Vatican Goal is Unity, but…

‘Pauline Year’ stresses Christian unity

UPI – June 29, 2007

Pope Benedict XVI announced Thursday that the Catholic Church will dedicate next year to Saint Paul, from June 28, 2008 to June 29, 2009. The “Pauline Year” will have important ecumenical implications due to Paul’s example as “Apostle to the Nations,” AsiaNews reported Friday…
A delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople took part in the service at the Basilica of St. Paul where the pope made the announcement. “These meetings and initiative are not mere courtesy calls between Churches,” he said, “but are meant to express their shared commitment to do all that is in their power to hasten the day when there will be full communion between the Christian West and East.”

The Patriarchate of Constantinople himself is considered to be the top leader within the Orthodox Church (though not like the Roman Pontiff). Though Bible prophecy indicates that their church will apparently accept it (Revelation 13:8; Daniel 2:32-33), the Orthodox individually must reject unity with Rome.

Notice, however, that one aspect of “unity” will be to push Jews further from Rome:

Church split feared as Pope backs return of ‘anti-Semitic’ Latin Mass

Independent (UK) – June 30, 2007

A plan by the Pope to authorise the widespread return of the controversial Latin Mass, despite concerns that parts of it are anti-Semitic, has provoked a backlash among senior clergy in Britain and threatens to divide the Catholic Church worldwide…

Pope Benedict’s move is widely seen as an attempt to reach out to an ultra- traditionalist and schismatic group, the Society of St Pius X, and bring it back into the Vatican fold. The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the society in 1969 in Switzerland, in opposition to the Second Vatican Council’s reforms. The Rev Keith Pecklers, a Jesuit liturgical expert, said: “The real issue here is not limited to liturgy but has wider implications for church life.” He added that proponents of the old Mass “tend to oppose the laity’s increased role in parish life… collaboration with other Christians and its dialogue with Jews and Muslims”.

Hence we see that although Rome wants unity, and will apparently get it with the Orthodox and an “ultratraditionalist group”, it is less concerned about unity with the Jews.

Part of the reason for this is that the predominant view within Catholicism is that the Antichrist will be of the tribe of Dan and will establish a Jewish kingdom.  And while this view is incorrect, many hold to it (I recently even heard Jerry Falwell state that the Antichrist would be Jewish and probably from the tribe of Dan).  Its basis appears to be from the third century theologian Hippolytus who wrote:

14. Thus did the Scriptures preach before-time of this lion and lion’s whelp. And in like manner also we find it written regarding Antichrist. For Moses speaks thus: “Dan is a lion’s whelp, and he shall leap from Bashan.” But that no one may err by supposing that this is said of the Saviour, let him attend carefully to the matter. “Dan,” he says, “is a lion’s whelp; “and in naming the tribe of Dan, he declared clearly the tribe from which Antichrist is destined to spring. For as Christ springs from the tribe of Judah, so Antichrist is to spring from the tribe of Dan (On Christ and Antichrist).

2. After this, then, what remains, beloved, but the toes of the feet of the image, in which ” part shall be of iron and part of clay mixed together? ” By the toes of the feet he meant, mystically, the ten kings that rise out of that kingdom. As Daniel says, ” I considered the beast; and, lo, (there were) ten horns behind, among which shall come up another little horn springing from them; ” by which none other is meant than the antichrist that is to rise; and he shall set up the kingdom of Judah…(Hippolytus. Exegetical fragments).

I was talking with a strict Catholic family earlier this week and they hold another view, which is that the final Antichrist will be an antipope, will implement a new form of Catholicism, and will be highly ecumenical.  That view (which seems to be held by a minority of Catholic “prophets” as well as some current Catholics) is consistent with the COG view in general and my own view in particular.

An article of related interest may be Doctrines of Antichrist.

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