Considering Jesus said the gates of hell would not prevail against His Church.
There is a difference between A antichrist and THE antichrist. One might say there have been antichrists in the Church but as far as THE antichrist aka the devil himself, no, one could not say that. But have leaders of the Church been antichrists? perhaps. There are definitely antipopes. And different than antipopes there have been popes that were not good.
Declaring a pope to be the antichrist is something that cannot be done as the Pope is still acting pope and can change his direction at any time. For instance lets say that some look at a Pope as bad, or the antichrist and he teaches wrongly. But then at the end of his life/pontificate, he “sets things right” Well then he wasn;t THE antichrist was he? Only looking back on a pontificate can we judge it as a whole and even then, as bad as a pope may have been, if the Church still stands, in the old heavens and earth, even by one person then they were not THE antichrist.
A pope could be a antichrist, like St. Paul calls heretics and schismatics in the NT…somewhere.
But for a pope to ever be the Antichrist would be paradoxical, a contradiction in terms. As the Antichrist’s sole purpose in life is to fight against Christ and His Church, he could not also be Christ’s vicar. He’d probably take every chance he could to go proclaim some heresy or other ex cathedra, which is impossible.
So, how could the Pope be the anti-Christ?
Why would one believe that?
In league with the Antichrist perhaps a Pope as the Antichrist no not at all.
Most of the Church Fathers agree that the Antichrist will be a Jewish man born of the tribe of Dan of an unchaste woman.
In both written versions of the prophecies of Our Lady of La Salette our Lady fortells that Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist.
What this probably means is that while the deposits of the Church will never be changed many in the governing body of the Church and of the faithful will be deceived by the Antichrist which is scripturally in line with The Book of Thessalonians, The Book of Revelations, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the Antichrist and the great apostasy.
Somebody has been reading too many “Left Behind” novels
Before I say this, let me make it clear that I am not referring to the present Pope.
True, the Pope cannot be the Antichrist. But could an antipope be the Antichrist?
I am well aware of what an antipope is — a claimant to the papal throne who, in fact, never was the Pope. It has happened before. Could it happen again?
The pope could not be the anti-Christ. The gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church.
I read too many Left Behind novels. The series took longer to read than the tribulation.
The antichrist denies that Christ has come in the flesh. Which Pope has ever done that?
The devil incites hypotheticals to produce doubt - exactly as he did in Genesis 3.
Wouldn’t that be a contradiction of sacred scripture?
Christ only promises that the Church will never truly be destroyed that doesn’t mean that we’re not going to have bad popes or that even a pope can’t succumb to deception of the Antichrist it simply means that nothing heretical will ever be proclaimed EX cathedra.
The Church is described by many of the Father’s and those who are qualified to write theological works on eschatology to the literal body of Christ.
Since the Church is the mystical body of Christ and is christological she will seemingly die and then be reborn out of the ashes more glorious than ever.
However unlike Christ the Church will never actually physically die and run out of its members.
The Church like Christ is compared to the mythical Phoenix who dies and is resurrected although in the case of the Church this isn’t a true physical death or extinction like Sedevacantism.
It means that the Church will have seemingly lost to the powers of Hell only to arise stronger and holier than ever before.
So basically what this means is that towards the end of the world the Church will seem to have been destroyed only to arise victorious at the last minute.
Also to be clear the Church has undergone types of a the great apostasy and the end times through the Arian heresy, the Albigensian heresy and other heresies that seemingly nearly destroyed the Church but were thwarted.
Put it this way people take the papacy too far and they misunderstand the words of Christ.
We have had bad and downright evil popes in the past.
The Catholic Church has had popes that had sided with Arians, popes that lived completely corrupt and immoral lives, mafioso pope’s that were part of whole familial lines of popes, and popes that were condemned and anathematized after they had died.
The Church has had popes that were heretics but repented of their heresy before their death towards the end of their lives, we’ve had popes that have taken ecumenism too far and have scandalized the faithful.
The history of the papacy is not squeaky clean Christ doesn’t promise that we will have a perfect infallible human being at the helm of the Church he’s simply promises that through the power and protection of the Holy Spirit no heresy will ever be dogmatically proclaimed EX cathedra.
The Pope is only infallible in matters of faith pertaining to the deposits of the Holy Catholic Church when and only when speaking EX cathedra.
In the hypothetical scenario of the end times where a pope is deceived by the Antichrist what would happen is that he and other clergy would push false teachings but nothing would ever be proclaimed EX cathedra.
These false teachings would be pushed as truth and as matters of faith but would not be dogmatic.
Essentially these false teachings would be explained away as being part of the hermeneutic continuity.
If you read about eschatology and the end times we are far from the Antichrist being in power there are certain things have to take place before that can come into play.
The Gospels have to be preached to the very ends of the Earth to every civilization, there has to be Christian unity so the reunification of the Orthodox Churches and the conversion of Protestants, there has to be a mass conversion of the Jews, the Temple has to be rebuilt, and there has to be a period of peace.
I suspect that the EU is the revived Roman Empire, and that the Antichrist will start off as EU President. Russia and Iran are solidifying relations, and appear to be apposed to Israel. Strange illnesses are popping up and older ones are making a comeback. It all seems to fit Bible prophecy.
A Pope who denied Christ come in the flesh would cease to be Pope–you actually have to be a member of the Church to be Pope and such a heresy would cause one to cease to be a member.
The antichrist would likely for all practical purposes be an antipope, since he would be claiming for himself a kind of religious authority in opposition to that held by the Pope.
IF the antichrist were duly elected Pope, he would still be incapable of teaching false doctrine.
This would seem to severely limit the antichrist’s ability to sow discord. He would probably not seek the papacy. The church has survived evil popes before; there would be nothing inherent to the antichrist that would let him be anymore successful destroying the church from within.
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