The war is here.

I would like to be able to write like Anthony Esolen every day.  His latest, at the increasingly useful Crisis, is not to be missed.

Most of us who are paying attention to the signs of the times, know that something is heading straight towards us that, while it will be done unto us according to God’s permissive will, we aren’t going to enjoy.   Esolen says it in his piece as bluntly as I’ve been saying it for a while too: We are at war.

In this War, there will be the usual suspects.  History repeats and we tend to divide up rather like stock characters in commedia dell’arte.

Esolen identifies four groups which will emerge when the persecution of the Church really gets going.  I’ll give you a taste, by means of excerpts, but you really must go there to read it yourselves.

What Will You Do When the Persecution Comes?

I know there are plenty of Catholics who are, in one way or another, looking forward to the relentless institutional persecution that is coming our way unless we surrender the One Thing Needful to the secular left, and that is the family-destroying and state-feeding beast called the Sexual Revolution, with its seven heads and ten horns and the harlot squatting atop it. As I see it, these Catholics belong to four groups.

The Persecutor
First are the Persecutors. These people hate the Church, and that is why they remain ostensible members of it. They desire from within to punish the Church for what they perceive to be her sins, which these days have nothing to do with her teachings on the Trinity or the nature of Christ, but with sex—so tawdry are our heresies. O Arius, Arius, would that we had such as you for our enemy! The Persecutor has unbridled contempt for Pope John Paul II, the too-lenient father whom the Persecutor, like a spoiled brat, portrays as a tyrant, and for Benedict XVI, whose broad-ranging and penetrating intellect makes the Persecutor feel puny by comparison.


The Quisling
Second, the Quislings. The Quisling does not hate the Church, but he does not love her, either. He is a worldling and craves the approval of the world. He believes in “the future,” and that means he is easy prey for the peddlers of ideological fads: a field mouse against the Great Horned Owl. He is embarrassed by tradition. He is seldom brave enough to express formal heresy, just as he is seldom brave enough to defend the Church with any clarity or confidence. He seems pleasant enough, is perfectly lamb-like when it comes to wining and dining with the powerful, but will turn with a pent-up frustration against the ordinary churchgoer who dares to question his prudence. If he is a bishop, he is secretly happy to close churches and sell off their property, comforting himself with the thought that he is doing what is only necessary in hard times, and blaming the parishioners themselves for failing to bring up their children in the faith—when in point of fact he and the chancery have given them no help at all in doing so, and have usually checked them at every pass.


The Avenger
Then comes the Avenger. He has tried to live in accord with the Church, and has received mainly contempt from her, or neglect, or persecution. That has curdled him within, and he now hates the Church such as she is more than he loves her as the bride of Christ. He sees that the Church has compromised herself by taking Caesar’s coin, even when Caesar offered it at first with the most innocent of intentions, and so he looks forward to the time when Holy Mother will have to do without that money. It occurs to him that that will kill an untold number of Catholic schools and colleges, but he says that they deserve to die; and he does not clearly consider how many souls will be lost. To him, it is better that there should be no Catholic school at all, than that there should be a school struggling to remain Catholic in a bad time—struggling, and often failing, but struggling for all that.


The Soldier
Last we have the Soldier. The Soldier complains about his superiors not because they give him bad orders, but because they give him no orders at all. He wants to do battle, and is willing to be led. He knows that war is hell, but that he and the Church have not sought the war. The war and the demons who lead it have sought the Church, to adulterate her or to kill her. The Soldier would prefer peace: he would prefer that his country might return to at least a worldly sanity, and grant the Church the liberty that she is owed and that redounds to the great benefit of the state itself.


Each one of those lacunae represents great reading.

Lately I’ve cited the message attributed to Leon Trotsky: You might not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.

I can’t shake the premonition that, shortly, we are really going to be in it up to our necks.   We should all start getting our heads into a mental place where we will be better able to handle the stresses to come.  Prepare for darker times.

Fathers: May I make a suggestion?  Can you say a Mass, a Mass with a particular formulary, by heart? No book?  All the antiphons? The readings, too?  This could be useful in the future.  Remember, too, that wine valid for Mass can be made from raisins.    It should resemble regular wine as much as possible.  Some Easterners makes wine for their Eucharist from raisins, by letting the desiccated grapes set in water for sometime so that fermentation will take place.  File that away in your memory and start memorizing stuff.


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Be The Maquis, Our Catholic Identity, Semper Paratus, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The future and our choices, The Last Acceptable Prejudice, The Olympian Middle and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. capchoirgirl says:

    Thank you for this, Father. Excellent reading and much to ponder/prepare for.

  2. djc says:

    Anthony Esolen is one of the main reasons I subscribe to Magnificat.

