The Pope of Rome in America 2008: Why Now? by Shaun Willcock

The Roman pope, Benedict XVI, visited the United States of America in April. It was an immensely successful visit, by all accounts. But the question that needs answering is: why now? Why was a trip to the USA so important at this particular time?

For a non-Papist president, George W. Bush sure went out of his way to fawn over the Roman Antichrist as if he had been a lifelong devotee. He greeted the pope on the tarmac at Andrews Air Force base in Maryland as he landed – the very first head of state that Bush has ever welcomed in this way, described as an “unprecedented reception”. Usually heads of state come to Washington, D.C., first. When questioned as to why he did this, Bush replied, “Because he is a really important figure in a lot of ways. One, he speaks for millions. Two, he doesn’t come as a politician; he comes as a man of faith. And, three, that I so subscribe to his notion that… there’s right and wrong in life, that moral relativism has a danger of undermining the capacity to have more hopeful and free societies, that I want to honor his convictions, as well.” [1]

When he was asked, “What do you take generally from [the pope’s] appraisal of Europe and the world? And why is this relationship between the United States and the Holy See so important to you?” Bush replied: “Well, first of all, it’s important to me because the Holy Father represents and stands for some values that I think are important for the health of the country, and when he comes to America, millions of my fellow citizens will be hanging on his every word. And that’s why it’s important.

“I really don’t want to… spend time being critical of Europe. My main objective is to make sure our country is strong and solid and remains in the lead. One of the tenets of my foreign policy is that there is an Almighty, and a gift of that Almighty to every man, woman and child is freedom. And, you know, His Holiness speaks with that kind of clarity. “I’m also, as you know, a believer in the value of human life for the… most vulnerable amongst us. And he speaks clearly to that, as well.” [2]

Bush professes to be a Christian. He most certainly is not, and there is much evidence for this, but these statements of his are just further evidence. He called the Roman pope “the Holy Father” (a name given only to God the Father in the Bible, Jn. 17:11) and “His Holiness” – the one the Bible calls “the Man of Sin and Son of Perdition” (2 Thess. 2:3), “that Wicked” (2 Thess. 2:8), and “Antichrist” (1 Jn. 2:18). And he thinks that welcoming the Antichrist to America will help to make the country “strong and solid and remain in the lead”! How deceived he is. Any country that welcomes the Antichrist to its shores invites the judgment of God upon it. Already that land has felt the effects of the wrath of God following his visit, just as in the past when the previous pope, John Paul II, visited it. God is not mocked.

Bush showed how spiritually blind he is, again, when he said the pope came not as a politician, but as a man of faith. It should be asked: what faith? Certainly not the faith of the Bible, for Roman Catholicism is a false religion, heathenism dressed up as Christianity. But in addition to that, Benedict XVI, as pope of Rome, most certainly went to the U.S. as a politician! He goes everywhere as a political as well as a spiritual leader, for he is both. And his desire is for the entire world to submit to him politically as well as spiritually. As popes have done for centuries, he claims authority and supremacy over the nations of the world. He views himself as above kings and presidents. He believes himself to be the rightful ruler of the whole earth.

As for the fact that millions of Americans hang on his every word, although this is true it should not be a reason for Bush to view his visit as important to America. The very opposite in fact: Roman Catholics number more than any other religious group in America today. Their power and influence is vast. And they owe allegiance to the pope in Rome first and foremost – above any allegiance to their country’s president! Yes, millions of Americans hang on his every word; but this is a tragedy for America, for it means there is another power in America besides the man in the White House, a man with far more power, far greater wealth, and the ability, through those very millions of loyal followers in America, to radically alter the United States as a country. It has been done already, and it will continue to be done in the years ahead.

But then came the bombshell. At the end of the interview, the interviewer said to Bush, “You said, famously, when you looked into Vladimir Putin’s eyes you saw his soul. When you look into Benedict XVI’s eyes what do you see?” And President George W. Bush, leader of the supposedly free world, a supposed “Protestant” and a supposed “Christian”, replied: “God.” [3] That is how the President of the United States views the pope of Rome!

