As bad as the sexual abuse in the Church has been, the official misjudgment about Maciel is even more serious. Benedict called Maciel “a false prophet” (p. 39) and such he was.
But this psychopathic incestuous child molester and thief not only fooled tens of thousands of Catholics, he deceived the pope. Pope John Paul II called this false prophet “an efficacious to youth.” But Maciel did not deceive everyone. Jason Berry was right in his judgment; John Paul wrong.
Therefore the pope’s discernment of a religious founder and the movement he sets in motion is not reliable. In fact, it is worth nothing. Catholics must rely on their private judgment as to whether a religious figure is doing the work of the Holy Spirit or an evil spirit.
When the False Prophet comes at the end of the world, will he too deceive the pope and receive approbation from the Vatican? It is a chilling thought to those who take seriously the sayings in the New Testament about the end of the world.
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.
And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.
And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever.