Benedict’s Papal Crusade
One year after Cardinal Josef Ratzinger was elected pope, the dissident theologian Hans Küng, a former colleague of Ratzinger, was asked by the Italian daily La Stampa for his views on the new pope’s achievements during his first year in office. The aging theologian commented that “the pontiff has proven to be a leader who ‘takes his time and prefers to make small changes that lead to bigger ones.’ But he said that Pope Benedict will continue to surprise observers, with ‘the surprises of a conservative’” (CWNews.com, April 13, 2006).
As Benedict xvi advances toward completing his fourth year in office, he continues to impress with “the surprises of a conservative” as he steadily continues on his unswerving course toward his ultimate goal of uniting Europe under the crusading cross of the religion of Rome. The underlying theme is his crusade for Roman Catholicism to become the singular great moral and spiritual force in the world.
Ever the master diplomat, Benedict set out early in his pontificate to wage a cultural war on four broad fronts: the complete eradication of post-Vatican ii liberalism from the Catholic priesthood; the defense and the revival of Europe’s Catholic heritage in a drive for its dominance over secularism; the rollback of Muslim penetration of Europe; the war against communized pagan societies that resist the church’s global crusade for the universal conversion of mankind to the dogma of Catholicism.
Having made sure and steady progress on each of the four fronts of his cultural war, Benedict has more recently concentrated on making connections between the effects of the global financial and economic crisis and Catholic social doctrine. This is a theme that Benedict raised in the past, in his role as Pope John Paul ii’s right-hand man, in a paper titled “Market Economy and Ethics,” which he produced in 1985.
In that paper, the then-Cardinal Ratzinger posed the argument that there was a direct link between morality and its effect on the market, inferring that if the economic system lacked an ethical foundation based on religion, its effect on the masses would be detrimental and lead to the system’s failure.
Certain observers have dug out that paper and commented on its prescience in relation to the current collapse of the global system. Arguing for a religious foundation as a prerequisite for a successful economic system, Ratzinger posited that “It is becoming an increasingly obvious fact of economic history that the development of economic systems which concentrate on the common good depends on a determinate ethical system, which in turn can be born and sustained only by strong religious convictions. Conversely, it has also become obvious that the decline of such discipline can actually cause the laws of the market to collapse. An economic policy that is ordered not only to the good of the group—indeed, not only to the common good of a determinate state—but to the common good of the family of man demands a maximum of ethical discipline and thus a maximum of religious strength” (“Market Economy and Ethics,” 1985).
A year prior to the great financial crash of September 2008, Pope Benedict twice warned his parishioners that attachment to worldly goods was “for the most part illusory,” inviting the faithful to instead direct themselves to “the heights of heaven.” He then surprisingly zeroed in on a theme that has been largely foreign to Catholic teaching, and certainly not fashionable during the time of his predecessor, John Paul ii: the return of Jesus Christ to this Earth. He declared to the masses that the believer “stays awake and keeps watch so as to be ready to welcome Jesus when He comes in all His glory” (Catholic News Agency, Aug. 12, 2007).
Three months after the crash—in the wash of the turgid global financial turmoil triggered by the collapse of Wall Street, the failure of some of the world’s greatest banking institutions and the increasing exposure of the depth of fraud at the heart of the U.S. financial system—during his annual message for the World Day of Peace, Benedict xvi emphasized the connection between world peace and economic development, arguing that in the global economy, shortsighted pursuit of profit must give way to a system guided by solidarity.
The doctrine of solidarity is foundational to Catholic social dogma. “Solidarity” was the catchphrase of the Vatican/cia-funded religio/political movement that welled up in Poland to drive the wedge under the Iron Curtain that split the Soviet Union asunder and returned Rome’s followers in Eastern and Southern Europe to the Catholic fold. A true student of Catholic dogma and the history of the Catholic Church in relation to its predominant role in the Holy Roman Empire will understand the connections in play here. It was upon Catholic social doctrine that the Vatican established the economic system of the Holy Roman Empire.
Pope Benedict xvi is a keen student of history, an articulate user of the spoken and written word and an astute master of the public relations machinery at his disposal—from weekly homilies he delivers personally, each Sunday, to the masses gathered in St. Peter’s Square, to the use of broadband technology via the Catholic online television station, H20.
Employing all these devices, Benedict is cleverly weaving together, and publicizing, a thesis for the revival of that old, ever resurrecting institution of the Holy Roman Empire through the conjoining of a number of initiatives, pursued tenaciously, with the careful “surprises of a conservative.”
In addition to—indeed integral to—his cultural war on the previously highlighted four fronts, Benedict continues to wage an aggressive campaign for the legal recognition of Sunday as the official day of rest and worship across Europe. Added to this are his public pronouncements in relation to economics and the market that have taken on increasing potency since the market crash of September last year.
In his annual address to the Vatican diplomatic corps, a virtual papal declaration on the state of the world, Benedict zeroed in on the link between poverty and world peace, touching on the theme established in his 1986 paper. The group he addressed consisted of ambassadors representing the 177 nations with which the Vatican has formal diplomatic ties, in addition to special envoys from the European Union, the Russian Federation, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the Knights of Malta. Benedict used the opportunity to stress the linkage between the onset of poverty—already a significant global threat resulting from the ongoing global economic crash—and threats to peace and security.
With an eye to the results of the rapidly rising ranks of the unemployed, in particular within the United States, Benedict noted that the number of the poor is increasing even within rich countries. In the spirit of his 1985 treatise on the market economy and ethics, the pope declared that a healthy secular society “‘does not ignore the spiritual dimension,’ but recognizes that religion is ‘not an obstacle but rather a solid foundation for the building of a more just and free society’” (CWNews.com, January 8).
No doubt with an eye to the technology the Vatican now has at its disposal, Benedict went on to state that, within the spirit of that which he termed the church’s “missionary impulse,” the gospel according to Rome “must be proclaimed from the rooftops, to the ends of the Earth.” That is crusading language that has to stick in the craw of every competing religionist who espouses a gospel other than that of Rome, especially Islamist crusaders and those secularists who increasingly find themselves fighting on the back foot to resist the Vatican’s steady incursion into European society.
What most commentators miss in Benedict’s rising rhetoric connecting the present global crisis to the lack of a religious base for the global economy is just how carefully this pope is laying the foundation for the release of one of his most important encyclicals. So vital is this papal declaration viewed by Benedict that he has rejected three drafts and has currently ordered a fourth draft to be prepared. This will be the pope’s “most important treatise of all, a social encyclical relating Catholic social dogma to the current global crisis” (ibid., Dec. 5, 2008).
This is an important document that will be worthy of close analysis when it finally reaches papal approval and publishing in the near future. It has special significance for students of Bible prophecy. A study of Revelation 13 and 17 will show the reason why. If you cannot see the connection between those powerful prophecies for our time and the pope’s crusading theme for these times, you need to urgently consider a deep study of our booklet Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast? It contains information vital to the effective understanding of events happening in this world today that connect the current global economic crisis with events already in play in Rome, Berlin, Washington, London and the ancient city of Jerusalem!
Watch carefully for the impending release of that which cwn describes as Pope Benedict xvi’s “most important treatise of all.” It will truly contain a powerful crusading message of which the whole world should be made aware!