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20 years

Is Pope Francis the pontiff who will be forced
to surrender Christianity to Islam as the
world enters the Time of Jacob's Trouble?

Before he died in 1878, Pope Pius IX uttered these words: "There will come a great wonder, which will fill the world with astonishment. This wonder will be preceded by the triumph of revolution. The Church will suffer exceedingly. Her servants and chieftains will be mocked, scourged, and martyred." Prior to his prophecy, the Ecstatic of Tours uttered these prophetic words: "Before the war breaks out, food will become scarce and expensive. There will be little work for the workers, and fathers will hear their children crying for food. There will be earthquakes and signs in the sun. Toward the end, darkness will cover the Earth. When everyone believes that peace is ensured, when everyone least expects it, the Great Happening will begin."

On Nov. 29, 2014 Jorge Mario Bergoglio, an Argentine cardinal, now known as Pope Francis, a Jesuit (a polite phrase for communist) became what prophecies say will be the last pontiff to rule the Catholic Church. As more non-Catholics throughout the world pay attention to what the Roman Catholic pontiff says before the TV cameras and in his personal writings, Pope Francis is increasingly referred to as an anti-pope. Anti-popes are traditionally described as pontiffs who achieved the papacy with the aid of faithless Christians who used their political power within the church to enhance their own authority by backing a specific papal candidate for the ultimate position of power within the church hierarchy. I don't. The College of Cardinals is, by nature, political. And, like Congressmen, Senators and Presidents, the Pope is the political head of Vatican City, the smallest independent government in the world. Therefore, politicking is part of the campaign process. The man with the best political game plan and best campaign, wins—just like Congressmen, Senators, Presidents and Prime Ministers. (There is so much personal politicking going on in the Vatican now that Pope Francis just had a meeting with all of the cardinals, bishops and priests in the Vatican staff just to warn them that the politicking will stop immediately or heads will roll. Not, we imagine, the same way ISIS makes them roll.

God doesn't pick the Catholic Church's pontiffs today, the College of Cardinals—(the politicians of the church)—does. What's most interesting about the world's first "bishop's bishop," James (picked by the resurrected Jesus), is that like his other siblings, and at times, his own Mother, James did not believe that Jesus (whose Hebrew name is Joshua) was the Son of God until He rose from the dead and instructed Mary Magdalene to go and tell His disciples that He had risen from the grave—with specific instructions to tell James first. Keep in mind, that while James, the step-brother of Jesus, witnessed the Transfiguration and several of Jesus' miracles, he did not become a believer until he saw the Risen Savior in the Upper Room with the scars of his horrible martyrdom still fresh on his body.

In my unchangeable view, an anti-pope is any pontiff who is willing to compromise the Word of God and the laws established by God—which man is expected to adhere to avoid the pits of Hell. When mortal man assumes the role Jesus bestowed not on Peter, but on James (his half brother), he assumes a prerogative not his to assume. No mortal man can declare to other mortal men that he, or any other mortal man can be, or has been, appointed the infallible shepherd of Christ's flock with the authority to change or amend the Divine laws established by God and penned into the Scriptures by God's prophets and His Apostles through the hand of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, working through the hand of John, the Beloved Apostle on the Isle of Patmos, made it clear that if any man adds anything to the Word of God, God would add to him all of the plagues contained within His Word; and if any man takes away from the words of prophecy in that book, God will take from that man his part in the Book of Life [Rev.22:18-19]. Did God intend there to be a head pontiff (i.e., big boss) of His Church? No. The Bible details the "offices" within the church, and pontiff or pope are not among them.

