By now you are aware of the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and the election of his replacement, Pope Francis. You may have also heard mention of the “Prophecies of the Popes”. The prophesies authorship credited to St. Malachy and there is also some suspicion they were penned hundreds of years after St. Malachy’s death. Regardless of the author, these prophecies are said to some of the most accurate in history and whoever wrote them was a true prophet.
History tells us that St. Malachy, and 12th century monk from Ireland. During a visit to Rome, he had a vision of all the Popes that would follow from his time, beginning with Pope Celestine II forward. Writing in Latin, he composed a list of phrases that described 111 Popes of the future. This was followed by an apocalyptic finish that told of 112 pontiffs then judgment day or the end of religion as we know it. I know when most of us read or hear the word “apocalypse” we have visions of gloom and doom. The Greek meaning of the word is actually enlightenment. How’s that for an apocalypse?
The prophesy of the 112th Pope states “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Petrus Romanus, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The End.”
Some interpretations also list this last Pope and Satan incarnate or “Satan become man”. Nostradamus predicts a black pope will arrive about at this time in history. Clearly Pope Francis the 1st is not a black man. He is not from Italy and his name is not Peter. So does this mean the prophesy is false? Let’s take a closer look.
Pope Francis I was born Jorge Mario Bergoglio on December 17, 1936 in Buenos Aries, Argentina. Ok. He is not a Roman. He’s not even European. But he is also a Jesuit; the first Jesuit Pope ever elected out of all 266 popes. There is no Peter in either his birth name or his chosen papal name. That is until you examine things more closely.
Pope Francis’ father was an Italian who immigrated to Argentina and his mother was an Italian born in Argentina. So now we know he is Roman at least. But what about the name “Peter”? The Pope chose the name ‘Francis’ after the renowned Jesuit, St. Francis of Assisi. St. Fancis was born “Giovanni di Pietro di Bernardon”. “Pietro” is Italian for “Peter”. There was also a time in St. Francis’ life where he joined the poor that begged in St. Peter’s Basilica. This experience was what actually moved him to live the rest of his life in poverty. Pope Francis chose his name because of this love of the poor. It should be noted that the Pope will also wear the ring of St. Peter.
There is still the question of the “black pope” Nostradamus predicted. Well as it turns out the head for the Jesuit order of which Francis is a member, is called the “Black Pope”. The term comes from the black robes worn by the Jesuits.
So there you have it! The prophesy does seem to match with the facts. I just wonder if there is a prophetic message in the Pope’s own words. It was reported that after a dinner at the Vatican with the Cardinals, that the new Pope joked and said “God forgive you for what you have done”. Only time will tell.