Current Events

Haider in the News

As The Associated Press reported on April 4, 2005, “[Austria’s] Joerg Haider and his supporters broke Monday with the once-powerful populist Freedom Party to form a new movement meant to reflect the former rightist firebrand’s turn toward relative moderation… The party’s fall in popularity has been accompanied by growing infighting among party pragmatists and the rightist fringe that extends to those with links to neo-Nazi publications.”

Prince Rainier of Monaco Dies

As the Associated Press reported on April 6, 2005, “Prince Rainier III [Europe’s longest-reigning monarch of Europe’s longest-ruling royal family, the Grimaldis], whose fairy-tale marriage to Hollywood star Grace Kelly brought elegance and glamour to one of Europe’s oldest dynasties, died Wednesday, nearly a month after he was hospitalized with a lung infection. He was 81… Rainier, who assumed the throne on May 9, 1949, had to endure the tragedy of his wife’s death and relentless scandals — including international criticism of the principality’s tax laws — that plagued the final two decades of his rule… Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II sent a message of condolence to the family. Rainier’s death means the queen [Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II], who acceded to the throne in 1952, becomes the longest-serving monarch in Europe.”

European Visas Required?

As AFP reported on April 6, 2005, “New US passport rules ‘threaten business relations'” between the USA and European countries. The article stated: “Sir Digby Jones, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, said US demands for visitors to hold passports containing biometric information would cause ‘enormous problems’ for UK business… The UK is one of several countries expected to miss an October 26 deadline to start issuing the high-tech passports, which include a digital photo embedded with a chip. Only six European countries — Belgium, Germany, Austria, Finland, Sweden and Luxembourg — are expected to meet the deadline. People with passports issued after the deadline without biometric features will need a visa to enter the US.”

However, the Austrian-based “Networld” reported on April 5, 2005, that Austria might not be ready to issue the required new passports by the deadline, and that the USA would be unwilling to extend the deadline.

It should be noted, though, that in the rising heat of the discussion, an important aspect is overlooked. As AFP pointed out: “The new rules apply only to new passports issued after October 26, meaning that people with documents issued before the deadline will still be able to enter the US without a visa or biometric information.”

EU “Retaliates” Against USA

The EUobserver reported on March 31, 2005, that “The European Commission… intend[s] to impose an extra 15 percent duty on some types of paper, textiles and machinery from 1 May after ‘the continuing failure of the US to bring its legislation into conformity with its international obligations’…’The level of retaliation… is slightly below US $28 million,’ says a statement by the Commission…. The EU’s move is likely to raise transatlantic trade tensions… The European Commission’s decision has to be approved by member states before it can come into effect on 1 May — but no opposition is expected.”

In the USA, the decision of the European Commission has been sharply criticized by the media — including CNN. In a special report, CNN questioned what the EU is expecting of the USA — given the high amount of trade with the USA, which is already enormously benefiting the EU.

The Death of Pope John Paul II

With the death of Pope John Paul II, speculation is running high as to who his successor is going to be. Will it be the last pope in the history of the Catholic Church — a black pope perhaps (such as Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria), and will he adopt the name of Peter, as Nostradamus and other “seers” have prophesied? In the annals of the Catholic Church, there has only been one black pope before.

Will it be a European — a German, perhaps? Could it be Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (77)? Time magazine felt, at the beginning of this year, that he was the top candidate — something like a transitional pope. He has been presiding over the Office responsible for religious questions — formerly known as the Inquisition. He is described as “highly intelligent” (Bild Online, April 3, 2005). Whether or not it will be Ratzinger, he has already become known as the “creator of popes,” as Bild Online stated on April 6, 2005.

One thing is certain — this new election will be of tremendous prophetic importance. It is interesting that the new election process of 117 cardinals (under 80 years) — or 116 cardinals, as the Cardinal from the Philippines, Jaime Sin, fell sick and might be unable to attend — will begin on April 18, 2005 — exactly 16 days after the pope’s death, and less than a week before Passover. And, that during the burial of the pope, there will be a partial solar eclipse (as The Associated Press reported on April 6, 2005). The late pope’s testament “did not name the mystery cardinal he created in 2003… ending speculation that a last-minute cardinal might join in the April 18 start of the conclave [the papal election process],” according to The Associated Press of April 6, 2005.

To be able to elect a new pope, the cardinals, in sequestered meetings at the Sistine Chapel, have to agree on one candidate with a two-thirds majority (plus one). If there have been 33 unsuccessful attempts (ballots are cast each day, two in the morning and two in the afternoon, as AFP reported on April 4, 2005), the cardinals are allowed to elect a pope with a simple majority, or to agree on the most likely candidate, choosing from the two who had received the most votes. The longest election process occurred in 1268, when it took three years to elect a new pope (Bild Online, April 1, 2005). The shortest election took place in 1978, when Pope John Paul I was elected. He only ruled for 33 days, before he died (Bild Online, April 3, 2005). Some believe that he did not die of natural causes.

