Catholic Church’s Rightward Swing

Catholic Church’s Rightward Swing

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How the pope is making the Catholic Church think more like he does.

What effect will former Church of England members defecting to Rome have on the Catholic Church? Some may suppose an influx of fresh blood from the traditionally more liberal Anglican Church would push the Catholic Church in England to the left.

Actually, it is the Catholic liberals who hate the pope’s new plan to create a special “Ordinariate” for Anglicans to retain some of their heritage inside the Catholic Church.

By inviting Anglicans into the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict xvi is doing more than bringing in new members. He is killing another bird with the same stone: bringing the liberal Catholics in England back in step with his way of thinking.

“Liberal Roman Catholics are dismayed by the prospect of an influx of ‘reactionaries,’” writes Damian Thompson in the Telegraph. “It is no secret that some Catholic liberals have been talking quietly to leading Anglicans in the hope of making sure that the Ordinariate experiment lasts no longer than the reign of this pope.”

In fact, according to Dr. William Oddie, writing in the Catholic Herald, this whole thing would have happened 15 years ago if it weren’t for the opposition of the liberal Catholic bishops in England.

On the other hand, writes Thompson, “Roman Catholic conservatives cannot wait for the advance party of the Ordinariate to arrive.”

Once they arrive in the Catholic Church, the ex-Anglicans will be some of Pope Benedict’s staunchest allies.

The pope had to work behind the backs of the liberal Catholics in Britain to bring about this plan in the first place. “To the irritation of the English bishops’ conference, the pope has bypassed the ecumenists, giving responsibility for the scheme to his old colleagues at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith,” writes Thompson.

Soon the pope may have another opportunity to leave his mark on the Catholic Church in England. Earlier this month, Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the Vatican’s ambassador to Great Britain, known as the “apostolic nuncio,” announced that he would soon retire. The nuncio recommends which members of the clergy are appointed to positions of authority.

Muñoz was liberal, and recommended liberal clergyman, taking the whole church in England in a liberal direction. His successor could “decisively change the direction of the English church,” writes CatholicHerald.co.uk.

Nuncios are appointed by the Vatican secretary of state. The former Vatican secretary of state, Angelo Sodano, was a liberal. His successor, Tarcisio Bertone, was appointed by Benedict xvi, and is far more conservative. Bertone was also one of Benedict’s old colleagues at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The situation is explained by Oddie in another Herald article: “Why have we had overwhelmingly liberal bishops for the last 30 years? Because we have had liberal nuncios. Who appoints the nuncios? Why, the secretary of state.”

Now, with a conservative secretary of state, a conservative nuncio can be appointed. And Catholic leaders in Britain will start acting the way the pope wants them to.

Of course, Britain is not the only place where the pope has pushed for the advancement of conservatives. At the start of this year, Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard replaced the more liberal Cardinal Godfried Danneels as head of the Catholic Church in Belgium. Since then he has been castigated in the press, denounced by his own spokesman and even hit in the face with a cherry pie (video available here) for his outspoken views on homosexuality and weak handling of the church’s abuse of children.

Opposition to their new leader is so great that some Catholics have even resorted to founding their own congregations without a priest.

But Léonard’s appointment is right in line with the pope’s agenda. He is not going anywhere.

On November 20, the pope promoted 24 Catholics to the rank of cardinal. All of them support the pope’s traditional, conservative agenda.

Even in the United States, this conservative influence is evident. On November 16, Timothy Dolan was elected as leader of the U.S. bishops’ conference. The election broke with tradition—the vice president of the group is usually voted in as leader.

Susan Jacoby described Dolan as “New York’s arch-conservative archbishop” in the Washington Post. “Dolan’s election was a victory for the most orthodox forces within the church,” she wrote.

Conservative Catholics are rising everywhere you look.

The Trumpet has long predicted that the Catholic Church would rise in power and prestige. Before that happens, the pope needs ensure his complete control of the church. The Catholic Church is becoming more unified under Benedict’s way of thinking. Watch for it to grow in power and influence too.

