Current Events

Major Mexican Earthquake

Trading Markets reported on April 4:

“A nuclear power plant in Southern California remained intact after a 7.2-magnitude earthquake shook the region on Sunday, authorities said. The temblor did not result in the shutdown of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in the region… The nuclear plant is built to withstand a 7.0 earthquake 5 miles (8 km) away, according to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)…

“The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) measured the quake at 7.2 magnitude, correcting its previous measurement of 6.9 magnitude. The quake struck in Baja California, Mexico, southeast of Mexicali, at 5:40 p.m… The shaker rocked all of Southern California, and sent high rise buildings in Los Angeles and San Diego rocking back and forth.

“Nearly 2,400 customers lost power in Dana Point… near Los Angeles… In San Diego County, more than 600 customers lost power in Borrego Springs when the earthquake struck… Three strong jolts including a magnitude-5.1 aftershock were felt in the Imperial County desert east of San Diego in the hour after the magnitude-7.2 quake struck. Magnitude-4.5 and magnitude-4.3 aftershocks came before and after… The earthquake was also felt in Phoenix and Las Vegas…

“The epicenter for the quakes was under a small volcanic caldera that last erupted about 10,000 years ago, located about 20 miles ( 32 kilometers) southeast of the border crossing between Calexico, California, and Mexicali, Mexico. The caldera, which is home to a large geothermal power plant, has been delivering small-to-moderate quakes for the past several months.”

More and stronger earthquakes will occur soon, including in the United States. Christ referred to earthquakes, which will increase in strength, as one of the signs indicating His return.

Use of Nuclear Arms–Major Shift in Policy

BBC News reported on April 6:

“President Barack Obama’s administration has unveiled a defence policy to significantly narrow the circumstances in which the US would use nuclear arms. But its Nuclear Posture Review warned that countries breaking the rules would remain potential targets. The US strategy document also raised concerns about a ‘lack of transparency’ in China’s nuclear programme. The review comes two days before Mr Obama and his Russian counterpart sign a landmark nuclear arms reduction pact.

“The deal, agreed last month, commits Russia and America to big cuts in nuclear warheads and is to replace the 1991 Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (Start), which expired last December… The document is carefully worded – it limits the use of nuclear weapons but carves out exceptions to use them against countries that break the rules – in other words countries like North Korea and Iran…

“President Obama though is likely to be criticised by both sides- the left will say he should impose a blanket ban on the use of American nuclear warheads. The right will say he’s undermining the credibility of America’s nuclear deterrent by limiting the circumstances in which it can be used…

“For the first time, the US is ruling out a nuclear response to attacks on America involving biological, chemical or conventional weapons. But this comes with a big caveat: countries will only be spared a US nuclear response if they comply with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty – this does not include Iran and North Korea…

“The new nuclear pact – which Mr Obama is due to sign on Thursday in Prague with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev – commits the former Cold War rivals to significant cuts in their weapons’ stockpiles. The treaty would restrict both Moscow and Washington to a maximum of 1,550 warheads each, about 30% less than currently allowed, the US says. But Russia drew some lines in the sand on Tuesday, warning it could pull out if it decided a US missile defence shield, proposed for Europe, threatened its security.”

While America is willing to sign this Treaty with Russia unconditionally, in its attempts to “buy” allies, Russia reserves the right to withdraw. The Bible prophesied that America’s and Britain’s allies will finally turn against them.

The New York Times added on April 5:

“… the new strategy renounces the development of any new nuclear weapons, overruling the initial position of his own defense secretary. Mr. Obama’s strategy is a sharp shift from those of his predecessors… For the first time, the United States is explicitly committing not to use nuclear weapons against nonnuclear states that are in compliance with the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, even if they attacked the United States with biological or chemical weapons or launched a crippling cyberattack… White House officials said the new strategy would include the option of reconsidering the use of nuclear retaliation against a biological attack, if the development of such weapons reached a level that made the United States vulnerable to a devastating strike.

“Mr. Obama’s new strategy is bound to be controversial, both among conservatives who have warned against diluting the United States’ most potent deterrent and among liberals who were hoping for a blanket statement that the country would never be the first to use nuclear weapons…

“The most immediate test of the new strategy is likely to be in dealing with Iran, which has defied the international community by developing a nuclear program… Mr. Obama said he was now convinced that ‘the current course they’re on would provide them with nuclear weapons capabilities,’ though he gave no timeline…

“There are five declared nuclear states — the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China. Three states with nuclear weapons have refused to sign — India, Pakistan and Israel — and North Korea renounced the treaty in 2003. Iran remains a signatory, but the United Nations Security Council has repeatedly found it in violation of its obligations, because it has hidden nuclear plants and refused to answer questions about evidence it was working on a warhead.”

