Any understanding of Benedicts resignation must begin with the simple fact that not all people are Catholic and not all Christians are Catholic.
Of the 2.3 billion Christians in the world only about half, 1.1 billion are Catholic. Non-Catholics are made up of Orthodox, Anglicans, historic Protestant denominations and Independents.
If we refer ourselves to each respective Christian religion to determine who exactly is a real Christian, we will find that each sect has a definition that would exclude everyone out side of their own definition.
Of far greater importance is the fact that while almost all of them claim the use of the Bible, the bible has its own definition of what makes a true Christian. The bible declares that only those who have been born again (Jn 3: 3) are Christians. Without entering a theological maze it suffices to say that there are real Christians in every sect, but the numbers and the specifics of that delineation is known only to God himself.
The top three candidates out of a field of 125 possibilities maybe!
Turkson – According to the bible what the world sees as a maturing or progressive church is actually the well prophesied last days apostasy, (falling away) so number one on the list of possibilities to replace Benedict may be Cardinal Peter Turkson of the West African nation of Ghana may be eliminated on that basis. (2Th 2; 3) Ghana has strict laws against homosexuals and Turkson is anything but a progressive.
Potential papabile pundits have noted Turksons adherence to the socio-economic idea of establishing a global public authority and a global bank and a re-vamping of the International Monetary Fund. Bible prophecy indicates that the final ruler (antichrist) will successfully introduce a worldwide economic system and therein is what has caused many eschatologists, (Those who study prophecy and last things) to conclude that Turkson will be chosen. Since many in the conclave and among the bishops believe that a new monetary system should be explored, Turksons views will not be completely disregarded by the Cardinals.
America is still wallowing in its perception of progress by choosing its first black president and the world is also giddy about its choice of the first black to head the UN, Kofi Annan, but a first black Pope does not seem to be the foremost attraction to the Conclave of Cardinals.
Americans pride themselves in their progress against racism, but have now swung to the other end of the spectrum, with a vengeance, and choosing by color which is against the law, has become a pop-culture mandate that circumvents both law and reason, Barack Obama being the proof immutable.
The UN may have its first black, but that order of the disorderly remains the most impotent international organization on the face of the globe. Both the U.S. and the UN have provided full evidence that going color blind is a poor substitute for finding real leadership.
If the biblical prophecies of the last days apostasy are to move forward, the choice of Turkson looks dim.
Bagnasco Angelo Bagnasco is Italian born and for this former Arch Bishop of Genoa this is a plus since over half (175) popes have been historically favored by the conclave because they were Italian born. Twice Bagnasco headed the Italian Bishops Conference and because the conference holds about one quarter of the seats in the conclave, the chance that a good number of votes will be cast for him is very great.
Because millions of Catholics are now chomping at the bit for the papacy to loosen up on social issues like same sex unions, gay marriage, abortion and contraception, Bagnasco may be seen as an obstacle to liberalization. His strong moralism and stand against same sex marriage and civil unions has produced several death threats and now he is accompanied by body guards for his own protection.
Vatican watchers may have to give in to the fact that the good old boys of the Bishops Conference may not have enough clout to carry Bagnasco to the top. The clamoring catholic progressives and the drive of prophetic fulfillment, which cannot be stopped, are likely to leave this top pick un-chosen.
Bertone From the northwestern region of Piedmont and the town of Romano Canavese, highly favored Cardinal Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone has emerged as the top pick of most papal and prophecy observers. Bertone will take charge of the upcoming Conclave of Cardinals after the official date of the Popes resignation.
Being Italian, and the Cardinal who chose more Italian appointees than all others in modern times places him in the top seat among the over twenty five percent of Italian Cardinals. He tried to resign in 2010, but Benedict successfully urged him to stay on. Now Secretary of State for the Vatican, Bertone is no novice to geo-political interaction and diplomacy.
Doctrinal and moral issues in the catholic church have taken a back seat to political influences among the hierarchy in recent years and the fruit of that proclivity is about to blossom according to many observers, in the call to Bertone.