Building for God

Works speak louder than words.

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Next debt crisis may ‘start in Washington’

“We need urgent action to forestall the next financial crisis. I fear that one will start in Washington,” wrote Sheila Bair in the Washington Post on Friday.

In a sobering assessment, she pointed out that the federal debt has doubled to $14 trillion in just seven years. “This explosive growth in federal borrowing is a result of not just the financial crisis but also government unwillingness over many years to make the hard choices necessary to rein in our long-term structural deficit,” she wrote.

Expenditures for Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid combined will account for 45 percent of primary federal spending—27 percent higher than 35 years ago. Entitlement spending is expected to triple by 2035. Defense spending and generous tax subsidies for housing and health care have also put tremendous strain on government finances.

“Unless something is done, federal debt held by the public could rise from a level equal to 62 percent of gross domestic product this year to 185 percent in 2035. Eventually, this relentless federal borrowing will directly threaten our financial stability by undermining the confidence that investors have in U.S. government obligations.”

Bair continued, “[W]e must never take public or investor confidence for granted. In the end, that confidence is only as great as the resolve shown by our government in identifying emerging risks and taking concerted action to head them off. Excessive government borrowing poses a clear danger to our long-term financial stability.”

What’s needed to sort out this mess, the Economist recently wrote, is political courage. “In the long term economics will tell: Unless it changes course, America is heading for a bust. If Mr. Obama lacks the guts even to start tackling the problem, then ever more Americans, this paper and even … foreign summiteers will get ever more frustrated with him.”

Last week, co-chairman of a special commission on deficit reduction Alan Simpson said he is anticipating a bloodbath in April when politicians vote on whether to raise the national debt ceiling. Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times that this is “one more piece of evidence that our nation is in much worse shape, much closer to a political breakdown, than most people realize.”

In August, we quoted British historian Niall Ferguson, who wrote that “the U.S. is on an unsustainable fiscal course, with no apparent political means of self-correcting.” America is facing political breakdown at a time when it needs resolute leadership the most. As Isaiah 3 prophesies, the mighty and the honorable men have all but vanished from our society.

However, even if America had a strong leader today, “no amount of change in human government will fix what is already broken. Very soon now, we can expect the accelerating pace of prophetic events to fully expose the fact that mortal men cannot solve the colossal problems facing America,” columnist Stephen Flurry wrote earlier this month. “Jeremiah 17 says it is a curse to place our faith and trust in men. There is no hope in man! Our only hope is in the great Creator God who will soon set up and establish His Kingdom to rule over all the Earth during the wonderful World Tomorrow.”

The Week in Review

PT/Getty Images

Which religion is fleeing the Middle East, al Qaeda’s new strategy, Ireland capitulates, China and Russia quit the dollar, North Korea attacks, and who remembers the King James Bible?

Middle East

Christianity is on the retreat across the Middle East, according to a recent report in Britain’s Independent. And it is not just war-torn Iraq that Christians are leaving—their numbers throughout the region are rapidly decreasing. “Across the Middle East, it is the same story of despairing—sometimes frightened—Christian minorities, and of an exodus that reaches almost biblical proportions,” wrote the Independent. “Almost half of Iraq’s Christians have fled their country since the first Gulf War in 1991 … and stand now at 550,000, scarcely 3 percent of the population. More than half of Lebanon’s Christians now live outside their country. Once a majority, the nation’s 1.5 million Christians, most of them Maronite Catholics, comprise perhaps 35 percent of the Lebanese. Egypt’s Coptic Christians—there are at most around 8 million—now represent less than 10 percent of the population” (October 26). In order to address the problem, the Roman Catholic Church held a synod last month to discuss Christianity in the Middle East. Reports of Christian persecution are destined to fan the flames of hatred, just as they did in the times of the First Crusade.

Al Qaeda of the Arabian Peninsula is promising more small-scale attacks like its failed attempts to bomb two U.S.-bound cargo planes. “To bring down America we do not need to strike big,” a spokesman said. The so-called “Operation Hemorrhage” cost only $4,200. Al Qaeda intends to bleed its enemy to death by a thousand cuts, and has published its intent in the Yemeni-based group’s online magazine. The group is shifting from spectacular 9/11-type attacks to cheaper, easier terror that will ignite the “security phobia” that is sweeping through America—in order to cause not maximum murder, but maximum economic damage. America’s open society is especially vulnerable to such attacks.

Syria is refusing United Nations nuclear inspectors access to multiple suspect sites, according to an International Atomic Energy Agency report obtained by Reuters. For over two years, Syria—which denies ever having an atom bomb program—has blocked iaea access to the nuclear site bombed by Israel in September 2007. The report also reveals that Syria is denying inspectors access to a pilot plant used for acid purification, which produces uranium ore as a by-product. The appearance of three other Syrian sites under military control has been altered following iaea requests to visit them. Syria has allowed access to a research reactor in Damascus, at which inspectors found unexplained particles of processed uranium. Reuters says the report tells of Syria dodging questions about this processed uranium, and giving inconsistent information to the iaea. The UN has proved ineffectual in preventing—or even monitoring—nuclear weapons development in rogue countries, including Syria, Iran and North Korea.

debkafile’s military sources report that Iran has supplied Syria and Hezbollah with thousands of surface missiles with ranges of nearly 200 miles and that they are being equipped with guidance systems by Iranian engineers. “The new guided Fateh-110, M-600 and Scud D missiles hardware can pinpoint any part of Israel within a 10-meter radius in defiance of Israel’s aerial and anti-missile capabilities,” debkafile says, citing Israeli and Western missile experts. Iran has provided Syria and Hezbollah with the means to fight “a new, far more comprehensive war,” it writes. The guidance systems would allow Hezbollah to strike critical targets in Israel using far fewer missiles than in the past. Uzi Rubin, former head of the Israel Mission Defense Organization, said in a recent speech, “The enemy has achieved aerial supremacy without even having planes.” Hezbollah and Syria apparently have 1,500 warheads that could hit the Tel Aviv area. In acknowledgement of this reality, Israeli Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Amos Yadlin warned the Israeli cabinet last Sunday: “Tel Aviv will be a frontline in the next conflict.” debkafile also reports that Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has put Hashim Safi Al-Din, his cousin and heir apparent, in command of southern Lebanon and its border with Israel. Previously, Safi Al-Din was head of Hezbollah’s Liaison Office in Tehran, and, as such, debkafile says Iran will count on the new frontline commander for implicit obedience in a war situation.

Europe

Ireland finally succumbed to an EU bailout on November 21. The European Union will provide it with loans of up to around €90 billion. As Stratfor wrote, “Germany is using the opportunity presented by the crisis to redesign the European Union and its institutions—especially eurozone fiscal rules and the enforcement mechanisms for those rules” (November 22). Ireland has had to hand over control of much of its budget to Europe. It appears that it has been able to retain its low corporate tax rate, for now. But if it slips up on any of the bailout conditions, France and Germany will be more than willing to force Ireland to sacrifice its low corporate tax rate.

On November 24, public sector workers in Portugal went on strike for one day, as the country’s two biggest unions held their first joint strike since 1988. The two unions say they represent 1.5 million workers. The strike was called over dissatisfaction with the government’s austerity measures, which are set to be approved by parliament this week. Watch for more dissatisfaction in Portugal; it could be the next economy to fall, after Ireland.

Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (cdu)voted to shrink the army and suspend conscription on November 15. Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told senior officers that the military would be cut by 25 percent. But as part of Guttenberg’s reforms, the number of troops Germany can deploy abroad is expected to double, from 7,000 to 14,000, according to the Financial Times. In terms of the number of troops Germany can actually use, the army is getting bigger and better. The cdus sister party, the Christian Social Union, also approved Guttenberg’s plans at its party conference on October 29. Conscription will end on July 1, if it gets the approval from parliament that seems almost certain now that all of Germany’s ruling coalition members have approved Guttenberg’s reforms. Continue to watch for Guttenberg to make Germany a stronger nation—just as the Trumpet has been saying for the past year.

nato leaders met to decide on a new strategic concept, or mission statement, for the alliance in Lisbon on November 19 to 20. The result was essentially mush. It would be a stretch to refer to the 4,000-word document as a statement. nato has lost its way and doesn’t really know its mission in today’s world. As the Trumpet has long forecast, expect either Germany to twist the alliance to its own ends, or for nato to fade into insignificance.

Germany continued to remain on high alert this week. The nation’s parliament building—the Reichstag—was closed on November 22. However, the suspicious device found on a plane bound for Germany from Namibia reported last week turned out to be a dud. It was a replica of a bomb, and was apparently used to test airport security staff. It is not clear who placed the suitcase at the Namibian airport. On November 23, police arrested 11 people accused of plotting a terrorist attack in Belgium. Seven were arrested in Antwerp, two in Amsterdam and one in Aachen, Germany.

Pope Benedict xvi promoted 24 Catholics to the rank of cardinal on November 20. All of them support the pope’s traditional, conservative agenda. Expect the church to become more conservative as the pope continues to put men that think like him in key offices.

Asia

China and Russia have agreed to abandon the U.S. dollar in favor of using their own currencies for bilateral trade. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin announced the news on Tuesday, saying the new policy is not designed to challenge the dollar, but to protect the economies of Russia and China in the wake of the global financial crisis. Chinese experts said the policy reflects warming relations between Beijing and Moscow. Expect this movement away from the dollar to gather steam. And watch for Russia and China—as their global economic influence increases—to draw closer than ever to each other.

North Korea has made stunning progress in its nuclear technology, a nuclear scientist invited to tour the facilities informed the White House on November 12. Earlier this month, Stanford professor and former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Siegfried S. Hecker visited two new North Korean nuclear facilities that demonstrate Pyongyang is still committed to its nuclear program, and that it may have had outside help. The most shocking development was a new uranium enrichment plant that contains 2,000 centrifuges. “Instead of seeing a few small cascades of centrifuges, which I believed to exist in North Korea, we saw a modern, clean centrifuge plant of more than a thousand centrifuges all neatly aligned and plumbed below us,” Hecker said. North Korea claims that its enrichment plant is designed to fuel a new type of nuclear reactor currently under construction, but Hecker pointed out that the current uranium enrichment could be reconfigured easily to produce highly enriched uranium—the type used in bombs. He said “the greatest concern” is that North Korea has a secret enrichment facility somewhere else, configured to produce weapons-grade uranium. The facility he visited went completely undetected, so North Korea could easily have another hidden site.

On Wednesday, North Korea launched its first artillery attack on South Korea in almost 60 years, firing 50 heavy artillery shells on to an island off South Korea’s coast that killed two marines, injured 17 marines and three civilians, and set 60 civilian homes ablaze. South Korea reacted by launching 80 shells into North Korea and deploying fighter jets to secure its airspace. Pyongyang blamed Seoul for the altercation, saying South Korea had fired first, but Seoul admitted only to carrying out military exercises which were well clear of North Korean territory. Some see the attack as proof that North Korea’s ailing leader Kim Jong Il wants to bid the world farewell in a suicidal blaze of glory. But a look at the West’s history of rewarding North Korea for misbehavior reveals that the attack was a logical course of action for Pyongyang. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has taken a tougher stance against the North in an effort to break that pattern, and now Pyongyang is testing the mettle of Seoul and Washington. In the aftermath, South Korea said it would protect its turf with “stern responses” in the event of further attacks, and North Korea said it would “continue to make merciless military attacks” if Seoul violated disputed sea borders between them “even 0.001 millimeter.” China has refrained from condemning Pyongyang for the attack, and cited it as proof that talks about North Korea’s nuclear disarmament need to be resumed. Meanwhile, the U.S. said that as long as Pyongyang is actively expanding its nuclear program, talks could not be resumed. The U.S. also announced that it would deploy a nuclear aircraft carrier to the Yellow Sea and would hold war games with South Korea. The Yellow Sea exercises were already postponed once last August following objections from Beijing, and will likely increase tensions on the Korean Peninsula.

