IN this season of Lent, we shall deviate from our regular production of insurance-related articles to tackle a more spiritual discourse, but not exactly spiritual. We give way to other human needs and to feed, as well, the necessities of our faith. I am referring to the papal predictions by Saint Malachy.
As a high-school student in the 1980s, I purchased an innocuous book, titled Book of Predictions, which compiled hundreds of predictions by dozens of soothsayers, from Nostradamus to forgettable quacks. Toward the end of the book was a section on “Saint Malachy’s Papal Predictions.” This was in the 1980s and the incumbent pope at that time was, of course, Pope John Paul II. In reading the book, the natural query was, who would be the next pope after John Paul II?
The book credits Malachy for “accurately” forecasting the identity of every single Roman Catholic pope from 1143 A.D. He predicts the popes by using descriptive terms which can be associated with the pope. And he gave these terms in the sequence by which the popes would succeed. In the case of Pope Paul VI, for example, Malachy predicted using the words: “flower of flowers.” Paul VI was eventually represented by Flos Florum and his coat of arms showed three fleurs-de-lis. John Paul II’s successor was predicted with the phrase Gloria Olivae or “glory of the olive.” Prior to the assumption of Pope Benedict, almost all interpreted that the next pope would be from the Benedictine Order for the order is also known by another name: Olivetans. Instead, Cardinal Ratzinger chose to be known as Pope Benedict.
Succeeding Gloria Olivae is Petrus Romanus. What is earth-shaking of Malachy’s predictions is that Petrus Romanus is the last on the list, triggering the speculation that Petrus Romanus is the last pope. The naming for Petrus Romanus comes with a prediction that “the 7-hilled city will be destroyed.”
In 1909 it was reported that Pope Pius X had a vision, after which he allegedly uttered, “What I see is terrifying. Will it be myself? Will it be my successor? What is certain is that the pope will quit Rome, and in leaving the Vatican, he will have to walk over the dead bodies of his priests.”
Among the other books I have read is the book on the Fatima apparitions in Portugal. Any devotee would, of course, know about the three secrets of the Fatima. The Third Secret remained a secret until it was finally revealed on June 26, 2000. That third secret, of a 1917 vision, was written in a letter made in 1944. The letter stated:
“We saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the Earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’
“And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father.’ Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions.”
The apparition at Fatima has received full recognition of the Catholic Church.
In March Pope Francis spoke about the possibility of being assassinated. Pope Francis has said: “Life is in God’s hands. I have said to the Lord, ‘You take care of me. But if it is Your will that I die or something happens to me, I ask You only one favor: that it doesn’t hurt. Because I am a real wimp when it comes to physical pain’” And quiet oddly, just a few weeks ago, he spoke about serving as pontiff for “another two or three years,” adding: “I feel that the Lord has placed me here for a short time” and that he had “a vague sensation he would not reign as pope for long.”
In the same month he made a surprise announcement declaring a massive holy festival on the month of December to mark the Extraordinary Jubilee Year beginning December 8. The last jubilee was in 1983 called by John Paul II to celebrate the 1,950 years since Jesus Christ’s redemption. The theme of the festival is mercy. It is expected to draw millions of Catholics to Rome and the Vatican. Almost simultaneously, the Islamic State militants “singled out” the Vatican for possible attack, showing online the group’s black flag flying over Saint Peter’s Basilica. This was released together with images of the beheaded 21 Coptic Christians in Egypt. The Islamic State’s propaganda magazine Dabiq ran a cover photo of the militant group’s flag flying above the Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican with the headline: “The failed crusade.” In the February 22 issue of the USA Today, it was reported that the terrorist group called Italy “the nation signed with the blood of the cross.” The Italian Interior Ministry is reported to be making plans to deploy 5,000 police officers to Rome after their deployment for the Milan Expo, which will end in October this year.
The Vatican has officially remained silent about these threats.
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