Why Is the Pope Meddling in American Politics?

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Why Is the Pope Meddling in American Politics?

We need to see Pope Francis’s criticisms of Donald Trump, as well as America’s immigration and economic policy, in context.
From the May-June 2016 Trumpet Print Edition

No moment of the pope’s visit to Mexico in February was more powerful and symbolic than his trip to the American border.

Here, the pope walked up a concrete ramp and bowed before a large cross overlooking the United States-Mexico border. In the background, barbed wire fences were everywhere. The Rio Grande, which marks the border at this point, is hemmed in with cement, and looks more like a moat than a river.

Soon the pope descended to give the first-ever Catholic mass that straddled the border between two countries. About 200,000 people watched from the Mexican side of the border, and around 50,000 from the U.S.

The global media loved it. “Pope Francis is the pope of mercy, he is the pope of the poor, he is the pope that visits inmates, he is the pope who wants to be where there is pain, and this is exactly where we find him now,” gushed cnn correspondent Rosa Flores.

“This is the culmination of Pope Francis’s trip,” Flores said. “The border is very near and dear to his heart, as we learned from the Vatican. And so this is a very emotional moment for the pope. … Probably the most powerful moment of Pope Francis’s visit, we just witnessed, and that was him praying, having a moment of silence, in a place where so many have perished, where so many have died, in his words, ‘trying to reach a dream, trying to achieve a dream across the border.’”

This visit provided the most iconic visual from his trip. It was also overtly political, directly aimed at influencing American politics.

Political ‘Meddling’

The United States is in the process of choosing its next president. Immigration is right at the heart of that debate.

If there was any doubt that the pope wanted to affect America’s coming election by praying with immigrants on the U.S.-Mexico border, he put it to rest on his trip home. During his flight, a journalist brought up comments by presidential candidate Donald Trump about immigration. “He has said that if elected, he would build a 2,500-kilometer-long wall along the border. He wants to deport 11 million illegal immigrants, thus separating families, etc.,” said the journalist. He wondered “if an American Catholic can vote for someone like this” (emphasis mine throughout).

The pope replied, “A person who thinks only about building walls, wherever they may be, and not building bridges, is not Christian.”

This is not in the gospel,” the pope continued. “As far as what you said about whether I would advise to vote or not to vote, I am not going to get involved in that. I say only that this man is not Christian if he has said things like that.”

For him to say he wouldn’t advise how to vote is dishonest. He made it very clear what he thought of Trump and his policies. He is clearly trying to affect the presidential race—and he knows it!

This pope is very politically minded, and he says so himself. Even as he spoke about Trump, the pope called himself a “political animal.” Back in 2013, he said, “A good Catholic meddles in politics.” He sees it as part of his religious duty.

American commentators seemed surprised by the pope’s remarks. Many criticized him for blurring the line that is supposed to exist between church and state. Even Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio, Trump’s rival Republican presidential candidates at the time, took the side of the loathed Trump over that of the beloved pope.

But this kind of intervention by the pope shouldn’t surprise anyone. It is not unusual. Back in Argentina before he became pope, he often supported or opposed political causes. And political “meddling”—to use the pope’s term—is hardly exclusive to Francis. The Vatican often meddles in European political matters. It is heavily involved in Italian politics, for example, even helping certain lawmakers decide how to vote.

Politics is a fundamental part of the role the Catholic Church believes it must play in the world.

No Church-State Separation

Separation of church and state is widely cherished in America, but the Catholic Church does not believe in it.

In 1864, Pope Pius ix officially set out the Catholic Church’s response to liberal democracy in his “Syllabus of Errors.” He declared the following statements wrong and heretical:

The church ought to be separated from the state, and the state from the church.

In the present day, it is no longer expedient that the Catholic religion should be held as the only religion of the state, to the exclusion of all other forms of worship.

Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true.

The church has not the power of using force, nor has [it] any temporal power, direct or indirect.

Catholics may approve of the system of educating youth unconnected with the Catholic faith and the power of the church.

The pope called these statements heresy! According to this official Catholic teaching, the church should play a role in politics. Further, Catholicism should be the only official state religion—even the only allowed religion. The church can even use force to make this happen!

But this is not just the teaching of a papal document from 1864—this is the way the Catholic Church has operated for nearly 2,000 years! It has a long history of imposing itself on people, even through force!

Later, the Vatican ii Council did say that people of other faiths should be allowed religious freedom. But Pope Pius’s statements are official pronouncements on morals and doctrines from the pope and are thus, according to Catholic doctrine, infallible. The pronouncements of Vatican ii are also regarded by many Catholics as infallible. Catholic scholars can “sort out” these contradictory statements, but the church’s history speaks for itself.

