Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Last Pope?

With Benedict XVI's announcement of his resignation to take place at the end of the month, the Cardinal Electors will soon begin the process of selecting the next Pope. But will this newly elected Pope be the last to serve? According to a prophecy made in the 12th century by the Irish Saint Malachy, the next and final Pope is about to be chosen. Furthermore, during this Pope's reign the prophecy claims that world will end - but you know how those always go. One more apocalypse party, after which we wake up the next morning with the world still here.

In 1139, then-Archbishop Malachy went to Rome from Ireland to give an account of his affairs. While there, he received a strange vision about the future that included the name of every pope, 112 in all from his time, who would rule until the end of time. We are now at the second last prophecy.

His predictions are taken very seriously. As one report states, "In 1958, before the Conclave that would elect Pope John XXIII, Cardinal Spellman of New York hired a boat, filled it with sheep and sailed up and down the Tiber River, to show that he was 'pastor et nautor,' the motto attributed to the next Pope in the prophecies."

As for the prophecy concerning the 111th pope, Pope Benedict, the prophecy says of him, "Gloria Olivae," which means "the glory of the olive." The order of Saint Benedict is also known as the Olivetans, which many claim makes Malachy's prophecies correct. The next and final pope then should be "Peter Romanus"

A lot of that sounds to me like individuals who knew about the prophecy taking advantage of it to shore up their credentials. Benedict chose the name after he was elected, and it would seem that Cardinal Spellman sought to influence the conclave by his voyage. "Peter Romanus" suggests that the next Pope will be Roman, or at least Italian. Of the leading candidates, only one, Archbishop of Milan Angelo Scola shown at right, is Italian. He's also 71 years old, which means that the end of the world must be close at hand indeed.

Prophecies are funny things. If we are to accept that the original vision was genuine, we must also wrestle with the fact that "end of the world" prophecies always fail. But maybe this is a matter of interpretation. To an Archbishop of the 12th century, surely the end of the Roman Catholic Church might seem apocalyptic, so perhaps some cataclysm is about to befall the institution. Personally I doubt it, since even in the wake of ongoing scandals the Roman Catholic Church remains wealthy and powerful, and is the largest single Christian denomination in the world. Odds are that like all other "end times" prophets Archbishop Malachy was simply wrong. But I suppose only time will tell.

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Unknown said...

Gloria olivae would be an excellent name for the martinis at this apocolypse party.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure that his name was Archbishop Malachy and not Archbishop "Malarkey"? Hehe... I could not resist. :p

Yesterday a friend said that she had heard of another old prophecy that the next Pope would be black. I told her that maybe the giver of the prophecy meant the President (as in Obama), as I doubt that the Italians are going to let go of the Papal throne easily once again, not after the last two popes being German and Polish. It's hard to predict 100% accurately when looking into a cloudy crystal ball. ;)

-Aghor Pir

Scott Stenwick said...

"Archbishop Malarkey" - that's great! I can just see it coming to an Onion article near you.

It seems to me that for "Peter Romanus" to apply to the new pope he's going to have to be Italian. From a political standpoint it makes more sense for the church to name someone from Africa or South America rather than another European, let alone another Italian, but prophecies aren't convenient like that. If the church acts strategically, it will pretty much prove this one wrong.