Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Proverbs 27:17 teaches that “Iron sharpeneth iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend” and we have certainly found that to be true within the Kolbe Family. After our last newsletter highlighted the work of Dr. Steven Collins and his identification of Tall-el- Hammam as the site of Biblical Sodom, a number of our readers pointed out some serious contradictions to the Tall-el-Hammam hypothesis. Those contradictions are very well summarized in an article on the Answers in Genesis website which arrives at the following conclusion:
The identity of the site of biblical Sodom has been and will continue to be debated. This paper has given several reasons why identifying Sodom at the north-eastern side of the Dead Sea at Tall el-Hammam is not an option for those who believe in the in the inerrancy of Scripture. The first two reasons show that there is a major chronological problem for identifying Tall el-Hammam as biblical Sodom, as its destruction dates around 1750–1650 BC (MB II). The only way for proponents of Tall el-Hammam to synchronize it with biblical Sodom is to revise the biblical date of the exodus, embrace a short Israelite sojourn in Egypt, and significantly reduce the lifespans of the patriarchs. These views are not the result of careful biblical exegesis but rather are the result of eisegesis and special pleading. It seems they are embraced in order to accept the position that Tall el-Hammam is Sodom. As has been shown, the date of Tall el-Hammam’s final destruction is 300–400 years later than the biblical date (2067 BC) allows for the destruction of Sodom. Finally, the fact that later biblical prophets (Isaiah 13:19–20; Jeremiah 49:17–18; 50:39–40; Zephaniah 2:9) used Sodom’s destruction as an example of the nations Babylon, Edom, Moab, and Ammon never being inhabited again rules out Tall el-Hammam as biblical Sodom as after its destruction, it was later occupied again at the time of the Iron Age II (c. 1000 BC), at the beginning of the Israelite monarchy. Biblical chronology and the witness of several biblical prophets strongly show that Tall el-Hammam is not biblical Sodom.
It would be tempting to dismiss all of Dr. Collins’ hard work out of hand, in the face of these contradictions, but I think that would be a serious mistake. The nature of the destruction that was visited upon the people of Tall el-Hammam certainly speaks of some kind of divine chastisement—even if it was not the site of Biblical Sodom. Reflecting upon Dr. Collins’ documentation of the rapid and total devastation of a bustling metropolis, I am reminded of the way that theistic evolution has conditioned us to see man-harming natural disasters as mere manifestations of the “normal” course of nature. In this newsletter, I would like to recall once again a concrete example of a saint of modern times who clearly saw the connection between sin and disorders in nature—St. Anthony Mary Claret, the founder of the Claretian Fathers.
Clear Evidence of God’s Adorable Mercy
St. Anthony was sent from Spain to Cuba as a missionary bishop in the middle of the nineteenth century, to restore order to the Church in that country. Through many trials and tribulations, including a nearly-fatal attempt on his life, the holy archbishop spearheaded a complete reform of the Church. The following account describes his prophetic response to disorders in nature, first in the form of an earthquake and then in the form of a deadly disease.
It was August 20, 1852. Archbishop Claret was preaching a Mission in Bayamo, [Cuba], a town more than thirty leagues from the capital. One night the people noticed something extraordinary in the holy missionary. This strangeness was reflected in the pallor of his face and in the tremor of his voice. He began his sermon as was his custom, with full force, but at the most ardent and stirring point of his eloquence, he suddenly became silent; then directing himself to his audience, who looked at him in consternation, he pronounced these prophetic words:
"Let us pray to God for our brethren, residents of Santiago de Cuba, because they are in great tribulation. Tomorrow we shall go to console them."
"But what happened in Santiago?" An eyewitness writes in detail. He says: "A subterranean noise of thunder was heard, and from that moment everything moved; buildings vibrated; furniture in the rooms moved; window panes and doors creaked; houses and churches tottered and walls and roofs fell to pieces; the inhabitants were terror stricken, and not feeling secure in their homes, they went out into the patios, streets, and plazas. A glacial terror froze the blood in their veins. They stood still and remained silent, looking at each other without being able to explain what was happening. With a terrified voice they cried:
The Archbishop arrived. On seeing thousands of his children dispersed through the fields, the streets covered with debris, houses in ruins, the episcopal palace torn down, the churches crumbled, the Cathedral rent and the altars broken, moved to profound pity by the tragic sight of the catastrophe, he wept as Jesus wept over the ruins of Jerusalem. The domestics and the missionaries wished to console the archbishop; they wished to cheer him by telling him that the punishment of the earthquake would not be repeated. But he replied: 'They will return. It is useless to construct the cathedral and the houses. The earthquake will return soon. God wishes it. They are the great missionaries that God sends so that obstinate hearts, who do not wish to listen to words of love, may be converted.' "
The churches were still filled with debris. The stricken families had raised tents on the shores of the sea. They had also improvised a chapel under an immense covering. The pulpit was a platform and from it the holy archbishop preached a Mission.
