With commentary in Italics by From Rome blog, regarding how it may apply to our own day
May 13, 1820. — “Last night, from eleven to three, I had a most wonderful vision of two churches and two Popes and a variety of things, ancient and modern.
“I shall relate, as well as I can, all that I remember of it. My angel-guardian came and told me that I must go to Rome and take two things to the Pope; but I cannot now recall what they were — perhaps it is the will of God that I should forget them. I asked my angel how I could make so long a journey, sick as I was. But when I was told that I should make it without difficulty, I no longer objected. — An odd-looking vehicle appeared before me, flat and slight, with only two wheels, the flooring red with white edges. I saw no horses.“
— This sound uncannily like the Segway’s used at Rome, to show tourists the city. Which only came into use in recent years. I myself noticed them in use in 2010. You can see that some of them are read in color:
“I was gently lifted and laid on it and, at the same instant, a snow-white, luminous child flew toward me and seated himself at my feet. He reminded me of the Patience-child in green, so sweet, so lovely, and perfectly transparent. He was to be my companion, he was to console and take care of me. The wagon was so light and smooth that at first I was afraid of slipping off; but it began to move very gently of Itself without horses, and I saw a shining human figure going on ahead. The journey did not seem long, although we crossed countries, mountains, and great waters. I knew Rome the instant we reached it, and I was soon in the presence of the Pope.”
— Her “experience” of traveling on this strange mode of transportation, except for the length of the journey, is exactly that of someone riding a Segway for the first time. This places the time of the fulfillment of her prophecy in our own days.
“I know not now whether he was sleeping or praying, but I had to say two things to him, or give him two things, and I shall have to go to him once again to announce a third. — Then I had a wonderful vision. Rome suddenly appeared as in the early ages, and I saw a Pope (Boniface IV and and an Emperor whose name I knew not (Phocas). I could not find my way in the city, all was so different, even the sacred ceremonies; but yet I recognized them as Catholic. I saw a great round building like a cupola — it was a pagan temple full of beautiful idols. It had no windows, but in the dome was an opening with a contrivance for keeping out the rain. It seemed as if all the idols that ever existed were gathered together therein every conceivable posture. Many of them were very beautiful, and others exceedingly odd; there were even some of geese which received divine honor. In the center of the building stood a very high pyramid formed entirely of those images. I saw no idolatrous worship at the time of which I speak, although the idols were still carefully preserved.
— Visions are often symbolically significant, even in the details they relate. Note that she speaks of a Pope and the city of Rome under pagan influence. When she had this vision, Rome was ruled by the Popes, but now it is under the pagan domination of the modern Republic of Italy. Note too that she says that she cannot recognize the rituals used by Catholics, they were all different. This is what a Catholic in 1820 might say of the Novus Ordo mass which arose after the Second Vatican Council. Note too, that “Boniface” is from the Latin for “Good-doer”, it is very similar in meaning to “Benedict”, which means “Good-speaker”. The emperor in the time of Pope Boniface IV (who reigned from August 25, 608 to May 8, 615) , was Flavius Phocas (d. Oct. 4, 610).
“I saw messengers from Pope Boniface going to the emperor and petitioning for the temple to be changed into a Christian church, I heard the latter declaring distinctly that the Pope should allow the ancient statues to remain, though he might erect therein the cross to which the highest honors should be paid. This proposal, as it seemed to me, was made not wickedly, but ” in good faith. I saw the messengers return with the answer and Boniface reflecting as to how he might in some measure conform to the emperor’s will. Whilst he was thus deliberating, I saw a good, pious priest in prayer before the crucifix. He wore a long white robe with a train, and an angel hovered by his side. Suddenly he arose, went straight to Boniface, and told him that he should by no means accede to the emperor’s proposal. Messengers were then dispatched to the emperor, who now consented to the temple’s being entirely cleared. Then I saw his people come and take numbers of the statues to the imperial city; but still many remained in Rome. Then I saw the consecration of the temple, at which ceremony the holy martyrs assisted with Mary at their side. The altar was not in the center of the building, but against the wall. I saw more than thirty wagon-loads of sacred relics brought into the church. Many of them were enclosed in the walls and others could be seen through round openings covered with something like glass.
— It is interesting to note that she speaks of this Pope Boniface who would received and accepted the sound advice of a devout Catholic priest, who dressed in traditional garb, to have nothing to do with the mixing of Catholic rites with idolatry. Which Pope had the courage to confront the civil authorities of his day with the truth, even to the point of risking their disfavor. In the time of Emperor Flavius Phocas, the capital of the Roman Empire, the Imperial City, was Constantinople, modern Istanbul. It was in Istanbul, during the Apostolic Nunciature of the future Pope John XXIII, that an international assembly of Free Masons called for an Ecumenical Council to reunite all Christians. Note, that the new church, which Bl. Anne sees consecrated, has its altar against the wall, not like the other churches she sees. The initiation of the restoration of the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, ad orientem, facing the tabernacle was the hallmark of the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI, especially through his decree Summorum Pontificum, which defended the rights of the clergy and faithful to the celebration of the ancient Roman Rite, which Bl. Anne Emmerich knew as the Mass of the universal Church.
