Joseph Ratzinger: The Perfect Man for the Job
The world has a new pope. And what a pope he is.
Joseph Ratzinger is now Benedict xvi. The Trumpet has been watching Ratzinger closely for several years. His name first made our magazine in the September-October 1997 issue. There we spoke out about how this Bavarian cardinal had combined with Pope John Paul ii “as a formidable force to limit the voice of the liberal theologians both within the confines of the church and in public discourse.” Ever since John Paul ii appointed him in 1981 to the Vatican’s most powerful office after his own—prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—it was clear the Vatican was serious about rooting liberalism out of Catholicism.
Ratzinger’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (once named the “Roman Congregation of the Inquisition”), we said, “was to prove just as efficient as the old Inquisition in eliminating opposition, as numerous Catholic theologians have found ….”
Indeed, “Ratzinger set himself to disciplining all purveyors of false doctrine. The consummate enforcer,” the Toronto Star wrote. “Under his encouragement, the Vatican adopted policies whereby dissent was forbidden …” (April 20).
Under the Wojtyla-Ratzinger policies, many doctrinally liberal cardinals were removed or reduced in status. The leadership of the Catholic Church in Latin America, for example, was replaced with men who toed the Vatican party line. The pope also appointed conservatives to run what had been liberal churches in numerous other countries such as Australia, India, Austria, Argentina, the Netherlands, Canada and Brazil.
But back then of course, we weren’t necessarily talking in terms of this man actually running the mighty church.
We continued to speak of Ratzinger’s influence in a March-April 1998 article, “The Third Way,” where we detailed some of his philosophies based on a famous interview with journalist Peter Seewald—philosophies that entailed the church’s 21st-century role of saving Christianity from the error of its ways and thus, in Vatican terms, saving greater mankind. Ratzinger stated, “The church must exert herself to bring man to the point where he is up to the challenge of himself, as it were, where he can confront his physical ability with a corresponding moral ability. … It belongs to man’s essence to need authority.”
An Ultraconservative Pope
By the year 2000, as John Paul’s health declined, it became clear to us that—based on Ratzinger’s philosophies and what the Bible prophesied about Catholicism’s future, especially as it tied to a revival of the Roman Empire—a German pope was a real possibility. We began to be bolder in our statements, saying that the next pope would be an archconservative and would bring to fruition some of the most dreadful of end-time prophecies.
Our June 2002 issue stated of the next pope: “Right wing he shall be, doctrinaire will be his mindset.” John Paul ii had increased the Vatican’s political power on the world scene—as witnessed by its hand in the fall of the Communist ussr and more recently the breakup of Yugoslavia. It was clear to us that the next pope would “enforce the spiritual power of the church!”
The ultraconservative German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was obviously the perfect man for the job.
Diplomat and Unifying Figure
Ratzinger was known for years as an archconservative—but also as a charming, diplomatic, even shy man. Immediately upon his election as pope April 19, media commentators were heralding his quiet humility. (Ratzinger himself was quick to point out the same when he called himself “a simple, humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.”) Certainly Ratzinger not only has the right-wing doctrinal beliefs, he has the persona to rally support from his religion’s believers.
As we stated in our last issue, before he became Benedict xvi, Ratzinger toned down his hard-line image by being more reserved in public and even at times issuing liberal statements to soften his persona. “There was a stigma,” we quoted one Vatican insider of Ratzinger. “He rises above that now” (Time, January 10). Comparing his meek persona with his doctrinal rigidity, it’s almost as if already—as the scripture says—he looks “like a lamb,” but his words don’t match that appearance.
We also said the next pope would breathe new life into Catholicism—that he would even rally and unite Protestants back into the Catholic fold.
On this account, Benedict xvi is also the perfect man for job.
One analyst said, of Ratzinger’s influence on the Roman Catholic Church before his papacy, “For the first time, Catholic congregations in the U.S. South are attracting the sort of people who normally would join evangelical denominations.” The analyst wrote, “The popular media have assigned Ratzinger the image of a dour conservative, cracking down on dissenting theologians. Quite the opposite might be the case: As pope, Ratzinger might conceivably become something of a unifying figure in the Christian world” (Asia Times, April 5; emphasis mine throughout).
Looking to Jerusalem
We have also said that the next pope would have his sights set on Jerusalem. Ratzinger was known for statements he made concerning a reconciliation of sorts with the Jews. That reconciliation being, “the moment in which Israel too will say yes to Christ” (Ratzinger, God and the World). In other words, he envisioned the conversion of Jewry to Catholicism! After all, the “star points to Jerusalem,” Ratzinger once wrote (Salt of the Earth).
Watch for this new pope to have a more fervent interest in Israeli politics and affairs surrounding Jerusalem.
Steering Europe’s Destiny
Another description of the next pope that we have been trumpeting for the past several years is that he would be a man intent on shaping the future of Europe—and injecting traditional Roman Christianity back into it.
The Vatican has complained of a “militant secularism” that is “driving the church out of public life in Europe” (bbc News, February 11). Benedict xvi is at the forefront of this concern. Just the week prior to his election as pope, he released a book, Values in Times of Upheaval, arguing that Europe must reclaim its Christian heritage. Last December, he said, “We are in a very grave moment; radical secularism may destroy humanism” (Zenit.org, Dec. 2, 2004). He seems to have just the remedy. As one Vatican insider told Time, “The Ratzinger solution is definitely on” (op. cit.).
If his papal name is any indication, the new pope will certainly work to apply his “solution.” In his first weekly papal audience, on April 27, Ratzinger used the occasion “to express what may become a central theme of his papacy: the Christian roots of Europe” (International Herald Tribune, April 28). In this message, the pope explained why he had chosen the name Benedict, one reason being “the role that St. Benedict of Norcia, the 5th-century founder of the Benedictine order of monks, had on spreading Christianity in Europe” (ibid.). Pope Benedict stated: “He represents a fundamental point of reference for the unity of Europe and a strong reminder of the unrenounceable Christian roots of its culture and civilization.”
We can be certain that the “spread of Christianity on the Continent” will indeed be a priority for Benedict xvi. Seven resurrections of the warmongering Holy Roman Empire are prophesied in chapters 13 and 17 of Revelation—six of which have already occurred (as our free booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire explains). Historically, this empire typically revolved around Germany and the Vatican, along with Italy. The reason this pope is of vital interest is that he will most likely be one of the two most powerful leaders of the seventh resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire—an empire that will thrust the world into a prophesied World War iii! The seventh resurrection—now in the making—will once again revolve around Germany and the Vatican. Now that the first German pope in 10 centuries rules in the Vatican, every indication is that these prophecies will speed to fruition! After all, Benedict xvi is the perfect man for the job.