What Sort of Man Will Become the Next Pope?

L’Osservatore Romano - Vatican Pool via Getty Images

What Sort of Man Will Become the Next Pope?

Looking at the man who had the most to do with the composition of the papal conclave gives us strong clues.

It’s official. On Tuesday the voting will commence to select a new pope. Who will occupy the Holy Roman throne?

We accurately forecast the election of Joseph Ratzinger to the papal throne. He was the obvious and natural successor to Pope John Paul ii—an ideological clone if you like—one who could be relied upon not to deviate from the post-World War ii ultra-conservative drive pursued by European Catholic elites. Herbert W. Armstrong forecast for decades—beginning before the end of World War ii—this rise of the Fourth Reich, the prophesied revival of the ancient Holy Roman Empire, under the spiritual influence of the Vatican (Revelation 17:10-12).

Largely undetected by the general public and commentariat, four of the past five popes have assiduously advanced this clear strategic agenda—and the one who didn’t, Pope John Paul i, died prematurely after only 33 days on the papal throne.

In the light of Bible prophecy, this post-World War ii papal history clearly indicates that in order to continue this line of imperialist succession, the next pope will be an ideological clone of Joseph Ratzinger. Popes today may not produce heirs by offspring, but in a very real sense, the past few have reproduced “sons” in their likeness—heirs apparent guaranteed to continue the revival of the imperial Catholic vision.

Hence, Benedict is key to the selection of the next pope. As Gerald Flurry said in a recent Key of Davidtv program, by resigning, Benedict “thinks he can get a person in there that will bring about the uniting of the Holy Roman Empire.”

A close look at Vatican history reveals years of precision planning as Ratzinger rose, step by strategic step, up the ecclesiastical ladder. Mr. Armstrong often warned not to underestimate German thoroughness and long-term planning. Ratzinger’s Vatican career, largely unparalleled in its influence upon the governance of the universal church, exemplifies this German mindset and is essential to consider in the context of the selection of the next pope.

As Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor of church history at Oxford University and author of A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years, discerningly observes: “You can’t predict the results of a conclave, but the thing you can predict is that whoever emerges will be an ideological clone of Benedict. The reason for that is the present voting cardinals have been chosen by John Paul ii and Benedict to be in their image, to be conservative, to keep a line going. This is going to be another conservative pope ….”

Joseph Ratzinger has played a most proactive role in the universal church’s postwar return to power and the pursuit of its former glory. A review of some highlights of Ratzinger’s career path, from Hitler Youth to pope emeritus, gives us a clear indication of what sort of pope will soon be elected. Consider the consistency of purpose in Ratzinger’s intimate involvement with the following Vatican achievements.

1942 saw the earliest beginnings of the now infamous Vatican ratlines with the blessing of “Hitler’s pope,” Pius xii. In the years following the war, Ratzinger became a key link in the operations of this network of Nazi escape routes, as exposed in a 1991 bbc documentary series (Secret History, “Ratlines,” Nov. 28, 1991). As a young clergyman and protégé of Cardinal Montini—who would become Pope Paul vi—he worked behind the scenes to aid the survival of Nazi leadership, shepherding Catholic elites and funds to international locations where they could continue to work for an imperial Europe.

On Oct. 11, 1962, Vatican ii Council convened, resulting in a dramatic exposure of the liberal and secular influences within the Catholic clergy that even infected the Vatican itself. Nov. 8, 1963, signaled perhaps the most significant intervention in Vatican ii, submitted by Cardinal Joseph Frings, archbishop of Cologne. It resonated like an earthquake through the assembly of more than 3,000 bishops. The resulting tremors would dramatically shake the Vatican. It firmly turned the church in a direction favoring conservative elites and their empirical vision, thus enabling their “hostile” takeover of the most powerful department in the Vatican Curia.

In his book on Vatican ii, Cardinal Henri de Lubac reports that the author of Fring’s intervention was none other than his personal secretary, Joseph Ratzinger (Entretien autour de Vatican II; emphasis added):

Joseph Ratzinger, an expert at the Council, was also the private secretary of Cardinal Frings, archbishop of Cologne. Blind, the old cardinal largely utilized his secretary to write his interventions. Now then, one of these interventions became memorable: It was a radical criticism of the methods of the Holy Office. Despite a reply by Cardinal Ottaviani, Frings sustained his critique.It is not an exaggeration to say that on that day the old Holy Office, as it presented itself then, was destroyed by Ratzinger in union with his archbishop.