Africa/Latin America

The government of Gambia broke off relations with Iran and sent all Iranian diplomats home on November 22 over an arms smuggling scandal that has been going on since October. On October 27, Nigerian media stated that the government had seized a large shipment of weapons from Iran at the port of Lagos. The shipment was made up of 24 crates of weapons, including ammunition for small arms, mortars and 107-mm rockets. The government informed the UN Security Council of the seizure on November 12. Nigeria could report Iran to the Security Council for violating the sanctions imposed on it this summer. This would give the U.S. a pretext to pursue additional sanctions. Despite the fiasco, Iran is certain to find alternative means of smuggling weapons into Africa.

Ministers of trade from members of the African Union met in Kigali, Rwanda, from October 29 to November 2. Here, several criticized the Economic Partnership Agreements (epas) that the EU is attempting to sign with these nations. The epas are ostensibly designed to benefit African nations by allowing them to trade with Europe on favorable conditions. However, the terms of the conditions seem less than favorable, and one minister said that by signing an epa a country puts its head in the mouth of a lion. The African Union Commission and the economic commissions from Africa’s five sub-regions published a paper detailing the problems that will be caused by the epas. The third Africa-EU Summit is scheduled to take place next week, where these epas will probably be discussed. To learn more about Europe’s agenda behind these epa agreements, see our July 12 article “Creating a Eurafrican Free Trade Area—by Force.”

Germany is pursuing a similar policy in Latin America. On October 30, German Aid Minister Dirk Niebel left for a week-long trip to Latin America. “During Germany’s unification and the European Union’s extension to the east, we have not paid enough attention to some other parts of the world,” Niebel said as he was leaving. “That particularly applies to Africa and to some lesser extent to Latin America.” Niebel contrasted Germany’s proposed approach with China’s current approach by saying that it was not enough to simply offer to build infrastructure in exchange for extracting cheap minerals. Rather, he stated that Germany plans to create income for the people of poor, resource-rich nations by helping them extract and process their native mineral reserve for export to Europe. In early December, European Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship Antonio Tajani will introduce to the European Parliament a paper titled “Raw Materials Initiative.” This paper states that the EU wants to access most of its raw materials from outside its own borders by means of new trade agreements. For more information, see our November 23 article, “Germany Extends Its Influence Into Africa and Latin America.”

Anglo-America

A Malaysian man was arraigned in federal court on Monday for shocking cybercrimes against the United States. The arrest of the hacker is a troubling illustration of how vulnerable American networks can be. Lin Mun Poo is thought to have penetrated a Federal Reserve Bank computer network, computers operated by a large Defense Department contractor, and several major international banks and companies. He was arrested last month when he flew into New York carrying a heavily encrypted laptop with more than 400,000 stolen credit card, debit card and bank account numbers. If one Malaysian can have this much success, what could hostile nations like China do to America’s Achilles’ heel: technology?

Although the controversy over airport security scans and pat-downs might seem oversized to some, there is a reason the issue is getting so much attention. The New York Times wrote on Thursday that the “pat-down dispute” reveals a mistrust of government. The article says, “[W]hat has become the central theme of Mr. Obama’s presidency [is] America’s faltering confidence in the ability of government to make things work.”

On Wednesday, Australia agreed to further cooperation with Pakistan in the field of defense. Australia’s assistant secretary for Pakistan and Afghanistan said that Pakistan’s anti-militancy efforts were critical. Continue to watch for the outcome of Australia’s growing reliance on its regional neighbors.

Two weeks after a similar protest caused a small riot in London, several thousand British students again took to the streets this week with marches and sit-ins to renew their denunciation of a government plan to increase tuition fees.

