To grasp why Pope Francis’s election is significant historically and prophetically, we must see the political thread.
The Vatican is more than just the headquarters of a religion. It is a political power. British political economist Rodney Atkinson placed it in its true historical perspective when he recently wrote, “Imperial politics rather than the religion of the Roman Catholic Church has been its critical characteristic.” Even more than Roman Catholicism itself, the Vatican’s chief characteristic throughout its centuries of operations has been political maneuvering—geopolitical machinations involving empires.
Take, for merely the latest example, Pope Francis’s Easter message, “Urbi et Orbi.” What did this religious leader highlight on this religious day? Almost every current combat zone on the planet. This great church is not silent on the politics of power—and it never has been.
The important political thread in this case is a centuries-long cord that intertwines the Vatican with Latin America.
This thread tightened with Pope John Paul ii’s first overseas visit, to Mexico and the West Indies, in 1979. It was strengthened by Pope Benedict xvi’s 2007 visit to Brazil. It now consummates with the election of a pope from Argentina.
Understanding Vatican politics and its connection to Latin America is much more than an intriguing academic exercise. When you overlay it with Bible prophecy, it becomes a way to see the future.
One Main Language, One Main Religion
From Mexico to the southern tip of South America, the population of Latin America generally speaks one common language, Spanish. (Brazil’s Portuguese is related.) This population also practices one universal religion, Roman Catholicism.
In 1494, Pope Alexander vi divided South America between the Spanish and Portuguese via the Treaty of Tordesillas (clarified in 1529 by the Treaty of Zaragoza). This pontifical decree helped divide the entire Western Hemisphere between two Catholic nations: Spain and Portugal. From that time on, a lasting cultural and religious bond was forged between Rome and the vast continental region south of the Rio Grande (sidebar, “A Brief History of Catholicism in Latin America,” page 15).
Apart from Europe—where the Holy Roman Empire has repeatedly resurrected and re-resurrected itself—it is Latin America that holds the greatest promise for returning Rome to the glory days of the papacy. In tandem with the political leadership of the European Union, Latin America offers a place where Rome and the EU can extend their intercontinental influence and imperial reach.
During his papacy, Pope John Paul ii visited 24 countries in Central and South America. This was part of an effort to stabilize the region and strengthen its political and trade obligations to the EU as well as its religious unity with the Catholic Church.
The post-Vatican ii era in the Catholic Church in the 1960s had seen a surge of liberalism sweep across Latin America. The pope was profoundly concerned about this trend, and sought to stop it—with the help of his chief enforcer, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger—by removing its main instigators from positions of influence.
One of the driving forces of liberalism in the Roman Catholic Church was the council of bishops of Latin America, known by the acronym celam. In a visit to the 1979 celam conference, John Paul ii challenged the liberation theology movement that had permeated the church in Latin America and rippled around the world since Vatican ii. Cardinal Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict xvi, followed through, gradually dismissing Latin American leaders who were tied to the liberation theology movement. Thus the Vatican initiated the process of returning the church to conservative Catholic dogma, policy and practice.
These two men worked throughout John Paul ii’s papacy to revive traditionalist thought and liturgy within Catholicism. In the process, they appointed a record number of cardinals from the most conservative ranks of the priesthood.
This prepared the way for the second part in this strategy to rope in Latin America and return Rome to prime global position. That would entail Pope Benedict personally addressing the issue with the Latin American bishops on their home turf.
Benedict in Brazil
In 2007, Pope Benedict xvi visited Latin America’s largest and one of its most progressive nations, Brazil, to attend the celam conference.
Even before he touched the deck in Sao Paulo, the Vatican’s imperial politics were at work. Just two weeks earlier, Mexican legislators had indicated their approval of legal changes that would permit abortion to be carried out in Mexico City. This was such a hot issue with the pope that he told reporters on board his flight to Brazil that the politicians endorsing this legislation risked excommunication from the church. While the pope was still in the air, Brazilian President Lula da Silva made a very political public statement. He declared that he would oppose any liberalization of the current Brazilian law against abortion and any referendum taking the matter to the public. The statement was clearly calculated to place da Silva in the pope’s good graces on the eve of his visit to this Catholic country.
At the celam conference, Benedict challenged Brazil, and all of Latin America, through the assembled bishops, to a campaign of evangelizing the continent back to its traditionally religious roots. “The greatest gift the church can offer to Latin America is the Catholic faith,” the pope declared. “Only from the Eucharist will the civilization of love spring forth which will transform Latin America and the Caribbean.”
Catholic World News reported, “The pope stressed that evangelization must be the top priority for Catholic leaders in Latin America, and the church’s social action should flow from and serve that primary mission” (May 14, 2007; emphasis added). By specific papal command to the assembled bishops, Pope Benedict launched a strategy destined to draw powerful support from Latin America, a resource-rich continent that will ultimately prove of great value to the resource-needy continent of Europe.