The pope later attended a reception at the White House itself, and held a private meeting with Bush. And at the annual “Catholic Prayer Breakfast”, attended by 2000 people, Bush said it was a privilege to welcome the pope to the United States. The theme was “A Celebration of Benedict XVI in America.” Bush spoke about the pope’s visit to Washington and the White House, saying, “This has been a joyous week. It’s been a joyous time for Catholics – and it wasn’t such a bad week for Methodists, either. The excitement was just palpable. The streets were lined with people that were so thrilled that the Holy Father was here. And it was such a privilege to welcome this good man to the United States.” [4] He added, “And it was a special moment to be able to visit with the Holy Father in the Oval Office. He is a humble servant of God. He is a brilliant professor. He is a warm and generous soul. He is courageous in the defense of fundamental truths.”

It’s amazing how a man so exalted by human beings around the world, who lives in the splendours of the Vatican, surrounded by unequalled wealth and earthly glory, who wears triple crowns, gold, silver, and precious stones, who sits on a throne, and who accepts the adoration of over a billion of the world’s inhabitants and the exalted titles of Deity itself, can be referred to as a “humble man of God” – and no one bats an eyelid! Nor does anyone seem to notice that the Roman pope himself happily basks in such fawning praise, and never bothers to correct those giving it! As the saying goes, He’s so humble he’s proud of it.

How can a man who presides over a religio-political system that covers up gross sexual and other sins, deifies its leader, starts wars, murders opponents, and a thousand other iniquities, be a “good, warm, and generous soul”? George W. Bush might be willing to brush such things under the carpet, as do multiplied millions of others, but we hold firmly to the true portrait of this pope and all popes, drawn by the Holy Spirit in His own Word with an infallible hand: he is “that man of sin, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God; whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved” (2 Thess. 2:3,4,9,10).

So: why did Benedict XVI visit the United States at this time?

The theme of the five-day trip was “Christ Our Hope”, but that means nothing. A theme title like that is deliberately vague and pious-sounding. “The pope,” as one Roman Catholic editor put it, “had many missions in the US” – indeed he did, and this is not the place to go into them all in detail; but – “healing the still raw wounds of abuse occupied a position of priority.” [5] Above all, the purpose of the trip was “to heal past wounds and to address current issues”.[6] In this article, we will examine the main purpose of his visit – to contain and repair the damage done by the massive priestly sex abuse scandal in the U.S.; and just one of his other “missions” in that great country – the mission of whipping his American flock into line. This one we will examine first, and briefly:

American Roman Catholics, being citizens of a country which exalts individual “freedom” and “rights” to such an extent, often find it very difficult to accept all Roman Catholic doctrine. Abortion is a case in point, which is officially opposed by Rome, and yet many American Roman Catholics favour it. This caused Benedict to tackle this undercurrent of rebellion. At a mass in New York’s Yankee Stadium, he urged Roman Catholics “to move forward with firm resolve to use wisely the blessings of freedom in order to build a future of hope for coming generations” [7] – a not-very-veiled reference. And since when has Rome ever believed freedom to be a blessing anyway? Never. If it had its way fully, the Vatican would eliminate all freedom in the world – the good as well as the bad – and turn all nations into slave-nations of the Papacy, just as they were in the Dark Ages.

Addressing bishops in Washington, he said some people think they can pick and choose what they believe. “We’ve seen this emerge in an acute way in the scandal given by Catholics who promote an alleged right to abortion,” he said. Of course, true Christians are utterly opposed to abortion as well. But the pope’s remarks are hypocritical in the extreme. He appears to stand firmly against abortion – and yet supports prominent politicians who support abortion, even Roman Catholic ones! It all depends on their influence in other areas at the time, you see. It’s all about what they can do for Rome. If need be, the pope and his servants will turn a blind eye to the very things they speak so strongly against at other times.

