What do we make of Charles Johnston? This is an interesting case, and once again it takes us to the realm of discernment.
Johnston is a salesman who hails from Belleville, Illinois. When he was in the Chicago area he hosted a radio talk show for WKRS (a station based in Waukegan) and was also active in politics (running a U.S. Senate campaign). His family was originally from Alabama — non-Catholic fundamentalists.
This is all by way of introduction, for we’ll be writing of Johnston in the days ahead. Though raised a fundamentalist, he is now a Catholic. He converted in 1991. Despite the anti-Marian fervor of fundamentalists and his own initial resistance, he now has a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother — considers himself one of her “ambassadors.” He claims to have seen her and the angels on many occasions, especially the Archangel Gabriel. He says the archangel gave him important prophecies, which we will be sharing with you shortly.
But first, more background. It started before he was a Catholic, when he was a boy of eight, says Johnston, and at first, it was locutions.
God “talked” to him. Later there were visions and apparitions. He was shown a path through a woods of thick brambles that was to be one course his life would take if he chose. It was a path of sacrifice, sorrow, and some sufferings — but a path that would help save souls. “It was sometime around eight that I realized people heard voices were kind of strange,” he says. “It was Gabriel most often. My parents were fundamentalists and my great-grandfather was a snake-handling preacher in Alabama. You may know that fundamentalists are big on baptizing, but the first time my parents took me to be baptized, the car broke down and we didn’t get there. The second time they got into a big argument, so we didn’t get there. And there never was a third time because they simply forgot. It slipped their minds until I was the age where I had to consent to the fundamentalist baptism — and I did not consent.”
“Understand, I was hidden for a long time,” he says. “My relatives would get me alone and put their shaky hands on my head and start yelling and crying to cast the demon out of me and that was very scary for a little boy, but I could feel the Father come and protect me and keep me still. Over time I tried to find what was true. Fundamentalists are death on Catholics. The Blessed Mother didn’t show up in the early years, and when I came into the Church the one thing I was choking on was the Hail Mary because it called her the ‘Mother of God.’ Protestants don’t have quite the sense of mystery that Catholics do.”
But Johnston was searching. Fundamentalism never did it for him. It was his resistance to it that had his relatives thinking he had a demon. He began investigating other religions and gave the Rosary a chance for a week — asking God to show him if what he was doing was wrong. Instead, says Johnston, it was a week of “absolutely implausible blessings and grace — so I’ve been quite the Marian devotee ever since.”
That was in 1991, and it spread to those around him. His sister, a Southern Baptist, now has a group of Baptists who are also Marian devotees. Some are becoming Catholic. He still reflects on his background. “Many people think fundamentalists know Scripture better than Catholics do, but that’s incorrect,” he points out. “Fundamentalists have a gift for memorizing about thirty pieces of Scripture that support their position and quoting them chapter and verse. But knowing the sweep of Scripture? They don’t.
“I had gone to churches trying to find one that fit. The reason I came into the Catholic Church is that I’d read St. Augustine’s Confessions and the whole thing really struck me. I identified with him in a lot of things — he had been involved with politics — but there were two things that really impressed me: one, that he complained of people who abused Scripture as science or history. Scripture is the living Word of God. I came to a different understanding of it. Augustine also gets into a discussion of time, and 1,400 years before Einstein caught up, he explained what time was.”
So it was that Johnston decided to go to a Catholic church and check it out.
“I went in intending to knock it out,” he says. “I’d been up so many blind alleys.
“Well, once I went to my first Mass in August of 1990, the first Sunday after St. Augustine’s feast day that year, I found truth and it all cohered. It was legitimate authority — an authority I could accept. One of the things I realized later on was that if the time came that I had to act actively, there had to be an authority, an earthly authority, that I could submit to, and the Catholic Church made a good strong role in that.”
So it was that Charles Johnston from Belleville (where there is a famous shrine devoted to Our Lady of the Snows) became a Catholic, and so it is that we come to his revelations. There were also the predictions from his alleged heavenly visitors. This is where we begin to discern. “They’d tell me an enigmatic phrase about something that was going to come and then it would come and if you paid attention to the words it would make sense, but it would have this O. Henry twist to it,” he claims. “We are never co-planners or sharing in God’s secret plan. God tells us these things in order that we can watch and wait and understand when they begin to happen and His loving intention for us.”
As a child Johnston says he was shown a prophecy about what he calls the coming great “storm.” It is an ongoing vision about a world “gone mad,” says this convert — a world where evil looks good and good is looked upon as evil. There had also been a peculiar vision in the mid-1960s in which a woman was hiding him because people were putting knives to children. “That didn’t make sense to me until I realized the implications of abortions, which came later,” Johnston recounts. “Abortion is a satanic sacrament.”
Good as evil. Evil as good.
It seemed like such a dramatic change, such a transformation of society — of the world, says the former radio newsman — that he didn’t think it could occur in his lifetime.
But as a result, he was instructed, there would be a great storm coming, and it involved death and destruction and sorrow in many forms.
“I wanted desperately to prevent that,” he says. “In 1993 there were three great visions. I call them ‘great’ visions because they went the greatest length in instructing me as to what is coming.”
That’s what we’ll look at next: Charles Johnston’s visions of what he claims mankind is approaching.
Illinois Man With Visions Of ‘Great Storm’ Claims It Will Come With Passing Of Pope
Is a “great storm” about to break upon the world? Might we be headed for a “global civil conflict”? Is this part of what many expect as a purification (before the return to goodness)?
