The ‘Nuclear’ Memo That Could Bring Down Pope Francis

Pope Francis
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The ‘Nuclear’ Memo That Could Bring Down Pope Francis

The Vatican is engulfed in crisis, again. Will we soon see a new pope?

The Catholic Church is facing its biggest crisis in centuries. The scandal took a dramatic turn over the weekend and is now engulfing the pope himself.

The present scandal began a fortnight ago with the release of a 1,400-page grand jury report accusing 300 Catholic priests in Pennsylvania of abusing children over a period of 70 years. The report was the result of an extensive investigation and disclosed the abuse of 1,000 children. The “real number” of abuses, according to the report, was “in the thousands.”

The report is painful to read. It documents the abuse of innocent children, some as young as 18 months, as well as the long-term effects of the abuse on the victims. Scarred by their interaction with a Catholic priest or nun, several turned to drugs, even suicide, to escape the trauma.

But there is another alarming dimension to the Pennsylvania report. The investigation revealed that several Catholic priests and church officials were aware of the abuse and covered up the crime. “The pattern was abuse, deny and cover up,” said Pennsylvania’s Attorney General Josh Shapiro. This was part of a “systematic cover-up by senior church officials” (emphasis added throughout). The grand jury report shows that some of the highest figures in the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania knew about the abuse and did nothing. Some actually protected the abusers.

Yesterday we learned just how high the cover-up goes.

In an 11-page testimonial, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Vatican ambassador to the United States, revealed that he had informed Pope Francis about a prominent priest accused of sexual abuse. When Pope Francis heard the news, said Viganò, he did nothing.

Viganò revealed that he had spoken with Pope Francis in 2013 about Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a former archbishop of Washington. In his letter, Viganò said that he had warned the pope about McCarrick’s behavior and also informed him of an order that Pope Benedict xvi had given McCarrick to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance. “He knew from at least June 23, 2013, that McCarrick was a serial predator,” wrote Archbishop Viganò. “He knew that he was a corrupt man, [but] he covered for him to the bitter end.”

Viganò also recalled how he told Pope Francis that McCarrick “had corrupted generations of seminarians and priests.” The pope listened, wrote Viganò, but “did not make the slightest comment about those very grave words of mine and did not show any expression of surprise on his face, as if he had already known the matter for some time, and he immediately changed the subject.”

Archbishop Viganò has called on the pope to resign. “In this extremely dramatic moment for the universal church, he must acknowledge his mistakes and, in keeping with the proclaimed principle of zero tolerance, Pope Francis must be the first to set a good example to cardinals and bishops who covered up McCarrick’s abuses and resign along with all of them,” he wrote.

Yesterday’s announcement marks a stunning development in the sexual-abuse scandal enveloping the Catholic Church. Veteran Vatican journalist Rocco Palmo wrote that Viganò’s memo “can only be described as ‘nuclear,’ to say nothing of fresh fuel for the burgeoning crisis.”

Palmo said that even before this memo, “several key U.S. prelates” had privately told him that “the coming storm was already ‘worse than 2002—because this time, it’s about the bishops.’”

Journalist Damian Thompson has covered the Catholic Church for years and recognizes a genuine crisis. Thompson wrote in the Spectator today:

It is very hard to overstate the gravity of the crisis facing the pope and members of the senior hierarchy of the United States today. They have been implicated in an alleged conspiracy to protect a sex criminal.

The charges made by Viganò are so extensive, and so serious, that legal proceedings arising from them are likely to be on a gigantic scale—and will take years rather than months to address.

Long before they are concluded, there is a strong possibility that the pontificate of Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Argentinian who took the name of Pope Francis, will have come to a spectacular and disastrous end.

As shocking as this revelation about Pope Francis is, it isn’t surprising.

In Australia, Cardinal George Pell, the head of Vatican’s finances and a papal adviser selected by the pope himself, is currently standing trial for “multiple historical sexual offenses.” Pell has already been found complicit in a cover-up of sexual abuse by the Australian Royal Commission Into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

In a strange twist of fate, yesterday’s news broke just as the pope was visiting Ireland, a nation still reeling from its own abuse revelations. In 2009, after a nine-year investigation, a report published by Ireland’s Commission to Inquire Into Child Abuse revealed that “sexual abuse was endemic in boys’ institutions” run by the Catholic Church. The 2009 report caused a major shift in Ireland’s relations with the Catholic Church. (This was apparent yesterday; the turnout for mass in Phoenix Park was 50 percent less than expected.)

