Also significantly, in 2009 he spoke highly of a pope named Celestine V, who resigned in 1294 at the same age as Benedict and became a hermit. Benedict even left his own pallium (a white cloth and sign of his episcopal authority) on the tomb of Celestine. To some it was a clear sign that he was considering following Celestine and resigning.
As I wrote in an article when he was elected: “At 78, it is obvious that his reign as pope will not be a very long one. The Vatican did not want another long pontificate like that of John Paul II, the third longest in history, who was a comparatively young man when he was elected. The world is undergoing very rapid changes, and to a very great degree the Vatican has always checked to see which way the winds of change are blowing, and reacted accordingly. The last thing the Vatican needs is to be stuck with a pope who will live many long years, unbendingly following the same policies with which he began his reign even though the world might have moved on since then.”
But even so, were his age and his health the real (or the only) reasons for his decision? Or was there something far more sinister behind it?
The Papacy of Benedict XVI
Before seeking an answer to this question, let us briefly consider the reign of this present Antichrist:
Benedict XVI presided over a “Church” that was rocked by a scandal of such magnitude that it was potentially able to damage the institution in a way that nothing has done since the Protestant Reformation: the worldwide sexual abuse of children by its priests. And the cold fact is that despite shedding crocodile tears with victims and issuing stern warnings and rebukes, he did very little to improve the situation, with the scandal even swirling around himself, at the very least regarding his protection of guilty priests. He did not act against bishops who ignored or covered up the abuse committed by priests under their charge. It is clear that he turned a blind eye to the revelations of such sexual abuse when he deemed it prudent to do so.
There were other setbacks. He angered many Jews by calling for a Palestinian state and promoting the canonisation of Pius XII, the wartime pope who was pro-Nazi; and he angered Muslims as well on several occasions, for example when he called some of Mohammed’s teaching evil. There were also scandals involving the Vatican Bank and money laundering, and the “Vatileaks” scandal as it was called, involving Benedict’s own butler, who stole Benedict’s personal correspondence and leaked the documents to a journalist, saying there was “evil and corruption” within the Vatican.
However, he also had a number of successes, as far as the Vatican was concerned. He pleased conservative Roman Catholics by taking a hardline approach to issues which, under John Paul II, had been dealt with in what was, to their minds, a too liberal fashion. As I have written about on a number of occasions, as referenced below:
He created the mechanism for Anglicans who were disenchanted with their “church” because of the ordination of women and sodomites to be welcomed into the Roman fold, further weakening an already severely weakened Anglican institution and thereby taking a giant step towards the eventual annihilation of Anglicanism, a long-term goal of the Vatican. His official visit to Britain in 2010 was nothing less than a triumphant victory procession, showing that Rome’s plans for the eventual total re-conquest of that once-Protestant land were now well advanced. He abolished the ancient Romish teaching of limbo, and beatified his predecessor John Paul II swiftly, which pleased millions of his followers. He also continued somewhat with the interfaith overtures of his predecessor, holding an interfaith event at Assisi like John Paul II had done, visiting a Jewish synagogue in Rome, praying at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, all of which impressed and pleased many Jews, and attending a mosque in Turkey. And he promoted the concept of a Marxist New World Order, revealing that, while theologically conservative, he was politically and economically liberal at times and was laying the groundwork for a world ruled by a future Roman pope.