More than half of Britain’s young people have never heard of the King James Bible. In a recent poll commissioned by the King James Bible Trust, 51 percent of Brits under the age of 35 did not know what the Authorized Version was. At the same time, 28 percent of those over 55 did not know about what is thought to be the biggest-selling book ever.

Preparing for Marriage

It’s the one career that matters most.

We were giving a tour yesterday, here in the facility, and one of the young ladies on the tour is about to be married here in Oklahoma. And during the chat I told her that I had been married almost 14 years. And her face really lit up when I said that; I didn’t think it was any great revelation, but she seemed excited, and said, “Well, wow, that’s quite an achievement.” And, I guess in this age, to say that you’ve been married for 14 years, it is somewhat of an achievement. Because marriage is fast becoming obsolete, as Mr. Armstrong said it would many years ago.

Mr. Fraser recently wrote on theTrumpet.com referring to a Washington Post article that had a very similar title to what Mr. Armstrong titled his booklet from 40 or 50 years ago. And this Post article from November 18 said that “Four in 10 Say Marriage Is Becoming Obsolete.” That was the title that really caught Mr. Fraser’s attention. And the article says, “As families gather for Thanksgiving this year, nearly one in three American children is living with a parent who is divorced, separated or never-married. More people are accepting the view that wedding bells aren’t needed to have a family.”

And, so when Mr. Fraser read that, he immediately thought of what Mr. Armstrong said and how he introduced his booklet that went by the title Why Marriage. Soon Obsolete? he asked. And if you think about that, I mean given the fact that it was written 40 to 50 years ago, here’s just one of many, many statements that Mr. Armstrong made over the course of his ministry that was way ahead of his time. I mean, it’s prophecy now that is being fulfilled.

He continued in his article; this is Mr. Fraser speaking now: “Should the trend continue exponentially, then within another lifetime, two thirds of society would believe that marriage was obsolete—if in fact the marriage institution itself was able to survive as an entity by then. The reality is that if marriage as an institution does not survive, then civilization as we know it will literally collapse!” That is the reality. It certainly is.

Revelation 19, let’s just look at this to begin with. That’s the reality. It’s the same warning that Mr. Armstrong issued a half century ago where he said in one of his publications, “Family life in the Western world is crumbling. Why?” he asks, “Where is it all leading?” And then he made this statement, which we’ve used so often: “The very foundation of any stable civilization is a solid family structure. Today’s civilization with its foundation disintegrating, is itself on the way out!” He wrote that back in 1985. Civilization is on the way out because families have broken down, because families have fallen apart. And when you understand why family, you can see why Satan is working so hard to destroy it—to destroy marriage and family.

Revelation 19 here and verse 1: “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power unto the Lord our God.” And then down in verse 5 it says, “And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all you his servants, and you that fear him, both small and great. [6] And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns. [7] Let us be glad,” verse 7 says, “Let us be glad and rejoice ….” Are we really glad and grateful? Are we rejoicing at what’s coming? “Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come,” the marriage, God says, “and his wife has made herself ready.” This is speaking of a marriage within the God Family. God is a family-man. And His Son is to marry a wife. And we as the Church, we are members of that one body that is to marry Jesus Christ at His return. What a blessing it is to understand that calling. And no wonder we ought to be glad and filled with rejoicing.

Matthew 22. God wants us to make arrangements to be at that wedding, to actually be in the wedding. Everyone in here has probably received a wedding invitation before, and you have to respond by a certain date. And some of you in here have even been in weddings. And there’s more that goes into that, as you probably know: preparations, finding the facility, taking care of all the dresses and the tuxedoes, inviting everyone, the invitation list, making arrangements for the honeymoon and all that. I mean, it’s a busy, busy time, as any soon-to-be-bride can tell you—sometimes even stressful and hectic—and always something that takes a lot of preparation and planning to get ready for.