It should be clear that this announcement will weaken the USA militarily. The Bible prophesied that in these last days, America will lose the pride of its power and will become increasingly unwilling to defend itself, even in times of war.

The New Arms Reduction Agreement–Experts Skeptical

Deutsche Welle wrote on April 8:

“The presidents of the United States and Russia have signed a new arms reduction agreement in Prague signalling a willingness to rid the world of nuclear weapons. But experts on the whole are largely disappointed…

“The Prague signing this week is being sold by Washington spin doctors as further evidence of Obama’s courageous commitment to reducing nuclear weapons and his desire to ‘reset’ relations with Russia but experts are skeptical of how historic the agreement will turn out to be and whether Obama’s vision is anything other than a utopian pipe dream…

“Nick Witney, a transatlantic and defence expert at the European Centre for Foreign Relations… believes that… the agreement suggests the US focus is moving away from Europe and that this could have repercussions for European defense. ‘The US is no longer worried about defending Europe from those land invasion scenarios of the Cold War…’, he said. ‘… What will happen is that the Europeans will be forced to look more at their own defense strategies and spending…’

“… some eastern European nations are nervous at the growing détente between the US and Russia for other reasons, particularly the possibility of President Obama acquiescing should Moscow demand an end to plans for a US missile shield in Europe in return for full disarmament cooperation in future agreements.”

This development highlights the ongoing discussion in Europe about the need for coordinated European defense strategies and the establishment of a European army.

New U.S. Health Care — Nothing But Confusion…

The “McClatchy Newspapers” wrote on April 6:

“Two weeks after President Barack Obama signed the big health care overhaul into law, Americans are struggling to understand how — and when — the sweeping measure will affect them. Questions reflecting confusion have flooded insurance companies, doctors’ offices, human resources departments and business groups.

“… the call center had been inundated by uninsured consumers who were hoping that the overhaul would translate into instant, affordable coverage. That widespread misconception may have originated in part from distorted rhetoric about the legislation bubbling up from the hyper-partisan debate about it in Washington and some media outlets, such as when opponents denounced it as socialism…

“Adults with pre-existing conditions are frustrated to learn that insurers won’t have to cover them until 2014 (though those under 18 will be protected in late September); then they become both hopeful and confused upon learning that a federal high-risk pool for them will be established in the next few months…

“The Obama administration is embarking on a years-long public education campaign about the overhaul, including a Web component. However, much of the guidance will depend on Department of Health and Human Services regulations that are still being developed.

“Parents of young adults, including those who are preparing to graduate from college this spring, have heard that the overhaul will let them keep their children on their insurance plans until they reach age 26. That starts in September, however; they have to determine how to cover them until then. A new wave of inquiries could come next month as federal COBRA subsidies for laid-off workers dry up…

“Americans who already have good coverage aren’t so worried about the immediate implications, but some admit that they’re plenty confused… Many small business owners are nervous about requirements being phased in… Suntan businesses face a new excise tax starting in July as part of the overhaul. Other business owners are trying to understand new Internal Revenue Service reporting requirements related to business-to-business transactions that will kick in as a result of the new law. Others are looking ahead to coverage mandates for 2014 and calculating how many part-time versus full-time employees they should have to best contain costs.

“While Obama has been touting a tax credit for small businesses that offer employees health coverage… many small businesses wouldn’t be able to participate… The president has begun traveling the country to talk about the new law to ordinary Americans… However, Obama’s remarks were laced with enough political rhetoric to dilute his policy message…”

Violence in Iraq

The Associated Press reported on April 4:

“Suicide attackers detonated three car bombs near embassies in Baghdad on Sunday, killing at least 42 people and wounding more than 200 in back-to-back bombings. Authorities said they foiled two other attacks aimed at diplomatic targets. The bombings came two days after a chilling execution-style attack by gunmen who raided homes south of Baghdad, killing 24 people, many of them believed to be anti-al-Qaida fighters. The rise in bloodshed after a relative lull deepened fears that insurgents are seizing on the political uncertainty after last month’s close parliamentary elections to sow further instability.

