Saturday, February 16, 2013
Pope Benedict's decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.
"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," said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"It is absolutely necessary" that he stays in the Vatican, said the source, adding that Benedict should have a "dignified existence" in his remaining years.
Vatican sources said officials had three main considerations in deciding that Benedict should live in a convent in the Vatican after he resigns on February 28.
Vatican police, who already know the pope and his habits, will be able to guarantee his privacy and security and not have to entrust it to a foreign police force, which would be necessary if he moved to another country.
"I see a big problem if he would go anywhere else. I'm thinking in terms of his personal security, his safety. We don't have a secret service that can devote huge resources (like they do) to ex-presidents," the official said.
Another consideration was that if the pope did move permanently to another country, living in seclusion in a monastery in his native Germany, for example, the location might become a place of pilgrimage.
This could be complicated for the Church, particularly in the unlikely event that the next pope makes decisions that may displease conservatives, who could then go to Benedict's place of residence to pay tribute to him.
"That would be very problematic," another Vatican official said.
The final key consideration is the pope's potential exposure to legal claims over the Catholic Church'ssexual abuse scandals.
In 2010, for example, Benedict was named as a defendant in a law suit alleging that he failed to take action as a cardinal in 1995 when he was allegedly told about a priest who had abused boys at a U.S. school for the deaf decades earlier. The lawyers withdrew the case last year and the Vatican said it was a major victory that proved the pope could not be held liable for the actions of abusive priests.
Benedict is currently not named specifically in any other case. The Vatican does not expect any more but is not ruling out the possibility.
"(If he lived anywhere else) then we might have those crazies who are filing lawsuits, or some magistrate might arrest him like other (former) heads of state have been for alleged acts while he was head of state," one source said.
Another official said: "While this was not the main consideration, it certainly is a corollary, a natural result."
After he resigns, Benedict will no longer be the sovereign monarch of the State of Vatican City, which is surrounded by Rome, but will retain Vatican citizenship and residency.
That would continue to provide him immunity under the provisions of the Lateran Pacts while he is in the Vatican and even if he makes jaunts into Italy as a Vatican citizen.
The 1929 Lateran Pacts between Italy and the Holy See, which established Vatican City as a sovereign state, said Vatican City would be "invariably and in every event considered as neutral and inviolable territory".
There have been repeated calls for Benedict's arrest over sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
When Benedict went to Britain in 2010, British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins asked authorities to arrest the pope to face questions over the Church's child abuse scandal.
Dawkins and the late British-American journalist Christopher Hitchens commissioned lawyers to explore ways of taking legal action against the pope. Their efforts came to nothing because the pope was a head of state and so enjoyed diplomatic immunity.
In 2011, victims of sexual abuse by the clergy asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the pope and three Vatican officials over sexual abuse.
The New York-based rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and another group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a complaint with the ICC alleging that Vatican officials committed crimes against humanity because they tolerated and enabled sex crimes.
The ICC has not taken up the case but has never said why. It generally does not comment on why it does not take up cases.
Not Like a CEO
The Vatican has consistently said that a pope cannot be held accountable for cases of abuse committed by others because priests are employees of individual dioceses around the world and not direct employees of the Vatican. It says the head of the church cannot be compared to the CEO of a company.
Victims groups have said Benedict, particularly in his previous job at the head of the Vatican's doctrinal department, turned a blind eye to the overall policies of local Churches, which moved abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them and handing them over to authorities.
The Vatican has denied this. The pope has apologized for abuse in the Church, has met with abuse victims on many of his trips, and ordered a major investigation into abuse in Ireland.
But groups representing some of the victims say the Pope will leave office with a stain on his legacy because he was in positions of power in the Vatican for more than three decades, first as a cardinal and then as pope, and should have done more.
The scandals began years before the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005 but the issue has overshadowed his papacy from the beginning, as more and more cases came to light in dioceses across the world.
As recently as last month, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, was stripped by his successor of all public and administrative duties after a thousands of pages of files detailing abuse in the 1980s were made public.
Mahony, who was archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 until 2011, has apologized for "mistakes" he made as archbishop, saying he had not been equipped to deal with the problem of sexual misconduct involving children. The pope was not named in that case.
In 2007, the Los Angeles archdiocese, which serves 4 million Catholics, reached a $660 million civil settlement with more than 500 victims of child molestation, the biggest agreement of its kind in the United States.
Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the pope "gave the fight against sexual abuse a new impulse, ensuring that new rules were put in place to prevent future abuse and to listen to victims. That was a great merit of his papacy and for that we will be grateful".
