Joel Hilleger said:
Recent muscular moves by the
Vatican are more deeply significant
than you probably realize. In April,
Pope Benedict xvi finished the seventh
year of his papacy with several
bold, polarizing actions that point to
the Roman Catholic Church's future
When he became pope in 2005, the
German-born Joseph Ratzinger was expected by liberals
and conservatives alike to be a tough authoritarian. After
all, he was the church's chief doctrinal enforcer, head of
the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He was the
Then came seven years of what many perceived as a
relatively quiet papacy. Now, though, perceptions are beginning
to revert back. Last month, during his "Holy Thursday"
homily, the pope publicly rebuked a prominent group of
hundreds of dissident priests and deacons in heavily Catholic
Austria. These church leaders have openly supported
women's ordination and opposed priestly celibacy, and Benedict
has had enough. The Vatican also announced it was
investigating a handful of Irish priests for their liberal views.
Two weeks ago, the Vatican released a stingingly corrective
"doctrinal assessment" of the organization representing
most of America's 57,000 nuns. It accused that group,
the Leadership Conference for Women Religious (lcwr), of
"corporate dissent" and corruption by "radical feminism"; it
condemned the group for drifting from Catholic teaching
on homosexual marriage, abortion, women's ordination
and other issues. Now, the lcwr will essentially be on probation
for up to five years as conservative bishops scrutinize
its practices, supervise its meetings and investigate its
ties to various politically active groups.
Predictably, in a libertine world deeply hostile to authority,
such moves generate a lot of backlash. (Especially
among independent-minded Americans: They called the
crackdown on nuns heart-breaking, stunning, mind-boggling.)
The pope doesn't care. He is making his stand and
daring people to challenge him. Stepping out and castigating
his critics for being out of step.
Meanwhile-in fact, on the very same day it cracked
down on the lcwr-the Vatican revealed it is about
to strike a deal with a fringe group of disassociated ultra-traditionalist Catholics that could bring them back
into communion with Rome. This controversial group,
Society of St. Pius X, broke away two decades ago out of opposition
to changes in the church that followed the Second
Vatican Council-and the pope wants them back.
The simultaneous clampdown on liberal American nuns
and embrace of ultra-conservatives is a telling sign. As the
National Catholic Reporter wrote, "In tandem with Benedict's
2009 decision to welcome traditionalist Anglicans,
it's tempting to conclude that his policy amounts to accommodating
dissent on the right and squelching it on the left"
On one level, anyone sickened or angered by the world's
deplorable moral decline would find such conviction admirable.
However, this is not just anyone, or any organization.
This is the pope. This is the Universal Church. With
a billion believers and nearly two millennia of portentous
history behind it.
To better understand the significance of Rome's recent
assertiveness, one must view it in the context of the
church's historical attempts to establish its universality.
This is a church with global ambition. And frankly, those
periods where it has most aggressively exercised its influence
have been some of mankind's darkest.
However, even looking just at this history only provides
a partial view. To really see what is taking place, one must
also look through the lens of biblical prophecy. The Roman
Catholic Church holds a monumental place in the Bible's
narrative of end-time events. It is described as ascending
to once again attain a position of influence such as it has
had at several points in its past, uniting with world leaders,
summoning armies under the banner of the cross, using
its spiritual clout to steer the political and military might
of nations into helping it accomplish its goals. Scripture
actually portrays this church as a woman sitting on "many
waters," signifying a globalist reign.
You need to prove these prophecies-and believe them.
They expose what is truly happening on today's world
scene. They show God's view of the Catholic Church and
other major players on the political and religious stage, and
reveal how He is shaping events to fulfill His purposes.
The Vatican's recent muscularity is only the beginning.
Watch closely: This thing is going to grow. Believe it or not,
it threatens to shake the world!
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