Spirit Daily



E.U. Mysteriously Stumbles But Efforts At Globalization, World Religion Remain


Is John Paul II interceding?

There is a lot of talk about the intercession of the late Pope John Paul II since his death more than two months ago and we are beginning to wonder if that intercession has occurred on more than a personal scale.

Specifically, we are alluding here to the European Union: It was John Paul II who was so upset with the way the European Union was forming -- ignoring the Christian roots of Europe in a proposed new constitution. Now, and suddenly, shockingly, that constitution has stumbled. It seems like the juggernaut it once was overnight has evaporated.

Is the E.U. dead? Hardly. And the Church believes there are good aspects to it. In fact, bishops have offered the hope that it can be a vehicle for stabilization and peace.

But the constitution has been dealt a serious blow, and Pope John Paul II railed against it nonstop for two years as one of his highest priorities, right unto his death; his last statement was issued just weeks before his funeral. Under John Paul the Holy See said the draft of the European Constitution had two key flaws: It recognized neither the continent's Christian heritage nor the proper role of churches.

In the signing of a constitution that does not acknowledge Europe's religious history, the Vatican saw proof that the E.U. is distancing itself from Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular.

Now, from the other side (where it is easier to get things done), he is undoubtedly praying it toward a more Christian end.

Put another way, the unified secularization of Europe, which is also foremost among Benedict XVI's concerns, is stalled for the moment. Even the euro, which has been usurping the dollar, is in sudden trouble. The rejection of the 448-article constitution by France -- one of the founding members of the E.U. -- is likely to plunge the 25-member union into a period of inertia.

Ironically, it was France -- a key bastion of irreligion -- that, for reasons other than Christianity, shot the charter down, followed by Holland!

Is this not one of those striking twists of fate? Is it not a bit miraculous?

And now the Polish -- John Paul's own countrymen (although they may not choose to do so) -- have the chance to vote down the constitution, which acted as if Christianity never did really exist.

If the E.U. becomes a new superpower, many will view it as a major piece of the new-world puzzle. There are those who warn that it could become a potential launching pad for anti-Christian movements (and according to some, even a personage of evil).

Just this week, Benedict XVI again warned about anti-Christian bias in Europe. Read: there is fear of a coming persecution.

This gained renewed attention when Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, a major theologian who was archbishop of Bologna from 1984 to 2003, recently penned an essay about a novel by philosopher Vladimir Sergeyevich Soloviev, who had written a fictional account of the anti-christ. In Soloviev's tale, the antichrist is elected president of the United States of Europe, acclaimed as emperor in Rome, takes possession of the entire world, and finally imposes his command even over the life and organization of the Churches.

While Cardinal Biffi was not pointing to Soloviev as a specific political prophecy (but more as a prescient projection on modern morals and "ambiguous religious identity"), many are those who worry about the actual possibility of a nefarious world leader.

A central world government is a concern to Christians who believe that too much centralized power would make way for a sinister anti-religious order. Despite the recent setbacks in Europe, the spirit of secular globalization is gaining an almost mystical momentum.

The worry goes beyond the European Union. Just north of San Francisco, where the League of Nations was first born, is the Presidio, a former military base and now a national park  where ministers at an interfaith center meet in search for a globalized New Age-style religion, or at least one based on eco-spirituality (instead of Jesus).

Is the "force" with such a movement? This month approximately 1,500 of filmmaker George Lucas’ employees are moving to the Presidio of San Francisco, which is just south of the Golden Gate Bridge. When a dysfunctional hospital complex was taken down, Mr. Lucas won the bid to develop the land – 900,000 square feet of beautiful new buildings, magnificently landscaped, on 23 acres of the Presidio. The land is operated by the parks service in conjunction with the Presidio Trust, a special public-private governmental agency tasked with managing most of the buildings of the Presidio and making the park financially self-sufficient by 2013.

As a U.S. Army post, the Presidio protected commerce and trade, and played a logistical role in every major U.S. military conflict from 1848 until closure. Now, meetings often aimed at a new world order are held here.

Lucasfilm, which has a bit of a New Age tendency, will share this prize piece of San Francisco real estate with the Gorbachev Foundation, the Thoreau Center for Sustainability, FEMA, the United Religions Initiative (URI), the United Nations Resource Center, and a host of other environmental, spiritual, educational, and governmental organizations. Together they share a common crusade: to build a unified, earth-friendly global civilization based on "new" universal beliefs and values, as one description put it.

