Pope Benedict Appoints Conservative Cardinals

Pope Benedict Appoints Conservative Cardinals

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Pope Benedict’s appointments confirm the Vatican’s focus on Europe, while not neglecting opportunities in America.

Pope Benedict xvi showed his focus on Europe as he announced 22 new cardinals on January 7. Many of the appointments went to Vatican personnel—who tend to be more conservative and in closer contact with the pope. After the new nominations, 35 percent of cardinals under the age of 80 (cardinal electors—those eligible to elect another pope) will be Vatican officials.

Benedict’s appointments especially focused on Europe. Sixty-seven out of the 125 cardinal electors will now be European. Latin America, the next most represented continent, has only 22.

“The pope is a conservative on matters of faith and sexual morals such as birth control, homosexuality and the ban on women priests,” wrote Philip Pullella for Reuters. “Each time he names cardinals he puts his stamp on Roman Catholicism’s future by choosing men who share his views.”

“Since Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in April 2005, his three batches of new cardinals have favored Europeans and those who work with him in Rome over bishops from other countries,” writes David Gibson for the Religion News Service.

One “major factor” in this is “that Benedict is at heart an Old World, old-fashioned Bavarian Catholic, and both he and the cardinals who elected him believe that Europe remains the birthplace of Catholic culture,” writes Gibson.

But the appointments could also indicate an interest in America. As John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter points out, New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan seems to be especially favored by the pope. “It’s hard to find anyone in the Catholic world these days whose rise up the career ladder has been more meteoric than Archbishop Timothy Dolan,” he writes. After a series of promotions, he is now “the elected president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, and more and more, he’s the Vatican’s go-to guy in America.”

“Heretofore, Benedict has been a stickler for the custom that a new cardinal is not named until the previous cardinal of that diocese turns 80 (unless, of course, the retired cardinal dies in the meantime),” writes Allen. But this time, the pope was willing to bend the customs—Dolan’s predecessor does not turn 80 until April.

Dolan has been an outspoken critic of American President Barack Obama. His promotion could indicate a renewed Vatican focus on the U.S.

A year after a similar initiative in Britain, at the start of this year the Catholic Church took a major step forward to garner back parishioners from the church’s Protestant daughters in the U.S. The pope announced Jeffrey Steenson would lead a new ordinariate—or Catholic subgroup—for Episcopalians in America that want to join with the Catholic Church.

Over 100 Episcopal priests have asked to move into the ordinariate.

Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, as the group will be called, will allow Episcopalians to keep many of their traditions and yet be part of the Catholic Church. Last January an ordinariate was established for a similar purpose in Britain.

The new cardinal appointments and ordinariate point to a church that is about to focus on making Europe more Catholic, as well as reaching out to its Protestant daughters in America.

Pope Benedict has exploited a theme introduced by his predecessor, John Paul ii, calling for a “new evangelization” of Europe in particular. To this end he has created a “Pontifical Council for the Promoting of New Evangelization” to give force to this crusade against the secularization and Islamification of European society. Some were surprised that the head of this new council was not also ordained a cardinal at this time. However, it is most apparent that by focusing his appointments on Europe in particular and granting the ordinariate for America, Pope Benedict is preparing to reach out to areas he wants to target most in this crusading program of new evangelization.

Watch for the pope to continue to make the Catholic Church’s influence in Europe the highest of priorities, while at the same time working to garner back both priests and parishioners from the church’s Protestant daughters.

German Arms Industry Profits at Greek Expense

German Arms Industry Profits at Greek Expense

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Greece’s bailout money is feeding the profits of German armaments manufacturers.

Even as the Greek economy continues its agonizing collapse, with the nation struggling to submit to extreme austerity measures being enforced by its masters in Berlin, the nation’s unelected technocratic government is overseeing a giant fiddle of the books involving the channeling of bailout money into the coffers of Germany’s armaments industry.

