Important: Pope Francis and the Warning of Garabandal

For many years now, in my eschatology books, I’ve been predicting that the Pope at the time of the Warning — who we all now know will be Pope Francis — will respond to the Warning by making a particular public declaration. And this response of the Pope to the Warning is found in the Gospels.

{17:1} And after six days, Jesus took Peter and James and his brother John, and he led them onto a lofty mountain separately.
{17:2} And he was transfigured before them. And his face shined brightly like the sun. And his garments were made white like snow.
{17:3} And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, speaking with him.
{17:4} And Peter responded by saying to Jesus: “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you are willing, let us make three tabernacles here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
{17:5} And while he was still speaking, behold, a shining cloud overshadowed them. And behold, there was a voice from the cloud, saying: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”
{17:6} And the disciples, hearing this, fell prone on their face, and they were very afraid.
{17:7} And Jesus drew near and touched them. And he said to them, “Rise up and do not be afraid.”
{17:8} And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone.

{9:1} And after six days, Jesus took with him Peter, and James, and John; and he led them separately to a lofty mountain alone; and he was transfigured before them.
{9:2} And his vestments became radiant and exceedingly white like snow, with such a brilliance as no fuller on earth is able to achieve.
{9:3} And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses; and they were speaking with Jesus.
{9:4} And in response, Peter said to Jesus: “Master, it is good for us to be here. And so let us make three tabernacles, one for you, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
{9:5} For he did not know what he was saying. For they were overwhelmed by fear.
{9:6} And there was a cloud overshadowing them. And a voice came from the cloud, saying: “This is my most beloved Son. Listen to him.”
{9:7} And immediately, looking around, they no longer saw anyone, except Jesus alone with them.

There are many true meanings, intended by God, to these passages about the Transfiguration. In this post, I will focus on the eschatological meaning.

The Warning of Garabandal, which is the first secret of Medjugorje, will transfigure the Church, the body of Christ on earth. Every human person on earth will be affected by the Warning, which is an illumination of consciences, and all sinners will be offered the grace of repentance. But Catholics, having the advantages of the Sacraments and magisterial teachings and all the other blessings of the Catholic Faith, will draw more benefits, overall, from the Warning than any other group. So the Church will benefit greatly, and will begin to be transfigured, just as Christ was transfigured on the mount.

Now to the main point of this article: In the Gospel account, the response of Peter to the transfiguration is a foreshadowing of the response of Pope Francis to the Warning.

When the Warning occurs, Pope Francis will suggest establishing three main places of worship in Jerusalem, for the three great monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. He will also teach on the subject of salvation for non-Christians, saying that non-Christians can be saved without converting to Christianity, and atheists can be saved without converting to belief in God. And this specific response to the Warning is already clear from his recent public teachings.

Read my post: Pope Francis: We are all children of God. The holy Pontiff teaches that all believers, who truly love, are children of God, just as Christians are children of God. We have the formal Sacrament of Baptism. They have non-formal baptisms of desire or blood.

See what Pope Francis has already said about salvation for atheists: Culture of Encounter is the Foundation of Peace. The Pope has already opined, though not yet in a magisterial document, that even unbelievers can be saved by Christ, without converting.

But in reaction to the Warning, Pope Francis will formally teach this doctrine on salvation. The response of many conservative Catholics will be to accuse the Pope of heresy, and to depart from the Church in a formal schism. The roots of this schism certainly precede the Warning. The Pope is already saying many things that conservatives either reject, or radically reinterpret so as to obtain the meaning they prefer. But once the Pope formally teaches this liberal understanding of salvation theology, they will no longer be able to reject these ideas as merely a personal opinion of the Pope, nor will they be able to radically reinterpret his words.

Sacred Scripture is telling us that the Warning will prompt the Pope to teach on the topic of salvation outside the visible structure of the Church. And the response of many Catholics will be to claim that only Christians are saved, with few exceptions for salvation among non-Christians.

Sacred Scripture also comments on this teaching, in the last part of the passage: “And lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone.” Even though salvation is offered to everyone, even though non-Christians and non-believers can be saved without converting, they are always saved only by Jesus. A non-Christian believer is saved by Jesus, without realizing it. A non-believer is saved by the Son of God, despite not believing in God.

I still expect Pope Francis to issue controversial decisions on doctrine and discipline prior to the Warning. But at this point, it seems that the formal schism will not occur until after the Warning. The Warning will fill people with fear, and so they will over-react to the decisions of the Pope on doctrine and discipline. They will incorrectly think that if the Warning did not show them they are wrong on some point of doctrine, that they must be right. But that is not how the Warning works; it only shows people the sins on their conscience, not anything done with a sincere but mistaken conscience, and not any incorrect ideas on doctrine or discipline.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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