“The Vatican yesterday approved the revised U.S. bishops’ policy to combat sex abuse by the clergy, declaring the need to restore the image of the priesthood in a scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic Church.” (www.washtimes.com for December 17, 2002).
At the heart of Vatican approval were new guarantees first protecting priests in cases of possible molestation. The above article continues: “Under the revised policy, bishops are compelled to obey local civil law on reporting abuse accusations, but not more than that.” (emphasis added).
This carefully phrased document, while addressing molestation as a serious offense, seems more intent on preserving the rights of the Catholic priesthood. Additionally, the supreme authority of the Catholic Church and application of its standards in matters such as this is the compelling issue for Papal Rome.
ROSARY – TOKEN OF RECONCILIATION?
A leading Protestant theologian, professor Stephan Tobler of the University of Tuebingen, Germany, feels that the rosary may contribute to unity between the two churches, according to Zenit, dated December 12. The pope had earlier expressed, too, that “the rosary can even promote ecumenism.” Prof. Tobler elaborated that the Catholic Church speaks of “the grace Mary gives us when we pray to her,” continuing that the introduction of the rosary “in this way in the dynamic of the God-Trinity” is done in a sensible way, “if it does not detract from looking at Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the Father.”
These statements are remarkable. First, prayers to Mary are apparently not considered any more as inappropriate. Then, the (wrong) belief in a Trinity is emphasized, by listing Christ first and the Father last. Christ, however, said, that we are to pray to the Father, and that the Father is greater than Christ. The Holy Spirit, since it is not God, but God’s power flowing from God, is not to be prayed to, however.
With former differences between the two Christian churches subsiding, we will be seeing soon a full-fledged unification. Those Christian groups who will not participate in such movement will find themselves at the outside, and will become the target of criticism, and more.
ENLARGEMENT OF EU
The Coloradoan reported on 12/14/02: “The European Union invited 10 new members (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia) to join it Friday in a historic opening to the former communist east designed to reunite the continent after decades of Cold War division.
“The agreement was reached at the end of one of the most significant European meetings in decades. Years of intricate negotiations ended with warm embraces from leaders once separated by the Iron Curtain.”
Continuing to quote: ” ‘Europe is spreading its wings in freedom and in prosperity,’ said Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the meeting’s host, who compared the day’s significance to the fall of the Berlin Wall.
” ‘Welcome to our new family. Our new Europe is born,’ said Fogh Rasmussen…”
The 10 nations will join the EU on May 1, 2004. According to Der Spiegel, December 13, 2002, Louis Michel, Belgian foreign minister, spoke of a “unification of Europe.”
As Zenit reported on December 12, the Commission of the Bishops’ Conference of the European Community sees the enlargement of the EU through the accessions of 10 new member states as the “realization of a hope cherished by the [Catholic] church in terms of reconciliation between East and West.”
The big loser was Turkey. Although the United States had tried to pressure Europe to admit Turkey into the EU, the EU refused at this point. The leader of the CSU in Germany, Edmund Stoiber, welcomed this decision (Der Spiegel, December 13), encouraging the German people to continue in their resistance against acceptance of Turkey in the EU. Mr. Stoiber had stated earlier that Turkey is a non-Christian country and should therefore not become a full-fledged member state of a united Christian Europe.
Former German Chancellor and current publisher of Die Zeit, Helmut Schmidt (83, SPD), also agreed that Turkey should not become part of the EU. In an interview with Bild, December 16, he stated, “It is so far not a democratic country… The number of Turks [who would migrate to Germany] would double very soon. Ghettos would be the result, as Turks and Kurds don’t understand German values and norms very well.”
Regarding the assimilation of 10 new nations, Herr Schmidt stated in Bild: “This is without any doubt a mighty step, which we have envisioned here. But we don’t know yet how these states are to participate in the political decision-making process of the EU. According to current law, we would have a EU-commission with 27 member states. That is not doable. Therefore, the EU must now, very quickly, introduce a totally new system, to be able to act, instead of being buried in a chaos of diverse states and opinions.”
Most assume today that having Kings and Queens over the modern nations of Europe–as was the case for many centuries–is something in the past.
However, that may not be the case! Royal families who operate as figure-heads or who live in exile are widely admired in many nations which now operate as economic democracies. A case in point involves the royalty of Italy. After World War II, the Italians voted to eliminate the monarchy, even barring King Umberto and his male descendants from entering the country. From www.softcom.net for October 15, 2002, “The exile, applying to male members of the House of Savoy, was enshrined in Italy’s postwar constitution as punishment for the family’s support of dictator Benito Mussolini.” The headline for this article was “Italy’s royals Cleared for Return.”
Other sources report that the 30-year-old son, Emmanuel Filiberto, who was born and reared in Switzerland, has recently signed to do an ad for olive oil in Italy. Like many other royal families in Europe, there are heirs in waiting among the families who once ruled over their nations. We could mention, as another example, Otto von Hapsburg of Austria and his son. While Otto had abdicated the crown, his son never has done so.
Revelation 17:12 talks about “ten kings” that will give their power to the beast — the final and last resurrection of the ancient Roman Empire in Europe. Although this may not have to mean, that ten literal “kings” will rule over modern European nations, under a strong military leader, it might very well mean that.
USA Today reported on December 18, that the United States and Britain dismissed the Iraqi weapons report, stating that it is “not acceptable and violates a United Nations resolution that threatens the use of force to disarm the country.” One day earlier, according to a poll published in the Los Angeles Times, more than two-thirds of Americans believe that the Bush administration has failed to make its case that a war against Iraq is justified.
On December 19, according to www.ABCNews.com, “U.N. chief weapons Inspector Hans Blix was delivering his first assessment of Iraq’s arms declaration to the U.N. Security Council today as Pentagon sources told ABCNEWS the U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf had accelerated to the point where the United States would be poised for war by late January.” Blix pointed out that he did not receive “much information about the weapons,” but stated at the same time that “there’s been prompt access to sites all over and there has been a good deal of help on the logistical side,” according to www.ABCNews.com.
Der Spiegel stated on December 19 that the rejection of the Iraqi report by the United States included, in effect, an American declaration that they now have a reason, under the U.N. resolution, to go to war against Iraq. The magazine warned that the United States may now begin a propaganda campaign amongst certain allies, including Germany, to gain support for a war against Iraq.
During an interview at the “Today” show, on December 19, Richard Holbrooke, former US Ambassador to the UN, stated that the “world is now on the path to war,” and that “we have reached the last off-ramp on the road towards war.” He warned that we will definitely be at war within the next few months, unless the Iraqi leadership removes Saddam. He also stated that the United States will launch a massive attack against Iraq, if Saddam should choose to use chemical or biological weapons in any way, including against his own people. “This could get very ugly,” Holbrooke said. He also admitted that it “is not that clear yet, what will happen after Saddam is gone.” Holbrooke continued that the American troops are not in place yet, and that support from Turkey and certain Arab nations is needed first. He said that although the weather in January would be optimal for an attack, it could happen earlier or a little later.
One result of the current discussion about a war with Iraq is the fall of the U.S. dollar and the climb of the Euro. As Spiegel Online reported on December 17, the Euro is now more valuable than the U.S. Dollar, stating, “The uncertainty in Iraq has consequences for the Dollar. Every indication of an American war against Iraq speaks presently against the U.S. currency.”