Thus revived the symbiotic relationship between the two continents that Rome once enjoyed during its Holy Roman Empire heyday.
Now, that revival will receive fresh energy with the election of a Latin American pope.
Cementing the Bonds
The economic and political ties between Europe and Latin America in recent decades are well documented. In October 1957, the Plain Truth said, “During World War ii, Argentina was an outspoken friend of Hitler, sheltering Nazi officers and men, offering safe haven for Nazi ships and submarines. Many Nazis found their way to Argentina and safety while Hitler’s regime was collapsing under the steady rain of Allied bombs.”
As we wrote in our booklet He Was Right (request a free copy), “German influence began to dominate Latin America by the late 1940s. The Germans had high-level military presence in Argentina, Krupp industrial strength established in Brazil, Hitler’s Croat Ustashi chief Ante Pavelic influencing security in Paraguay, Nazi intelligence agents of Farben Bayer in Chile and Venezuela, and Nazi Party organizers of Brueckmann and Co. on the ground in Ecuador.
“Since then, German businesses, with the support of the Vatican, have led European efforts to penetrate key industrial, agricultural and corporate industries in Latin America. Many German corporate giants such as Krupp, Siemens, Bayer, Volkswagen, I.G. Farben and Deutsche Bank steadily became household names south of the Rio Grande, across Panama and clear down to southern Argentina. From 1990, with a united Germany and other EU members now ‘on side,’ all levels of EU trade and investment to the Latin region dramatically increased.”
Why is this trend so significant? Because it aligns exactly with what Herbert W. Armstrong predicted during his lifetime, and what the Trumpet has continued to predict since its inception in 1990.In Revelation 17 and 18, God labels the German-led, Vatican-influenced empire currently emerging in Europe as “Babylon the Great.” In the corresponding Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah 23 and Ezekiel 27, the same empire appears under the name Tyre, the most powerful trading center of the ancient Mediterranean world.
Based on these scriptures, Mr. Armstrong long said that the alliance between Europe and South America would grow strong. The May 1962 Plain Truth predicted, “The United States is going to be left out in the cold as two gigantic trade blocs, Europe and Latin America, mesh together and begin calling the shots in world commerce.”
This shocking prophecy is unfolding before us.
The most significant factors that will cement this transatlantic alliance are the Roman Catholic religion and the Spanish language. This union, however, will not be a union of equals: The Latin American countries will again become vassal states to the Holy Roman Empire!
As the July 1965 Plain Truth foretold, “Flowing across the Atlantic to feed the hungry furnaces of the Ruhr and the other industrial complexes of Europe will come the rich mineral wealth of Latin America.”
“Herbert Armstrong knew far in advance that communism would fail to entice the Latinos and that British and American influence would dwindle,” we wrote in He Was Right, our booklet on Mr. Armstrong’s many fulfilled prophecies. “He knew it was Europe that would ultimately achieve its long-term goal of economic and religious domination of Latin America. Today, Europe has significantly achieved that goal.”
German leaders learned from the experience of two world wars that aggression as a means of empire-building was counterproductive. For their third attempt at global domination, they chose to start with trade. The outcome in Europe was the original common market that morphed into today’s German-dominated European Union.
Berlin and Rome are using a similar method to create their alliance with Latin America. Analysts such as Stratfor’s George Friedman observe that Latin America is positioned to supplement China as a low-wage, high-growth world epicenter (Beyond the Post-Cold War World). That resource is not lost on Europe, which is seeking to replicate its European common market endeavors with the Mercosur trade bloc.
The Mercosur alliance includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are associate members. The EU has built formidable free-trade ties with this bloc since signing an agreement in June 1999 that provided for “the bilateral, progressive and reciprocal liberalization of trade, with no sector excluded.” The agreement has had its ups and downs, but it has undeniably been the EU’s main means of cementing trade interdependence with Latin America.
But this is not an end unto itself. It is a means to achieve the much greater imperialist vision of the Rome/Berlin axis. With trade interdependence well established, Rome now seeks to cement its religious and political power over Latin America.
Enter the new pope.
Reviving an Empire
Taking the papal throne under the watchful eye of Pope Emeritus Benedict xvi, Pope Francis looks set to begin the third and final act in Rome’s effort to draw the continent of Latin America under its influence and forge an intercontinental empire—in reality the biblically prophesied seventh and final resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire.
Pope Francis’s role in absorbing Latin America into Europe’s imperialist drive is crucial. As Langley Intelligence Group Network said, “he will be very strong towards bringing Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba into the Catholic fold.”
Jorge Bergoglio grew up in the Latin American nation most sympathetic to Hitler’s vision of world conquest. Argentina was a chief recipient of Nazi gold, and indeed of Nazi personnel, courtesy of the Vatican Ratlines (in which Joseph Ratzinger was heavily involved under the papacy of Pius xii). Its politics inevitably became heavily influenced by this connection. In fact, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner (who preceded the current president, his wife) was the son of a Nazi.
