There’s prophetic witness…and then there’s not.

By Dr. Jeff Mirus (bio - articles - email) | Oct 22, 2015

A person who is proclaimed “prophetic” by the world is almost always simply giving voice to the spirit of the times. Real prophets are uniformly despised by the world. Unfortunately, it takes humility, self-knowledge, and spiritual depth to recognize false prophets. They are hard to describe succinctly so that we can recognize them as soon as they appear. But I’ll try:


A false prophet is not one who predicts false things, but one whose guiding principle is not the true, one who has an ear more to the world than to God, who fondles the spirit of the age—whether it is embodied in the “princes”, the “influential” or the “mass”.

He takes up the cause of generous ideas just when these are beginning to rot; he enters the field of action just at the moment when such engagement promises more advantages than dangers.

He does not always do what is evil, but his activity is, at the very least, full of vanity. This often discourages the person who can glimpse the impending disaster from agreeing with him.

And he always conspires against the true prophets.


So there you have it, but the paragraphs between the horinzontal lines are not mine. They are Henri de Lubac’s, taken from page 168 of his book Paradoxes.

And while we’re at it, there is this paradox, taken from page 231:

The passion of wanting to reform everything in the Church is for the most part in inverse proportion to supernatural life; that is the reason why authentic and beneficial reforms almost never begin with such passion.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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