Internet False Prophet

Over the last year or so I have been receiving regular emails from adjuncts of thewarningsecondcoming.com, the front for the self-styled seer, Maria Divine Mercy. I assume the messages I am receiving are from robots, since I never get a response to my pleas to stop sending me emails.

I believe the phenomenon of the virtual visionary is another symptom of the sickness of the Catholic Internet. There are always those who will be easily duped by scams. All an unscrupulous chiseler has to do is promise something too good to be true, or propose an arch-villain to explain every woe, or fix a doomsday on the calendar, and those who suffer will empty their pockets to have their empty cup filled with snake oil.

But this. This is almost too much to believe except that I have learned not to be surprised by anything. We are largely blind to the fact the increase in the amount of information we have access to only requires us to have new much larger sewers and leach fields installed to process all the discharge.

Internet Prophetess?

Anyone can play peekaboo gossip on the Internet and win a virtual crown of laurel for their anonymous heroism because this is the new information age in which the downtrodden now have a voice and can hide at the same time from Big Brother. But this?

There are many reasons to know this woman is a fraud, some of them doctrinal, some of them having to do with the money trail, and some of them just common sense: Is MDM the seventh Angel of the Apocalypse? No she is not.

That there is not a single bishop that supports her, but many who condemn the messages one might think would be a clue. But of course, conspiracy theory always has a ready answer. Everything is connected: false prophet pope, evil bishops—you know, private revelation comes first.

The reason why I have decided to say something about this now is because in my frustration with the emails I just realized that this provides me with a great opportunity to go after my favorite whipping boy of late: the Catholic Internet. You would think the fact that MDM is hiding behind the great world-wide-war-machine would be the give away. But apparently not. It seems the Internet is the perfect cover for the religious scam.

Public Witness

Prophecy by definition is public witness. Since the death of the last Apostle, it is not public revelation, but regardless no one can bear credible testimony from hiding. God does not hide. His word does not hide, and neither does he send His spokesmen to act from hiding. Prophecy is a human act. God speaks through men and women. They are his witnesses. No prophet who spoke the word of God has ever hid his or her face in fear of reprisal. Witness and martyr mean the same thing.

Were there exceptions to this rule of prophecy, say, like the case of St. Catherine Labouré? Sure. But the Saint was transparent to her religious superiors and spiritual director, and the latter submitted everything to the Archbishop of Paris before any of the visions were acted upon. On the other hand, MDM has no ecclesiastical support, and like other heresies of the past (and present revivals), such as Donatism, Millenarianism and Joachism, this one justifies its extra-ecclesial status by the evil of the times and the holiness of the seer’s apocalyptic remnant church.

As if God had no one else to choose from, so he had to settle on someone who could not afford to go public. No, wait, He had to choose MDM because she is the Seventh Angel of the Apocalypse!

One would think that reason just plain common sense would demand that the more extraordinary or extravagant the claims, the more signs, like hard evidence and verifiable miracles, would be required for assent to be given. But the scammer, that is, the practiced manipulator, knows just what buttons to push, what fears to kindle and what vanities to indulge.

Reason’s Apocalypse

Mothers used to tell their children that too much television would turn their brains into jelly.   In some ways the Internet, including the Catholic Internet, has become the digestive tract of hell. If there is anything anti-Christic going on right now that needs to be outed on the Internet it is the Internet itself.

I understand people are suffering and afraid. I understand they feel left out to dry by their leaders. There is real suffering, anxiety and fear—and good reasons for it. And in times like these there are also those who will cash in on people’s vulnerabilities.

Extremists dodge the logic of the faith. They either submit every jot and tittle to personal analysis and declare their contingent opinions to be metaphysically necessary, or they make squishy and gratuitous assertions to be accepted without question because of some personality or prophet. But the logic of the faith is the Cross, and it is this logic that stands in the brink of historical crisis. It rises above both human calculation and the claims of seers, precisely because it is the fundamental evidence of the deposit of faith. It judges mere reason and private revelation, not the other way around. The Cross is our victory not our ruin. The fear mongers are never right. The Apocalypse is not about making people afraid, it is about giving the martyrs hope.

Satan plays on our fears. His minions cash in on our fears.

The Head of the Internet

I have a theory about the Internet.

Throughout the history of salvation, the human imagination has functioned as a kind of ground of religious sensibilities. I am not talking about fancy, but about the function of signs and the way we relate the things we see to those beyond our senses. This is also a function of reason. But popular imagination adheres more easily to the metaphors. At a glance we understand much theology in the name “Lamb of God.” For the same reason—and others as well—the imagination is a fertile place for the Enemy to work. In fact, he cannot infuse thoughts into our mind, nor can he force us to do anything, but he can manipulate the images we have acquired on our own.

The occult is the inversion of the image and sign, the reorganization of the imagination and memory with the hopes of gaining power, of quickening the desired effects that are either impossible to achieve naturally or too slow and arduous to do without demonic help.

The Internet is something like a virtual mind, full of images and bits of information to which we are joined and through which we are linked to other people all of whom are actively accessing, modifying and adding to the data stream. It flows in and out, mind to mind, so to speak, through the central nervous system of the Internet. Our access to it and our use of it is partly voluntary and partly accidental, but very often it can be more influenced by random clicks and passionate reaction than it is by reasoned use. I think it is open to great manipulation from below and I believe that without disciplined vigilance against the great caldron of information on the web, we end up believing that what is virtual is real—that the narratives we create by applying our favorite filters to the sewage produces truth.

