A Brief History of Catholicism in Latin America

A Brief History of Catholicism in Latin America


From the May 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

When Christopher Columbus arrived in America, the Catholic Church moved quickly to establish its control in the newly discovered territory. In 1493, just one year after Columbus’s famous voyage, Pope Alexander VI published a bull dividing the new territory between Spain and Portugal—provided the natives were converted to Catholicism. As Hernán Cortés tore through the Aztec Empire, he was following a letter of instruction that said, “The first aim of your expedition is to serve God and spread the Christian faith.”

The first missionaries arrived shortly after the fall of the Aztecs. Most of the missionary work was done by Catholic orders—the Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustinians and Jesuits. Thirty-five years after the first dozen Franciscans arrived, there were 800 missionaries in Mexico alone. Contemporary reports say the Franciscans alone baptized 5 million—roughly 1 percent of the world population at the time—although these reports are impossible to verify.

The priests built new towns and villages for their converts. They constructed huge churches, larger than many of the cathedrals in Europe. The Jesuits took this to an even higher level in South America, where hundreds of thousands lived in Jesuit-run autonomous colonies, complete with their own Jesuit armies.

Despite decrees baring their entry into the New World, hebreo cristianos (Hebrew Christians), nuevo cristianos (New Christians), Moriscos (Moors), and other “heretics” began to show up in Latin America alongside the Catholics. To deal with these non-believers, the Spanish Inquisition also made its way across the Atlantic. On the recommendation of the Inquisition, thousands of “heretics” throughout the continent were tortured until they died or confessed to charges they faced. Over a thousand people were executed in Lima, Peru, alone.

As the Inquisitors labored to purge the continent of non-Catholics, the new Spanish and Portuguese governors encouraged the spread of Catholicism among the native populations, and not just because it gave them political support from the Vatican. The Catholic Church was key to their ability to control the continent with only a small military.

One letter to the Spanish king in 1768 warned of the need for “constant vigilance to preserve suitable conduct and healthy principles of obedience and love for Your Majesty among the clergy.” Another, in 1789, stated that “the conduct of the people depends in large part on that of the clergy”; it said the best way of stopping a riot was not to call in the army, but rather “to station a friar with a holy crucifix in the nearest plaza.”

By 1767, the Portuguese, Spanish and French had grown distrustful of the power of the Jesuits. They ordered their expulsion from their lands, breaking the Jesuits’ power in Latin America. The Jesuits were escorted from the Spanish Empire, in many cases with a military escort to prevent the natives from breaking in and freeing them.

At the start of the 19th century, Spain began an effort to assert control over the Catholic Church as a whole. This was the nation’s undoing. The church caused the Latin American countries to revolt rather than have their power weakened. “The clergy provided many of the political and military leaders of the insurrection,” writes historian Paul Johnson. “Priests persuaded their entire parishes to ‘pronounce’ for the revolution. It was the clergy who drew up the first scheme for separation from Spain, in 1794, and provided most of the press propaganda. They were active politically throughout Spanish America, but in Mexico they also provided the military leadership” (A History of Christianity).

One official wrote, “the ecclesiastics were the principal authors of this rebellion … one can count by the hundreds the generals, brigadiers, colonels and other officers, all clerics, in the bands of the traitors, and there is scarcely a military action of any importance in which priests are not leading the enemy.”

“Thus Spain forfeited the New World by reforming its colonial pillar, the church,” concludes Johnson. “The attempt failed; the church emerged stronger; it retained its political and financial privileges. But it now reigned in isolation, without the support of the crown, and so in turn has tended to fall victim to the violent anti-clericalism of the 19th and 20th centuries, until, quite recently, it has resumed its revolutionary role in defense of a new orthodoxy.”

God’s Character and Purpose Revealed!

God’s Character and Purpose Revealed!