What happens now? Will Pope Francis resign? Will a new pope be elected? Will he be replaced by his predecessor, Pope Benedict xvi? These are now pertinent questions. Perhaps more significantly, where does the Vatican and the Catholic Church go from here? These crimes, the behavior of the pope, and the ensuing scandal will no doubt further damage the reputation of Catholic leaders and perhaps even the religion itself.

We must pay attention to this story. Both history and Bible prophecy show that changes of this magnitude inside the Vatican and Catholic Church are extremely significant. Historically, the Vatican has been a powerful force in international relations and world politics. Popes often have the power to make and break kings and governments. When the pope speaks, hundreds of millions listen and respond. This means that the character, personality and ambitions of the pope and his inner circle matter—not just to Catholics, but to all nations and peoples and cultures.

Bible prophecy does not tell us who the next pope will be. It does, however, provide a lot of insight into the future of the Catholic Church and the Vatican. Prophecies in Isaiah 47 and Revelation 17 reveal that the Vatican in the end time will be a powerful and influential force in world events, especially in the unification of Europe. Catholicism will be the primary spiritual influence behind the now-forming Holy Roman Empire.

In April 2005, the Trumpet’s editor in chief explained how the Bible describes the pope who will be on the scene just prior to the return of Christ. He is “going to strengthen this church-state [Catholic-Europe] bond,” wrote Mr. Flurry.

In fact, he will come to actually guide European affairs in a powerful way! European leaders will soon realize that if they want to be in power, they will have to gain the support of the pope. They will actually become subservient to him. This is what the Bible prophesies.

This infusion of religion into European affairs is the missing ingredient that will vault the Continent to superpower prominence.

As prophetically significant as his pontificate has been, Pope Francis has not filled this role. Bible prophecy indicates that the final pope is likely to be conservative and traditional. He will be assertive and aggressive, even imperialistic. He won’t be afraid to tackle sensitive issues or to involve himself with geopolitics, especially politics in Europe. He is going to strike fear into his enemies.

As Pope Francis flounders, you have to wonder: Is the final pope about to appear?

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Vatican Accused of Sex-Abuse Cover-up and Germany Continues Opposing America

Vatican Accused of Sex-Abuse Cover-up and Germany Continues Opposing America

Listen to the August 27, 2018, episode of the Trumpet Daily Radio Show.

Yesterday the former Vatican ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, said that he personally told Pope Francis about a prominent priest accused of sexual abuse. The pope, he said, did nothing. On today’s show, I talk about the recent sex-abuse scandals that are rocking the Catholic Church, as well as other stories like the deterioration of the U.S.-German alliance, U.S. President Donald Trump’s battle against the media, and more on the situation in South Africa.

Subscribe to the Trumpet Daily Radio Show on iTunes, RSS or Stitcher.

Download past episodes here.

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Tonga Declares ‘Debt Distress’ as China Gains Leverage

Chinese President Xi Jinping invites King Tupou VI to view an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony inside the Great Hall of the People on March 1, 2018 in Beijing, China.
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Tonga Declares ‘Debt Distress’ as China Gains Leverage

Tonga’s inability to repay Chinese lenders revives fears of ‘debt colonialism.’

Tongan Prime Minister ʻAkilisi Pōhiva warned that the nation is in “debt distress” on August 15, as its total loans from China have risen and now equate to more than a quarter of its gross domestic product.

The Kingdom of Tonga is a small country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean consisting of more than 170 islands. It now owes China $116 million, equivalent to more than the total goods and services generated over three months by the islands’ 109,000 inhabitants.

Tonga began official relations with China nearly 20 years ago on Nov. 2, 1998, as part of its “Look East Policy.” During the formal ceremony, the flag of Communist China was raised at the king’s palace in Tonga. Simultaneously, the Taiwanese Embassy, less than a mile away, lowered its national flag as relations between Tonga and Taiwan came to an end after 26 years.

China has steadily pressured other nations to recognize its supremacy over the free democracy of Taiwan. Three more nations have cut ties with Taiwan this year alone, and only 17 nations continue to recognize Taiwan. Several of them have indicated they could follow suit to appease China’s ruling Communist Party.

Much of Tonga’s huge debt to China began after the November 2006 riots in the central business district of its capital, Nuku’alofa. China continued to supply Tonga with millions of dollars in an effort to improve and stimulate its economy, and Tonga’s indebtedness to China only increased.

In March of this year, Tongan King Tupou vi visited Chinese President Xi Jinping and held talks aimed at improving Tongan-Chinese relations. He stated, “Tonga agrees with China on its vision to build a new type of international relations and stands ready to work with China to build a community with a shared future for mankind.”

