The details of Don Bosco’s dream fit well with the events and challenges which face the Church in the 20th and 21st centuries.
First there is the “storm” and the rough “winds and waves” that “are with the enemy” on the sea representing a major clash between good and evil and between the Church and civil society. This clash erupted in a serious way with the First and Second World Wars which broke out respectively in 1914 and 1939 and was followed by the spread of atheistic Communism throughout the world. Communism and its effects still exist today and strangles the Church wherever it exists. This battle with Communism was certainly behind the wounding of John Paul II on May 13, 1981 and this wounding represents the first possible fulfillment of Don Bosco’s image of a fallen pope since he had the dream in1862.
The worldwide war against the Church today would certainly qualify for a fierce battle as described in Don Bosco’s dream. We are witnessing the horrific martyrdom of Christians as Islamic terrorists seek to wipe out Christianity throughout the Middle East. Christians are being beheaded, burned alive and torn out of their ancestral homes by militant forces which are gaining strength as they sweep across the world, and there seems to be no government or nation with the courage to stop them.
Meanwhile, the persecution of Christians intensifies in our own society. Assaults on the family come from every direction. Catholics and all Christians (including in America), are losing their civil liberties, livelihoods, homes, and even their own personal safety when they stand up against the secular governments which demand support of contraception, abortion and same sex marriage.Share
It is sobering to note that Paul VI predicted events which could relate to John Bosco’s dream. He did this with his own prophetic words in no. 17 of his 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae. The Pope warned Catholics that, if they should decide that artificial contraception is lawful, who will blame governments if someday they took those very means to solve social problems — and did it forcefully by “imposing their use on everyone.”
This is arguably the first time we have had this level of unchallenged, universal persecution of the Church since the time of Don Bosco.
Don Bosco’s dream also predicts resistance to devotions to the Blessed Sacrament and Our Lady imaged in the dream by the Pope’s futile struggle to hook up his flag ship to the Two Columns. This is the case in our own day, too. We know there are many good Catholic Christians, but as Cardinal Ratzinger said: there “seems to be more weeds than wheat” in the field of the Church. In other words there are too many “Catholics” who receive the Eucharist while living contrary to the Church’s teachings on marriage and purity and who consider genuflecting and kneeling in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as pure naiveté. Often they are the same “Catholics” who make fun of teaching children to be modest in dress and behavior and ridicule others who they think are wasting their time on outdated superstitious practices like praying the Rosary.
We must honestly admit that the disappearance of religious devotion from the lives of the Catholic people, especially frequent “Holy” Communion, public adoration and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and the Daily Rosary, has opened a path for evil forces to take hold. Undoubtedly, the worse of these evil forces–and the one which even the secular world views with anxiety– is the spread of pornography among both men and women. This wicked trend now includes unspeakable violence, the corruption or children, and international sexual trafficking. . Most forms of entertainment and fashions are infected by pornography in some way. It is the worst of many evil forces because it breaks down human dignity , devalues life, and corrupts the innocent, all of which gravely offends God.
Even our Synod looming in October could be the fulfillment of that part of Don Bosco’s dream in which the Pope calls his captains to a meeting prior to the “storm.” Synods come and go, but the 2015 Synod on the Family is arguably the first time such a gathering will take place in the midst of worldwide hostility against traditional Church teachings about family life. It would not be surprising if, after the Synod concludes, the world condemns the Church because she has proclaimed, once again, the truth of man-woman marriage, the protection of human life from conception to grave, and the belief that each human being is called by God to live the virtues of purity and chastity, no matter what their state of life and sexual orientation.
Pulling it all together: For the first time since Don Bosco dreamed his dream we have a confluence of all the main elements of his revelation: the wounding of a pope (John Paul II); the worldwide war between the Church and civil society; the struggle for the Church to regain devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and devotion to Mary, and the calling of a Church synod on grave human issues while a hostile world watches. (Read more.)