Matthew 22 here and verse 1 says, “And Jesus answered and spoke unto them again by parables, and said, [2] The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son.” Now why would Christ use this analogy in the parables? It says, “[3] And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden,” or invited, “to the wedding: and they would not come. [4] Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. [5] But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise.” So here is a case where God’s issuing all of these invitations, but people are not interested; people are not glad and excited about it; people aren’t anxious to attend this event.

Verse 6 says, “And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.” I mean, they killed these righteous servants sending out these invites. Verse 7, “But when the king heard thereof, he was” angry or “wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. [8] Then said he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were [invited] were not worthy.” They weren’t worthy to attend. They weren’t ready to attend. They hadn’t prepared for the marriage. And so you know what happens here. Verse 9, “Go you therefore into the highways, and as many as you shall find, bid to the marriage.” Verse 10 says, “So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.”

I mean, look at this world today, isn’t this the case generally? You have to search far and wide just to find individuals who are even interested in committing to the ways of God; who are even interested enough to prepare for marriage to Jesus Christ. Most are just so caught up in their own things, their own pursuits, their own selfish desires. And so God is searching for individuals who want this, who get excited about it, who are glad at the thought of marriage.

Verse 11, it says, “And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment.” He wasn’t dressed appropriately. If you go to a wedding and someone doesn’t dress up, it stands out. I mean, weddings today, they’re, it’s one of maybe the last remaining events where people actually dress formally, and even that’s changing. The casual attire and look is becoming more prevalent. But it stands out if you were to walk into a great formal event and see someone dressed inappropriately. This man stood out.

Verse 12, it says, “And he said unto him, Friend, how came you in here not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. [13] Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. [14] For many are called, but few are chosen.” What that means is, many have the opportunity to respond to the invite, but few,few will make themselves ready for it. Few will be truly prepared for it when the wedding event finally arrives. Marriage is something to prepare for—whether looking at it physically or spiritually.

Mr. Armstrong wrote this in The Missing Dimension in Sex. He says, “The years between ages 16 and 25 are the vitally important years of adult preparation for life’s work.” Many of you are in that age bracket, 16 to 25, a vitally important bracket of age for life, it says, for preparing for your work. It says, “These are the crucial years of preparation. During these years the mind is capable of acquiring faster than at any other stage of life the advanced knowledge needed before beginning one’s adult career—either it be business, profession, occupation or marriage.” Or marriage, he says there. Marriage is, in fact, a career. In fact, it’s your most important career. Marriage and family—I mean, the spouse that you spend the rest of your life with—that’s something that you have to prepare for, just like you would any other career.

Now the sad fact in this world today is that many young people, perhaps without even realizing it, are doing much more to prepare for divorce, broken families, splitting apart, unhappy living. They’re actually preparing for those things. So many of them grow up in broken homes. Divorce is made to look normal, or even glamorous at times on the silver screen. Little or no thought in the minds of most young people today is given to dating for the purposes of serving and giving. Or dating widely in order to upbuild, and to develop the personality, to learn the art of conversation and fellowship. Instead of dating widely, like we teach here at God’s college, they “mate widely,” you could say. It’s just about promiscuous activities. Young people hopping from one relationship to the next, to the next, to the next. And then one day they’re meant to marry and spend the rest of their lives with that individual? After they’ve been searching and searching for what they can get out of a relationship, to make them happy, to make them satisfied. They never learn to give unselfishly in dating as a single. They never learn to build character and discipline as a single. So how should they be expected to do so as a married?

Ecclesiastes 3. God’s love is outflowing; it flows away from self. It’s the way of giving, of sharing, of caring. It’s the way of concern for others, even more than self in the case of your wife or your husband. Ecclesiastes chapter 3 and verse 1 says, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.” We read this often here at this school. There’s “[2] A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.” Most young people might read this and think of a song, I suppose, without really pausing on the words, the meaning, what Solomon’s getting across here. One season of time. One season in preparing for the next. The law of the farm. I mean, to get ready for the planting season you have to prepare the ground. To get ready for the growing season or the fruitful season, you have to work with the growth, the plants, and so on.