Despite China’s claims to “never attach any political conditions to such assistance,” fears have risen in Tonga. With the country now in “debt distress,” many fear that this could lead to “debt colonialism,” widening China’s strategic aims in the South Pacific, particularly militarily.

Pōhiva has raised concern that China may seize Tongan assets if the country defaults on its repayments and has called for China to write off debts owed by Pacific Island nations.

Are Tonga’s fears legitimate? What has China done in the South Pacific so far?

Since 2006, China has given approximately $1.8 billion to South Pacific countries. And when these small nations have been unable to repay, it has used its leverage to advance its military goals.

We saw this happen in Sri Lanka. With the gift of more and more money and support to the Sri Lankan people came the increase of Chinese investment and influence, eventually enabling it to secure an interest in the strategically located country.

Another example is Vanuatu. With the aid of China’s $244 million, Vanuatu now possesses the largest wharf in the South Pacific, a wharf believed to be large enough to dock aircraft carriers.

Even if China declared that it would write off all of Tonga’s debt, it will not be without some benefit to China.

This is a pattern that the Trumpet has been warning about for years. Tonga is only next on the list as China continues its expansion—and it definitely won’t be the last.

Russia and China in Prophecy states: “China is the world’s hungry teenager. In order to fill these colossal cravings, Beijing has launched an extraordinary outreach program into the rest of the world. … Beijing is making a ‘resource grab’ wherever it can, creating economic alliances to fund its global ambitions of becoming a superpower.”

This trend is clearly prophesied throughout the Bible. We wrote in “Why the Trumpet Watches the Rise of China As a Superpower”:

Chapters 22 and 23 of Isaiah discuss a powerful “mart of nations” (Isaiah 23:3) that includes both European and Asian nations. Isaiah 23:1 shows that Chittim—an ancient name referring to modern China—is a major part of this economic alliance. …

These chapters in Isaiah, along with other Bible passages, make evident that this “mart of nations” will soon dominate global trade for a short period of time—at America’s expense.

These prophecies are why the Trumpet watches China’s rise so closely!

China’s influence throughout the world is prophesied to increase. Tonga will not be the last one on the list to fall under the control of this rising superpower.

To read more about this trend, order our free booklet Russia and China in Prophecy.

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United Nations Suggests Deploying Peacekeepers to Israel


United Nations Suggests Deploying Peacekeepers to Israel

UN secretary general calls for international force to keep peace between Israel and Palestinians.

United Nations Secretary General António Guterres suggested on August 17 that a peacekeeping force could be deployed to Israel to protect Palestinians. His report follows a June resolution by the UN General Assembly calling for “the safety, protection and well-being of the Palestinian civilian population under Israeli occupation, including … recommendations regarding an international protection mechanism.” Guterres was then tasked with creating that “international protection mechanism.”

Guterres suggested four general courses of action: providing a “more robust UN presence on the ground”; giving Gaza more UN humanitarian and development aid to “ensure the well-being of the population”; increasing the UN civilian observer presence in the region to help report on any hostilities; and deploying a military or police force with a mandate to protect Palestinian civilians. Such an action would require a vote by the Security Council, which the United States could veto.

This isn’t the first appeal made for a peacekeeping force to take control on the Israeli border. In May, the Arab League called for an international protection force for the Palestinians and an investigation of “savage crimes committed by the Israeli forces with the backing of the U.S. administration.” Although the U.S. and Israel are sure to oppose and block these appeals for international forces on Israeli soil, support for the idea is clearly growing among other countries.

The Gaza-Israel border has seen months of violence sparked by Hamas. Since protests began in late March, 171 Palestinians, many of whom were Hamas operatives, have been killed in clashes with Israeli troops defending the border. While the international media largely blames Israel, the Israel Defense Forces says that it has only been responding to Palestinian aggression.

Guterres said that in order for any of his proposals to succeed, both parties must cooperate. While the Palestinians would welcome an international force tasked with defending them, Israelis see international troops in the Holy Land as an attempt to legitimize the Palestinians’ claim to the land.

However, Bible prophecy states that in the near future the State of Israel, the modern descendant of the biblical tribe of Judah, will invite a foreign peacekeeping presence into Israel.

Prophecies in the book of Hosea show that Israel will go to Germany for assistance. Israel has already established military and security connections with Germany. Since the Germans have good relations with both Israel and Palestinians, they are in an ideal position to oversee such an agreement. An example of Germany’s ability to work with both sides was a prisoner swap it started to facilitate between Israel and Hamas in July.

For more on Germany’s future involvement in Israel, please read Jerusalem in Prophecy, by Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry.

