"In some respects, the prophecy of the end of the world as we know it or what Gianna has said about "Change" should not be considered as anything new. From a secular or even
psychological point of view, one can easily detect that her commentary is merely a reflection of present day populist terms and real life conditions. That she would zero in on the singular theme of
"Change" certainly has a familiar ring to it! As well as the issue of climatic extremes, which I do not disagree with, except for her prediction of a second sun, or, as suggested in the article
Emmitsburg's Own End of the World Cult? a direct hit by a meteor or whatever catastrophic event she is describing -- again, not an original theme if one gives
priority to apocalyptic writings and metaphors.
Perhaps what is important to keep in mind here is that the Christian faith is based on the life example and teachings of Christ and the hope that is made possible by his resurrection from the
dead. Though we do not ignore the present circumstances in which we find ourselves (in fact we strive to respond to earth’s signs of distress) – ours is not a faith based on apocalyptic prophecies
nor the vengeance of God. Instead we are a people of hope and light, the Gospel message is what is central to our faith and motivates our daily living, not end of the world prophecies.
I noted that in the prophecy, there are three authorities not to be trusted: The government, the Church (presumably referring to Rome and/or all Church hierarchy) and the institutions of
finance. Again, nothing terribly original about naming these institutions. The Biblical narrative and Jesus' teachings also speak, to varying degrees, of not placing our trust in rulers, the Temple
authorities nor riches. The true follower of God within the Christian tradition is to place their trust and allegiance to the One who is Lord over all of these institutions. We also do well to note
that because God is God, these institutions are under God's authority, whether they acknowledge their subservience to God or not. Martin Luther expressed this well when he taught that the State,
with all of its power to wield the sword, uphold the Law and to insure the well being of its citizens, was instituted by God. Again, this does not mean that the state will always execute its
responsibilities with complete righteousness and within the best interest of its people, because it is enacted and carried out by men, and is therefore, by default, subject to corruption and even
scandal, as we know all too well from history, both recent and the past.
That the prophecy includes that the Church has knowledge of harmful things to come, but, presumably is keeping this knowledge from the people, is what I find most alarming. Presumably, Mary
would be indicating to her flock that they cannot trust Christ’s Church because the Church, who has special knowledge, is not being fully honest or truthful to her people. This seems to me to be
most heretical. Although, again, we will not presume to say that the Church is not without faults and a history of abuses. Nevertheless, the church is accountable to Christ, and in spite of its
failures, is also a body that stands true because it is being constantly corrected by Christ and guided by the Spirit of truth. Indeed, the Church seeks to be true and faithful to Christ and,
indeed to the example of Christ's mother, Mary. It is the very duty of the Church and its shepherds to seek the best care and welfare of all its members and for people throughout the world. I think
the 21rst Century Church is being as faithful as it has ever been, and in recent times has been the greatest truth teller of all the world's institutions!
Nevertheless, one can see where Giana's prophecy is leading: Do not trust any authority but Giana's prophecy, which, as the article points out through the listing of cults, is a dangerous
position to take. The real evil lies with any individual (or institution) that claims exclusive knowledge and denies or discounts all other knowledgeable persons and institutions who are not to be
trusted nor believed. Obviously, this gives the cultic leader (or medium) complete authority, control and power over the adherents. When the medium discounts the authority, truthfulness or
integrity of all other institutions outside of its own exclusive words, doctrines or prophecies, then the adherents of this medium are essentially held captive to the wishes and will of the medium.
Such powerful control tactics over any individual or group will most certainly lead to abuse(s). Adherents can be easily misled into extremist actions. Weaker individuals under the influence of
such a medium may splinter off into dangerous ideologies with tragic consequences as has been seen in too many cults over the past 4 decades.
One final thought: We do best to be guided by Mary, the mother of Jesus, whose words to the servants at the Wedding in Cana of Galilee were, "Do whatever he tells you." (John 2:5b)"