|Back to Back Issues Page|
The Last Pope? Revising the Prophecy of St. Malachy
August 05, 2017
The Last Pope? Revisiting the Prophecy of St. Malachy
Archbishop Ganswin, papal secretary to both Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, has dramatically brought the Church’s attention back to an ancient prophecy that predicts that Benedict XVI will be the second-to-the-last pope prior to the return of Jesus Christ.
In an interview last May 20, 2016, on the occasion of a book about Benedict XVI’s papacy written by Fr. Roberto Regoli, Archbishop Ganswin called attention to the “prophesy of the popes” attributed to St. Malachy, and said that prophecy is a “wake-up call”.
St. Malachy, an Irish Catholic bishop, was known as a gifted prophet, even predicting the date of his own death in 1148. The first native-born Irishman to be canonized, he is known in the Roman Catholic Church for his work as a healer, a miracle worker, and as a reformer of the Church in Ireland. He was canonized in 1190 by Pope Clement III. Malachy was visiting Rome in 1139 when he went into a trance and received a vision. He wrote down this extraordinary vision in which he claims to have foreseen all of the popes from the death of Innocent II until the destruction of the church and the return of Christ. He named exactly 112 popes from that time until the end.
Number 111 on the list, the “Glory of the Olive”, is Benedict XVI because the Benedictines have a branch called the Olivetans. Pope Benedict XVI was not a Benedictine priest, yet he chose the name of Benedict, founder of the Order of Saint Benedict. The symbol of the Benedictine order includes an olive branch. The prophesy, therefore, foretells that Benedict XVI was the second to the last pope prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
“Indeed, when looking at the prophecy, and considering how there was always a sound reference to popes mentioned in its history – that gives me the shivers,” Archbishop Gänswein said. Although Catholics aren’t required to accept the prophecy, “speaking from historical experience, one has to say: Yes, it is a wake-up call.”
First published in 1595 by Arnold de Wyon, a Benedictine monk, Malachy’s prophecy consists of 112 short Latin descriptions of future popes. Malachy’s prophecy consists of 112 short Latin descriptions of future popes. Each of these descriptions identifies one outstanding trait for each of these future popes, beginning with Pope Celestine II, who was elected in 1130. This list stretches all the way from the time of St. Malachy to the present, describing, among many others, Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and finally, “Peter the Roman”, the last pope prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
Although through the years many critics have questioned the authenticity of the prophesy, many scholars and even clergy have come to its defense, citing the incredible accuracy of the prophecies.
Scholars have matched up the descriptions with each pope since that time. “Though they are a bit obscure, they have fit the general profile of each of the popes,” wrote Lindsey. For example, Malachy’s description of John XXII, who held the papacy from 1316 to 1334, is “de sutore osseo,” which means “from the bony shoemaker.” This particular pope was, indeed, the son of a shoemaker, and held the family name of “Ossa,” meaning bone. In another close match, Malachy used the term “lilium et rosa” to describe Urban VII, whose family crest was composed of roses and lilies.
A modern version of Malachy’s prophecies was published in 1969 by Archbishop H. E. Cardinale, the Apostolic Nuncio to Belgium and Luxembourg. Cardinale wrote “it is fair to say the vast majority of Malachy’s predictions about successive Popes is amazingly accurate – always remembering that he gives only a minimum of information.”
|Back to Back Issues Page|