Illinois Man With Visions Of 'Great Storm' Claims It Will Come With Passing Of Pope
By Michael H. Brown
Is a "great storm" about to break upon the world? Might we be headed for a "global civil conflict"? Is this part of what many expect as a purification (before the return to goodness)?
Those are the assertions of a seer named Charles Johnston of Belleville, Illinois -- a former radio talk-show host and political consultant in the Chicago area [see previous story] who claims to have experienced locutions, visions, and apparitions since childhood despite a non-Catholic, fundamentalist rearing.
We have emphasized, as always we do, that his speculations are offered only for discernment. Scripture tells us never to despise prophecy, but to test it and take what is good. The Vatican will soon be releasing guidelines for use when considering seers, and we will strictly adhere to them. In many cases, questions can be raised about aspects of virtually any "seer." We are especially wary when there is too much specificity, particularly when times and dates are mentioned. We have seen most such prophecies fall by the wayside. Moreover, rare is the prophet whose personal or spiritual life is beyond reproach.
Johnston asserts that he was informed in visions presented to him by both the Blessed Mother and Archangel Gabriel that the "storm" -- a great global conflict between those of the Judeo-Christian ethic and those who seek to wipe out that ethic -- will break after the death of the Pope. Moreover, he relates this to a fresh interpretation of the Fatima third secret. Whatever the final truth of this perspective, it is intriguing, and according to Johnston, came to him in mystical fashion.
"I was shown Pope John Paul and was told that he knew what was coming and that he had completely devoted himself to preparing the Church for the storm to come," he maintains. "I saw him at his desk writing furiously and traveling far and wide, but that everything he was doing was to prepare the Church so that she would weather the storm. That was his mission. I was shown the storm would not break in its fullness until he had passed, that this was not a particular grace for him, but the reason was to allow him to completely fulfill his mission at which point he would then constantly intercede for the Church in Heaven."
Is the Pope the pope of the Fatima secret? Does it revolve around him?
That secret -- first released to the public on May 13, 2000 -- described a vision that seer Lucia dos Santos had seen in 1917 whereby an angel was ready to torch the world but was drowned out by a great light coming from the Virgin Mary.
Many have related that image to the danger posed by nuclear war with Russia, a nation that was at the center of the first two Fatima secrets. Indeed, Sister Lucia has been quoted as saying that the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1984 prevented just such a war from occurring.
But Johnston does not believe the secret has fully played out, concurring that the secret represents the Virgin halting the sword of justice wielded by the angel but implying that this intercession is not yet complete. He "respectfully" differs with the Vatican interpretation of the rest of the secret -- which pictured a "bishop in white" (largely thought to mean Pope John Paul II, who as bishop of Rome wears white) ascending a mountain, "at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark. Before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him."
While the Vatican has interpreted that image as a symbol of the many priests, bishops, and religious who were martyred under Communism and also considers it a premonition of the 1981 assassination attempt on John Paul II -- which occurred on the Fatima anniversary day of May 13! -- Johnston believes it more directly relates to current crises in the Church and the former broadcaster, who claims visions over the past forty years, (which caused him to convert to Catholicism from fundamentalism), asserts that this interpretation was confirmed through his allegedly mystical experiences.
"The assassination attempt against John Paul II and its timing identify him as the Pope of Fatima, but it is not the point of this secret," says Johnston. "The ascent up the hill represents this Pope's particular mission. The city which lies half in ruins is Christianity, half of which no longer believes in God, but says Jesus was a good moral teacher. The corpses the Pope meets and prays for on his way are those who, though they breathe, are spiritually dead. The cross at the top of the hill is the end of the Pope's mission on earth. It represents both his triumph and his death to this world. He kneels before it offering his work to Christ. It is after this triumph that the terror begins. It is the body of the Pope's work that the soldiers fire at. That they are in uniform shows that it is an organized effort. These are the legions who have given themselves over to Satan. But the Pope has his legions as well. They are priests, bishops, religious and laity who joined themselves to him and followed him on his way. They will be true champions for Christ as the battle is joined. Prominent among them will be some of the dead souls -- the corpses -- reborn to spiritual life through the Pope's prayers."
Johnston says the Lord is offended by many things at the current time, "but nothing so much as the general indifference and contempt with which we have treated his mother." Meanwhile, he claims the Blessed Mother has expressed similar pain over the lack of respect for her Son. "In a peculiar way I had been very enthused when the bishops were going to gather in Dallas," he says of the current crisis of Church scandal. "I thought they were about to take up their responsibility and do what needed to be done and return to fidelity. I thought if this was the case, I wouldn't be needed. A couple of weeks before, Our Lady appeared to me, quite kind, but she said, 'Dallas will show you how bad things really are. They will scarcely even acknowledge my Holy Son.' I thought that was absurd -- because there is no case where a group of bishops would gather even if they didn't believe themselves and not couch their answers in the Light of Christ. It's just pro forma. Of course, Dallas came and they mentioned everything but Christ and I felt personally betrayed."
Was it an authentic apparition? Are such words from the Blessed Virgin and archangel and the Lord legitimate?
This is for each individual to determine. Johnston sees terrorism, but more than that a general breakdown in the artificial reality and false gods that we now rely upon. He sees wars, great economic problems, a breakdown in technology, and persecution.
But the storm hardly spells the end of the world, says Johnston; instead, it portends a great moment of the Blessed Mother's intercession. He claims that within the next two decades, all will know of her role.
As for the Pope: "It is by his fidelity to his mission that the Church -- the whole body of the faithful -- has been prepared to endure the storm."
[Resources: The Day Will Come, Catholic Prophecy. The Great Divide, True Devotion]