose ministers, according to the Vatican, do not legitimately exercise ministry in the church.
Fellay, in his address, drew heavily from the Third Secret of Fatima, which many Catholics believe was given by the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus, to Lucia Santos, one of three poor children who claimed to experience a series of six apparitions of Mary in Fatima, Portugal, between May and October in 1917.
The Third Secret centers on an apocalyptic vision in which an unidentified future pope is seen going up a steep mountain. At the top is a rough-hewn cross. The pope passes through a city in ruins, only to be killed at the foot of the cross by a group of soldiers who fire a barrage of bullets and arrows that wound the bishops, priests and believers of various ranks and positions accompanying the pope.
Fellay noted that when Sister Lucia was asked what the Third Secret of Fatima predicted, she pointed to chapters 8 through 13 of the Apocalypse, referring to the final book of the New Testament, also known as “The Revelation of St. John the Divine.”
Observing that chapter 8 of the Apocalypse speaks of the coming of the Antichrist, Fellay noted that Pope St. Pius X said at the beginning of his pontificate the “son of perdition” may already be on earth.
Fellay cited Cardinal Luigi Ciapi, the papal theologian of all popes from Pope Pius XII through Pope John Paul II, who said the Third Secret warned the apostasy within the church would begin at the top.
In 2000, the Vatican released what was declared to be the complete text of the Third Secret of Fatima, accompanied with a commentary authored by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict XVI.
Fellay stressed the “end times” nature of Sister Lucia’s vision by referring to a famous 1957 interview in which Lucia stressed that when the Third Secret is fulfilled “various nations will disappear from the face of the earth” and the “devil will do all in his power to overcome souls consecrated to God.”
'Very scary times'
Fellay attacked Francis for advancing a new format for the Catholic Mass, following in the path of Vatican II, and for suggesting the Catholic Church condemns homosexuality, but not homosexuals, and that even atheists might achieve salvation if they live according to conscience.
Claiming these are “very scary times,” Fellay spoke of abortion as a sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance. He characterized same-sex marriage as an “unnatural re-definition of marriage and related sins.”
Praying for a return to traditional Catholic values and practices, Fellay reiterated Sister Lucia’s plea for Catholics to recite the Rosary and to apply themselves to the Devotion of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary as the last remedies God has given to mankind.
Insisting there is “definitely a material chastisement of the world in sight,” Fellay warned of a coming catastrophe.
“How? When?” Fellay asked. “I have no idea. But if you put everything together, it is clear that God has had enough of the sins of man.”
Fellay's Society of St. Pius X, or SSPX, was founded in 1970 by French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who strongly opposed communists and “Catholic socialists” who he believes hijacked Vatican II to abandon traditional Catholic practices and beliefs, including replacing the Latin Mass with a modern format in the vernacular of local cultures.
In 1988, in an apostolic letter titled “Ecclesia Dei,” or “The Church of God,” Pope John Paul II officially excommunicated Fellay because he was consecrated by Lefebvre in an act the Vatican characterized as “unlawful” and “schismatic.”
In 2009, the Congregation for Bishops, on instructions from Pope Benedict XVI, rescinded Fellay’s excommunication, while stressing that the SSPX has no canonical status in the Catholic Church and that any minister established by the SSPX has no right to exercise its ministry in the church.
Pope Francis, born Jorge Mario Beroglio, has been identified with “liberation theology,” a Marxist revolutionary version of Christianity, ever since he was appointed Archbishop of Buenos Aires in 1998.
In a meeting with priests from the Diocese of Rome, Francis made an effort to distance himself from the version of liberation theology practiced by Peruvian priest Father Gustavo Gutierrez, author of the 1988 book “A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, an