On the afternoon of the first Sunday of Lent, February 25, Benedict XVI and his collaborators in the Roman curia will begin their spiritual exercises, which will continue until the morning of Saturday, March 3.
So for one week, the ordinary activities of the pope and the curia will be suspended. Even the Wednesday audience will be cancelled.
The preacher that the pope has chosen for these exercises is cardinal Giacomo Biffi, 79, archbishop of Bologna from 1984 to 2003. He will preach three times each day, on the general topic: “Seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God: think about the things above, not about earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2).
But on the afternoon of Tuesday, February 27, cardinal Biffi will speak to his audience on a topic that is off the main subject but very dear to him: “The prophetic admonition of Valdimir S. Soloviev.”
According to Biffi, in fact, this great Russian thinker, in the book “Tale of the Antichrist” which he wrote shortly before his death in 1900, “foretold with clairvoyant lucidity the great crisis that struck Christianity in the last decades of the twentieth century.”
Biffi exposes Soloviev’s vision and his own in an essay from which www.chiesa published an extract, in this article from two years ago:
> Antichrist Alert! Cardinal Biffi Rouses the Church (3.6.2005)
In brief, the crisis that Soloviev foretold is the replacement of faith in Jesus Christ crucified and risen with “a series of values that are easily peddled in worldly marketplaces.”
What Biffi will tell the pope and the curia is easy to guess at, because he has already written about it:
“Soloviev’s teaching was both prophetic and widely ignored. But we want to propose it again, in the hope that Christianity will finally feel itself called upon and will pay it a bit of attention.”