“When I had witnessed this vision even in the smallest details, I saw again the present Pope and the dark church of his time in Rome, It seemed to be a large, old house like a town-hall with columns in front. I saw no altar in it, but only benches, and in the middle of it something like a pulpit. They had preaching and singing, but nothing else, and only very few attended it.
— This aptly describes not only the liturgical architecture but the rituals which prevail in the Latin rite since the time of Vatican II, the many abuses and deficiencies of which Pope Benedict XVI was noted for criticizing.
“And lo, a most singular sight! — Each member of the congregation drew an idol from his breast, set it up before him, and prayed to it. It was as if each man drew forth his secret thoughts or passions under the appearance of a dark cloud which, once outside, took some definite form. They were precisely such figures as I had seen around the neck of the illicit bride in the Nuptial House, figures of men and animals. The god of one was short and broad with a crisp head and numerous, outstretched arms ready to seize and devour all in its reach; that of another was quite small with miserable, shrunken limbs; another had merely a block of wood upon which he gazed with rolling eyes; this one had a horrible animal; that one, a long pole. The most singular part of it was that the idols filled the place; the church, although the worshippers were so few, was crowded with idols. When the service was over, every one’s god re-entered into his breast. The whole church was draped in black, and all that took place in it was shrouded in gloom.
— When the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass becomes a time for celebrating the community, then religion becomes nothing more than the self-affirmation of one’s own personal fancies, vices and idols. Thus Bl. Anne aptly describes a form of Catholicism which has gone astray from a right and orthodox spirituality.
“Then I saw the connection between the two Popes and the two temples. I am sorry that I have forgotten the numbers, but I was shown how weak the one had been in adherents and human support, but how strong in courage to overturn so many gods (I knew the number) and to unite so many different forms of worship into one; and, on the contrary, how strong in numbers and yet how irresolute in action was the other since, in authorizing the erection of false temples, he had allowed the only true God, the only true religion to be lost among so many false gods and false religions.
— Here Bl. Anne critiques the two “churches” which exist among the Catholic faithful: one which which has few members, but great zeal to overthrow false religions and establish authentic Catholic worship, suitable to the rites of many nations — this is the Catholic Church; the other which has many members, but little zeal for defending the true Religion from the false, compromising with the world — this is the Church of Modernists and the Church born of the Aggiornamento.
“It was also shown me that those pagans humbly adored gods other than themselves, and that they would have been willing to admit in all simplicity the only God, the Most Holy Trinity. Their worship was preferable to that of those who adore themselves in a thousand idols to the total exclusion of Our Lord. The picture was favorable to the early ages, for in them idolatry was on the decrease, whilst in our days it is just the contrary.
— Here Bl. Emmerich gives us a key for interpreting her vision of Pope Benedict IV as applying to Pope Benedict XVI, because she says, “The picture was favorable to the early ages…” and shows that her vision of the former was a spiritual interpretation of the state of the Church under the latter.
— Next, she speaks of the Church of the Modernists, who in our day are lead by the followers of Cardinal Martini and Cardinal Kasper, under the aegis of Pope Francis’ protection and promotion:
“I saw the fatal consequences of this counterfeit church; I saw it increase; I saw heretics of all kinds flocking to the city (1). I saw the ever-increasing tepidity of the clergy, the circle of darkness ever widening. — And now the vision became more extended.
— At this point in her vision, Bl. Anne seems to speak of things yet to come, an ominous persecution of the Catholic Church by the civil and ecclesiastical powers of the Church of the Modernists:
“I saw in all places Catholics oppressed, annoyed, restricted, and deprived of liberty, churches were closed, and great misery prevailed everywhere with war and bloodshed. I saw rude, ignorant people offering violent resistance, but this state of things lasted not long. Again I saw in vision St. Peter’s undermined according to a plan devised by the secret sect whilst, at the same time, it was damaged by storms; but it was delivered at the moment of greatest distress.
— This persecution could refer to Pope Francis’ notable persecution of Catholic Bishops, clergy, religious and laity who attend the ancient Roman Rite: for several Bishops have been removed for promoting this mass, many priests and religious and laity have been denied this mass or persecuted in Italy and throughout the world, at express direction of Pope Francis, for their loyalty to this ancient rite. Such a persecution, according to Rev. Fr. Matthias of Corona, S.T.D. Paris, A Carmelite of Liège, is grounds for the College of Cardinals to depose the pope. However, Bl. Anne sees the salvation of the Church by divine means:
“Again I saw the Blessed Virgin extending her mantle over it. In this last scene. I saw no longer the reigning Pope, but one of his successors, a mild, but very resolute man who knew how to attach his priests to himself and who drove far from him the bad. I saw all things renewed and a church which reached from earth to heaven.”