Get Ready for Pope TV

From the May 2007 Trumpet Print Edition

Daily and nightly, the mass media shout headline stories about the spreading influence of pan-Islamism. Daily and nightly the public is indoctrinated with the idea that the spread of the Islamic religion, in its various forms and factions, especially in its most extravagant forms of extremism, is about to overtake Western civilization.

The media are wrong.

While so many fixate on the rise of Islamism, another major religion is rapidly gaining ground in terms of its appeal to youth in particular, and, more worryingly, its political clout.

The plain fact to which Western media have yet to awaken is that secularism is becoming passé. The liberal socialism that morphed out of a combine of godless German rationalism, child of the 18th-century period that historians label the Enlightenment, and its clone, godless communism, so long the mentor of our campus intelligentsia, is on the back foot. Religion of an older, traditional form is increasingly returning to fashion.

The arm-waving, foot-stomping, stupefyingly hyped-up emotionalism of so much of the evangelical Protestant movement that captivated a generation in Anglo-America seeking to fill the spiritual gap left by the three decades of experiments in social engineering during the 1960s through the ’80s has had its day. A powerful force is rising across the Atlantic, destined to pale all religious competition into relative insignificance. It is centered around a highly intelligent and articulate personality holding an office of increasing political significance. It has a collective budget and assets that make it the richest institution in the world. It has greater command of media than any single one of its competitors. It is the mother of all Christian religions.

In March, our news bureau noted a record number of incoming stories on current events involving the Vatican. Also in March, Pope Benedict xvi commented publicly on the power of the mass media to move the masses. Publicity and mass communication are so important to the Vatican that it has a high-profile department specifically devoted to its effective exploitation, the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

“Speaking on the theme of this year’s plenary meeting for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications—the role of the media in the formation of young people—the pontiff said that the media have a grave responsibility for the attitudes they foster among youth. The proper education of children, he said, can be enhanced by the mass media ‘only to the extent that they promote fundamental human dignity, the true value of marriage and family life, and the positive achievements and goals of humanity’” (cwnews.com, March 9).

Having witnessed the powerful influence of Nazi propaganda during his days as a member of the Hitler Youth, Pope Benedict xvi is well aware of the mind-controlling power of effective communications psychology. Under John Paul ii, and now Benedict xvi, hundreds of thousands of youth have turned out at the annual Roman Catholic youth festivals. The pope knows that herein lies the future of the effort of the church to captivate and hold the minds of the upcoming generation—and the future of Roman Catholicism.

“During his Friday audience the pope took note of the important changes in the media industry, including the rising power of the electronic media and the waning influence of print. He pointed to the concentration of media ownership as a matter for concern, and the spread of the Internet, which ‘has opened up a world of knowledge and learning that previously for many could only be accessed with difficulty, if at all’” (ibid.).

Despite the nightly impression given that news of Islamic religious fervor dominates the mass media in the West, the figures tell a different story. The Vatican is winning the religious media war hands down! From the time of the record-breaking audiences that tuned in to see Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger conduct Pope John Paul ii’s funeral, to the massive media coverage of his investiture as Pope Benedict xvi, the small, slight figure of this Bavarian pope has become the most recognizable of personalities across the globe. Pope Benedict xvi enjoyed total audiences in 2006 greater than the annual audiences of any single previous pope, and far greater than any other single religious leader in history!

What makes the Vatican’s dominance of the mass media most intriguing is where it is all leading.

The Vatican’s Media Offensive

Pope Benedict xvi is rapidly seizing the initiative across the Atlantic in a determined effort to ensure that the secular materialistic liberalism destroying the moral fiber of Anglo-American society is arrested on the continent of Europe.

Benedict sees clearly that the power of the British and American peoples is rapidly waning. He sees their increasing lack of political will. He witnesses the sham of their pseudo-religiosity. He perceives their youth to be directionless, their minds increasingly perverted and exploited by a multiplicity of forces that are both character- and soul-destroying. And he sees the power of the primary force that is bending their minds: the power of mass media, via the music, film, video, Web-based and telephonic sources so freely placed at their disposal.

