Is the Vatican a Bastion of Family Values?

Not nearly as much as millions believe.
From the May 2010 Trumpet Print Edition

In an age where marriage and family are under vicious and unrelenting assault, the Roman Catholic Church’s zealous crusade in defense of these institutions appears impressive and praiseworthy.

On February 1, for example, Pope Benedict xvi tore into liberal politicians in Britain for trying to pass legislation that supposedly would protect homosexuals from discrimination. During a speech before 35 Catholic bishops from England and Wales, Benedict lambasted the immoral legislation and urged the bishops to work together to oppose it with “missionary zeal.”

One week later, the pope lectured the Pontifical Council for the Family on the importance of marriage to the wellbeing of children. “The family founded on marriage between a man and a woman is the greatest help that can be given to children,” he said. “Supporting the family and promoting its true good, its rights, its unity and stability is the best way to protect the rights and the real needs of children.” Four days later, Benedict reiterated this theme during a meeting with bishops visiting from Romania and Moldova. “The blossoming of priestly and religious vocations depends in good part on the moral and religious health of the Christian family,” Benedict stated (emphasis mine throughout).

To the conservative observer living amid an onslaught of moral relativism and liberalism, the Vatican’s willingness to tackle issues such as homosexuality, same-sex marriage and abortion is refreshing and reassuring. But there is a problem with this perception. It’s misleading.

As the pedophile scandal that has recently engulfed the Catholic Church reveals, this institution simply is not the bastion of traditional family values that millions believe it to be.

Leaking Hypocrisy

Pope Benedict xvi conducted two days of meetings with 24 bishops from Ireland in February. The topic of discussion was the sex scandal plaguing the Catholic Church in Ireland, details of which emerged last November with the release of the now infamous Murphy Report. Published by the Irish government, the three-volume report revealed an abominable tale of decades of physical and sexual abuse against children by Catholic clergy—and the plot to conceal the heinous offenses by a multitude of high-ranking Catholic officials.

Of course, this was merely another chapter in a sordid saga. The previous exposure of this problem that has long dogged the church occurred in 2002. At that time, Pope John Paul ii was forced to meet with church leaders in the United States after dozens of stories surfaced showing that pedophile priests had been at work for decades in congregations across the country.

As it turned out, the decision to discuss the Irish scandal publicly opened the floodgates for a gush of victims across Europe, and the world, to “open up” about their abuse at the hands of perverted Catholic priests. By April, the scandal had turned into a full-blown crisis that began to engulf the entire church, including Pope Benedict and the Vatican.

In Germany, reports surfaced of hundreds of children being sexually abused by more than 100 priests and Catholic lay members. “After years of suppression,” Spiegel wrote, “the wall of silence appears to be crumbling” (February 8). Even the pope himself became embroiled in the crisis in Germany when it emerged that a priest known to be abusive had worked in a Munich diocese in the 1980s while Benedict was archbishop there. In April, when the Catholic Church initiated a phone hotline in Germany—via which victims could report crimes and seek counseling—it reportedly melted down after being overwhelmed with calls.

As victims emerged from the woodwork in Germany, hundreds of others began coming forward elsewhere in Europe—in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and Norway. Soon the church’s reputation became a question of fierce international debate as media outlets, religious pundits and ordinary citizens weighed in on the rapidly unraveling scandal. “The child sex-abuse scandal in the Catholic priesthood—and the worldwide cover-up that seems, at least indirectly, to have involved Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before he was elevated to the papacy—has embarrassed the Catholic Church and angered parishioners,” noted Newsweek (March 30).

As the crisis exploded and reports continued to surface of abuses being habitually covered up by Catholic authorities, criticism against the church and the Vatican intensified. Some even began to demand Benedict’s resignation. In America, the National Catholic Reporter demanded the “Holy father … directly answer questions, in a credible forum, about his role” in the cover-up of reports of the sexual abuse of children when he was archbishop of the Munich diocese (1977-82) and as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1982-2005).

