Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The siege on the Vatican

The siege on the Vatican

By Perry Diaz

VaticanWhen Pope Benedict XVI announced that he was going to resign on February 28, 2013, it sent shock waves around the world.  Being the first Pope to leave the papal throne – alive — in 600 years, two billion followers of the Roman Catholic Church are in a state of disbelief.
Although Pope Benedict had become the lighting rod of criticism against members of the clergy for “crimes against children,” he had steadily weathered the maelstrom of controversy that engulfed Christendom’s seat of power, the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI
Indeed, as soon as Pope Benedict announced his resignation, the enemies of the Catholic Church laid siege on the Vatican.  Yes, it was time to strike while the iron was hot.  And strike they did, hitting the Pope when he was vulnerable!
An obscure organization called International Tribunal into Crimes of Church and State (ITCCS) issued a media release on its website, saying that Pope Benedict resigned because he found out that an unnamed European government was going to issue an “arrest warrant” against him once he had vacated the papacy.  He would then be charged of crimes against humanity and criminal conspiracy.  The person behind the ITCCS attack on the Pope is a certain Rev. Kevin D. Annett, a priest of the United Church of Canada, who is identified as ITCCS’s Secretary.
Power struggle?
But the siege on the Vatican might be overshadowed by a developing story that attributes the Pope’s resignation to a power struggle within the Vatican.  A source said that Pope Benedict’s decision was “brought on by his declining health in the context of a major power struggle within the Holy See.”
The source also said that Pope Benedict recently made two major appointments including the installation of the new head of the Vatican Bank.
The source also said that four cardinals, including two from Latin America, are the leading contenders to succeed the Pope.   The rumored front-runner is “a cardinal who was close to John Paul II, trusted by Benedict, skilled in Vatican maneuvering, and who has been in the front lines dealing with the rise of radical Islam.”
Protecting the Pope  
Last February 15, Reuters News reported that Pope Benedict decided to live in the Vatican after he steps down.  This would provide him with security and privacy.  The Vatican would also provide him with legal protection – and immunity — from any attempt to prosecute him for any complicity with sexual abuse cases committed by Catholic priests around the world.
“His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn’t have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else,” a Vatican official told Reuters.
Pope Benedict's new residence inside the Vatican
Pope Benedict’s new residence inside the Vatican
One consideration in deciding that Pope Benedict should live in a convent inside the Vatican after his resignation is his personal safety and privacy, which the Vatican police would be able to guarantee as long as he is within the walls of the Vatican.  And the second consideration is his potential exposure to legal claims over the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandals.
While Pope Benedict is not currently named as a defendant in any case, the Vatican would not rule out the possibility of future lawsuits against him.  And if he lives outside the Vatican, it might attract the “crazies” to file lawsuits or he might be arrested and brought to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for alleged acts while he was head of state.
As a resident and citizen of the sovereign state of Vatican City, Pope Benedict would have the full protection of the state under the provisions of the Lateran Pacts, which guarantee his immunity while he is in the Vatican or even if he travels in Italy as a Vatican citizen.  In 1929, Italy and the Holy See signed the Lateran Pacts that established Vatican City as a sovereign state.
But Pope Benedict’s resignation is not going to solve the Catholic Church’s problems with all the sexual abuse scandals.  And as long as these scandals exist, the likes of Kevin D. Annett and other enemies of the Vatican would cause the next Pope innumerable problems.
St. Malachy
St. Malachy

St. Malachy’s prophecy

In 1139, then Archbishop Malachy O’More of Ireland went to Rome to give an account of his diocese to Pope Innocent II.  While in Rome, he received the strange vision of the future wherein was unfolded before his mind the long list of illustrious pontiffs who were to rule the Church until the end of time.  The last on that list was the 268th Pope.
Pope Benedict’s successor will be the 268th Pope.  And if St. Malachy’s prophecy were true, then the next Pope would be the last.  But that is an easy way to interpret the prophecy.  Could there be another interpretation?  Yes, there is!
Ecumenical Councils
The First Ecumenical Council, known as the Council of Nicea, took place in 325 A.D. by the order of the Roman Emperor Caesar Flavius Constantine. Nicea was located in Asia Minor, east of Constantinople. At the Council of Nicea, Emperor Constantine presided over a group of Church bishops and leaders with the purpose of defining the true God for all of Christianity and eliminating all the confusion, controversy, and contention within Christ’s church. The Council of Nicea affirmed the deity of Jesus Christ and established an official definition of the Trinity — the deity of The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit under one Godhead, in three co-equal and co-eternal Persons. (
Between 325 A.D. and 1563 (Council of Trent), there were a total of 19 ecumenical councils.  It took another 307 years before another ecumenical council took place, the First Council of the Vatican in 1870, which defined the Pope’s primacy in church governance and his infallibility.
The Second Council of the Vatican took place in 1962-1965, which addressed pastoral and disciplinary issues dealing with the Church and its relation to the modern world, including liturgy and ecumenism.
Quo vadis, Vatican?
Perhaps it’s time for the Third Council of the Vatican to take place.   There is a clamor for change from a small liberal faction of the Church.  The conservatives have the numerical strength but the liberals are more aggressive and vocal.  The next Pope would be faced with certain issues that could turn Vatican III into a battle for supremacy that could crack the “Rock” of Christendom.  A slew of issues — such as celibacy, ordination of female priests, same-sex marriage, stem cell research, and family planning — could create an atmosphere for schism to grow.  There is only one way to prevent this from happening – reform.
The next Pope could indeed be the “Last Pope” as we know him.  But he could also be the “First Pope” after the Catholic Church’s reformation to bring it to the realities of the 21st century and conform to the norms of society today.

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