Pope Benedict stunned the Roman Catholic Church on Monday, February 18, 2013, when he announced he would stand down, saying he no longer had the mental and physical strength to carry on. At 85, he said he was too old, frail and tired to continue on as spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church and its 1.2 billion followers worldwide. Pope Benedict XVI will become the first pope to resign since Gregory XII in 1415.
The soft-spoken German, who always maintained that he never wanted to be pope, was an uncompromising conservative on social and theological issues, fighting what he regarded as the increasing secularization of society.
It remains to be seen whether his successor will continue such battles or do more to bend with the times. A new leader could be elected as soon as Palm Sunday, on March 24, and be ready to take over by Easter a week later. www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/11; www.cnn.com/2013/02/25; www.breitbart.com/2013/02/11
“The Roman Catholic Church, with all its ramifications throughout the world, forms one vast organization under the control, and designed to serve the interests, of the papal see. Its millions of communicants, in every country on the globe, are instructed to hold themselves as bound in allegiance to the pope. Whatever their nationality or their government, they are to regard the authority of the church as above all other. Though they may take the oath pledging their loyalty to the state, yet back of this lies the vow of obedience to Rome, absolving them from every pledge inimical to her interests.” The Great Controversy, 580.
“ Last Pope ” Prophecy
There’s a fresh wave of doomsday buzz over a purported 12th-century prophecy suggesting that the next pope will be the last pope before the end of the world. The effect of St. Malachy’s “Prophecy of the Popes” could well be longer-lasting—especially if the papal conclave goes with one of the favored candidates for Benedict XVI’s successor. Supposedly, Malachy experienced a vision of future popes during a trip to Rome in 1139, and wrote down a series of 112 cryptic phrases that described each pope in turn.
Doomsday fans have found ways to link each phrase to a corresponding pope through the centuries. That includes Benedict XVI, No. 111, is supposedly “glory of the olive.” Then there’s No. 112: “In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit … Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end.”
Whomever the conclave picks, there’ll surely be a way to connect him somehow with “Peter the Roman” — after all, isn’t every pope a successor to St. Peter, based in Rome?
“The Spirit of God is being withdrawn from the world; and those who have had great light and opportunities and have not improved them, will be the first to be left. They have grieved away the Spirit of God. The present activity of Satan in working upon hearts, and upon churches and nations should startle every student of prophecy. The end is near. Let our churches arise. Let the converting power of God be experienced in the heart of the individual members, and then we shall see the deep moving of the Spirit of God.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 11.