In speaking to Birgitta, we see Jesus giving a sentence to the pope for the unrepentant sins he had committed. These sins were not personal in nature but also sins which were leading many souls into hell. One of these sins was that of condemning the good and letting the evil go free. Hence letting those who lived in sin continue and persecuting those who were faithful. The pope instead of helping his flock to live the Commandments was actually confirming them in their sins. Sadly the laity was all too happy to keep living in their sins.
The Lord added, saying to the first of the five men: "The sword of my severity will go into your body, entering at the top of your head and penetrating so deeply and firmly that it can never be drawn out. Your chair will sink like a weighty stone and not come to rest until it hits the lowest part of the deep. Your fingers, I mean your advisers, will burn in an inextinguishable and sulphurous fire. Your arms, I mean your vicars, who should have reached out for the benefit of souls but reached instead for worldly profit and honor, will be sentenced to the punishment which David speaks, 'May his children be fatherless and his wife a widow and may strangers take over his property.' What does his wife mean if not the soul that is left out of the glory of heaven and will be widowed from God? His children, that is, the virtues they seemed to possess, and my simple folk, those who were placed under them will be separated from them. Their rank and property will fall to others, and they will inherit shame instead of their privileged rank. Their headgear will sink into the mud, an they themselves will never get up out of it. Thus just as through honor and pride they rose above others here on earth, so in hell they will sink so much more deeply than others that it will be impossible for them to rise. Their limbs, I mean, all the fawning priests who followed them, will be cut off from them and taken apart just like a wall that is torn down where stone is not left upon stone and the cement no longer adheres to the stones. Mercy will not come to them, for my love will never warm them nor build them into an eternal mansion in heaven. Instead, stripped of every good, they will be endlessly tormented along with their headmen.These are certainly startling punishments, which begin with the Pope, then to his advisers, bishops and then priests. Do we see any similarity to our time where the pope's advisers tell him erroneous doctrine and encourage him to enforce them with the bishops across the globe? Those clergy who continue to encourage the laity to keep living their lives in a state of mortal sin will have much to answer for as we can see here. The scandals wee see involving the clergy are also similar to what we see here. It seems now as if we have a large division between the bishops and priests of the Church concerning important doctrine, for example doctrine concerning marriage and adultery. Let us pray for our Church and clergy so that they may not inherit similar sentences for confirming people in their sin. Next the laity are to receive their sentence. Surprisingly this sentence is short and quite interesting in the language that is chosen.
I say to the second man: Since you do not want to keep the faith promised to me or show love toward me, I will send to you an animal that will come from the impetuous torrent to swallow you. And as a torrent always runs downward, so the animal will carry you down to the lowest parts of hell. As impossible as it is for you to travel upstream against an impetuous torrent, it will be just as hard for you ever to ascend from hell.This short description tells us a few things. For one there is the certainty of hell for those who remain unrepentant in their sins. Those who are unfaithful and who deny God his rightful place as King in their lives will be swallowed up into hell like he is being funneled down a flooding river. For the laity it seems that their punishment although still horrific is not as severe as the the clergy, who are drug down into the lowest parts of hell, in the mud as it were. However, it is interesting that Jesus says he will send the unfaithful laity "an animal" that will come from the torrent that will swallow them. What is this animal? Perhaps demons? Perhaps the corrupt clergy who confirm them in their sins? One thing is certain, we as the laity must not any excuse to live in sin or justify any sin. Even if we hear that it is OK to live in adultery, live a homosexual or promiscuous lifestyle, or in any other sinful state for that matter, we must resist such suggestions as if they are from the devils so that we may not end up being swallowed down the torrential river to hell. Let St. Birgitta's visions be a lesson for us and for our Church in our time!