Pope Benedict xvi has reached a crossroads, veteran Vatican journalist Marco Politi told the New York Times. “What’s extraordinary is that the scandal has reached the heart of the center of the church. Up to now it was far away—in the States, in Canada, in Brazil, in Australia. Then it came to Europe, to Ireland. Then it came to [Germany]. Then it came to his diocese, and now it’s coming to the heart of the government of thechurchand he has to give an answer,” he said (March 25).

The Vatican’s Answer

Though Catholic leaders delivered the requisite public apologies and statements to the abuse victims, their general reaction has been calculated and stolid.

When Benedict learned of the findings of the Murphy Report in Ireland, he reacted with surprise and disgust. In a press statement last December, he said he shared the “outrage, betrayal and shame felt by so many of the faithful in Ireland.” In March, he issued a letter in which he stated to victims in Ireland, “You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry.”

As the pool of victims got deeper, Benedict and the Vatican continued to issue statements and deliver public prayers empathizing with the pain and suffering of the victims. But many observers remained unconvinced of the Vatican’s repentance. Regarding the talks between Benedict and his Irish cardinals in February, Mike Ion observed in the Guardian that they were at best missed opportunity and at worst a mere public relations exercise” (February 17).

The truth in this assessment is evident if you read the Vatican’s official statement released after the meeting. Though the document possessed enough of a tone of grief to speak to the widespread demand that the Vatican voice a stronger opinion on this issue, it was nothing more than platitudes. The Vatican was careful not to admit an iota of complicity. The self-serving statement was actually written to distance the Vatican from the despicable conduct of its representatives in Dublin.

Take this little bromide: “Together they [Benedict and the Irish bishops] examined the failure of Irish church authorities for many years to act effectively in dealing with cases involving the sexual abuse of young people ….” Of course “Irish church authorities” failed to deal with these heinous crimes—but what about the Vatican’sfailure to investigate the disgusting stories that dripped for years out of Ireland?

As the scandal widened to include victims in Germany and beyond, Benedict and the Vatican reacted in much the same way. While it issued sweet-sounding words of empathy and comfort to the victims of abuse, and even some strong condemnation of the abusing priests, the Vatican never explicitly recognized and apologized for its own culpability.

Put simply, the Vatican has yet to show itself truly repentant!

Slow to Act

As the crisis continues, objective viewers are realizing that few if any sincere and tangible acts of repentance are coming from the Vatican. Pope Benedict possesses many of the tools required to purge the sexual deviates from the church’s midst. The Vatican has the intelligence infrastructure to lead robust, efficient and transparent investigations into allegations of sex abuse when they arise. Instead of merely condemning perverted priests, or retiring them, or transferring them to another parish, Benedict could severely punish them. More importantly, as the ultimate authority in the Catholic Church, Benedict can enact policies that would protect his flock from such ravenous wolves.

Yet the Vatican has been slow in each and every one of these actions!

Supporters of the Vatican argue that Benedict’s reach into Catholic congregations in countries like Ireland, America and Germany is limited. We are told that most dioceses are largely independent of the Vatican and operate with little direction and assistance from headquarters. Don’t buy it. Since he became pope in 2005, Benedict has proven remarkably adept at tackling national politicians and policies that don’t gel with Catholic doctrine or Vatican ambition. Throughout its history, the Vatican has proven itself willing and capable of bringing down governments, shaping national policies, destroying careers, and confronting and undermining competing religions and ideologies.

Moreover, if the Vatican really wanted to protect and nurture children, it would be acting on this issue energetically and forcefully to ensure such crimes never happen again!

The Catholic Church might promote itself as the bastion of family values and morality. But that message has been radically undermined by the nearly constant surfacing of sordid sex crimes by Catholic leaders. Moreover, the Vatican’s halfhearted approach to these scandals is a sign that despite marketing itself as a defender of marriage and family, this institution is merely another broken religion incapable of curing the evil human heart.

Request a free copy of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire to learn more of the truth about the Vatican’s past—and future.

Ford: Pawning Off the Spare Parts

Ford: Pawning Off the Spare Parts

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Look who is in the driver’s seat now.