Many Nazis who escaped the Allies’ war crimes tribunals ended up as active participants in the Argentine security, police and military forces and helped shape the postwar development of these institutions.
Pope Francis’s anti-British attitude, reflected in his aggressively outspoken statements against British possession of the Falkland Islands, no doubt springs from his education in the postwar, anti-British, pro-German Argentine culture of his youth. His ready deference to the Bavarian pope emeritus, Benedict xvi, may as well.
Either way, this new pope, conscious and proud of his Italian roots, and hailing from one of the most German-influenced cultures in Latin America, would seem to be of a ready mindset to identify, together with his brother pope emeritus, with another man that biblical prophecy speaks of: the populist political leader of the Rome/Berlin axis. All indications are that this political leader will soon emerge on the world scene; as editor in chief Gerald Flurry has observed, he could even come to power as a result of the upcoming federal elections in Germany in September.
‘The Holy Roman Empire Is Back’
Three years ago, our editor in chief made a startling announcement: “The Holy Roman Empire Is Back!”
“The Holy Roman Empire became official Jan. 1, 2010,” he wrote in the February 2010 edition. “On that date, the European Union implemented its diplomatic service and appointed other officials. That made the Holy Roman Empire official.
“Now they have already begun to build their own military, which is destined to become a world-shaking superpower!
“The EU constitution was signed in November 2009. It is far from being a democratic constitution. The EU is absolutely domineered by Germany—a nation that started World Wars i and ii!
“The empire is to be guided by the Vatican. That makes it a church-state combine—hence, the name Holy Roman Empire. But if you look at the previous six heads of that empire, you will see that it was the opposite of holy!” (You can read more about this history in our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.)
Belatedly, some of the press and mass media have come to this realization. The sensationalist conservative British tabloids Daily Mail and Express have more recently featured articles on the rise of the Fourth Reich. The pundits are late in catching on to this prophesied reality, and the Anglo-Saxon politicians are way behind them. It was ever the case in Britain and America.
Now it is time we faced the reality.
This political backdrop, viewed in light of the history of the Holy Roman Empire and its prophesied final resurrection, shows the true significance of the installation of a Latin American pope of Italian heritage linking with the spiritual vision of an incumbent German pope emeritus.
At the helm in Rome we have a historic duo, each having his ethnic and cultural roots deeply entrenched in the nations that produced the fascist and Nazi populist leaders of yesteryear. Veteran Vatican watcher Robert Moynihan has observed that by his behavior to date, Francis is giving every indication that he will tenaciously follow Benedict’s spiritual vision. These papal representatives share a common vision for cementing relations between Latin America and Europe.
Indications are that it is time for the prophesied northern power to cross the ocean and forge the imperial link that will empower it as a real intercontinental empire, in a true déjà vu Holy Roman Empire moment!
Bible prophecy declares that the interdependence between the EU and its trading partners will inevitably lead to the latter’s total trade dependence on the former (Revelation 13).
More is prophesied for this European empire, however, than a mere trade alliance with Latin America. In Isaiah 10, God says Assyria (modern-day Germany) would be the rod of His anger used to punish the hypocritical nations of Israel (modern-day America, Britain, and its dominions) and Judah (the Jewish state of Israel).
How might Latin America factor into this scenario?
Deuteronomy 28 describes several curses coming upon these modern-day descendants of Israel because of their disobedience to God. Verses 47-51 describe a devastating assault by “a nation of fierce countenance”—revealed in other prophecies to be Germany. “And he shall besiege thee in all thy gates, until thy high and fenced walls come down, wherein thou trustedst, throughout all thy land: and he shall besiege thee in all thy gates throughout all thy land, which the Lord thy God hath given thee” (verse 52). These “gates” refer to land and sea gates, such as the Panama Canal, through which America and these other nations receive so much of their imports. This is a prophecy of a besiegement that will reduce these nations to conditions of dire poverty! Isaiah 23 sheds further light on this prophecy by foretelling a great economic siege against the United States.
Germany and the Vatican are building a transcontinental alliance that will ultimately include 10 European kings, an anti-Iranian alliance of Arabic regimes, and a loyal network of Latin American vassal states. With its left arm, this Vatican-dominated conglomerate will reach down southward and eastward into the Middle East to conquer the Holy City, Jerusalem. Then with its right arm, this “Holy” Roman Empire will reach southward and westward across the Atlantic to take control of Latin America and besiege the United States!
Recent events are destined to accelerate the onset of some of the greatest end-time prophecies in your Bible—prophecies leading up to the fulfillment of that greatest of all prophecies: the return of the Savior of humankind to set up His Kingdom of glorious peace and plenty—forever!