Robert Sungenis, Ph.D.
On October 31, 2006, Michael Dimond was a guest on the Internet radio program Frankly-Speaking-Radio.com. The conglomerate of which the program is affiliated is politically based and caters to avant-garde activism. With Michael Dimond’s message being one of contempt for modern-day popes, coupled with sensationalism about the end of the world, it is not difficult to understand why such a politically motivated station would welcome him. They love it when Catholics succumb to the idea that the modern Catholic Church is nothing but a bogus institution run by sinister men in black robes and Roman collars. Sad to say, Michael Dimond did his best to perpetuate that image. If you’ve ever wondered what Martin Luther sounded like back in the 1520s, Michael Dimond provides you with a good example. Fortunately, for the faithful Catholics who were listening to the program, Michael Dimond made a fool of himself with his outlandish prognostications and contradictory assertions. This was really a spectacle to behold. In the end Dimond demonstrated what a fear mongering cult of deception is the sedevacantism of which he is an ardent member.
As is his usual flair, Dimond pretended that he has access to secret information about the end times that few have been privileged to receive. He started out with the assertion that he has the unrevealed words of the Third Secret of Fatima. According to Dimond, those words say the following: “An apostasy that will be promoted by the person who claims to be the head of the Catholic Church.” Dimond then interpreted this statement as being applicable to a person or persons “who will actually be an antipope or a series of antipopes.” And who is Dimond’s principle object of derision? No less than John Paul II. In fact, based on Dimond’s personal exegesis of Apocalypse 13, John Paul II is the First Beast and Joseph Ratzinger is the Second Beast. According to Dimond, the fact that “John Paul II would have died” in 1981 when he was shot in St. Peter’s Square “because the bullet just missed a major artery” is to be interpreted such that John Paul II fulfills the image of the “beast whose deadly wound was healed” in Apocalypse 13:3-4. To affirm his conviction to the radio audience, Dimond said: “I personally believe that.”
Dimond’s unprecedented interpretations of Holy Writ were followed by equally outlandish prophecies concerning Pope Benedict XVI. Dimond told the host, Frank Whalen: “I believe Benedict XVI is the last guy you’re going to see.” In other words, Mr. Dimond is predicting that the end of the world will happen in the lifetime of our present pope. But wait. Dimond then modifies his prognostication in mid-stream and says immediately after: “Maybe Christ will appoint the final pope.” So, contrary to his previous statement, Benedict XVI won’t be the “last guy,” and somehow, unprecedented in all of history, Christ will set aside the established method of electing a pope and directly intervene in world affairs by installing the last pope Himself. It’s amazing what a little imagination can do for one’s predictive abilities. This scenario fits well with the sedevacantism that Dimond advocates. Since his sedevacantism dictates that there are no longer any true bishops today with jurisdiction, then there is no human means of electing another pope. On what basis does Dimond make these outlandish claims? On nothing but his own misguided efforts at exegeting the Apocalypse, and a dash of the unapproved and equivocal prophecy of St. Malachy.
As to how these things will take place, Dimond then sets his sights on exegeting 2 Peter 3:10, which, speaks of the world being “burned with fervent heat.” In his typical ambivalent manner, Dimond tells us that this passage
“…seems to be clearly like a nuclear annihilation of the whole earth which we can see with North Korea shooting that…one missle off…and more countries getting nuclear weapons. That is a real distinct possibility, and I believe it will definitely happen. It’s just a matter of when not if.
If we’ve ever seen fear mongering rhetoric, this is it. It wouldn’t be so bad if Mr. Dimond wasn’t, on the one hand, admitting that this scenario is merely a “distinct possibility” but, on the other hand, changing his mind in mid-thought and telling us that “it will definitely happen.” So which is it, Michael? Or does your crystal ball suddenly get cloudy when you realize that you just stuck your foot in your mouth? The reason it sounds like Michael Dimond doesn’t know whether he is coming or going is that he doesn’t have the slightest idea what he is talking about. 2 Peter 3:10 has nothing to do with “nuclear annihilation of the whole earth.” It is a prophecy of the return of Christ on the clouds of glory, upon which He will destroy this present universe (not just the earth). As St. Peter puts it:
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and the works that are upon it will be burned up.