  3. scotus says:

    Where is ‘here’? Is it just the USA? If not, where else might ‘here’ include?

  4. Joseph-Mary says:

    Yes, Anthony Esolen is marvelous! And for the lay type folks: How about some items needed for Mass to have in the home? A traveling Mass kit, sacramentary, alb, chausable, etc. I have them. Do not know if they will ever get used but I have needed items.

  5. Kerry says:

    Father Z., lately the looming sense of an “Uh oh!” has been on my mind as well.

  6. SenexCalvus says:

    Father Z:

    Having read Dr. Esolen’s excellent piece on the coming war, I followed a link to another essay in CRISIS that I hope you’ll recommend to your readers: Julia Meloni’s “Chestertonian Common Sense on ‘Uncommon’ Adultery.”

  7. I thank God for the seminary I was sent to and being taught how to offer Mass in a concentration camp. I am grateful to have known a priest in our Diocese who was difficult to understand because the Nazi’s cut part of his tongue off after catching him hearing confessions in the concentration camp. He never wanted to speak of the horror he lived through and I pray God has given him a wonderful place in heaven for the wonderful witness he gave on earth.

  8. rtjl says:

    Father, you ask some very good questions of your fellow priests concerning their ability to celebrate Mass with a minimum of resources. I would like to ask similar questions of my fellow laity. Brothers and sisters are you prepared to preserve the faith with no priests and no Mass? It has been done before, in India and Japan. Are you prepared to cling to the faith even if you have no priests, no Eucharist, no churches? Can you gather with your brothers and sisters in your own homes and at least pray the rosary and/or divine office together? Can you hang on and pray long enough to see the day when our churches and priests and Eucharist are restored to us? You may well have to. Fortify yourself now. Receive Eucharist now as fruitfully as you can to prepare for the day when it may no longer be available to you. That day may be coming sooner than you think.

  9. marianna331 says:

    Yes the war is here.
    Just over two months ago I was fired, basically for being outspoken when I saw something done immorally,this week another person in my parish was fired for the same thing. Today after Mass, I spoke to a friend whose nephew was just fired after years at the same company for speaking out after being told to be dishonest. Oh and by the way the person who fired me attends Catholic Mass every week.
    I trust God knows what he is doing in having good faithful Catholics removed from the workplace. If this has happened to you, just know that you are not alone and let us keep each other in prayer. I am using my “free time” for prayer , prayer and more prayer.
    I subscribe to Crisis and admire Professor Esolen and get strength from his words. Thanks for sharing this, Fr Z and thank you for sharing Trotsky’s words.
    Even if it doesn’t get worse(although I too believe that it will) there are plenty of good people every day being persecuted for being Catholic, often by other ” Catholics”, yes the war is upon us.

  10. Legisperitus says:

    Anyone skilled at carpentry? St. Nicholas Owen, pray for us!

  11. un-ionized says:

    marianna, 20 years ago i was fired weirdly. it has always been upon us. and i wasn’t even Catholic then. go figure.

  12. Terry1 says:

    Yes Father, God is allowing a correction to take place and it is called “The Great Event”. This is a message I have tried to convey to you for at least a couple years. I do not know when this “great event” begins, however I do believe that by this time next year at minimum some areas of the world will be a smoldering heap of radioactive ash and there will be war on US soil, I do not know how that war comes about either. After having paid attention to world events for many years my confidence that we are merely coming to the end of an era has dropped considerably as I ponder just exactly what “The Great Event” could possibly mean, a term that came to me in a dream over 30 years ago.

    I’m sorry that my comment are such a downer. Everyone needs to stay confessed.
    Terry Leo

    btw: I was once a miserable sinner and now my desire to sin has nearly been removed. Something I could not have done by myself for I am nothing without God.

  13. Filipino Catholic says:

    Even here in this pillar of the Faith in Asia, the largest of the two countries in the continent with a Catholic majority, the relentless hammer of worldly pressure pounds away. There are already cracks — a questionable Reproductive Health Law, a bill legalizing divorce being considered, groups championing freethinking (read: the silencing of the Church) — but not outright persecution, not by a longshot. Perhaps it is a “cold war” of sorts.

  14. un-ionized says:

    filipino catholic, in the US too, a cold war. i don’t think christians will be lighting the white house rose garden.

  15. Grant M says:

    Remember that Elizabeth I never (ostensibly) persecuted anyone for their personal religious convictions. As long as you didn’t own allegiance to a foreign bishop or have recourse to any of his priests, sacraments or sacramentals, you could believe what you liked in your heart.
    I’m sure that in the future we’ll be free to follow any faith we choose, as long as we don’t deny by word or deed any human rights (as determined by the state), or support any organization which does the same.