“Sunday’s blasts went off within minutes of each other – one near the Iranian Embassy and two others in an area that houses several embassies, including the Egyptian Consulate, and the German and Spanish embassies… The force of the blasts shook buildings and rattled windows miles away. AP Television News footage showed civilians outside the Iranian Embassy loading casualties into police vehicles and ambulances. Stunned victims in bloody clothes fled the scene as smoke rose…

“While overall violence has dropped considerably in Iraq since 2006 and 2007, the ability of insurgents to carry out large well-planned attacks against prominent targets in the heart of Baghdad shows that significant security lapses remain.”

To believe that there will ever be rest and peace in Iraq prior to Christ’s return would reflect hopeless naivety. In addition, Europe is outraged about revelations of prior misconduct of American troops in Iraq, as the next article shows.

Europe Outraged Over American Misconduct in Iraq

Deutsche Welle wrote on April 8:

“In the latest high-profile leak of sensitive material onto the Internet, the Web site WikiLeaks has published a video showing an attack on civilians by US soldiers in Baghdad three years ago that killed a dozen people. It has been authenticated by a senior US military official. The video was recorded by cameras in US Apache helicopters and records a deadly attack on a group of civilians from the air. It was later discovered that the group included two employees of the Reuters news agency…

“The Berliner Zeitung says it is hard to support the US military view that the 2007 attack was a fight between insurgents and soldiers. ‘The leaked WikiLeaks material shows bloodthirsty soldiers coldly pursuing their business’…

“‘There is only one word to describe what happened that day: murder,’ writes the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The newspaper criticized the soldiers ‘casual’ use of ‘excessive force’. ‘Nothing in the images suggests the victims were terrorists or insurgents,’ it writes. ‘The pilots were not fired on, there were no comrades on the ground, it was broad daylight and visibility was good — all the usual excuses which the military usually uses for civilian deaths. Instead, it shows trigger-happy American soldiers, talking into the camera, calmly killing a dozen people.’

“The Polish daily newspaper Rzeczpospolita says the video undoes some of the good work that American troops are doing abroad. ‘So you win a war. Build hospitals in Iraq, roads in Afghanistan, train the local police and organize free elections. But all of America’s good intentions are overshadowed with one compromising video recording,’ it writes.

“Writing on the Guardian’s ‘comment is free’ site, Douglas Haddow highlights the similarity between reality and warfare computer games. ‘It demonstrates how similar the logic of the Apache pilots is to that of the average gamer,’ Haddow writes. He adds that the video forces the viewer ‘to simultaneously confront both the deplorable unreality of American aggression and the grim fate of those caught within its scope’…

“The video shows the ‘omnipotent war machine’ according to German daily newspaper Der Tagespiegel. It writes that watching the video is like being involved in a vile and cynical reality television show…”

Violence and Unrest in Afghanistan

Der Spiegel Online wrote on April 6:

“On Friday, Taliban fighters ambushed and killed three German soldiers in Afghanistan, leaving eight wounded, four severely. In a separate incident, German Bundeswehr troops killed six Afghan soldiers in the northern Afghan region of Kunduz. The incidents have added new fodder to a public debate over Germany’s role in Afghanistan that has intensified following the killing of civilians in a bombing strike against the Taliban in September.

“Over the weekend, German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg offered an assertive response to the tragic developments. Speaking to the press on Sunday, the defense minister addressed the incidents, rejecting criticism at home that German troops had been underequipped and ill-prepared for responding to the Taliban ambush, and apologizing for the accidental killing of six Afghan soldiers in the ‘friendly fire’ incident…

“The incidents come on the heels of an increasingly tense situation between Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Afghanistan’s Western allies. On Thursday, the Afghan leader accused the United Nations and the international community of helping to perpetrate [a] ‘vast fraud’ during last year’s presidential elections…

“Even though Karzai didn’t mention the United States by name, the American government described the speech as ‘genuinely troubling.’ Karzai attempted to control the damage by calling Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, but then he turned around and expressed repeated anti-NATO sentiments at a private meeting of around 70 Afghan politicians on Saturday… He also accused the US of interfering in Afghan affairs and said the Taliban insurgency would become a legitimate resistance movement if the meddling doesn’t stop…

“German commentators express their concern over the recent turn of events in Afghanistan…

“The left-leaning daily Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘Karzai is clearly determined to become his own man… What this means for democracy and human rights — let alone women’s rights — is unthinkable. But it is not as if the international community has been particularly interested in this issue over the past year — even though that was the justification for war in the Hindu Kush in the first place…’