But it was mainly to try to contain the immense damage done in the United States by the priestly sex scandals, which have bankrupted many dioceses and shocked and horrified millions of Roman Catholics, that the Roman pontiff made this visit to the United States at this time. The U.S. is vital to the Vatican, financially and politically, and it cannot allow this ongoing scandal to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. In the words of a professor from the Pontifical Gregorian University, “the Church in the United States has suffered a serious crisis and it will probably take many years to heal wounds and to engender trust and reconciliation. This crisis has touched not only those who were sexually abused, but also it has caused suffering and confusion for all Catholics – priests and laity alike. Many of our good priests particularly have borne the brunt of this painful scourge…. I am optimistic that the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the USA, with his message of hope in Christ, will contribute to this healing process. Especially his meeting with priests will be important because they need to hear his words of trust and hope.” [8]

The way this professor spoke, it was as if these sex scandals were something new within Roman Catholicism, whereas in fact it has always gone on, ever since celibacy was enforced upon all priests many centuries ago. Yes, there are a few priests who manage to keep themselves pure, but this unnatural lifestyle lends itself to such vile abominations as sodomy, child sex abuse, and fornication. The only real difference between recent times and previous times is that in recent times the media has exposed this horrifying, disgraceful practice as never before. Prior to this, Roman Catholics and others always knew it went on, and they knew it was covered up, but they had no idea of the sheer scale of it worldwide. Now they do – and Roman Catholics have left the “Church” in droves as a result, while those who have remained have been scandalised, shocked, disgusted, and many have lost confidence in their priests. This was clearly a situation that could not continue, from Rome’s perspective, especially in a country such as the United States, which generates such vast revenues for the Vatican, and is such an important part of Rome’s plans for world domination.

Enter the pope, making this damage-control trip to the U.S.

En route to the U.S., Benedict XVI told journalists that the scandal is “a great suffering for the Church in the United States and for the Church in general and for me personally that this could happen. It is difficult for me to understand how it was possible that priests betray in this way their mission… to these children. I am deeply ashamed and we will do what is possible so this cannot happen again in the future.” [9]

Well, Benedict might find it difficult to understand, but we don’t. Ordinary thinking people can easily understand the cause of it! It is caused by a monstrous priestly system in which the priests are forbidden to marry, a system which attracts sodomites and other sexual deviants to its ranks in large numbers, a system which, through its iniquitous practice of auricular confession, fills the minds of priests with all kinds of polluted thoughts, stirring up all kinds of lusts,[10] and which protects them when they go out and act on those lusts by “forgiving” them when they “confess” to a fellow priest and whisking them away to some other location where they can continue to abuse children in secret.

But in truth, we doubt that Benedict really finds it difficult to understand. He, after all, rose up through the ranks of the priesthood himself. He is no fool. He knows what goes on. He is part of the system and has been all his life. Perhaps he feels ashamed as he says; but how can we trust anything that comes out of his mouth? And as for saying that they will do what is possible so that this cannot happen again in the future, he knows perfectly well that it will never be eradicated. It has gone on for many long centuries, and it will continue as long as this antichristian religious system lasts.

The papal visit to the USA at this time was, first and foremost, an attempt to contain the damage done by the massive priestly sex abuse scandal, and an attempt to fix it as far as possible. Did his visit succeed in this? Apparently so, at least to a large extent. Consider this: Benedict held an unscheduled meeting with victims of priestly sexual abuse. A Vatican statement said, “They prayed with the Holy Father, who afterwards listened to their personal accounts and offered them words of encouragement and hope. His Holiness assured them of his prayers for their intentions, for their families and for all victims of sexual abuse.” According to Vatican spokesman and Jesuit priest, Federico Lombardi, it was a very emotional meeting, and some were in tears. [11]

“It’s what I’ve wanted since 2003,” said one of the victims about the meeting with the pope, “and now I finally got it.” He also said of Benedict’s sermon at the papal mass in Washington, that his “sermon there and his apology about the sexual abuse blew me away, and I had tears in my eyes that I wasn’t expecting to have. It was an incredible moment for me.” Another victim said, “I didn’t end up saying anything [to the pope]. I got up to him and I burst into tears. But honestly, I don’t think any words I could have said… my tears alone – it just spoke so much.”

Another victim said that one thing he and the others needed to do during the meeting “was to allow the Holy Father to be the Holy Father. And I think there was a great balance between that and him hearing us. I’ve been hopeful; I’ve been hopeful for eight years. I have struggled in my spirituality. But hope has been my faith, and my hope was restored today. From what I heard, and I believe we received a promise today, and I believe not only myself but a lot of people received a promise today.”

