The Prophecy of the Popes

02-17-2013Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

St. Malachy (1094-1148) was an Irish priest who became Bishop of Armagh and was noted for his leadership, education and mystical experiences. Almost 900yrs ago while in Rome on a visit to Pope Innocent II, Malachy received a disturbing vision in which he saw the next 112 popes beginning with Pope Celestine II (1130 A.D.) the successor of Innocent II and ends with the Pope of the last days. This has become known as "The Prophecy of the Popes". Afterwards St. Malachy wrote down short Latin phrases that give some clue to the identity of each pope. Mostly these clues involve something of the pope's personality, character, birth, place of origin, coat of arms or motto. As is often the case with mystical visions translating them into humanly understandable language is difficult and hence cryptic and symbolic in description. After almost 900yrs we are now coming to the end of the list of popes as foretold by St. Malachy.

For instance the 109th Pope is described as "from the midst or middle of the moon". This may refer to the fact that Albino Luciano was elected as the 109th Pope midway through the lunar cycle and died 30 days later at the midpoint of the lunar phase. Pope number 110 on Malachy's list is described as "from the labor of the sun". The 110th Pope is John Paul II and he was born on the day of a solar eclipse and was entombed on the day of a solar eclipse as well. The 111th pope is described by Malachy as "the glory of the olives". The "glory of the olives" would likely be St. Benedict as one of the branches of the Order of Monks that he founded is called the Olivitians. While Josef Ratzinger was not a member of the Benedictines he nonetheless choose the name Benedict when elected pope.

When it comes to extra-biblical prophecy we obviously have to be careful, as Satan is the great counterfeiter. We know that biblical prophecy is 100% accurate 100% of the time. One hallmark of biblical prophecy is that it tells the end from the beginning. So when it comes to extra-biblical prophecy it too must in no way contradict the Bible and have the same level of accuracy. Satan can use his superhuman power to deceive us by using the right person at the right time but he can only tell us his plan and not the outcome of that plan. Only God can tell us what the outcome will be. Whether a prophecy is infallibly accurate is known only after the events foretold. So we shall soon see if this be the case with the Prophecy of the Popes.

The last pope on Malachy's list is called "Petrus Romanus" (Peter the Roman) and to him Malachy gives the longest description of all the listed popes. He tells us: "Peter the Roman will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished the city of the seven hills [Rome] will be destroyed and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The END".

Now whether the new pope coming after the "glory of the olives" is Peter the Roman is still to be seen. The Prophecy of the Popes is unclear if there are more popes after pope number 111 and before Peter the Roman or if Pope number 112 is in fact the final Pope. We will soon find out.

I'm not trying to paint a doomsday scenario. This is just a unique historical moment to see if the 900yr old enigma of St. Malachy holds and if it does what does it foretell about the course of future world events? As Christians we live in expectation of the Lord's coming which means we also have to live prepared for the Lord's return in glory.

No doubt that history is moving to its culmination. The Holy Spirit is on the move at the highest levels of the Church and so we can expect an outpouring of gifts, discernment and direction. It is starting to make sense why so many of the institutions that the Church inhabited over the centuries are crumbling. They will not be needed in the future. What will be needed is faith and the spiritual weapons of light that will allow us to be victorious over the encroaching darkness and then join our brothers and sisters in the halls of heaven.

The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come'.
And let everyone who hears say, 'Come'.
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
— Rev. 22:17

Come Lord Jesus. Until then grace and peace be yours.

Love, Fr. John B