  16. JonPatrick says:

    “so tawdry are our heresies. O Arius, Arius, would that we had such as you for our enemy! ” – Actually I have long thought that a new Arianism is at the heart of what blights modern Christianity. Consider that many Christians today are really Deists, that God having created the world has gone off to a well deserved retirement and left us in charge to create Heaven on Earth, Eternal Life just being an outmoded medieval concept to make people feel better in their nasty brutish and short lives. Of course we pay lip service to Jesus as a good man and an example to follow, the world’s first community organizer who tried to create heaven on earth but was killed by the Establishment Bad Guys. Naturally it follows that if Jesus isn’t really God then all that medieval stuff about him being present in the Eucharist goes away too and it just becomes a symbolic shared meal for the community.

  17. crownvic says:

    It’s okay Fr.. it all started in the catacombs. If good ol’ Rome and her Legions couldn’t take care of their pesky Catholic problem, the U.S. won’t either.

  18. Sonshine135 says:

    If it happens, then we can rejoice under the throne together and ask our Lord, “How much longer must we wait?” Embracing your cross will look as foolish to the world today as it did two-thousand years ago, but we must if that is what we were called to do. May we all persevere!

  19. elwinransom says:

    I read PIERCED BY A SWORD by Bud MacFarlane Jr. probably ten years ago and have re-read it maybe 5-6 times. It was published in 1995, and it was chillingly prophetic. It’s a page-turner and is (as it claims) irresistible and riveting. It contains, to quote Michael D. O’Brien, farseeing insight into spiritual warfare and the Bible. It asks the same questions Father and Mr. Esolen are asking.

  20. LarryW2LJ says:

    I’ve often thought that the Great Chastisement mentioned by the Blessed Mother wouldn’t be a volcano, or meteor, or some disease wiping out half the Earth. I think this is it – what we’re going through – that is so heart and soul wrenching to truly devout Catholics.

  21. Pingback: What Will You Do When the Persecution Comes? |

  22. GypsyMom says:

    Many people, I among them, posit that this chastisement that we are undergoing and that will become more intense is near the end of the 100 years given to satan to destroy the church, seen in the vision of Pope Leo XIII. Did that clock start ticking in 1917, the pivotal year of the Bolshevik Revolution and Fatima, when Our Lady declared that in the end her Immaculate Heart would triumph? 2017 will also be the 5ooth anniversary of the rending of the Church by Martin Luther. This could be a very intense year, as the economic and political orders stand on the edge of chaos and collapse, open religious persecution seems imminent (where it is not already taking place), and Islam is poised to wash over the West. Humanly speaking, with the accelerating pace at which everything throughout the world is devolving, things look beyond bleak. I hope and pray that Mary’s Triumph awaits us next year.

  23. Fr. Reader says:

    Memorizing long texts is not that difficult. Dr Kevin Vost’s books on memory are a useful reference.

  24. Pingback: TUESDAY EDITION | Big Pulpit

  25. kentghare says:

    Maybe I’m just obtuse, but I find The Avenger to be a caricature of what Abp Chaput enunciated so well in Fr’s recently posted annotated axcerpts:

  26. jameeka says:

    kentgohare: you are not obtuse, but the “curdling” part is an important part of Esolen’s description. I have seen this up close, in reaction to various horrible things happening (usually) inside the Church. It is a difficult state to get out of, once mired in it—but it helps to recognize the bitterness and its destructive force, pray for God’s Grace, and note the presence of a few good Soldiers and/or one good General (if they can be found).
    Father Z’s sense of humor also helps……

  27. tpsracic says:

    Could you post one ” Mass with a particular formulary” that we could all copy and save for safe keeping?

  28. Semper Gumby says:

    From Mark Riebling’s book Church of Spies:
    “Munich Cardinal Michael Faulhaber did not actually ask Josef Muller to spy…But in long walks through the Englischer Garten, Munich’s central park, Msgr. Neuhausler helped Muller get his mind around the Church doctrine of the Disciplini Arcani, the Way of Secrecy.

    “The Way proceeded from the practice of Christ Himself. Preaching in a hostile environment, he ordered his disciples to conceal his identity, his words, and his actions from the uninitiated. He formed his apostles into clandestine cells, led by James and John…They met in safe houses…whose locations they revealed to each other through coded signals, such as following a man with a jug of water through Jerusalem.” (Riebling pp. 40-41).

    Riebling’s footnotes cite: Mk 1:39-44, Mk 7:36, Mk 9:8, Mk 9:29, Jn 8:59, Jn 11:54, Mk 3:13ff, Mk 6:7ff, Jn 7:10, Mk 14:12-16.

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