“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘… For the Americans and their allies, Karzai’s unconcealed verbal attacks have caused political discomfort. For it was they who put Karzai in office and, despite obvious vote rigging, it was them supporting him over the past year. Karzai himself is no innocent lamb… Now that it lacks any real means to pressure Karzai, the West must be prepared for more nasty surprises. It is not unforeseeable that he will enter into a relationship with some part of the Taliban in the near future…’

“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘The road to reality is paved with death. It wasn’t so long ago that one German defense minister, Franz Josef Jung, insisted that Afghanistan was a “stabilization mission” for the German armed forces. Then, in September 2009, dozens of people were killed in a bombing on a river in Kunduz ordered by a German colonel. This led new Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg to come up with the phrase: “Conditions similar to war.” Three dead Germans and six dead Afghans, killed by German armed forces, later and Guttenberg is saying one can speak colloquially, at least, of “war.”

“Reductions in the number of foreign troops stationed in Afghanistan will begin in 2011. This promise matches reality about as well as trying to put a beer bottle cap on a coffee cup. And Guttenberg’s words of “war” only make this disparity more marked. If the German Bundeswehr is at war, then the debate should be not only about pulling out, but also about what the military is allowed to do until then. Should the military be limited to defending itself — or should it allowed to attack? How many victims are we willing to accept — from among German soldiers, from among Afghan soldiers and in extreme cases, from among the civilian population? Or will the majority in the German parliament and in the German public no longer support war under these circumstances?’

“The conservative newspaper Die Welt writes: ‘… On Good Friday, the US Air Force declined to attack entrenched Taliban fighters — even though, in this case, German soldiers were truly in danger. Under no circumstances should any civilians get killed as they were in the Sept. 4 air attack in Kunduz, the thinking went. But the Taliban can also tell when their enemies are hesitating — and Karzai can sense it too.'”

As is the case with Iraq, we will not see any peace in Afghanistan, either, prior to Christ’s return. It is interesting that Germany is realizing that they are at WAR, and demands become louder that German soldiers must be allowed to ATTACK, not just to defend themselves. At the same time, the German government, including Defense Minister Guttenberg, are becoming more and more unpopular while trying to justify the unexplainable–why German soldiers should continue to fight in Afghanistan. This is especially true in light of the report that the US Air Force refused to come to the defense of German soldiers.

Coming–The Third Temple?

The Jerusalem Post reported on March 29:

“While tensions continue to simmer around the Temple Mount after riots in and around the capital’s Old City earlier this month, a new campaign calling for the construction of the Third Temple atop the holy site has made its way to the sides of 200 Egged buses in the city, which now sport posters featuring a picture of a rebuilt temple on the Mount…

“The posters… were sponsored by the Our Land of Israel group, which is led by Rabbi Shalom Dov Volpo and activist Baruch Marzel… The campaign’s organizers chose to plaster the posters on buses whose routes take them through predominately Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.

“With regards to the campaign, Volpo said Israel is waiting breathlessly for the coming of the messiah and the rebuilding of the temple. ‘The Arabs and President Obama know that the Temple will be built on the Temple Mount,’ he said. ‘Instead of the temporary buildings that are there today.’”

The Bible strongly suggests that a third temple will be built in Jerusalem PRIOR to Christ’s return. This development, in conjunction with the beginning of sacrifices, will catapult the region into incredible unrest, turmoil and war.

Turkey Accuses Israel

AFP reported on April 7:

“The prime minister of Turkey, Israel’s only ally in the Muslim world, on Wednesday branded the Jewish state the ‘principal threat to peace’ in the Middle East. [His] remarks… marked a new low in rapidly deteriorating relations between Israel and Turkey, which once had close military and political ties. ‘If a country uses disproportionate force in Palestine, in Gaza — uses phosphorous shells — we’re not going to say “bravo”,’ he declared, referring to Israel’s January 2009 offensive against Hamas-controlled Gaza.”

The Bible foretells that in the end, Turkey will turn against Israel.

UK General Election on May 6

BBC News reported on April 6:

“Political leaders have headed off on the campaign trail after Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced the UK general election would be held on 6 May. He said he would seek a ‘clear’ mandate to continue the ‘road to recovery’, as Labour bids for a fourth term. David Cameron, whose Conservative Party has been ahead in the polls, said they offered ‘hope’ and a ‘fresh start’. Nick Clegg, leader of the UK’s third biggest party the Liberal Democrats, said only they offered ‘real change’….

