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History of Popes - 20th Cent

A History of the Popes

by Joseph McCabe

 

Excerpts from: A History of the Popes by Joseph McCabe,
formerly a Romish priest and author of more than fifty historical works.


 

20th  Century to Present 
SECTION - NINE

     

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No War Without Controversy


 

Pope Pius XI's successor as war breaks out in Europe is Eugenio Pacelli, now Pope Pius XII (1939-1958). Born in Rome on March 1876, into a well-off aristocratic family with a history of ties to the papacy, he was elected at the age of 63. His grandfather, Marcantonio Pacelli, was Under-Secretary in the Papal Ministry of Finances and then Secretary of the Interior under Pope Pius IX from 1851 to 1870 and founded the Vatican's newspaper in 1861. His father, Filippo Pacelli, was the dean of the Sacra Rota Romana, the highest appellate tribunal of the Latin Rite whose main function is that of a third instance appellate tribunal, reviewing decisions of lower courts if the original court and the first appeal court do not agree on the outcome of a case. His cousin, Ernesto Pacelli, was a key financial advisor to Pope Leo XIII. His brother, Francesco Pacelli, became a lay canon lawyer, credited for his role in negotiating the Lateran Treaty in 1929. 

Few Popes will be the subject of as much controversy as he. In 1917, Pacelli had been sent as Papal nuncio (ambassador) to Munich to negotiate a concordat with the Bavarian Court. This accomplished, he was sent to Berlin in 1925 with the same aim. After concluding the concordat with the German Weimar Republic, Pacelli was recalled to Rome in 1929 and created a cardinal and Vatican secretary of state. As Cardinal Pacelli, he drew up and signed the concordat with Hitler's Nazi Germany on behalf of Pius XI in the summer of 1933. Pacelli's years in Germany gave him a fluency in the German language and a great love for the German people. In view of this, his proclaimed neutrality as wartime Pontiff will be questioned. After the war he will be accused of failing to denounce Hitler and neglecting to speak out publicly against Hitler's "final solution to the "Jewish problem. Some critics will declare that by remaining silent he became an accomplice to genocide. 

One of the closest people to Pius XII was a woman by the name of Josefina Lehnert who is known as Sister Mary Lehnert Pascalina; she was born on a small farm in Ebersberg, Bavaria, Germany. At The Stella Maris retreat house at Rorschach, Germany, where Catholic clergy came to recuperate after bouts of ill health, sickly Monsignor Pacelli came to recuperate after World War I. After his release, the papal nuncio at Munich returned to request her appointment as his housekeeper, she had apparently made quite an impression on him at the retreat. Their close relationship lasted more than forty years. She was a Bavarian Roman Catholic nun who served as Pope Pius XII's housekeeper, her official title, and secretary from his period as Nuncio to Bavaria in 1917 until his death as pope in 1958. Sister Mary Pascalina took care of the Pope, from when he was the papal nuncio in Munich (1917-1929), then Vatican secretary of state (1930-1939) and finally Pope (1939-1958). 

She died in 1983 and several bishops and cardinals attended her funeral, among them Josef Ratzinger, future Pope Benedict XVI. Cardinal Ratzinger also delivered the eulogy at the tenth anniversary of Madre's death in 1993, he jokingly referred to her as the most powerful Bavarian ever in the Vatican. Knowledgeable with Vatican procedures, she had lobbied and helped bring Pius to the brink of sainthood.


 

Hitler modeled his Nazi Party organization after the organization of the Catholic Church. Hitler stated:

I can see Himmler as our Ignatius of Loyola.
I learned much from the Order of the Jesuits . . . Until now there has never been anything more grandiose, on the earth, than the hierarchical organisation of the Catholic Church. I transferred much of this organisation into my own party. I am going to let you in on a secret . . . I am founding an Order . . . in my “Burgs” of the order, we will raise up a youth which will make the world tremble.

Hitler stopped short and explained that he could not say any more. Hitler did not reveal the identity of the dreadful organization at that time. He in fact was referring to the Schutzstaffel commonly known as the SS. Nazi leaders such as Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, and Adolph Hitler were all Roman Catholic. General Walter Schellenberg, former chief of German counter-espionage (Sicherheisdienst or SD), explained after the war:

The SS organisation (sic) had been constituted, by Himmler, according to the principles of the Jesuits’ Order. Their regulations and the Spiritual Exercises prescribed by Ignatius of Loyola were the model Himmler tried to copy exactly.

 

Keep in mind that Himmler was the “Reichsfuhrer SS” (Supreme Chief of the SS). That title was intended to be the equivalent of the Jesuits’ “General.” Himmler was also in charge of the German secret police, known as the Gestapo. The Jesuit General, Count Halke von Ledochowski, arranged for a special unit within the SS Central Security Service where most of the main posts were held by Roman Catholic priests wearing the black shirt SS uniforms. The head of this special unit was Heinrich Himmler’s uncle, who was a Jesuit priest. 

Franz Von Papen, former Chancellor of Germany, the Pope’s secret chamberlain, and the mainspring of the concordat between Germany and the Vatican, said:

The Third Reich is the first world power which not only acknowledges but also puts into practice the high principles of the papacy.

 

The Catholic Church may be seen to resemble a fifth column in some countries where it is located. A fifth column is a term used to describe a group that is sent in to soften up a country for invasion. For example, in World War II France, the Catholic fifth column, called “Catholic Action,” worked on behalf of the Nazis prior to and during Germany’s invasion of France. Catholic Action worked to propagandize the people to accept fascism and not to resist the invasion by Germany. They were quite effective, France fell in 30 days. Pierre Laval, the Pope’s count and president of the Vichy government said the following on French National Radio, January 2, 1943:

I hope Germany will be victorious. It may seem strange to hear the one who is defeated wish for the victor’s victory. It is because this war is not like previous ones. It is a true war of religion! Yes, a war of religion.

 

Catholic Action was so effective in convincing the Belgium Catholics that fascism was good that eight out of ten Belgians who collaborated with the Nazi Germans were Catholic. 

The Jesuits are suspected of being the hidden hand behind many of the most notorious publications in history, including the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion and Mein Kamf. Roman Catholic Otto Strasser, who was one of the founders of the Nazi Party, revealed in his book, Hitler and I, that the infamous Nazi propaganda book, Mein Kampf, purportedly written by Adolph Hitler, was not in fact written by Hitler. According to Strassor, Mein Kamf was ghostwritten for Hitler by a Jesuit Priest named Bernhardt Stempfle.

 

In Yugoslavia during World War II the fascist corollary to the German Nazis were the Ustashi. The Ustashi were made up almost exclusively of Roman Catholic Croatians. When Germany overran Yugoslavia in 1941, Hitler brought in Ante Pavelic to rule over an expanded puppet state of Croatia. Pavelic was the brutal founder of the Ustashi. As soon as Pavelic was brought to power, the genocide of the Serbs in Croatia began. The Ustashi were responsible for the genocide of 750,000 Serbs over a four year period. Many Serbs were given the opportunity to convert to Roman Catholicism to avoid execution. The Jews, on the other hand, were not given the option of conversion because of the Catholic Croatian government policy on non-Aryans. Roman Catholic Archbishop Stepinac of Croatia signed and issued the official Croatian government circular (#11.530 August 1941) explaining the policy against permitting the conversion of Jews to Roman Catholicism. It was the policy and practice of the Ustashi government to wipe out the Serbian Orthodox Church. If a Serb did not convert to Roman Catholicism his property was confiscated and he was either executed or he was sent to a prison camp for a later but no less certain death. The Roman Catholic Ustashi often tortured their prey before they brutally slaughtered them. At Korenica hundreds of persons were tortured to death by having their ears and noses cut off. The tortures most frequently applied were beatings, severing limbs, goring eyes, and breaking bones. Men were forced to hold red hot bricks, dance on barbed wire with bare feet, and wear a wreath of thorns. Needles were stuck under fingernails and lighted matches were held under their noses. There was not a cruelty that the Catholic Ustashi brute beasts did not implement. 

Roman Catholic priests, principally Franciscans, took a leading part in the massacres of Jews and Serbs throughout Croatia during the war. The extermination of the Serbs and Jews was planned at the outset of the establishment of Croatia. On May 21, 1941 Franciscan “Father” Simic told an Italian General upon Simic’s taking over the civil authority in Kinin that Simic was there to carry out the policy of the Ustashi government, which was to “[k]ill all the Serbs in the shortest time possible.”

 

Catholic priests figured prominently among the Croatian fascist leaders. Fascist meetings were often preceded by Catholic religious services, and Catholic flags were carried in fascist processions.

 

The Roman Catholic clergy in the Croatian government actively guided the Inquisition in Croatia.

 

Father Bozidar Bralow, who was known for the machine gun that was his constant companion, was accused of performing a dance around the bodies of 180 massacred Serbs at Alpasin-Most.

 

Individual Franciscan priests killed, set fire to homes, and laid waste to the countryside at the head of marauding Ustashi bands.

 

An Italian reporter witnessed a Roman Catholic priest (a Franciscan) urging on a band of rampaging Ustashi with his crucifix south of Banja Luka. Not only did the Catholic clergy guide the Inquisition, they also took part in the dirty work of executing Serbs and Jews. Catholic Franciscan Monk Miroslav Filipovic-Majstorovic of the monastery near Banja Luka was the commander of the Jasenovac prison camp during four months in the fall of 1941. During that time he saw to it that 40,000 people were liquidated, many of which he personally executed. He was known as Fra Sotona (Brother Devil). He was not the only Franciscan in the prison camp, he was assisted in the killings by: Brkljanic, Matkovic, Matijevic, Brekalo, Celina, and Lipovac.

 

The civil authorities would defer to the Catholic priests when it came to deciding the fate of the Serbs. For example, Ljubica Zivanovic from Borovo appealed to the Borovo chief of police for the lives of her daughters, who were sent to a prison camp. The chief, knowing that the government was only carrying out wishes of the Vatican, referred her to the Catholic priest Andjelko Gregic. Gregic told her that because her daughters had not accepted conversion to the Roman Catholic religion that he could do nothing for them. He also told Zivanovic that she would also suffer the fate of her daughters if she did not convert to the Roman Catholic religion. Serbs were forced on penalty of death to convert to Roman Catholicism. In addition, the priests of the Roman Catholic Church required the payment of 170 kuna for the conversion. Through the conversion fee, the Roman priests gained great wealth. The March 30, 1998 U.S. News and World Report identified some of the Catholic clergy who took part in the Roman Catholic Inquisition in Croatia:

It is a matter of historical record that the Croatian Catholic Church was closely entangled with the Ustashas. In the early years of World War II, Catholic priests oversaw forced conversions of Orthodox Serbs under the aegis of the Ustasha state; Franciscan friars distributed propaganda. Several high Catholic officials in Yugoslavia were later indicted for war crimes. They included Father Dragutin Kamber, who ordered the killing of nearly 300 Orthodox Serbs; Bishop Ivan Saric of Sarajevo, known as the “hangman of the Serbs;” and Bishop Gregory Rozman of Slovenia, a wanted Nazi collaborator. A trial held by the Yugoslav War Crimes Commission in 1946 resulted in the conviction of a half-dozen Ustasha priests, among them former Franciscan Miroslav Filipovic-Majstorovic, a commandant of the Jasenovac concentration camp where the Ustasha tortured and slaughtered hundreds of thousands with a brutality that shocked even the Nazis.

