The world has a pope. And what a pope he is.
Joseph Ratzinger is now Benedict xvi—named after the peace-loving pope who ruled during World War i. The media has painted the new pontiff as “humble,” someone who will rule with “quiet leadership.”
They couldn’t be more wrong.
We have been watching Ratzinger closely for some time. His name first made our magazine in the September-October 1997 issue. There we spoke out about how this Bavarian cardinal would combine with Pope John Paul ii “as a formidable force to limit the voice of the liberal theologians both within the confines of the church and in public discourse.” Since John Paul ii appointed him in 1981 into the Vatican’s most powerful office after his own—prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—it was clear the Vatican was serious about rooting liberalism out of Catholicism.
Ratzinger’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (once named the “Roman Congregation of the Inquisition”), we said, “was to prove just as efficient as the old Inquisition in eliminating opposition, as numerous Catholic theologians have found since his appointment to this office in November 1981.”
Under this policy, many doctrinally liberal cardinals were removed. The leadership of the Catholic Church in Latin America, for example, was basically replaced with men who toed the Vatican party line. Similarly, Australian bishops “were carpeted in the 1990s for allowing a church culture that was seen as too egalitarian and open to secular influences” (Agence France Press, April 1). A cardinal hand-chosen by Rome was sent down under “to pull Sydney into line.” The pope also appointed conservatives to run liberal churches in numerous other countries such as India, Austria, Argentina, the Netherlands, Canada and Brazil (ibid.).
But back then of course, we weren’t necessarily talking in terms of this man actually running the mighty church.
We continued to speak of Ratzinger’s influence in a March-April 1998 article, “The Third Way,” where we detailed some of his philosophies based on a famous interview with journalist Peter Seewald—philosophies that entailed the church’s 21st-century role as saving Christianity from the error of its ways and thus saving greater mankind. “The church must exert herself to bring man to the point where he is up to the challenge of himself, as it were, where he can confront his physical ability with a corresponding moral ability. … It belongs to man’s essence to need authority.”
Predicting an Ultra-Conservative Pope
By the year 2000, as John Paul’s health declined, it became clear to us that a German pope might be exactly where things were headed—based on Ratzinger’s philosophies and what the Bible predicted about Catholicism’s future—especially as it tied to a revival of the Roman Empire, under the term “European Union.” We began to be bolder in our predictions—that the next pope would be an arch-conservative and bring to fruition some of the most dreadful of end-time prophecies.
Our June 2002 issue stated of the next pope: “Right wing he shall be, doctrinaire will be his mindset.” Relating how John Paul ii increased the political power and diplomatic influence of the Vatican on the world scene—as witnessed by the Vatican’s hand in the fall of the Communist ussr and more recently the break-up of Yugoslavia—the Trumpet declared, “The next pope will enforce the spiritual power of the church!”
The ultra-conservative German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was obviously the perfect man for the job.
Diplomat and Unifying Figure
Ratzinger was known for years as an arch-conservative—but also as a charming, diplomatic, even shy man. Immediately upon his election as pope April 19, media commentators were heralding his quiet humility. Certainly Ratzinger not only has the right-wing doctrinal beliefs, he has the persona to rally support from his members.
In recent years he toned down his hard-line image by being more reserved in public and even at times issued liberal statements to soften his persona. “There was a stigma,” said one Vatican insider of Ratzinger. “He rises above that now” (Time, January 10). Comparing his meek persona with his doctrinal rigidity, it’s almost as if already—as the Scripture says—he looks “like a lamb,” but his words don’t match that appearance.
We also said the next pope would breathe new life into Catholicism—that he would even rally and unite many Protestants back into the Catholic fold.
On this account, Benedict xvi is also the perfect man for the job.
One analyst said, of Ratzinger’s influence on the Roman Catholic Church before his papacy, “For the first time, Catholic congregations in the U.S. south are attracting the sort of people who normally would join evangelical denominations.” The analyst wrote, “The popular media have assigned Ratzinger the image of the dour conservative, cracking down on dissenting theologians. Quite the opposite might be the case: as pope, Ratzinger might conceivably become something of a unifying figure in the Christian world” (Asia Times, April 4, emphasis ours throughout).
Looking to Jerusalem
We have also said that the next pope would have his sights set on Jerusalem. Ratzinger was known for statements he made concerning a reconciliation of sorts with the Jews. That reconciliation being, “the moment in which Israel too will say yes to Christ.” After all, the “star points to Jerusalem,” Ratzinger said once. Watch for this new pope to have a more fervent interest in Israeli politics and affairs surrounding Jerusalem.
Steering Europe’s Destiny
Another description of the next pope that we have been trumpeting for the past several years is that he would be a man intent on shaping the future of Europe—and injecting Christianity back into it.
In February, the bbc reported that the “destiny of Europe is preoccupying the Vatican.” Cardinals have complained of an “anti-Catholic inquisition” from a liberal element within the EU (February 11). Benedict XVI is just the man to solve the “problem.” Referring to the decline of Catholic practice in Western Europe, the March 5 Spectator pointed out that Ratzinger—who has been “forthright and fearless in confronting secularism and defending the orthodox teaching” of the Catholic Church—“sees clearly what is at stake.” As a Vatican official told Time, “The Ratzinger solution is definitely on” (op. cit.).
Certainly, the “destiny of Europe” will be of prime concern to Benedict xvi. Seven resurrections of the war-mongering Holy Roman Empire are prophesied to occur in chapters 13 and 17 of Revelation. Six of these resurrections have already occurred. (Read about these in our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, which is free upon request.) The reason this pope is of particular interest is that he is likely to be one of the two most powerful leaders of the seventh resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire—an empire that will thrust the world into World War iii! As editor in chief Gerald Flurry has stated, “Over the past 1,500 years there have been six resurrections of the ‘Holy’ Roman Empire. Most of the time this empire revolved around Germany and the Vatican, along with Italy” (June 2000).
The seventh resurrection, which is now in the making, will once again revolve around Germany and the Vatican. Now that the first German pope in 10 centuries rules in the Vatican (one who incidentally was 12 years old when he took part in the Hitler Youth program in World War ii Germany), these prophecies will speed to fruition! Watch Benedict xvi. ▪