The "offices" include evangelists, prophets, pastors, teachers, deacons and elders. As you go from denomination to denomination, you will also find the roles of bishop and archbishop and probably a half dozen or so other titles of authority of which I've never heard of. But remember this as you stumble across man's positions of authority over virtually everything, Jesus never created, nor intended to create, a divisive organization within the Church called a "denomination," with one denomination being inferior or superior to another. Christ intended only to create one body of believers who would come together under God, strengthening each other through Christian fellowship. It's the whole body of believers fortified by the Word of God and not a fancy building or a luxurious cathedral, which makes up the edifice its members attend. Once the working parts of the bodies of the Eastern and Western Catholic Churches in 1054 AD were established, the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church were complete. Structure and the rule of theological law, reinterpreted by a new generation of lay theologians, was about to replace God's laws with those of man—complete with a new theological hierarchy.

The first Roman Catholic pontiff was Constantine the Great, the Emperor of the Roman Empire (306-337 AD). Prior to Constantine, Christians were blamed for Nero's burning of Rome in retaliation of the martyrdom of James two years earlier. James died in 64 AD, pushed from the roof of the Temple by Pharisees. The fall did not kill him. He rose to his knees and prayed to God to forgive those who pushed him. The Pharisees on the ground began to stone James as be asked God to forgive those who were, at that moment, killing him.

James was referred to by Jesus as the "bishop of bishops," with Christ telling His disciples that "...Wherever you are, you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake Heaven and Earth came into existence.' The Diocletianic (or Great Persecution) of the Christian Jews (the most severe persecution of the Jews) began under Emperor Nero, becoming most severe under Diocletian, followed briefly by Flavius Valerius Constantine I, the son of Flavius Valerius Constantius, a Roman general. In 293 AD his father was elevated to the rank of Caesar, or deputy emperor, serving at the will of Emperor Augustus Maximian of the Roman Empire. Constantius served as the deputy emperor of the western provinces Roman Empire. Augustus Maximian ruled the world from what is today Izmit, Turkey.

When Nero burned Rome to the ground in 64 AD, he blamed the destruction on James' disciples, and initiated a massive purge of Christians that did not end until Constantine I was preparing for the Battle of Milvian Bridge in 312 AD. Constantine looked up at the sun and saw what he later described as a brilliant light in the shape of a cross over the sun with the the Greek word "Conquer" written over it. which the Catholic Church later translated three or more decades later into the Latin phrase "in hoc singo vinces," which means "in this sign you will conquer."

Constantine called all of his generals and ordered them to command every soldier to paint a crucifix on their shields. Constantine was convinced that the God of the Christians and Jews gave him that victory. In 313 AD Constantine issued the Edict of Milan which stopped the persecution of Christians, restored property and wealth taken from Christians, and granted all people in the Roman Empire the right to practice whatever religion made them feel best. (At that time most of the important military and political officials in Rome still worshipped the mythological gods of their ancestors. And, for another 8 years, until 321, all Roman coins still carried the images of those gods. Christianity did not become the sole religion of the Holy Roman Empire until the Edict of Thessalonica.) But it would take another two or three centuries to erase the the reasons for the feast days of the pagan gods by converting them to Christian holidays.

Let's look at Easter. Easter is a Chaldean feast day to celebrate of Astarte (or Beltia), the mother of Heaven, giving birth to Ishtar (Assyrian) the god of Ninevah. (In most almanacs today, on May 1 you will note that date is still referred to as Beltane.) The Ninevites celebrated Astarte in April. The Jewish event was known as Pasch or Passover. Christ was crucified on Friday, April 10, 32 AD. He died around 3 pm.

In the second century, a Roman historian, Quintius Tertullian (known as the father of western Christian theology), estimated Christ was crucified on March 23. In Johann Karl Ludwig Gieseler's history of Christ, Gieseler noted the date as March 25. Publishers of a later edition of his work footnoted the date as March 23. The Catholic Church believes Christ was crucified on April 3, 32 AD. My research, using Jewish chronologies (which took well over a month to complete) in the mid-1990s when I wrote The Baffled Christian's Handbook suggest that Jesus was crucified one week later, on April 10, 32 AD and not on April 3.