John Said/iStockphoto/Thinkstock

The Philadelphia Trumpet, in conjunction with the Herbert W. Armstrong College Bible Correspondence Course, presents this brief excursion into the fascinating study of the Bible. Simply turn to and read in your Bible each verse given in answer to the questions. You will be amazed at the new understanding gained from this short study!
From the May 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

What is God like? Many people’s ideas about God are rather hazy.

When God formed Adam out of the dust of the ground, He made him in His own “likeness,” or form (Genesis 1:26). God gave this unique shape to man alone. God also created in man the gift of intellect—the ability to think, to reason, to make choices and decisions. This God-like attribute of mind and character was not given to any animal—only man.

Why did God create man with His likeness and with unique intellect? The answer to that question is profound—and is plainly revealed in Scripture.

Our purpose in human life is to become like God! God intends that we grow in His righteous character—that we, as Jesus Christ expressed it, “Be [or rather, become] ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

What, then, is the character of God?

God embodies perfect, holy and righteous character! He lives the way of perfection—of outflowing love. That way of life is a code of conduct, a law.

Let’s look into the Scriptures to learn more about God and the kind of character He wants to develop within us.

The Love of God

1. How does the Bible define the nature and character of God? 1 John 4:8, 16. What is the love of God? 1 John 5:3.

The spiritual law of God enables us to know what God is like because it describes His character and way of life—summed up by the word love!

2. How did Jesus summarize the law of God? Matthew 22:36-40.

God’s law of love is defined in the two great commandments: love toward God and love toward neighbor. It is further divided into 10 points by the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). The first four tell us how to love God, and the last six tell us how to love our fellow human beings.

3. What was Jesus prophesied to do regarding God’s law? Isaiah 42:21. What are two examples of how Jesus “magnified” the Ten Commandments? Matthew 5:21-22, 27-28.

When you apply a spiritual “magnifying glass,” so to speak, to the Ten Commandments, they are enlarged in spiritual principle into many more points. And in a larger sense, the entire Bible is a magnification of God’s law. The law is the basis of all Scripture. It defines God’s way of life—the way to peace, success, happiness, joy and eternal life. God’s law is just like God!

4. Is the law of God good? Romans 7:12. God is good!

5. Is the law of God just? Same verse. God is just!

6. Is the law of God holy? Same verse. God is holy!

7. Is the law of God spiritual? Verse 14. God is spiritual!

8. Is the law of God perfect? Psalm 19:7. God is perfect!

The character of both God the Father and Christ the Son is spiritual holiness, righteousness and absolute perfection. It is the opposite of the “get” way of Satan the devil that we see so dominant in this world. It is the way devoid of coveting, lust, greed, vanity, selfishness, competition, strife, violence, destruction, envy, jealousy, resentment and bitterness.

God’s inherent nature is the way of peace, justice, mercy, happiness and joy radiating outward toward those He has created.

9. Will the character of God ever alter? Malachi 3:6; Hebrews 13:8. Therefore, is the law of God—including all His commandments—subject to change? Psalm 111:7-8.

God’s law is unchanging and eternal, standing fast forever and ever. God is eternal, and so is His law, because the law expresses the character and nature of God.

God’s law, by definition, matches His character. It is the way of love. It is the way of giving, serving, helping. God has that character! He has an outgoing concern for all of humanity. He gave His only begotten Son to reconcile us to Him, thereby making the joys of His character and everlasting life possible for us. He showers on us every good and precious gift, including the Holy Spirit.

The Power of God

The Holy Spirit is the key ingredient that enables human beings to begin to manifest some of the very character of God. It is the power by which God imparts His nature. We can receive this Spirit of power from the Father after we repent and turn from the wrong way of Satan’s world, begin to resist it, and turn to God through faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Savior.

1. What are some of the divine characteristics or “fruits” of God’s nature that begin to be exhibited by God’s children after they are begotten by His Spirit? Galatians 5:22-23; 2 Timothy 1:6-7.

