Turmoil at the Temple Mount
As WorldNetDaily reported on April 18, 2005, “A group that led a Jewish protest at the Temple Mount last weekend in hopes of reclaiming the site from its Islamic custodians told WorldNetDaily this morning it will hold monthly protests until Jewish sovereignty is restored, while over 100,000 Indonesian Muslims rallied yesterday for continued Islamic dominance over the Mount. ‘The police blocked most of the people we tried to bring to the Temple Mount last week, so we will continue every month until Jews have a right to pray again at our holiest site,’ said David Ha’ivri, director of Revava, a group with the stated mission of ‘restoring self-esteem to the state of Israel by restoring national pride and values.’
“Revava had announced plans to bring 10,000 Jews to the Mount April 10, prompting Palestinian groups, including Hamas and the Islamic Movement, to threaten violence if a large group of Jews ascended the holy site. Only about 200 Jewish protestors were allowed past intense security, which included over 3,500 Israeli police stationed at checkpoints and entrances throughout the Old City, the walled section of Jerusalem that houses the Temple Mount… Still, over 10,000 Palestinians, including a top Hamas terrorist, made it last week to the Al Aqsa Mosque, where Muslim leaders vowed violent confrontations with any Jews who ascended the Mount. Islamic Jihad issued a press release claiming Jews were planning to ‘attack’ the Mount, which they said would explode the entire region and open an unprecedented confrontation with the ‘Zionist entity.’ … ‘The situation is simply intolerable,’ said Ha’ivri. ‘This is a Jewish state. The Temple Mount is the most holy Jewish site. We’re not going away until Jews can once again pray there unrestricted.”
Haider’s New Party
As the BBC reported on April 17, 2005, “Far-right politician Joerg Haider has launched a new party in Austria after a split in the Freedom Party he once led which threatened the ruling coalition. The new Alliance for Austria’s Future elected Mr Haider as its leader in Salzburg, and it looks set to remain in office with the majority conservatives. All Freedom Party cabinet ministers have defected to the new party…. Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, leader of the conservative People’s Party, said he had received sufficient guarantees to work with the new Alliance.”
As the EUobserver reported on April 15, 2005, French president Jacques Chirac is facing opposition to the Constitution from within his own ranks, as well as fighting an uphill battle to win the sympathy of the French people. ‘If this Constitution wins, it is the end of Europe,’ Niclolas Dupont-Aignan, a French MP from Chirac’s own UMP party, declared in Copenhagen on Friday (15 April)…. ‘The system has been built without the will of the people and they will revolt within ten years if this [treaty] is passed. We see it already with the Bolkestein directive and with Turkey’s possible entry into the EU,’ he warned. ‘The EU must adapt to the new world. We don’t want a return to nationalism, but we need a Europe based on democracy.'”
The AFP reported on April 16, 2005, that “The European Union struggled to contain mounting alarm at signs that French voters could reject the EU constitution, in what would be a devastating blow for the expanding bloc… The constitution, which aims to streamline decision-making in the expanded 25-member European Union, must be ratified by all member states. A rejection in France, one of the EU’s largest countries, would effectively kill the treaty. French President Jacques Chirac, alarmed at a series of polls indicating a ‘no’ vote [on May 29], launched a personal effort to persuade voters this week, warning on television that France would be turned into the ‘black sheep’ of Europe.”
In the meantime, Greece ratified the EU Constitution on Wednesday. It was the fifth country to do so (following, for example, Italy and Hungary). Spain was the first country in which the Constitution was accepted via referendum, but the Parliament still has to ratify it. In Germany, the Parliament will vote on May 12, after it was argued that a referendum of the people was “unconstitutional.”
The New Pope
Cardinal Ratzinger (the German “Panzerkardinal,” who was in charge of the office formerly known as the Inquisition) was elected as the new pope. A German paper reportedly stated recently that if Ratzinger was elected, the Inquisition would start again. As reported in this article, Ratzinger talked on Monday about the worst enemies of the Catholic Church, listing “sects” as number 1. Ratzinger recently wrote a paper, stating that one must belong to the Catholic Church in order to be saved, and that all the Protestant “daughter” churches must return to the fold of the “mother church.” He also stated that the core issues of orthodox Christianity are the observance of Sunday and Christmas.