Our hearts truly go out to all the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of these priest-predators. They were terribly violated by men they trusted, men they tragically believed stood in the place of Christ Himself. What a tragedy that, despite what they endured, so many of them remain committed Roman Catholics, looking to the Papal Antichrist for comfort instead of turning away from this false religion and turning to the Lord Jesus Christ. It should be the earnest prayer of every true Christian that Roman Catholics would hear the true Gospel of salvation by Christ alone, that many would be saved from their sins by faith in Him. This worldwide priestly sex scandal provides an opportunity for Christians to share the Gospel with their Roman Catholic relatives, neighbours, etc.

At the end of the meeting with the abuse victims, Roman Catholic cardinal, Sean O’Malley, gave Benedict a book listing the first names of the approximately 1000 victims of sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Boston alone, so that Benedict could remember them in his prayers! What utter hypocrisy. This cardinal was in charge of the Boston archdiocese, which was the epicentre of the abuse scandal in the U.S., and yet now he piously hands over the names of these victims to the pope, as if he is shocked and scandalised by what was going on right under his very nose! To believe that he knew nothing of it is to stretch credulity way too far.

Commenting on the papal meeting with the sex abuse victims, the editor of The Southern Cross, the Roman Catholic southern African weekly, wrote: “When Pope Benedict met five survivors of clerical abuse – representatives of all victims of predatory Church personnel – he communicated a powerful message: today, the Church sides with those who have been abused.” [12] Oh, really? Today it sides with them, does it? What about yesterday? On whose side was it then? Clearly, on the side of the perpetrators, as it has been through the centuries. And what about tomorrow? The only reason it purports to be on the side of the abused today, is because it was exposed. No other reason.

Much more could be written about the “many missions” the pope of Rome had in the United States at this time; but this will suffice for now. As we wrote in a previous article,[13] the Roman Catholic institution will survive this massive, costly priestly sex scandal. It has suffered a huge setback, but it will recover. It has already recovered to a large extent. And the visit of the pope of Rome to the United States, a slick exercise in damage control in a country so important to the Vatican, has gone a long way towards “healing the wound”. But the sin will not stop. The hideous crimes will continue. In a hundred thousand “church” buildings, cathedrals, priests’ homes, monasteries, convents, and seminaries, children will become victims of priestly lust. The vast majority of these crimes will never be known to the world. They will be committed in secret, in darkness, and fear will keep the victims from ever breathing a word about them.

But “the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 15:3). “Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). The Lord sees all that is done in the darkness, and it will not go unpunished. Man hides his sin, but God brings it to light. And even though men are not always caught or punished for their crimes in this world, they will suffer eternally in the next for them, unless they truly repent and cry out to the Lord for salvation. The day of judgment is coming.

Let all true Christians pray for, and preach the Gospel to, the multitudes of Roman Catholics, and their priests, all of whom are lost and spiritually dead in their sins, that those ordained to eternal life may believe!

May 2008

Shaun Willcock is a minister of the Gospel, and lives in South Africa. He runs Bible Based Ministries. For other articles (which may be downloaded and printed), as well as details about his books, audio messages, pamphlets, etc., please visit the Bible Based Ministries website, or write to the address below. If you would like to be on Bible Based Ministries’ electronic mailing list, to receive all future articles, please send your details.

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[1].George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit, April 13, 2008.

[2].George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit.

[3].George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit.

[4].Bush: Privilege to Welcome the Pope, April 18, 2008.

[5].The Southern Cross, April 30 to May 6, 2008.

[6].Papal Visit Expected to Boost Religious, Cultural Dialogue, April 15, 2008.

[7].The Southern Cross, April 30 to May 6, 2008.

[8].Papal Visit Expected to Boost Religious, Cultural Dialogue.

[9].Papal Visit Expected to Boost Religious, Cultural Dialogue.

[10].The Priest, the Woman, and the Confessional, by Charles Chiniquy. Chick Publications, Chino, California, USA.

[11].The Southern Cross, April 30 to May 6, 2008.

[12].The Southern Cross, April 30 to May 6, 2008.

[13].Child Sexual Abuse by Priests: Revelations of Shocking Crimes and Sinful Cover-Ups, by Shaun Willcock, October 2004. Bible Based Ministries.