When the cardinals decide on a candidate, the traditional white smoke that for centuries has announced the selection of a new pope to the world will be joined by the tolling of bells (The Associated Press, April 6, 2005).

On April 6, 2005, Bild Online published an article, stating, “Not Every Pope Died in His Bed.” The article pointed out that Pope John XII (937-964) was killed by a jealous husband, after he had transformed the Vatican into a house of prostitution. Pope Benedict IX (1020-1055) died in battle, when he fought against a German “counter-pope.” Pope Paul II (1417-1471) died while he had sexual relationships with another man. Pope Innocence VIII (1432-1492) died, after having violated his eight daughters, when a blood transfusion from a boy failed. Pope Leo X (1475-1521) died of syphilis, after he had had sexual relationships with boys, men and women.

Der Spiegel Online pointed out on April 4, 2005, that historically, “many conclaves were dictated by intrigue and corruption.”

The Scotsman added on April 4, 2005:

“The world is on the brink of witnessing an ancient rite, one redolent with history, power and intrigue… Yet the late John Paul II could be responsible for initiating a long conclave. He ordered the construction of Casa Santa Marta, a £12 million, 134-room hotel, which will permit the cardinals to deliberate in comfort, 108 of them in three-room suites.”

Bild Online even went so far as to state, on April 6, 2005: “There is already a power and election struggle going on in the Vatican… Intrigues, conspiracies, cheating… Is every method acceptable? Mysterious organizations, which could be decisive as to who might be the next pope, are: Opus Dei, the army of the pope, also known as the Italian Mafia; Communione e Liberazione, a powerful Italian lay member movement; Sant’Egidio, a community similar to an order; and the Fokolaries, a ultra-conservative youth group, which very strongly worships Mary. About one-third of the 117 cardinals sympathize with one or the other of those groups. Whether it’s Opus Dei or the Fokolaries, they all are extremely rich… and run universities and seminaries for priests — in which cardinals are forged.”

Unknown to most is the fact that every baptized Catholic male can be elected pope — he does not even have to be a priest. But since 1378, only cardinals were elected popes (Bild Online, April 3, 2005; AFP, April 4, 2005).

The worldwide reaction to Pope John Paul II’s death was stunning. President Bush said that he had been “a hero for all times — a fighter for peace and freedom” — even though he had been strongly opposed to the Iraq war. Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl said that Pope John Paul II was instrumental in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the division in Germany and Europe. More than 100 governmental officials, as well as many more prominent figures, are planning to attend the funeral, from virtually every country around the world. Pilgrims are flocking into Rome by the millions. Even the wedding of Prince Charles was postponend (reportedly much to the anger of Prince Charles), as it would have coincided with the pope’s funeral.

Bild Online reported on April 6 about miracles that the late Pope John Paul II had allegedly performed during his life — including the healing of blind people; of individuals sick with cancer; and of lame and paralyzed persons. The paper stated that the Vatican is already considering sanctifying or canonizing the pope — a process which normally could last decades, if not centuries, except for popular demand of the masses. For instance, Franz of Assisi was sanctified as early as two years after his death (in 1226).

Der Spiegel Online discussed in its article of April 2, 2005, titled, “The Testament of the Lion,” why the late pope enjoyed such popularity–given the fact that he was extremely conservative. The paper pointed out that he did not compromise, and that he demanded unquestioned obedience. “His stance regarding abortion was terribly against the Zeitgeist [the commonly accepted view of the time]… He looked for reconciliation between Catholics and Jews — while declaring that the Catholic way was the only true one… The media loved this pope so much that they did not understand his radical stance on social issues… He could not prevent the Iraq war, but his resistance against it brought him admiration and love.”

The Bible prophesies that the final pope of the end-time will be able to perform miracles and propagate the Catholic way as the only true way — and he will do so in such a convincing manner, that most people will follow his lead. At the same time, important commandments of God will be ignored and neglected. For more information, please read our free booklet, “Europe in Prophecy.” Have we now reached this final phase of human history, which will end with the return of Jesus Christ to this earth?

One has to be struck by the unending news coverage and the — overall — unquestioning admiration by the nations and people of the world for the late Pope John Paul II, and his religion. Only the tiniest mention is ever made about the deeply held beliefs embodied in Catholicism, and beyond that, only scant coverage of the recent problems of child molestation uncovered among so many priests of the Catholic Church.

In reading Revelation 13 and what is stated about the final
global impact of Catholicism, one has to be impressed how the world, more than ever before in recent times, is galvanized around Rome and the religious figure-head of this time!

Right now, the true Church of God — the spiritual body of Christ — seems indeed very small, very scattered and, overall, little prepared for what is coming…

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