It is only a theory, but someone has to explain why it is that when we get on the Internet we behave like our brains have been turned to jelly or like our own nervous systems have become an extension of the sewer system of the Internet. I am not saying that the Internet is possessed or that it is evil per se, but I do believe we have reached a new level of exposure of diabolic temptation through it, and that many Catholics are not sufficiently aware or prepared for what they encounter on the web.

Heads Up

Whenever I think about this subject I am reminded of C.S. Lewis’ third volume of his Space Trilogy, That Hideous Strength. In the novel, the world is subtlety taken over by the by a fusion of the godless state and godless science represented by the National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments or NICE. But this figure for the secular, freemasonic Big Brother is actually a front for something even more sinister.

NICE is run by a menagerie of characters, all of them slightly off, either psychologically or preternaturally, or both. For example, the Deputy Director, John Wither gives the impression that his own “withered” personality is only half the story of who he is and what he says. The business of NICE shares in the same uncanny ambiguity, and no matter how hard the new recruit, Mark Studduck, tries, he can never get straight answers about what NICE really is and what it does. But everyone there continues to make passing references in Mark’s presence to their anonymous Head, with whom, if he intends to stay on as a committed member he will have to meet for a personal interview.

For the sake of those who have not read the book I don’t want to give away too much, but what NICE really is, who the Head is and what NICE’s business is all about is a key revelation within the plot. Those who have read the trilogy know what I am talking about and why I bring it up.

Like Mark Studdock, we need to ask ourselves what is really going on within the tangled data streams of the Catholic Internet. What are the origins of the narratives in this information democracy? What exactly is this network of ambiguous, ever shifting and (many times) nameless entities we have created? What is the intelligence behind the project of virtual Catholic discourse and why do the internecine wars that erupt in the Catholic blogosphere lack even minimal rules of engagement?

The title of this post is meant to be ambiguous. Is the Internet False Prophet the Internet’s disposition to deformity, or those who capitalize on that deformity, or both?

19 thoughts on “Internet False Prophet

  1. Wow! You’ve articulated both hilariously and excellently the frustrations of an orthodox Catholic with the loose cannon cyberchurch, which (unattended/unconfronted by orthodox clergy for the most part) does indeed pose dangers — to more than Catholics.

  2. The typically right-wing Apocalyptic Millenarians have a lot in common with the left-wingers. The lefties in the Church see the advent of the Kingdom as consisting of mere social work. For the liberals, the Kingdom of God is entirely external and can be brought about by political and economic reform.

    But the righties who fall for false prophecies are making the same mistake. Just swallow the MDM bait, sit back and wait for the Apocalypse. The Kingdom is just as external as it is for the liberals. No need to worry about the slow and frustrating process of cooperating with God’s grace, no need for penance, mortification or carrying your cross. No need to forgive your neighbor or to reform your heart. There will be a weird and exciting fireworks show by May of 2016 and all you have to do is grab some popcorn and watch it. And then delight in the fact that your enemies and those who scoff at you are eternally damned, while you’re in the smart set.

    • Very true, Kevin. I also find it interesting that it seems that MDM is tied in with the more typical charismatic current, as an offshoot of the happy clappy stuff. Apocalyptism can be optimistic or pessimistic, and sometimes is a weird combination of both.

    • It seems to me that most self-styled “moderate” in this debate are simply leftists in disguise. They slander the orthodox with ridiculous slander like “right-wing Apocalyptic Millenarians” and “Self-Absorbed Promethean Neopelagian”.
      Christ warned us that the majority would follow the way of the world (which is really the way of Satan) and persecute the orthodox. (We can see an example of this in Geiger’s persecution of the FFI, horrendously backed by Bergoglio.)

  3. Thank you. Thank you for this. I began to realize how off the internet was and how deceitful many prolife websites were becoming last year-ironically because of Sandy Hook. We have become so gullible as Catholics and we have such knee jerk reactions to everything based simply on whether we feel the sight is or is not Catholic. If we feel that it is Catholic (because it proclaims itself to be prolife, opposed to contraception and gay marriage) then we automatically listen to everything that is said and turn off our brains. If we feel that it is not Catholic, then we automatically Know that everything said on the sight is a lie. It makes me want to rip my hair out watching people share things across the net that they can’t verify as true but that they know must be true because it came off of a “Catholic” website. The lies that people pass around know are astonishing. The internet is destroying everyone’s ability to think critically.

  4. question: While on the topic of false prophets…. Has Russia been clearly and definitively Consecrated to the Immaculate Heart? It is my understanding that it has been, and was formally Consecrated by Saint JPII. Sister ( Blessed ? ) Lucia stated so in a letter, I believe. I understand that it was not the ‘perfect Consecration’, but was accepted by Heaven, never-the-less. There are so many faithful that I hear ( even in the MIM and Orthodox priests ) that say that it has not been. So many internet sites ( some simply Catholic sites, and many false prophecy sites ) that claim that Russia was not officially mentioned in the Consecration made by St. JPII, and has therefore never been Consecrated according to the wishes of the Blessed Virgin… What is the truth? Thank you for any light you may be able to shed on this. God bless you!

  5. It has been Cheryl. From the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith:
    “Sister Lucia personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration corresponded to what Our Lady wished (“Sim, està feita, tal como Nossa Senhora a pediu, desde o dia 25 de Março de 1984”: “Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked, on 25 March 1984”: Letter of 8 November 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.
    http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/rc_con_cfaith_doc_20000626_message-fatima_en.html
    God Bless!

  6. Thank you Michele. It is what I thought, but so many people keep stating it hasn’t been done. God bless you also!

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