Avro Manhattan, a former BBC commentator and an expert on the Vatican, sums up the lesson of World War II Croatia:

[In Croatia] the Catholic church [erected] a State in complete accord with all her tenets. The result was a monster standing upon the armed might of twin totalitarianisms: the totalitarianism of a ruthless Fascist State and the totalitarianism of Catholicism. . . . The uniqueness of the Independent Catholic State of Croatia lies precisely in this: that it provided a model, in miniature, of what the Catholic Church, had she the power, would like to see in the West and, indeed, everywhere. As such it should be carefully scrutinized. For its significance . . . is of the greatest import to all the freedom-loving peoples of the world.

Archbishop Stepanic was in complete accord with the genocidal plans of Pavelic. Stepanic’s personal diary recounts an April 16, 1941, meeting he had with Pavelic, at which Pavelic clearly stated his intent “not to show tolerance toward the Orthodox Serbian Church.” Stepanic commented in his diary that Pavelic’s statement indicated to Stepanic that Pavelic was a “sincere Catholic.” That evening Stepanic gave a dinner party in honor of Pavelic and his top henchmen. On April 28, 1941, a pastoral letter from Stepanic was read from all Catholic pulpits calling on the clergy and the “faithful” to collaborate in the work of their leader, Pavelic. That very day 250 Serbs were massacred at Bjelovar. The fact that Stepanic is currently being considered for beatification as a “saint” of the Catholic Church, is clear evidence that Stephanic was doing the work of Rome and that the Catholic Church has not changed. 

This was done with the knowledge and blessing of the pope himself. It can be established that on or about February 1942 Pope Pius XII was fully apprized of the Serbian massacres, yet he took no steps to stop them and they continued unabated. The Yugoslav chapter of the International Red Cross, sent a courier to the Vatican to deliver documentation of the Roman Catholic Holocaust in Croatia along with an official plea from Privislav Grizogono, former Minister of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, in an attempt to persuade the pope to stop the Holocaust. The Vatican probably knew what was being delivered and they repeatedly rebuffed the couriers efforts to deliver the documentation to the pope. The courier, knowing the importance of his mission, found a way to hand the documentation directly to Pope Pius XII at a public audience. The plea, dated February 8, 1942, from the former Minister of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia said:

Your grace, I write this to you as man to man, as a Christian to a Christian. Since the first day of the Independent Croatian state, the Serbs have been massacred and this massacring has been continuing to this day. . . . Why do I write this to you? Here’s why: in all these unprecedented crimes, worse than pagan, our Catholic Church has also participated in two ways. First a large number of priests, clerics, friars, and organized Catholic youths actively participated in all these crimes, but more terrible even, Catholic priests became camp commanders and as such ordered or tolerated the horrible tortures, murders and massacre of a babtized people. None of this could have been done without the permission of their bishops. . . . Is the duty of the church to raise its voice: first because it is a Church of Christ; second because it is powerful. . . .

 

An example of the attitude of the Catholic clergy toward the Serbs was that of Dr. Ivo Guberina, a Catholic priest, head of the Catholic Action, and Pavelic’s personal bodyguard. On July 7, 1941 Guberina stated: “Croatia should purge its system of all poison (Orthodox Serbs) in every possible way, even by the sword, and take any preventive measure whatsoever.”

 

Pope Pius XII granted Ante Pavelic, the Croatian Fuhrer, a private audience in the Vatican in 1941. The pope’s personal representative, Marcone, was sent to Croatia and was on sight in Croatia witnessing the Ustashi tortures and massacres. John Cornwell, after reviewing Catholic archives, opined that Marcone had “clearly been selected to soothe and encourage.” The Pope granted Pavelic another private audience in 1943. There can be no claim that the pope did not know about the massacres. Remember, it was February 1942 that the Yugoslav chapter of the International Red Cross sent a courier who personally handed the documentation of the Official Catholic involvement in the genocide to the pope himself. The genocide of the Serbs and Jews was simply a fulfilment of the Vatican strategy. Pope Pius XII, the Catholic Croatian episcopate and Catholic Action must have known from the outset about the forced conversions, genocide, torture, and deportations. The Massacre of Serbs was yet another inquisition, probably orchestrated yet again, by the Roman Church.

 

For the man who doubts the accuracy of these assertions, read what John Cornwell has to say. Cornwell was convinced that Pope Pius XII was innocent of the charges that he was in complicity with the Nazis and Ustashis. He decided to research the issue with the intent of writing an authoritative book that would put to rest the allegations against Pius XII. He stated,

I was convinced that if the full story was told, Pius XII’s pontificate would be vindicated. . . . I applied for access to crucial material in Rome, reassuring those who had charge of the appropriate archives that I was on the side of my subject [Pope Pius XII]. . . . By the middle of 1997, nearing the end of my research, I found myself in the state I can only describe as moral shock . The material I had gathered, taking the more extensive view of Pacelli’s [Pope Pius XII’s] life, amounted not to an exoneration but to a wider indictment. Spanning Pacelli’s career from the beginning of the century, my research told a story of a bid for unprecedented papal power that by 1933 had drawn the Catholic Church into complicity with the darkest forces of the era.

 

After World War II the Roman Catholic church hid and orchestrated the escape from justice of Nazi and Ustashi war criminals. In their book, Unholy Trinity, Mark Aarons and John Loftus revealed the contents of hitherto secret documents that exposed Vatican complicity in the escape of Nazi war criminals. Some of the documents were obtained from a daring burglary of the offices of Father Krunolav Draganovic. Father Draganovic took over from Bishop Alois Hudal the running of the Vatican program for the escape of WWII war criminals. Aarons and Loftus concluded:

Under the direction of Pope Pius XII, Vatican officials such as Monsignor Giovanni Montini (later Pope Paul VI) supervised one of the greatest obstructions of justice in modern history . . . facilitat[ing] the escape of tens of thousands of Nazi [war criminals] to the West. 

The Vatican ran a ratline of Nazi and Ustashi war criminals. Many of these war criminals were given sanctuary inside the Vatican. They were given forged documents and hidden in monasteries and convents. Many of them ended up in Argentina under the protection of Roman Catholic Dictator Juan Peron. 

Agent Robert Mudd of the United States Army Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC) reported that Croatian War Criminals traveled back and forth from the Vatican several times per week in chauffeured automobiles with license plates bearing “CD” (Corps Diplomatic). Because the cars had diplomatic license plates and hence diplomatic immunity they could not be stopped. 

Ante Pavelic, the Croatian Fuhrer who was the leader of the Ustashi and was responsible for the extermination of countless Jews and 750,000 Serbs, was smuggled into the Vatican. He hid in the Vatican disguised as a Catholic priest. He became a good friend of Monsignor Giovannni Battista Montini, who was then the Vatican’s Under Secretary of State (in 1963 Montini was crowned Pope Paul VI). By November 1947 the Vatican had smuggled Pavelic out of Rome and into Buenos Aires. A 1947 U.S. diplomatic report revealed that upon Pavelic’s arrival in Buenos Aires he was met by a retinue of Catholic priests. Upon Pavelic’s death, December 1959, Pope John XXIII, the next pope, pronounced his personal benediction on him. 

The Vatican protected and orchestrated the escape of such Nazi war criminals as Adolph Eichman, one of the most notorious mass murderers in history. Eichman was the head of the SS Department for Jewish Affairs and was in charge of the entire “final solution.” The Vatican orchestrated the escapes of Jose Mengele, the Sadistic Auschwitz Angel of Death, and Klaus Barbie, the Lyons, France Gestapo Chief, known as the “Butcher of Lyon.” 

The Vatican orchestrated the escape of Franz Stangl. Stangl was the commandant of the infamous concentration camp at Treblinka; he presided over the murders of thousands of inmates. The Vatican through its agents arranged for Stangl’s escape from a prison camp in Austria. He was then smuggled into the Vatican. He was met there by Catholic Bishop Alois Hudal, who was in charge of running the ratline of Nazis who were fleeing justice. Hudal was assisted in setting up the ratline by Walter Rauff, former SS Intelligence Chief and himself a Nazi war criminal. 

Former SS Captain Erich Priebke was convicted of the March 1944 killing near Rome of 335 civilians, including 75 Jews. On July 22, 1997 Priebke received a five year slap on the wrist from a Rome military tribunal. The significance of Priebke’s case is that he admitted that he was helped by the Vatican in his escape from a British prisoner of war camp and that the Vatican orchestrated his flight from justice to Argentina. 

Pope Pius XII applied political pressure to allow his personal representatives to visit prisoners, ostensibly to “minister” to them. The real purpose was to identify and smuggle out Nazi war criminals. Bishop Hudal, head of the 

Vatican ratline and close advisor to Pope Pius XII had this to say: 
I thank God that He [allowed me] to visit . . . prisons and concentration camps and [to help prisoners] escape with false identity papers . . . I felt duty bound after 1945 to devote my whole charitable work mainly to former National Socialists [Nazis] and Fascists, especially to so called ‘war criminals.’

Aarons and Loftus, after reviewing the official Vatican documents and the other evidence concluded:

Instead of smuggling homeless Jews to Argentina, the Ratlines smuggled Eichman, Pavelic, and Stangl, among many others. Instead of denouncing Bishop Hudal, the Vatican replaced him with a less conspicuous but far more efficient and effective operative in the form of Father Draganovic. 

What the Vatican did after World War II was a crime. The evidence is unequivocal: the Holy See aided the flight of fugitives from international justice. The Ratlines were intentionally created to aid and abet the escape of wanted Nazi war criminals. 

We find no defense of ignorance: Pius XII was fully aware of Ante Pavelic’s crimes. Nor was he the only case. The Ratlines operated with reckless disregard for the fugitives’ crimes against humanity. 

The Pope’s diplomatic messages reveal a pattern of protection and intercession for war criminals . . . the Vatican knew they were sheltering war Nazis. 

