It’s just two weeks to the election, and as the campaigns are drawing to a close, the dividing lines between the two candidates are growing starker. In the past, I have referred to Joseph Biden as an “apostate.” Technically, an apostate is defined as one who “completely and voluntarily abandons the Christian religion, whether by embracing another religion such as Paganism, Judaism, Mohammedanism, etc., or merely making a profession of Naturalism, Rationalism, etc.” Properly speaking, Joe Biden is not an apostate per se, but an apostate in his acts. While proclaiming to be a “faithful Catholic,” Biden’s disposition toward the teachings of the Church are completely contemptuous. He supports full access to abortion at all stages of development and for any reason; he supports sexual deviancy and perverse sexual identities; he hopes to impose “tolerance” and “acceptance” of all manner of sexual perversion without any conscience or religious protections; he would force the Little Sisters of the Poor to fund abortion and birth control; and he would impose gravely immoral sexual education on young children. So, while he publicly claims to be a “devout Catholic,” his public beliefs and acts prove otherwise.
Because of this, I suggest we consider the outward profession of Christianity by another ruler, whose interior disposition was equally contemptuous of the Faith, and how a Biden presidency may reflect a similar result.
The ruler I’m speaking of is Julian the Apostate.
Julian ruled the Roman Empire from 361-363 AD. In his youth, Julian was taught by Arian heretics and raised a Christian with Arian ideologies. Cardinal Newman, wrote about Julian the Apostate, saying:
“[Julian] was preceded, nay he was nurtured, by that first great heresy which disturbed the peace and the purity of the church. About forty years before he came to the throne arose the pestilent Arian heresy which deny that Christ was God. It ate its way among the rulers the church like a canker … and at one time it was all but dominant throughout Christendom. A few holy and faithful men, who witnessed for the Truth, cried out with awe and terror at the apostasy, that Antichrist was coming. They called it the “forerunner of Antichrist.” And true, his shadow came. Julian was educated in the bosom of Arianism by some of its principal upholders. … in a due time he fell away to paganism, became a hater and persecutor of the Church, and was cut off before he had reigned out the brief period which will be the real Antichrist’s duration.”
St. Gregory the Great, who was actually a classmate of Julian the Apostate, wrote about the state of affairs in the Church at the time:
“The doctrines of true religion are overthrown. The laws of the Church are in confusion. The ambition of men, who have no fear of God, rushes into high posts, and exalted office is now publicly known as the prize of impiety. The result is, that the worse a man blasphemes, the fitter the people think him to be a bishop. Clerical dignity is a thing of the past. There is a complete lack of men shepherding the Lord’s flock with knowledge.
Ambitious men are constantly throwing away the provision for the poor on their own enjoyment and the distribution of gifts. There is no precise knowledge of canons. There is complete immunity in sinning; for when men have been placed in office by the favour of men, they are obliged to return the favour by continually showing indulgence to offenders. Just judgment is a thing of the past; and everyone walks according to his heart’s desire. Vice knows no bounds; the people know no restraint. Men in authority are afraid to speak.”
In short, just before the rise of Julian the Apostate, the world and the Church of that time very much resembled the situation in which we find ourselves, today. Consider, for a moment, that Julian the Apostate was raised in a form of Christianity which was inimical to the Faith and surrounded by clergymen steeped in ambition, pride and vice. I’ll come back to that.
Even though Julian was a lector, serving at Mass, and displayed great knowledge of Sacred Scripture, by the age of 20 he had been secretly initiated into the pagan cult of Mithras. In other words, he maintained the outward appearance of a Christian, participating in Christian ceremony and parroting Christian teaching, despite having abandoned the Faith for something more sinister.
In 355, Julian was made the Emperor of the West, and upon the death of Constantius II, Julian ascended the throne as Emperor over the entire Empire. Very shortly after ascending the throne as the new Emperor of Rome, Julian decriminalized paganism, declared himself to be under the protection of Zeus, and assumed for himself the title of Pontifex Maximus, which was the title of the pagan high priest of ancient Rome. In short, his repudiation of Christianity came after he attained the highest office of power in the land. And it was at this time that persecution of the Christians began.
Now, Julian was far cleverer in his persecution of Christians than his predecessors. The pagan emperors before him would publicly torture and kill Christians, but Julian observed that this practice only served to create martyrs to be admired and imitated. So, instead of enacting torments of the body, Julian thought it more efficacious to smother Christianity out of existence by making it more difficult to practice the Faith through laws of tolerance.
