IN a recent radio broadcast, renowned Catholic apologist, Patrick Madrid, responded to a listener’s question on Countdown to the Kingdom. On Relevant Radio’s website, it is summarized:
Patrick responds to Sherry’s email of concern of her family being in uproar over the fear mongering website “countdown to the kingdom”. Patrick says to ignore it and focus your life on Christ. —relevantradio.com
At the beginning of the broadcast, Patrick says he normally prefers to overlook publicly commenting on another ministry. I feel the same way. When we look at all that is happening in the Church, how the faithful remnant is shrinking, how great divisions are tearing at her unity and the world rapidly eroding her freedom, I think our united witness is more crucial than ever. We have enough enemies. Nonetheless, Patrick decides that he’s received enough letters to respond to them publicly. Fair enough.
At the beginning of the show, Patrick says that he knows me personally. He then continues to explain how he’s heard from several people who are “distraught” because of some of the content on Countdown to the Kingdom, and thus he recommends: “I would avoid it.” The reasons he cites over the next ten minutes are that the seers on this website are not “approved” to his knowledge and that it is “highly likely” that the seers are “probably not seeing anything beyond their own imagination.” He laments that some people apparently “hang on to every word” on this website, and that some of the seers have been saying these things for “fifteen or twenty years [and] it still hasn’t happened.” Patrick calls all of this: “end-times mania” that’s “just not going to do you any good” and that he doesn’t believe “what is being purveyed on websites like that is true.” He concludes by hypothesizing: “What if all that was true?” What should you do? His answer: Love others, pray, receive the sacraments, give alms, etc. and if you do all those things, “it doesn’t matter if the Antichrist is opening an office down the street from you.” Then Patrick suggests that all the “steady diet of doom and gloom and the fear-mongering” causing some people to get “so wound up… and so fearful and so agitated that they’re losing their grip on what they should really be doing… that to me sounds like right out of the playbook of the evil one.”
As his final statement, Patrick essentially asserts what is now the most common Catholic cliché on the planet: that everyone thinks their times are the end times and that one should just live his life as if he were going to die tonight — and dispense with all this “end times mania.”
Indeed, I do know Patrick. My family and I stayed at his home while on a U.S. concert tour many years ago. It was a wonderful visit and I remain fond of both Patrick and his terrific ministry.
He says he can’t recall ever speaking with me since. Actually, I’ve spoken a few times on the phone with him over the years, and one of those times was to ask if he would review my book The Final Confrontation. He agreed. And to this day, on the back cover, is Patrick’s endorsement:
In these days of tumult and treachery, Christ’s reminder to be watchful reverberates powerfully in the hearts of those who love Him… This important new book by Mark Mallett can help you watch and pray ever more intently as unsettling events unfold. It is a potent reminder that, however dark and difficult things may get, “He who is in you is great than he who is in the world.” —Patrick Madrid, author of Search and Rescue and Pope Fiction
The reason I point this out is that the entire foundation of Countdown to the Kingdom, in terms of our Timeline, theology, and supportive prophetic revelations, are based on what is written in that book, which last year, was granted a Nihil Obstat. And that Timeline — which is a sequence, not a set of dates or “baptized fortune-telling” — is not my own but based on the Early Church Fathers and how they explained the Book of Revelation and St. John’s clear chronology. Patrick’s own words suggest that he understands we are living in extraordinary times — “days of tumult and treachery,” as he puts it. His advice, at least on the back of my book, is not to “avoid it” but to “watch and pray” as “unsettling events unfold… however dark and difficult things get.”
When I published his words, I did not feel that Patrick was fear-mongering nor engaging in hyperbole. His words, in fact, echoed a century of popes who have been saying much the same thing. The fact is that we are living, not only in extraordinary times, but according to the successors of Peter, in what appear to be the “end times” — not the “end of the world” — as Patrick suggests in his show.
Now, if this upsets some people to the point of losing their equilibrium, then I wish to repeat Patrick’s advice: stop reading now and “avoid it.” However, considering that Our Lord said to the Apostles that “whoever listens to you listens to Me,” Luke 10:16 then it seems to me that we should not be afraid to hear Christ speaking through His shepherds, no matter the gravity of their words.
There is a great uneasiness at this time in the world and in the Church, and that which is in question is the faith. It so happens now that I repeat to myself the obscure phrase of Jesus in the Gospel of St. Luke: ‘When the Son of Man returns, will He still find faith on the earth?’…I sometimes read the Gospel passage of the end times and I attest that, at this time, some signs of this end are emerging. —POPE PAUL VI, The Secret Paul VI, Jean Guitton, p. 152-153, Reference (7), p. ix.
