Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Prophecies Of Saint Malachy

I've always had an interest in world hunger, but my last post was spurred on by James Rollins' novel—The Doomsday Key. This is the third book I've read by Rollins. He's a veterinarian turned novelist who has a great mind for science and history. But besides the hunger and overpopulation scenario played out in his story, he brought up the Prophecies Of Saint Malachy, a 12th century bishop in Ireland who, while in Rome, was purported to have had a vision of every future pope to the end of time. They number 111 or 112 depending on how you look at things. He simply uttered a symbolic name for each pope while a servant recorded them. Many of those names seem to be very accurate. For instance the late John Paul II he refers to as “De Labore Solis” which seems to mean “from the sun's labors.” As it turns out, John Paul was born on the day of a solar eclipse.

Anyway, many of those mystical names don't seem to have any connection to the popes, but several others do. Some people think the prophecies are a 16th century forgery because they weren't published until then, supposedly having been found among the Vatican's archives. What's interesting to think about though is that the current pope is the second to last according to these prophecies. The last pope is referred to as Petrus Romanus (Peter the Roman). The prophecy claims that the Church will undergo some kind of persecution during his reign, and that he, “shall feed the sheep amid great tribulations, and when these have passed, the City of the Seven Hills shall be utterly destroyed, and the awful Judge will judge the people.” Of course the Vatican is the City of the 7-hills.

Quite honestly I don't believe in the prophecies at all. Obviously, not being Catholic, I don't think there's anything at all special about the Catholic Church compared to any other sect or see any reason why God would single them out in a prophecy about the end of the world. (I'd like to think that's what us Episcopalians are for!) More importantly, there was not one mention of these prophecies prior to their being “found” 4 centuries after they were written. Even St. Bernard of Clairvaux, who was a friend of St. Malachy and the author of his biography, never said anything about any prophecies coming from his friend.

Still, it is interesting to note that if the next pope is the last one, that the world hunger/population problem will just happen to reach it's doomsday point during his reign.