Of all the ancient prophecy of the Roman Catholic Church, Saint Malachy’s prophecy is one of the most discussed subjects that intrigued the minds of many historians. Though the authenticity of the prophecy is argued by many historians, several interpreters still considered Malachy’s prophecy as a fascinating account with tremendous accuracy. According to Abbe’ Cucherat, St. Malachy the then Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland was summoned to the Vatican in 1139 by Pope Innocent II. And there in Rome he receives a vision from God, where he predicted the next 112 Popes beginning with Pope Celestine II. He was given prophetic cryptic phrase in Latin and predicted their characteristics. He said that the 112th Pope from his time would be the final Pontiff and concludes “In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will sit Peter the Roman who will pastor his sheep through many tribulations, and when these things are finished the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people, the end.’’ The alleged prophecies were first published in 1595 by Arnold Wion. Since then people began speculating about the prophecy. If the list of description in the prophecy is matched on a one-to one basis from Pope Celestine II, Pope Francis the Current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church would be the 112th Roman Pontiff. Pope Francis, the first Jesuit Pope was elected on 13th March 2013. He is perhaps one of the most controversial Bishop of Rome in the history of the Roman Catholic Church. He has been at the center of the Church’s clerical sexual abuse and cover-ups ever since, the grand jury report over abuse in Pennsylvania surfaced in August in 2018. He is also criticized by Catholic Cardinals, Priests and theological conservatives regarding his apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia, the issue of giving Holy Communion to divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. On August 11, 2017 a 25-page letter signed by 40 Catholic clergy and lay scholars entitled ‘Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis’ (literally, A filial correction concerning the propagation of heresies) was delivered to Pope Francis. It states that the Pope has, by his apostolic exhortation, Amoris laetitia and by other, related words, deeds and omissions effectively propagate heresies about marriage, the moral life and the reception of the sacraments in the Church. In May 18, 2018 CNN reports mass resignation of Chilean Bishops over sex abuse scandal. Again in Oct. 19, 2013 Traditionalist Roman Catholic Bishop Bernard Fellay warned that “Pope Francis is precipitating the Church’s decline and could be herald that the world is entering the age of the Antichrist.”
Such and many other similar charges are increasingly evident on the internet and YouTube. On the other side of the story Pope Francis is noted for his humility, his concern for the poor and commitment to interfaith dialogue, on care for our common home, climate change and is extremely popular in most part of the world. A ‘world values survey’ conducted in February 2014 shows favorable views about the unity Pope Francis but the survey also found that members of the Catholic Church are deeply divided with at least some of his teachings. Today, the Church is in crisis. Priests, Bishops, Cardinals and lay scholars become outspoken against the Pope. Conservative wings and news outlet such as the Church Militant, The Remnant TV, comes out very strong against Francis and the progressive. The most devastating charges of all was an 11-page letter released on 25th August 2018 by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a former papal nuncio to the U.S accusing Pope Francis of being negligent in his responsibilities to the Church regarding Theodore McCarrick despite the knowledge he says the Vatican and the Pope Francis had about the Ex-Cardinal sexual abuse of seminarians. The letter called for Pope Francis to resign. Do any of these crisis and accusations have anything to do with St. Malachy’s prophecy? Has something like this scandal ever happens before in the history of the papacy? If Pope Francis is the last Pope how would the Catholic Church be like in the future? Given the accurate description of previous Popes in the prophecy as interpreted by some and looking at the current situation, one might ask if Pope Francis be the last Pope. But history also tells us that similar or even worse crisis had perpetually taken place in the Church. There had been lots of scandals-blood baths, mob violence and corruption, sexual perversion, buying and selling of papacy power in the history of the church. For instance Pope Benedict IX was described as a “demon from hell in the disguise of a priest” by Saint Peter Damien due to his promiscuity conduct. What about Pope Alexander VI who had acknowledged fathering several children by his mistresses? What about Pope Leo X who was associated with granting indulgences in protestant circles? What about Pope John XII and Pope Stephen the VI and Leo the V and John the VIII. All of these Popes mentioned and more had issues in the Papacy but despite all these unbelievable horror, the Church continues with succeeding Popes. So what really is the fuss about? Was Saint Malachy prophesying about the final destruction of the World as we see in 2 Peter 3:10 and not just the line of Popes? “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.” Only God knows! Thought exposing error and falsehood is reasonable but using a conjectural prophecy as a tool to spread hate as we see in the media is wrong.
I believe all God revealed truths are meant for discernment and not to condemn someone. I wished all of us learned how to correct error without hurting the person. As far as Pope Francis-the last Pope is concern; it won’t be long for us to unravel the mystery considering the fact that the Pope had recently celebrated his 82nd birthday.
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