Stephen Walford’s newly published Heralds of the Second Coming will help you read the signs of the times with its well-written and balanced account of the interplay between the messages accompanying the major Marian apparitions and the eschatological teachings of modern popes from Blessed Pius IX to Benedict XVI.
The great strength of this book is that in one volume of 220 pages Stephen Walford brings together the prophetic warnings of the Marian apparitions and the eschatological discourses of the modern popes in such a way that together they cast the light of Revelation onto the times in which we live giving us greater clarity. It is clear from the posts on Protect the Pope over the past two years, and other Catholic blogs, that we are living in a new phase of the End Times, characterised by the normalisation of evil, accelerating mass apostasy, and the widespread failure of pastors to defend the Faith and the people entrusted to their pastoral care. The evidence gathered together in ‘Heralds of the Second Coming’ suggests that the succession of modern popes believed that the Church and world are approaching a moment of major crisis, even a tipping point in Salvation History.
Heralds of the Second Coming convincingly shows that the Most Holy Trinity has providentially chosen Our Lady to prepare the Church and the human race for the Second Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ, signified by the fact, recognised by many modern popes, that we have entered the great Marian era.
Stephen Walford’s gift is that he examines the apocalyptic dimension of the Catholic tradition in a measured and straightforward way, while avoiding millennial hysteria and obsession. Simply put, ‘Heralds of the Second Coming’ helps us observe the New Testament exhortation that we maintain a sense of watchfulness for coming of the Lord. This eschatological dimension of authentic Catholic spirituality should play a greater part in our lives, considering that when we participate in the sacrifice of the Mass we often pray the Mystery of Faith, ‘We proclaim your Death, O Lord, and profess your Resurrection, until you come again.’
To purchase Stephen Walford’s Heralds of the Second Coming go to:
Here is an extract from chapter One, The Present Situation:
‘The 2003 publication of the post-synodal exhortation Ecclesia in Europa showed Pope John Paul’s view that Europe is also living what he called a “silent apostasy.” Significantly, the document took as its central theme, the Book of Revelation; no doubt the pope’s intention being to impress upon the Church the relevance of its prophetic content for us here and now:
‘In proclaiming to Europe the Gospel of hope, I will take as a guide the Book of Revelation, a “prophetic revelation” which discloses to
the community of believers the deep and hidden meaning of what is taking place. . . . The entire Church in Europe ought to feel that the Lord’s command and call is addressed to her: examine yourself, be converted, “awake, and strengthen what remains and is on the point of death” (Rev. 3:2).’
In tandem with this falling away of belief in the central tenets of Catholic doctrine, the Church has been plagued by a continuous stream of dissenting voices and organizations in the past few decades. The We are Church movement espouses women priests, artificial contraception, and married priests, while the Leadership Conference of Women Religious in the United States has continually peddled an anti-magisterial agenda, advocating among other things a homosexual lifestyle and new age fads, while neglecting the authentic development of charisms associated with its Orders.
Obedience to legitimate authority within the Church has been questioned ever more frequently in recent years and the teachings of the Church no longer adhered to even by many priests. The liturgical abuses that the vast majority of Catholics have been subject to in the western world stem from this culture of autonomy from Rome, and the turmoil caused by this wave of evil in the Holy Temple of God caused Sr. Lucia of Fatima to recount the Blessed Virgin’s warnings from 1917:
Our Lady requested and recommended that the Rosary be prayed every day, having repeated this in all the Apparitions as if forewarning us that in these times of diabolical disorientation, we must not let ourselves be deceived by false doctrines that diminish the elevation of our soul to God by means of prayer.
The sexual abuse scandals of recent times confirm a demonic infiltration in the heart of the Church in what could be seen as a strategic attempt by the Devil to destroy the reputation of the priesthood. By targeting innocence and purity among the little ones (cf. Matt. 18:6), the revering of the priest as an alter Christus (another Christ) is turned on its head; the absolute antithesis of Jesus Christ the High Priest.
There is a spiritual battle being waged for souls. There will be only one outcome—the final defeat of Satan and the coming of the Eternal kingdom of Christ. This is the reason why the Polish pope called us to cross the threshold of hope with no fear of the future, whatever it may hold. Scripture assures us that the victory has already been won through the suffering and death of Jesus, and the second Passover has been accomplished. Now we await that final Passover when the Church will be crucified only to rise again glorious, in imitation of its Savior.
The following chapters will aim to show how the recent popes, especially John Paul II, have prepared the Church and the world to
live the conclusion of the end times—the purification and great tribulation—through their magisterial teachings. On the Jubilee of the Disabled on December 3, 2000 at the Basilica of St. Paul-Outside-the-Walls, Pope John Paul encouraged the faithful with these words:
Look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near” (Lk. 21:28). In the Gospel text offered for our meditation on this First Sunday of Advent, St. Luke highlights the fear that terrifies human beings before the final upheaval. In contrast however, the Evangelist presents with far greater emphasis the joyful prospect of Christian expectation: “Then,” he says, “they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory”(Lk. 21:27). This is the message which gives hope to the believer’s heart: the Lord will come “with power and great glory.” This is why the disciples are asked not to be afraid, but to look up and raise their heads, “because your redemption is drawing near” (Lk.21:28).
The popes call the Universal Church to stay awake and watch, waiting for the completion of the “fullness of time” (Gal.4:4) which will be revealed at the second coming of the Lord. The exhortation “Be not afraid” (Jos. 1:9) is also accompanied by a similar message “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endures for ever!” (Ps. 117: 1). If the civilization of love is to be built in our era, then these words will need to resound in the heart of every believer, encouraging us all in the task of the New Evangelization.” ( p.13-15)