Righteous, holy, godly character is the possession and practice of love, joy, peace, patience, mercy, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, humility, temperance, self-restraint and right self-direction. Character also involves knowledge, wisdom, purpose and ability—all properly controlled and developed through independent choice.

2. What is the greatest single attribute of God’s nature? 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, 13. Why? 1 John 4:16. How can we have it? Romans 5:5.

The word “charity” in the King James is agape in the Greek, which is the love of God. Love is the single greatest attribute of God’s nature. We can have the Father’s love if we have His Spirit and strive to live the way He, Himself, lives by keeping His commandments in both the “letter” and the spirit—the principle or intent.

Jesus magnified the Ten Commandments by showing how their principles expand to cover virtually every possible human infraction. 2 Corinthians 3 shows that God’s law is to be applied in principle. It is summed up in one single word—love.

There are just two possible ways of life: God’s way, expressed by His law of love and summed up in the Ten Commandments, the “give” way; and Satan’s way of competition, greed and vanity, which we call the “get” way. This is the way of disobedience to God. All suffering—all unhappiness, fear, misery and death—has come from living by Satan’s way of “get,” instead of living by God’s way of “give,” which is the only way to peace, happiness and joy.

One third of the angels failed to develop the godly character that would have guaranteed them everlasting peace and happiness. They believed Satan’s way of get was better than God’s way of give and therefore developed evil character. Rebellious Lucifer had disqualified himself from ruling the Earth. Someone had to qualify to replace him. So God created Adam and gave him the opportunity to develop the godly character required of a righteous ruler. But Adam failed.

So Adam’s descendants—all mankind—have been born in Satan’s world of competition, strife and violence, and have transgressed God’s law. God has actually allowed this for a great purpose. He wants man to learn, through experience—which requires time—that Satan’s way of “get” and disobedience to God’s spiritual law causes only misery, suffering, heartache and death.

Those who are called of God and voluntarily choose to reject and resist Satan’s way and live a life of obedience to God develop the holy, righteous, perfect character of God. They qualify to rule and reign with Jesus Christ, the second Adam, who will replace Satan as world ruler at His return to restore the government of God to the entire Earth!

God Now Creating His Supreme Masterpiece!

What is the supreme feat of accomplishment possible for Almighty God the Creator? The angels? The heavens and the Earth? The entire universe beyond? Was it the first man?

It was none of these!

The supreme pinnacle of God’s works is the creation of His very own perfect, holy, righteous character within His begotten children!

But this is something that even God with His supreme power cannot do of Himself instantaneously!

King David mused on God’s purpose for man: “When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:3-4).

Hebrews 2 quotes this psalm. It then reveals that God has determined to complete His most spectacular creation—in man! God’s supreme goal is to create perfect and righteous spiritual character in man. His ultimate purpose is to bring man into the God Family! Yet God cannot do this by Himself. Man has his own part in this supreme masterpiece.

For God to complete mankind’s spiritual creation, humans must learn not only to look like God but also to think like God, developing Hisattitude and character while flesh and blood. Perfect character must be developed—over time—by free choice. But even then, only the Holy God can instill it.

Perfect, holy, righteous character is the ability of an individual to discern the true way of God from the way of Satan; to choose to unconditionally surrender to God; and to determine, even against temptation, to do the right.

God is now in the process of creating His same godly character in Spirit-begotten Christians as they choose to live His righteous way of life with the help of His Holy Spirit.

At the resurrection to eternal life, when God’s Spirit-begotten children are born, God will have finished this supreme masterpiece of creation! Then, when we are resurrected—changed into immortal spirit members of God’s Family—we will possess the supreme character and awesome powers of God!

Those whom God has called and who have voluntarily chosen to work with their Creator in completing His supreme creation within them while flesh and blood will at last be a “finished” creation—created in God’s own spiritual “image” with His perfect, righteous, sinless, holy character—eternal members of His divine ruling Family! (1 John 3:9).

