The Philadelphia Church of God publishes a Magazine called the Trumpet. The current issue has an article on Pope Benedict that is certainly interesting. The language and point of view are interesting. The point of view is that of a ‘Bible Based” Protestant church and language used is very much the in line with that of the secular media. In reading the article, I cannot help but wish that some of the claims they make were actually true. Here are some excerpts, emphases and Comments mine:
From his onslaught on liberalism during the papacy of John Paul II, Joseph Ratzinger, the current Pope Benedict XVI, has possessed a determination to return Roman Catholicism to the global influence it exerted during medieval times.
Any astute observer of Joseph Ratzinger is aware of his deliberate and calculated agenda to wind back the clock during his papacy. He wants the Roman Catholic Church to reverse the damaging liberal social politics and rationalist theology that so weakened its political and moral authority in the decades following World War ii and return to the position it once enjoyed at the peak of its power.
The papal political platform Ratzinger built in association with Wojtyla established the ideal launching pad for his now increasingly aggressive evangelizing papal agenda for the Roman Catholic Church.
Benedict’s most recent evangelizing initiatives have been directed at Latin America, specifically during his recent visit to Brazil to open the Fifth General Assembly of the Latin American bishops’ conference …This visit to Brazil was not by invitation. It was by Benedict’s own personal choice—thus, no doubt, in pursuance of the latest phase in his agenda to progressively evangelize the world.
That this pope is in a hurry to fulfill his agenda is made obvious by the fact that he has, just two years into his papacy, enjoined war on not one, but now on four distinct fronts—and has done so with elegance and panache using rapier-like thrusts of both tongue and pen.
On the home front, Benedict wasted no time in making a number of deliberate personnel changes at the Vatican after he took over in April 2005. He is intent on building a team in Rome that will support his agenda.[I certainly hope so! This is exactly why have I tried to be patient when it comes to the changes many wish that the Pope would make, he needs to build his team in order to insure success. Amazing that outsiders can see this when many of those inside cannot.] He closed some Vatican offices and consolidated others, thus ensuring that no individual Vatican functionary is left with a degree of undue power that might frustrate his efforts at returning to a more traditionalist approach to liturgy, nor interfere with his wider global political agenda.
Benedict opened a second front in his onslaught last September at his old alma mater, University of Regensburg, when he, in the words of Dr. George Friedman, ceo of Stratfor, “thr[e]w a hand grenade” into the Islamic arena. The outcry over the pope’s deliberately chosen words in his verbal attack on Islam is now a matter of history. It was, as Friedman pointed out, “an elegant move. He has strengthened his political base and perhaps legitimized a stronger response to anti-Catholic rhetoric in the Muslim world. And he has done it with superb misdirection. His options are open” (Sept. 19, 2006). That’s the way of this pope. He will go for the jugular, but with such finesse that it leaves his options open. This is the mark of a quintessentially expert diplomat.
On a third front, the pope frontally attacked European secularism when he used the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the European Union to castigate the leaders of the EU for their failure to recognize the traditional religion of Europe, which grew out of Rome, in its declaration of fundamental values. He accused Europe of being “built upon a cynical form of pragmatism that compromises on all principles, sacrificing fundamental ideals and undermining the dignity of human nature and freedom” (CWNews.com, March 26). [Even thought the author is protestant, you cannot help but feel that he agrees with much of this agenda]
Benedict drew a fourth line in the sand in his global crusade during his most recent trip to Brazil. In his address to the bishops of Latin America, Benedict challenged them to galvanize a continent-wide evangelical crusade to rout the competing non-Catholic religions—“sects” as he called them—that have penetrated Latin America on the heels of the liberalizing wave that hit the church in the 1960s and ’70s.[Correct, it was only when Catholics stopped being Catholics were serious inroads made by these ‘sects’. This is what the Pope wishes to fix]
Having declared, before gaining papal office, that no Protestant church could be regarded as a true church, it would seem that Benedict’s ecumenical thrusts will be primarily directed to the Orthodox religions. But it is the evangelical “sects” largely emanating from North America that have most significantly penetrated Catholicism in Latin America. A purge of these competing religious groups may well be on the horizon as Latino bishops lobby national governments for legislation to ban their operation within Latin America. [I think this is just being paranoid. The distinction of sect v. church is explained properly in DOMINUS IESUS. “On the other hand, the ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery,61 are not Churches in the proper sense; however, those who are baptized in these communities are, by Baptism, incorporated in Christ and thus are in a certain communion, albeit imperfect, with the Church. Baptism in fact tends per se toward the full development of life in Christ, through the integral profession of faith, the Eucharist, and full communion in the Church.” Not nearly as draconian when put that way, eh?]
Here, indeed, is a pope intent on evangelizing the world using religion, the world economy, social issues, global politics or whatever weapon he chooses that suits the time, place and public mood. And Benedict is making it increasingly clear that he is prepared to take on all comers in his quest to revive the global dominance of the Vatican’s religion.[Go Benny! Go Benny!]
Benedict xvi won’t rest until he has achieved that goal!
Leaving some of the language aside, the article makes some interesting observations. They seem surprised by a Pope who is intent on reforming the Catholic mind and evangelization. I am not. Unfortunately, many of us know that the internal machinery of the Vatican is hard to overcome. This takes time. The Pope has actually been very patient in his approach to his ‘agenda’. Content to methodically set the pieces on the chess board to ensure success. I certainly hope he is around long enough to see the fruits of the eventual victory.