Recenly I read an article originally published in an Italian newspaper that said the current pope was considering the possibility of resigning this coming April. The following is part of the article:Media say Pope may resign in April
According to Italian daily newspaper "Libero", Pope Benedict XVI is thinking about leaving the papacy next April, when he will turn 85
There is one front page news story that will certainly not go unnoticed: that is, that the Pope is thinking about resigning during the Spring of 2012. Journalist Antonio Socci has confirmed the same in the Italian daily, Libero.
"For now,” Socci writes, “he is saying that this may be true (Joseph Ratzinger’s personal assumption), but I hope the story does not reach the news. But this rumor is circulating high up in the Vatican and therefore deserves close attention. The Pope has not rejected the possibility of his resignation when he turns 85 in April next year.”
Socci recalls that the assumption he will resign, without any hitches, was the same thing Ratzinger talked about in an interview in the book “Luce del mondo” (Light of the World), when, in response to a question by interviewer Peter Seewald, he said: “When a Pope arrives at a clear awareness that he no longer has the physical, mental, or psychological capacity to carry out the task that has been entrusted to him, then he has the right, and in some cases, even the duty to resign.” Furthermore, in another passage, Benedict XVI wondered if he would be able to “withstand it all, just from the physical point of view.”
The above article got me thinking about St Malachy and his prophecies about the popes. St Malachy lived in the 12th century and supposedly had visions after a visit to Rome in 1139.
Let me make it clear that these prophecies should not be given the same weight as the Bible. I simply found it interesting and I pass it along to others who may also find it of interest. It makes me wonder though if the last pope is waiting in the wings. Clearly, we don't know. My conjecture is that if we are living in the last days (as I believe) then perhaps the rapture and coming tribulation is very near.
The first number on the left represents the total number of popes since the beginning. As I understand it, the second number would be the number count since St Malachy wrote his prophecy. I have reproduced the section of his prophecies starting with Pope Paul VI. The source for the information that follows is wikipedia.
264 108 Flower of flowers Paul VI (1963–1978) Giovanni Battista Enrico Antonio Maria Montini His coat of arms features three flowers. De medietate lunæ.
265 109 From the midst of the moon John Paul I (1978) Albino Luciani His month-long reign began with the moon half-full. De labore ſolis.
266 110 From the labor of the sun Bl. John Paul II (1978–2005) Karol Wojtyła Born on the day of a solar eclipse. Gloria oliuæ.
267 111 Glory of the olive. Benedict XVI (2005–present) Joseph Ratzinger
In ꝑsecutione extrema S.R.E. ſedebit.
He will reign during the ultimate persecution of the Holy Roman Church. Petrus Romanus, qui paſcet oues in multis tribulationibus: quibus tranſactis ciuitas ſepticollis diruetur, & Iudex tremẽdus iudicabit populum ſuum. Finis. 268 112 Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end. Unknown Unknown
The longest and final motto reads in the original Latin:
In ꝑſecutione extre-
Petrus Romanus, qui
- ma S.R.E. ſedebit.
- paſcet oues in mul-
- tis tribulationibus:
- quibus tranſactis ci-
- uitas ſepticollis di-
- ruetur, & Iudex tre
- mẽdus iudicabit po
- pulum ſuum. Finis.
- This is usually translated into English as:
"In the last persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit [i.e., as bishop].
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 terrible judge will judge his people.
However, in the 1595 Lignum Vitae, the line In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit. forms a separate sentence and paragraph of its own, and it is unclear whether it is grammatically related to Gloria Olivae which precedes it, or to Petrus Romanus, which follows it.
There is, also, a claim that the original list written by St. Malachy, does not contain a reference to Petrus Romanus and that the last lines were added to the printed text in Wyon's Lignum Vitæ. This, however, cannot be proved, as the original manuscript (if any) probably no longer exists.