We find no defense of unauthorized conduct: the Ratlines were an official extension of covert Vatican diplomacy. . . . There was virtually unanimous agreement among the surviving witnessed that Draganovic operated with the highest official sanction. . . . The intelligence files of several nations confirm that the Vatican’s top leaders authorized and directed the smuggling of fugitive war criminals.

 

On the day Germany capitulated, May 7, 1945, 288 kilograms of gold, much of which was looted from the Serbs and Jews, was removed from the Croatian National Bank and the State Treasury. It was transferred to the Vatican. Father Krunolav Draganovic, who ran the Vatican ratlines, admitted that part of that gold ended up in his hands. He told the Yugoslavian War Crimes Commission that he doled out some of the money to Ustashi soldiers. 

In a recently declassified October 21, 1946 memo from Office of Strategic Services (OSS which was the precursor to the CIA), Agent Emerson Bigelow reported that a shipment of money from Croatia to the Vatican was partially intercepted by the British, but that 200 million Swiss Francs ($170 million in U.S. currency today) which apparently made it through to the Vatican was being held there for “safe keeping.” The report states that the money was being used to finance Croatian war criminals in exile. In an October 1945 memo, Bigelow reported that a shipment of pounds 80 million of Gold coins plundered from the Jews, Serbs, and Gypsies was smuggled out of the Nazi puppet regime in Croatia and into the Vatican. He stated that it appeared that much of the money was then funneled from the Vatican through a Vatican financial pipeline to Spain and Argentina. Bigelow opined that the ostensible transfer of funds out of the Vatican may be a smokescreen to hide the fact that the money is still in the Vatican. 

Another declassified intelligence report tracked money from Berlin’s Reichsbank to the Vatican through a Swiss bank. That money was only some of the hundreds of millions of dollars of wealth looted from the Jews by the Nazis. Some have estimated the Vatican cut of the action to be $600 million, but the figure could easily be several billion dollars. 

Much of the Nazi loot had to be changed from gold, jewelry, and foreign exchange to Italian Lire. According to an October 17, 1947 British diplomatic memo, Father Mandic was the liaison to the Vatican who arranged for the fencing of the stolen merchandise. He operated out of Istituto San Girolamo, a Roman Catholic seminary on Via Tomacelli, which is about one mile from the Vatican. San Girolamo was the center of operations for the Vatican ratline smuggling program.

 

Some of the above excerpts are from the book Antichrist Conspiracy — Inside the Devils Lair, by Edward Hendrie.

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Second Vatican Council


 

Pope John XXIII (1958-1963)
Pope John XXIII was born in 1881 in northern Italy, he became Pope at the age of 77. His papal coronation ran for the traditional five hours — (the next Pope, Paul VI, opted for a shorter ceremony, while later popes declined to be crowned). In 1915 he was drafted into the Royal Italian army as a sergeant in the medical corps and as a chaplain. In 1921 Pope Benedict XV appointed him the Italian president of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. In 1944, Pope Pius XII named him Apostolic Nuncio in Paris during the German occupation. 

In December 1958, he became the first pope to leave Vatican territory since 1870 when Pius IX declared himself a self-imposed prisoner in the Vatican after refusing to recognize the new kingdom of Italy. As Pope he met Rev. Geoffrey Francis Fisher, the Archbishop of Canterbury, for about an hour in the Vatican in December of 1960. It was the first time in more than 500 years that a head of the Anglican Church had visited the Pope. He called an ecumenical council, the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), fewer than a hundred years after the Vatican Council of 1869 which declared that the Pope is infallibile as a formal article of Catholic belief. (canon law dictates that a council is suspended at the death of a pope but the next Pope Paul VI decided to continue it)

 

In December 1963 US president Lyndon B. Johnson posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award. His beatification came in September 2000 when John XXIII as well as Pope Pius IX were declared "Blessed" by Pope John Paul II. A person who is beatified is given the title "Blessed". Beatification is a locally restricted permission to venerate, while canonization is a universal precept to venerate. That is, beatification allows the public veneration of a person as having entered Heaven, while canonization commands it. Beatification is considered a step towards being declared a saint, usually after being declared venerable and before canonization as a saint. Since the Canon law reform of 1983, one miracle must be proven to have taken place through the intercession of the person to be beatified, though this requirement is waived for those who died a martyr.

 

Former Jesuit priest Malachi Martin, who was a close associate of Cardinal Augustine Bea and Pope John XXIII, has stated that:

[t]he Pope is surrounded by men in clerical garb who do not possess the Catholic faith; they are working with foundations, non-government organizations, governments, academia, and other agencies to bring a new world order [one world government] into existence. . . The Catholic Church has its own diplomatic corps of ambassadors posted in the highly industrialized nations of the world. There are 180 nations that have sent their own ambassadors to the Vatican. No other church commands this attention. Those who are working for the new world order must bring this unique organization under their control. The process by which they are attempting to accomplish this is described in [my book,] Windswept House. In the book I state, ‘The Church is a Sine qua non [without which not] for the advent of the new world order.‘

When he was a Jesuit priest, Alberto Rivera received secret briefings from Augustin Cardinal Bea and Jesuit Superior General Pedro Arupe. He also reviewed many of the secret documents of the Vatican. These briefings and documents revealed that the Vatican is the nerve center and head for a large number of conspiratorial organizations set up by the Vatican to act as fronts that would offer a layer of secrecy and protection to Rome as it works toward a new world order. 

It is the long established position of the Catholic Church that the pope should be the ruler of the world.

 

 

 

Pope Paul VI (1963-1978)
This Pope, born in 1897 in northern Italy under the name of Giovanni Battista Montini, took the tiara at the age of 66 and presided over the majority of the Second Vatican Council sessions and oversaw the implementation of its decrees. He took the solemn oath against Modernism and eventually appointed as University chaplain in Rome. He frequented Catholic youth organizations and Catholic student groupings and was openly accused of politicizing the Catholic students and the Catholic Action movments and had to defend himself. During World War 2 Montini was several times openly attacked by the Italian government as a politician, and meddling in politics, but each time he found powerful defenses by the Vatican. He was known to distribute theological books forbidden by the Church during the 1920's and the Fascist press attacked him for politicking.

His career led him to the Roman Curia, the papal civil service. He was named Substitute for Ordinary Affairs under Cardinal Pacelli, (the future Pope Pius XII), who was the Secretary of State under Pope Pius XI. He would see Cardinal Pacelli every morning from 1930-1954 and thus developed a rather close relation. As war broke out Montini was one of the main figures in the Vatican’s State Department. In 1944 Pius XII appointed Tardini and Montini together as heads of the State Department. In 1954 Montini was appointed to the senior Italian church post of Archbishop of Milan. Like so many other aspects of his life, Montini's sudden transfer from the Vatican to Milan is a subject of controversy. It has long been rumored that he somehow lost Pius XII's confidence and was thus "exiled" to Milan. The fact that he did not receive the traditional red hat of a cardinal during the remaining four years of Pius XII's life has occasioned much comment. The new pope, John XXIII, raised Montini to the cardinalate after only two months in office. 

He was the last pope to be crowned; his successor Pope John Paul I replaced the Papal Coronation, which Paul had already substantially modified, but which he left mandatory in 1975. Paul VI donated his own Papal Tiara, a gift from his former Archdiocese of Milan, to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. — where is it on permanent display in the Crypt — as a gift to American Catholics. In 1968 he discontinued most of the ceremonial functions of the old Roman nobility at the papal court, save for the Prince Assistants to the Papal Throne. He also abolished the Palatine Guard and the Noble Guard, leaving the Swiss Guard as the sole military order of the Vatican. 

He decided to continue Vatican II (canon law dictates that a council is suspended at the death of a pope), and brought it to completion in 1965 and he directed the implementation of its reform goals, which included the largest revision to the Church's Liturgy since the Council of Trent — held 400 years prior to Vatican II — until his death in 1978. Certain pronouncements of the Second Vatican Council were reserved to papal authority alone, including priestly celibacy and contraception, both of which have become the subject of heated controversy. An innovation from the Second Vatican Council established the Synod of Bishops in 1965. It is an advisory body of the Pope, whose members are elected by bishops from around the world. The Pope serves as its president or appoints its president, determines its agenda, summons, suspends, and dissolves the synod, and can also appoint additional members to it. Members of the synod express their opinions on matters purely from an individual basis — no decrees or resolutions are issued by the synod — but the Pope, at his option, can grant it that power, in which case its decrees or resolutions are approved and promulgated by him alone.

 

Paul VI made extensive contributions to theological teaching and devotions. The Pope called Mary the ideal of Christian perfection and he regards “devotion to the Mother of God as of paramount importance in living the life of the Gospel”. In 1965, he writes that the Queen of Heaven is entrusted by God, as administrator of his compassion. In 1967 he pilgrimaged to Fatima. His Missal included all new Marian prayers. (A missal is a liturgical book containing all instructions and texts necessary for the celebration of Mass throughout the year). In 1974, in his Marialis Cultus exhortation, he again promotes the devotion to Mary, highlighting the Angelus and Rosary prayers, — Mary deserves the devotions because she is the mother of graces and because of her unique role in redemption. 

Of his eight encyclicals, Pope Paul VI is best known for his encyclical Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life, subtitled On the Regulation of Birth), published in July 1968. In this encyclical he reaffirmed the Catholic Church's traditional condemnation of artificial birth control. A commission composed of bishops, theologians and laity had been established by John XXIII for the purpose of reviewing the teaching on birth control. The reaction to the encyclical was very mixed. In Italy, Spain, Portugal and Poland, the encyclical was welcomed. In Latin America, much support developed for the Pope and his encyclical. In Colombia, Cardinal archbishop Duque declared, if American conditionality undermines Papal teachings, we prefer not to receive one cent. The Senate of Bolivia passed a resolution, stating that it is of greatest significance, because the papal document defends the rights of developing nations to determine their own population policies. The Jesuit Journal Sic dedicated one edition to the encyclical with supportive contributions.

 

Paul VI was the first pope in centuries to meet the heads of various Eastern Orthodox faiths. Notably, his meeting with Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras I in 1964 in Jerusalem led to rescinding the excommunications of the Great Schism, which took place in 1054. This was a significant step towards restoring communion between Rome and Constantinople. The declaration did not end the schism, but showed a desire for greater reconciliation between the two churches, nevertheless, not all Orthodox leaders at the time were happy with this rapprochement.

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Expansion and The Age of Travel


 

Pope Paul VI became the first pope to visit six continents, and was the most travelled pope in history to that time, earning the nickname the Pilgrim Pope. In 1970 he was the target of an assassination attempt at Manila International Airport in the Philippines. The assailant, a Bolivian painter, lunged toward Pope Paul with a kris (dagger), but was subdued. Although the Vatican denied it, subsequent evidence suggests Pope Paul did indeed receive a stab wound in the incident. 