Verse 3 says, “A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; [4] A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.” It says in verse 5, “A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” There’s a time for romantic embrace, of course, and a time to be far away from that and to just date as brothers and sisters in a family should date: to give and to strengthen the family, the Family of God, to strengthen the Church of God. And then, as Mr. Armstrong said, after those years of preparation, after you’ve been made ready, then marriage is a beautiful and wonderful thing that has God’s blessing. That has God’s blessing.

1 Peter 2, we’ll just conclude over here. Those who still do marry, there’s just so few today that even give any thought to What should we do to prepare for this. Should we get some kind of ministerial counsel? Should we discuss it with our parents? Or should we just go off and do it? For too many, you see, it’s just the latter, just something to be taken for granted. And we’ve taken it for granted, as Mr. Fraser brought out in that article, for so long now that many are beginning to wonder Well, what’s the point? I mean, you can still get together on Thanksgiving. You can still have all of these, you know, split-off pieces of what used to be a family and try to blend them all together for a family get-together. Marriage is, as he said, fast becoming obsolete. And as I said earlier, when you understand man’s purpose, why we were put here on this Earth, you can see why; you can see why Satan has been working to destroy these institutions of marriage and family. Satan hates them because he knows what they are preparing us for. He knows what they’re a type of. He knows our future.

1 Peter 2 here and verse 1. It says, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, [2] As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.” Grow, see, as Christians must, grow and develop, prepare for the future. Verse 3, “If so be you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. [4] To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, [5] You also,” it says, “as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.”

Over and again in Scripture you see these words: house, father, family, marriage, children, son, daughter. This is what God is. God is a Family. God is a Father. God has a Son. The Son’s about to have a wife. The Church is that wife, that’s what our Bible teaches us. God is looking forward to His Kingdom, because that’s when He can establish His Family government on this Earth. And it’s where people can finally have their minds set straight on why family, on why marriage.

Verse 6, “Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believes on him shall not be confounded. [7] Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, [8] And a stone of stumbling ….” See, for some that are so excited to enter into this relationship with Jesus Christ. But for many others, they’re not excited, they’re disinterested in attending this blessed event that’s to bring so much gladness and joy into our lives.

It says, “[8] … whereunto also they were appointed. [9] But you are a chosen generation,” God says, “a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” See, we’ve got to be preparing for a calling as great as this. We weren’t so special before our minds were open to the truth, but now God says you know. Now, God says, prepare for this.

Mr. Armstrong said, this is going back to that 1985 article, “The very foundation of any stable civilization is a solid family structure. Today’s civilization, with its foundation disintegrating, is itself on the way out!” It’s because that foundation is crumbling. And then he says to us. Listen to this, students, listen: “Nothing in this material world is as important as a happy home life with father, mother and well-taught happy children—a close-knit family.” Nothing is as important as that! Not some career, not going to college, not making money. Nothing!

“Why?” he asks. Because “it strikes at the very heard and core of humanity’s future and eternity and the Gospel that Jesus Christ proclaimed.”

Jesus came into Galilee preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, which is the Family of God, administering the loving government of God. Nothing is more important than that. This is uppermost in God’s mind. Which is why this is something that we must take most seriously and thoroughly prepare for, and be glad about, and to rejoice over.

Mr. Armstrong said, “God is a Kingdom—that is, the supreme divine Family that rules the universe! The whole gospel, which Jesus Christ brought from God for mankind, is the good news of the coming Kingdom of God.” He says, “And the united, closely knit together family of Christians—the Church—will, at the coming of Christ and the time of the resurrection, become the Kingdom of God! The Kingdom,” he concludes. “The Kingdom of God starts with a family relationship—first the physical human families, second, the one compacted together Church, and finally, when the Church is changed to immortality, the God Family—which is the Kingdom of God!”

Your family, your family is where God intends for you to best learn what you need to know and understand and internalize regarding the Kingdom, regarding God’s Family. In other words, God’s Kingdom starts with you and your family. So make sure you prepare for it. It’s the one career in life that matters most.