During his first visit to the Baltic Republic of Latvia in 1993, Pope John Paul II declared that the collapse of communism “had something of the miraculous, in which it is difficult not to see the hand of God…in a constant and mysterious dialogue with human freedom.” Yet, in his papal encyclical Centesimus Annus (the centenary), which he delivered but two years earlier, Karol Wojtyla (the Pope) had frowned upon communism’s arch-enemy, capitalism. He stated that this was not a time for the West to gloat, inferring that what he termed a “radical capitalist ideology” was not the appropriate response to the failure of Marxism. “It is unacceptable to say that the defeat of so-called ‘real socialism’ leaves capitalism as the only model of economic organization,” theorized the Pope in the encyclical. Referring to “the good things achieved by communism…the struggle against unemployment, the concern for the poor,” he stated that socialism had “some seeds of truth” that should not be eliminated.
Are these mixed messages from this most political papal personage? Certainly not, based on the history of his past communications. The Catholic Church has long held the view that its own social doctrine offers a better way for the world to order its affairs.
This Pope chooses his words carefully. Expert in numerous tongues, he is only too aware that the content of his regular encyclicals, papal pronouncements and observations on the state of the world are dissected, analyzed and subjected to the closest scrutiny by political analysts around the world.
The most astute of these will surely have highlighted Karol Wojtyla’s declaration, as he traveled through the Baltic countries in 1993: “I myself, after the historical failure of communism, did not hesitate to raise serious doubts on the validity of capitalism…. The situation of exploitation to which an inhumane capitalism had subjected the proletariat since the beginning of industrialized society was indeed an evil which the church’s social teaching also condemned.” During the same trip, the Pope stated that any system that denied “individual dignity” was flawed. Both capitalism and communism had failed in this respect, he declared.
The crux of all of Pope John Paul II’s statements on the world’s political, economic and social systems is found in his frequent efforts, through many of his public statements, to outline a “Third Way,” an alternative to the extremes of communism and capitalism.
The Pope is the last absolute ruler, specifically as a head of state, remaining in Europe. He is the final and ultimate authority on all matters of faith in the Roman Catholic Church, an enterprise which counts almost one billion adherents within its universal parish. When the Pope speaks of “individual dignity” within the terms of the Church’s “social teaching,” these are clearly matters defined in the Roman Catholic dogma over which he holds total sway in interpretation, and a total commitment to educating the world in its tenets.
Yet behind all this is another mind, working in tandem with the Pope as chief guardian of the faith, holding the second most important post in the Vatican —“Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” This is the modern umbrella term adopted by the Roman Catholic Church for the old Vatican “Office of the Holy Inquisition.” This powerful office in the Catholic Church is held by a white-haired, 71-year-old Bavarian career churchman, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
Styled the Panzer Kardinal by the German press, this controversial “Prince of the Church” demonstrates a brilliance of intellect and combative approach in attendance to his duties. Chief confidant and advisor to Pope John Paul II, the two have created a formidable team. In fact, it is the Panzer Kardinal who articulates many of the Pope’s public pronouncements.
Any consideration of a “Third Way,” an alternative socio-economic system to those of classic capitalism and communism, will inculcate the ideas of this German cardinal. Greatly influenced by Augustine from the beginning of his days as a seminarian, Ratzinger’s intellectual inclinations were also shaped by the philosophies of Heidegger, Jaspers, Steinbüchel and Bonaventure. But his social teaching came from studying Joachim of Fiore, Hegel and Marx, against the backdrop of Roman Catholic Social Doctrine. All of these studies appear to have finally solidified in Ratzinger’s mind under the influence of Bonaventure’s Theology of History. Consistent with Bonaventure’s thinking, Ratzinger’s philosophy seems to embrace the prospect of the installation of Paradise in today’s world through the institution of the Catholic Church. “The object of hope is not the better world of the future but eternal life. The expectation of the better world supports no one” (Ratzinger, Salt of the Earth, p. 118).