Paul VI had a flair for the dramatic gesture. On his first visit to the United States in October 1965, he knelt down and kissed the ground before pleading "Never Again War!" before the United Nations. Following the kidnapping of his friend, Aldo Moro (Italian politician and two-time Prime Minister of Italy, was kidnapped in March 1978 by the Red Brigades (BR) and killed after 55 days of captivity), a leader of the Christian Democratic Party in Italy, he even offered himself in exchange. This reaction was in stark contrast to the seeming indifference of the Italian government. He was shattered by Moro's death and died several months later.

 

 

 

John Paul I (1978)
Albino Luciani was born on October 1912 in northern Italy. He ascended to the papacy when he was 65 years old and his death just 33 days later shocked the world. During his stay at Belluno when he was still in his teens he attempted to join the Jesuits but was apparently denied. He became a professor and the vice-rector of the Belluno seminary in 1937. Among the different subjects, he taught dogmatic and moral theology, canon law, and sacred art. In 1941 Luciani began to seek a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University. His thesis (The origin of the human soul according to Antonio Rosmini) largely attacked Rosmini's theology, and earned him his doctorate magna cum laude

As a bishop he participated in all the sessions of the Second Vatican Council from 1962-1965. Luciani was elected Pope on the fourth ballot of the August 1978 papal conclave. He chose the regnal name of John Paul, the first double name in the history of the papacy, explaining in his famous Angelus that he took it as a thankful honour to his two immediate predecessors: John XXIII, who had named him a bishop, and Paul VI, who had named him Patriarch of Venice and a cardinal.

Observers have suggested that his selection was linked to the rumored divisions between rival camps within the College of Cardinals. Outside the Italians, now themselves a lessening influence within the increasingly internationalist College of Cardinals, were figures like Cardinal Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II). Many, including the cardinals, expected a long conclave, deadlocked between the camps. Luciani was an easy compromise. He was a pastor more in the spirit of Vatican II than an austere intellectual, a man with few autocratic pretensions. For Italian cardinals, determined not to "lose" the papacy to a non-Italian for the first time in centuries and faced with other controversial Italian candidates, Luciani was an Italian with no baggage. He had no enemies created through a high profile career in the Curia, made no controversial or radical statements or sermons and was just a smiling gentleman, a pastor. 

Even before the conclave began, journalists covering it for Vatican Radio noted increasing mention of his name, often from cardinals who barely knew him but wanted to find out more; not least, "What is the state of the man's health?" John Paul did admit that the prospect of the papacy had daunted him to the point that other cardinals had to encourage him to accept it. He strongly suggested to his aides and staff that he believed he was unfit to be pope. Though Pope Paul VI's Apostolic Constitution Romano Pontifici Eligendo explicitly required that John Paul be crowned, he controversially refused to have the millennium-old traditional Papal Coronation and wear the Papal Tiara. He instead chose to have a simplified Papal Inauguration Mass.

 

As a theologian, he was regarded as being on the conservative side, but was expected to be an interim pastor who would make few if any major changes. However, he raised considerable worry within the Vatican when he met with representatives of the United Nations to discuss the issue of overpopulation in the Third World. There are reports that within the Vatican he was seen as an intellectual lightweight not up to the responsibilities of the papacy, although David Yallop from his book "In God's Name" says that this is the result of a whispering campaign by people in the Vatican who were opposed to Luciani's policies. In the words of John Cornwell, "they treated him with condescension"; one senior cleric discussing Luciani said "they have elected Peter Sellers" — a famous comedic actor. Critics contrasted his sermons mentioning Pinocchio to the learned intellectual discourses of Pius XII or Paul VI.

 

David Yallop ("In God's Name", p. 267-269) says repeatedly that Luciani was a highly capable person, fluent in six different languages, who was respected for his intelligence; if he chose simple words — such as the sermon that mentioned Pinocchio — he did this to communicate well to a wide audience. Yallop says that many in the Vatican were opposed to Luciani, and depicted him in their comments as being too simple. By contrast, he recounts two specific incidents from this short papacy:

"Foreign Minister Casaroli came to the Pope with seven questions concerning the Church's relationship with various Eastern European countries, Luciani promptly gave him answers on five of them and asked for a little time to consider the other two. ... Casaroli returned to his office and told a colleague what had occurred. The priest enquired: "Were they the correct solutions?" "In my view, totally. It would have taken me a year to get those responses from [Pope Paul VI]."

Yallop also talks about Cardinal Gabriel-Marie Garrone's discussion with Luciani about a document (Sapienta Christiana) that the curia had been preparing and revising for 16 years:

"[Luciani] told Garrone that he had spent most of the previous day studying the document. Then without referring to a copy of it he began to discuss it at length and in great detail. Garrone sat astonished at the Pope's grasp and understanding of such a highly complex document. ... Returning to his office [Garrone] remarked 'I have just met a great Pope.'"

 

John Paul I was found dead on September 29, 1978, just 33 days into his papacy. The Vatican reported that the 65-year old Pope most likely died the previous night of a myocardial infarction. However, a degree of uncertainty accompanies this diagnosis since an autopsy was not performed. This uncertainty, coupled with inconsistent statements made following the Pope's death, has led to a number of conspiracy theories concerning his death. These inconsistent statements concern who found the Pope's body, at what time he was found, and what papers the Pope had in his hand. 

Immediately following the Pope's death, rumours began. One rumour claimed that a visiting prelate, Nikodim, had recently died from drinking "poisoned coffee" prepared for the pope, — a visiting prelate actually had died some days earlier. Another rumour described the Pope's plans to dismiss senior Vatican officials over allegations of corruption. The suddenness of his embalming raised suspicions that it had been done to prevent an autopsy. The Vatican insisted that a papal autopsy was prohibited under Vatican law. However, one source (the diary of Agostino Chigi) reports that an autopsy was carried out on the remains of Pope Pius VIII in 1830. Nevertheless suspicions persist to this day, particularly given the sweeping changes to Vatican personnel this Pope had already penned, along with the Mafia-riddled Italy of the time, and the number of subsequent murders of officials investigating the Vatican Bank along with its associates. 

The manner of his death raised many questions about the conduct of senior Vatican figures. Even among those who dismiss conspiracy theories, there are some that admit that the Vatican mishandled the circumstances of his death. For others, the suspicion remains that the 'smiling pope', who charmed the world, died in a manner that has yet to be explained adequately.

 

World renowned investigative reporter David A. Yallop's book, "In God's Name" details the author's thorough investigation into the murder of Pope John Paul I on September 28-29, 1978 after John Paul had been digging into the massive web of corruption surrounding the Vatican Bank. David Yallop began his investigations into the death of John Paul I at the request of certain individuals resident in Vatican City who were disturbed by a cover-up of the true circumstances surrounding the discovery of the Pope's body. It is his conviction that murder was the fate of Albino Luciani and he presents this evidence in this enthralling book. 

Over the three years of continual and exhaustive research, David Yallop uncovered a chain of corruption that linked leading figures in financial, political, criminal and clerical circles around the world in a conspiracy of awesome proportions. The book exposes the murder of the Pope who was in power for only 33 days. According to Yallop, Pope John Paul I, Albino Luciani, was murdered because he was going to take drastic measures and make drastic changes within the Vatican. 
Here are Excerpts from the prologue and back cover of the book:

"On September 28, 1978, he had been pope for thirty-three days. In little more than a month he had initiated various courses of action that, had they been completed, would have had a direct and dynamic effect on us all. The majority in this world would have applauded his decisions, a minority would have been appalled. The man who had quickly been labeled "the smiling pope" intended to remove the smiles from a number of faces on the following day." 

"The Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Jean Villot... studied the list of appointments, resignations to be asked for and transfers the pope had handed him. He had advised, argued, and remonstrated, but to no avail. Luciani had been adamant." 

"It was by any standards a dramatic reshuffle. It would set the Church in new directions — directions that Villot, and the others on the list who were about to be replaced, considered highly dangerous...." 

"There was one common denominator, one fact that linked each of the men about to be replaced. Villot was aware of it. More important, so was the pope. It had been one of the factors that had caused him to act, to strip these men of real power...it was Freemasonry." 

"The evidence the pope had acquired indicated that within the Vatican City State there were over one hundred Masons, ranging from cardinals to priests." 

"Luciani was further preoccupied with an illegal Masonic lodge that had penetrated far beyond Italy in its search for wealth and power. It called itself P2. The fact that it had penetrated the Vatican walls and formed links with priests, bishops, and even cardinals made P2 anathema to Albino Luciani." 

"That evening, September 28, 1978, thirty-three days after his election, Pope John Paul 1, "the smiling pope", was declared dead. No official death certificate has ever been issued. No autopsy ever performed. His body was hastily embalmed. Cause of death: Unknown. And Vatican business continues..." 

"The facts are here in meticulous detail, documenting widespread corruption within the Vatican and presenting a compelling case that six powerful men, to protect their vast financial and political operations, decided on a shocking course of action — Pope John Paul I must die."

 

 

 

John Paul II (1978-2005)
Pope John Paul II was born in Poland in May 1920 under the name of Karol Jozef Wojtyla. At age 58 he became Pope. His was the second-longest pontificate, 27 years, after Pius IX's 32-year reign. He has been the only Polish pope, and was the first non-Italian pope since the Dutch Adrian VI in the 1520s. His mother died when he was just nine years old, his brother, who worked as a doctor, died when Wojtyla was twelve. He lost everyone in his family — a sister, brother, mother, and father — before he became a priest. His youth was marked by extensive contacts with the then thriving Jewish community of Wadowice. Eventually he learned as many as ten languages during his lifetime.

He markedly changed the Catholic practice of beatification. By October 2004 he had beatified 1,340 people, more than the sum of all of his predecessors since Pope Sixtus V (1585-1590). His abolition of the office of Promotor Fidei (Promoter of the Faith) streamlined the process. His successor, Pope Benedict XVI, removed the custom of holding beatification rites in the Vatican with the Pope presiding; they can now be held in the location where the subject lived with a Cardinal designated to preside over the ceremony. 

Karol Wojtyla was ordained a priest in November of 1946. At the age of 38 Karol Wojtyla was the youngest bishop in Poland. Bishop Wojtyla began taking part in the Second Vatican Council in October 1962 and became very influential, and in December 1963 Pope Paul VI appointed him Archbishop of Krakow. In June 1967, Paul VI announced Archbishop Wojtyla's promotion to the Sacred College of Cardinals. In August 1978 following the death of Paul VI, he voted in the Papal conclave that elected Pope John Paul I. The inauguration of Pope John Paul II occured in October 1978.