Greece lives under a permanent military threat from its huge neighbor on the Anatolian peninsula, Turkey. The Turks taunt their smaller neighbor across the crucial Bosporus sea gate, daily violating Greek airspace with their fighter jets. Tensions are made worse by continuing disputes over Greek sovereignty attached to certain islands in the Aegean. To counter Turkey’s aggression, Greece has spent huge amounts on defense budgets—as much as 4.3 percent of gross domestic product, proportionately the highest among the EU nations.

Who has been the greatest beneficiary of this defense expenditure? The major supplier of defense equipment to Greece: the German armaments industry.

How much have EU elites actually manipulated ongoing Greek-Turkish tensions for the advantage of the European Union’s thriving defense industries? As one Greek source observed: “In this volatile game of geopolitics, the bosses of Euro ‘family’ have always been playing the major role in cultivating and manipulating an unguaranteed stability in the area, thus creating market conditions for their influential military industries to flourish. German defense corporations in particular have been major contractors with the Greek (and Turkish) army for more than two decades” (Antibaro.gr, Nov. 29, 2010).

The facts are that Greece’s coffers have been substantially drained into huge profits for German defense industry barons. This includes multibillion-euro contracts for Greece to purchase big-ticket military hardware ranging from tanks to missiles to naval vessels, including submarines.

“All these sum up to hundreds of billions of euros and, under other circumstances, could have been more than enough to balance the Greek budget deficit and even drastically alleviate the external debt,” that same Greek source observed. “One thing is for sure, those billions were added to the profits of German industrialists, bankers and intermediaries.”

Since that report came to light, the Greek economy has been brought to the brink of catastrophe, with the prospect of inevitable default on its debts being very real by the end of the first quarter of the current year.

The saving grace for Greece may well be the degree of influence that German defense industry corporate elites and their bankers have in terms of convincing the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank to cough up another tranche of euros in their interests. An unnamed source is quoted by German news source Zeit Online as observing that “If Greece gets paid in March the next tranche of funding (€80 billion is expected), there is a real opportunity to conclude new arms contracts” (January 5).

Zero Hedge reports that, “after the Portuguese (another obviously stressed nation), the Greeks are the largest buyers of German war weapons.” The same source contrasts this huge expenditure by Greece on armaments amid the general state of the Grecian economy, with “the country’s doctors only treating emergencies, bus drivers on strike, and a dire lack of school textbooks and the country teetering on the brink of drachmatization …” (January 9).

When the EU was threatened with the collapse of the Greek economy, German defense industry chiefs held the Greeks’ feet to the fire. Rather than cancel out on existing contracts, permitting the release of funds to support basic services within the ailing Greek economy, the German government defense contractors enforced Greece’s contract obligations.

The effect of this scenario has been that Greece is treating as a priority the payment of its obligations to the German armaments industry using the very bailout funds received to ostensibly revive its dying economy.

Once again, as Spiegel Online points out in its January 10 edition, “Its neighbors may be suffering, but the euro crisis has created conditions that actually benefit the German economy.”

The fact that the European Monetary Union was constructed by certain elites to achieve this very effect has escaped most observers. Yet we have consistently reported on this fact, well before the current euro crisis. A quick check of our voluminous archive of articles on the euro project, its beginnings and its outcome will reveal this undeniable fact.

It’s time that you educated yourself in just what is really happening in Europe today, its sinister beginnings and its rather fearful outcome.

Study our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire for the facts behind this incredible deceit, its immediate and its long-term future.

How to Know America’s Future

How to Know America’s Future

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The writing has been on the wall for decades.

When the Cold War ended, the glittery idea of a “new world order” came into fashion. Many envisioned a more cooperative, unified globe on the horizon. “Tolerance is the alpha and omega of a new world order,” said Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in June of 1990. He advocated troop cuts, anti-weapons treaties, one world economy, increased global trade, a global communal security structure—a sunshiny, join-hands-around-the-world future.