Of course, such a concept denies scriptural truth, which points toward the closure of the age of man and the ushering in by Jesus Christ of the Kingdom of God on earth. It is precisely the hope of the World Tomorrow, established by and under the direct rule of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, that has motivated that Church which Jesus Christ established, the Church of God (Acts 20:28), for almost two millennia. Unless Jesus Christ returns to this earth to impose His perfect religion, under the perfect millennial government of the Great God Father of the universe, there can be no hope of eternal life! (Isa. 9:6-7). (Write for your free copy of the books Mystery of the Ages and Isaiah’s End-Time Vision for a scriptural explanation of God’s plan for mankind.)
That the Vatican will be the medium through which this “paradise on earth” is established in this day and age is certainly not doubted by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “The church will, in the foreseeable future…be what you could call a complementary movement, if not a counter-movement, with respect to the prevailing world view. At the same time, however, it will prove its necessity and its human legitimacy” (ibid., p. 164).
In this classic interview between German journalist Peter Seewald and Cardinal Ratzinger, one has to search for hints of the real agenda of this master of concealment, and the Polish Pope he serves. Yet, for those who are aware of the front-line role which the Catholic Church will play in events climaxing at the close of this age, the clues are there. “One can probably say that hardly any other institution provokes the world more than the Catholic Church—and strangely, that it provokes even the Western world, which has been shaped by Christian faith and the church. In many respects, however, it says something for the Catholic Church that she still has the power to provoke, that she is a thorn in the side…. This shows that she means something and that you can’t simply pass over her and go about the day’s business” (ibid., p.123).
That the Catholic Church is seen in the papal team’s eyes as vital to the survival of mankind is born out in the Cardinal’s response to Peter Seewald’s question on the Church’s mission for the world. “We can say with certainty backed up by empirical evidence,” Ratzinger said, “that if the ethical power represented by [Catholic] Christianity were suddenly torn out of humanity, mankind would lurch to and fro like a ship rammed against an iceberg, and then the survival of humanity would be in greatest jeopardy” (ibid., p. 227).
Commenting further on the Church’s role as we enter the twenty-first century, “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” (ibid., p. 234). That this authority will emanate from the papacy is certainly fundamental to the Pope’s thinking, as witnessed in his apostolic letter “Tertio Millennio Adventiente,” in which he stressed that “the Church…is able to cover the whole of humanity with her branches.”
Questioned by journalist Seewald on whether the current world economic system can survive, the Panzer Kardinal replied, “It is apparent that in the long run it can’t continue as it is…. We live in a whole network of fictions and contradictions…. This process cannot continue on indefinitely.” Having in mind the farcical situation which developed in America when it became unable to pay its debts in 1996, Ratzinger declared, “Suddenly the state can no longer pay its debts and must close shop, so to speak, and furlough its civil servants, which is a crying contradiction because the state has a responsibility for holding the whole together. The incident has shown in a drastic way that our system contains gross mistakes” (ibid., p. 274).
The Pope sees the year 2000 as a pivotal point in the history of man and the Catholic Church. The apostolic letter “Tertio Millennio Adventiente,” written to the bishops, priests and the faithful in preparation for the “jubilee” year of 2000, declares that year to be a very special “year of grace of the Lord.” In that letter, he further admonishes the Church, declaring that it “cannot cross the threshold of the new millennium without encouraging her children to purify themselves, through repentance of past errors and instances of infidelity, inconsistencies and slowness to act.” Setting the pace, apologies have been forthcoming for the Vatican’s failure to condemn the holocaust during the Nazi era. Galileo has been reprieved as the church publicly removed his status of “persona non-grata.” The Vatican has established a program to publicize and shape both church and public opinion leading up to the year 2000. Two great synods [ecclesiastical councils], a Pan-American and an Asian synod, are planned. The Asian synod will explore how the Catholic Church can penetrate the Asian religions. The pan-American synod will seek to merge the Catholic faith of Latin America with Catholicism in North America.