 

Assassination Attempts

 

On 13 May 1981 John Paul II was shot and critically wounded by a Turkish gunman as he entered St. Peter's Square to address an audience. He underwent five hours of surgery to treat his massive blood loss and abdominal wounds. The pope would later state that Our Lady of Fatima helped keep him alive throughout his ordeal. In the last week of 1983, John Paul II visited the prison where his assailant, sentenced to life imprisonment, was being held and the two spoke privately for 20 minutes. 

In March 2006, an Italian parliamentary commission concluded that the Soviet Union was behind the attempt, in retaliation for John Paul II's support of Solidarity, the Catholic, pro-democratic Polish workers' movement. The Popes secretary, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, alleges in his book A Life with Karol that the pope was convinced privately that the KGB was behind the assassination attempt.

 

Another assassination attempt took place in May 1982, just a day before the anniversary of the last attempt on his life, in Fatima, Portugal, when a man tried to stab John Paul II with a bayonet, but was stopped by security guards. The assailant, a right wing Spanish and former priest of the Diocese of Madrid, reportedly opposed the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and called the pope an agent of Communist Moscow. Pope John Paul II was also one of the targets of the Al-Qaeda-funded Operation Bojinka during a visit to the Philippines in 1995. They planned to kill Pope John Paul II when he visited the Philippines during the World Youth Day 1995 celebrations using a suicide bomber who would dress up as a priest, while John Paul II passed in his motorcade. However, a chemical fire inadvertently started by the would-be assassins alerted police to their whereabouts and they were arrested nearly a week before the Pope's visit.


 

Travels

 

John Paul II was Pope during a period in which the Catholic Church's influence declined in developed countries but expanded in the Third World. During his reign, the pope traveled extensively, visiting over 100 countries, more than any of his predecessors. He consistently attracted large crowds on his travels, some amongst the largest ever assembled in human history. All these travels were paid by the money of the countries he visited and not by the Vatican. One of John Paul II's earliest official visits was to Poland, in June 1979, where he was constantly surrounded by ecstatic crowds. The first trip to Poland sparked the formation of the Solidarity movement in 1980 which brought freedom and human rights to his troubled country. On later trips to Poland, he gave tacit support to the organization. 

Many of his trips were to places that no pope had ever visited before, including Mexico in January 1979 for a Bishops Synod, Ireland later that year in September 1979, Japan in 1982, South Korea and Puerto Rico, both in 1984. He was the first reigning pope to travel to the United Kingdom, where he met Queen Elizabeth II, the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. In the first visit by a pontiff to Cuba in 1998, he sharply criticized Cuba's stance on religious expression, as well as US sanctions against Cuba. In 2000, the first modern Catholic pope to visit Egypt met with the Coptic pope and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Alexandria. He was the first Catholic Pope to visit and pray in an Islamic mosque, in Damascus, Syria in 2001. In January 1995, during the X World Youth Day, he offered Mass to an estimated crowd of between four and eight million in Luneta Park, Manila, Philippines, considered the largest single event in Christian history. Throughout his trips he stressed his devotion to the Virgin Mary by visiting various shrines to the Virgin Mary, notably Knock in Ireland, Lichen Stary in Poland, Fatima in Portugal, Guadalupe in Mexico and Lourdes in France.

 

Pope John Paul II traveled extensively and came into contact with believers from many divergent faiths. He constantly attempted to find common ground, both doctrinal and dogmatic. At the World Day of Prayer for Peace, held in Assisi on October 27, 1986, more than 120 representatives of different religions and Christian denominations spent a day together with fasting and praying. The only major religious organization that was not present was Jehovah's Witnesses. Pope John Paul II had good relations with the Anglican Church, referred to by Paul VI as "our beloved Sister Church". He preached in Canterbury Cathedral during his visit to Britain, and received Archbishops of Canterbury with friendship and courtesy. However, John Paul II was greatly disappointed by the Anglican Church's decision to offer the sacrament of priestly ordination to women and saw it as a step in the opposite direction from unity between the Anglican Church and Roman Catholicism. 

He became the first pope to make an official papal visit to a synagogue, when he visited the Synagogue of Rome in April 1986. In March 2000, John Paul II visited Israel and later made history by touching the holiest site in Judaism, the Western Wall in Jerusalem, placing a letter inside it. Immediately after the pope's death, the ADL issued a statement that Pope John Paul II had revolutionized Catholic-Jewish relations, saying that "more change for the better took place in his 27 year Papacy than in the nearly 2,000 years before." 

In May 1999, John Paul II visited Romania on the invitation from Patriarch Teoctist of the Romanian Orthodox Church. This was the first time a pope had visited a predominantly Eastern Orthodox country since the Great Schism in 1054. On his arrival, the Patriarch and the President of Romania greeted the Pope. The Patriarch stated, "The second millennium of Christian history began with a painful wounding of the unity of the Church; the end of this millennium has seen a real commitment to restoring Christian unity." The Pope had also said throughout his pontificate that one of his greatest dreams was to visit Russia, but this never occurred. The Russian Orthodox Church never expressed much enthusiasm, making statements to the effect of: "The question of the visit of the Pope in Russia is not connected by the journalists with the problems between the Churches, which are now unreal to solve, but with giving back one of many sacred things, which were illegally stolen from Russia." 

The 14th Dalai Lama and the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism visited Pope John Paul II eight times, more than any other single dignitary. The Pope and the Dalai Lama often shared similar views and understood similar plights, both coming from peoples affected by communism and both being heads of religious bodies. In May 2001 Pope John Paul II became the first Catholic pope to enter and pray in an Islamic mosque. He kissed the Quran in Syria, an act which made him popular amongst Muslims and more unpopular amongst traditional Catholics.


 

Apologies

 

During later parts of his reign John Paul II made several apologies to various peoples who had been wronged by the Catholic Church through the centuries. He was clearly seeing certain facts and made progressive attempts at cleaning some of the innocent blood which the Catholic church has spilled throughout millennia. 

* The conquest of Mesoamerica by Spain in the name of the Church. — a region between the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean which included cultures such as the Olmec, Teotihuacan, the Maya, and the Aztec. 

* The legal process on the Italian scientist and philosopher Galileo Galilei. 

* Catholics' involvement with the African slave trade. 

* The Church Hierarchy's role in burnings at the stake and the religious wars that followed the Protestant Reformation. 

* The injustices committed against women, the violation of women's rights and for the historical denigration of women. 

* The inactivity and silence of many Catholics during the Holocaust. 

* For the execution of Jan Hus in 1415 

* For the sins of Catholics throughout the ages for violating "the rights of ethnic groups and peoples, and [for showing] contempt for their cultures and religious traditions". 

* For the sins of the Crusader attack on Constantinople in 1204.

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The Return to Power: Juggernaut


 

Politics

 

During his well-publicized trip to his native Poland in June 1979 Pope John Paul II declared:

Europe, despite its present and long-lasting division of regimes, ideologies and economic systems, cannot cease to seek its fundamental unity and must turn to Christianity. . . . Economic and political reasons cannot do it. We must go deeper....

In Santiago, Spain, in 1982 he proclaimed the following, in what he called a "Declaration to Europe":

I, Bishop of Rome and Shepherd of the Universal Church, from Santiago, utter to you, Europe of the ages, a cry full of love: Find yourself again. Be yourself. Discover your origins, revive your roots.

The Pope has repeatedly stressed that Europe must seek religious unity if it is to advance beyond its present divisions. At his final mass during his trip to Poland in June 1983, John Paul prayed for "all the Christians of East and West, that they become united in Christ and expand the Kingdom of Christ throughout the world." Perhaps the most forceful of Paul VI's calls for European unification came on October 18, 1975. It was an address in Rome to participants in the Third Symposium of the Bishops of Europe. Present were more than 100 bishops, cardinals and prelates representing 24 European countries. He declared:

Can it not be said that it is faith, the Christian faith, the Catholic faith that made Europe ......? 
Paul VI continued: And it is there that our mission as bishops in Europe takes on a gripping perspective. No other human force in Europe can render the service that is confided to us, promoters of the faith, to reawaken Europe's Christian soul, where its unity is rooted.

In European Union negotiations for a new European Constitutional Treaty in 2003 and 2004, the Vatican's representatives failed to secure any mention of Europe's "Christian heritage" — one of the Pope's cherished goals. Paul VI has called the Catholic faith "the secret of Europe's identity." In discovering this secret, he said, Europe could then go on to perform "the providential service to which God is still calling it." What John Paul II was doing the last two decades of his life — from helping tear down the Iron Curtain to inspiring religious revivals in once — Communist nations — was actually building the eastern part of a historic empire. 

The pope, who began his papacy when the Soviets controlled his native country of Poland, as well as the rest of Eastern Europe, was a harsh critic of communism, and supported the Polish Solidarity movement. Successive trips reinforced this message and Poland began the process that would finally defeat the domination of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe in 1989. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev who inherited the Eastern-European lands east of the Berlin wall from his Russian predecessors who had built it in 1961 once said the collapse of the Iron Curtain would have been impossible without John Paul II. After world-war-two which ended in 1945 Germany had remained divided with the Allies holding on to a part of it and the Russians holding on to the Eastern part. Berlin, the capital of Germany, was under the same restrictions. Tensions between Russia and the Allies grew colder and more explosive for the next few decades.


 

Health

 

When he became pope in 1978, John Paul II was already an avid sportsman and during that time the 58-year old was extremely healthy and active with jogging, weightlifting, swimming and hiking. He was also fond of football and had played for Poland in his youth. His health had suffered a major blow after the first failed assassination attempt but he went on to a full recovery, and sported an impressive physical condition throughout the 1980's. In the early 1990's his health slowly declined as he rarely walked in public and began to suffer from an increasingly slurred speech and difficulty in hearing. It wasn't until 2003 that the Vatican finally confirmed what most experts had already speculated, the frail pontiff suffered from Parkinson's disease. John Paul II died on the 2nd of April 2005 at the age of 84. 

A crowd of over two million present in Vatican City mourned the death of John Paul II. The public viewing of his body in St. Peter's Basilica drew over four million people to Vatican City and was one of the largest pilgrimages in the history of Christianity. Many world leaders expressed their condolences and ordered flags in their countries lowered to half-staff. Numerous countries with a Catholic majority, and even some with only a small Catholic population, declared mourning for John Paul II. The death of the pontiff set in motion rituals and traditions dating back to medieval times. The Mass of Requiem on 8 April was said to have set world records both for attendance and number of heads of state present at a funeral. The Dean of the College of Cardinals, Joseph Ratzinger, who would become the next pope as Benedict XVI, conducted the ceremony.