U.S. President George H.W. Bush evoked the theme when ordering troops to punish Saddam Hussein’s Iraq for attacking Kuwait. The Gulf War, he said, was a marvelous example of squashing the offensive use of force, promoting collective security, and cooperating among the world’s great powers. He used the phrase “new world order” no fewer than 42 times between the summer of 1990 and the end of March 1991. Critics saw it as ominous code for something else: unchallenged American global dominance. After all, the Soviet Union’s collapse had left the U.S. the last remaining superpower, towering over all other nations.

It was in this political climate that the Trumpet magazine launched in 1990. Remarkably, among all the forecasts we have made in our analysis of world events over two decades, perhaps the one that has appeared more frequently than any other is that the United States would weaken to the point of being completely eclipsed as a world power.

Demonstrating the Trumpet’s political neutrality, this forecast has remained constant through two Republican and now two Democratic presidencies. For most of these 22 years, it has been a stubbornly contrarian view.

Nevertheless, we have held it because it is guided by biblical prophecy, consistent with the understanding elucidated by Herbert W. Armstrong in The United States and Britain in Prophecy. Year after year we have tracked evidence of this national decline in several areas, including the quality of leadership, foreign relations and diplomacy, the will to use military power effectively, political and corporate integrity, economic vitality, industrial capacity, character and morality, family stability, physical and mental health, race relations, education, and spiritual well-being. In all of these areas and more, poisonous seeds have been sown; poor choices have accumulated; sins have mounted—and the resulting prophesied curses have grown sterner.

In recent times, the evidence has grown so overwhelming that this reality is now becoming accepted more generally: America is the incredible shrinking superpower.

But take a moment to consider the Trumpet’s pronouncements over the years and view them as vindication of our biblical model of predictive analysis. Here we’ll look at just a few, on this single issue of America’s degeneration, relating to the biggest issues facing the nation today.

In one of our earliest editions, August 1990, we pointed to corruption in business that would portend far greater problems to come. Referring to the prophecy in Micah 2:1-2, we wrote how some businessmen are “continually devising evil,” including “legalized robbery.” “It is happening to people all over the nation right now. Look at the leveraged buyouts of businesses and junk bond takeovers which have devastated the economic climate of the entire world. It is all based on greed and the ‘get’ way of life that Mr. Armstrong used to thunder about! … It is considered ‘good business’ today to make money and not worry about how you got it. … Sometimes we fail to see just how very bad the economy of the United States is. Micah is telling us that the ruin is going to be horrible in every way!” (emphasis added throughout).

“People look at the surface of the economy and of their society. On the surface everything looks good,” the November 1991 edition said. “Society looks so good to most people, as if it could last for thousands of years. But it is so badly eaten by the ‘moths,’ that a little pressure will cause it to fall apart”—referring to the prophecy of Hosea 5:12. “That is the condition of the U.S. and British economies today—right now! They are almost ready to collapse—like a moth-eaten coat! … This verse explains why people will believe the economy and their society is strong until they actually see it collapse!”

“The U.S. economy has helped to fuel the whole world’s economy. When it collapses, it will impact forcefully on the whole world,” we wrote in June 1992. The Trumpet’s economic warnings grew stronger over the years as America grew more overleveraged and indebted. “Countries, just like individuals, can become addicted to credit! In order to maintain a high standard of living, America has become increasingly dependent upon foreign credit to pay its bills, piling debt upon debt, until it has mortgaged itself to the hilt!” we wrote in August 1997. “The primary danger is that addiction to foreign credit finally gives foreigners complete control over the debtor nation!” We warned about what would happen when foreign investors eventually lost confidence in the U.S. dollar: “For Japan and other foreign creditors to sell extensive amounts of U.S. treasury bills would be similar to a bank cutting off the credit line of a heavily indebted individual who relies on borrowed money to pay his bills, and then demanding immediate repayment of the outstanding loans. … Simply put, if early repayment of these loans are demanded through a massive sell-off of foreign-owned bonds, the United States would be unable to pay the face value of the bonds, let alone the interest! There is a mortgage on America—and foreigners hold that mortgage ….” You can read more of the Trumpet’s economic forecasts, and how they have since proven accurate, in Robert Morley’s article “Right on the Money.”