“Mr Brown said: ‘We will say to the British people: “Our cause is your cause”‘… But Mr Cameron said he offered a ‘modern Conservative alternative’ and his party offered ‘hope, optimism and change’ and a ‘fresh start’. ‘It’s the most important general election for a generation. It comes down to this. You don’t have to put up with another five years of Gordon Brown.'”

These slogans sound all too familiar. But real change, hope and optimism will ONLY come, when Jesus Christ returns.

The Pagan Easter Festival

The Frederick News Post wrote on April 4:

“While most people can explain what Easter represents, they are at a loss for words when asked about the origins of the Easter Bunny and the egg hunt tradition… Many websites… trace the nonreligious celebration of Easter to pagan practices. Most accounts suggest the modern Easter Bunny sprang from pre-Christian fertility lore. The rabbit was the most fertile animal known, and it came to represent new life as spring emerged.

“The ancient Saxons celebrated the return of spring with a festival honoring Eastre, their goddess of fertility… What we know as the Easter Bunny was first mentioned in Germany during the 15th century… The rabbit was known as Osterhase… in Germany… It is thought that Germans who settled in Pennsylvania brought their homeland’s Easter tradition to the U.S. Tradition held that the bunny would lay brightly colored eggs for good children who made special nests in their caps or bonnets the night before Easter.”

The celebration of Easter is based on pagan worship. Even though some professing Christians seem to realize the true origins of Easter, they don’t really seem to care. However, our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible?–Man’s Holidays or God’s Holy Days,” explains WHY it is wrong to celebrate Easter.

The Roman Catholic Scandal

The following articles show that the sex scandal is not going away any time soon. The strategy of the Vatican and the Roman Church, not to admit guilt and instead to attack the “accusers,” may pay off. More and more faithful Catholics will ultimately become tired of the accusations and they will come to the defense of their organization.

Even though some bishops in Europe openly disagree at this time with the Vatican’s strategy, the overwhelming majority, especially in Latin America, welcomes and endorses it.

In the light of biblical prophecy predicting a total alienation between Catholics and Jews, it is also interesting to note that the Catholic rhetoric has angered Jews and again strained the relationship between that church and the Jewish communities.

Vatican on the Attack

The New York Times wrote on April 4:

“A prominent cardinal, in a marked departure from Easter Mass tradition at the Holy See, stood before Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday and delivered a very public show of support in the face of growing anger over the Catholic Church’s sex abuse scandal — a topic that the pope stayed resolutely aloof from in his Easter appearances.

“The remarks by the prelate, Angelo Sodano, a former secretary of state and the dean of the college of cardinals, came among a chorus of denunciations by church officials of what they have framed as a campaign of denigration of the church and its pontiff.

“Shortly before the Mass started, with thousands of pilgrims filling a rain-swept St. Peter’s Square, Cardinal Sodano offered special greetings to the pope, wished him a happy Easter and said the bishops and 400,000 priests around the world stood by him. ‘Holy Father, the people of God are with you, and do not let themselves be impressed by the gossip of the moment, by the challenges that sometimes strike at the community of believers,’ Cardinal Sodano said…

“Benedict rose to greet Cardinal Sodano with an embrace, clasping his shoulders warmly and shaking his hand. Vatican observers said they could not recall such an appearance in past Easter celebrations in St. Peter’s…

“The church hierarchy, from local bishops to the cardinals who run the church to Vatican officials, have grown increasingly aggressive in lashing back at sweeping criticism of the church, and more pointedly, at charges that Benedict failed to act strongly enough — both as a bishop in his native Germany and as leader of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith before coming pope — against pedophile priests. The congregation had overall responsibility for such cases starting in 2001, and selectively before that. Benedict became pope in 2005.

“The divide between the church and its critics, who include victims’ rights advocates and lawyers, editorial voices and even the archbishop of Canterbury, has widened in the past two weeks, in the week of continuing disclosures about a history of molestation of children by priests in parishes in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and France.

“Leading the charge has been the Vatican’s official newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, which on Sunday published a summary of comments over Easter weekend in support of Benedict from bishops around the world. The headlines said Benedict was the target of ‘crude propaganda’ and a ‘base defamatory operation.’

“Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera, the archbishop of Mexico City, said Benedict was facing ‘defamation and attacks of lies and vileness because of a few dishonest and criminal priests.’ Lima’s archbishop, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, said the church’s enemies have mistreated the pope with ‘an unusual lack of respect for the truth and an incredible show of cynicism.’ Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, the archbishop of Paris, cited an ‘offensive that aims at destabilizing the pope, and through him, the church.’ Carding Vingt-Trois said such an offensive ‘should not hide our failings and our eventual errors.’

“The closing of ranks notably included a sermon delivered before the pope on Good Friday by the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, who equated the criticism of the church over the priest sex abuse scandal with anti-Semitism, antagonizing both victims’ groups and Jewish leaders. That appeared to go too far. The Vatican’s official spokesman disassociated the Holy See and the pope from the sentiment, and Father Cantalamessa backtracked in an interview published Sunday in the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera…”

Vatican Angers Jews

Regarding Cantalamessa’s comments, quoted above, Deutsche Welle reported on April 3:

“Stephan Kramer, Secretary General of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said the comments were ‘impertinent and an insult to the victims of sexual abuse as well as victims of the Holocaust.’ Kramer added that the Vatican ‘is falling back upon the regular methods it has used over the decades to suppress and hide any affairs which compromise’ the Catholic Church…

“The Vatican quickly tried to distance itself from the comments, saying they ‘should not be interpreted as an official position.’ But, some Jewish groups are insisting on a personal apology from the pope for the words delivered by the priest. ‘These hurtful remarks were made in the presence of the pope and the pope himself should take responsibility and apologize for them,’ said Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the international Jewish human rights group. Rome’s chief rabbi, Riccardo di Segni, also condemned the sermon by the pope’s personal preacher…”

The Local added on April 3:

“Kramer said he finds it highly unlikely the pope’s preacher would make such a statement without Vatican approval. ‘It was a step taken at a high level to relativise anti-Semitism and the Holocaust,’ he said, adding that such remarks make religious dialogue between Jews and Catholics impossible. The Central Council of Jews in Germany has also criticised a German bishop for comparing the criticism by the press of the Church over the predator priest scandal to Nazi methods.”

Vatican Strongly Condemned by European Bishops

Deutsche Welle added on April 4:

“The celebrations leading up to Easter Sunday have been overshadowed by European bishops condemning the church’s role in child abuse cases…

“The leader of Germany’s Roman Catholic bishops, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch said the Catholic Church must examine its ‘dark aspects as well as our own shadowy sides’… Belgian Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard of Mechelen-Brussel also denounced what he called the ‘guilty silence’ of the Church, criticising officials for often caring more about the reputation of priests rather than the abused children.”

Fresh Scandal in America

Deutsche Welle reported on April 4:

“In the United States, a fierce defender of Pope Benedict XVI during this ongoing scandal has now come under personal scrutiny. Court documents show Cardinal William Levada reassigned a priest and alleged child molester in the 1990s without warning parishioners… He was asked if he had warned parishioners about the Oregon priest’s past – inappropriate sexual behaviour with teenagers in the 1970s. He said no. Levada now heads the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and was chosen for the post by his predecessor and then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger…”

Latin American Catholic Church to the Defense

The Los Angeles Times wrote on April 2:

“In Latin America, home to nearly half the world’s Catholics, church leaders are reacting cautiously, if at all, to the sex abuse scandal rocking the Vatican. Few of the region’s top clerics have spoken out since allegations of pedophilia and other crimes committed by priests in Europe and the United States began stacking up at the doorstep of Pope Benedict XVI. Many, not surprisingly, have leaped to the pope’s defense…

“Roman Catholicism is planted deeply in Latin American culture. Most Latin Americans grew up in the church, and the hierarchy is generally quite conservative, thanks in part to efforts by the Vatican under the late Pope John Paul II to displace leftist priests… The Latin American Bishops Conference, in a statement published Friday, expressed solidarity with the pope and lashed out at the ‘baseless’ and ‘calumnious’ news reports — mostly in the U.S. — that suggest Benedict was an accomplice in covering up rape and other crimes by priests.

“Some experts on the Vatican are predicting that the sex abuse scandal will spread through Latin America. The region has already seen a number of cases… In Brazil, the world’s most populous Catholic country, three priests are under police investigation, suspected of having had sex with altar boys and other children and teens for years.”

Vatican Under Attack

On March 31, 2010, The Economist  printed the following telling cartoon:

vatican under attack

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