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Saint Malachy: Will the next pope be the last pope?

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
February 17th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The often predicted Rapture, a protestant interpretation of the "last days", was supposed to come in 2011, according to a few - but it didn't. The world was supposed to end December 21 last year due to the Mayan calendar running out - but it didn't. Never fear: with Pope Benedict's resignation and the rush to find a replacement, the next pope is supposed to be the last pope - according to some interpretations of the writings of a 12th century Irish saint, Saint Malachy.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - St. Malachy, an Archbishop of Armagh lived between 1094 and 1148. St. Malachy is said to have travelled to Rome in 1139, where he reportedly experienced a vision of future popes, writing down a series of 112 cryptic phrases that described each one in turn.

Leading contender for the papacy, Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson, is being lined to Malachy's final prediction of  "Petrus Romanus," who will be the 112th and final pope after whom it is stated that the 'the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people."

The prophecy is not officially part of Catholic teaching, the Prophecy of the Popes is well known by Vatican officials and Catholic scholars. Naysayers have found ways to successfully link each of the phrases to a corresponding pope throughout the centuries.

For example, Pope John Paul II is associated with phrase No. 110, "From the labor of the sun," because he was both born and entombed on the day of a solar eclipse.

Current pope Benedict XVI, is linked to phrase No 111, "glory of the olive" due to the fact that some members of the monastic order founded by St. Benedict are known as Olivetans.

In the portentous final phrase, No 112, "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Petrus Romanus (Peter the Roman), 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."

With Cardinal Turkson being a member of the Roman Curia or Court of Rome, many have signaled it as the end of days.

Many experts believe the so-called "Prophecy of Popes" is phony; a fabrication made up in an attempt to increase a 16th-century cardinal's chances of becoming pope.

One of the strongest arguments against the prophecies is the fact that they only came to light in 1595, in a book by Benedictine monk Arnold de Wyon. The original text was said to have lain unnoticed in Rome's archives until Wyon published it.

Sister Madeleine Grace, a historical theologian at the University of St. Thomas who specializes in medieval texts, told NBC News: "There are just a number of red flags . The material that implies they're talking about future popes is rather scanty indeed, and there are factual errors . The likelihood is that they're some kind of forgery."

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