Pope Benedict XVI Has Resigned, Now What?

Pope Benedict XVI Has Resigned, Now What?

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There’s a lot we don’t know about the next pope. Here are two things we do know.

After only eight years on the papal throne, Pope Benedict xvi resigned his post as the head of the Catholic Church earlier today.

The resignation, the first by a pope in nearly 600 years, caught the world by surprise and set off a frenzied international debate about why exactly the pope resigned, why the Vatican and even Benedict’s closest aides were left in the dark about the impending resignation, and who the next pope will be.

The Trumpet doesn’t have specific answers to these questions. We can, however—thanks to what the Apostle Peter termed the “more sure word of prophecy”—set the pope’s resignation in a broader context. Here are two key expectations from the next pope and from the Vatican in the weeks and months ahead.

First, expect the next pope to be conservative, and probably even more conservative, than Pope Benedict xvi.

Under Benedict, the Vatican experienced a renaissance of Catholic tradition and conservatism. Benedict’s Vatican, as many have noted, has a special affection for medieval doctrine and practices, and has emerged as perhaps the most notable defender of tradition, including marriage only occurring between a man and woman. Together, Benedict and the Vatican have waged war on moral relativism, compromise and secularism. Nothing will change under the next administration. In fact, the next pope may be even more conservative, and forceful in his implementation of Catholic doctrine and tradition.

How do we know? Because the next pope will be installed by a Vatican infrastructure created entirely by Pope Benedict xvi and his predecessor, the similarly conservative Pope John Paul ii.

As Trumpet columnist Ron Fraser has explained extensively, over the last few decades Pope John Paul ii and Joseph Ratzinger (now Benedict xvi) have craftily and viciously rooted out liberalism of the Vatican. Together, these men have banished numerous liberal cardinals and officials and replaced them with conservatives cut from the same cloth as John Paul and Benedict. John Paul and Benedict have ensured that the leadership of the Catholic Church—especially those in key positions inside the Vatican—share their own staunch affection for conservative Catholic dogma.

You’ve probably heard that a college of cardinals will be responsible for electing the next pope, apparently before the end of March. Get this: Every last cardinal in this select group was installed by either Pope John Paul ii or Pope Benedict xvi.

Benedictxvi alone is responsible for installing more than 50 percent of the Cardinals that will vote for the next pope!

It’s also interesting that the latest batch of cardinals, hand-picked by Pope Benedict, takes office next week—just days before Pope Benedict xvi resigns.

Did Pope Benedict make this last-minute tweak to secure control and thereby ensure the speedy installment of a specific individual as his replacement? Someone, no doubt, who will continue Benedict’s campaign to create a conservative, traditional Vatican?

Second, expect the next pope to be a staunch advocate of a world-dominating, Catholic united states of Europe. This means he will more than likely be European, and most likely Italian or German.

The financial crisis has left Europe in disarray. Germany leads, but is not loved. Europe knows it needs to unite, but there just isn’t the glue to bring it together. Only the Vatican, as Herbert W. Armstrong explained for years, has the power to weld this divided, cantankerous group together. It’s exactly as Mr. Armstrong described in the August 1978 Good News (emphasis his): “Europeans want their own united military power! … They have made a real effort toward union in the Common Market. … But they well know there is but one possibility of union in Europe—and that is through the Vatican.

Two years later, Mr. Armstrong delivered a similar prophecy in the June 1980 Worldwide News, one that describes Europe’s current condition perfectly: “World conditions [like a global financial crisis] may force European nations … to unite, bringing to pass the revived ‘Holy Roman Empire’ …. [European nations] have wanted to unite politically, with a common currency and common military force, for some time—but have been unable. It can be accomplished only through the Vatican.”

Pope Benedict xvi was a devoted Europhile and did his part in laying the groundwork for the Vatican to intervene in European affairs. We should expect the next pope to be a much more ardent and energetic advocate of European unification behind Germany! He will also more than likely be a close friend of Germany, and almost assuredly have healthy relationships with German leaders and officials.