Another engine of U.S. manufacturing just ran out of gas. Volvo cars is no longer American owned. But is the downfall of American automobile manufacturing an ominous preview of a far greater economic crash heading America’s way?

On Sunday, Ford Motor Co. announced it had sold its Volvo car unit for $1.8 billion to up-and-coming Chinese rival Geely Holding Group. The landmark deal will vault the Chinese company onto the global automotive stage. For Ford, it is a painful reminder of better years gone by.

Ford purchased Volvo in 1999. At that time it paid $6 billion to acquire the company. But the high hopes quickly faded. After accounting for inflation, Ford is left with more than a $5.46 billion loss. As part of the deal, Ford will remain on the hook for some existing Volvo pension plans and Volvo debt.

The Volvo sale is the latest in a string of sales by the struggling U.S. auto giant. Ford is attempting to pay down $23.5 billion in debt the company took on in 2006. Last year, Ford sold off Jaguar and Land Rover to India’s Tata Group for $2.3 billion.

In 2009, China overtook the United States as the world’s largest vehicle market—a title that America had held for over 100 years, since the first Model T rolled off the production lines. Vehicle sales in the U.S. slumped 21 percent last year, while sales surged by 46 percent in China.

But it is a telling sign that America’s second-largest automotive group is forced to sell off its assets to China’s 12th-largest car maker.

Manufacturing just isn’t as profitable in America as it once was. Taxes, labor costs, greedy unions, vulture banks, onerous environmental laws, consumer debt overload and a decaying subprime economy are all taking their toll.

As consumers continue to retrench, pay off debt and save their homes, America’s borrow-to-spend economy will face tough headwinds. Not good news for all those reliant on selling new vehicles. America’s manufacturing capacity will most likely continue motoring down Contraction Road.

But that is what happens when you have too much debt. Eventually you can’t borrow anymore and the bills have to be paid. The looming question though is: With consumers running on empty, how much longer can the U.S. government continue putting gas on the national credit card before it is maxed out?

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

Can This Marriage Be Saved?

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What the divorce industry can’t teach you.

Divorce is hardly new; celebrating it like a wedding is. A small but burgeoning new industry is giving us divorce greeting cards and cakes—even fairs, where new divorcees can connect with life coaches, financial planners and dating service agencies. This is a full-out assault on the stigma of severing a marriage.

“Open a divorce registry, throw a divorce party (why not?), take a vacation or change your look!” says one website for divorcees. Divorce registry? That’s right: Department stores—including one of Britain’s largest retail chains—are encouraging the newly unhitched to register for and solicit gifts just like couples preparing to wed.

All this frippery is an effort to put lipstick on the ugly truth: that divorce is failure. Everyone marries with the hope of “till death do us part.” But often, as the realities of life impinge, selfishness intrudes. One or both partners become unwilling to invest the effort required to surmount obstacles and make the relationship stronger. They lose trust; they begin to cordon off territory in their hearts. Usually, each spouse figures the problem is mostly with the other. Often, they begin to believe that marital happiness would be theirs if they could only find someone more compatible with themselves.

Little wonder, then, that a growing number of people who split up have open ears to vendors, eager for their business, cheering them on: Throw a party—you deserve it! Don’t worry—your real soul mate is waiting.

In reality, most marriages fail not because of a lack of compatibility—but largely because of ignorance about what marriage really is and how it must function.

What that means is, these marriages need not fail. Ignorance can be remedied through right education and the application of right knowledge.

The basic truth that virtually all of us are ignorant of to at least some degree is just how deeply selfish we are. And selfishness is toxic to a marriage.

Human nature tends to focus on what we can get from the other person. The romantic attraction that draws most couples together is essentially a self-oriented emotion. A “love-struck” individual can easily convince himself that he suddenly has a deep, pure, completely selfless desire for nothing but the other person’s happiness. In reality, however, real love is not even possible without a degree of maturity. Mature love begins slowly and grows. Lust often masquerades as love, but it’s lousy at maintaining the ruse for long.

