I am not saying that the Catholic Church won't apostate - it may be that ALL denominations will apostate durign the trib period. HOWEVER....The Catholic Church is not the woman riding the Beast.
We think of the Catholic Church as being located in Rome. In reality, it is right outside of Rome. Rome sits on 7 hills. The Vatican sits on a completely different hill - Vatican Hill - that is not considered part of the city of Rome and is located on the OTHER SIDE of the Tiber River, outside of Rome. But the Catholic Church does not sit on the 7 hills of Rome, and it would have to in order to fit the description of the woman riding the beast. Also, Rev 17 tells us that the woman is a CITY , not a church.
On the other hand, the EU is more than proud to claim to be the woman riding the beast, and the symbol of Europa riding the bease is found all over Europe. Why not accept that for what it is; the Woman is the Capital City of Europe - plain and simple.
Also, there have been MANY popes that have ruled as king over what we now call "the Vatican"; it simply went by a different name prior to the 20th century. For centuries it was called the "Papal States."
Vatican City has not ALWAYS been the home of the Catholic Church. The Pope lived in Lateran Palace, which is inside Rome, until the 14th century AD. A fire destroyed the place in 1361. In 1581, the Pope moved to Vatican City - which is OUTSIDE OF ROME - and has been there ever since.
For many years, the Pope ran Rome and Italy. While some people claim the Vatican has been an independent country only since 1929 - that ignores the fact that for many years the Catholic Church ruled over what we call "Italy" today. "Italy", as a political entity, hasn't been around that long really.
At left shows the "Papal States", which was the territory that the Catholic Church controlled militarily from about 754 AD to 1870 AD, with 164 different popes ruling over this territory as its king. When Italy became a nation in 1870, they defeated the Catholic Army and the pope retreated to the Vatican Palace. In 1929, Italy promised to protect the Vatican and signed a treaty with them, recognizing them as an independent state, although they had been pretty much that the whole time.
So the idea of the Vatican as an independent sovereign country is not new - they were one for over 1100 years before the Lateran Treaty was signed in 1929. The pope has always been a "king" of sorts.
12 popes have ruled over Vatican city since the Papal States disappeared, and 41 Popes have ruled over the Papal states since moving to Vatican City in 1581. Since 1870, there has been a lot less to the "Papal States". Since 1870, we woudl have to take the "s" off the end, since it ceased to be plural at that point. But there has been a Papal State for centuries, with many popes ruling over it as a king. But that was merely a name change to reflect the smaller size that the Papal State had shrunk to.
Had Italy allowed the Vatical to continue to go by its old name, they might have wanted to raise an army and return to their old glory. Changing the name held a psychological advantage of encouraging the Papacy to accept their defeat and smaller territory. Truth is, the people wanted a democracy, and the Papacy was no longer powerful enough to keep the public in line. But nothing really changed from 1870 to 1929. The pope had the same amount of power in 1928 as he had in 1930...the treaty of 1929 mostly established that Italy would pay the pope for all the land they took from the Catholic Church and recognized the independence that had been functionally there for almost 60 years.