Publication Date: March 22, 2022
The Final Campaign Against the Savior
As G.K. Chesterton once remarked, the cleverest thing the devil ever did was to induce people to believe that he did not exist. It was truly a masterstroke, enabling him to carry on his nefarious operations, not just with the tolerance of so-called enlightened opinion; but with the active cooperation of well-meaning, charitable people like Eleanor Roosevelt, not to mention a large body of clergy of all denominations. Thus, for instance, the devil has been able to gain access to such organizations as the World Council of Churches, inducing them to foster the setting up of Marxist regimes in Africa and elsewhere, and generally to advance the cause of atheism and materialism.
In the nether regions, I feel sure, to this day they speak with awe of all their lord and master, in his nonexistent capacity, has been able to achieve at the Vatican Councils, and after, in the way of demoralizing and disbanding the religious orders just when they were most needed, disrupting all accepted liturgical arrangements, including the Mass, and involving Catholic schools and colleges in the same Gadarene rush to moral vacuity as secular institutions-all ostensibly brought about under the auspices of the good Pope John. With the devil, in consensus terms, abolished, but seemingly achieving an ascendency everywhere, it is easy to fall into a mood of hopelessness and inertia.
In his latest book, The Antichrist, Fr. Miceli offers a powerful challenge to so defeatist an attitude. He looks back on the long record of the devil's activities as, in the words of the book of Job, he has gone to and fro in the earth and up and down in it, everywhere making mischief and creating chaos; yet always ultimately, as Fr. Miceli shows, frustrated in the working out of his devilish purposes by his chief adversary, Christ and His Church Militant. As for the existing situation-the chief danger now, Fr. Miceli insists, is not so much the devil's own malign operations as the distortions he has been able to induce, as a nonperson, in the words and teaching of the gospels, and the consequent devastating loss of faith among Chris- tians and in Christian institutions resulting therefrom. In other words, we are witnessing today the exact fulfillment of the apostle Paul's prophecy just before he died that a time would come when professing Christians would not tolerate sound doctrine, but follow after their own lusts, preferring fantasy to truth.
It was John Henry Newman who foresaw with unique clarity how in our time, in the twentieth century, some two thousand years after St. Paul's prophecy was uttered, every particular would come to pass, down to the smallest detail. Fr. Miceli quotes Newman again and again in this sense-true words beautifully expressed, marvelous in their force, insight, and elegance. Truly, God never leaves us in unrelieved darkness; always throughout history somewhere a voice is raised, confuting the devil's false assumptions and deceiving hopes-for instance, today Solzhenitsyn's. All we need is ears to hear, a mind to understand, and a heart to believe, for which our prayers must endlessly be addressed to God, asking of Him ultimately only: "Thy will be done."