Ratzinger opposes Turkey’s proposed inclusion in the EU, precisely because it is Muslim in religion.: “Turkey has always represented a different continent, always in contrast with Europe,” he has said, adding: “Europe was founded…on a common faith [by which he meant, of course, Roman Catholicism]” (FrontPageMagazine.com, April 20, 2005). Clearly, the Vatican has seen that, as in centuries past, Romanism and Islam, the two largest and most powerful religions in the world, are squaring up; and it has put a man at the helm who desires and will work for a Roman Catholic Europe at all costs.
Symbolism is extremely important within Roman Catholicism. It may seem a relatively small matter to those unfamiliar with Vatican intrigues and plots, but the choice of the name “Benedict” carries with it far-reaching implications. It will play its own part in extending and cementing Roman Catholic influence in the Europe of today.
What about Ratzinger’s stance with regard to ecumenism, the Vatican’s desire to absorb all “churches” and control them? In this he is following the path his predecessor trod as well. He made this clear after celebrating mass with the cardinals who elected him, pledging that he would lead the Roman Catholic institution on the path of “unity”, “dialogue” and Roman Catholic “evangelization”. He said that, like John Paul II, he was committed to ecumenism, and to “continue in the task of implementing the Second Vatican Council.” He even pledged to make ecumenism a special priority, calling it a “compelling duty”, and added that he would “spare no energy” in seeking to bring all “churches” together (The Southern Cross, April 27 to May 3, 2005).
We should not expect any major changes, then, in the Vatican’s pro-ecumenical stance. Ecumenism has been a very powerful tool in Rome’s hands, to gain control over the Protestant denominations, to silence all opposition to Roman Catholicism, and to promote itself as the “Mother Church” to which all others must return. The ecumenical movement has been one of Rome’s greatest weapons ever since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, and under John Paul II it made huge advances. Under Benedict XVI there is every indication that this will continue.
15 August 2005
Shaun Willcock is a minister of the Gospel, and lives in South Africa. He runs Bible Based Ministries.
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