Another enormous concern for America today is the nation’s war efforts in the Middle East. In this light, our editor in chief’s analysis of the 1991 Gulf War is interesting to revisit. One of Herbert Armstrong’s strongest assertions after World War ii was that “America has won its last war.” Every military conflict the U.S. has been involved in since has backed up that statement. But then, shortly after beginning a ground invasion in Iraq in 1991, the Bush i administration claimed victory in the war. Gerald Flurry strongly challenged that assessment. “The truth is we won a battle in Kuwait. We did not win a war. The job was left unfinished,” he wrote in the Trumpet’s May 1991 issue. “Saddam Hussein is still in power—even stronger in some ways—and has turned Iraq into a killing field. Isn’t [that] a sign we didn’t win the war? That we lacked the will to win as it says in Leviticus 26:19?” What the U.S. did was essentially kick a massive problem down the road. “This will probably plague and haunt President Bush and America for the rest of our lives!” he wrote.

Mr. Flurry was most critical of how, after encouraging the Kurds and Shiites to rise up against Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration abandoned them. Hussein then restarted his murderous rampage against them, creating a humanitarian disaster. Mr. Flurry called this “the greatest betrayal in U.S. history.” “President Bush’s ‘new world order’ has brought some of the greatest shame on our nation’s history!” he wrote. “American leaders say the U.S. has no UN mandate to interfere in Iraq on the refugees’ behalf. This statement alone shows that we lack the will to use our power for a just cause. And if the Iraqi refugee crisis isn’t a just cause, nothing is!”

This judgment has played out in America’s foreign policy to this day, with its pullout from Iraq and efforts to return power to the Taliban in Afghanistan: “America still fears getting bogged down in a Vietnam-type civil war in Iraq. Even after we had them almost defenseless! That is because God has broken the pride of our power—our will to win!” (ibid).

The truth in this assessment became even plainer after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Rather than going after the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism—Iran—America struck elsewhere. “By striking Afghanistan, the U.S. angers virtually no one. Go any further, however, and the issue is not nearly so tidy. Make Iran a target, for example, and you’re also picking a fight with its allies, most notably Russia,” we wrote in November 2001. “While the U.S. wants to eliminate terrorism and is becoming much more aggressive in trying to do so, its efforts will fall short. It frankly does not have the necessary will to tackle the enormity of the problem!” The accuracy of this assessment is evidenced by how, in the years since, Iran has grown far stronger, and Afghanistan continues to suck dry America’s military might.

In January 2000, Mr. Flurry showed how the U.S. was suffering from a deficit in strong leadership. “For a nation to be great, it must have a great leader. Everything revolves around a strong leader who will lead the people to face the necessary sacrifices and hard truths,” he wrote. “Today our people want to hear ‘smooth things’ and ‘deceits.’ It’s the only way a leader can get elected.” The elections since—including three for president—have revealed a steep slide even further down that dangerous slope. The American people “are too engrossed in self to ever have the will to remain a superpower,” Mr. Flurry continued. “It won’t be long before we have to face reality. We are a phony superpower waiting for disaster, if we don’t awaken.”

Then, referring to specific issues like the Gulf War and the handover of the Panama Canal, Mr. Flurry made another prescient statement: “The American people are being bombarded with foreign-policy surrenders on the part of their leaders!”

As we approach the end of this age of man, which will culminate in the Second Coming and the beginning of a new and wonderful world, America is fulfilling the Bible’s description of its decline in finer and finer detail. This should build our faith in the certainty of the ultimate outcome prophesied in Scripture and described in The United States and Britain in Prophecy. God has opened our understanding of these events in advance for several important reasons. It’s up to us to take advantage of it.

Pope Condemns Christian Persecution

Pope Condemns Christian Persecution

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The pope tells ambassadors that religion should not be marginalized.