A radically new relationship to Judaism has been developing over the past decade under this highly political Pope. His prime aid, this quintessential Vatican politician, Joseph Ratzinger, observes, “The star points to Jerusalem. It dies out and dawns anew in the Word of God, in the Holy Scriptures of Israel.” Building on this mystical pronouncement, Ratzinger’s political statement on the Church’s relationship with the Jews is somewhat more pragmatic: “There is no doubt that we must live and reflect on our relation to Judaism in a completely new way, something that, as a matter of fact, is underway. This does not mean that the difference has been removed; in a certain sense we may even experience it more intensely. But it does have to be lived on the basis of reverence for one another and of an interior belonging together. We are on our way to that point” (ibid., p. 247).
As one studies his writings and the public papal pronouncements prepared by Cardinal Ratzinger, as one analyzes his responses to questions in his best-selling book interview of 1985, The Ratzinger Report, his masterful tactics of avoidance and obscurity certainly have to be admired. His brilliance of intellect, eloquence of speech and clever use of the language of diplomacy all combine to yield a strong impression that here is a man who has not just been a popemaker for decades. Here is a power broker extraordinaire—a behind-the-scenes brain who has done much to maneuver the ancient woman of Rome into a position of powerful influence on the world scene, most particularly in shaping the future of Europe.
When asked, “What is the most fascinating thing about being Catholic for you personally?” Ratzinger replied, “The fascinating thing is this great living history into which we enter…that one institution [the Roman Catholic Church] is…preserved in its continuity.”
Grafted into this “great living history,” and in fact a most essential component of it, is the institution of the old Roman Empire. In fact, the history of the Roman Church and the history of that old Roman Empire which rose and fell repeatedly throughout the past 1200 years in Europe are inextricably tied together.
During her well-publicized speech in Chicago in 1997, Margaret Thatcher declared, “It is time to recognize, even in Brussels, that the age of empire has passed.” British author Adrian Hilton, in his startling book The Principality and Power of Europe, challenges Mrs. Thatcher’s conclusion thus: “But has it?… For there is reason to think not only that the papacy is gaining increasing political influence in the world, but that the EC [European Community] may indeed bear a more than shadowy resemblance to a European imperial ideal that has never been entirely forgotten.” Author Hilton observes that the Vatican normally thinks in centuries. “And in John Paul II we have the most political Pope of modern times. It is in the movement towards federalism of the Common Market, with the coming members of Eastern European countries, as well as in the turmoil in the Soviet Union, that the Pope may see the greatest possibility for an increase in Catholic political power since the fall of Napoleon, or since the Counter-Reformation” (op. cit., pp. 16-18, emphasis mine).
As The Trumpet has pointed out in previous articles, the Common Market of Europe, now forming the European Union, was founded and has developed under the direction of Roman Catholic politicians—Robert Schumann and Jean Monet its founding fathers, Paul-Henri Spaark, Konrad Adenauer, and on down to the likes of Jacques Delors and Helmut Kohl—all Christian Democrats, all practicing Catholics. The economics of the European Union have been shaped by Catholic social doctrine. This is profoundly evident in the EU Social Charter and the socialist politics of such as Jacques Delors. As Adrian Hilton observes, “If European federalism triumphs, the EC will indeed be an empire” (ibid.).
Euro-Federalism and the Third Way
In his publication “The Social Order of Tomorrow,” practicing Catholic Otto von Habsburg calls for a “Third Way,” an alternative to traditional capitalism and socialism. The vehicle through which the Third Way will be imposed on the EU member states will be the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). This will be the catalyst that enforces the Third Way on the European Union and establishes it as a Federation of European states—in fact a European empire—under the domination of the ruling financial power in Europe, Germany. As Hans Tietmeyer, governor of the Bundesbank, has stated, “A European currency will lead to member nations transferring their sovereignty over financial and…monetary affairs” (Bernard Connolly, The Rotten Heart of Europe).
Utilizing apocalyptic language, Adrian Hilton opines, “There is no doubt that the European Central Bank defined in Maastricht [the Maastricht Treaty on European Union—1992/96] would be the sort of Beast that would need to override any ‘inconvenient’ oscillating electoral preferences….” Revealing the major influence on the development of the ERM, French President Valerie Giscard d’Estaing observed, “Perhaps when we discussed monetary problems, the spirit of Charlemagne brooded over us” (ibid.).