A relationship based on get is bound to suffer, if not fracture. Once one partner feels his needs aren’t being adequately fulfilled, he will generally show his discontent by giving a bit less of himself in return. A negative cycle begins.

“[T]here exist, overall, only two basic ways of life—two divergent philosophies,” Herbert W. Armstrong wrote in his book The Missing Dimension in Sex. “They travel in opposite directions. I state them very simply: One is the way of give—the other of get.”

Marriage is fundamentally a giving relationship. It is successful—even to the point of being spectacular—to the degree that both husband and wife understand their spouse’s needs and then prioritize fulfilling those needs above their own.

Of these two opposing ways of life, Mr. Armstrong continued, “More specifically, the one is the way of love, humility and of outgoing concern for others equal to self-concern. It is the way of cooperation, serving, helping, sharing; of consideration, patience and kindness. More important, it is also the way of obedience to, reliance on, and worship solely toward God. It is the God-centered way, of love toward God and love toward neighbor.

“The opposite is the self-centered way of vanity, lust and greed; of competition and strife; of envy, jealousy and unconcern for the welfare of others.” The more that self-centeredness occupies a marriage, the more friction, hurt and broken trust will result.

There is a reason for that! As Mr. Armstrong explained, “Few realize this vital fact: The ‘give’ way is actually an invisible, yet inexorable, spiritual law in active motion. It is summarized, in principle, by the Ten Commandments.

“It is a law as real, as inflexibly relentless as the law of gravity! It governs and regulates all human relationships!”

Yes—the very God who created the universe and all the physical laws governing matter with precision also set in motion a spiritual law governing human relations. Every hint of conflict in a marriage, every particle of discouragement or frustration, every speck of sadness or pain in that relationship, is caused by breaking that spiritual law.

True love is “never selfish” (1 Corinthians 13:5, Moffatt translation). This is a crucial point that distinguishes true love from love that is fundamentally selfish. Selfish “love” makes you hold back when you feel your spouse doesn’t “deserve” it. It means you’re unwilling to overcome irritating habits that you know bother your mate, but that you just don’t feel like changing. It means you allow petty personal interests to consume your time that your spouse would be thrilled to see you devote to the family. There are perhaps hundreds of little and big ways that our self-love can manifest itself in our marriage.

Society today tends to exalt self-love as the highest virtue. It tries to convince us we all have a natural-born right to put ourselves first. Scripture reveals that that is the get way. It is contrary to the spiritual law of God, which is true love. Though we probably don’t want to admit it, self-love does not make us happy—it actually creates tension, offense, hurt and grief within our marriage and within ourselves.

God’s love is always,always outflowing. It does not wait for the other guy to begin acting unselfishly before reciprocating with unselfishness. Jesus Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.

The principle of striving always to put your spouse’s needs above your own is fundamental to making a marriage great. If each of you is looking out for the otherover and above yourself, then there is plenty of overlap to ensure both of your needs are amply met. That is true love! It’s not, “I’ll give you this if you give me that.” It is never selfish. It is unconditional.

God created the marriage institution, as the nucleus of family. He had a transcendent reason for that, but in very practical terms the fact is it provides a day-to-day training ground for learning how to apply the spiritual law of give—which is real love.

A marriage will be great inasmuch as both husband and wife pursue this goal. It will be harmonious and happy, rewarding and rich, to the extent that each mate drives out self-love and replaces it with true love. And real, mature love grows stronger through trial—and sweeter with age.

That is a lesson that needs the security of a “till death do us part” commitment in order to become manifest. Those breaking that commitment and celebrating it truly don’t know what they’re missing.

Political Battle in Iraq as P.M. Fights to Hold Onto Power

Political Battle in Iraq as P.M. Fights to Hold Onto Power

SABAH ARAR/AFP/Getty Images

The razor–thin win by secular Shiite Iyad Allawi could be lost as election results are contested.