Official Catholic teaching rejects the separation of church and state. The only reason the Vatican has largely stayed out of American politics so far is merely a case of tactics. Historically, many Britons and Americans have been suspicious of the Catholic Church, so the church ducked out of politics in these nations until it could gain their trust.

Anyone who is surprised by the way Pope Francis is now stepping out and meddling really lacks a sense of history. This is simply the Vatican returning to its more traditional role as a political power and a kingmaker.

The real question is, what does the pope want to accomplish with this meddling? Will it be good for America?

People may disagree about the answer to that last question. But if you look objectively at the statements and actions of the pope, you can clearly see their real intent.

A Double Standard

“Is a border now un-Christian?” asked Silvio Canto Jr., himself a Catholic, for American Thinker.How did we get to the point that defending borders and promoting legal immigration is now inhumane?” (February 19).

As Mr. Trump’s campaign famously pointed out, the Vatican itself is surrounded by a massive wall and has one of the most restrictive immigration policies in the world.

In Europe, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, chairman of the German bishops’ conference, said in February, “As a church, we say that we need a reduction in the number of refugees.” But when it comes to America, keeping migrants out is “un-Christian.”

Did the pope say this simply because he loves migrants? Contrast his statements against Donald Trump with the way he has treated other world leaders.

“El Papa just visited Cuba,” Canto continued. “He hugged and embraced Raúl Castro, a man who has executed priests, harassed religious leaders, and closed Christian schools years ago. Did he call the Castro brothers un-Christian?”

When the pope visited Cuba in 2015, he “refrained from issuing even coded criticism of the Communist government,” as the Telegraph put it (Sept. 20, 2015). The Patriotic Union of Cuba, a pro-democracy group, complained, “The pope did not utter a phrase of solidarity with the victims of repression and, when traveling from Cuba to the United States, told the press that he did not know about the detention of pacifist dissidents” (Sept. 23, 2015).

To use the pope’s own words, this is not in the gospel.

The Castro brothers aren’t the only authoritarian leaders the pope has refrained from criticizing. “One relationship Francis has patiently cultivated is with Putin,” wrote Foreign Affairs (Sept. 25, 2015). Italy’s L’Espresso magazine wrote that “Francis has always done all he could not to annoy the patriarchate of Moscow and the imperial politics of Vladimir Putin, even at the cost of sowing the strongest disappointment among the bishops, clergy and faithful of the Catholic Church in the region” (February 12).

He won’t criticize these men, but he is quick to condemn the U.S. What does that say about the pope’s worldview?

‘Dung of the Devil’

Americans should be deeply concerned that this institution is trying to push itself into U.S. politics. The Vatican plainly does not have America’s best interests at heart.

Pope Francis has made clear he wants to topple the global system of free-market capitalism. “Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world,” he wrote in Joy of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium), his November 2013 apostolic exhortation. “[T]his opinion … expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power.”

Francis called free-market global capitalism “a new tyranny” and condemned it as “a financial system which rules rather than serves.” He has also called it “the dung of the devil.”

Which nation is the front-runner of free-market global capitalism? The United States of America.

If Pope Francis is to be taken at his word, he could not possibly wish for the leader of the capitalist system to thrive and prosper, continuing to inflict its “tyranny” on the world. If he believes the free market is a force of destruction, then he would feel not only justified, but obligated to use his power to weaken it.

The pope’s visit to America could not have been more different from his visit to Cuba. Here he met with prisoners and illegal immigrants. In Cuba, the pope refused to meet or even acknowledge people who were locked up for nothing more than what they had said. He refused to draw global attention to these victims of tyranny. Yet in America, he tried to paint people jailed for actual crimes as if they were victims of an oppressive system. “It is painful when we see prison systems which are not concerned to care for wounds, to soothe pain, to offer new possibilities,” he said.

This is a pope who will hug dictators, and then reserve his harshest criticism for the world’s most powerful democracy that has led the world in promoting true freedom.

By no means are all Catholics anti-American. In fact, many of the pope’s strongest critics, like Canto, are themselves Catholics. The overwhelming majority of American Catholics are far more loyal to America than they are to the Vatican—which is why the Vatican has been unable to influence America’s political system much so far. Almost all Catholics in America would support the separation of church and state. Many are unaware that their church’s doctrine condemns this view, and even if they knew, they would continue to disagree.