Consider one last quote from Mr. Armstrong: “Bible prophecy says this European unification will be also a union of church and state (Revelation 17). Many European political leaders do not want religious domination, or even participation. But they are coming to realize they cannot be welded together into one great European supernation without the unifying power of the Catholic Church” (Nov. 22, 1982). Again, whoever the next pope is, expect him to emerge as a vocal and powerful force in European politics!

In the coming days and weeks, speculation will abound about who the next pope will be and what the Vatican will look like under his stewardship. Although we don’t yet know who this man will be, we do know that he will be conservative, and that he will be a powerful advocate of European integration. We also know, thanks to Bible prophecy, that this man and the Vatican will play a key role in instigating events that will culminate in the greatest event in human history: The Second Coming of Jesus Christ!

Mystery of Benedict’s Resignation

Mystery of Benedict’s Resignation

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Why did the pope resign, and why now?

It has shocked the world. The reason for it is unclear. Reuters reported that the reason was not because of illness nor to external pressures that Pope Benedict xvi suddenly decided to resign. The pope gave February 28, four days following the Italian elections, as the operative date for stepping down from office.

“Pope Benedict has no specific illness and his decision to resign was taken with no outside pressure, the Vatican spokesman said on Monday after the pontiff’s shock announcement that he would step down at the end of this month. Father Federico Lombardi said the 85-year-old pope’s decision was not due to an illness, but to a progressive decline in his strength, which was normal in a man of his age” (Reuters, February 11).

Yet, previous popes have ruled from their deathbed, as was the case with his predecessor, John Paul ii.

The very suddenness and the timing, within days of the Italian elections, and only months away from federal elections in his home country, Germany, is most intriguing. Also, coming so early within his launching the Vatican’s great crusading Year of Faith, adds to the apparent illogic of the timing.

So what is really behind Josef Ratzinger’s resignation?

As Stratfor opined, “The selection of the next pope, especially at a time when the power of the Catholic Church has stalled in Europe but has increased elsewhere, will determine the geopolitical relevance of Benedict xvi’s resignation” (February 11).

Reviewing the 21st century geopolitical relevance of the Vatican, it is most evident that, as Herbert Armstrong declared, John Paul ii prepared the way for the final unification of Europe—East and West. His work in office prepared for Rome’s final act of ideologically fusing its fractious member states into the 10-nation combine at the peak of the prophesied seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire.

It did seem that the ascendancy of a Bavarian pope to the throne in the wake of John Paul’s death would bring that final act of Rome to fruition. That, it now appears, is not the case.

So what role did Pope Benedict xvi play in the grand scheme of rapidly unfolding events prophesied for Europe and the world, in these end times?

We shall have to wait till the mystery of Benedict’s resignation is exposed and his successor appointed to comment more on that. In the meantime, rest assured that Bible prophecy marches on to its inevitable consummation with the return of the Savior of all mankind!

Spain Conducts Worst Incursion in Gibraltar’s Waters Since 1960s

Spain Conducts Worst Incursion in Gibraltar’s Waters Since 1960s

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Britain officially protested the incursion into Gibraltar’s waters of a Spanish armed patrol vessel, which ignored repeated warnings to leave, February 2. This is the most serious in a series of provocations over the past few months.

The 94-meter-long patrol boat is far bigger than the light ships the Royal Navy keeps in Gibraltar. “There has not been an incursion such as this since the mid-1960s when General Franco ruled Spain,” said Gibraltarian lawyer Charles Gomez.

“The current situation is very similar to that recently involving the Falkland Islands where an unpopular government in Argentina has seen a territorial dispute as the best way to bury bad news at home,” he continued, according to Britain’s Daily Mail. “However, the major difference is that Spain is supposed to be an ally within nato and a partner in the European Union.”

The people of Gibraltar are becoming increasingly frustrated with Britain’s weak response to Spain’s aggression. Last year, 10,000 people signed a petition calling on the British government to stand up to Spain. On Friday evening they began a 48-hour protest vigil outside the governor’s official residence.