The Iraqi commission created to purge the electoral process of candidates loyal to Saddam Hussein’s outlawed Baath Party announced Monday that it will contest the results of Iraq’s March 7 election. Even if this challenge is not successful, however, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s Iran-friendly Shiite State of Law (SoL) coalition could still come out on top.

The Accountability and Justice Commission says that six of the winning candidates had been banned from running in the elections the day before the vote and that their votes should be thrown out. At least four of the candidates being targeted are from secular Shiite Iyad Allawi’s Iraqiya bloc, which means that if the commission is successful, Allawi could lose his lead in the elections. According to results released last Friday, Allawi’s party won 91 seats in the 325-seat Council of Representatives as opposed to the 89 won by Maliki’s SoL party. If Allawi, who gained the votes of many Sunnis, is sidelined, it also raises the specter of renewed violence in Iraq.

The Accountability and Justice Commission is the organization that disqualified about 400 candidates from participating in the election, in what was seen as a sidelining of the Sunnis. It is led by two Shiites, one of whom has ties to Hezbollah, the Lebanese terrorist group sponsored by Iran. Associated Press points out that while Maliki does not directly control the committee, he has benefited from its actions and has done little to deter it.

Even if the commission’s challenge to election results is not successful, however, there is a good chance that Allawi’s party will not form part of the new government. The Iranian-supported Shiites in Iraq have covered their bases well. Without the majority needed to rule alone, Iraqiya would be dependent upon gaining coalition partners—and Maliki has just managed to get the rules changed.

On Saturday, the Iraqi Supreme Federal Court issued a reinterpretation of how parties can form a government. Previously, the law was understood to mean that whichever party won the most votes would have the right to form the government. Now, however, the coalition of parties that has the most seats when parliament opens can form the government and select the prime minister.

This means that if Maliki teamed up with the party that came in third, with 70 votes—the pro-Iranian Iraqi National Alliance (ina)—he could easily have the numbers to remain prime minister and form the government. The ina includes the movement of anti-American radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, “who is studying in Iran and is shaping up to be the new kingmaker of Iraqi politics,” according to Reuters. “In a sign of Sadr’s newfound muscle in Iraqi politics, representatives of State of Law and the Sadrists traveled to Iran on Friday to meet with Sadr, according to ina sources” (March 27).

Stratfor reported Monday that “Reports have already emerged that negotiations are under way between the SoL and the ina to secure an alliance, so even if the move to bar elected members of the Iraqiya list from assuming office does not succeed, the SoL still has a decent chance of making it into a ruling coalition with the ina.”

“The implications of such a coalition forming are two-fold,” writes Stratfor: “Iran will have an easier time exercising its influence in Iraq through a Shiite-dominated SoL-ina alliance at the expense of Iraq’s Sunni faction. Second, … the sidelining of the secular and Sunni-supported Iraqiya list could easily impede a political resolution to Iraq’s sectarian issues and spark a rise in Sunni insurgent activity.”

Even the seemingly secular Allawi, however, is not exactly hostile toward Iran. Allawi, who served as prime minister of Iraq in 2004-05, while at one time highly critical of Iran for supporting Shiite militias in Iraq, has reportedly tried to build bridges with Tehran. Reuters reports: “Allawi said on Saturday that the new government should work on strengthening political and economic ties with its neighbors and end long-running disputes over borders with countries such as Iran and Kuwait.”

Iranian website Mianeh last week said Tehran is confident the “results will pave way for U.S. military exit and empowerment of Iran’s allies. Reaction to the results of the recent Iraqi election suggests that Tehran has been reassured that the future of Iraqi politics is effectively out of the control of the United States.”

Continue to watch the Iraqi political situation as Iran maneuvers to tighten its grip on its western neighbor as the U.S. pulls out. For prophetic perspective on these developments, read “Prophecy Comes Alive in Iraq!” and “When America Leaves Iraq ….”

The Writing Is on the Stairwell

The Writing Is on the Stairwell

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The most extraordinary surge in national power in history is nearing its climactic end.

