12 February 2013
Pope Benedict XVI, age 85, has announced that his health is too poor to faithfully fulfill his duties as Pope, and he will step down on 28 February, being the first Pope to step down in 598 years. He is a very courageous man and I applaude his decision.
Pope Benedict is also a theologin, and well aware (as is everyone in the Vatican) of the prophecy of Saint Malachy. The prophecy, which was hidden in Vatican archives for nearly five centuries, reveals a highly accurate list of 112 future Popes, following Innocent II, until the end of days (starring Richard Harris). Pope Benedict XVI, who took his name from Saint Benedict, founder of the Benedictine Order, the symbol of which is an olive branch, was the 111th Pope on the list.
There is one Pope left. The final part of the prophecy (according to wiki translation) reads: "In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations:
and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed,
and the terrible judge will judge his people.
If the prophecy is correct, and it has been scary accurate so far, the next Pope, who is expected to be selected before Easter, will preside over the Church during the end of days. Just when the end of days will begin no one can say, but there are supposed to be seven years of tribulations ultimately culminating in the creation of the new Heaven and new Earth; the final defeat of sin and death, and the glorious reign of the Lord forever.
Now, the official position of the Catholic Church and fundamaterialist archskep-dicks is that the prophecy is a 17th century forgery, which is probably the only thing both groups agree on. Supposedly, since the prophecy is "too accurate" it must have been fabricated to take into account the past Popes, and that, supposedly, all the predictions after the document was released to the public have to be fudged to fit. Unfortunately for both that's not true, as anyone can see that the later predictions have indeed been eerily accurate. Here are just a few:
* Benedict XV (1914-1922) was prophecised as "religion destroyed." He reigned during the rapid rise of Communism, which saw hundreds of millions of people forced into atheism, attempts by the Soviet Union to destroy the Russian Orthodox Church, and the First World War that led to widespread disillusionment with religion among the peoples of Europe.
* Pius XI (1922-1939) was prophecised as "intrepid faith." He stared down fascist dictator Benito Mussolini to establish the Vatican as an independent state, freeing it from decades of oppression by the Italian government.
* Pius XII (1939-1958) was the "angelic shepherd" who first sheltered the Roman Jews during the Holocaust, and later made pleas to the Hungarian government to protect the Jewish population of their country as well.
* John XXIII (1958-1963) "Shepherd and sailor." He was Patriarch of Venice, the spiritual leader of probably the world's most famous maritime city.
* Paul VI (1963-1978) "Flower of flowers." His coat of arms contains three fleur de lis.
* John Paul I (1978) "From the midst of the moon." His reign began during a half moon, and lasted one month.
* John Paul II (1978-2005) "From the labour of the sun." He was born during a solar eclipse and later entombed during another solar eclipse.
The past seven Popes have been predicted with stunning accuracy. If the document were a forgery how could a forger have gotten such a remarkable string of hits three hundred years after the document was supposedly written for political purposes? Even if you don't believe the prophecy to be genuine (I do), this is still a highly significant time historically. We are living during the last days of a prediction made 900 or 300 years ago, depending upon which side you take, which may or may not have had a significant influence on the past several centuries of Church history. Either way, we are living in interesting times.