Cyprus: A Vassal State of Germany

From the May 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

The banking sector was the engine of Cyprus’s economic growth. Taking money directly from depositors has destroyed that engine. Cyprus has no easy way to get its economy growing again, leaving it dependent on Germany. This bailout has solved none of the island nation’s problems, and created some new ones.

As the hated bankers leave Cyprus, some may say “good riddance.” But where else is Cyprus going to get the money to pay back its loans from Europe? Germany killed Cyprus’s golden goose. Without the money from the banking system, Cyprus cannot raise the cash to keep its economy afloat. Like Greece, it will struggle to meet the bailout conditions. Each time it needs more money, it will need approval from Germany and have to meet Germany’s conditions. “From now on … it cannot make decisions for its own good,” wrote Charles Moore, former editor of the Spectator and Daily Telegraph. “It is a tiny, far-flung, vulnerable part of the new German Europe.”

German voters, wrote Moore, “dislike shelling out for what they see as feckless Mediterraneans: they detest the idea of doing so for what they see as crooked Russians. The conflict between Teuton and Slav has never ceased. Mrs Merkel’s policy for Cyprus has to be constructed round what her Teutons want.”

Moore concluded, “After victory in 1945, Churchill broadcast that Germany ‘lies prostrate before us.’ Today, most of southern Europe lies prostrate before Germany” (emphasis added).

Moore isn’t the only one to notice Germany’s victory. “History shows it is, always, only a matter of time before Germany ends up dominating Europe,” wrote the Daily Mail’s Simon Heffer. “After years of refusing to assert itself, Germany’s time has come again. The Fourth Reich is here without a shot being fired: and the rest of Europe, and the world, had better get used to it.”

The effects of the Cyprus bailout will stretch far beyond the Mediterranean island. As Heffer pointed out, the fact that the deal forced bank depositors to cough up funds “sends an ominous signal to other EU nations.”

Stratfor’s founder George Friedman described what a turning point this is: “What is certain is that an EU country, facing a crisis in its financial system, is now weighing whether to pay for that crisis by seizing depositors’ money. And with that, the Europeans have broken a barrier that has been in place since the 1930s. They didn’t do that casually and they didn’t do that because they wanted to. But they did it.”

This could be the start of the new precedent for solving Europe’s financial crisis. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the group of Eurozone finance ministers, indicated that Cyprus could be a template for other countries. This could have far-reaching and unpredictable consequences.

But the most important change comes from within Germany. The think tank Open Europe wrote on March 26, “In our daily monitoring of the German press, we’ve sensed a hardening of tone and rhetoric throughout the crisis, not least in response to the overtly anti-German tone of many of the anti-austerity protests in the south.”

In Die Welt, Thomas Straubhaar, director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics, called the bailout deal a “turning point.” “Up until now, the bankrupt countries have been able to use fear of a domino effect to extort Europe,” he wrote. “That is now over because the strong eurozone countries have the better hand—and they should not be afraid to play it” (translation by Open Europe).

The think tank concludes: “The implications of a Germany more prepared to assert its viewpoint [have] huge implications for the future of the eurozone and the EU as a whole.”

The euro crisis has many dramatic chapters still to come. Several other nations could need a bailout, and those that have already received one may need another. But what happened this March in Cyprus changes the game. Germany rules Cyprus, and its new uncompromising attitude is certain to contribute to the further spread of German power.”

Restoring Europe’s Latin Empire

Restoring Europe’s Latin Empire

Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

For the first time in history, the pope hails from Latin America. The religious bonds with Europe are long and deep. What will happen when they are revived?
From the May 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

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.

How Deep Is European Influence in Latin America?

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 theein 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!

