Pope Leo XIII was clearly worried about the "Crafty Enemies" Who would or have "Raised the Throne of their Abominable Impiety," with the Design that, "the Pastor [be] Struck and the Sheep Scattered."
These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.
Dr. Chojnowski: How can we interpret this prayer, written by Pope Leo XIII after his mystical vision of an attack on the Catholic Church, other than to say the following: Clearly, the pope is saying that there are "crafty" (occult heretics) "enemies" (those who seek the Church's destruction and the destruction of everything She gives to mankind) who are present within the structure of the Catholic Church --- you cannot be "inebriated" with something unless that something is "inside" you --- at a certain time. Clearly "gall" indicates something which should be nourishing and satisfying (e.g., like true doctrine), but instead is bitter and, ultimately, poisonous (e.g., heresy and apostasy). Here we find Pope Leo emphasizing that the Catholic Church is the Pure Spouse of the Immaculate Lamb (Christ), not the defective Whore of Babylon as She is often portrayed by the pseudo-traditionalists who preach a defective Church. When we read about the enemies "laying their impious hands on the most sacred possessions of the Church," this can only mean that they have attempted to destroy both the sacred doctrine of the Church, Her worship, and Her sacraments. What else are Her, "most sacred possessions." Notice that they have "laid" their hands on these possessions. Meaning that they have taken possession of the name and the outward form of the doctrine of the Church, Her worship, and Her sacraments, and made them, in all appearances, their own. Since the Church is the Spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and since that union is an unbreakable bond, the actual doctrine, sacraments, and worship of the Church will continue and be available, somewhere, in their purity.
In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.
And what could the above mean, if not that there would be a counter-throne --- an anti-pope or anti-popes -- which would cause the greatest damage that the Catholic Church could suffer, because the Pastor "would be struck" and the sheep "scattered"? Thinking about this, is truly fascinating. So much emphasis is placed by Pope Leo XIII on the importance of the papacy. Because, "when the shepherd is struck" the sheep don't just graze in the same place or stay basically with the same one herd or keep eating calmly at their accustomed pace. If the sheep are "scattered" that means that they are "lost," running away from the threat and when sheep are on the run they are not eating as they should, perhaps alone or gathered together in much smaller groups then they are used to, out of line --- the usual lines that they make when they follow the lead sheep (usually one of the bossy ewes!); they are, in this state, perpetually upset and feel under threat. In this state, untrained or daft "shepherds" are going to drive them farther away from where they should be. This is how the wolves (or bald eagles, in the case of 4 of our lambs this Spring season!) want the sheep, not in a coherent herd with a strong shepherd. Why? So that they can rip them apart to satisfy their insatiable appetite for meat. Because that is what wolves (and bald eagles) do. It is in their nature. All attempts at negotiation and compromise will lead to, guess what, dead sheep! But, again, this is just a dream of a very old pope and nothing to do with reality, right?