It didn’t take long before the pagans, who hated Christians, began desecrating Churches, attacking and killing priests, and persecuting those who adhered to the Christian Faith. Julian’s response to the uptick in crime and violence was to apply a disproportionate enforcement of the law. So, when a pagan stole from, assaulted, or murdered a Christian, the application of the law was to impose a light sentence, if one at all. However, if a Christian were to retaliate, or commit a similar crime of theft, assault or murder, the Christian was punished to the fullest extent of the law.
In June of 362, Julian issued an edict on public education, which effectively made it illegal for a Christian to teach. Because of this, those who had made a living as a teacher would have to either deny the Faith and keep on teaching or give up teaching and go broke. The Christian historian Sozomen summarized Julian’s strategy:
“Although Julian was anxious to advance paganism by every means, yet he deemed it the height of imprudence to employ force or vengeance against those who refused to sacrifice. Besides, there were so many Christians in every city that it would have been no easy task for the rulers even to number them. He did not even forbid them to assemble together for worship, as he was aware that when freedom of the will is called into question, constraint is utterly useless. He expelled the clergy and presidents of the churches from all the cities, in order to put an end to these assemblies, saying truly that by their absence the gatherings of the people would be effectually dissolved, if indeed there were none to convene the churches, and none to teach or to dispense the mysteries, religion itself would, in the course of time, fall into oblivion.”
Let’s go back to what the world was like preceding the rise of Julian the Apostate to the throne of the Roman Empire. The Christian world had just been rocked by a heresy that overtook nearly the entire Church. Julian was raised up in that heresy. By the time he was a young man, the corruption of morals among Christian laymen and clerics was so bad that many believed it to be the time of apostasy and the forerunner of Anti-Christ.
Joe Biden was born in 1942, at the very height of the Second World War. Our Lady of Fatima had predicted that such a war would arise “if people do not cease offending God,” indicating the woeful state of the Church even then. As Biden grew up a Catholic, he grew up at a time when the Faith was greatly weakened by bishops and priests who had adopted the heresy of Modernism. And given Biden’s bizarre beliefs regarding the Faith, it is clear that he has been thoroughly infected by this deadly heresy. It’s worth noting here that Cardinal Newman indicated that Julian’s ascension to the throne came forty years after the crisis of the Arian heresy. As Biden is hoping to take the White House, it’s been fifty-five years since the disastrous Second Vatican Council.
Even though Joe Biden claims to be a Catholic, his platform is completely imbued with anti-Catholic intentions. If elected, Biden would expand access to abortion throughout the country; he would “fully fund” Planned Parenthood; he would work to pass the so-called Equality Act, which would make it impossible for Christian businesses to operate without hiring sexual perverts; he would impose new standards in sex education to indoctrinate children in contraception, abortion, and sodomy. In short, the kinds of laws that Joe Biden would hope to impose across the country would be the sort that would force Christians out of the workforce and out of public life. And to make matters worse, Biden has chosen for himself a running mate who has built her political career on selective enforcement of the law. Just as Julian the Apostate refused to prosecute pagans while throwing the full weight of the law at Christians, Kamala Harris has refused to prosecute sexual deviants while attacking pro-life activists during her time as Attorney General of California.
Joseph Biden may not fit the definition of an “apostate” according to the laws of the Catholic Church, but his approach to governance and rule of law mirror the Apostate of Rome, who ruled from 361-363.
St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who was another contemporary of Julian, said of his time, “Now is the Apostasy; for men have fallen away from the right faith. This then is the Apostasy, and the enemy must be looked out for.” Looking back upon history, we can clearly see the dangers lurking ahead of us now.
We still have time to prevent an enemy of the Faith from assuming the highest office of the land. But we must pray, and we must fast. We should pray and fast as we never have before. Our Lady promised that whatever is requested by faithful recitation of the Rosary would be granted.
To that end, from now until November 3, please join us in a Rosary Novena to Our Lady of Victory, begging her to deliver us from the clutches of an enemy of the Cross of Christ.
Our Lady of Victory, pray for us!
Several images of Julian the Apostate’s demise
Printed with kind permission of Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute
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Illustration from the “The Fall of Princes” by Giovanni Boccaccio, depicting the skin of Roman Emperor Flavius Claudius Julianus (The Apostate): https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Death_of_Julian_-_manuscript.jpg