Pope Benedict xvi spoke up for persecuted Christians around the world in a speech to ambassadors to the Vatican on January 9.

The theme of his speech was young people—how the world’s troubles affect them, and how to help them. He discussed “the grave and disturbing developments of the global economic and financial crisis” and the “agitation which has affected various regions, at times severely”—aka the “Arab Spring.”

The solution, he said, was education, noting that “the family unit is fundamental for the educational process and for the development both of individuals and states.”

The pope then forcefully condemned the global persecution of Christians, tying this into his theme by noting “it is clear that an effective educational program also calls for respect of religious freedom.”

“In many countries Christians are deprived of fundamental rights and sidelined from public life; in other countries they endure violent attacks against their churches and their homes,” he said. “At times they are forced to leave the countries they have helped to build because of persistent tensions and policies which frequently relegate them to being second-class spectators of national life.”

He praised former Pakistani Minister for Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, who was shot after speaking out for persecuted Christians. He also condemned religiously motivated terrorism.

But he did not only speak about violent persecution. “In other parts of the world,” he said, “we see policies aimed at marginalizing the role of religion in the life of society ….” He made it clear that he believed Catholicism should play a public role in Europe, saying, “I am proud to recall … that the Christian vision of man was the true inspiration for the framers of Germany’s Basic Law, as indeed it was for the founders of a united Europe.”

He praised the European Court of Human Right’s decision to allow Italy’s state schools to display crosses. Indeed, he praised Italy’s relationship between church and state as a model for other nations.

The speech shows the Catholic Church’s ambition to be the defender of Christians around the world. It also shows its desire for power—especially in Europe. The Catholic Church already wields power in the Italian government, and is virtually the state religion in that country.

The pope’s speech clearly shows he wants a catholicized Europe. Once he has that, expect Europe to fight the powers that are today persecuting Christians.

Detoxify Your Family

Detoxify Your Family

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Technology is turning our children into addicts.

There is a drug ravaging our children, and most people are oblivious. Parents desperately need to be aware of its addictive and destructive nature. More and more children are becoming obsessed with computers and other electronic gadgets—and the consequences can be as real and damaging as crack cocaine.

Experts report that schoolchildren are increasingly showing signs of addiction traditionally exhibited by drug abusers: Symptoms such as obsessive and compulsive urges to constantly be online, fixations with virtual worlds, and withdrawal from real-life relationships with family and friends. Those who are addicted often get defensive about their usage, yet have trouble limiting how much time they spend on the activity. They often get distracted and have difficulty completing tasks. They “lose” track of time.

Does that sound like any children you know? Do they get angry when you tell them to put away the iPhone and eat their dinner?

“Far too many children, and particularly boys, become quite addicted to computer use,” says Barnaby Lenon, chairman of the Independent Schools Council. It is damaging their long-term development—especially their conversational ability and literacy.

Lenon warns that parents need to tightly control children’s access to computers and televisions, and that computer usage should be strictly limited to only one hour a day for children aged up to 12 and a maximum of two hours for older pupils.

Parents should refuse to buy their children smartphones until they are at least 15, he says. The dangers are just too great.

The warning follows an August 2011 study that found that children ages 8 to 17 are more likely to have a mobile phone or computer in the home than a book. The researchers said that the most likely forms of reading for children were text messages, followed by e-mails and social networking.

The most common form of reading is now text messaging?!

Just go to any school that allows students to bring phones. They are everywhere. In the United Kingdom, almost 9 in 10 students carry a mobile phone (compared to fewer than three quarters who say they have their own books in the home), according to the National Literacy Trust.

And in case you are still living in the last decade, phones today go way beyond dial and talk. They are a very real, very visual doorway from Joe’s website to your child’s mind. You know Joe? Conspiracy theorist, homegrown terrorist, bomb-making, Columbine-celebrating, pornography-distributing, cop-killing, gangsta wannabe, self-mutilating, Satan-worshiping, general all-around-fun-guy Joe? Yes, that Joe! The one you unwittingly introduced your 9-year-old daughter to when you bought her the latest smartphone to take to school so she could call you if she ever got herself into trouble.