The economy is changing life in America. Popular daytime shows and print and online articles focus on the topics plaguing people’s minds the most: people losing their jobs, families with home foreclosures, how to feed a family for less in these hard economic times, and so forth. Many Americans are finally being forced to make lifestyle changes, some of them very unpleasant. Tension is building with every foreclosure.

Yet, while many families are hurting, much of the American population still has the luxury of remaining apathetic—sung to sleep by sweet-sounding political soundbites. Our leaders tell us that the recession is over, the bottom is in, a V-shaped recovery has begun. They said the same six months ago too.

America’s leadership is setting America up for full-scale disillusionment.

At the time of America’s most perilous economic predicament in 234 years, the White House has decided to throw a monkey wrench into one sixth of America’s economy. Admittedly, America’s health care system leaves much to be desired, but recklessly putting the nation on course to go trillions more into debt at a time when it is already running the largest deficits in history smacks of deliberate suicide.

If national health care follows in the dubious footsteps of Medicare and Medicaid, the true cost of government-care will be many times what the salesmen in Washington claim.

Just look at Social Security. Planners said that it wouldn’t go cash-flow negative until 2016. The New York Times revealed last Wednesday that the program will pay out more than it takes in this year—bad news since the government has already plundered the trust fund. All that is left are government ious.

Meanwhile, as the political elite fiddle, America’s cities show signs of rapid decline. Kansas City is closing nearly half of its schools due to funding shortfalls. The city is broke. Detroit is closing 25 percent of the schools it has left.

The housing market keeps deteriorating too. Half of all homeowners who have taken advantage of government aid to modify their mortgages have fallen back into default within nine months. White House economic adviser Diana Farrell said the government expects 10 to 12 million additional foreclosures over the next three years. That is 10 to 12 million families pushed out of their homes—and the government has consistently erred on the conservative side.

The latest jobs report shows that 27 states show increased unemployment rates. Conditions have improved in only seven states, three of which were the small states of Nebraska and North and South Dakota.

Consignment stores may be booming, but the real wealth-producing sectors of the economy are suffering. Caterpillar and John Deere announced that they will take $100 and $150 million hits to their books, respectively, now that national health care has become law. On March 26, at&t reported the biggest bombshell so far. The new legislation will force it to take a whopping $1 billion non-cash charge to its balance sheet. And government officials promised there would be no material impact to company finances until 2014.

Doesn’t sound like much of a formula for job creation does it?

Hope is going to be smashed by reality. The shape of America’s recovery is more likely to be a staircase to the cellar—that is, no recovery; only small respites on the way down.

The writing is on the stairwell. The good days are gone. The whole world can see it.

America is facing “‘The Great Correction’ … in which we’re expecting a number of things to get sorted out—including the stock market boom from ‘82-’07 … the post-’71 dollar-backed monetary system … and the huge credit expansion that goes all the way back to 1946,” writes bestselling author and Paris-based economic analyst Bill Bonner (emphasis mine).

But that’s not all. It could be that this period will correct the whole, extraordinary surge in Anglo-Saxon power that began in the 17th century. English speakers have been on a roll since Sir Francis Drake defeated the combined armada of Spain and France in 1588. Soon after England began putting together her empire … and then, the Industrial Revolution turned Britain and America into economic powerhouses.In addition to reducing asset prices and de-leveraging the economy, The Great Correction could be reducing the relative power and influence of the English-speaking peoples. We don’t know … but that’s the way it looks now ….

America’s fantastic run of economic success is nearing its spectacular end. (For proof of why the English-speaking peoples dramatically vaulted to world-power status and why they are just as dramatically falling now, read The United States and Britain in Prophecy.)

It is an end that is destined to finish in flames. Economic catastrophes such as the one we’re beginning to experience don’t affect just the economy.

America is sitting on a social powder keg. The public disillusionment and social disruption when the green shoots and imminent economic recovery fail to materialize will be a tragic spectacle. Social discontent and even race wars will flare. The public venom associated with the passing of national health care is just the first sparks of a greater social powder keg threatening to blow.