Certainly those days would seem to have come upon us of which Christ Our Lord foretold: “You shall hear of wars and rumours of wars—for nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom“ (Matt 24:6-7). —BENEDICT XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum:November 1, 1914
And thus, even against our will, the thought rises in the mind that now those days draw near of which Our Lord prophesied: “And because iniquity hath abounded, the charity of many shall grow cold” (Matt. 24:12). —POPE PIUS XI, Miserentissimus Redemptor, Encyclical on Reparation to the Sacred Heart, n. 17
As early as 1903, considering the “signs of the times,” Pope St. Pius X suggested that the Antichrist could already be on earth.
Who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady… apostasy from God… When all this is considered there is good reason to fear lest this great perversity may be as it were a foretaste, and perhaps the beginning of those evils which are reserved for the last days; and that there may be already in the world the “Son of Perdition” of whom the Apostle speaks. —POPE ST. PIUS X, E Supremi, Encyclical On the Restoration of All Things in Christ, n. 3, 5; October 4th, 1903
This warning was echoed by no less than John Paul II shortly before he was raised to the See of Peter:
We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the Gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the antichrist. This confrontation lies within the plans of divine providence; it is a trial which the whole Church, and the Polish Church in particular, must take up. It is a trial of not only our nation and the Church, but in a sense a test of 2,000 years of culture and Christian civilization, with all of its consequences for human dignity, individual rights, human rights and the rights of nations. —Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (JOHN PAUL II ), at the Eucharistic Congress, Philadelphia, PA for the bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence; some citations of this passage include the words “Christ and the antichrist” as above. Deacon Keith Fournier, an attendee, reports it as above; cf. Catholic Online; August 13, 1976
Invoking the Book of Revelation (2:5), Pope Benedict XVI warned:
The threat of judgment also concerns us, the Church in Europe, Europe and the West in general… the Lord is also crying out to our ears… “If you do not repent I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” Light can also be taken away from us and we do well to let this warning ring out with its full seriousness in our hearts, while crying to the Lord: “Help us to repent!” —Pope Benedict XVI, Opening Homily, Synod of Bishops, October 2nd, 2005, Rome
Again, this is a but a sampling of pontifical references in this regard that rival the “scariness” of anything you’ll read on this website (see Why Aren’t the Popes Shouting?). But it was St. John Henry Newman who directly answers Patrick’s objection on presumption of our times:
I know that all times are perilous, and that in every time serious and anxious minds, alive to the honor of God and the needs of man, are apt to consider no times so perilous as their own. At all times the enemy of souls assaults with fury the Church which is their true Mother, and at least threatens and frightens when he fails in doing mischief. And all times have their special trials which others have not… Doubtless, but still admitting this, still I think… ours has a darkness different in kind from any that has been before it. The special peril of the time before us is the spread of that plague of infidelity, that the Apostles and our Lord Himself have predicted as the worst calamity of the last times of the Church. And at least a shadow, a typical image of the last times is coming over the world. —St. John Henry Cardinal Newman (1801-1890 A.D.), sermon at opening of St. Bernard’s Seminary, October 2, 1873, The Infidelity of the Future
The question, however, is why speak of these things if they will just frighten people? Why invoke the spectre of an antichrist if it will just scare the flock? Why would the popes themselves engage in “end times mania”? Why, in fact, would Our Blessed Mother in approved revelations, such as Fatima, speak of such things as the “annihilation of nations”, etc.? And why would Our Lord describe in graphic detail, in both the Gospels and Revelation, the “tumult and treachery” that would come, if we were not to know it? And if we are to know it, why? St. Cyril of Jerusalem (c. 315-386) said:
The Church now charges you before the Living God; she declares to you the things concerning Antichrist before they arrive. Whether they will happen in your time we know not, or whether they will happen after you we know not; but it is well that, knowing these things, you should make yourself secure beforehand. — Doctor of the Church, Catechetical Lectures, Lecture XV, n.9
Secure from what? The warnings in both Scripture and prophecy are intended to prepare us for the terrible deception that is coming — a deception so great that Jesus said, “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” Luke 18:8 “Therefore, let us not sleep as the rest do, but let us stay alert and sober.” 1 Thessalonians 5:6
Those are the words that cause me to pause — not the prophecies of a coming virus from China that was accurately predicted by Our Lady in messages to two seers on our website (Gisella Cardia and the “approved” seer, Luz de Maria); not the proliferation of volcanoes around the world predicted over fifteen years ago (that even volcanologists cannot predict) that is now happening;cf. Mountains Will Awaken not the warnings from seers that are now being echoed by scientists around the world of tremendous harm from experimental vaccines;cf. When Seers and Science Merge; also Grave Warnings – Part II nor the warnings of a coming schism in the Church that, yes, is likely unfolding now before our eyes.cf. Schism Will Come; April 8th, 2021: “US Theologians Echo Fears of Schism in Catholic Church in Germany”, ncregister.com No, it’s the warning that even those of us who think we are standing, might fall — and flee Gethsemane, too, as the Church enters her own Passion.
