This book was compiled from four lectures given by Henry Cardinal Manning in 1861 on the present crisis of the Catholic Church. He correctly saw that a grave crisis was approaching and described the theological basis of the Great Apostasy and the more common speculations of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church on this most important subject. Further in several places he cites the Universal Agreement of the Fathers of the Church, which we know to be an infallible guide in discerning the truth in doctrinal matters. This book is even more appropriate today, when many of these prophecies appear to be being fulfilled. This book is even more important today, when many fear the advent of Antichrist. Saint Pius X said: Who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is-apostasy from God... When all this is considered there is good reason to fear lest this great perversity may be as it were a foretaste, and perhaps the beginning of those evils which are reserved for the last days; and that there may be already in the world the Son of Perdition of whom the Apostle speaks. (E Supremi, Encyclical On the Restoration of All Things in Christ, n. 3, 5; October 4th, 1903) However, there is hope as Saint John Eudes tells us: All the holy Fathers agree that after the death of antichrist the whole world will be converted, and although some of them assert that the world will last but a few days after his death, while others say a few months, some authorities insist that it will continue to exist many years after. St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Vincent Ferrer, St. Francis of Paula, and a number of other saints have predicted this ultimate universal conversion. A small chapter has been added on the authority of the Fathers, when they are in unanimous agreement, as Manning cites them thusly on several occasions. Cardinal Manning says: Next, the Fathers believed that Antichrist will be of the Jewish race. Such was the opinion of St. Irenaeus, St. Jerome, and of the author of the work De Consummatione Mundi, ascribed to St. Hippolytus, and of a writer of a Commentary on the Epistle to the Thessalonians, ascribed to St. Ambrose, of many others, who add, that he will be of the tribe of Dan: as, for instance, St. Gregory the Great, Theodoret, Aretas of Caesarea, and many more. Such also is the opinion of Bellarmine, who calls it certain. Lessius affirms that the Fathers, with unanimous consent, teach as undoubted, that Antichrist will be a Jew. And further on: The holy Fathers who have written upon the subject of Antichrist, and of these prophecies of Daniel, without a single exception, as far as I know, and they are the Fathers both of the East and of the West, the Greek and the Latin Church-all of them unanimously,-say that in the latter end of the world, during the reign of Antichrist, the holy sacrifice of the altar will cease. In the work on the end of the world, ascribed to St. Hippolytus, after a long description of the afflictions of the last days, we read as follows: The Churches shall lament with a great lamentation, for there shall be offered no more oblation, nor incense, nor worship acceptable to God. The sacred buildings of the churches shall be as hovels; and the precious body and blood of Christ shall not be manifest in those days; the Liturgy shall be extinct; the chanting of psalms shall cease; the reading of Holy Scripture shall be heard no more.
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