Yet, there is hope for America—although it cannot be found with either the Republican or Democratic parties. The solution to America’s problems is beyond politicians. To find out the action that each individual needs to take, read this booklet.

Ten EU Nations Set Precedent

Ten EU Nations Set Precedent

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Ten EU member nations move away from the rest in a landmark precedent.

With Europeans distracted by their continent seemingly riven by crisis wherever one looks, the European Commission is about to quietly set a precedent that could begin a trend toward the creation of a two-tier European Union. With governments in Germany, France and Italy in various degrees of disruption and division, a developing split building between France and Germany, lingering division over how to handle the Greek financial bind, plus all this driving an increase in German nationalism—not to mention Pope Benedict’s current priestly abuse problems—there’s more than enough to fill the headlines about happenings on the European continent.

Yet the most potent event of the moment in Europe is gaining little media coverage. It all has to do with an as-yet-unexercised provision of that which in reality has become the European constitution. That constitution has been built, clause by confusing clause, by a host of treaties dating back to the 1957 Treaty of Rome, but especially the latter treaties that were created following the unification of Germany.

The 1992 Treaty on European Union, commonly referred to as the Maastricht Treaty, contained, under Title vii, certain provisions allowing for a limited number of EU members to band together and agree on a course of action without the support of the majority. This is termed “enhanced cooperation.” Subsequent treaties, namely the Treaty of Amsterdam and the Treaty of Nice, refined the processes by which such “enhanced cooperation” by a minority of EU member nations might proceed. At least eight member states must agree on a course of action so as to take advantage of this provision to act without the support of, and unimpeded by, any of the rest of the EU member states. Their actions may result in the precedent they set being enacted as law across the whole of the EU.

The provision for enhanced cooperation within the EU has remained dormant till very recently. A case has now arisen where it is putting it to the test.

Both EU Observer and TheParliament.com have reported that 10 EU members are joining in enhanced cooperation to subscribe to new guidelines proposed by the European Commission to allow international couples to choose which EU country’s laws apply if they want to get divorced. “Austria, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia and Spain are pushing ahead with the proposals” (EU Observer, March 24).

Once this precedent is set—in particular if it then becomes EU law—it simply opens the way for a two-tier EU to proceed. As EU Observer indicates, “This may not be the only time this Commission makes a proposal based on a small group of member states. Commissioner Algirdas Semeta, in charge of taxation, recently indicated he may use the tool to push forward with proposals on a common corporate tax base, something vigorously opposed by countries such as Ireland” (ibid.).

Already we have the case of just one nation, Germany, being deferred to by the rest in the case of the Greek financial crisis. What would happen within the EU if eight member states, including the largest and most powerful, decide on a course of action that may well be in their own special interests but not in the interests of the majority?

Most particularly, if Germany gains control of the European Central Bank and France or Germany the top positions in the new EU foreign service, with Italian central banker Romano Dragi already chairing the developing global financial regulatory authority, the Financial Stability Board, all these three would need to do is coerce an additional five EU member states into joining them in any particular joint action under the enhanced cooperation provisions of the EU treaty and the two-tier EU would be home and hosed.

For half a century Herbert Armstrong pointed to the inerrant Bible prophecy contained in the books of Daniel and Revelation of a 10-nation combine arising in Europe under Vatican and Germanic dominance to propel the final resurrection of the European Union into being. The seeming simplification of divorce law within the EU, the first test case of the EU’s enhanced cooperation provisions, is but the thin edge of the wedge giving EU elites the green light to seize upon these provisions to further their agenda for the strong to dominate the weak in Europe. If such a process was to work in tandem with German policy on EU financial and economic control, this just might see the beginning of the process of the two-tier EU that will cause the rise to dominant positions of the “10 kings” prophesied in your Bible!

Read our booklet Who or What Is the Prophetic Beast? for deeper insight into these inerrant Bible prophecies that are speedily coming to fruition before our very eyes. Then request our recently updated publication He Was Right for real insight into just how far ahead Herbert Armstrong was in prophesying these very events that you are reading about today!