11 Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of persons ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness,
12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be kindled and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire!
13 But according to his promise we wait for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
Notice that the focus of the destruction is on the “heavens” that will pass away and be dissolved, not merely the earth. In other words, this is a God-directed universal cataclysm that evaporates every animal, mineral and vegetable as we know it. It is the Last Day, when the Lord returns to judge the world, and immediately afterward He recreates the New Heaven and New Earth. It has nothing to do with nuclear bombs. The only nuclear bomb here is the one inside Michael Dimond’s head.
Dimond’s prophetic double-talk occurred in another part of the program. A caller named Gary challenged Dimond on the fact that the outfit of which Dimond is the director, the so-called “Holy Family Monastery” in New York, produced a DVD a few years ago that stated, without any equivocation, “John Paul II is the Antichrist.” The problem with this statement, of course, is that since John Paul II died before the end of time, he cannot be the Antichrist, since St. Paul is clear that immediately after the Antichrist’s short reign, Christ will come in glory and end the world. There is no interlude (cf., 2 Thess 2:3-11; Apoc. 20:7-15). (NB: Here I am equating the “Man of Sin” in 2 Thess. 2:3-4 with the “Antichrist,” although neither St. Paul nor the Apocalypse use the specific term “Antichrist.” The term “Antichrist” is from St. John’s epistles).
So how does Dimond deal with Gary? As if he is a sportscaster giving color commentary to an athletic event, he says these glib words: “We have to call it as we see it.” No apologies; no remorse. Here he was justly accused and convicted, by his own admission, of calling a pope of the Catholic Church the “Antichrist,” and all Mr. Dimond can say is: “we have to call it as we see it.” Unfortunately, Mr. Dimond’s myopic vision of both the Catholic Church and end-time events means we will probably be subjected to more of the same predictions and their accompanying excuses in the coming years. Since Dimond and his cohorts have been shooting from the hip on these end-time prognostications for quite some time, similar to other false prophets who predict when the end of the world will occur but find that the chosen date invariably passes them by, Dimond modifies his details and adjusts his parameters to make room for such unexpected events.
To establish a more stable position and preserve the supposed divine authority from which he purports to speak, Dimond then tells Gary: “I personally believe this guy [Benedict XVI] is the final Antichrist.” But wait. This “personal belief” of Dimond’s is then followed by even more equivocation when he says to Gary: “We’ll see what happens.” Glory, hallelujah! Michael Dimond finally admits he’s just like the rest of us schleps, since it is obvious that no one knows when these eschatological events will occur and thus we must all wait to “see what happens,” just as Jesus told us in Matthew 24:36 (“But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only”). Michael Dimond doesn’t turn out to be a good prophet at all, and, in fact, he doesn’t know anymore than anyone else does, by his own admission.
But wait. Perhaps realizing that he just demoted himself to a drunken street preacher babbling nonsense about the end of the world, Dimond resurrects his prestige with another strong reiteration of his prediction. But, then again, maybe it’s not so strong. He says to Gary: “This guy [Benedict XVI] may definitely be the Antichrist.” So now Michael Dimond resorts to purveying oxymorons to communicate his dubious points. How can the subjunctive “may” precede an adverbial absolute such as “definitely” and make any sense whatsoever? Unless Michael Dimond is gracing us with a new language from on high that allows such non-sequiturs, here we have another case of someone pretending to be a prophet when in actuality he is no better than the village hag peddling horoscopes and tarot cards.
Gary, being no fool and yet polite as the day is long, reiterated the fact that Dimond uttered a false prediction about John Paul II, and suggested that Dimond’s credibility was so sufficiently tarnished that he should cease and desist from the business of apocalyptic prognostication. Instead of admitting his gross error and his impetuous impeachment of the person of John Paul II, Dimond retorts with the following dismissal: “We don’t claim to be impeccable!” Not only is this a lame excuse, but Dimond is so confused at this point that he can’t even choose the right words to get himself out of the jam into which he put himself. What he meant to say was that he isn’t “infallible,” not impeccable. We already know Michael Dimond isn’t impeccable. Rather, we are concerned with his unbridled attempts at predicting the future and his equally fallible interpretations of Sacred Scripture. I can say one thing for certain: if Michael Dimond doesn’t stop passing off his guess work as reality, and cease implicating popes to fulfill his desire to see the Antichrist make his appearance, we will definitely (not “may definitely”) have a case of Michael Dimond lowering himself into the depths of mortal peccability, that is, if he hasn’t arrived there already.