The Mystery of President Obama’s Visit to Israel

The Mystery of President Obama’s Visit to Israel

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

On the president’s recent historic trip, many people were impressed by his strong statements of support for the Jewish state. But the truth about this man’s relationship with Israel goes deeper than mere words in front of a camera.
From the May 2013 Trumpet Print Edition

In March, Barack Obama made his first visit to Israel since being elected president in 2008. The media provided pictures of the president with Israeli leaders talking and joking together. Mr. Obama assured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel has a friend in the U.S. “We have your back,” the president said.

Later, however, he talked about Israel’s “foreign army” in part of the Palestinian territory. What “foreign army”? Even if you don’t believe that God gave them that land, the fact is that the Arabs attacked the Jews, and in the war that followed, Israel won some of their land. The president could just as easily say that America has a “foreign army” in California, New Mexico and Arizona—after all, that territory did at one time belong to other people.

President Obama made these anti-Israel remarks to Palestinians while a large picture of Yasser Arafat hung over his head in the background. It is well established that Arafat, even while shaking hands and making agreements with Jewish leaders, was inciting his own people to engage in terrorism. The president was addressing Palestinians who are considered moderate and friendly, yet that terrorist spirit is still there.

What was President Obama’s purpose for going to Israel? This is a real mystery to Israel. But it’s not a mystery to me.

A ‘Mystery’ Visit

The president’s negative record on Israel is lengthy and unmistakable. He has done much to isolate the Jewish state and to weaken the long-standing alliance between our two nations.

For example, when Prime Minister Netanyahu came to the White House in 2010, Mr. Obama insulted him terribly. The president wanted to bolster Palestinian confidence in a possible two-state solution, and he did so by giving Prime Minister Netanyahu a list of 13 demands. One of them was that Israel immediately stop building in East Jerusalem. When Netanyahu didn’t immediately agree to his terms, the president got up and left, leaving Netanyahu and his aides sitting in the White House for an hour. The Jews considered it humiliating. I’ve never heard of such behavior on a state visit to the U.S. in my life.

As recently as last September, when Netanyahu visited America and requested a meeting with Obama, the president refused to see him. Reuters called it “a highly unusual rebuff to a close ally.”

Why, then, would President Obama visit Israel now, at the beginning of his second term in office?

Caroline Glick, who I believe is Israel’s best columnist, expressed bewilderment over it: “Given that all of these [policies toward Israel] are positions he has held throughout his presidency, the mystery surrounding his decision to come to Israel only grows,” she wrote in a March 20 column. “He didn’t need to come to Israel to rehash policies we already know” (emphasis mine throughout).

She noted that the president also didn’t come to apologize for the anti-Israel policies of his first term. His administration still speaks about its support for the Arab Spring as if it was excellent policy, even after we can see how it empowered radicals within Libya, Egypt and other countries. This has put Israel’s very survival in jeopardy!

Glick drew attention to one revealing detail of the trip: the president’s choice of speaking venues. On one hand, he turned down an invitation to speak before Israel’s elected representatives at the Knesset, which is highly unusual. On the other hand, he chose “to address a handpicked audience of university students—an audience grossly overpopulated by unelectable, radical leftists.” President Obama really identifies with academics, intellectuals and radicals. He went to Israel to speak to these radical leftist students, and that is where he got a lot of the television coverage. He actually denied a couple of colleges that wanted to send students that were more on the conservative side.

As Glick pointed out, “What we can say with certainty is that the administration that supports the ‘democratically elected’ Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and did so much to clear all obstacles to its election, is snubbing the democratically elected Israeli government, and indeed, Israel’s elected officials in general.” Mr. Obama has invited the Muslim Brotherhood to the White House. He visited Cairo to address all of Egypt and insisted that the Muslim Brotherhood attend, against then President Hosni Mubarak’s wishes. Yet he won’t visit the Knesset in Israel! Isn’t that strange? It certainly proves that we can’t take what this man says at face value.

Glick considers it a mystery. But there is a definite reason behind the president’s choices.

