Dogma Alert

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Prophecy: Next pope to see world end

There's been a lot of chatter on the internet about the latest coronation of Pope Benedict XVI and how the passing of John Paul during an eclipse fits in nicely with the prophecies of St. Malachy. While story below is typical mainstream media fluff, there are writers on the internet who have put together some very intersting clues about this 12th century mystic. St Malachy and The Toil of the Sun is one such article written by Laura Knight-Jadczyk who, in another related article, also dissects the real connection between the da Vinci Code novel and the alchemist Fulcanelli. Worth checking out!


April 21, 2005
By Dan Sheehan
Of The Morning Call

By now, you probably know plenty about Pope Benedict XVI — his life, his teachings, his vision for the Catholic Church.

What you may not know is that his pontificate is predicted to be the next-to-last before the Second Coming.

That prophecy is attributed to an Irishman — a saint, no less. St. Malachy, a 12th century archbishop, is said to have composed a list of the 112 popes who would reign from his time until the end of time. He assigned each a Latin phrase meant to reflect something of the pontiff's character, background or style of rule.

According to the list, Benedict will be followed by Petrus Romanus — Peter of Rome — who will lead the church as the world ends and Jesus returns.

Most scholars dismiss the prophecies as a Renaissance forgery. The list was ostensibly written in 1140 but lost in the Vatican's archives until 1590, when the manuscript was rediscovered.

Debunkers point out that the Latin phrases are far more descriptive of the popes who reigned prior to that rediscovery. After that, matching popes to phrases is an exercise in broad interpretation, similar to discerning meaning in the prophecies of a more renowned seer, Nostradamus.

''It's been suggested that it was someone's idea of a joke,'' said Sandra Miesel, a Catholic author and historian whose most recent book, ''The Da Vinci Hoax,'' is a refutation of Dan Brown's best-selling Vatican-conspiracy potboiler, ''The Da Vinci Code.''

That hasn't stopped prophecy and conspiracy buffs from excitedly discussing Malachy's list on dozens of Web sites devoted to occultism, mysticism and end-of-days studies. Hal Lindsey, the author best known for a 1970s apocalypse-themed bestseller called ''The Late, Great Planet Earth,'' is among the cyberspace scribes calling attention to the prophecies.

Many of Malachy's descriptors seem rooted in the symbolism of family heraldry, but that art was virtually unknown in the saint's time, Miesel said.

She pointed to the description of Leo XI — translating to ''a billowy man'' — as a typically meaningless phrase.

Still, some of the descriptors are startling. For example, the 109th pope on the list is described as ''de medietate luna,'' meaning ''of the half-moon.''

Albino Luciani, born in Belluno (beautiful moon), Italy, under a half-moon in 1912, was elected pope in August of 1978 and took the name John Paul I. His reign began under a half-moon and ended 34 days later — about one moon cycle.

Clement XIII, an 18th century pontiff, was called ''Rosa Umbriae'' (the Rose of Umbria). Clement had been governor of Rieti in Umbria; the symbol of Rieti was a rose.

John Paul II — ''de labore solis,'' meaning ''of the labor of the sun'' — was born on the day of a partial solar eclipse, and buried on the day of another.

Spooky, no?

Well, no, Miesel said. Most of the phrases are so vague as to be meaningless. The one that applies to the 18th century Pope Benedict XIV translates to ''rural animal'' — an odd appellation for a man who was one of the most scholarly and sophisticated occupants of the Chair of Peter.

Miesel said phrases that seem to fit particular popes hardly bolster the arguments of the end-times peddlers who promote the prophecies. ''Even Nostradamus was right some of the time,'' she said.

Prophecy buffs were intrigued by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger's choice of the name Benedict, because it ties, albeit loosely, into the Malachy legend. The saint identifies this pope as ''Glory of the Olives.'' The Benedictines, whose monastic order includes a branch called Olivetans, have traditionally said this pope would come from their ranks.

Ratzinger was a diocesan priest, not a Benedictine monk, but may have been honoring the order's founder, St. Benedict, with his name choice. That's apparently close enough for many Malachy partisans.

The Rev. John Trigilio, a priest in the Diocese of Harrisburg who is well-known to national audiences through his regular appearances on EWTN, a Catholic television network, said he isn't surprised by the enduring popularity of the prophecies.

''I think it's the same reason why some people were so gullible to believe what's in 'The Da Vinci Code,''' he said. ''People like conspiracy. They like the idea of hidden prophecies. They don't like to trust completely in God, that the future is in his hands.''


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