 

 

 

Benedict XVI (2005-20??)
In April 2005, before his election as pope, he was identified as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Born in 1927 in Bavaria, Germany, his mother's family was originally from Italy. Benedict XVI was elected Pope at the age of 78. He is the oldest person to have been elected Pope since Clement XII (1730–1740). He has served longer as a cardinal than any Pope since Benedict XIII (1724–1730). He served as a professor at various German universities and was a theological consultant at the Second Vatican Council before becoming Archbishop of Munich and Freising and a few months later a Cardinal Priest. At the time of his election as Pope Benedict had been Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a position given to him in 1981 by Pope John Paul II, and was Dean of the College of Cardinals since 2002. He was the first Dean of the College to be elected Pope since Paul IV (1555–1559)

(Curial heads lose their positions upon the death of a pope. The Roman Curia is the administrative apparatus of the Holy See and the central governing body of the entire Roman Catholic Church, together with the Pope. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — CDF — (Congregatio pro Doctrina Fidei), previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, is the oldest of the nine congregations of the Roman Curia. Its name was changed at the end of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. Among the most active of these major Curial departments, it oversees Catholic doctrine. The CDF is the modern name for what used to be the Holy Office of the Inquisition. Until 1968, the Pope himself held the title of prefect but never exercised this office. Instead, he appointed one of the cardinals to preside over the meetings, first as Secretary, then as Pro-Prefect.)

 

Following his fourteenth birthday in 1941 Ratzinger enrolled in the Hitler Youth as membership was required for all 14-year old German boys after December 1939. In 1943 at age 16 he went into the German anti-aircraft corps, then trained in the German infantry. As a German soldier he was put in a POW camp but was released a few months later at the end of the War in summer 1945. He and his brother Georg were both ordained in Freising in 1951 by Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber of Munich. 

In 1966 Joseph Ratzinger was appointed to a chair in dogmatic theology at the University of Tubingen. During this time the student movement of the 1960s quickly radicalized and in the years 1967 and 1968 culminated in a series of disturbances and riots. During his years at Tubingen University Ratzinger publicized articles in the reformist theological journal Concilium. In 1969 he returned to Bavaria to the University of Regensburg. He founded the theological journal Communio, with Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Walter Kasper and others in 1972. Communio, now published in seventeen languages, including German, English and Spanish, has become a prominent journal of contemporary Catholic theological thought. Until his election as Pope, he remained one of the journal's most prolific contributors.

 

Cardinal Joseph Ratinger, who was the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before he became Benedict XVI, issued an official doctrine of Catholic faith that accepts the Jewish view that the messiah is yet to come. There is apparently much double talk in the document, as it accepts the Jewish view of a coming messiah without overtly rejecting Jesus. Some have interpreted the document as denying the redemptive role of Jesus. The document is contained in a small book titled “The Jewish People and the Holy Scriptures in the Christian Bible.”

 

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is best known for its authority over the teaching of Church doctrine, but it also has jurisdiction over other matters, including cases involving the seal of the confessional, clerical sexual misconduct and other matters, in its function as what amounts to a court. In his capacity as Prefect, Ratzinger's 2001 letter “Crimen Sollicitationis” which clarified the confidentiality of internal Church investigations into accusations made against priests of certain crimes, including sexual abuse, became a target of controversy during the sex abuse scandal. While bishops hold the secrecy pertained only internally, and did not preclude investigation by civil law enforcement, the letter was often seen as promoting a coverup.


 

During his inaugural Mass, the previous custom of every cardinal submitting to the Pope was replaced by having twelve people greet him — the cardinals had formally sworn their obedience upon his election. Benedict XVI explained his choice of name during his first General Audience in St. Peter's Square, on April 27, 2005:

Filled with sentiments of awe and thanksgiving, I wish to speak of why I chose the name Benedict. Firstly, I remember Pope Benedict XV, that courageous prophet of peace, who guided the Church through turbulent times of war. In his footsteps I place my ministry in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples. Additionally, I recall Saint Benedict of Nursia, co-patron of Europe, whose life evokes the Christian roots of Europe.

"...who guided the Church through turbulent times of war" — maybe he views the present world to be already at war, "...reconciliation and harmony between peoples" probably against Islam, which is more than likely since Sept 2001. As for the next portion which mentions, "...whose life evokes the Christian roots of Europe", Pope Bededict has already said much concerning those European Christian roots, examples of these are shown below.

 

Benedict has traveled extensively during the first three years of his papacy. In addition to his travels within Italy, Pope Benedict XVI has made two visits to his German homeland. He also visited Poland and Spain where he was received enthusiastically. His visit to Turkey was initially overshadowed by the controversy about a lecture he had given at Regensburg — it being an overwhelmingly Muslim nation. His visit was met by nationalist and Islamic protesters and was placed under unprecedented security measures.

 

In 2007 Pope Benedict visited Brazil and he also made a personal pilgrimage and pastoral visit to Assisi, the birthplace of St. Francis. A three day visit to Austria was also undertaken during which he joined Vienna's chief rabbi in a memorial to the 65,000 Viennese Jews who perished in Nazi death camps.

 

In April 2008 the Pope made his first visit to the United States, he was formally received at the White House and met privately with U.S. President George W. Bush. The Pope also met privately with victims of sexual abuse by priests while in the United-States. During this visit he traveled to New York where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly. Then on the final day of the pope's visit, he visited the World Trade Center site. In July 2008 the Pope travelled to Australia to attend World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney; he made an apology for child sex abuse perpetrated by the clergy in Australia.


 

During his papacy, Benedict XVI has emphasized what he sees as a need for Europe to return to fundamental Christian values in response to increasing de-Christianisation and secularisation in many developed countries. Pope Benedict XVI would like to see Europe rediscover its roots. Recently, he co-wrote a book, titled Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam, in which, with his co-author, president of the Italian Senate and philosopher Marcello Pera, he explores European secularism, its effects, and the real roots of the European identity: Roman Catholicism. This book outlines Benedict's vision for a united Catholic Europe. Benedict XVI, is holding the same banner of drawing the East in politically and religiously toward western Europe. He has made his drive for increasing cooperation between the Orthodox East and the Vatican a defining mission of his papacy.

Catholics and Orthodox, he said, "have the duty to defend the Christian roots of Europe, which have formed the continent down the centuries …. [W]e must increase collaboration among Christians in all European countries in order to face the new risks that challenge the Christian faith: growing secularization, relativism and nihilism".

Eastern Orthodox countries actually have more in common with the Vatican than some of the secularized Western members of the Union. They are typically more right-wing on social issues and more devout about their religion. If the Vatican can appeal to their sense of moral uprightness, it can go a long way in repairing the breach of the Great Schism of A.D. 1054, when the Holy Roman Empire officially split between these two great religions.


 

In his book, Benedict makes his argument for the Catholic conquest of Europe. He argues that a secular Europe, dominated by tolerance and acceptance of other religions and cultures, is corroding European values: In short, European tolerance is killing what it means to be European. Benedict argues that Roman Catholicism gave Europe its values — absolute values. The book states that Europe is

paralyzed because it does not believe that there are good reasons to say it is better than Islam. And it is paralyzed because it believes that, if such reasons do indeed exist, then the West would have to fight Islam.

Benedict argues that Roman Catholicism is the antidote; rejection of Europe's Catholic roots and acceptance of relativist secularism and multiculturalism has left it helpless. For Europe to survive, it must make the distinction between a secularism that will compromise to the point of Europe's destruction and one that acknowledges its roots in Roman Catholic values. Benedict sees a threat in multiculturalism where immigrants have tended not to adopt the traditions of their new home countries. Addressing the Vatican diplomatic corps, he said that the

"advance of Islam" is once again a threat to the European concept. "Benedict said that 'attention has rightly been drawn to the danger of a clash of civilizations. … Its causes are many and complex, not least to do with political ideology, combined with aberrant religious ideas'"

Recently, the Catholic Church has been taking a more aggressive stance in Italian politics, in particular through Cardinal Camillo Ruini, who often makes his voice heard commenting the political debate and indicating the official line of the Church on various matters. This interventionism has increased with the papacy of Benedict XVI.

 

Speaking at his weekly audience in St. Peter's Square in June 2006, Pope Benedict asserted that Jesus himself had entrusted the leadership of the Church to his apostle Peter.

"Peter's responsibility thus consists of guaranteeing the communion with Christ," said Pope Benedict. "Let us pray so that the primacy of Peter, entrusted to poor human beings, may always be exercised in this original sense desired by the Lord, so that it will be increasingly recognised in its true meaning by brothers who are still not in communion with us."

The Catholic Church teaches that the Pope has a leading role among Christians because as Bishop of Rome he is successor to the apostle Peter who first held the office. The role of the papacy remains a source of controversy, not only for Protestant denominations but also for Eastern Orthodox churches, who likewise do not accept Petrine primacy as defined at the First Vatican Council. Victor (189-198) is the first Pope to be quoted by Catholic writers as claiming and exercising the authority of head of the universal Church. 

The bishops of the Ecumenical Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople have expressed concern over Pope Benedict XVI's decision to strike out "patriarch of the West" from his official titles in the Vatican yearbook. In a June 2006 statement, the chief secretary of the Orthodox bishops' synod said,

dropping "patriarch of the West" while retaining the titles "vicar of Jesus Christ" and "supreme pontiff of the universal church" is "perceived as implying a universal jurisdiction of the bishop of Rome over the entire church, a claim that the Orthodox have never accepted." The Orthodox synod's statement said that, with the international Catholic-Orthodox theological dialogue set to begin again with plans to deal with the "thorny problem" of papal primacy, it would have been better not to have removed the title without consultation.

Archbishop Christodoulos who is the Archbishop of Athens visited Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican in December 2006. It was the first official visit by a Church of Greece leader to the Vatican. Archbishop Christodoulos was present for the funeral of Pope John Paul II. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew I, with other Orthodox prelates also were present for the funeral Mass, but did not participate liturgically. 
 

 

In September 2006 Pope Benedict XVI himself proclaimed that his visit to Bavaria was a "deep spiritual experience." Though he did indeed address some issues purely by allusion, others he addressed quite confrontationally, principally his pet theme of adjuring Europe to return to its religious roots and, most particularly, the burning issue of Islamic extremism! Intriguingly, Benedict chose to address the quite separate and distinct challenges that secular rationalism and Islamism pose to the church in one powerful speech he delivered at the University of Regensburg. That speech has been the source of many a commentary since. With few exceptions, opinions in the world media and press have ranged from the proposition that the pope was ill-advised to use such inflammatory words, to the prospect that he did not really mean what he actually said. It upset Islamists worldwide, enough for them to burn his effigy in various cities. 

