Ancient Catholic prophecies by a revered Irish bishop end with the chilling prediction that the new Pope, Pope Francis — who Tuesday celebrated his inauguration to succeed Benedict XVI — will be the last Pope.
St. Malachy, an Archbishop of Armagh who died in 1148, left behind a list of 112 Popes that has amazed some with its remarkable accuracy.
Malachy used a short phrase in Latin to describe each Pope, beginning with Celestine II and “From a castle on the Tiber.” That Pope’s birth name was Guido di Castello.
More recently, he described Pope John Paul I with the phrase: “From the midst of the moon.” His reign, which began in 1978, began with the moon half full and lasted only one month — or one moon.
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He was followed by Pope John Paul II by the Latin expression “Laboris Solis” — or translated “From the labor of the sun” — an expression meaning a solar eclipse.
As it turned out, John Paul II was the only known pope to be born on the day of a solar eclipse — and he was buried on the day of a solar eclipse.
A near total eclipse was seen across Europe on May 18, 1920, the day he was born in Poland. And on April 8, 2005, the day of the Pope’s funeral, a partial solar eclipse blotted out most of the sun and darkened a wide area of the world, from the South Pacific to the Western Hemisphere.
For the next Pope, Benedict XVI, St. Malachy wrote: “Glory of the olive.” Before the Pope was selected, some suggested a Benedictine would be elected because the order is sometimes referred to as the Olivetans, whose name ultimately derives from the Mount of Olives in the New Testament.
A Benedictine was not selected. However, upon his election as pontiff, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger chose the name Benedict after St. Benedict of Nursia, founder of the Benedictine Order.
St. Malachy described only one more Pope after Benedict, “Petrus Romanus” or “Peter the Roman.”
The Irish prophet wrote: “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city (Rome) will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people.”
Some believe the prophecy could foretell the destruction of the Church, or the world, and play into Christian prophecy as revealed in the book of Revelation which suggests a final battle between good and evil.
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St. Malachy’s prophecies were first published in 1595 by a Benedictine historian.
According to a traditional account, Malachy was summoned to Rome by Pope Innocent II in 1139, and while there he purportedly experienced a vision of future Popes. He recorded the vision in his cryptic phrases and this manuscript was left in an archive and forgotten until its rediscovery in 1590.
A book published last year entitled “Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope Is Here,” by authors Cris Putnam and Tom Horn, detailed the Malachy prophecy and predicted that the current Pope would abdicate for health reasons, paving the way for the final Pope.
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