“We are not happy about the continuous lack of action by the Royal Navy in protecting our waters,” said a spokesman for the protesters.

But unfortunately for the people of Gibraltar, Britain is prophesied to lose control of this vital sea gate. For more information on this, see “Changing of the Guard” from our free booklet He Was Right.

Russia Joins China in Provoking U.S. Ally

Russia Joins China in Provoking U.S. Ally

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Japan scrambled several jets on Thursday after two Russian fighters entered Japanese airspace over Rishiri Island near the tip of Japan’s northernmost Hokkaido Island, according to reports by the country’s Defense Ministry.

Although the Russian jets left Japan’s airspace without incident after a little over a minute, the incursion was significant in both its location and its timing. It happened near the Kuril Islands (called Northern Territories in Japan) which have been disputed by Moscow and Tokyo since the end of World War ii, when Russia took them from Japan. The incident occurred on Japan’s “Northern Territories Day,” when Japanese nationals traditionally rally to call for Tokyo to wrest the islands from Russian control, or for Russia to simply give them back.

Russia’s provocative incursion into Japanese airspace follows a string of breaches by Chinese forces into separate territories that both Tokyo and Washington recognize as being administered by Japan.

Defense and security agreements between the U.S. and Japan would require Washington to back Tokyo in the event of a military confrontation with either Russia or China. But the Obama administration has shown that it is eager to be known as the government that brought America’s troops home. The idea of being drawn into a conflict with China and/or Russia is nearly too unbearable for the war-weary U.S. to contemplate. Understanding this reality has fueled these provocations first from Beijing, and now from Moscow.

Many of the policymakers steering these Asian giants view the outcome of any potential confrontation a question of will more than of military might—and rightly so. On this front, the bloated U.S. is at an overwhelming disadvantage, so the Eastern powers may use the situation as an opportunity to expose America as an unreliable ally to Japan, and to show the world that the U.S. military is a force that can be countered. Such an exposure would send profound geopolitical reverberations across the world.

To understand the long-term significance of the increasing power, belligerence and cooperation of Moscow and Beijing, read Russia and China in Prophecy.

Lord Spencer Enjoys Tea With Herbert Armstrong

Lord Spencer Enjoys Tea With Herbert Armstrong

PT

Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Leopold de Rothschild round out a royal day for the ambassador for world peace.

On May 14, 1983, Lord Spencer welcomed Herbert W. Armstrong to his home of Althorp. The estate covers 14,000 acres of English countryside and is located in Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Norfolk. Lord Spencer acted as tour guide through the many rooms of one of the country’s great homes. Later the two posed for a photograph in front of the stately home. The visit was coordinated by Leopold de Rothschild for over a dozen official “friends” of the Royal College of Music, which included Mr. Armstrong.

The following day, Mr. Armstrong and his entourage visited Woburn Abbey, which for 400 years has been home of the Duke of Bedford. The were greeted by the duke’s son, the marquess of Tavistock, his wife, the marchioness, and the Swiss Baron and Baroness Gunsberg of Geneva. Their private tour included viewings of 17th- through 19th-century artwork and a group luncheon, followed by an inspection of unique selections of China, silver and gold artifacts. The abbey visit was concluded by a drive-by viewing of its sizable animal preserve, which included partridge, pheasant, deer and elk.

The morning of May 16, Mr. Armstrong traveled to the coast to Southampton to meet the Prince and Princess of Wales. Here, at the Rothschild Estate, in Exbury Gardens, he enjoyed tea prior to greeting the royal couple. “When Mr. Armstrong was presented, the prince recounted his two previous meetings with the pastor general and explained to Princess Diana who Mr. Armstrong was” (Worldwide News, May 30, 1983).

Thereafter, Edmond de Rothschild led a tour of the rhododendron gardens, which were originally planted by Lionel Rothschild, who had plant varieties transported to England from around the world. The garden walk ended with a special performance by select students of the Royal College of Music and a formal expression of thanks from Prince Charles to the college’s U.S. patrons.

