The lightning strike over the Vatican at the annunciation of Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation could have been merely a random occurrence of nature.
But was it more than just a coincidence?
St. Malachy, a 12th Century Irish Archbishop, would probably have claimed that it was a premonition, hinting at the fate of the Catholic Church. St. Malachy prophesied that the next Pope, following after Pope Benedict XVI, will be the last.
St. Malachy not only claimed to have powers of prophecy, but he also held levitation powers, healing gifts, and visions. His papal prophecy occurred as he journeyed to the Vatican, where he then briefly described, with Latin descriptions, the 112 Popes.
The descriptions seem to pertain to the corresponding Pope, although some scholars claim that the description is so vague that any Pope could be stretched to fit the claim. Examples of the last five Popes and their prophesied description are as follows:
“Pastor et Nauta” or “shepherd and sailor” – John XXIII – John was the Patriarch of Venice, which is historically a city of sailors. On the day he took office, he claimed his goal was to be “a good shepherd.”
“Flos Florum” or “flower of flowers” – Paul VI – The coat-of-arms for this Pope portrayed three fleur-de-lis… corresponding with the prophecy.
“De Medietate Lanae” or “from the half moon” – John Paul I – John Paul’s papal election occurred during a half moon on August 26, 1978. He was also born into the diocese of Belluno, or “beautiful moon.”
“De Labore Solis” or “from the toil of the sun” – John Paul II – John Paul II was born during a solar eclipse.
“Gloria Olivae” or “the glory of the olive” – Pope Benedict XVI – The Pope chose the name Benedict from the founder of the Order of Saint Benedict, also known as the Olivetans.
“Petrus Romanus” or “Peter the Roman” – The final prophesy states that “[i]n the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations, and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The End.” This supposedly applies to the upcoming Pope.
St. Malachy claimed the 112th Pope would face trials and tribulations that would ultimately lead to the end. With Catholic commotion filling the news, with information about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, harassment of the Catholic Church’s view of homosexual marriage, and the recent contradiction between the Catholic Church’s view on abortion that contradicted their ruling for two twins who died in the womb of their mother. Could these be the beginning of the tribulations St. Malachy spoke about?
It is probable, considering St. Malachy supposedly received this papal prophecy from God himself. Yet this too contradicts the Catholic Church’s teaching about judgment day.
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Matthew 24:35-36).
Scholars also claim that it is merely a hoax. The prophecy went unpublished until 1595, although St. Malachy died in 1148. It is possible that it may have been forged because the descriptions after 1595 became more vague.
Are the links between the Latin descriptions given by St. Malachy taken to an extreme in order to be connected to the Popes, and no prediction of the future even exists? Or did God provide these visions to St. Malachy for a reason?
Are these chains of coincidences more than a coincidence? Are they fate of the Catholic church and perhaps the world? Or has it been merely an overblown hoax? These questions will likely remain unanswered. Only time will tell.