Undermining Netanyahu

When President Obama spoke to those Israeli students, he talked about the need to give the Palestinians a state. “[T]he Palestinian people’s right to self-determination, their right to justice, must also be recognized. And put yourself in their shoes. Look at the world through their eyes. It is not fair that a Palestinian child cannot grow up in a state of their own—living their entire lives with the presence of a foreign army that controls the movements not just of those young people, but their parents, their grandparents, every single day. It’s not just when settler violence against Palestinians goes unpunished. It’s not right to prevent Palestinians from farming their lands or restricting a student’s ability to move around the West Bank, or displace Palestinian families from their homes. Neither occupation nor expulsion is the answer. Just as Israelis built a state in their homeland, Palestinians have a right to be a free people in their own land.”

During this part of the speech, the audience cheered and applauded several times. It was as if, in their minds, the Palestinians are yearning for peace through negotiation—if only Israel would cooperate. That is an egregious delusion.

President Obama then told those students, “[L]et me say this as a politician, I can promise you this: Political leaders will never take risks if the people do not push them to take some risks. You must create the change that you want to see.” That was rather insulting. He was obviously talking about interfering with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s policies. I don’t think that would have made Mr. Netanyahu very happy.

Mr. Netanyahu was recently reelected, but not by near the margin he thought he would be. This meant he had to form a weaker coalition government. The new government includes some liberals who are pretty far left, which is going to cause him problems.

President Obama spoke about “the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.” He emphasized the need to keep trying to solve the problem through diplomacy. But then he said, “Iran must not get a nuclear weapon. This is not a danger that can be contained—and as president, I’ve said all options are on the table for achieving our objectives. America will do what we must to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.”

That sounds good, and Israel likes to hear that. But forget the words for a moment and look at the reality: This administration has done nothing to prevent Iran getting a nuclear bomb!

You can be sure that Israel’s liberal leaders, hearing Mr. Obama making these statements, will put more pressure on Mr. Netanyahu. They will argue that he doesn’t need to worry so much about Iran since America has his back. The president of the United States has guaranteed our national security, they’ll probably say. He’s going to ensure Iran doesn’t bomb us. If Netanyahu was considering attacking Iran’s nuclear program, he’s going to have more opposition now.

However, I would be absolutely shocked if President Obama did anything to stop Iran! Here is a man telling Israel, America has your back; we’re right there with you. But he wouldn’t even pay a visit to the Knesset. That’s almost unheard of when a nation has serious problems like Israel has today!

What is behind America’s foreign policy today? If you study the decisions this administration is making on a wide range of international issues, you would be hard pressed to think of any that don’t have the effect of undermining America’s alliances, weakening America’s global power, and strengthening the forces of evil in this world.

There is a specific reason why this is the case.

The Spiritual Dimension

In the March edition of the Trumpet, I explained “The Hidden Cause of Society’s Deadly Decline.” There is an evil spiritual force on Earth that is working to bring down America as well as the Jewish state.

You cannot understand America’s foreign policy today if you don’t see this spiritual dimension.

This subject is so important and urgent, I have produced a new booklet about it: America Under Attack. It reveals the hidden dimension to events in this country and helps you to make sense of what would otherwise be a mystery.

This understanding exposes the reason for the common thread in the current administration’s dealings with Israel and other countries in the Middle East. It also specifically reveals the biblical reasons for the president’s anti-Israel views.

Syria has been embroiled in turmoil for about two years, as people have risen up to try to get rid of the violent dictator Bashar Assad. Yet America has done nothing to help those people. In fact, as Glick explained it, the president’s “feckless handling of Syria’s civil war ensured that the moderate opposition forces would be eclipsed by radical Islamists affiliated with al Qaeda, as has happened.” You could say almost the same thing about the popular uprising in Iran in 2009: The people rose up to dispute a phony election result that favored radical Islamists—and America did nothing. President Obama said it wouldn’t be appropriate to meddle in Iranian affairs.

