In observing the Vatican, there is always more than meets the eye. The Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences invited Bernie Sanders to address their conference celebrating Pope John Paul’s 1991 papal encyclical letter on the economy and workers’ rights. The invitation raised questions that are related to the unfolding fulfillment of the prophecies of Rev. 13: was the invitation instigated by Pope Francis or by Bernie Sanders himself; or was it a simple, straightforward invitation by the Academy without any involvement of the Vatican? A logical answer, which is probably the correct one, seems to have emerged. The route to that answer appears to be a labrynth of diversions and deceptions. Not surprisingly, the invitation has been fraught with controversy:

Sanders trip to Vatican sparks diplomatic controversy

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders's plan to attend a Vatican-sponsored conference later this month has sparked some diplomatic controversy, with a senior Vatican official accusing him of showing "monumental discourtesy" in seeking an invitation. . .

. . . the senior Vatican official, Margaret Archer, president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, said it was Sanders who made "the first move" to attend the event. . .

However, Bishop Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo, [Fellowship of Minds] chancellor of academy, formally invited Sanders to attend the meeting in a letter dated March 30 and provided to The Hill by Sanders' campaign.

A close association between Sorondo and the Pope is significant. Nevertheless, strong arguments have been made against the Pope's involvement. The following article provides some valuable information about the complexity of Vatican scene and its politics:

What Does the Sanders 'Invitation' Say About the Vatican, and Sanders?

The Vatican’s “invitation” to Bernie Sanders to speak at a conference of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences (PASS) on Friday has sparked a range of reactions. There are those who say it’s irresponsible for Sanders to travel right after his Thursday night debate with Hillary Clinton to give a ten-minute talk in Rome, just four days before the New York primary. There are those who see in it an attempt by the (male) Catholic establishment to block the election of a woman to the White House. Some see it as an endorsement of “the Jewish progressive agenda,” others as a direct attempt by Francis to advance a leftist agenda in U.S. politics. . .

The social justice agenda of Francis and conflicts of interest. One of the least explored elements of this flap is the role of those who likely pushed for the invitation with Bishop Sorondo. There are indications that Jeffrey Sachs, a Sanders consultant, and Michael Shank, a communications consultant who has worked with Sachs, were involved. Both also have done work for the Vatican. The Sanders campaign has even, remarkably, referred Politico to Shank; Politico quotes him as having said he “occasionally” handles press relations for the Vatican. Shank himself has tried to characterize the invitation as an official one: “The PASS is part of the Vatican. So the senator is right when he says the Vatican invited him.”

The Vatican’s line of communication with the American Catholic church. This episode has unfolded as a transition in the office of the apostolic nuncio to the United States, from Carlo Maria Viganò, who is retiring, to Christophe Pierre, is underway. Additionally, on April 7, the day before word of the Sanders invitation broke, Viganò was in Rome attending a high-priced fundraising dinner at the North American College, where he received the 2016 Rector’s Award. Still, how is it that no one—no U.S. bishop, no one at the Secretariat of State, no one at the office of the nuncio—was in communication over the issue of the invitation? In this sense, Sanders’s “invitation” is reminiscent of the Kim Davis episode during Francis’s visit to the United States last September.

The Vatican, U.S. politics, and the U.S. church. This happened because people on both sides of the Atlantic misread the intentions of Pope Francis regarding American politics based on answers he gave about Donald Trump during an interview on the papal flight from Mexico this year. The changes Francis embodies in the style of the papal office, and the shift on certain issues related to social and economic justice, has given some (Sanders included?) the idea that the Vatican is now a more flexible place, less bound by old rules and restrictions. This also has given some in the Vatican itself the idea that they can push an agenda on behalf of Francis while disregarding not only protocol, but also basic considerations about diplomacy (curious, given that the Vatican has the oldest functioning diplomacy in the Western world). The parties involved have underestimated the sensitiveness of relations between the Holy See and the United States, and, with the papacy of Francis, at a particularly delicate moment (I have to refer here to my book on Francis, and the final chapter in particular). The reception to Pope Francis in the United States is more problematic than anywhere else, given some of the political-theological alignments in U.S. Catholicism. Whether or not Sanders goes through with the trip, and whether or not he would have met with the pope, the episode certainly does not make things easier for Francis. (Underscored emphasis added.)

The underscored passages are of particular significance; especially the perception that the invitation might be a direct attempt by Francis to advance a leftist agenda in U.S. politics, (addressed later in this analysis,) and the references to "the sensitiveness of relations between the Holy See and the United States," (cf. Establishing Relations with the Holy See. Quotations) and "some of the political-theological alignments in U.S. Catholicism," (cf. Catholic Trumpism Is Reigniting The ‘American Problem’ Within Pope Francis’ Church. Quotations

Sanders did indeed go through with the trip and the seemingly elusive meeting the Pope was accomplished:

Yes, the Pope Did Meet Bernie Sanders

The encounter was short on substance, short on time, but high on symbolism. Just how much do the pontiff and the candidate have in common? . . .