On this order, the man who in 2002 correctly predicted that the pope succeeding John Paul II would be named Benedict XVI, Ronald L. Conte Jr., believes the next pope will be Cardinal [redacted] and that he will take the name Pius XIII. This name (Pius) is associated historically with Popes who emphasized authoritative doctrine during their Pontificates. Cardinal [redacted] fits this description, and Conte interprets this qualification as best fulfilling “Peter the Roman” as a pope who “will reaffirm the authority of the Roman Pontiff over the Church; this authority is based on his place as a Successor of Peter” and “will emphasize the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Faith and the Roman Catholic Church above all other religions and denominations, and its authority over all Christians and all peoples of the world.” To this, Conte adds, “During the reign of Pope Peter the Roman, the great apostasy begins” and this pope will mark “the first part of the tribulation, during our generation." I] Conte envisions this apocalypse beginning in 2012 when, as he sees it, Benedict suddenly dies or steps down and is replaced by Petrus Romanus. This is followed by a series of cascading events resulting in World War III, which is triggered when Iranian backed terrorists explode a nuclear bomb in New York City. The Great Tribulation begins, and by July 2013, Rome is destroyed when it is struck by a nuclear missile.
Elsewhere in this book we have meticulously investigated a French codex entitled, La Mystérieuse Prophétie des Papes (“The Mysterious Prophecy of the Popes”), issued in 1951 by a Jesuit priest and mathematician named René Thibaut (1883–1952). Among his astonishing findings—hidden to the modern world until the publishing of our work—Thibaut found concealed in the Prophecy of the Popes a clever number of word plays that form many acrostics and anagrams. An example of one of the linguistic codes may hold cryptic agreement with Ronald L. Conte’s conclusion that Petrus Romanus will take the name Pius. The code is discovered in the Latin text “Peregrinus apostolicus”which was the prophecy for the ninety-sixth pope on the list, Pius VI.
The anagram not only reveals the papal name, it does so twice: PeregIinUSaPostolIcUS. This appearance of the name “Pius” is rather astounding considering we have a published copy dated almost two hundred years before Pius VI was elected. But Thibaut suggests the repetition serves as an even farther-reaching poetic refrain. In other words, “Pius! Pius!” is similar to the excited binary “Mayday, Mayday!” that sailors cry out in dire circumstances and that may have prophetic implications concerning the name of the final Pope on the list.
In addition to being associated with Roman authoritarianism and cryptogramed in the Prophecy of the Popes, Conte bolsters his prognostication concerning the name “Pius” by pointing to the electrifying visions of another Pope named Pius—Pope Pius X who served as Pope from 1903 to 1914 and who saw a Papal successor carrying the same name Pius fleeing Rome over the bodies of dead priests at the onset of the end times. Pius X is widely reported to have said:
What I have seen is terrifying! Will I be the one, or will it be a successor? What is certain is that the Pope will leave Rome and, in leaving the Vatican, he will have to pass over the dead bodies of his priests! Do not tell anyone this while I am alive.[v]
In a second vision during an audience with the Franciscan order in 1909, Pope Pius X appeared to fall into a trance. After a few moments, he opened his eyes and rose to his feet, announcing:
I have seen one of my successors, of the same name [a future pope named Pius], who was fleeing over the dead bodies of his brethren. He will take refuge in some hiding place; but after a brief respite, he will die a cruel death. Respect for God has disappeared from human hearts. They wish to efface even God’s memory. This perversity is nothing less than the beginning of the last days of the world.[vi]
The third part of the Secret of Fatima, which was supposedly released in total by the Vatican June 26, 2000, seems to echo the visions of Pius X. A section of the material reads:
…before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.[vii]
The conceptual framework of these visions and their validity is volatile among many Catholics who believe Rome is complicit in an intentional cover-up involving the true Third Secret of Fatima as well as other suppressed catholic foresights that are rife with wildly different predictions concerning the future prophetic role of the Roman Catholic Church. Marian apparitions, visions by Popes, interpretations by Cardinals of the apocalypse and approved mystical prophecies often stand at odds with recent Vatican publications. Even the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” approved by the Church and promulgated by Pope John Paul II (released in English in 1994, the first catechism in more than 400 years), which draws on the Bible, the Mass, the sacraments, traditions, teachings, and the lives of the saints, states under the sectionThe Church’s Ultimate Trial:
675 Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the mystery of iniquity in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the Truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in the place of God and his Messiah who has come in the flesh. [viii]
Possibly at the center of this prophecy and a “Vatican cover-up” of the complete vision of Fatima (and related prophecies) is a second and potentially more powerful papal contender for the role of Petrus Romanus…
South Korea has launched a live fire military exercise amid rising regional tensions over a recent nuclear test carried out by the North.
“After North Korea's nuclear test, we have been watching the enemy's activities closely and maintaining the highest preparation against the enemy's additional provocation,” South Korean regimental commander, Brigadier General Yeom Won-Gyun, stated on Friday.
“We will completely destroy the supporting and commanding forces as well as those at the origin of enemy fire, with our overwhelming fire power,” he added.
On February 12, North Korea announced that it had successfully carried out its third underground nuclear test, which involved a “miniaturized” device and was conducted in a “perfect manner.”
The nuclear test drew immediate condemnation from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon along with several countries including the United States, South Korea, Russia and Japan.
South Korea has put its military on high alert, and has announced it has deployed a new cruise missile capable of hitting targets in North Korea “anywhere, anytime.”
North Korea had carried out two previous nuclear tests on October 9, 2006, and May 25, 2009.