It is also noteworthy that Benedict XV was elected just prior to World War I. Ratzinger adopted the name of Benedict XVI. According to the Washington Post, he elected the name to honor “Saint Benedict, the patron saint of Europe, and Benedict XV, the pope who tried to stop the First World War.”
Also, the late pope, John Paul II, had recently stated, that Satan had been cast down from heaven, and that the Great Tribulation was about to begin.
As AFP had already reported, prior to the election, on April 16, 2005, “Vatican intrigue intensifies as conclave looms to elect new pope.” The article continued: “Ratzinger, who turned 78 on Saturday, was John Paul II’s prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — his theological ‘enforcer.’ He has come from behind in the sweepstakes as a potential new pope, despite his age, uncertain health and a bloc of cardinals, including fellow Germans, who consider him too conservative…The identity of the next pope is critical to the Church as it struggles to retain influence in an increasingly secular world. John Paul II took a strongly conservative position on issues ranging from abortion, divorce, contraception and euthanasia to the ordination of women. Many in the Church, however, want his successor to adopt a more liberal stance in line with changing social values, notably on contraception — particularly in the fight against AIDS — and women.”
The Associated Press had added on April 18, 2005: “German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, considered a top contender to be the next pope, lashed out Monday at what he called threats to the fundamental truths of the Roman Catholic Church as he sought to set a conservative tone for the conclave to elect a new pope…. It was a clear message that Ratzinger wanted his fellow 114 cardinal electors to pick a new pope who will hold fast to the strict doctrinal line that John Paul charted and that he upheld as the powerful prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. Ratzinger ticked off the threats facing the church and the next pontiff: sects and ideologies like Marxism, liberalism, atheism and agnosticism, collectivism, and what he called ‘radical individualism’ and ‘vague religious mysticism.'”
Finally, on Tuesday, April 19, 2005, it was announced that Joseph Ratzinger had been elected the new pope. The Associated Press reported:
“Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany, the Roman Catholic Church’s leading hard-liner, was elected the new pope Tuesday in the first conclave of the new millennium. He chose the name Benedict XVI and called himself ‘a simple, humble worker.’… Benedict XV, who reigned from 1914 to 1922, was a moderate following Pius X, who had implemented a sharp crackdown against doctrinal ‘modernism.’ He reigned during World War I and was credited with settling animosity between traditionalists and modernists, and dreamed of reunion with Orthodox Christians… Ratzinger served John Paul II since 1981 as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. In that position, he has disciplined church dissidents and upheld church policy against attempts by liberals for reforms…It was one of the fastest elections in the past century: Pope Pius XII was elected in 1939 in three ballots on one day, while Pope John Paul I was elected in 1978 in four ballots in one day. The new pope was elected after either four or five ballots over two days. ‘It’s only been 24 hours, surprising how fast he was elected,’ Vatican Radio said.”
The Times on Line wrote on April 19, 2005:
“In 1981 he became Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly the Inquisition, where he earned the nickname ‘The Enforcer,’ and Dean of the College of Cardinals in 2002. He and the late Pope were referred to as ‘intellectual bedfellows.’ … Pope Benedict XVI is the eighth German pope. His accomplishments are many, he speaks ten languages and likes to play Beethoven on the piano. But it is in his enforcement of Church doctrine that he has made so many enemies around the world. He said it was ‘an enormous mistake’ to allow Turkey to join the European Union, has described rock music as a ‘vehicle of anti-religion’ and believes cloning is a more serious threat to humanity than weapons of mass destruction. He believes the ban on women priests is necessary to safeguard doctrine, is against multiculturalism and believes that the Church of England is not a proper church. Other religions he regards as deficient and homosexuality in his view is an ‘intrinsic moral evil.'”