What is fascinating is how the pope introduced this subject of the dichotomy between reason and faith. He opened his lecture by really going for the Islamic jugular! In his opening remarks, he clearly identified the divide that to his mind separates Islam from Christianity by quoting two documents: first the Koran; then a scholarly argument of the 14th-century Catholic emperor of Byzantium, Manuel II Paleologus, which attacked the "holy war" concept of Mohammad.

 

Thus, rather than come out publicly with a direct papal condemnation of pan-Islamism (the greatest present threat to Roman Catholicism), this calculating pope chose a quote from a well-documented historical occasion, one that came out of the Eastern (Byzantine) Roman Empire — one that was bound to stir Islamic ire. Speaking on the question of faith versus reason, Benedict referred to

"part of the dialogue carried on — perhaps in 1391 in the winter barracks near Ankara [Turkey] — by the erudite Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus and an educated Persian on the subject of Christianity and Islam, and the truth of both" (Catholic World News, September 12, 2006) 

"In the seventh conversation edited by Professor Khoury, the emperor touches on the theme of the holy war. The emperor must have known that surah 2, 256 reads: 'There is no compulsion in religion.' … [H]e addresses his interlocutor with a startling brusqueness, a brusqueness which leaves us astounded, on the central question about the relationship between religion and violence in general, saying: 'Show me just what Mohammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.' The emperor, after having expressed himself so forcefully, goes on to explain in detail the reasons why spreading the faith through violence is something unreasonable. Violence is incompatible with the nature of God and the nature of the soul. 'God,' he says, 'is not pleased by blood — and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. … Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats …. To convince a reasonable soul, one does not need a strong arm, or weapons of any kind, or any other means of threatening a person with death." 

"The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature" 

Benedict concluded his nearly-4,000-word speech with a reinforcing, for effect, of that latter statement: "'Not to act reasonably … is contrary to the nature of God,' said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is … to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures."

 

Reading between the lines, the pope is endorsing the notion that Islam is an irrational faith. He is clearly inferring that his own god is the only rational one, and that dialogue between Islam and Christianity can only be within the framework of the reasoning and reasonableness of this god of the world's Christian [Catholic] religionists alone. This pope is known for his brilliant intellect. This was a well-thought-out speech, prepared in advance of the event. These remarks about the Islamic faith were not off the cuff. The choice of Manual II's statement was both deliberate and calculated — calculated to get a reaction! 

And what a reaction it received! Public demonstrations broke out in Turkey, in Iran, in the Islamic communities in Britain and on the continent of Europe. Effigies of the pope were burned in the streets and al Qaeda was reported as calling for the pope's death. Vatican City stepped up security within and around the papal state. Demands that the pope retract his remarks and make a public apology to Islamists were many. The Vatican released a prepared statement by the pope in which he carefully claimed he regretted the reaction his speech caused, but avoided apologizing for the remarks themselves. Why would this pope, this German pope, choose this moment — in this, his own home state of Bavaria, the very heartland of Catholicism in Middle Europe — to draw his verbal sword against Islam? 

The pope knows that if Rome is to return to its former glory — a vision he shared with his predecessor Pope John Paul II — he needs urgently to unite his over 1 billion faithful who have suffered for decades from the impact of divisive secular thinking on their religion. He knows the best way to do this is to unite Catholics at their historic cultural base, the European continent. He knows that Islam poses the greatest threat to Catholicism in Europe. What better way to unite Europe and return it to its former imperial days of glory than to provide people with a single common cause that overrides all else and counteracts all tendencies for division? 

The following analysis, from Dr. George Friedman, gets to the very essence of Benedict's speech. Speaking on the pope's choice of the quotation from his 14th-century source, Friedman observed:

"The essence of this passage is about forced conversion. … Clearly, Benedict knows that Christians also practiced forced conversion in their history. 

"… Benedict's words were purposely chosen. The quotation of Manuel II was not a one-liner, accidentally blurted out. … [T]here is no question that anyone who read this speech before it was delivered would recognize the explosive nature of discussing anything about Islam in the current climate. … 

"[E]ven the pope had to work hard to come up with this dialogue. There are many other fine examples of the problem of reason and faith that he could have drawn from that did not involve Muslims, let alone one involving such an incendiary quote. … 

"As a deliberate choice, the effect of these remarks could be anticipated. Even apart from the particular phrase, the text of the speech is a criticism of the practice of conversion by violence, with a particular emphasis on Islam. Clearly, the pope intended to make the point that Islam is currently engaged in violence on behalf of religion …. 

"Consider the fact that the pope is not only a scholar but a politician — and a good one, or he wouldn't have become the pope. He is not only a head of state, but the head of a global church with a billion members. The church is no stranger to geopolitics. Muslims claim that they brought down communism in Afghanistan. That may be true, but there certainly is something to be said also for the efforts of the Catholic Church, which helped to undermine the communism in Poland and to break the Soviet grip on Eastern Europe. Popes know how to play power politics." 

"The general thrust of his remarks has more to do with Europe. There is an intensifying tension in Europe over the powerful wave of Muslim immigration. Frictions are high on both sides. Europeans fear that the Muslim immigrants will overwhelm their native culture or form an unassimilated and destabilizing mass. Muslims feel unwelcome, and some extreme groups have threatened to work for the conversion of Europe. … [W]ith his remarks, [the pope] moved toward closer alignment with those who are uneasy about Europe's Muslim community—without adopting their own, more extreme, sentiments. That move increases his political strength among these groups and could cause them to rally around the church." (Stratfor, September 19, 2006).

 

Let us look toward the historical past of the Papacy and see these many groups who have rallied around the Roman Catholic Church to contemplate those which have made friendly with her and be enlightened as to their legacy.

 

In Germany, where the pope made his remarks, the daily Die Welt said that

"anger in the Islamic world about the quote used by Pope Benedict XVI is groundless because it merely expressed a 'historically documented fact'" (BBC News, September 18, 2006).

The paper condemned Muslims for exploiting the opportunity to start a clash of cultures. 

Edmund Stoiber, a prominent German politician and friend of the pope, insisted that there were "no grounds for criticism" in the pope's comments.

 

Switzerland's daily La Tribune de Geneve reported that

"Islamists are again showing they are 'the worst enemies of Islam'" — and, regarding the murder of a nun in Somalia, said, "If fundamentalists were trying to confirm Benedict XVI's declarations, they could not have done better!" (BBC News, op. cit.)

El Mundo in Spain linked the Muslim backlash to the cartoon crisis episode from earlier this year.

"The pope does not have to apologize for expressing an opinion," it wrote. "He upheld an idea we fully share: tolerance." The article grew stronger as it progressed. "To bow to Muslim protests and accept that Benedict XVI must apologize is tantamount to questioning freedom of expression and of thought, which — however much Islam dislikes it — is the main conquest of our civilization" (ibid.)

Polish President Jaroslaw Kaczynski defended the pope, condemned Muslims as being a "little too easily offended," and asked, "Where is the line that a Christian or Catholic cannot cross and say what they think?" 

The message out of Europe is clear and definite: Muslim rage, no matter how vehement it might grow, will not stain the reputation of the pope among Catholics, nor will it cow the Continent into a defensive posture. The fact that Europe is beginning to stand up to Muslim war-mongering is the real story. This is a deeply significant event in Muslim/Catholic relations. The obvious fault line between Muslims and Catholics has been exposed. Catholics and Europeans see the danger rising against them. This controversy has evolved into a rallying cry for Europeans, as well as the 1 billion Catholics scattered across the globe. 

Even as far away as Australia, Catholic leaders stood behind their beloved patriarch. Head of the church in Australia, Cardinal George Pell, defended Benedict and went further to say that the Muslim reaction "justified one of Pope Benedict's main fears" about Islam. 

The pope is also receiving support from other Christian religions. In Britain, former head of the Anglican Church Lord Carey not only defended the pope and praised his speech as being

"extraordinarily effective and lucid," but also warned, according to the Times, that the "'clash of civilizations' endangering the world was not between Islamist extremists and the West, but with Islam as a whole" (September 20, 2006).


 

While visiting Brazil in May 2007 the pope sparked controversy by saying that native populations had been 'silently longing' for the Christian faith brought to South America by colonizers. The Pope continued, stating that "the proclamation of Jesus and of his Gospel did not at any point involve an alienation of the pre-Columbus cultures, nor was it the imposition of a foreign culture." President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela demanded an apology, and an indigenous organization in Ecuador issued a response which stated that "representatives of the Catholic Church of those times, with honorable exceptions, were accomplices, deceivers and beneficiaries of one of the most horrific genocides of all humanity." Later, the pope, speaking Italian, said at a weekly audience that it was "not possible to forget the suffering and the injustices inflicted by colonizers against the indigenous population, whose fundamental human rights were often trampled."


 

At the the end of June 2007, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a document which has been seen as restating key sections of a text the pope wrote in 2000 when he was prefect of the congregation, Dominus Iesus. It stated in part that,

Oriental Churches merit the title sister Churches because these Churches, although separated, have true sacraments and above all – because of the apostolic succession – the priesthood and the Eucharist. However, since communion with the Catholic Church, the visible head of which is the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Peter, is not some external complement to a particular Church, these venerable Christian communities lack something in their condition as particular churches. 

The document went on to say,
Christian Communities born out of the Reformation of the sixteenth century... do not enjoy apostolic succession in the sacrament of Orders, and are, therefore, deprived of a constitutive element of the Church. These ecclesial Communities which, specifically because of the absence of the sacramental priesthood, have not preserved the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic Mystery cannot, according to Catholic doctrine, be called "Churches" in the proper sense.

The Catholic Church's position is that because of their perceived lack of bishops in the historic episcopate, Protestant faith communities "are not true Churches," as contrasted with Orthodox communities, which have bishops in the apostolic line and therefore are considered true, if deficient, Churches. In this context, Pope Benedict has reiterated his church's view about the supposed invalidity of Anglican orders. Regarding the pope's comment, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Denmark issued the statement:

"It has a destructive effect on ecumenical relations if one church deprives another church of the right to be called a church. It is just as destructive as if one Christian denies another Christian the right to be called a Christian."

The document stated that the full identity of the Church of Christ is the Roman Catholic Church. It follows that these separated churches and Communities, though we believe they suffer from defects, are deprived neither of significance nor importance in the mystery of salvation. Needless to say it drew wide criticism such as the following statements.

"It makes us question whether we are indeed praying together for Christian unity."
"Makes us question the seriousness with which the Roman Catholic Church takes its dialogues with the Reformed family and other families of the church."

