|19 April 2005|
On a much lighter note, Google Maps is now available for the UK (but without the satellite coolness).
Let me pre-empt this with a disclaimer - "I'm not a religious person in the traditional sense. I consider myself a spiritual person, but that's between me and my inner me".
So, today white smoke rose from the Sistine Chapel to declare to the world that the Conclave had elected a new pope. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who has chosen to take the name Benedict. For those that don't know where the names come from, I'll touch on that (with my limited knowledge) in a second. First up though, I have some concerns.
Ratzinger was drafted into the German army in World War II to join a "Flak", an anti aircraft unit guarding a BMW factory. So, as part of his service he took pot shots at, and no doubt downed allied aircraft. Now, fair enough, war is war, and he was drafted. BUT, I have a bit of an issue with this. Ratzinger was studying theology before the draft and then accepted the draft, presumably for fear that if he didn't he'd be punished. I don't recall any stories of Jews suddenly becoming Nazis when the SS knocked on their doors. Why on earth would a man of god then accept the call to kill other human beings. Surely someone who would later become the most holy of holy would say that he answers to a higher power, and that his God would protect him from persecution and thus no, he wouldn't engage in acts of violence against his fellow man? Just my point of view anyway.
So, moving right up to today, where did the "Benedict" bit come from? Well, our man Ratzinger is an orthodox Catholic, a traditionalist who as Cardinal speaking about violence against the gay community once said "The Church nor society at large should not be surprised when other distorted notions and practices gain ground and irrational and violent reactions increase". In short, "Yeah we know Gays etc are getting beaten up, but hey its not really a surprise - ho hum". Anyways, being an Orthodox Catholic and a staunch traditionalist (which quite a few people agree means the Catholic church is about to step back a few decades), he believes in St. Malachy's Prophecy of the Popes.
The prophecy says that the 266th Pope (that would be the late Pope John Paul II) would be "De labore solis", or "of the solar eclipse". John Paul II was indeed born during a solar eclipse , and comes from the East, where the sun rises. Handy huh.
So, the successor to the 266th Pope must be "Gloria Olivia" - kinda translated as the Pope of peace (olive branch - noah, peace - get it). Traditional Catholics believe this Pope would be a Benedictine, hence the new name.
So, what does this all mean. Well, according to the prophecy, he is the penultimate Pope. Following Benedict XVI's successor comes this
In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, & Judex tremêdus judicabit populum suum. Finis.
Translated this is In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people. The End. So, after the next pope comes Judgement day and the second coming of Christ.
Like I said at the start, I'm not religious, so read into this what you will.