Those are the assertions of a seer named Charles Johnston of Belleville, Illinois — a former radio talk-show host and political consultant in the Chicago area [see previous story] who claims to have experienced locutions, visions, and apparitions since childhood despite a non-Catholic, fundamentalist rearing.
We have emphasized, as always we do, that his speculations are offered only for discernment. Scripture tells us never to despise prophecy, but to test it and take what is good. The Vatican will soon be releasing guidelines for use when considering seers, and we will strictly adhere to them. In many cases, questions can be raised about aspects of virtually any “seer.” We are especially wary when there is too much specificity, particularly when times and dates are mentioned. We have seen most such prophecies fall by the wayside. Moreover, rare is the prophet whose personal or spiritual life is beyond reproach.
Johnston asserts that he was informed in visions presented to him by both the Blessed Mother and Archangel Gabriel that the “storm” — a great global conflict between those of the Judeo-Christian ethic and those who seek to wipe out that ethic — will break after the death of the Pope. Moreover, he relates this to a fresh interpretation of the Fatima third secret. Whatever the final truth of this perspective, it is intriguing, and according to Johnston, came to him in mystical fashion.
“I was shown Pope John Paul and was told that he knew what was coming and that he had completely devoted himself to preparing the Church for the storm to come,” he maintains. “I saw him at his desk writing furiously and traveling far and wide, but that everything he was doing was to prepare the Church so that she would weather the storm. That was his mission. I was shown the storm would not break in its fullness until he had passed, that this was not a particular grace for him, but the reason was to allow him to completely fulfill his mission at which point he would then constantly intercede for the Church in Heaven.”
Is the Pope the pope of the Fatima secret? Does it revolve around him?
That secret — first released to the public on May 13, 2000 — described a vision that seer Lucia dos Santos had seen in 1917 whereby an angel was ready to torch the world but was drowned out by a great light coming from the Virgin Mary.
Many have related that image to the danger posed by nuclear war with Russia, a nation that was at the center of the first two Fatima secrets. Indeed, Sister Lucia has been quoted as saying that the consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1984 prevented just such a war from occurring.
But Johnston does not believe the secret has fully played out, concurring that the secret represents the Virgin halting the sword of justice wielded by the angel but implying that this intercession is not yet complete. He “respectfully” differs with the Vatican interpretation of the rest of the secret — which pictured a “bishop in white” (largely thought to mean Pope John Paul II, who as bishop of Rome wears white) ascending a mountain, “at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark. Before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him.”
While the Vatican has interpreted that image as a symbol of the many priests, bishops, and religious who were martyred under Communism and also considers it a premonition of the 1981 assassination attempt on John Paul II — which occurred on the Fatima anniversary day of May 13! — Johnston believes it more directly relates to current crises in the Church and the former broadcaster, who claims visions over the past forty years, (which caused him to convert to Catholicism from fundamentalism), asserts that this interpretation was confirmed through his allegedly mystical experiences.
“The assassination attempt against John Paul II and its timing identify him as the Pope of Fatima, but it is not the point of this secret,” says Johnston. “The ascent up the hill represents this Pope’s particular mission. The city which lies half in ruins is Christianity, half of which no longer believes in God, but says Jesus was a good moral teacher. The corpses the Pope meets and prays for on his way are those who, though they breathe, are spiritually dead. The cross at the top of the hill is the end of the Pope’s mission on earth. It represents both his triumph and his death to this world. He kneels before it offering his work to Christ. It is after this triumph that the terror begins. It is the body of the Pope’s work that the soldiers fire at. That they are in uniform shows that it is an organized effort. These are the legions who have given themselves over to Satan. But the Pope has his legions as well. They are priests, bishops, religious and laity who joined themselves to him and followed him on his way. They will be true champions for Christ as the battle is joined. Prominent among them will be some of the dead souls — the corpses — reborn to spiritual life through the Pope’s prayers.”
Johnston says the Lord is offended by many things at the current time, “but nothing so much as the general indifference and contempt with which we have treated his mother.” Meanwhile, he claims the Blessed Mother has expressed similar pain over the lack of respect for her Son. “In a peculiar way I had been very enthused when the bishops were going to gather in Dallas,” he says of the current crisis of Church scandal. “I thought they were about to take up their responsibility and do what needed to be done and return to fidelity. I thought if this was the case, I wouldn’t be needed. A couple of weeks before, Our Lady appeared to me, quite kind, but she said, ‘Dallas will show you how bad things really are. They will scarcely even acknowledge my Holy Son.’ I thought that was absurd — because there is no case where a group of bishops would gather even if they didn’t believe themselves and not couch their answers in the Light of Christ. It’s just pro forma. Of course, Dallas came and they mentioned everything but Christ and I felt personally betrayed.”
Was it an authentic apparition? Are such words from the Blessed Virgin and archangel and the Lord legitimate?
This is for each individual to determine. Johnston sees terrorism, but more than that a general breakdown in the artificial reality and false gods that we now rely upon. He sees wars, great economic problems, a breakdown in technology, and persecution.
But the storm hardly spells the end of the world, says Johnston; instead, it portends a great moment of the Blessed Mother’s intercession. He claims that within the next two decades, all will know of her role.
As for the Pope: “It is by his fidelity to his mission that the Church — the whole body of the faithful — has been prepared to endure the storm.”
By Michael H. Brown
[Resources: The Day Will Come, Catholic Prophecy. The Great Divide, True Devotion]