It is good to seek unification with love. The Vatican is open to religious globalization to a degree. Just Thursday, Benedict XVI met with the World Council of Churches. And it has lauded certain aspects of the United Nations.

But the Vatican loudly has expressed concern over attempts to unite religions in a way that would water down (or, as in the case of the E.U., to simply ignore) Christianity, inserting paganism. Already, there is a Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions.

Some of the one-world-religion proponents have been influenced by outright occultists who have predicted that the transition to the New Age would occur between now and 2010.

Bishop William Swing of San Francisco, the spiritual leader of the Episcopal Diocese of California, publicly announced his United Religions dream in June 1995 at a worship service at Grace Cathedral marking the fifttieth anniversary of the United Nations.

Since then, he and a growing global band of interfaith activists have been laying the foundations for the organization. Swing was recently interviewed in an office at the United Religions headquarters -- at the Presidio. (``We sat in this room for three years working on a charter,'' he told a reporter. ``What we came up with is like nothing ever seen in the world of religion.'')

Swing has been bucked by the Vatican, the leadership of Orthodox Christians, Muslims, and the Southern Baptist Convention. A Vatican representative refused to attend one of his conferences and he was especially rebuffed by Cardinal Francis Arinze of Nigeria.

But there is also strong support. "The interfaith movement began with the 1893 World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago, and has since grown worldwide," explains one news site. "Although this movement has been largely unknown to the public, it now provides a spiritual face for globalization, the economic and political forces leading from nationalism to a one-world system." George W. Bush, George Soros, the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, and the Dalai Lama have tossed in their support for the United Religions Initiative, perhaps not aware or convinced of the potential for problems.

The initiative was scheduled to be at a charter signing ceremony Monday afternoon at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in what was described as "the highlight of a five-day gathering that is expected to draw 375 participants from six continents," said a newspaper. "Represented at the signing ceremony will be Hindus, Zoroastrians, Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, Wiccans, Baha'is, Sikhs and representatives of indigenous people around the world."

"Wiccans" are those involved in witchcraft.

And so we see the worry about uniting the world under false pretenses, especially when it is missing the Name of Jesus, whether in Europe or San Francisco. Will John Paul II -- if indeed he is interceding in Europe -- help to knock this down as well?

It was in San Francisco that the charter for the United Nations was adopted in 1945, and the U.N. has recently spearheaded attempts to bring religions together, going so far as to coordinate a massive mailing of sermon suggestions (on eco-spirituality) to thousands of churches around the world.

There are other issues, some mysterious. What is the Bilderberg group, and why is this group of world leaders, who meet on a regular basis, so secretive? Are they really the high priests of globalization? And what about strangeness like Bohemia Grove, nestled in the redwood forests of Monte Rio, California, where movers-and-shakers from all walks of life -- and all political parties -- reportedly meet for retreats that involve strange re-enactments. What is this all about? Each year at Bohemian Grove, members of this elite "club" reportedly don red, black and silver robes and conduct an occult ritual wherein they worship a giant stone owl, sacrificing a human in effigy. It is, they say, just entertainment. Leaders from all walks of life attend.

Those following the concatenation of a one-world government (or "new world order") would recognize the unification of Europe as one of the top dozen most important steps to globalization. Others involve a coalescing of Asian-Indian countries; free-trade pacts in the Western Hemisphere, which are drawing the hemisphere together as one huge entity; the World Bank; attempts at initiating a global tax; world courts; and of course the United Nations, which has sought to forge a global government for decades.

Such is the subject of a new book, Contro il Cristianesimo: L'ONU e l'Unione Europea come nuova ideologia ("Against Christianity: The U.N. and the European Union as a New Ideology"), published in Italy by Piemme. "In addition to divergences over sexual morality and the underlying concepts behind human rights, the book's authors identify another source of Church-U.N. conflict," notes one review. "In recent years groups within the United Nations, together with outside organizations, have tried to establish a sort of alternative religion or ethical code.

"The United Nations has been involved with a number of initiatives involving dialogue between religions, and codes of ethical conduct. These efforts hinge on a vision that puts all religions and beliefs on the same level. Attempts have even been made to formulate a universal moral code to replace the Ten Commandments, along with the proposal of an Earth Charter, which mixes religion, ecology and paganism."

That is the government aspect. It is integrally connected with the attempts at a single world religion. In Colorado, a strange plot of land owned by a man who is closely tied to the United Nations serves as an ecumenical melting pot for everything from Catholic nuns to New Age crystal outlets. Ironically, it is located in the Sangre Cristo (or "Blood of Christ") Mountains.


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