This is a continuation of the article, Internationally Renowned Priest Theologian Confirms Negative Assessment of Fr. Rodrigue. - Assistant Editor
Point 4 – Assertion that “Anti-Christ is in the hierarchy of the Church right now”
Loreto Pres.: Fr. Joseph, can you address Dr. Miravalle’s response to the teaching of Fr. Rodrigue who proposes that the “Anti-christ is in the hierarchy of the Church right now, and he has always wanted to be in the Chair of St. Peter”?
Father: Theologically there is nothing in the Catholic Church’s patristic or hagiographical tradition that identifies the Antichrist with a pope or antipope. Dr. Miravalle does well to highlight this truth. Rather, the Catholic Church teaches that Antichrist may be understood as a supreme religious deception by which man glorifies himself in place of God (CCC, 675) or as several Anti-Christian individuals (2 Jn. 7) that may include an evil male individual such as the biblical “false prophet” (St. Irenaeus).
Those who are not conversant in prophetic`and dogmatic theology are apt to ignore the distinction between:
a) a male individual Antichrist figure who may seek to suppress and replace the exercise of all Petrine legitimate power – though, by virtue of the inerrant words of Christ and his Church (Mt. 16:17-18; CCC 895), he cannot actually replace the Vicar of Christ’s supreme, full and immediate authority over the Church;
b) an antipope (the Church has witnessed approx. 40 antipopes) who is invalidly elected and, in not seeking to ‘suppress and replace’ the Petrine power, seeks to illegitimately exercise it.
Since not one of the antipopes possessed any of the legitimate Petrine power that Christ confers only upon a legitimately elected Roman Pontiff, they could not seize, suppress or replace it, nor could they lead the Church in any legitimate capacity. Nowhere in the Church’s patristic and hagiographical tradition is there mention of an “Antichrist” individual who assumes or is elevated to power through an invalid papal election – an antipope – and illegitimately exercises Petrine power. Rather, in biblical, patristic and prophetic literature one discovers mention of an atheistic male tyrant whose fame is founded on deception and the usurpation of power, who despises God’s Church, who enjoys excessive material wealth, and who seeks to suppress and replace Petrine power. I elaborate on these traits in the publication, Antichrist and the End Times (https://www.amazon.com/Antichrist-End-Times-Joseph-Iannuzzi/dp/1891903349).
Loreto Pres.: Dr. Miravalle cites the Catholic Encyclopedia on Antichrist which states that Antichrist is not associated with the Papacy. The encyclopedia also cites St. Bernard to support this teaching. Can you expound on this?