Thousands of persons listened to him. His voice was sweet and sincere, threatening and terrifying, announcing simple Gospel truths and striking prophecy.
One day he made the following comparison: "God does with many of us as a mother does to a lazy sleeping child, she shakes the cot or bed so as to awaken him and cause him to arise. If that does not suffice, she whips him.
"God does the same with many of his children, lethargic sinners. He shakes their beds, that is, their houses, by means of earthquakes, saving their bodies and their lives. If that does not awaken them and they do not arise, He will give them blows, sending them the cholera and the pest. God has made that known to me."
These last words, pronounced with prophetic accent, frightened and moved the public, so that, amid sobs, they begged mercy and pardon of God.
"Only one month had passed," said an eyewitness, "since the archbishop had spoken, inspired by Heaven, of the punishment of the cholera which threatened the city, when the terrible infirmity already raised its empire of terror and death.
"Santiago was an immense hospital, where only groans of pain and anguish were heard. But in a few days it looked like a vast cemetery, whose tragic silence was sadly interrupted by the echo of funeral cars carrying heaps of corpses, or by the priest's rapid footsteps, hastening to a death-bed."
Very many,” wrote St. Anthony, “who refrained from confessing during the mission, have done so as a result of the earthquakes and the pest . . . I can do no less than bless Our Lord and return unceasing thanks that He sent the plague so opportunely, which I know to be clear evidence of His adorable mercy!”
“Thunder Down Under”
Recently, our dear friend Fr. Brian Harrison sent a newsletter of his own, reporting on disturbances of nature in connection with recent public abominations in his native Australia:
The two bolts of lightning that famously struck the dome of St. Peter's Basilica on the evening after Benedict announced his resignation (February 11, 2013) came to my mind here again recently in Australia. Just several days into the most shameful event ever hosted by the city where I was born, news reports showed a bolt of lightning hitting the top of its highest skyscraper, the iconic Centrepoint Tower, located in the heart of Downtown Sydney (its CBD - Central Business District - in Aussie parlance). Centrepoint is roughly equivalent in symbolic value to the giant St. Louis Gateway Arch, but is a lot taller.
Sad to say, Australia's biggest city, largely at the taxpayers' expense and with constant government promotion on the state-run ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) media network, is currently turning itself into a latter-day Sodom. Sydney is hosting a 16-day 'Worldpride' event (17 February to 5 March), drawing an estimated half a million "LGBTQI+" visitors from all over the world for the most massive and in-your-face flaunting of perverse sexuality, gender confusion and contempt for Christian chastity that has ever taken place in the Southern Hemisphere. The city's Harbour Bridge and Opera House, also highly iconic, have been illumined with rainbow-colored lights. Behavior which just half a century ago would have brought out the vice squad and led to multiple arrests and charges of public indecency is now celebrated as a triumph of progress and human liberation . . .
Well, it so happened that just one day after the deplorable event kicked off, something very remarkable happened right at the liturgical hour when the Lord's Day, Dies Dominica, was beginning: the hour, that is, when the Church in all her religious houses was singing First Sunday Vespers and when many thousands of Sydney Catholics were attending Vigil Masses for the Seventh Sunday of Ordinary Time (Quinquagesima Sunday in the old rite). The time was around 5:00 - 6:00 pm on Saturday, February 18th, 2023. At that very hour, when the City was beginning its sponsorship of the worst public profanation of the Lord's Day in Australian history, a cataclysmic thunderstorm broke out all over Sydney - a torrential downpour unloading rivers of water all over the metropolitan area, causing flash floods, massive power outages, calling forth dozens of emergency service ventures and leaving tens of thousands of Sydney recipients without power until well into the next day or two. It was the heaviest deluge to hit the city in many years and was the lead story in all Sydney media reports the next day . . .
And that wasn't the end of it. Just three days later, on the evening of Tuesday, March 21st, in the last hours before Lent began, another heavy thunderstorm, almost as powerful as the previous one, drenched and battered the city and its suburbs. And the television report of this second storm, on Ash Wednesday itself, is where I saw the shot of the massive bolt of lightning striking Centrepoint Tower that I mentioned near the beginning of this email, as the day before Ash Wednesday has of course deep roots in Christian tradition as Mardi Gras, when one could feast before beginning the Lenten fast, but in many places has been thoroughly paganized and sexualized, especially by homosexual parades. So the timing of that second great storm over Sydney also seemed significant.
One of the most terrible consequences of belief in evolution, in its theistic and atheistic forms, is the inability to interpret the signs of the times, so that souls lose the ability to see God’s call to repentance in the natural disorders He sends or permits. Through the prayers of Our Lady of Fatima and of the Most Chaste Heart of St. Joseph, may the Holy Ghost grant to all souls the grace of true repentance and firm amendment of life!
Yours in Christ through the Immaculata in union with St. Joseph,
P.S. Today is a First Saturday. Please be sure to answer Our Lady’s appeal for the First Saturday devotions as described by the Fatima Center at this link.