At the end of his discourse on the coming of the lawless one, St. Paul speaks of a “strong delusion” that God sends upon those who “have not believed the truth but have approved wrongdoing.” 2 Thess 2:12 Alas, here is another poor soul given to “end times mania”:
Where are we now in an eschatological sense? It is arguable that we are in the midst of the rebellion and that in fact a strong delusion has come upon many, many people. It is this delusion and rebellion that foreshadows what will happen next: “and the man of lawlessness will be revealed.” —Msgr. Charles Pope, “Are These the Outer Bands of a Coming Judgment?”, November 11th, 2014; blog
But according to Patrick, “it doesn’t matter if the Antichrist is opening an office down the street from you”; just love and live your life. It seems to me, though, that it is precisely a matter of love to not sit by idly while, as Benedict XVI said, “The very future of the world is at stake.”Address to the Roman Curia, December 20th, 2010 Anyone who has spent any reasonable time on Countdown to the Kingdom knows that Our Lady’s words are a powerful echo of the popes:
No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual, ignoring the profound crisis of faith which has overtaken our society, or simply trusting that the patrimony of values handed down by the Christian centuries will continue to inspire and shape the future of our society. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, London, England, September 18th, 2010; Zenit
My children, go and preach: be true apostles, help your brothers and sisters with their inner transformation, because only thus will they be able to have great peace in their hearts, in spite of what will soon happen. Otherwise anxiety and fear will be their only states of mind. Whoever is in Christ will never have anything to fear. —Our Lady to Gisella Cardia, April 10th, 2021
Give the best of yourselves to the mission entrusted to you. My Lord expects much from you. You are living in a time of great spiritual confusion. Be attentive. Do not allow anything or anyone to distance you from the truth. Bend your knees in prayer. You are heading for a future where few will remain firm in the faith. The mire of false doctrines will spread everywhere and many will depart from the truth. —Our Lady to Pedro Regis, April 13th, 2021
Hence, I find it odd that one of the greatest means by which God awakens His people, guides, exhorts, chastises, and loves His children — that is, through prophecy — is so frowned upon. How do we just skip past St. Paul’s exhortation?
Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good… (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21)
While Patrick seems to get a lot of email from people terrorized by this website, the same cannot be said for either me or my team. In fact, I have never heard so many dramatic conversions as I have through the messages on Countdown to the Kingdom. I truly did not anticipate that. We have had both priests and laity write from around the world who are going through or witnessing truly astounding conversions — prodigal sons and daughters coming home, some times after decades of being away from the faith. One priest said that Countdown was helping to revive his whole parish.
In fact, the characterization that Countdown to the Kingdom is some kind of horror show could not be further from the truth. Cardinal Ratzinger was once asked why he was such a pessimist. He replied, “I’m not. I’m a realist.” Our Lady is a realist too. She knows the Scriptures better than anyone, such as this passage:
Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows. (Galatians 6:7)
Humanity has begun to reap what it has sown — decades of bloodshed, violence, hedonism, rebellion — the weeds are coming to a head. And yes, it isn’t pretty. While some may feel that the messages on this website are scary, what I find frightening is the prospect that this world could go on as it is; that 115000 babies will continue to be dismembered daily in the womb; that pornography will continue robbing billions of their innocence; that human trafficking will continue to explode; that freedom will disappear; that nuclear war could break out any day now, and so forth. But no, it seems that some clergy and laity feel that any prophecies that speak of purification, chastisement or divine correction are false, simply because they are fearful. Yet most anything these seers are saying has already been said first by Our Lord anyway; I mean, we ought to disavow Jesus Christ for the “doom and gloom” of Matthew 24, Mark 13, Luke 21, the Book of Revelation, and so on. Yet, He told us these things in advance, precisely to prepare us for the dreadful hour when a greater portion of humanity will abandon the Gospel resulting in nation rising against nation, kingdom against kingdom with man-made (at first) upheaval spreading across the planet.
Yet, the Church barely has the capacity to hear these words of Christ any longer (much less those of the seers) and prepare for such times. The absolute deficit of teaching in the Church over the past five decades on mysticism and private revelation has come home to roost: we are paying the price for a profound lack of catechesis as prophecy is not only ignored but even silenced. New priests have barely a clue how to handle prophecy, and so they simply don’t. Older priests were trained to mock the mystical, and many do. And the laity, left largely unchallenged from the pulpit over the past five decades, have fallen asleep.
…‘the sleepiness’ is ours, of those of us who do not want to see the full force of evil and do not want to enter into his Passion. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Catholic News Agency, Vatican City, Apr 20, 2011, General Audience
We are living “as at no other time in history,” said St. John Paul II.