And unlike the desktop at home, which you can keep an eye on, the Internet-exploring smartphone, iPad, or laptop in your child’s backpack can be a 24-hour open door into your child or teenager’s impressionable mind.

The average age at which children watch their first pornography is now just 11, according to Australian researchers Maree Crabbe and David Corlett. “Porn is our most prominent sex educator,” they said. It is the milieu in which “young people are understanding and experience sex” nowadays.

According to the study, pornography is becoming a normal part of life for many young people. “Growing up watching porn—that’s sort of where you get your grasp of what’s normal and what’s not,” said one teenage boy. “A lot of what I know about sex is because of porn,” said another.

And when do you think these youths are watching porn? At home on the centrally located desk computer? Or on the phone they carry in their pocket, or their friend’s iPad after school?

Porn is just as addictive as cocaine or heroin. Just one exposure may follow them for the rest of their lives, affecting their relationships, marriages, character development, mental health and so much more.

Do you understand the risks involved?

Parents: We are living in a different world than even a couple of years ago. Technology is with us 24/7. It is a virtually inescapable and in many cases necessary part of our lives.

But know this: You must control it—or it will control you and your family.

Modern technology, including Internet connectivity, is an awesome tool, but it isn’t one that you should turn loose on your children without adequate training and protection. You wouldn’t throw your car keys at your 15-year-old without teaching him to drive. Giving him a smartphone or similar technology is like throwing him the keys to joy ride on the potentially much more dangerous Internet superhighway. He will get in an accident. It could be deadly. And you will be responsible.

As parents, it is our job to control what is in our homes and what our children are doing. We need to teach our children how to handle the technology we give them. We have to make sure that its use is supplementing, not hindering, child development. And we need to put safeguards in place until they are ready to head out on their own.

If your children already have an addiction problem, take action immediately, before it gets worse. Throw out the video games. Replace the smartphone with a basic calling-only version. Monitor computer usage. If necessary, detechnologize your family. Don’t wait for a “crash” to happen.

Your children may not like you for it now. They may kick and scream and even say they hate you. Detoxification is never easy. But they will love you for it later!

Italy: Attempts to Quash Tax Evasion Lead to Draconian Rules

Italy: Attempts to Quash Tax Evasion Lead to Draconian Rules

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Eurocrats take away freedom to try to protect their currency.

Italy is restricting how much people can pay in cash and monitoring those crossing the border, in order to fight tax evasion.

Since December 4, Italians have not been allowed to pay more than €1,000 in cash to anyone. Previously, the largest allowed cash payment was €2,500.

Credit card companies and banks must report any card transactions of more than €3,000 made by their customers to Italy’s Revenue Agency.

Italy is even trying to stop people driving out of the country with their money. It’s recently posted dogs trained to smell bank notes at its border crossings. Cameras and computer systems keep track of those crossing into Switzerland.

Italy does need to solve its tax evasion problems. But an unelected government introducing draconian rules should get people worried—even if it seems to have a legitimate excuse. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi warned last year: “There’s a real danger of crossing over into a fiscal police state.”

The European Union is moving toward an authoritarian government, and the financial crisis is helping it do it. Several solutions put forward to the crisis—such as a nation leaving the eurozone—would probably require military involvement. If Greece were to leave the euro, for example, it would have to be done without announcing it beforehand. Citizens would have to be forced, probably at gun point, not to withdraw all their savings from the bank. No one would want to keep their savings in a currency that the government plans to deliberately devalue.

Simply put, European governments may attempt to stop the crisis by taking away the freedom of individuals to decide what to do with their own money. This is what is meant by the less-threatening sounding term “introducing capital controls.” We can see this attitude already in their attack on the rating agencies—an attempt to curtail free speech to help the euro. Eurocrats value their project more than the freedom of Europe’s citizens.

Watch for governments to become more authoritarian across the Continent as the eurozone struggles to get control of its currency.