The Last Pope? Revisiting the Prophecy of St. Malachy

two popesArchbishop Ganswin, papal secretary to both Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, has dramatically brought the Church’s attention back to an ancient prophecy that predicts that Benedict XVI will be the second-to-the-last pope prior to the return of Jesus Christ.

In an interview last May 20, 2016, on the occasion of the launch of a book about Benedict XVI’s papacy written by Fr. Roberto Regoli, Archbishop Ganswin  called attention to the “prophecy of the popes” attributed to St. Malachy, and said that prophecy is a “wake-up call”.

St. Malachy, an Irish Catholic bishop, was known as a gifted prophet, even predicting the date of his own death in 1148. The first native-born Irishman to be canonized, he is known in the Roman Catholic Church for his work as a healer, a miracle worker, and as a reformer of the Church in Ireland. He was canonized in 1190 by Pope Clement III. Malachy was visiting Rome in 1139 when he went into a trance and received a vision. He wrote down this extraordinary vision in which he claims to have foreseen all of the popes from the death of Innocent II until the destruction of the church and the return of Christ. He named exactly 112 popes from that time until the end.

Number 111 on the list, the “Glory of the Olive”, is Benedict XVI because the Benedictines have a branch called the Olivetans. Pope Benedict XVI was not a Benedictine priest, yet he chose the name of Benedict, founder of the Order of Saint Benedict. The symbol of the Benedictine order includes an olive branch. The prophecy, therefore, foretells that Benedict XVI is the second to the last pope prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

“Indeed, when looking at the prophecy, and considering how there was always a sound reference to popes mentioned in its history – that gives me the shivers,” Archbishop Gänswein said. Although Catholics aren’t required to accept the prophecy, “speaking from historical experience, one has to say: Yes, it is a wake-up call.”

First published in 1595 by Arnold de Wyon, a Benedictine monk, Malachy’s prophecy consists of 112 short Latin descriptions of future popes. Each of these descriptions identifies one outstanding trait for each of these future popes, beginning with Pope Celestine II, who was elected in 1130. This list stretches all the way from the time of St. Malachy to the present, describing, among many others, Pope John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and finally, “Peter the Roman”, the last pope prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

Incredibly Accurate

Although through the years many critics have questioned the authenticity of the prophecy, many scholars and even clergy have come to its defense, citing the incredible accuracy of the descriptions of the future popes.

Scholars have matched up the descriptions with each pope since that time.  For example, Malachy’s description of John XXII, who held the papacy from 1316 to 1334, is “de sutore osseo,” which means “from the bony shoemaker.” This particular pope was, indeed, the son of a shoemaker, and held the family name of “Ossa,” meaning bone. In another close match, Malachy used the term “lilium et rosa” to describe Urban VII, whose family crest was composed of roses and lilies.

The prophecy for Paul VI was “Flos Florum” (Flower of Flowers) and his coat of arms contained three fleurs- de-lis (Isis blossoms). The description for John Paul I was “De Medietate Lunae,” (the Half Moon). He was baptized Albino Luciani (white light), was born in the diocese of Belluno (beautiful moon), became pope when there was a half moon (Aug. 26, 1978), and died after an eclipse of the moon.

John Paul II was prophesied under the title “De Labore Solis,” (from the labor of the sun), and indeed he was born during an eclipse of the sun on May 8, 1920.

A modern version of Malachy’s prophecies was published in 1969 by Archbishop H. E. Cardinale, the Apostolic Nuncio to Belgium and Luxembourg. Cardinale wrote “it is fair to say the vast majority of Malachy’s predictions about successive Popes is amazingly accurate – always remembering that he gives only a minimum of information.”

The Final Entry: The Last Pope

The final of the 112 Latin entries of the prophecy reads as follows.

In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations, and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills [Rome] will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The End.

There are three important points to note with regard to this final entry:

First, It foretells the “final persecution of the Holy Roman Church”.  Many Church events today bear witness to this reality that indeed, the Holy Roman Church is severely being persecuted, both by outside forces, as well as by “wolves in sheeps clothing” that are within the Church herself.  Prior to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ, there will be many “tribulations” that the Church and the faithful will have to bear.

Second, the city of the seven hills (Rome) will be destroyed.  The prophecy foretells the coming destruction of Rome.

Third, “Peter the Roman” will be the final pope.  Some reputable prophecies have pointed out that in the end times, there will reign a “false pope” who will create a false church.  Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, one of the greatest mystics of all time, saw a vision of the end times, where she saw the “baleful relationship between two popes”, and how the false church grew and size.  The Church-approved apparitions of Our Lady of Lasallete likewise predicted: “Rome will lose the faith and become the seat of the Antichrist”. Fr. Stefano Gobbi, founder of the Marian Movement of Priests and Laity, likewise received interior locutions from Our Lady, predicting that the false pope in the end would commit the “horrible abomination”, which would consist in the abolition of the Eucharist and the forming of a false , one-world ecumenical Church.  The messages given to Fr. Gobbi have received the nihil obstat and imprimatur; millions of faithful, and thousands of clergy, are part of the Marian Movement of Priests.

If there will be a false pope in the end times, as predicted by numerous reputable mystics and Marian apparitions, who then is “Peter the Roman”? While many have interpreted “Peter the Roman” to refer to Pope Francis, there is a weight of evidence, covered by this publication, which seems to indicate that Pope Francis is leading the Church in a vastly different direction from his predecessors.

In the messages of Jesus given to Maria Divine Mercy, Jesus explains that “Peter the Roman” is St. Peter himself, who will pasture the Church directly from the Heavens during the final persecution of the Catholic Church by the enemies that have taken their seat at the highest echelons of the Church hierarchy.

The prophecy of St. Malachy is, in the words of Archbishop Ganswein, a “wake up call for us.”  We are all called, in these perilous times, to become true soldiers of Jesus Christ, fighting to proclaim the full truth of the Catholic Faith against all error, and praying and imploring Our Lord: “Maranatha!”, come Lord Jesus!