Pope Benedict XVI shocked Catholics worldwide by resigning on Feb. 11, effective the end of February. He says it’s because of medical reasons and it very well may be. He’s 85, after all, and not in the best of health. But could there be another reason, one that goes back to the 12th century?
Saint Malachy, the Irish Bishop of Armagh in the 12th century predicted the future popes, 112 of them. He did a pretty good job of it, too. His accurate prophecies have made people really think for a long, long time. It should be noted, however, that, according to Wikipedia, the Catholic Church regards the prophecies as a forgery.
And where are we on St. Malachy’s list of popes? We’re at the next to the last one, actually. The prophecies end with the next pope after Benedict XVI.
"In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign 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. The End."
Saint Malachy received this somewhat strange vision in Rome in 1139. That vision named all the popes from his time forward. Is it time for the last pope to step up? Oddly or prophetically, one of the leading contenders for the next pope is Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson from Ghana. It has long been thought that a future pope would be black. And his name is Peter. Is he Peter Romanus?
Cardinal Turkson isn’t the only candidate for the job, though. The cardinal everyone thought would become pope when Pope Benedict was elected was Cardinal Francis Arinze and he will probably be on the list again. There is also a strong following behind New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
Was St. Malachy really accurate? Although he didn't call out each pope by name, he identified something about each one that was chillingly accurate.
He identified Pope John Paul II as “De labore Solis,” which means “of the eclipse of the sun.” Pope John Paul II was the polish-born Karol Wojtyla. He was born on May 18, 1920 during a solar eclipse. There has been something accurate in his prophecies of all 112 popes.
Of course, there’s no certainty that Cardinal Peter Turkson will be the next (last) pope. However, they say the proof of a prophet is if the prophecies come true. It will be interesting to see what happens when the conclave meets to select the next pope.