The group attended a special buffet dinner that evening at the home of Leopold Rothschild, which was made even more enjoyable by the informal seating arrangement enabling those in attendance to not only easily converse with each other but also have ease of access to the prince and princess. Mr. Armstrong spoke for 30 minutes with Edmond Rothschild, covering the subject of gardening and the grounds of the former Bricket Wood campus in Hertfordshire, offering the aristocratic gardener a tour of Ambassador College’s Pasadena campus.

He then spoke with Mrs. Solti, wife of the famed symphony maestro. “I understand that the Chicago Symphony is the top-rated symphony in the U.S. since [Sir Georg] Solti began conducting. They have not yet appeared at Ambassador Auditorium, but I hope to have them perform,” Mr. Armstrong conveyed. Mrs. Solti commented to him, “Everything you have said was absolutely true.” Mrs. Solti assured Mr. Armstrong that she would speak with her husband about appearing at Ambassador.

It was at this time that Prince Charles came to the party’s table. “The prince then conversed with Mr. Armstrong for 20 minutes, speaking mostly of education. The prince asked questions about Ambassador College, and Mr. Armstrong explained the history and goals of the college” (ibid).

At the time, Prince Charles was the president of the World Colleges, whose objective is to foster peaceful unity by bringing young students around the world to one campus environment. Britain’s Lord Mountbatten, Jordan’s Queen Noor and South Africa’s Nelson Mandela have all presided in the college’s presidential office. At the time, the World Colleges had six campuses, with around 25 percent enrollment from the host nation and the remainder from internationals. Today, it boasts colleges in 13 countries. At the 1983 meeting, Prince Charles invited the pastor general to visit the campus in Montezuma, New Mexico, which even today remains an active part of the World Colleges.

The Worldwide News reported, “Partway through the conversation, Princess Diana sat next to Mr. Armstrong and her husband on steps leading to the upper level. When offered a chair that was not as close to the pair, she declined, saying, ‘This is much better.’ The princess chatted with the pastor general while the prince asked his aide to give Mr. Armstrong’s staff information about the college in New Mexico.” This was the third meeting between Mr. Armstrong and Prince Charles but the first between Mr. Armstrong and Princess Diana. Later, “he said he thoroughly enjoyed the visit” (ibid).

After the royals departed, the Rothschilds bid Mr. Armstrong farewell and Leopold Rothschild presented him with an autographed copy of the book Exbury Gardens. He then returned to the Dorchester Hotel in London to reflect upon what had been a most uplifting, successful, royal occasion.

At the time of the royal wedding in 1981, when Lord Spencer walked down the aisle to give his daughter away to the prince, Mr. Armstrong ensured the couple graced the cover of the mass circulation Plain Truth magazine. He penned its feature article, “Britain’s Last Gasp of Joy and Splendor.” He recounted how the British throne and House of Windsor were directly descended from King David and that Jesus Christ, the son of David, would soon return to sit upon that royal throne that has been God’s all along.

Mr. Armstrong and Lord Spencer both died before the world witnessed the collapse of the royal marriage and its very public divorce and subsequent sudden death of the princess. However, Mr. Armstrong did foresee problems, noting her removal of the word “obey” from the marriage ceremony.

Today, our editor in chief continues the royal legacy of Herbert W. Armstrong, preaching, publishing and proclaiming the law of God and explaining how today’s sufferings are destined to culminate in the prophesied Great Tribulation as a result of mankind’s lack of obedience to their Creator. Yet, within that message, he also emphasizes the great hope for mankind and the royal rule and marriage to come as implemented by the royal King of all royals, the living Jesus Christ.

Lying Wonders

Lying Wonders

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Lance Armstrong, Hillary Clinton, Eric Holder—high-profile examples of the increasingly bold nature of lying and deceit

There’s lying—and there’s shameless, lying-to-your face deceit, leavened with ego.

Lately we’ve witnessed some high-profile examples of the latter that deserve contemplation.