Now, let's look at the most controversial Christian holiday—Christmas. What makes it controversial? The name Christ is contained within it. To the social progressives in America who learned at the end of World War I, when they created the League of Nations, the global unification of the nations of the world would force every country that signed the Treaty of Versailles, to surrender their sovereignty to the League which would become government of the world. America rejected the Treaty of Versailles which was signed on June 19, 1919. They signed a separate peace treaty with Germany on Aug. 25, 1921. It took the phony church-going, make-believe Christian money barons almost three more decades to realize that Christianity is fused to patriotism in the United States. To destroy patriotism in the United States, the left (Democrats), first, had to destroy Christianity.

Meanwhile, back to Christmas. Christians all over the world believe that Jesus was born in a manger in what was, in 970 BC, the stable behind David's home in Bethlehem—the "inn" where there was no room for Mary, the most direct ancestor of David, to deliver her baby. The only problem with the Bethlehem narrative is that the Catholic Church has always been clueless when Jesus was born. But, while Constantine never knew the birthdate of the Messiah, he knew the feast days of all the pagans gods from the four corners of the Holy Roman Empire, and he was working hard to convert those feast days to signify Christian events. Two of the five most important Christian events in Constantine's mind were the birth of the Savior, and the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Constantine's problem was that the military oligarchy of Rome and most members of the political system worshipped pagan idols and not the God of the Christians. In other words, although he was the Emperor of the Roman Empire, Constantine could not decree Christianity as the official religion of Rome. If he tried, it would be likely that Constantine would wake up some morning in the hereafter and discover he had been assassinated during the night.

Thus, Constantine launched his covert conversion of the pagans by merely granting freedom of religion to everyone and then, slowly, he began to erase the pagan religions by substituting Christian events for each pagan holiday. (The reverse is happening today as the social progressives covertly erase both freedom of religion and freedom of speech from the 1st Amendment using a reverse of the ploy used by Constantine to erase the prevalent paganism found in the Roman Empire in the 4th century A.D.)

In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI quoted Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Paleologus in a speech the pontiff made in Germany. "Show me just what Mohammed brought [to the world] what was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhumane such as he commanded to spread, by the sword, the faith he preached." Benedict's speech, delivered at the Regensburg University is viewed by the Christian world and most Catholics, as the most important speech ever made by a pontiff since Pope John Paul II's UN speech in 1955. The speech was denounced by most Muslim nations, and triggered protests against Catholic's throughout the Islamic world.

Benedict's speech caused a massive rupture in political relations between the Muslim world and the Vatican with 40 Muslim scholars signing a letter of protest against Pope Benedict. Five Catholic churches on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip were attacked by Muslims. And, in addition, it was denounced by the Cardinal of Buenos Aries who had come close to becoming the pope in 2005 when the conclave anointed Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict XVI.

Benedict's largest critic of his denunciation of Islam was the Argentine cardinal, Jorge Mario Bergoglio a former nightclub bouncer turned Catholic priest. Bergoglio was a practicing Jesuit, which means unlike most pontiffs, he is a leftwinger and an advocate of social justice. He was conservative only in terms of religious doctrine. He was instantly a critic of Pope Benedict and did not hesitate to attack him in the South American media when Benedict attacked Islam.

Cardinal Bergoglio, who already had close ties with the Muslim community in Buenos Aires was viewed as a close friend of Islam, generated enough media entanglement that Pope Benedict was advised by a conclave of cardinals to apologize for his 2005 criticism of islam. Forced to make a gesture to the Muslims, Benedict said he was "...deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages in my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims...These were, in fact, a quotation from a medieval text which does not in any way express my personal thoughts." Benedict's "apology" fell a thousand miles short of what the Muslims expected and what Bergoglio demanded. But that was the best they got.

Pope Benedict tried to patch the rift between the Muslim world and the Catholic Church by joining the Grand Mufti in prayer in the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey in 2009 where he reflected on the "common history" between the Muslims and the non-Muslims in the Abrahamic blood ties. He visited twice as many mosques as Pope John Paul II (but I expect that Pope Francis visited more mosques in his one year than Pope Benedict did in the 13 years he served as pontiff).

