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Crossing Over the Sea of Mediocrity and Eternal Fire

Crossing Over the Sea of Mediocrity and Eternal Fire


Perhaps you were expecting a post along the lines of: “If you participate in Halloween,” you’re aiding and abetting evil. Well, depending on one’s intention, that may very well be the case. I look at the displays all over the yards here where my family lives and you can’t help but feel the evil influence lurking beneath seemingly “benign” and “innocent” depictions of scenes that are impressive (I must admit) but beyond creepy.

BabyBoyOneMonthOldMore than ghoulish depictions on our neighbor’s lawn, the zombie attitude of society, to evil in the world today, is the most disturbing reality of all. We are a society that has become all but numb to the darkest of darkness with the most evil of atrocities revealed by the uncovered demonic activities of Planned Parenthood. It wasn’t enough to know for decades that babies were being murdered in these clinics – over 58 MILLION babies in the United States alone – for there to be a revolution against this greatest of evils. Regardless of who actually said it, the world has ModifiedDetailPopeBenedictXVIunwittingly given assent to the popularized statement: “The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic.” If this reality doesn’t haunt us today, then I fear nothing will. The greatest masquerades are hidden behind slogans, catch-phrases and co-opted biblical imagery such as rainbows to mislead those who don’t think for themselves. As Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI accurately put it: We are living in a “dictatorship of relativism.”

As the zombie, moral and religious relativistic status quo is challenged we see that there is not a benign spirit behind it. It is Satanic and seeks the destruction of the very pillars of society: marriage and the family. Don’t believe me? Well, perhaps you will believe Servant of God Sr. Lucia dos Santos, the famous Fatima visionary, who revealed in a letter to Cardinal Carlo Caffara of Bologna:

The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid . . . because anyone who operates for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. [And then she concluded]: however, Our Lady has already crushed its head. [source]

Do we not see that we are entering into this war in an unprecedented way? And the Church, as the family of God is also under attack from within as Satan attempts to redefine not only the natural family, but God’s own covenantal family, the Church. Here is what Our Lady at the approved private revelations of Akita, Japan, prophetically stated on 13 October 1973 in this regard:

MurilloBartolomeEstebanTheMadonnaoftheRosary[Mary,Christ,Jesus]GoogleArtProjectThe work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord. . . . . The demon will be especially implacable against souls consecrated to God. The thought of the loss of so many souls is the cause of my sadness. . . . Pray very much the prayers of the Rosary. I alone am able still to save you from the calamities which approach. Those who place their confidence in me will be saved. [source]

JohnPaulIISo, Satan’s attack is against the family at all levels because it is the family which is the building block of secular civilization and the spiritual kingdom of God’s family. Distort one and the other follows. As Pope St. John Paul the Great said: “As the family goes, so goes the nation and the world in which we live.”

Halloween (All Hallows Eve), therefore, which actually has Catholic roots (click here for a good summary of its history), could serve as a healthy redirection of our family education of the realization that there is a hell and that there are souls there. Considering its placement as the bridge into the month dedicated to All Saints and All Souls, it also reminds us of the reality than in the final analysis there are only two paths – the wider one that leads to eternal hell and the narrow one that leads to eternal paradise with God and the communion of all the saints. There is no eternal middle. Halloween should serve to remind us where mediocrity leads a soul, a family, a nation, the world.

Hell is something of which we should always have a healthy fear. Jesus spoke directly to this:

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather
fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mt 10:28)

We can now better understand the wisdom of Venerable Fulton Sheen who said: “Satan never gains so many cohorts as when, in his shrewdness, he spreads the rumor that he is long since dead.”

If you need something to help “scare the hell out of you,” I highly recommend that you watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose, based on the true story of Annaliese Michel, a young Catholic woman who became possessed by the devil and chose to offer up the sufferings of the possession for the conversion of souls (Here is a good review of the movie that you may find helpful). Renowned Roman exorcist Fr. Gabriel Amorth said this film is worth watching because of its sheer realism that he has experienced having performed thousands of exorcisms. And not to spoil the movie, there is a powerful part in it when Emily writes a letter describing an encounter she had with the Blessed Virgin while she was possessed (N.B. possession is only of the body, not of the soul). She could have been freed from the demons, but Emily chose to suffer knowing that ultimately good will triumph over evil. In this letter she wrote: “Through my experience people will know that demons are real. People say that God is dead. But how can they think that if I show them the devil?”

Let me say that this movie does show the devil quite well, as Fr. Amorth and other priests who are exorcists attest.

Let us, therefore, duly acknowledge that this day reminds us of the all damned in order that we may re-calibrate our efforts not just to avoid hell — the place where the lie of mediocrity finds its reward – but also to seek heaven with all of our mind, heart and strength. May this healthy reflection increase our desire not to see one soul, no matter how far they are from God, fall into that eternal abyss with unquenchable fire.

As October 31 quickly comes and goes, the Church quickly reminds us what God’s intended purpose is for us is, which is not hell – no matter how great our sins are. We were created for heaven the eternal home of God’s saints. But in order to make it there, we must cross over the sea of mediocrity that the devil puts in front of us, to the home where only heroic virtue gains access. A “saint” by definition is one who demonstrated heroic virtue unto death.

