NEW VISION OF EU CONSTITUTION
As “Deutsche Welle” reported on December 5, the EU Commission President, Romano Prodi, has laid out his vision for a federalist constitution of the European Union, calling for greater centralization of the power in Brussels. Among the primary proposals is a call for the abolition of the right to veto held by member states. Prodi also rejected calls for a democratically elected European President, as had been recently proposed by Giscard d’Estaing, and instead suggested that the Commission president should be elected by a two-thirds majority in European parliament. He is also calling for the creation of a single, powerful EU foreign minister who would be given more power, telling parliament that “national leaders should act on their commitment to make Europe a superpower.” “Deutsche Welle” stated that Prodi’s plans will most likely create conflict with Britain, France, and Spain, but will be supported by Germany and many of the smaller EU states. According to EurActiv.com, especially the “idea of concentrating foreign policy issues in the hands of the unelected Commission [through the establishment of a European foreign minister] is appealing to Germany.”
Germany and France will present joint proposals on the future of the EU in January of 2003.The new Constitution could be finally approved, according to EurActiv.com, in “December 2003, at the Rome Summit, in time for the planned enlargement in 2004.”
INTERVIEW WITH CARDINAL JOSEPH RATZINGER
As we previously announced in these weekly Updates, Pope John Paul II approved the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, formerly called the Inquisition, as the new dean of the College of Cardinals. The election had been carried out by a group of cardinals at the Vatican — those who belong to the Order of Bishops.
While in Spain, Ratzinger gave an interview to Zenit on December 1 – 4. We are quoting excerpts from the interview, starting with some very good comments:
“Christ is totally different from all the founders of other religions, and he cannot be reduced to a Buddha, a Socrates or a Confucius. He is really the bridge between heaven and earth, the light of truth who has appeared to us…”
When asked about the difference between transcendental meditation and Christian meditation [NOTE: You might want to read, in this context, our article on “Biblical Meditation, a Forgotten Art”], he stated:
“… transcendental meditation is impersonal and, in this sense, ‘depersonalizing.’ … Man divests himself of his own ‘I.’… Christian meditation, meanwhile, is ‘personalizing’ and opens to a profound union that is born of love and not of the dissolution of the ‘I.'”
Ratzinger made also some profound comments about the difficulty to develop a dialogue between science and religion:
“One of these academics — he was a specialist in human brain research — said, There are two irreconcilable worlds; on the one hand we have the exact sciences for which, in their field, there is no freedom, there is no presence of the spirit and, on the other hand, I realize that I am a man and that I am free. Therefore, according to him, they are two different worlds — and we do not have the possibility to reconcile these two perceptions of the world. He himself acknowledged that he believed in the two worlds: in science that denies freedom, and in his experience of being a free man. However, we cannot live in this way; it would be permanent schizophrenia.”
When asked about the internal problems within the Catholic Church, he first suggested that a campaign is under way against the church, especially in the press of the United States. He said, “One comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the Church…. In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1 % of priests are guilty of acts of this type.”
Later, in a different context, he made some interesting observations regarding internal problem solving. We feel that his comments are very valid, if we apply them to the greater Sabbath-keeping Church of God community and to our commission and responsibility towards the world that we live in:
“We always work on our internal problems and we do not realize that the world is in need of answers. It does not know how to live. The world’s inability to live properly is seen in drugs, terrorism, etc. Therefore, the world is thirsty for answers — and we remain with our problems. I am convinced that if we go out to meet others, and we present the Gospel to them in an appropriate way [Note: It has to be, of course, the true Gospel of the kingdom of God, that Jesus Christ preached. For more information, read our free booklet on the “Gospel of the Kingdom of God”], even our internal problems will be relativized and resolved. This is a fundamental point: We must make the Gospel accessible to today’s secularized world.”
We conclude with some very interesting remarks, judged based on prophecy and the biblical truth. When asked about the future of Europe, he stated:
“I am convinced that Europe must not just be something economic [or] political; rather, it is in need of spiritual foundations. It is a historical fact that Europe is Christian, and that it has grown on the foundation of the Christian faith [meaning, of course, the Roman Catholic faith], which continues to be the foundation of the values for this continent [including, of course, the celebration of Sunday, Christmas or Easter, and the rejection of the so-called “Jewish” Sabbath or annual Holy Days], which in turn has influenced other continents… This is why it is imperative that in the future Constitution of Europe mention is made of the Christian foundations of Europe.”
U.S.–SLIPPING INTO DISFAVOR
In recent weeks and on the heels of America’s newly implemented doctrine of “first strike,” articles are surfacing depicting a sweeping and vocal disenchantment with things associated with America. In an article from the Coloradoan dated 12/5/02, the following: “America’s global image has deteriorated sharply in the past two years, and U.S. citizens’ views on key world issues differ markedly from public attitudes in much of the rest of the world…”
The article adds, “Anti-American sentiment in most of the Muslim nations is profound. But the study revealed growing discontent, especially in the nations that know America best, over the United States’ ideas of democracy, its business practices, its perceived unilateralism and policies that are seen as increasing the global gap between rich and poor.”
In an accompanying article, more details of the report made by the Pew Global Attitudes Project appeared: “But ill will toward the United States also was found in supposedly friendly nations like Canada, Britain and Germany. ‘The biggest headline is the slipping image of the United States, not simply that we’re not liked in the Muslim world,’ said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center.”
Again from the Coloradoan dated 12/10/02, the following headline: “Anti-American sentiment a major factor in South Korea election.”
The nations of continental Europe are also holding their breath, as President Bush has warned Iraq and other “hostile countries” that the United States is prepared to use “overwhelming force” — including nuclear weapons — in response to any chemical or biological attacks, according to USA Today, dated December 11. The threat was contained in a White House document. It has alarmed European allies and it has increased the fear of many Europeans of an outright nuclear world war ignited by the United States.
Bubbling slowly, at first, there is now a kind of spontaneous release of pent up jealousies, fears, and resentments towards many aspects of the world’s only current super power. As we move closer and closer to the fulfillment of the time of “Jacob’s trouble,” the American and British nations will become more and more a target for rejection, hatred and violence. Finally, God WILL allow the modern nations of the houses of Israel and Judah to reap the whirlwind they have created, and their national sins will be punished.