8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema.
9 As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema.
Recapitulatio Universae Iniquitatis - Universal Recapitulation of Iniquity
Rev. E. Sylvester Berry, D.D.,
“In the forgoing chapter [Apocalypse 12] St. John outlines the history of the Church from the coming of Antichrist until the end of the world . . . In this chapter he shows us the true nature of the conflict. It shall be a war unto death between the Church and the powers of darkness in a final effort to destroy the Church and thus prevent the universal reign of Christ on earth.
“Satan will first attempt to destroy the power of the Papacy and bring about the downfall of the Church through heresies, schisms and persecutions that must surely follow . . . he will raise up Antichrist and his prophet to lead the faithful into error and destroy those who remain steadfast . . . . . . The Church, the faithful spouse of Jesus Christ, is represented as a woman clothed in the glory of divine grace . . .
" . . . In this passage there is an evident allusion to some particular son of the Church whose power and influence shall be such that Satan will seek his destruction at any cost. This person can be none other than the Pope to be elected in those days. The Papacy will be attacked by all the powers of hell. In consequence the Church willsuffer great trials and afflictions in securing a successor upon the throne of Peter.
“The words of St. Paul to the Thessalonians may be a reference to the Papacy as the obstacle to the coming of Antichrist: ‘You know what withholdeth, that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity already worketh; only that he who now holdeth, do hold until he be taken out of the way. And then that wicked one shall be revealed.’
“ . . . St. John . . . sees in heaven a red dragon with seven heads and ten horns . . . The dragon is Satan red with the blood of martyrs, which he will cause to flow. The meaning of the seven headsand ten horns must be sought in the description of the beast that represents Antichrist where they symbolize kings or worldly powers. (II Thessalonians 2:6-7) . . . Satan’s attacks against the Church will be organized and carried out by the governments and ruling powers of those days.
“With the beast of Antichrist only the horns have diadems as symbols of royalty or governing power. The heads are branded with names of blasphemy. (Apocalypse, 13:1) Hence they symbolize the sins and errors that will afflict the Church . . . in this final struggle to prevent the universal reign of Christ all forms of sin and error will be marshaled against the Church . . . all errors which have afflicted the Church may be summed up in these seven: Judaism, paganism, Arianism, [false, kafirs not truly, Muslim] "Mohammedanism", Protestantism, rationalism, and atheism.
“The dragon is seen in heaven which is here a symbol of the Church, the kingdom of heaven on earth. This indicates that the first troubles of those days will be inaugurated within the Church by apostate bishops, priests, and peoples, — the stars dragged down by the tail of the dragon.
“ . . . The dragon stands before the woman, ready to devour the child that is brought forth. In other words, the powers of hell seek by all means to destroy the Pope elected in those days.
“. . . It is now the hour for the powers of darkness. The new-born Son of the Church is taken ‘to God and to his throne.’ Scarcely has the newly elected Pope been enthroned when he is snatched away by martyrdom. The ‘mystery of iniquity’ gradually developing through the centuries, cannot be fully consummated while the power of the Papacy endures, but now he that ‘withholdeth is taken out of the way.’ During the interregnum ‘that wicked one shall be revealed’ in his fury against the Church.” [In his interpretation of the Apocalypse, Fr. Berry suggests that it will the martyrdom of the Pope, immediately after his election, that will precipitate an extended interregnum, causing manifold tribulations to be visited upon the faithful. However, the suppression of a true Pope, and the intense agony suffered by the rightful Pontiff, who watches helplessly as the Church is ravaged by demonic powers usurping his see for a generation, could certainly be compared to a type of prolonged martyrdom.]
“It is a matter of history that the most disastrous periods for the Church were times when the Papal throne was vacant, or when anti-popes contended with the legitimate head of the Church. Thus also shall it be in those evil days to come.
“The Church deprived of her chief pastor must seek sanctuary in solitude there to be guided by God Himself during those trying days . . . In those days the Church shall . . . find refuge and consolation in faithful souls, especially in the seclusion of the religious life.
“ . . . Our Divine Savior has a representative on earth in the person of the Pope upon whom He has conferred full powers to teach and govern. Likewise, Antichrist will have his representative in the false prophet who will be endowed with the plenitude of satanic powers to deceive the nations.
“ . . . As indicated by the resemblance to a lamb, the prophet will probably set himself up in Rome as a sort of antipope during the vacancy of the papal throne . . .
“ . . . The ‘abomination of desolation’ has been wrought in many Catholic churches by heretics and apostates who have broken altars, scattered relics of martyrs and desecrated the Blessed Sacrament. At the time of the French Revolution a lewd woman was seated upon the altar of the cathedral in Paris and worshipped as the goddess of reason. Such things but faintly foreshadow the abominations that will desecrate churches in those sorrowful days when Antichrist will seat himself at the altar to be adored as God.
“. . .Antichrist and his prophet will introduce ceremonies to imitate the Sacraments of the Church. In fact there will be a complete organization - a church of Satan set up in opposition to the Church of Christ. Satan will assume the part of God the Father; Antichrist will be honored as Savior, and his prophet will usurp the role of Pope. Their ceremonies will counterfeit the Sacraments . . .”8
"The prophecies of the Apocalypse show that Satan will imitate the Church of Christ to deceive mankind; he will set up a church of Satan in opposition to the Church of Christ
"Antichrist will assume the role of Messias; his prophet will act the part of Pope, and there will be imitations of the Sacraments of the Church. There will also be lying wonders in imitation of the miracles wrought in the Church. (p.119)
"And, there seems to be no reason why a false Church might not become universal, even more universal than the true one, at least for a time." (p.155)
Rev. E. Sylvester Berry, D.D.,
The Church of Christ, An Apologetic and Dogmatic Treatise.
Herder, St. Louis and London, 1927 & 1941.