. . . He had come on a wing and a prayer, as it were, to speak briefly at a Vatican conference, but there was nothing on the pope’s schedule suggesting the two men would meet. Then, in the early hours of Saturday morning, the gamble paid off: Sanders got five minutes of facetime with Pope Francis. . .

. . . But for Sanders, the sacrifice of a midnight stroll through Rome’s cobbled streets or a toss of a coin into the Trevi Fountain paid off before sunrise this morning, when the Santa Marta’s other VIP guest, Pope Francis, was in the foyer of the hotel getting ready to leave for Lesbos, Greece. That’s where the two met for around five minutes, Sanders told the Associated Press. No photographer was present.

On the flight back from Lesbos, Francis confirmed the encounter, but played it down considerably. “This morning as I was leaving, Senator Sanders was there,” Francis told reporters on the plane. “He knew I was coming out at that time, and he had the kindness to greet me. When I came down, he introduced himself, I greeted him with a handshake, and nothing more. It’s common courtesy, this is called common courtesy."

Then, for good measure, he added, “If someone thinks that greeting someone is getting involved in politics, I recommend that they find a psychiatrist.”

Still, it would be unfair to call what the senator did “doorstepping.” Francis would have had to approve the encounter, and his security detail would have made sure Sanders wasn’t just milling about the foyer when the pope was heading out if the pope wasn’t inclined to meet him.

The ramifications of the Sanders visit to Rome embrace history dating back to Pope Leo XIII at the end of the 19th century. The next article cited below presents "the endorsement of 'the Jewish progressive agenda,'” perspective referred to in "What Does the Sanders 'Invitation' Say About the Vatican, and Sanders?" cited above. The focus of this citation is on what it reveals about the theological connotation of the common interests of Sanders and the Pope:

What the Vatican’s Invitation to Bernie Sanders Says About Jews

You can understand why they invited him. The event is an international conference on economic justice. Sanders is the guy who put the issue atop the agenda of the world’s most powerful nation. It makes sense.

On the other hand, it crossed so many lines of normal political etiquette that it left observers gaping, the conference’s own organizers openly feuding , the Hillary Clinton campaign quietly fuming, top Sanders aides squirming and the press corps giggling up their sleeves.

For one thing, it comes in the middle of an American presidential race, thus unavoidably creating the impression that the Vatican has improperly endorsed one of the candidates. . .

The Vatican conference is sponsored by the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, a nominally independent think tank set up in 1994 by Pope John Paul II. The conclave’s title is “Centesimus Annus 25 Years Later.” It’s meant to look back at the influence and relevance of John Paul’s 1991 papal encyclical letter on the economy and workers’ rights.

The encyclical’s title, Centesimus Annus, is Latin for “100th anniversary.” It was issued to mark the centennial of the 1891 encyclical by Pope Leo XIII , Rerum Novarum (“New Things”) [cf. After reciting the devotional prayer,] a groundbreaking declaration supporting workers’ rights, fair pay and labor unions. In effect, therefore, the Centesimus Annus conference is a celebration of the 25th anniversary of a 100th-anniversary celebration.

Rerum Novarum attempted in 1891 to chart a new Catholic social doctrine in response to the industrial revolution. It addressed the twin threats, as Leo saw them, of rapacious buccaneer capitalism and violent revolutionary socialism. It defended private property — including land and factories — but called for government regulation, living wages, humane working conditions and strong unions.

Leo’s document posed a defiant challenge to local church hierarchies allied for centuries to nobility and the wealthy. It divided the church into opposing camps of liberals and conservatives. The two sides have been fighting it out ever since.

During the 1960s and 1970s, the liberal popes John XXIII and Paul VI elevated a generation of church leaders who took a lead fighting poverty, especially in the developing world. John Paul II, coming of age in communist Poland, managed during his long papacy to reverse the trend and appoint a generation of deeply conservative bishops.

In America, the church debate has played out in a decades-long tug-of-war between liberals and conservatives. Catholic liberals have played a historic role in the labor movement, immigrant rights and Democratic politics. Conservatives — including much of the church hierarchy — put top priority on abortion and gender issues and are a key force in the Republican coalition.

The Argentine-born Pope Francis aims to reverse course once again. But he won’t have much time. John Paul II became pope at 58 and served 27 years. Francis took office at 76. In three years he’s issued some daring declarations and made a few key appointments, but his long-term impact remains to be seen.

The two-day Centesimus Annus conference is one reflection of the Francis era. It was organized by an Argentine ally, Monsignor Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, chancellor of the social-science academy. Inviting Sanders was his idea. . .