 

In July 2007 the Pope issued a letter to the world's Bishops following repeated rumours that the use of the Tridentine Mass would be liberalised, — the language used for celebrating the Tridentine Mass is Latin, it is also widely referred to as the Latin Mass. He explains that the mass as promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the mass of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nevertheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same mass. He wrote that it "...was never juridically abrogated and, consequently, in principle, was always permitted." In June 2008 Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos told a London press conference that the Vatican was preparing to instruct seminaries to teach all students the Tridentine form of the Roman Rite. He also said that Pope Benedict wants every parish to offer both the old and the new forms for Sunday Mass.

 

Pope Benedict XVI has re-introduced one particular papal garment which had previously fallen into disuse. During his installment address, Pope Benedict XVI spoke at length about the significance of the pallium, — call it the long popish scarf if you will — and he has returned to an ancient version of the vestment, an Eastern design used by the popes of the first millennium. Benedict XVI has also returned to wearing traditional forms of other liturgical vestments to emphasize the continuity of the papacy and the church. One item that Benedict has so far not worn is the papal tiara — the three-tiered jewelled papal crown. Like his two immediate predecessors, Benedict chose not to be crowned with the tiara during his Inauguration Mass. All the Popes coat-of-arms arms have featured a "tiara" since ancient times, always combined with the crossed keys of St. Peter, it is a prominent symbol of the papacy. The 16th Century Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I, who became a very prominent monarch and the longest reigning Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, commissioned Venetian craftsmen to make a 4-tiered tiara modeled on the Papal design, to demonstrate that his power and authority exceeded that of the Supreme Pontiff. 

The significance of the three crowns on the papal tiara: one assumes power over temporal affairs such as civil authority, onother to symbolize power concerning spiritual dominion, a third crown assumes the Pope's moral authority over all secular monarchs. Obviously worn as a crown — one wears a crown to show supremacy, rulership, authority — it cannot but mean leadership above those uses for which any crown has throughout history been purposefully created. No rules are strictly laid down about the form of the "ceremony of the inauguration of the pontificate", which could indeed take the form of a coronation when another Pope is elected in the future. In any case, a Pope is not bound by ceremonial rules made by a predecessor, and may freely change them. The most famous occasion when the triple tiara would be used is during the papal coronation, a six-hour ceremony, when the new pope was carried on the sedia gestatoria — portable throne — while attendants fanned the pontiff with ostrich feathers to the location of the coronation; as in the case of Pope John XXIII in 1958. It was also worn when a pope gave his traditional Christmas and Easter address from the balcony of St Peters.

 

Each year a papal tiara is placed on the head of the famous bronze statue of Saint Peter in St. Peter's Basilica. Although this custom was not observed in 2006, it was reintroduced in 2007. When popes were crowned, the following words were used:

Accipe tiaram tribus coronis ornatam, et scias te esse Patrem Principum et Regnum, Rectorem Orbis, in terra Vicarium Salvatoris Nostri Jesu Christi, cui est honor et gloria in sæcula sæculorum. 

(Receive the tiara adorned with three crowns and know that thou art Father of Princes and Kings, Ruler of the World, Vicar of Our Savior Jesus Christ in earth, to whom is honor and glory in the ages of ages.)

Though not currently worn as part of papal regalia, the continuing symbolism of the papal tiara is reflected in its use on the flag and coats of arms of the Holy See and the Vatican — each pope may have a differing personal coats of arms from the Vaticans. In a break with tradition, Pope Benedict XVI's personal coat of arms has replaced the tiara with a mitre — from the greek which means 'headband' or 'turban', it is a type of headgear. This particular mitre contains three levels reminiscent of the three tiers on the papal tiara. However, in the coat of arms of the Holy See and of the Vatican City State Pope Benedict XVI decided to keep the tiara, not a mitre.

 

The rarely-used full title of the Pope is 
"His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman province, Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God." 

On the other hand, Jesus liked the simple things and as a man he used but a short title to dscribe himself, "Son of Man". Although it is without doubt that one day upon his return, if he give us his full title, it would fittingly stretch to an unimaginable length.

~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~    ~

 

The Testament of The “Son of Man”


 

"All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." (Matt 11:27)

Jesus inherits ALL things, (Matt 28:18), he is the number one faithful, obedient, righteous and loving son of God. God alone knows everyones true nature, personality, character, etc. The only way to learn something about the Father is to go through Jesus, and then only he can, if he wills it, reveal anything about the Father.

"Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil." (Matt 5:17)

The Law still stands today as when it was first introduced. The first Testament was replaced by the second. A testament is a legal document of a persons will which becomes binding upon that persons death, as in the case of Jesus. The document which is the Testament has changed but the clauses within, such as the Commandments, are still included. Forever literally means forever — and whenever a Commandment was stated in the old Testament which included the term forever then it would automatically be transferred into the newer Testament aswell. The crux of the matter lies in the manner of its upkeep, as in the example of the new rites which Jesus established of the bread and wine on the Passover. His message was revolutionary, it would create an uproar whenever it was met with unbelievers. What better way to lessen the uproar than by altering the message. 

The truly faithless have done so willingly and by usurpation have gained a following.

"But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation." (Matt 23:13-14) "Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." (Matt 15:14)

 

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." (Matt 10:34)

He came to deliver a message of peace, but he will set his sword out before him to impose obedience to that message.

"For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it." (Matt 10:35-39)

If you've ever really wondered about the “Son of Man” and what his life was about then you have tried on your own to find some answers. Doubtless you have found some obvious truths written within his Testament. These are they which will set you apart, for you are coming to grips with reality (His gospel), they are those which set you at odds with other people around you since those bits of reality differ from the workings of the world which you are surrounded by.

 

"This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." (Matt 15:7-8)

So a certain day is set aside as a day of celebration which then becomes a tradition; anyone can start one. No harm is done, except when in the case of, lets say, a wedding anniversary where one half of the couple always celebrates it on a different day without consulting the partner, and worse still, never wants to celebrate it on the rightful day. See if that person minds.

"But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted." (Matt 23:8-12)


 

Obey the word of God, Jesus said, follow my example and do those things which I do for they please him and it pleases God to show through me the love he has for the world by fulfilling these feats which you call miracles. "Listen to Him", God says. (Matt 17:5)

"...for the works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me. And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me." (John 5:36-37) 

"I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me. But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. I and my Father are one." (John 10:25-30)


 

The Kingdom Of Heaven — Nowhere is it said nor does it imply In Heaven. Indeed the kingdom of heaven is not said to be in heaven. The kingdom is from above, simply stated. The Kingdom Of God is from God, not in God. (Matt 19:23-24) 

Jesus came to deliver a message:

"Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." (Matt 4:17) "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 4:23) What gospel? "... the gospel of God" (Mark 1:14) "...the gospel of the kingdom" (Matt 4:23) "...the gospel of the grace of God." (Acts 20:24)

Jesus was the messenger who came to deliver the message about the Kingdom; he did not come to talk about his own self. The gospel is not about Jesus, the gospel is about the kingdom. 

As much as you would like to get close to an understanding of the gospel, and Jesus is the Word of God, it is not given to anyone to understand unless the Father so chooses to firstly introduce you to Jesus.

"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." (John 6:44-45)

Everyone has heard of God but then you must have also learned of the Father. How?

"For the Father loveth the Son, and sheweth him all things that himself doeth." (John 5:20)

Jesus is the primordial mediator in learning everything that has to do with the Father.

"But there are some of you that believe not." "Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father." (John 6:64-65)


 

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." (II Timothy 3:16)

Then all truth is profitable to all men aswell. All truth brings us closer to God. Naturally, any untruth must be repelled that we may live a life filled with more truths than lies.

"But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (John 3:21) 

"For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it." (Hebrews 4:2)

If part of your life is willfully being lived in what you know to be a falsehood then you are denying the truth from manifesting itself within your life, even if it is but for a short time. You are hindering your own growth for a life within the reality of truth.

"God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24)

If any truth is difficult for you to accept then study upon that point for yourself and prove it one way or another. If such a process seems too tedious backtrack to another point which makes sense and which you know to be factual and truthful. Go all the way back to the beginning if you need to and start with the fact that Jesus was a man who was born here on earth. If you can accept the fact that he ever lived and grew up then begin there. Your life depends on it — so says Jesus. 

If you assume something to be true without some form of proof you might actually be preparing yourself for deceit. Take nothing for granted without some kind of truth attached to it. History is replete with facts that sustain reality, dig in and see for yourself, on any subject you choose, any and all hidden truths to keep yourself anchored to it. The more you succeed the more genuine and stronger you become; but, the more you refuse reality the more you dissolve — the evolution process in reverse is the chosen path — unaware of anything of import. "...they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." (Matt 15:14)


 

"Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven." (Matt 10:32)

Confess or not to another ANY of the truths which he revealed to you, but if you should be placed in a situation where a denial — refuse to acknowledge or declare to be untrue some fact which you have proven to yourself — comes from your lips then you have not only missed an opportunity for cementing that truth but have forsaken and renounced your support for it aswell.

"I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." (John 8:12) 

"If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:31-32) 

"I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness." (John 12:46)

 

"For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will. For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father." (John 5:21-23) 

"Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me. If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true." (John 5:28-31) 

"Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my saying, he shall never see death." (John 8:51) "Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad." (John 8:56) "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am." (John 8:58)

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Strategic Foundation


 

Throughout the Middle Ages and through the end of World War II, "empire" in Europe has been sought through two primary methods: 

1) — The effort to rejoin the eastern and western legs of the old Roman Empire under a single imperial rule. 

2) — The imposition of a universal religion. These are the twin foundations upon which the Holy Roman Empires were built: a political foundation backed up by military force and a spiritual foundation established by the imposition of a state religion. 

What is building to include these seemingly poor, crippled nations will be a resurrection of an age-old empire, spanning Europe and split relatively evenly between East and West. It will follow the historic form of the Roman Empire — which was divided between the Latin West with its capital in Rome and the Greek East with its capital in Byzantium (Constantinople, now Istanbul), a region termed by the Greeks, interestingly, Romania. 

Watch for Eastern Europe to use its EU membership to grow in strength. Watch for any chaos economically or politically to be quickly remedied by a strong leader who comes to the fore in Europe — streamlining the EU's operations. Watch for the Vatican to increase its efforts to reunite Eastern European Orthodoxy with Catholicism under the common denominator of Christian values in an increasingly secular (and Islamicized) world. 

Europe is about to stand on its own two feet yet again. Why...? Because it has repeatedly proven itself prifitable to those with the will and the means to rebuild it — over and over and over again through the last two millennia.