The trigger that brought an end to Benedict XVI's reign as pope was pulled by the Muslim Brotherhood's killing of 23 Egyptian Coptic Christians in 2011 after the fall of Hosni Mubarak. Benedict demanded that all Muslims nations do more to protect non-Muslim minorities. The Salazar University in Cairo suspended its dialogue with the Vatican because of Benedict's repeated negative comments about Islam.

Interestingly, this is the first time in history that a Pope resigned from office while he was still kicking and screaming. And, according to the Muslim Brotherhood, Pope Benedict was still screaming—about them.

The answer to the question I've been searching for, to the best of my knowledge, hasn't been asked by anyone in the media. Was Pope Benedict XVI forced to resign the papacy? His predecessor, Pope John Paul II was the first pontiff who devoted a questionable amount of time building a bridge between Catholicism and Islam. In 1981 John-Paul was shot by a Turkish extremist, Mahomet Ali Agca. After he healed from his wounds, John-Paul visited Agca in prison and forgave him for the attempt on his life.

In 1992 John-Paul apologized for the 17th century persecution of Galileo who, using a telescope proved that the Earth was heliocenric, stubbonrly insisted that Earth and all of the other planets and celestial bodies circled the sun when the prevailing view of the Church was that the Earth was the center of the universe, and all heavenly bodies circled the Earth). In 1999 the Vatican issued a White Paper entitled "The Church and The Faults of The Past," in which John Paul apologized for what the European Crusaders did to the Muslims, asking Christians to repent for this sin. The Catholic Church clung to the myth well beyond Jesuit Nicolaus Copernicus proving, mathematically, that the planets orbit the Sun. Galileo published his findings in a book. Pope Urban charged him with heresy and Galileo was tried by the Holy See, found guilty and sentenced to house arrest for the balance of his life.

Pope Francis, who bought the "sky is falling" rhetoric of the carbon credit peddlers who are profiting from to the tune of billions of dollars (being assessed in the form of taxes on manufactuers who pass those taxes to us), eagerly joined Al Gore's global warming scheme. Pope Francis, who somehow believes that climate is controlled by sweaty people, flatulating cows and fuel exhaust has become Al Gore's newest hawker of climate change. Climate is controlled 99.9999% by the the solar cycles of the sun through sunspots, solar bursts and flares (or the lack of them). Pope Francis is showing the world that his mind, like Pope Urbans, remains buried in the 16th century. With no disrespect to the Catholic laity intended, perhaps the Holy See needs to trade his zucchetto (skull cap) for a pointed dunce hat.

Sadly, Pope Francis has issued a papal decree that global warming is real. His edict is a command to the world's Catholics that they are expected to believe what he said because he said it. As he announced that he had issued a writ instructing Catholics that they are expected to believe that global warming is a threat to the world, he announced that he will now begin campaigning around the world on behalf of the "carbon credit crowd."

In the anger following the terrorist attack on New York and Washington, DC as President George W. Bush sent troops to Afghanistan, Pope John Paul asked the United States and its allies to find a non-violent way to respond to the attack that left approximately 3,000 Americans dead in New York, DC and in a field in Pennsylvania. The pope became one of the biggest critics of the war against the terrorists who planned and executed the attack on America. No pope before John Paul II was neutral on Islam. Popes, in fact, authorized all 12 crusades against the Muslim world. Pope Innocent III (1161-1216) issued a White paper naming Mohammad as Antichrist. The Crusaders slaughtered not only Muslims but Jews as well, burning to death scores of Jewish women hiding in the main synagogue in Jerusalem. The Crusaders not only sacked Jerusalem but destroyed the tomb of Abraham. While John Paul II apologized to the Muslims for the Crusaders pillaging of Muslim mosques, John Paul should also have apologized to every Christian and Jew in the world as well. It is well for people in the United States to realize that, in this country, the innocent are always guilty and the guilty are never culpable.