Contrast that with what happened in Egypt. There, when the public began protesting in Egypt to get rid of Hosni Mubarak, this administration stepped right up to turn its back on Mubarak and to support the protesters! “It is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful … and it must begin now,” he said publicly. Egypt was at peace with Israel for 30 years! Yet America had a lot to do with removing Mubarak and bringing the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood to power.

The same is true of Libya. True, Muammar Qadhafi was obviously unstable, but at one time he did get rid of nearly all of his weapons of mass destruction to cooperate with the West. But when protests started there, America decided that, again, it needed to strengthen their cause. Now, al Qaeda groups rule Libya and are talking about allying with Iran. Nothing yet has been done about the terrorist attack on America’s outpost in Benghazi, and it is clear that America isn’t going to do anything. So the terrorists are encouraged and keep getting stronger and stronger.

These geopolitical shifts have created a far more dangerous world, especially for the tiny nation of Israel! The president’s foreign policy is largely responsible for these developments, but he won’t take the blame for any of it. Instead, he travels to Israel and says that America will do whatever it must to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran.

Nonsense! How long will Israel believe such diabolical nonsense? The nation’s survival is at stake!

Biblical prophecy shows that very soon, Israel will know for certain that America is of no help, and it will instead turn to Germany (ancient Assyria) for help (Hosea 5:13). We are already seeing this prophecy racing toward fulfillment.

You absolutely need to understand the truth about what is happening to America today. We have been protected in this country for a couple hundred years. We have not experienced the turmoil that many other nations have. Yes, we were involved in two world wars, but God has given us a lot of peace. As a result, our people have kind of settled into an unreality about what is really happening around us. They don’t understand how deadly dangerous this world is!

This is not God’s world. There’s a lot of evil in this world. It is full of tigers waiting to tear somebody apart. It has always been that way. As Winston Churchill said, the history of man is the history of war. Yet somehow we can’t come to grips with that today.

Are you willing to face reality? Most people are not. A haze of deception enshrouds our world. It is absolutely stunning how easily the people in this land today are duped.

Many people are alert to the problems in America today, but have only become deeply discouraged and anxious as a result. But if you open your eyes to the spiritual dimension, then you will see the tremendous hopebeyond the tragedy that is unfolding. Putting these events in their full prophetic context shows how God is using these events to serve His purposes—and how they are quickly leading to the greatest event ever: when He will intervene to establish His rule on Earth!

Please request my booklet America Under Attack—you will clearly see that President Obama’s trip to Israel was no mystery!

German Domination: An Accidental Empire?

German Domination: An Accidental Empire?


Germany is filling a power void in Europe. Coincidence?

“Germany has created an accidental empire,” German sociologist Ulrich Beck said on March 25. In an interview with europp editors Stuart Brown and Chris Gilson, the professor at both Munich University and the London School of Economics invoked the memory of the last “accidental empire,” Great Britain. But he stopped short of calling Germany a military power—which Britain was. Germany’s de facto empire has an economic power base, not a military one, he proposed.

In the turbulence of the ongoing European financial crisis, one nation has emerged from the storm as the clear leader of the Continent. For the third time in a century, Germany has set itself apart as the top dog in European economics and politics. The Berlin-led bailout of Cyprus proved that point in a tangible way.

That’s just the way it happened to turn out, some may argue. But is this true?

Other analysts are beginning to catch on to what the Trumpet has forecast for years. Jakob Augstein’s Spiegel Online column gives a slightly different take than Beck: “Out of this euro crisis is emerging a conflict over German hegemony in Europe. It looks to be based on economics, when in fact it is based on the politics of power. … Indeed, Merkel’s idea of European integration is simply that Europe should bend to Germany’s political will” (March 25).

Could Germany’s power position be somewhat intentional? Several European countries think so, and they have cried out against Germany in the past year. Greeks and Cypriots protested German-backed austerity, going so far as to make a caricature of Chancellor Angela Merkel with the infamous mustache of a previous chancellor.

