Probably the most intriguing prophecy of our times is that of St. Malachy
. The saint was born in Ireland in 1094 with the lovely name of Maelmhaedhoc O'Morgair which has been Latinized to Malachy. He restored Christianity in Ireland during a time of viking invasions and eventually died in 1148.
He became friends with St. Bernard, who ended up writing a biography of St. Malachy. I've never read it and never plan to, nor have I really read anything by anyone who's read it either. What I do have is a Mysteries of the Unexplained compilation book by Reuben Stone. In it he mentions St. Malachy having prophetic visions other than the papal prophecy, but he doesn't indicate for sure whether those examples came directly from the biography or not. According to Stone, St. Malachy could tell people what he would eat for dinner 3 months ahead and even predicted his death at Clairvaux the next time he would visit. Again, I don't know Stone's original source so I can't tell you much on that.
St. Malachy's Prophecies are Found
Ok, that's St. Malachy in a nutshell - let's get to the good stuff. What the prophetic Saint was credited with has become a subject of much debate. In 1559, Arnold Wion mentioned St. Malachy's Prophecy of the Popes in his book Lignum Vitae. The prophecies tell of each Pope, in succession, Anti-Popes included, starting with Pope Celestine II in 1143 - 112 popes in all. The theory eventually given was that St. Malachy wrote the work sometime around 1139 on his first visit to see the Pope, gave the prophetic papers to the then Pope, Innocent II, who kept them hidden for 400 years. Somehow the papers became public and the news leaked out to the world.
Did St. Malachy Even Write the Prophecies?
There's much debate over the legitamacy of St. Malachy being the original author. It's widely believed (by skeptics and "historians") that the prophecies were written sometime around 1550, just in time for Arnold Wion to publish them. They claim that the prophecies seem more precise before then and the latter ones involve a little guess-work to make the lines fit. Some people even claim it was Nostradamus who wrote them and credited the papers to St. Malachy to avoid prosecution by the Catholic authorities. Some people also claim that since the Vatican knows about the prophecies of St. Malachy, they choose their Popes according to lists. I think that's completely bogus myself.
The Accuracy of the Prophecies
Whoever the author really was, many of the descriptions are pretty accurate. All 112 prophecies are done in a short, Latin phrase which corresponds with each Pope. Their meanings quite often have to do with things such as the Pope's place of birth or Coat of Arms.
Rather than fill up this entire page with a huge list, I'll keep this page current starting with the 1900's. There'll be a separate page for the entire list - in short form for those interested in times before that.
1878-1903 - Lumen in Caelo (Light in the sky)
His coat of arms showed a shooting star.
St. Pius X
1903-1914 - Ignis ardens (Burning fire)
This pope was known for his devotion - his burning fire for the Church.
1914-1922 - Religio depopulata (Religion unpeopled)
The motto can also mean "religion laid waste". During Benedict XV's time, World War 1 happened, killing 15 million Europeans, and Russia became the atheist soviet Union.
1922-1939 - Fides intrepida (Intrepid faith)
Pius XI condemned Nazi racism and signed agreements with Italy which recognized the Vatican as a separate country.
1939-1958 - pastor angelicus (Angelic shepherd)
Pius XII was a mystical pope who was believed to have received visions.
1958-1963 - Pastor et Nauta (Shepherd and sailor)
John XXIII was patriarch of Venice - the sailor city famous for its gondolas and roads of water. An interesting story here is that of Cardinal Spellman of New York. After reading about the prophecies of St. Malachy, he rented a boat, filled it with sheep and sailed up and down the Tiber River.
1963-1978 - Flos Florum (Flower of flowers)
Paul VI's coat of arms included 3 fleurs-de-lis, the flower symbol used to represent the French monarchy. Fleur-de-lis literally means flower of lily, which in a way is also a flower of a flower.