In his white paper, John Paul II apologized for Pope Innocent's remarks. It's obvious that the College of Cardinals believed that John Paul's confessions and apologies to the Muslim world were a permanent directional change for the Church. Pope Benedict XVI, who was six years old when Adolph Hitler seized power in Germany, and who witnessed first hand the politics of fascism and, at war's end, the horrors of the holocaust in the Auschwitz concentration camp system (which included all of the prisons and extermination camps throughout Europe) that were revealed to the world. Pope Benedict, as a child, grew to understand terrorism very well—and there wasn't a Muslim in sight.

Pope Benedict XVI saw in the Muslims what he saw in the Nazi regime in Europe from 1934 to 1945. For that reason, Benedict was very critical of the Muslim extremists and their attempt to re-establish the Ottoman Empire. Islamic relations were very strained at times during Pope Benedict's reign. The break between Rome and Istanbul came during Benedict's 2006 anti-Muslim speech. I believe the College of Cardinals was responsible for Benedict's meeting with Muslim leaders in Rome in Nov., 2008 and with King Hussein of Jordan on May 9, 2009 and, most of all, for Benedict's visit to the Blue Mosque in Istanbul where he prayed with the Grand Mufti.

I would be hard-pressed to believe that Pope Benedict XVI resigned the papacy because the job was too much for him. What was too much for him was the politics of the College of Cardinals and their determination to stay on the right side of the Muslim extremists so that Catholic churches in the Holy Lands would remain safe from terrorist attacks.They knew there was such a thing as politics—and real politics.

Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Jesuit cardinal from Argentina, who was not even mentioned as a possible replacement for the retiring pontiff, suddenly appeared out of no where and, in four ballots, became Pope Francis. Was he picked because, as a socialist, Bergoglio was the best dupe the cardinals could find to play "Howdy Doody" for the Muslims?

As the world watched ISIS behead several captives on live TV for the crime of not being Islamic, Pope Francis stepped up to the microphone and said "It's wrong to equate Islam with violence." (11/30/2014) The statement was reported by Philip Pullella of Reuters who said: "Pope Francis said on Sunday that equating Islam with violence was wrong and called on Muslim leaders to issue a global condemnation on terrorism to help dispel the stereotype."

Returning to Rome from Istanbul, Pope Francis told reporters on his private plane that he "...understood why Muslims were offended by many in the West who equated their religion with terrorism." Probably because the Muslims increasingly show Muslim terrorists sawing the heads off their victims with dull knives to increase the pain and suffering of their victim.

Pope Francis, who has been trying to foster cooperation with moderate Muslims throughout the world to work for peace and to protect Christians in the Mideast, added to reporters that it was wrong for anyone to react to terrorism by being enraged at Islam. While those who defend Islam argue that only around 20% to 25% of the Muslims in the world perform terrorist acts, not only against Christians and Jews but against Muslims as well, need to realize that the 20% to 25% of the Muslims who commit violent acts against Christian, Jews, Buddhists, Hindu and other religions as well, also kill both Shia and moderate Sunni Muslims as well simply because they are moderate and don't want to engage in jihad with the rest of the world.

Francis is partially right about the "being enraged." But for a different reason. Because, not only are the terrorists who slaughter the innocent evil, so are the Muslims who watch and do nothing. The world needs to become aware, and recognize that the jihadists are a small percentage of the Muslim population. The majority of the Islamic people say nothing and do nothing because they are afraid of facing the same fate as the infidel if they speak out. Americans need to be aware of that fact and acknowledge that the Muslim people will never clean up their own jihadic mess. The governments of the nations terrorized by radical jihadists need to be prepared to act to protect the families of their citizens, their homes, their communities and the financial and economic infrastructures of their countries. So, once again, for whatever it's worth, you have my two cents worth on this subject. Until next time...






Just Say No
Copyright 2009 Jon Christian Ryter.
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