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This Week: Five Events You Need to Know (August 25)

This Week: Five Events You Need to Know (August 25)

China preps for war, Russia expands arsenal for space war, Syria’s future, and more

Here are five of the most important news stories this week, as well as relevant links to the full articles and videos here on

Pentagon: China Is ‘Building a More Capable People’s Liberation Army’

China is advancing its capability to strike United States targets and the island of Taiwan, according to the Pentagon’s latest annual report to Congress about “the current and probable future course” of the Chinese military, released August 16.

China has “continued to advance an ambitious agenda of military modernization and organizational reforms,” the report said. The current reforms are actually “the most comprehensive restructuring of forces in its history to fundamentally change the way Chinese forces fight.”

This is the trajectory prophesied in the Bible for China. Our article “Why the Trumpet Watches the Rise of China As a Superpower” explains this trend in detail.

Russian Satellite May Have Potential to ‘Bring the World’s Economy to Its Knees’

Russia has a new satellite which is “small,” “nimble” and “has the potential to bring the world’s economy to its knees,” News Corps Australia said on August 16. Its behavior is “abnormal” and “inconsistent with anything seen before,” the United States State Department’s Yleem Poblete told a United Nations conference on August 14.

Russia’s new anti-satellite technology is setting the stage for a global war prophesied in the biblical books of Ezekiel, Daniel, Matthew and Revelation.

America’s Merchant Marine Fleet Is Almost Gone

The United States is experiencing a “decline in the numbers of qualified merchant mariners, the workforce required to deliver U.S. Forces to war,” Air Force Gen. Darren McDew told a Senate panel earlier this year. “If the fleet continues to lose ships, a lengthy, mass deployment on the scale of Desert Shield/Desert Storm could eventually require U.S. forces to rely on foreign-flagged ships for sustainment.”

Experts are warning that America’s weakness in commercial shipping is the nation’s Achilles’ heel.

Racially Motivated Crimes Increase in Italy

In the two months since its new government formed, Italy has experienced a dramatic increase in racially motivated crimes, France 24 reported earlier this month. According to Ludmila Acone, a historian and researcher at Pantheon-Sorbonne University in Paris, racist attacks have become “part of everyday life.”

These racially motivated attacks are directly related to Europe’s illegal immigration crisis.

“Europe’s greatest need right now is leadership,” wrote Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry. “Europe’s refugee crisis is bringing this question to the forefront, a question Herbert W. Armstrong first asked more than 80 years ago: Who will be the strongman of Europe? Europe clearly needs a leader with vision, a leader able to confront these epic problems.”

Bible prophecy says such a leader will soon be on the scene!

The Iran-Syria Relationship Is Fracturing

United States National Security Adviser John Bolton said on August 19 that, based on recent discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s and Iran’s interests in Syria were not the same anymore. He also said that the Russians were open to looking at ways to push Iranian forces out of Syria.

“I think [the Russians] frenetic diplomatic activity in Europe indicates that they’d like to find somebody else, for example, to bear the cost of reconstructing Syria, which they may or may not succeed in doing.”

This development lines up perfectly with what Bible prophecy indicates: Iran will no longer be the dominant influence in Syria; it will eventually be pushed out or leave. And a German-led Europe will replace Iran in dominating Syria.

“This Week” appears every weekend. To receive an update on our latest stories in your inbox ahead of time every Friday afternoon, subscribe to the Trumpet Brief daily e-mail. Sign up by clicking here or by visiting home page.

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Week in Review: German ‘Counterweight’ to U.S., China Undermines Iran Sanctions, Trump to Reward Palestinians?, and Much More

Heiko Maas, Foreign Minister, speaks at a press conference at Villa Borsig.
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Week in Review: German ‘Counterweight’ to U.S., China Undermines Iran Sanctions, Trump to Reward Palestinians?, and Much More

Show Notes

  • Germany’s foreign minister laid out a radical shift in Germany’s foreign policy: declaring independence from the U.S. and serving as a “counterweight” to America’s global influence.
  • China is seeking to undermine America’s sanctions against Iran by continuing to buy Iranian oil and safeguarding the shipments by using Iranian shipping vessels.
  • China also scored a victory in its effort to absorb Taiwan by convincing El Salvador to cut diplomatic ties and to open the door for another Chinese port in Central America.
  • President Donald Trump said this week that in Mideast peace talks, “Israel will have to pay a higher price” because of America moving its embassy to Jerusalem. He also said that the Palestinians “will get something very good, because it’s their turn next.”
  • We’ll also talk about Hurricane Lane threatening Hawaii, Russia’s largest military exercises since the Cold War, Germany’s booming export industry, and the debate over land seizures in South Africa.