Paul-Henri Spaak, former Belgian Prime Minister, president of the Consultative Assembly of the Council of Europe from 1949 to 1951, declared “We do not want another committee…. What we want is a man of sufficient stature to hold the allegiance of all people, and to lift us out of the economic morass in which we are now sinking. Send us such a man and, be he god or the devil, we will receive him” (Adrian Hilton, op. cit., p. 19).
The EU cries out for a real leader! A leader of authority who can weld the fractious nations of the Union together so that their combined socio-economic and political strength will be given a common direction. Your Bible says that such a leader will arise. He is called a “beast” in Revelation 17 where we read that ten nations and their leaders are to come under his sway for a short time. “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast” (Rev. 17:12-13).
Prophetic scripture also predicts that a great spiritual leader of a predominant, universal religious body will arise as the primary spiritual influence on a great beast-like economic, political and military power, which will not only dominate Europe, but which will influence total world trade! “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies” (Rev. 18:3). The pieces are in place on the board; the strategy is set. All that remains is for “checkmate” to be called by this great spiritual leader, who will dominate the European political leader. The whole world will stand aghast as the forces which have built the European Union into the power it is today combine, under the twelve-star banner of the Queen of Heaven, to form the final resurrection of that old Roman Empire.
It will be trade within that economic system touted by the Vatican as an alternative to communism and captialism, that empowers the rise of the beast of European Union for a brief moment in time. This is prophesied in the 18th chapter of the book of Revelation. “For the merchants are the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries are all nations deceived” (Rev. 18:23; see also vv. 11, 15). As British author John Laughland comments, “From its inception Europe has been an economic community” (The Tainted Source, p. 145).
Yet it has been a divided economic community, busy in trade across national borders and too often busy at war across the same borders. This verse declares that the spiritual influence which will bind this union together for its slender moment of glory will be “sorceries.” This word comes from the Greek pharmakeia, literally meaning sorcery, witchcraft, deception, seduction. These are all tools of the woman who mounts the economic beast power of Europe as “the great whore that sits upon many waters with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication.”
There is one vital aspect of the Third Way that neither the Pope nor the European House of State have publicized. Perhaps they are not aware of it—or if they are, the reasons that they have not publicized it are obvious. It is the end result which the Third Way has on non-member countries—those who resist or do not qualify for membership in the economic union of Europe. Mr. Hilton puts it this way: “A form of slavery may be imposed…. Financial controls on the restriction of freedoms amount to a more subtle form of slavery—money is power. Those who control the interest rates become the master of the poor—especially if they cannot be removed from power by popular vote.”
The months ahead, leading up to full implementation of the European Monetary Union and the launching of its single currency, the euro, are crucial to the rise of the Euro-beast, that European economic power which will quickly move to fill the vacuum created by the Asian financial meltdown and the impending bankruptcy of the U.S. You need to watch these events and prepare for their impact on your life. Remember God’s admonition to those willing to heed—“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit ways unto the churches” (Rev. 3:22).
It is time to heed and to take action. As our editor-in-chief noted in a recent co-worker letter, “Instead of bringing peace, the Catholic Church is prophesied to play a key role in starting a nuclear World War III!” Crucial to this action of the Catholic Church will be their supervision of the implementation of that Third Way, which will replace traditional capitalism and communism in the coming European Federation.
Write for your free copy of our booklet Nahum: an End-Time Prophecy for Germany, and read of the startling prophecies, at the brink of imminent fulfillment, which will shape the political, economic, religious and social affairs of this world in the years just ahead. More than that, this booklet will give you hope for the glorious future which awaits mankind upon the termination of the brief and cruel rule of the biblical beast and the false prophet, at the coming of the King of kings, the Prince of peace—Jesus Christ—to impose God’s perfect socio-economic system under His government on this earth forever!