HolyFamilyGregorioMartinezSagradaFamiliaSanMiguelAnd considering the final confrontation over marriage and family in which we find ourselves engaged, let us not kid ourselves . . . only heroic Catholic families will survive and if we want to truly transform this world, which hinges on the family, we must not only learn to survive, but thrive!

I invite you to make this your priority for your family during November, this month of all saints. As St. John Paul II puts it simply: “It is necessary that the heroic becomes daily and that the daily becomes heroic.”

This subject is so important that I will be focusing future posts on Catholic spirituality as it pertains to the family and the heroic call of today’s Catholic family. I invite you, in the meantime, to visit and consider bringing this critical message to your parish or conference. There is nothing more important than fighting for the soul of the Catholic family!


Editor’s Note:  Click here, and scroll down the page, to read more of Dr. Peter Howard’s posts on our site.


Art: Camp Fire, MarcusObal, own work, July 2015, CCA-SA; Baby boy one month old, Nils Fretwurst, 2004, CC-SA; Modified detail Pope Benedict XVI during general audience, 2 May 2007, PD-Worldwide; The Madonna of the Rosary, Bartolomé Estéban Murillo, c.1670-80, PD-US; Pope John Paul II in Rome, derivative work by J J Georges of Fels_Papst.JPG: Nikolaus von Nathusius, 1980, PD-Worldwide; “El Infierno” [Hell], padre Hernando de la Cruz [Father Hernando de la Cruz], siglo XVII [17th century], PD; Sagrada Familia. Iglesia de San Miguel y San Julián, Valladolid. (Holy Family. Church of Saint Michael and Saint Julian, Valladolid [Spain]) by Gregorio Martínez y Espinosa (1547-1598), undated, Luis Fernández García, own work, 30 July 2015, CCA-SA; all Wikimedia Commons.


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About Peter Howard

Dr. Peter Howard presently lives in Illinois with his wife, Chantal, and five children. Dr. Howard is a professor of Theology at the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation ( In 2015, Peter and Chantal founded dedicated to the mission of “awakening Catholic families to their critical call to live their faith with courage, passion and purpose.” He is also a Catholic videographer (, author and national Catholic speaker who has spoken at the 2015 American Chesterton Society Conference, 2012 Midwest Catholic Family Conference in Wichita, Kansas; the United States Air Force Academy; parish retreats and on Catholic radio programs such as Radio Maria. Peter earned his Doctorate in Sacred Theology (S.T.D.) from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas [Angelicum] in Rome, Italy. Dr. Howard's theological expertise lies predominantly in Mariology and the teachings of Venerable Fulton J. Sheen. He is the author of the 2014 book: The Woman: The Mystery of Mary as Mediatrix in the Teaching of Fulton J. Sheen. Like his spiritual mentor, +Fulton Sheen, Dr. Howard is passionate about evangelizing families by communicating the truth and beauty of the Catholic faith as the answer to the challenges and errors of the world. If you would like to invite Dr. Howard to speak at your parish or event, contact him at

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  • Catherine Nagle

    Thank you Peter Howard for your beautiful piece that explains clearly the crisis of the family that I’m also deeply passionate with truth and beauty of the Catholic faith! This is the first time, I’m able to understand, All Hallow’s Eve, from true and blessed Sources that give more strength and hope to stand even more for the family! I recently wrote an article you might enjoy: ( I’m not sure sharing is allowed, yet, but as you can read I’m working in the right direction of the one beautiful and true Catholic faith …). I truly understand if sharing is impossible at this time with hope and patience for God’s timing, Thy will be done. I deeply appreciate all your much needed blessed work you do for the family!

    • DrPeterHoward

      Thank you for your kinds words and encouragement, Catherine! I’d like to read your article. reach out to me via the Invite page (form) at and I’ll check it out. I look forward to it! God bless you.

  • Judy Silhan

    I remember you speaking of Satan’s plan for destroying the pillars of society by attacking the family and marriage. Right now, his plan is seemingly successful. We only need to look at the last two Synods to see how he has infiltrated the Church, which the private revelation spoke of. Thanks, Dr. Howard, for a very much needed reflection on evil in our society today. Sadly, far too many people deny this reality. Thanks to you and your class, I now realize that there is power in the Rosary, and that, if this Country of ours is ever going to return to being a God fearing nation, it will be because many turned to Our Lady in heartfelt prayer of the Rosary. Looking forward to your upcoming class on Marian Apparitions, Dr. Howard.

    • DrPeterHoward

      Thank you, Judy! I’ll “see” you in not too long! God bless you.

  • Heidi Cole

    What an insightful and thought provoking piece. Thank you, thank you!

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  • marybernadette

    ‘Ralph Martin from ‘’ has written a booklet called ‘The Final Confrontation.’ He quotes from Pope St. John Paul when he was a Cardinal and was reported to have given an address during the Eucharistic Congress in 1976, for the Bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. ‘We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity ha ever experienced. I do not think the wide circle of the American Society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian Community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, the gospel and the anti-gospel, between Christ and the anti-Christ. The Confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence,It is therefore in God’s plan and it must be a trial which the Church must take up and face courageously.’

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