Below are excerpts from an Archdiocese of Washington blog entry titled Are These the “Outer Bands” of a Coming Judgment? b
Now we are clearly living in an age when strong delusion has come upon many. Indeed many seem deeply and profoundly confused as to the basic concepts of human sexuality, the existence of God, and the dignity of human life. Strong delusion is required for the human person to justify the killing of innocent children in the womb. Strong delusion is required for a human person to think that homosexual acts are natural, when any look at the design of the body profoundly indicates otherwise. Strong delusion is required for a human person to think that suicide is to be praised and is even “courageous.” Strong delusion is required for a person to look at a world that is so clearly designed and governed, and ascribe it all to mindless, blind, totally random mutation.
So it is clear today that the initial requirements for the coming of the lawless one are increasingly in place. A strong delusion has come upon many that will usher in a rebellion and cause the lawless one to be widely accepted. For again, as St. Paul said above, for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first.
And the text speaks of the cause for this delusion. On a human level, the delusion and rebellion result from that fact that, as St. Paul says, they refused to love the truth and so be saved … [they] did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
So, yielding to their passions (pleasures), and preferring unrighteousness, they refused to love the truth. And do not be mistaken that this refusal is rooted merely in ignorance. No, God has written His truth in the heart of every human person; His voice echoes in the conscience of every human person. God has also written His truth in the book of creation. Therefore, St. Paul says elsewhere,
What may be known about God is plain to all, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that such people are without excuse (Rom 1:19-20).
Thus we are not typically dealing with ignorance. Rather, we are dealing with resistance and rejection. The delusion and rebellion of our times is the result of a preference for sinful pleasures and an active resistance to the truth written on the human heart and in creation. Many, many prefer the darkness of delusion to the light of truth.
Where are we now in an eschatological sense? It is arguable that we are in the midst of the rebellion and that in fact a strong delusion has come upon many, many people. It is this delusion and rebellion that foreshadows what will happen next: and the man of lawlessness will be revealed.
This does not mean that the lawless one or the antichrist will come next year. Some may argue that times of darkness have come and gone before. However, both the rapidity of the rebellion and the steep decline into deepening darkness present a strong argument for the fact that we, through human sinfulness, are laying the groundwork for the coming of the lawless one, whose unreasonable demands will only make “sense” to a people who have abandoned reason and the clarity of the true faith.
When, out of a confused notion of charity, a soft-heartedness, or a superficial benevolence, we believe that we should leave the erring person in his error, we have ceased to take him seriously as a person and have no interest in his objective good.
– Dietrich von Hildebrand