Sanders is one of two American Jews on the program. The other is Columbia University economist Jeffrey Sachs, a globetrotting expert on global poverty and development. He’s scheduled to present the conference’s opening paper. He shares the platform with a Honduran cardinal who heads Francis’s Council of Cardinals and in effect puts a papal stamp on the proceedings. (Cf. We Now Know Who Pope Francis is Voting For in the Next US Presidential Election [English does not appear to be the first language of the author] (Underscored emphasis added.)

So here we have documentation that Pope Francis is intent on advancing a leftist agenda in U.S. politics. This is supported by "Catholic Trumpism Is Reigniting The ‘American Problem’ Within Pope Francis’ Church," which also reveals a whole lot more about the strange phenomenon of Donald Trump. This website has long directed attention to the ascendancy of right-wing ideology in contemporary American Roman Catholicism, supported by Popes John-Paul II and Benedict XVI.

What does all of this mean for the complete fulfillment of Rev. 13? First, it must be kept in mind that the Image to the Beast is formed by apostate Protestants, while Christian Edwardson was quite correct in fingering the manipulation of the Protestants by Roman Catholics behind the scenes. The Protestant Religious Right shows no inclination to move to the left.

It is entirely possible that Pope Francis may be successful in advancing a leftist agenda in American Roman Catholicism pursuant to the Catholic Social Doctrine of Leo XIII; but will it slow down the advance of theocracy in the United States in fulfillment of Rev. 13? This does not seem to be very likely. Here is a quotation to be kept in mind when observing and seeking to understand current events:

"What the Jesuit Order is for the left wing of the Roman Catholic Church, Opus Dei is for its right wing. (Hegelian politics at its finest, for the Roman Catholic Church cannot lose if it has strong ties with both ends of the political spectrum!)" (From Opus Dei in the USA)


Since the foregoing was written, the essay which is hyperlinked below was found among the results of a Google search. It is well-written, tightly reasoned, well documented, and gives credence to the view that Pope Francis is sponsoring a left-wing world revolution. The thesis is that there is a struggle between Catholicism and Capitalism, now that Communism has been defeated by an alliance between the two, who have now become antagonists. In only one particular can the reasoning not be endorsed. It is in the apparent application in the last two sentences of Revelation 13:15-17, and 17:9-15 to the struggle between Catholicism and Capitalism, rather than to "the battle of that great day of God Almighty."

The Enemy in the Camp

In his very insightful, and in many ways, prophetic volume, Keys of this Blood, Jesuit scholar and Vatican expert, Malachi Martin, talked about the three way competition for world domination. He identified the players, whom he considered the only ones with the resources to engage in such a contest, as Capitalism, Communism, and Catholicism. He then concluded that ultimately there will be only one victor. He stated, “ Nobody who is acquainted with the plans of these three rivals has any doubt but that only one of them can win. Each expects the other two to be overwhelmed and swallowed up in the coming maelstrom of change. That being the case, it would appear inescapable that their competition will end up as a confrontation” (The Keys of this Blood, pg 15).

Since the publication of his book in 1990, one of those three players, Communism, has been effectively neutralized. The other two, Capitalism and Catholicism, had joined forces to bring about the demise of Communism in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc nations. Today, even in other so-called Communist states, Capitalism remains the engine that drives their economic machinery. For all intents and purposes, there are only two players left of Malachi Martin’s three—Capitalism and Catholicism, as epitomized by President Barak Obama and Pope Francis respectively. . .

However, since his appointment as the supreme head of the Papacy (Catholicism), some three years ago, Pope Francis has launched a frontal attack on Capitalism, decrying its evil influences on the human family and its destructive impact on the environment. Noted Columnist, Paul B. Farrell, made this eye opening observation in a commentary in Market Watch, “Pope Francis’s target is clear: economic inequality is the world’s No. 1 problem. Capitalism is at the center of all problems of inequality. And he speaks with a powerful moral authority — something totally missing from American political leaders who are ideologically guided by atheist Ayn Rand, patron saint of the GOP’s capitalism agenda in this moral war. Without moral grounding, the GOP is no match for Francis’ vision, his principled mandate, his long-game strategy to raise the world’s billions out of poverty, to eliminate inequality, to attack the myopic capitalism driving today’s economy, markets and political system”.

Farrell continued, “Moreover, the pope has the resources: As commander-in-chief of the world’s largest army: 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide who are now motivated to defeat capitalism’s grip on inequality. His army includes 78 million Americans in 17,645 parishes, plus a huge officer corps of 213 cardinals, over 5,000 bishops, 450,000 priests and deacons worldwide, all sworn to carry out his vision. He needs no legislative approvals; popes have authority to act unilaterally, with speed, a dictator whose word is law, commanding allegiance, obedience and action” (Market Watch, November 18, 2014). . .

Nevertheless, not only is Francis vehemently attacking Capitalism, he is inciting a revolution against it as he casts himself as the champion of the poor whom he pictures as victims of that inhumane and immoral system. . .