Rome: Reversing the Liberal Trend of Recent Years
In all of this we see the true nature of Roman Catholicism. It is not naturally ecumenical; it does not truly believe that other “churches” are real churches, or that they are on an equal footing with itself; it believes them to be schismatics or heretics, and needing to be reconciled with Rome, i.e. absorbed by Rome. Since the Second Vatican Council, Rome has used the ecumenical movement to woo most “Protestant” and other institutions; but this was always nothing but a tactical accommodation so as to achieve its long-term goal. In truth, Rome despises all others and has no genuine love for ecumenism. Journalist Rachel Donadio, writing for the New York Times, put it correctly: “Many liberal Catholics in the United States [and worldwide! – Shaun Willcock] lamented that the decision over the Anglicans again demonstrated that Benedict reached out only to the most conservative elements on the Catholic spectrum, not the more progressive ones. And many experts noted that the decision also reflected a similar tendency inside the Vatican: as in the case with the schismatic bishops, the arrangement with the Anglicans was hammered out by doctrinal offices, generally staffed by more conservative clergy, without close consultation with the office responsible for ecumenical dialogue, whose staff members tend to be more moderate. Many saw it as yet another sign that the true power of Benedict’s papacy lies in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [the old Inquisition], which he oversaw for two decades before becoming pope.”
For Benedict, the Second Vatican Council (Vatican II) needs to be reinterpreted so as to be understood in a more traditionalist, conservative Roman Catholic way. The fact is that Vatican II was established by a liberal pope, John XXIII, and gave huge impetus to liberals within Rome, causing immense confusion in the ranks of the millions of Roman Catholics worldwide as things they had believed and practiced for centuries seemed to be now overturned, all in a frantic effort to make Rome appear more attractive to both the world and to various “churches” and even other religions. Rome swings between a traditional and a liberal doctrinal stance, depending on which popes and cardinals are in charge at any given time. Under Pius XII during World War Two, it was doctrinally very traditionalist and conservative; under John XXIII it became much more liberal, and this continued under Paul VI and John Paul II. But Benedict, although politically a Socialist, is religiously a traditionalist. He has never been very comfortable with Vatican II or the way in which it was interpreted by liberal Papists. And now that he is pope he intends to swing Rome back, doctrinally, to a conservative, truly “Roman Catholic” (in his view) position.
The Bigger Picture
And, it seems in truth, there is something far bigger going on here; something in the ambitious, scheming mind of Benedict XVI that aims for something more, much more, than mere “Christian unity”. Rome is well aware that there is a mighty clash of worldviews occurring in the world; a clash between “Christianity” (by which of course the Vatican means Roman Catholicism) and secularism, “Christianity” and Islam, “Christianity” and atheism. There is an ideological battle being fought, especially for the West, and Benedict – Inquisitor General that he once was – sees this clearly. As far as he is concerned, it is a battle Rome must win. It must regain ground it has lost through the centuries since the Reformation, so as to combat the anti-Papist elements rising like a tide to engulf Roman Catholic Europe and the West. To win this war, Rome needs all the help it can get. Hence these recent extraordinary measures to suck in as many “Papists in heart” as it can. Veteran Roman Catholic journalist, Robert Moynihan, wrote in Inside the Vatican: “This activity [of Benedict’s], occurring at an accelerating speed over recent months, looks almost like a ‘rallying of the troops’ before some final, decisive battle.” Coming from such a Roman Catholic source, these words are ominous!
Moynihan went on, by way of explanation: “Benedict is rallying his troops. He is trying to reunite all those factions and denominations and groups in the West that share common beliefs… And so he is doing his best, in what seems perhaps to be the ‘twilight of the West,’ to build an ark, centered in Rome, to which all those who share these beliefs about human dignity may repair…. Benedict, from his high room in the Apostolic Palace, seems to be trying to rally the West in the twilight of an age, so that what was best in the West [best for Rome, that is! – Shaun Willcock] may be preserved, and shine forth again after the struggles of our time are past.” This is indeed his desire. He sees Rome as the salvation of the West, the great bulwark against all that threatens the West, the “One True Church” to which all men must belong. And he is going all out to place the Roman Catholic religion firmly at the world’s centre stage, dominating all, controlling all.