Witnessing this denigrating effect of the media-driven attack on the morals of Western society, in particular its youth, Benedict has taken up the challenge to stem the evil tide from overflowing his European pastorate. Even before he gained the papal crown, Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, railed against that child of Anglo-American sub-culture that has had such deep effect on the morality of Western youth. In his book The Spirit of the Liturgy, published in 2000, he declared that “‘Rock’ [music] … is the expression of elemental passions, and at rock festivals it assumes a cultic character, a form of worship, in fact, in opposition to Christian worship. People are, so to speak, released from themselves by the experience of being part of a crowd and by the emotional shock of rhythm, noise and special lighting effects. However, in the ecstasy of having all their defenses torn down, the participants sink, as it were, beneath the elemental force of the universe.”

Two years later, in an observation on the spiritual and moral state of Western society at large, Ratzinger said, “It is true that the Muslim world is not totally mistaken when it reproaches the West of Christian tradition of moral decadence and the manipulation of human life” (Zenit, March 3, 2002).

Then, shortly before ascending the papal throne, commenting on the spiritual challenge that the Vatican faced in respect of the European Union, Ratzinger wrote, “In the hour of its greatest success, Europe seems to have become empty inside, paralyzed by a life-threatening crisis to its health and dependent on transplants” (Values in a Time of Upheaval, 2005).

During a 2005 mass one month before becoming pope, in a declarative statement about even the moral decline in the condition of the Catholic Church itself resulting from the impact of “liberation theology,” Ratzinger exclaimed, “How much filth there is in the church, even among those who, in the priesthood, should belong entirely to Him. How much pride, how much self-sufficiency!”

That same year, during an interview with a German journalist, Ratzinger officially declared war on the secularism that he sees as the root cause for the evils of a society in moral decline: “There really is an ideological, secular aggressiveness that gives cause to worry. … Laicism [secularism] is not any longer that element of neutrality that opens fields of freedom for everybody. It’s now turning into an ideology, which—with the help of politics—forces itself into the public and leaves no space for the Christian and Catholic conception—thereby turning it into a merely private and essentially mutilated concern. In this sense, a fight has really begun in which we have to defend the religious freedom against the pretension of an ideology that acts as if it were the only voice of reason—whereas it is only the expression of ‘a certain’ rationalism. … A society that is not at all concerned with God destroys itself. We saw that in the totalitarian experiments of the last century” (Die Welt, April 20, 2005).

Of the fact that Benedict is up to the fight, there can be no doubt. He proved that by his tenacious rooting out of liberation theologians during his term in office as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the ancient office of the Inquisition, now with its sanitized, politically correct name), under the papacy of John Paul ii. Now he has revealed that he will meet the mass media industry head on in the quest for the moral high ground globally!

With Pope Benedict having just roundly challenged the mass media to change their largely destructive tune—destructive of basic family values and all that he sees as being fundamental to a good, “Christian and Catholic conception” of society—the Vatican announced March 12 that it will go on the offensive in the media war. The pope is about to build a global television audience to add to the rapidly growing global Web-based audience currently attracted to the Vatican’s well-developed online portal. The Vatican is on the verge of launching not just its own television station, but a global television network! With the call sign h2o, the network is due to be launched by the end of the year, offering a mix of news and original entertainment in seven languages.

The timing could not be better. Figures recently released indicate that “Christian” soft rock music now outsells all other forms of rock music combined. Not only that, Hollywood is on a binge of producing a plethora of films on pseudo-religious themes. That much of the content of these films bears no real resemblance to the inerrancy of revealed Scripture matters little to Hollywood producers. What matters is that they have discovered that religion is back in fashion as a form of entertainment. Religion sells, no matter whether or not it depicts the truth. Even better if it doesn’t—like The Da Vinci Code. It’s the box office bottom line that counts!

So! Right at the juncture that the masses are clamoring to get religion, at least in its form as entertainment, Benedict xvi is about to go global with the Vatican’s own brand of religious entertainment via its own global television network.

Take our word for it or not, the day will soon dawn when that network will air shows of a nature that will leave the public absolutely spellbound! In time to come, the Vatican will produce religious entertainment that will make Hollywood box-office hits on religious themes look more like Disney cartoons by comparison. The visions coming down the tube from Vatican-networked tv will literally hypnotize their global audience with their out-of-this-world, mind-shattering imagery.

Believe it or not, Bible prophecy declares it will be so!

Read Revelation 13:13 in your own Bible. It’s a real show stopper! In time to come when you witness that event, broadcast around the world via globally networked television, remember where you read that it would one day become a reality. It just may mean that by remembering, you may then be able to do something positive and life-changing in light of the impending consequences of those startling events!