The controversial prophecy of St. Malachy of Ireland
It is important to note that the prophecy of St. Malachy is what we call extra-biblical in nature. Because of this, most bible believing people take the prophecy with a grain of salt at the least and with certain skepticism at best. Bible believers take all biblical prophecy as inspired, inerrant and infallible, but extra-biblical materials are greeted with more skepticism and a wait and see attitude. Often, extra-biblical materials are dismissed out of hand. This writer is very skeptical and cautious about any and all extra-biblical materials. In matters of life and guidance only biblical materials should be referred to as completely authoritative.
A general, but wise rule of thumb regarding all extra-biblical materials is that if it is not in conflict with the bible it may be cautiously pondered, if it is in in conflict with the revealed word of God it should be disregarded entirely. Since there is no such thing as prophecy-lite, we have to engage a maximum effort to discern what comes from God and what does not got doubt, then throw it out.
Malachys prognostications are met with serious doubt by catholic scholars and some have declared it an outright forgery. It was holed up in archive for four hundred years and even though many of the descriptions of the popes and their coats of arms have been very accurate it has yet fallen into poor repute among the catholic scholars.
It is also affirmed that Malachy accurately predicted the day of his own death. Much of the catholic disputations may be based on the fact that it brings the perpetuity of the papacy and the very existence of the city of Rome into doubt. These doubts are compounded when it is seen that the bible also clearly predicts the full end of the city of Rome in only one day. (Rev 17: 9)
Malachy said that only 112 popes will reign from his day to the last pope before God enters into judgment with the entire world. Benedict is the 111th pope since Malachys prediction which he based on a vision received while visiting Rome in 1139, the next pope will be the last. According to Malachy the papacy will end during the reign of Petrus Romanus, Peter of Rome.
In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign, Petrus Romanus, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people – The End.
The bread of life is not food for the birds!
According to the bible, Jesus and his spoken word are one and the same. He came to leave his words behind even though he also came to die for the sins of the world. That he was inextricably bound together with his word is clearly stated. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (Jn 1: 1) That word is often referred to as being the bread of life. (Jn 6: 35) Sadly, Jesus knew that blasts of doubt, mans pride and satanic intrusion would interfere with the meal set before us. He said fouls of the air (Mt 13: 4) would scoop up the food (seeds) set before us even while we scurried about to fill our senses with a feast of our own making and a sugary filler of intellectual pride. The result is that men will be spiritually starving to death even while a feast is set before them and given to the birds.
Common wisdom the big cuckoo bird that swallows the key
There has never been a time when the prophetic aspects of scripture have been more important. For modern man the importance of the prophetic is whisked away with a mouthful of common wisdom heard so often that everyone has accepted it as gospel. In fact, it is the anti-gospel.
It goes like this – in every generation someone has preached judgment was about to fall and nothing happened. Whether it was the crossbow, the cannon or the nuclear bomb someone declared it was the end of the world. Why then, is this generation any different?
When carefully considered, this generation has in it, certain elements of fulfilled prophecy that have never existed in any period of time throughout history. They are elements with specific dates and developments described in full detail.
The re-birth of the nation of Israel, 1948 the re-capture of the city of Jerusalem, 1967 the formation of the EU the rise in militant Islam and the soon to come fulfillment of the unsuccessful war they are planning against Israel, all these are but a few of the things that have never happened in any previous generation.
Prophecy is meant to prepare not to scare
The hard truth is that it is not Malachys prophecy that we should be looking at, but the entire seventeenth and part of the eighteenth chapter of the book of Revelation. The bible rarely devotes an entire chapter to any future event the difference must be noted, but oddly it is not. If Catholics dont believe one of their own canonized saints and the scriptures (also part of catholic bibles) then where do the unbelievers stand and what chance do they have to be prepared?
Here is the bottom line. Over sixty cities or regions claim to have either seven mountains or hills in their geographic description, but one, and only one, is universally recognized as the city of seven hills Rome.
Would God actually tell us to get out of town?
To prepare and provide a way of escape from the coming destruction of Rome, God has provided not only an entire chapter of his word, but also one of the clearest calls to escape the coming destruction in a purely physical way. This is not a call to repent; it is not an impassioned plea to come penitently to an altar in prayer. It is a clarion call to get out of town.
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. (Rev 18: 4, 5)
This is a biblical prophecy with no chance of being wrong. It does not need Malachy to be right and whether its Petrus Romanus or any other pope, by any other name, it is a surety and a historical event waiting to happen.
When in Rome – do not do as the Romans do – Get out of town