The Decline and Restoration of the Catholic Church
I recently watched this fascinating talk by Fr. Chris Alar about Our Lady of Good Success, a Marian Apparition of the 16th and 17th centuries. Here is the story:
“In the years between 1594 and 1634, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a cloistered Conceptionist sister in Quito, Ecuador named Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres. During these forty years, Our Lady appeared to her asking that she wished to be known under the title of Nuestra Senora del Buen Suceso which in English translates to Our Lady of Good Success. She spoke to Mother Mariana about the future times that were to come for the Catholic Church particularly during the 20th Century. Our Blessed Mother described for her the grave crisis that would take place then in the Church and also society in general.”
Our Lady told Mother Mariana what would happen to the Catholic Church in the late 19th and 20th centuries:
One of the most striking of the prophetic visions occurred on the Feast of the Purification, February 2, 1634, the 40 th anniversary of the first appearance of Our Lady of Good Success to Mother Mariana. Mother Mariana was praying in the upper choir loft before the Blessed Sacrament, the Sanctuary lamp went out. Mother Mariana was left in complete darkness. The extinguishing of the Sanctuary Light signified the dire straits the Church would be in during this future epoch.
Our Lady of Good Success was quite clear on what would be the demise of the Catholic Church—the general theme– a lax and perverse clergy. Certain members of the Catholic clergy would become as thieves stealing that Tabernacle light…thieves that would steal what is rightfully ours by virtue of our baptism in the Catholic Church—our Faith. They would rob us of Doctrine, Dogma and Tradition— ransacking the Church as it were leaving us in total darkness without even as much as the light of the Sanctuary Lamp (which signifies the presence of the Holy Eucharist– -Jesus Christ, Himself). Our Lady of Good Success went into great detail to explain what the five reasons were for the extinguishing of the light.
The first reason why the lamp was snuffed out was because in the end of the 19 th Century and during the 20 th Century , heresies would prevail not only in Ecuador but universally. “As these heresies spread and dominate, the precious light of Faith will be extinguished in souls by the almost total corruption of customs.”
The second reason was that in these times the Conceptionist Community would shrink and even be infected with bad attitudes and false charity as a result of the pervading situation of the Church at the time. Many vocations would be lost as a direct result . (This was to be considered a reflection of a more universal condition during these times). However, “ The faithful souls would suffer a continuous and slow martyrdom, weeping in secret and imploring that such dire times be shortened.”
The third reason the lamp failed was due to the fact that during this century a worldwide campaign against the virtues of chastity, and purity would succeed in ruining the youth. Our Lady of Good Success affirmed, “There will be almost no virgin souls in the world ”
The fourth reason the lamp was put out was to demonstrate how the Masonic and other secret sects would have so much influence on society and even the Church. “During these unfortunate times,” she foretold, “evil will invade childhood innocence. In this way, vocations to the priesthood will be lost, resulting in a true calamity.”
Our Lady of Good Success could foresee that there would still be some good, faithful religious that would be willing to suffer all for the salvation of souls and sustenance of the Holy Catholic Church. . “The secular clergy will leave much to be desired because priests will become careless in their sacred duties. Lacking the divine compass, they will stray from the road traced by God for the priestly ministry, and they will become attached to wealth and riches, which they will unduly strive to attain. How the Church will suffer during this dark night! Lacking a prelate and a father to guide them … many priests will lose their spirit, placing their souls in great danger.” The poor priestly souls that would be left to uphold the Church would suffer greatly.
“Against them the impious will rage a cruel war, overwhelming them with vituperations, calumnies and vexations in order to stop them from fulfilling their ministry. But they, like firm columns, will remain unswerving and will confront everything with a spirit of humility and sacrifice with which they will be vested, by virtue of the infinite merits of my most Holy Son, Who will love them in the innermost fibers of His Most Holy and Tender Heart.
Our Lady of Good Success implored that the people of this time should “clamor insistently” to the Heavenly Father for an end to ‘these ominous times’ sending to the Church a prelate and father who would restore the spirit to the priests”.
The fifth reason the lamp went out was due to those who have the financial means to help the Church but do nothing. Because of their uncaring attitude toward God and His Church, they would have allowed evil to seemingly triumph.
Fr. Alar says, “Every prophecy has come true except one. The only exception that has not happened yet is the restoration of the Church.“