The upshot was, the Holy Office of the Inquisition—which, following Vatican ii, became the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—was overthrown by the conservative cabal, actually giving it control of the execution of the Vatican ii Council’s recommended reforms. Hence, under successive conservative popes, these liberal reforms have been cleverly thwarted, denied, reinterpreted, sidelined or buried, most particularly by Ratzinger.

As MacCulloch wrote of Ratzinger: “Neither he nor his predecessor John Paul ii liked the direction which Vatican ii took, though a veritable industry of official Catholic historiography has assiduously promoted the view that they were all for it and its results. … One crucial principle so prominent in the Council’s thinking, ‘collegiality’ in making decisions on the future of the church, has been set aside during both John Paul ii’s and Benedict’s pontificates.”

It becomes obvious that John Paul ii’s choice of Ratzinger for the office of prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith was to carry out the destruction and reengineering that he initiated in the infamous Vatican ii intervention. He would serve in this role for over 24 years until his ascendancy to the papal throne. During his tenure, Ratzinger earned himself the nicknames of “Cardinal No” and the “Pope’s Rottweiler” for the iron fist with which he systematically worked to purge the church of reformists. He worked intimately with John Paul ii during this time, the two collaborating to methodically stack the deck in the Curia, positioning and shaping ideological clones to ensure their future line of succession.

By April 17, 2005, when the papal conclave was convened following the death of Pope John Paul ii, Joseph Ratzinger had become a towering figure in the resurgence of Vatican power and influence, casting a long shadow over both church and state. Unsurprisingly, this was to be one of the shortest conclaves in Vatican history, the College of Cardinals obviously primed as to the order of succession.

Consequently, Ratzinger reigned supreme for almost eight years as sovereign of Vatican State, consolidating and further advancing what had been achieved by his partnership with his predecessor.

On February 11, Pope Benedict announced his resignation, catching the world and most Catholics off guard. The specific timing of his announcement and subsequent vacating of the papal throne on February 28 particularly reveals the keen strategic nature of this son of Rome. Here again, Ratzinger’s Holy Roman imperial strategy is clearly seen as he forces the hand of his appointed cardinals to select his successor within a precisely limited time frame.

“The Vatican appears to be aiming to have a new pope installed by next Friday so he can preside over the Holy Week ceremonies starting Palm Sunday, March 24,” cbn News reports. “Many Vatican-based cardinals have been pushing for a quick decision-making process.” Beginning Tuesday, this means they have only four days of balloting to arrive at the required two-thirds majority.

In a final stroke of genius, not only will the pope emeritus wear the papal white robes and reside in Vatican City, he will additionally retain the services of the papal secretary. As one news source described the unique situation, “Two pontiffs, both wearing white, both called ‘pope’ and living a few yards from one another, with the same key aide serving them.” The loyal and trusted private secretary of Pope Benedict since 2003, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, will continue to serve the needs of the pope emeritus in addition to fulfilling his day job as prefect of the new pope’s household.

Swiss theologian Hans Kueng, Benedict’s one-time colleague-turned-critic, told Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine, “With Benedict xvi, there is a risk of a shadow pope who has abdicated but can still indirectly exert influence.”

Whether Ratzinger’s continuing influence is direct or indirect, this strategic move further ensures the line of succession—a pope who will expedite the age-old imperialist Catholic vision.

In these and many more ways, Pope Benedict xvi has strategized to “reproduce” through his successor. His precisely engineered Vatican career has shaped ample “offspring,” cloned in the ideological image of post-World War ii popes, himself in particular. Over the past 62-plus years, as the last resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire has slowly risen under the guise of a German-dominated European Union, Ratzinger has concurrently played a powerfully integral role in positioning the universal church to seize the reins of that emerging empire. Now it falls to his ideological clone—the next pope—to take up those reins and prepare to ride the beast of a prophesied, united European superpower (Revelation 17:3).