In every age, a measure of their apparent success is the death of the Innocents. In our own century, as at no other time in history, the “culture of death” has assumed a social and institutional form of legality to justify the most horrible crimes against humanity: genocide, “final solutions”, “ethnic cleansings”, and the massive “taking of lives of human beings even before they are born, or before they reach the natural point of death…” —Homily, Cherry Creek State Park Homily, Denver, Colorado, August 15th, 1993
But be damned if you say it out loud. For it is not the present swath of destruction, violation of freedoms, and uncontested trampling of human dignity that is frightening to our hierarchy and certain laity. No, it is these obscure seers and visionaries purportedly receiving messages from Heaven who must be challenged if not silenced; it is they who frighten us—not the maniacal agents of the culture of death lining us up to be marked and injected with their chemicals for the “common good.”The Case Against Gates Don’t speak of sin, conversion or repentance. Don’t dare mention God’s justice. Don’t you dare rock the boat….
But when certain prophets do the rock the boat — and it scares some people — can we not hear Christ’s voice all over again?
Why are you terrified, O you of little faith? (Matt 8:26)
Once more, what is the point of Heaven warning us of the Antichrist, etc.? Well, if that’s all that these messages were, Patrick might have a point. But in truth, the messages are often filled with crucial exhortations to “remain faithful to the true magisterium,” to “defend the truth”, to continually seek strength in the Eucharist, Confession, and to make prayer a daily part of one’s life. Is there any harm in being reminded of these? All of this is simply an echo of Sacred Scripture when St. Paul, after speaking of the coming of the Antichrist, gives the antidote:
Therefore, brothers, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions that you were taught, either by an oral statement or by a letter of ours. (2 Thessalonians 2:15)
Finally, Patrick made a serious allegation that, despite his gentle demeanour, is borderline slanderous: that pretty much all of the seers on this website are “probably not seeing anything beyond their own imagination.” Here, a line has been crossed. Contrary to Patrick’s assertion (and he said he was willing to be corrected), several of the seers here have Church approval to one degree or another: the seers of Heede, Germany (approved); Luz de Maria (writings approved); Alicja Lenczewska (Imprimatur); Jennifer (endorsed by the late Fr. Seraphim Michaelenko and after submission to John Paul II, a Vatican representative told her to “Spread the messages to the world any way you can”); St. Faustina (approved); Pedro Regis (broad support from his bishop); Simona and Angela (active theological commission); seers of Medjugorje (first seven apparitions approved by the Ruini Commission; awaiting final word from the Pope); Marco Ferrari (met with several popes; still under a theological commission); Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta (full approval); Fr. Stefano Gobbi (Imprimatur); Elizabeth Kindelmann (approved by Cardinal Péter Erdő); Valeria Copponi (supported by the late Fr. Gabriel Amorth; no official declaration); Fr. Ottavio Michelini was a priest and mystic (member of the Papal Court of Pope St. Paul VI); Servant of God Cora Evans (approved)… and there are more.
I encourage Patrick to read a recent article here called Prophecy in Perspective to understand how the Church asks us to approach private revelation. Ironically, it addresses readers on how to deal with more sensational prophecies within the context of Church teaching — not subjectivism.
One may refuse assent to “private revelation” without direct injury to Catholic Faith, as long as he does so, “modestly, not without reason, and without contempt.” —POPE BENEDICT XV, Heroic Virtue, p. 397
In every age the Church has received the charism of prophecy, which must be scrutinized but not scorned. —Cardinal Ratzinger (BENEDICT XVI), Message of Fatima, Theological Commentary, vatican.va
I am reminded of what my spiritual director said to me some time ago: “The false prophets told the people what they wanted to hear — and they loved them. The true prophets told them what they needed to hear — and they stoned them.”
The widespread reluctance on the part of many Catholic thinkers to enter into a profound examination of the apocalyptic elements of contemporary life is, I believe, part of the very problem which they seek to avoid. If apocalyptic thinking is left largely to those who have been subjectivized or who have fallen prey to the vertigo of cosmic terror, then the Christian community, indeed the whole human community, is radically impoverished. And that can be measured in terms of lost human souls. –Author, Michael D. O’Brien, Are We Living In Apocalyptic Times?
|↑3||1 Thessalonians 5:6|
|↑4||cf. Mountains Will Awaken|
|↑5||cf. When Seers and Science Merge; also Grave Warnings – Part II|
|↑6||cf. Schism Will Come; April 8th, 2021: “US Theologians Echo Fears of Schism in Catholic Church in Germany”, ncregister.com|
|↑7||2 Thess 2:12|
|↑8||Address to the Roman Curia, December 20th, 2010|
|↑9||The Case Against Gates|