At another point in the interview, Dimond says: “the Antichrist could be a series of men.” Very interesting. In order to patch up his erroneous prediction of John Paul II being the Antichrist, Dimond now backtracks and suggests that John Paul II may, after all, be AN Antichrist, just not THE Antichrist. What kind of cockamamie analysis is this? Once again, we see the crafty Michael Dimond creating his own rules to save face for himself. Since he flubbed up on the prediction about John Paul II, he alters the definition of the Antichrist’s identity. It is no longer a single man (something which has been prophesied in Scripture and supported consistently by both the patristics and the medievals) but now it has succumbed to the manipulations of Michael Dimond who is the first person in history to claim the “Man of Sin” or Antichrist is actually “a series of men.”
Of course, this new definition fits like a glove with Michael’s belief that we haven’t had any true popes since after the reign of Pius XII. All five of our recent popes could be the “series of men” to which Dimond now applies the label “Antichrist.” Since four of those popes have already died, Michael feels confidant claiming of Benedict XVI: “This guy may definitely be the Antichrist.” Sure Michael, whatever you say. The only thing different than Michael Dimond when compared to a Central Florida real estate salesman is that, at least with the salesman you get some swamp land.
Dimond tries to defend his interpretations by appealing to St. Hilary of Portiers. Focusing on the “Man of Sin” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, Dimond attributes the following idea to St. Hilary:
“The man of sin is an apostate bishop of the end of the world possessed by the devil who will appear to sit at the head of the Catholic Church.”
Of course, in Dimond’s frame of mind, this “bishop” can only apply to a pope rather than just some run-of-the-mill prelate. But the passage Dimond attributes to Hilary does not say it is a pope, and it doesn’t even say that he will be sitting in the papal chair, but only that he will “appear” to sit in some headship position. Be that as it may, I don’t know anywhere in the patristic literature where Hilary makes such a claim. Hilary hardly wrote anything on the end times, much less Dimond’s above claim. Perhaps Dimond wanted to say Hippolytus but got mixed up with his H’s under the intense spotlight of a national radio program. Among all the Fathers, Hippolytus probably wrote more about the end times than perhaps any other Father, except St. Augustine. Hippolytus made all kinds of predictions about the end-times, in great detail. Whether he is right or not remains to be seen. There weren’t but a few Fathers who ventured into these eschatological areas, much less have a consensus among them about whether a certain apostate bishop would sit in the papal chair. In fact, Hippolytus was censored for some of his beliefs by three successive popes. As it stands, there is no quote that I can find from either Hilary or Hippolytus that contains the exact prediction that Michael Dimond is claiming. Dimond may sound convincing to his audience when, in the midst of a radio interview, he can spout off the name of a certain Father who supposedly held the same view as he, but he is short on proving that assertion. Only the naïve and the gullible would fall for such a ploy, and Michael Dimond has plenty of them up his proverbial sleeve.
As for Mr. Dimond’s claim to be privy to parts of the Third Secret that the rest of us haven’t seen or heard, we can only say, “show us the proof, Michael.” But the truth is, Michael Dimond has no access to the contents of the Third Secret, since everyone knows that the words after the “ect” clause have not been revealed to the public, and no one has them in writing, except the Vatican. Dimond is merely banking on the testimonies of those who have supposedly read the whole Third Secret. But who are these people? Dimond doesn’t reveal. And if these mysterious witnesses have read the entire Third Secret, how is it that they were able to bypass the oath of secrecy required of anyone who was so privileged to read it, which, if broken, results in a divine condemnation coming upon the perpetrator?
Michael Dimond and his whole “Holy Family Monastery” are a completely bogus enterprise which engages in fear mongering tactics and end-time sensationalism to further its appeal to the naïve and the gullible. Have nothing to do with them. Jesus Christ said that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church and Vatican I assured us that the reign of true popes will last “until the end of time,” without interruption. It is only to these leaders we are to give our allegiance.
Robert Sungenis, Ph.D.
October 31, 2006