In the 13th c., St. Francis of Assisi prophesied that “someone who is not canonically elected and is infected with heretical wickedness” would be “raised to the papacy.”
In the early 19th c., the German mystic and stigmatist, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, recounted her visions of a subversive Church of Darkness based in Rome that would deceive many of the faithful into “complete decadence” and cause the closure of churches. “The sect receives its signature from the Apocalyptic beast which, risen from the sea, dwells with it drives it to fight against the flock of Christ.”
In 1846, the Blessed Mother appeared to two shepherds in La Salette, France, and told them, “Rome will lose the faith and will become the seat of the Anti-Christ.”
In 1947, then Archbishop, now Blessed Fulton Sheen said the Antichrist will establish a false church. “Because his religion will be brotherhood of Man without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counter church which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ.”
In about 1960, St. Padre Pio told the famous exorcist, Fr. Gabriel Amorth, “It is Satan who has entered the womb of the Church and, in a short while, he will rule over a false church.” Fr. Amorth said, “This was the issue that really tormented him and for which he prayed and offered a great part of his suffering, crucified out of love.”
Chapter 13 of the Book of Revelation (NABRE): 1 Then I saw a beast come out of the sea with ten horns and seven heads; on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads blasphemous name[s]. 2 The beast I saw was like a leopard, but it had feet like a bear’s, and its mouth was like the mouth of a lion. To it the dragon gave its own power and throne, along with great authority.
3 I saw that one of its heads seemed to have been mortally wounded, but this mortal wound was healed. Fascinated, the whole world followed after the beast. 4 They worshiped the dragon because it gave its authority to the beast; they also worshiped the beast and said, “Who can compare with the beast or who can fight against it?”
5 The beast was given a mouth uttering proud boasts and blasphemies, and it was given authority to act for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was also allowed to wage war against the holy ones and conquer them, and it was granted authority over every tribe, people, tongue, and nation. 8 All the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, all whose names were not written from the foundation of the world in the book of life, which belongs to the Lamb who was slain.
9 Whoever has ears ought to hear these words. 10 Anyone destined for captivity goes into captivity. Anyone destined to be slain by the sword shall be slain by the sword. Such is the faithful endurance of the holy ones.
11 Then I saw another beast come up out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb’s but spoke like a dragon. 12 It wielded all the authority of the first beast in its sight and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound had been healed. 13 It performed great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of everyone. 14 It deceived the inhabitants of the earth with the signs it was allowed to perform in the sight of the first beast, telling them to make an image for the beast who had been wounded by the sword and revived.
15 It was then permitted to breathe life into the beast’s image, so that the beast’s image could speak and [could] have anyone who did not worship it put to death. 16 It forced all the people, small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to be given a stamped image on their right hands or their foreheads, 17 so that no one could buy or sell except one who had the stamped image of the beast’s name or the number that stood for its name.
18 Wisdom is needed here; one who understands can calculate the number of the beast, for it is a number that stands for a person. His number is six hundred and sixty-six.