In the year 1139, St. Malachy, an Irish bishop with a notedgift of prophecy, visited Rome and, as the result of avision, wrote a single line of description for 112 futurepopes.

The list has been strikingly accurate, and the new pope hasalso fulfilled the prophecy about him. Pope 111 (the secondto the last) is described as “Gloria Olivae,” the Glory ofthe Olive. The olive is associated with St. Benedict’s orderof Bendictines, who are also called the Olivetans. CardinalRatzinger chose the name Benedict in honor of St. Benedict,who was one of the original and most powerful evangelizersof Europe. He has dedicated his pontificate to there-evangelization of Europe.

The manuscript was discovered in the Vatican library in1590, and its authenticity has been questioned. However, itsaccuracy into modern times has been amazing.In some cases,it could be that popes have intentionally identified theirpapacies with the prophecies. For example,Paul VI, the 108th pope, was called “Flors Florum,” orFlower of Flowers. His coat of arms, based around that ofthe Montini family, contained three fleur de lys. However,John PaulI, Pope 109, was prophesied as “De Medietate Lunae,” Of theHalf Moon. John Paul I became pope on August 26, 1978, whenthe moon was precisely half full. The date of his elevationcould not have been chosen in advance, because the date ofthe death of his predecessor could not have been known. Evenmore convincingly, John Paul II, “De LaboreSolis,” from the Work of the Sun, was born on May 8, 1920,during a solar eclipse. In St. Malachy’s time, a solareclipse was called a “labore solis,” or sun-work, as thereason for eclipses was not then understood.

The 112th and last prophecy states that the pope will be”Petrus Romanus,” or Peter the Roman, and he will reignduring a time of terrific persecution. His reign will endwith the destruction of Rome and the coming of the “terriblejudge” of mankind.

Should the prophecy of St. Malachy be taken seriously? Ithas been, to a lesser or greater degree, accurate about allof the papacies it has described since Clement III in 1143.This, in itself, is an amazing feat.

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