In a related article of The Associated Press, it was pointed out:
“… opinion about [Ratzinger] remains deeply divided in Germany, a sharp contrast to John Paul, who was revered in his native Poland. A recent poll for Der Spiegel news weekly said Germans opposed to Ratzinger becoming pope outnumbered supporters 36 percent to 29 percent, with 17 percent having no preference… Many blame Ratzinger for decrees from Rome barring Catholic priests from counseling pregnant teens on their options and blocking German Catholics from sharing communion with their Lutheran brethren at a joint gathering in 2003…”
At the same time, as Bild Online reported, German political leaders welcomed the election of Ratzinger. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, a Protestant, and Angela Merkel, Protestant leader of the CDU-opposition party, remarked that the fact that a German was elected pope “fills us with honor and pride,” and that it was “a great honor for our country.” The German tabloid Bild Online, originally very critical of Cardinal Ratzinger, wrote on the front page, in big letters: “We Are Pope!” According to Der Spiegel Online, American Catholics are not overwhelmingly enthusiastic about the election of Ratzinger (As a CNN report showed, the reasons can be seen in Ratzinger’s conservative position and his remarks of an alleged conspiracy within the US press regarding the recent U.S. sexual child abuse scandal, involving Catholic priests). In Russia, according to the magazine, they don’t like him, either. The magazine added that the relationship between the Roman Catholic Church and the Russian-Orthodox Church is “chilly,” and that it will remain that way. In addition, the magazine wrote that many British papers are “fuming.”
The Independent in the UK wrote on April 20, 2005:
“… the softly spoken, courteous, Bavarian cardinal is the iron fist in Catholicism’s velvet glove. Nicknamed ‘God’s rottweiler’ and the ‘Panzerkardinal’ he takes the same unyielding stance on issues such as artificial contraception, abortion and homosexuality — which he has personally called ‘intrinsically evil.’ He called for pro-abortion politicians to be denied communion during the US election campaign. He has argued that Europe should be re-Christianized and that Turkey should not be admitted into the European Union.
“In many areas he is more hardline than his predecessor. He undermined Pope John Paul II’s attempts at reconciliation with the Orthodox churches. After the last pope visited Athens to apologize for the Great Schism of the 11th century, Cardinal Ratzinger issued a document insisting that the Catholic Church was the ‘mother’ of other Christian denominations as opposed to a ‘sister,’ the more common description in ecumenical circles. It wa
s typical of his stance as a more rigid outrider to the positions adopted by John Paul II.”
MSNBC stated on April 20: “The line between religion and politics isn’t clear, but the papacy of Benedict XVI could erase it altogether… If the denial of Communion — the central sacrament of Catholicism — was a weapon used only occasionally before,… it will be more widely used now. In his writings and interviews, the former Cardinal Ratzinger declared that politicians who support abortion rights should be turned away — and that it is a sin for Catholic voters to support a pro-choice candidate if their main reason for doing so is the candidate’s abortion views. We are eons away from the days when John Kennedy wanted to assure voters that the Vatican would hold no sway over his actions. Now everyone frankly acknowledges the Holy See’s role in the American public square. The question is: How will the electorate view the advent of a new Church Militant?”
Der Spiegel Online published an interesting article about the German popes — pointing out that none of Ratzinger’s predecessors were too fortunate on the Roman Catholic throne. Gregory V (996-999), the first German pope, had to flee from Rome naked and without financial means. Shortly after he returned, he died of Malaria. Clemens II (1046-1047) died of poisoning within a year. Damasus II (1048) died within 23 days of Malaria. Leo IX (1049-1054) was captured by the Normans, and under his rule, the Catholic Church split into the Eastern and Western Churches. Victor II (1055-1057) was compelled by the emperor to become pope, but he never gave up his office of bishop in Germany. Stephen IX (1057-1058) died within eight months, while traveling. Finally, Hadrian VI (1522-1523) was unable to prevent the Reformation under Martin Luther.
The future will show how close we have now come to the return of Jesus Christ. Surely, tumultuous and frightening times are ahead of us.