St. Columba (6th century). "Hearken, hearken to what will happen in the latter days of the world! There will be great wars~ unjust laws will be enacted~ the Church will be despoiled of her property; people will read and write a great deal~ but charity and humility will be laughed to scorn, and the common people will believe in false ideas." From Catholic Prophecy by Yves Dupont, page 13; Tan Publishing)
Of all of the prophecies I've ever read, the above from Saint Columba really sticks with me. Most prophecies talk about war. There have certainly been great wars in the last 100 years. But everything else in this prophecy seems to be so specific to our times.
Sure there have been unjust laws in the past as well. But the laws associated with abortion and healthcare stand out in the sheer enormity of injustice.
The church has suffered the loss of property many times. But has the church ever paid more than $1.2 billion in damages for abuse cases? That is the figure for the United States. It doesn't include anything since 2009, or from other countries.
It is the next line, " people will read and write a great deal~ but charity and humility will be laughed to scorn, and the common people will believe in false ideas," that really stands out. And I say that after spending a day teaching young people to read and write.
In our times, it is considered scandalous if someone cannot read and write. CBS 2′s Marcia Kramer reports, March 7, 2013, that a shocking nearly 80% of New York City high school graduates managed to graduate without having learned the basic skills of reading, writing, and Math. What would have been considered normal in Saint Columba's time is now shocking. But the entire notion of school for all would have been shocking for her. She would have looked at our schools and seen them for the source of all of the false ideas common people believe in.
That charity and humility are a cause for scorn is also obvious. Pope Francis is planning on celebrating Mass on Holy Thursday at a prison for young offenders. Traditionalists are saying this may be taking the whole care-for-the-poor thing a bit too far. Those on the left, who may have advocated for this kind of thing, bite their tongues rather than praise a man who is adamantly against gay marriage, abortion and women priests. (Hint for everyone: The Pope is Catholic.)
His obvious charity and humility is definitely attracting scorn. But that's also been true of other Popes.
And so I return to the one piece of this prophecy that resonates for our age like no other: People will read and write a great deal. It is almost as if we are afraid to have an unexpressed thought. Or maybe that's just me.