John Paul 1
1978-1978 - De medietate lunae - (Of the half-moon)
This is where you can really see how people struggle to come up with a suitable meaning for the mottos. John Paul I's reign lasted a whole 33 days - 5 days longer than the lunar cycle. He died the day before the new moon. He was born on a half moon. His real name, Albino Luciani, has been said to mean something. Albino relates to albus - meaning white; Luciani relates to Lucis - meaning light. His name, therefore, could literally mean "White Light". Other people goes so far as to say he was remembered as the "smiling Pope", resembling a half-moon. It is widely believed that John Paul I was poisoned and even Nostradamus hints at it.
John Paul II
1978-2005 - De labore Solis - (Labour of the sun)
Most of us are old enough to remember John Paul II. The motto is also said to possibly mean "eclipse of the sun", "pregnancy of the sun" or "travails of the sun". John Paul II was born May 18, 1920, during a partial solar eclipse over the Indian Ocean. He was buried on April 8, 2005, during a rare "hybrid" eclipse over South America and the Pacific. The motto is also said to possibly mean that this pope was the most travelled in history. He was around the world many times, much like the sun. I like the first version better myself.
Pope Benedict XVI
2005-???? - Gloria olivae (Glory of the Olive)
The olive branch is a symbol of the Benedictine monks. Pope Benedict wasn't a Benedictine but chose the name for his own reasons. His original name was Joseph Ratzinger. He was born on the feastday of Saint Benedict Joseph Labre - sharing the name Joseph as well as Benedict. The olive branch is also associated with peace, which could be another interpretation. Again, we get into so many different ways that it is possible to fit even someone like myself into the motto, however, I do think that the name Benedict says it all.
Peter of Rome
???? - Petrus Romanus
This is where St. Malachy becomes a doomsday prophecist. The motto for this one is longer than usual and translates to:
In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations; when they are over, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the terrible, fearsome Judge will judge his people. The End.
This could have many meanings. The new pope could call himself Pope Peter or he could originally be a Peter. One candidate for the next pope is Pietro (Peter) Parolin. Some people believe this prophetic entry is a modern forgery and shouldn't be given any thought. Some people look at the fact that there's no number corresponding with the Pope, which could mean there's a number of popes between Benedict and Peter, they could be the same person, or that Peter will be the first of a new era. This could be the end of the papacy, the end of the Church, the Church's final victory, or Armageddon.
What Can We Make of St. Malachy's Prophecy of the Popes?
My view is that only St. Malachy - or whoever wrote the prophecies of the Popes - knows for sure what the meanings of each one are. I think too many of them are far too accurate to be proven as coincidence. I remember my jaw dropping as I heard John Paul II was to be buried during an eclipse. Even if it were a 16th century forgery, what are the chances of that happening to the same Pope born during a solar eclipse?
Armageddon or the End of the Church?
When it comes to Peter the Roman, my view is that his name is, or will be Peter or something along those lines - Peter will fit in somewhere. I believe that it will be the end of the Catholic Church as we know it. I don't think Armageddon
means the end of mankind, but a complete change on the face of the earth. In the eyes of a Pope, the fall of the Vatican would truly be the end of the world. I think it will be the Church's own undoing that will fulfill the prophecy.
Did the Da Vinci Code Trigger Something?
I get into this in other articles so I won't say too much here. I think as our knowledge of history grows, so does our understanding that the Church is guilty of 2000 years of lies, deceit, greed and genocide. When you look at all the negative press about homosexual pedophiliac priests on one page of the paper and lawsuits dealing with The DaVinci Code and other anti-Christian works, the popularity of the Vatican is steadily declining. We're free people with more choice than ever before and don't need an old fart pretending to be the Chosen One telling us what to do. Sorry if I offend anyone for that, I just feel very strongly about it - that's just my opinion.
In closing, I think the coming years will fulfill St. Malachy's Prophecy of the Popes. We'll just have to keep our eyes open and wait to find out if the Saint was right.
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