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Popes and Prophecy

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Papal Prophecies

Popes themselves have made prophecies:

  • Pope Pius IX (1846-78): "There will come a great wonder, which will fill the world with astonishment. This wonder will be preceded by the triumph of revolution. The church will suffer exceedingly. Her servants and her chieftain will be mocked, scourged, and martyred."
  • Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903): After saying Mass on October 13, 1884, the Pope suddenly collapsed. Upon waking, he recounted a vision he had seen. "Oh, what a horrible picture I was permitted to see!" he said. He described a period of about 100 years when Satan's power was to reach its maximum, a decline of moral and spiritual values. Those hundred years would have included most of the 20th century.
  • Pope Pius X (1903-14): This Pope had a number of prophetic visions. In 1909, in the midst of an audience with members of the Franciscan order, he seemed to fall into a trance. Moments passed, then his eyes sprung open and he jumped to his feet. "What I have seen is terrifying!" he cried out. "Will I be the one, or will it be a successor? What is certain is that the Pope will leave Rome and, in leaving the Vatican, he will have to pass over the dead bodies of his priests!" It's uncertain what this vision alluded to, but it is similar in many respects to the reported third prophecy of Fatima. Later, shortly before his death, another vision came to him: "I have seen one of my successors, of the same name, who was fleeing over the bodies of his brethren. He will take refuge in some hiding place; but after a brief respite, he will die a cruel death. Respect for God has disappeared from human hearts. They wish to efface even God's memory. This perversity is nothing less than the beginning of the last days of the world."
  • Pope Pius XII (1939-58) also experienced strange visions of a bleak future. After one of these experiences he told confidants, "Mankind must prepare itself for sufferings such as it has never before experienced… the darkest since the deluge."

(Source: Prophecies of Saints and Popes.)

St. Malachy

Perhaps the most famous prophecies about Popes allegedly come from St. Malachy O'Morgair, Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland. While in Rome to visit Pope Innocent II in 1139, Malachy had a vision in which he gave specific clues about the identities of every Pope to follow Innocent II to the end of time! These prophecies were hidden away until they were finally published in 1590. There is still an ongoing debate as to whether they are genuine prophecies from St. Malachy or are forgeries. Either way, they seem to have an eerie accuracy.

For example, these were his names for the three most recent Popes we've had:

  • Paul VI (1963-1978) he called Flos florum, which means "flower of flowers." Paul VI's coat of arms bore the image of three lilies.
  • John Paul I (1978) was called De medietate Lunae, meaning "of the half of the moon." John Paul reigned for about a month - from half a moon to the next half.
  • John Paul II (1978-) he named as De labore Solis, or "from the labor of the sun." John Paul II was born during a partial solar eclipse (May 18, 1920). There was also a rare "hybrid" eclipse on the day of his funeral.

There are only two Popes named by St. Malachy after John Paul II. The first he names Gloria olivae or "The Glory of the Olive." It was long thought that this prophecy meant that this Pope would come from the Benedictine order of priests because the order is also known as the Olivetans. In fact, according to open book, "Saint Benedict himself prophesied that before the end of the world his order, known also as the Olivetans, will triumphantly lead the Catholic Church in its fight against evil." Although Cardinal Ratzinger is not a Benedictine, he chose the name Benedict XVI.

The second will be named Peter, and he may be the last Pope. Malachy's prophecy about Peter says, "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, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people."

The end of the world?

(Source: See Prophecy of St. Malachy for a complete list of the Popes he names.)
Also see The Last Pope: The Decline and Fall of the Church of Rome: The Prophecies of St. Malachy for the New Millennium by John Hogue.

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