Germany called the shots in the bailout of the tiny island nation of Cyprus. When the terms were announced, Cyprus balked. Even Western media outlets recognized the potential for the bailout to bring down the eurozone. However, Germany didn’t back down, and for the first time in bailout history, a large portion of the money to finance the nation’s end of the bargain came directly from its own bank depositors—and it was largely Germany’s idea.

A controversial statement by Jeroen Dijsselbloem, chair of the eurozone finance ministers, caused some Europeans to worry that the same method used in Cyprus would be implemented in other financially floundering countries like Spain or Italy. The spread of that idea could cause panic leading to massive bank runs in crisis countries—definitely something the EU wants to avoid. Dijsselbloem later “clarified” the statement, which only served to cause more of a muddle over future bailout procedures.

On the other side of the controversy, Germany feels the tension. And Germans feel they should be receiving support, not criticism.

“Germany is bringing a spirit of solidarity so that ultimately there is a perspective for crisis countries,” German Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told Muencher Merkur last Wednesday. “So I wish that individuals at the highest levels of the EU—the Commission president and the Council president—would also show solidarity with us and defend Germans against unjust accusations.”

Germany has become the creditor of Europe. And “the borrower is servant to the lender,” as the proverb says. If a eurozone member needs a helping hand, Berlin will offer it—but at a price.

Are these recent events just the early stages of an economically-tiered European structure? Just a week ago, Trumpet columnist Ron Fraser wrote of the possibility of a “two-speed” Europe, referencing German think tank Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Mr. Fraser wrote that “the foundation believes that the most likely outcome of the current euro crisis will be ‘the formation of a smaller union around the German center (“Kerneuropa”), while the EU continues parallel in the form of a sort of greater free trade zone.’” The events of the last two weeks show an increasing trend for European policy to revolve around Berlin. Is that a coincidence?

Germany Soon to Rule Europe,” headlined the front page of the Trumpet website back in June 2005. The prophetic headline was written before Merkel had even been elected. The lead paragraph says it all: “Germany is the most powerful nation in the EU—certainly the most populous and arguably the most influential. But its influence till this point has been relatively subtle compared to the position of power it will attain in the near future.” Suddenly Germany’s influence doesn’t appear to be so subtle. Is that simply happenstance—or something more?

Will Germany’s aggressive policies precipitate bank runs in other failing European economies? A real possibility for panic lies in the European financial sector, which is the reason for Cyprus’s extended bank holiday and the numerous financial restrictions imposed since its banks reopened. We are witnessing an economic situation where Germany holds the key to other nations’ financial stability or collapse—and it no longer even hinges on policy, but on perception! One word from Berlin could potentially trigger economic implosion in faltering countries.

“One of the greatest miracles this world has produced in our time is the resurrection of Germany: the rise of Germany from rubble to the greatest power in Europe—and soon to be the greatest power in the world! It is mind-boggling,” wrote Gerald Flurry in Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.

“The German Federal Constitutional Court, the Bundesbank and Chancellor Merkel are acting like the center of Europe, to the exasperation of our neighbors,” said former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt. Schmidt also feels that part of the German public is prone to have a “national-egotistical view” of their country. As Augstein brought out, a man who lived through the entirety of fascist Germany and World War ii would not use those words lightly (op. cit.).

Germany has created an empire, and it is not by accident. It may be economically driven right now, but it will soon have organized military might behind it. This may take the world by surprise, but it won’t shock those who understand the prophecies in the Bible.

The German people have a tremendous capacity for innovation and engineering, as well as unquenchable loyalty to a strong leader—all qualities that the Almighty God will use powerfully in the coming era of peace that will soon be ushered in by the living Jesus Christ. But before that time can come, that war-prone nation is prophesied to become a great conquering power in not just the European continent but the entire globe.

For further explanation, read Germany and the Holy Roman Empire and The Wonderful World Tomorrow: What It Will Be Like.