I have never seen anything quite like the mountain of deranged baloney propagated by Lance Armstrong. For years this man took performance-enhancing drugs and denied doing so. But he went miles beyond simple denial, and at a full sprint. At any accusation of drugging, he rose up in venomous indignation. He swore up and down that he was squeaky clean. He accused, berated, humiliated any who dared speak a word against him—sued them for libel—did everything he could to destroy them. Even though what they said was true.

espn’s Rick Reilly defended the cyclist’s reputation for 14 years based on Armstrong’s insistence of his own innocence. If during an interview Reilly brought up the latest accusation against him, “every time—every single time—he’d push himself up on his elbows and his face would be red and he’d stare at me like I’d just shot his dog and give me some very well-delivered explanation involving a few dozen F words, a painting of the accuser as a wronged employee seeking revenge, and how lawsuits were forthcoming.” He concluded, “And the whole time he was lying. Right in my earpiece. Knowing that I’d hang up and go back out there and spread the fertilizer around some more.”

Watch the footage of his denials and it staggers the mind. It seems impossible that he didn’t believe what he was saying. It is as if he had convinced himself of his own lies. This is like psychopath-level egoism: If I say it’s true, then it’s TRUE! And who are YOU to contradict ME?

I couldn’t help but think about that a couple weeks back when watching footage of the congressional hearings about the Benghazi attack. This is a huge scandal, filled with questions that demand answers. Yet over and over we saw congressmen praising Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her tireless service and dedication, then tiptoeing delicately around the real issues. Finally Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin pressed Clinton on a crucial point: This was clearly a premeditated terrorist strike on America’s consulate—so why did the administration go public with a bogus story about it erupting out of a spontaneous protest over a YouTube video?

“With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” the secretary snapped back. “Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator.”

What difference? This is the point of the inquiry! There looks to be a serious cover-up. Administration officials lied publicly in order to obscure what really happened, and to push a phony, politically correct narrative. Why? This has yet to be answered. And the secretary gets indignant about being asked about it? As if Senator Johnson was somehow out of line?

The secretary essentially said, Who are YOU to question ME? And the senator backed down. “Thank you, Madam Secretary.”

What about the truth?

This idea that somehow an individual’s personal grandeur supersedes their accountability, or that it entitles them to invent reality, is grotesque.

And it is getting more and more common.

I’m reminded of Attorney General Eric Holder’s testimony in the Fast and Furious scandal, which was slipperier than escargot in grease. In one example, presented with Department of Justice e-mails blatantly discussing PR strategy on the case and repeatedly mentioning “Fast and Furious,” Mr. Holder asserted that the e-mails weren’t actually about Fast and Furious. Pressed on it, he said boldly, “I disagree with your interpretation.” Reality is all a matter of interpretation, you see.

These are all variations on a bizarre theme we saw at the Democratic National Convention last fall. There, in about a three-minute interview with cnn, the chairwoman of the convention unloaded about half a dozen spectacular lies, the most brazen of which contradicted the results of a verbal vote among the delegates that an entire stadium full of people, along with untold numbers on television, had just personally witnessed. She proclaimed what the “interpretation” of reality would be, and that was that.

When he was campaigning for a second term, President Obama told one crowd, “You know where I stand. You know what I believe. You know I tell the truth.” But actually, the wide gap between the president’s words and his record, between his rhetoric and reality, is growing wider by the day.

The Trumpet’s editor in chief quotes that statement in an extremely important article in the newest Trumpet issue. That article, “The Hidden Cause of Society’s Deadly Decline,” reveals an alarming development in world events of which every reader should be profoundly aware. It is the spiritual reality of there being an evil influence that is gaining momentum and power in our world.

This spirit is the father of liars, and there is no truth in him. He hates truth and gleefully casts it to the ground. He is a master deceiver. Lies are his currency and his trade. He distorts, deludes and dissembles with confidence, boldness, arrogance, a sneer of superiority, utterly without compunction, hesitation or remorse.

As Mr. Flurry points out, we are in the time when this being is growing more wrathful and vindictive—and more successful in his conquests—as his time grows short (Revelation 12:12). This is a defining reality of our day.

Thus, it should come as no shock to see the growing commonness of this aggressive, egomaniacal, shameless brand of deceit.