Nevertheless, this pope has made clear that he is staunchly opposed to some of America’s foundational ideals.

The Catholic Church is still the same institution it has been for hundreds of years. The church has always worked with authoritarian leaders. As recently as World War ii, it signed agreements with both Mussolini and the Nazis. In courting Putin, hugging Castro and rebuking America, the pope is treading familiar paths.

You might not realize this, but the Bible actually has some strong things to say about a powerful church that thinks it should be involved in politics all around the world.

A Woman in Prophecy

Revelation 17 describes a striking spectacle: a woman “with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication” (verse 2).

Key portions of the Bible are written in symbol. The Bible is full of passages where God uses a physical object to portray a spiritual truth or concept. For example, Jesus Christ called Himself the bread of life; the Holy Spirit is symbolized by water; angels are referred to as stars; and so on.

In biblical symbolism, a woman is a type of a church. You can see this in passages like Ephesians 5, which pictures the relationship between Christ and His true Church as being like that between a husband and wife. Revelation 12 describes this same Church as a woman who was forced to flee into the wilderness for 1,260 days—picturing a 1,260-year period when the Church that Christ founded had to go into hiding to escape persecution. Later in this chapter, that Church is described as being supernaturally protected from a satanic attack in the very end time.

The woman in Revelation 17 is not the true Church of God, which is described as being a radiant woman in white linen (e.g. Revelation 12:1; 19:7-8). This woman is a “great whore … arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication,” and “drunken with the blood of the saints” (Revelation 17:1, 4, 6). This pictures a great and mighty false church.

This church holds significant political influence with “the kings of the earth.” Such a description could only apply to one church in human history—a church that has exercised power over many great leaders, that has been deeply enmeshed in national politics and international affairs.

If you want to know how God sees it when an organization that claims to represent Him mixes itself in with the politics of this evil, satanic world, think deeply about the way those relationships are characterized in this chapter of Revelation!

The Bible exposes this church as fornicating with the kings of the Earth! I realize that such a statement requires abundant proof. And abundant proof exists! We will gladly send you a free copy of our book The Holy Roman Empire in Prophecy, which shows step by step how the prophecies about this organization were fulfilled during the last 2,000 years of history—and how even more are being fulfilled right now!

And the greatest horror ever is imminent!

An Attack on America

When this biblical truth is viewed alongside Pope Francis’s recent activities and statements, it becomes clear why this should deeply concern us all. But most people are asleep to the danger.

Fifty or 60 years ago, no pope would have dared say some of the things this pope has said. Intervening in America’s political system would have provoked a major backlash. Today, it has stirred little more than amused talk about Donald Trump versus the pope.

“Opposition of Protestant bodies in America and Europe and Britain to Roman Catholicism is melting away,” wrote Herbert W. Armstrong back in 1961. “There is much talk of cooperation. That is highly significant!” (Plain Truth, October 1961). That trend has rapidly accelerated in recent years. In America, Protestant opposition to the pope has melted away to a dramatic degree. The Catholic Church is making great strides in unifying different Christian groups in Europe.

Other biblical prophecies reveal that the United States is in grave danger! Believe it or not, Satan the devil is unleashing a multipronged attack on what has until recently been the most powerful single nation in history. He is working within the population by encouraging sin and perversion. He is turning factions within our people against one another, stirring hatred and violence that are tearing us apart. He is working from within the nation through leaders that are destroying America’s values and embracing lawlessness and corruption. At the same time, he is fomenting hatred among America’s enemies, empowering them to aggressively work against the nation’s interests.

Through all of these means, the devil is working to cripple this once-great nation and bring it to its knees.

And when the time is right, he will inspire a new global superpower to deliver the knockout blow!

“If you look at the whole story in biblical prophecy, you see that Satan has a three-pronged attack,” I wrote in my free booklet America Under Attack. “First, he attacks God’s Church. Second, he tears down the values within the nations of Israel. Finally, he will bring the Holy Roman Empire to destroy those nations in the Great Tribulation. That is Satan’s master plan for destroying spiritual and physical Israel!”

Biblical prophecy reveals the mortal threat that a Vatican-inspired, unified Europe will pose to the United States in the near future.

America’s values are all but destroyed. The final phase is nearly here! Bible prophecy shows us the Catholic Church will have a huge role in creating and guiding the reborn Holy Roman Empire rising in Europe.

The pope is making an extremely dangerous foray into American politics. Bible prophecy shows us how dangerous this institution is. When it makes a power play like this, we must sit up and pay attention, and recognize the seriousness of the times!