Skip to comments.St. Malachy's prophecy, misread?
Posted on 03/20/2012 8:01:26 PM PDT by dangus
I hate to encourage any silliness about the prophecy of St. Malachy, which supposedly list every pope from Pope Celestine II (AD 1143). But I just found out that everyone who's been going around citing how Benedict XVI is the last Pope before Petrus Romanus has been following the same wrong translation.
There is no numbering of the popes. Each phrase is simply interpreted as referring to a separate pope. The last several popes are listed as such:
De medietate lunæ.
De labore ſolis.
In Psecutione extrema S.R.E. ſedebit.
Petrus Romanus, qui paſcet oues in multis tribulationibus: quibus tranſactis ciuitas ſepticollis diruetur, & Iudex tremẽdus iudicabit populum ſuum.
That's 5 popes before "Finis," right?
Except all the end-times nuts count it as 4, conflating "In Psecutione extrema S.R.E. ſedebit." with "Petrus Romanus." Yet, they are listed separately with a period in between.
Nonetheless, despite the indicated sentence break, these two lines are typicall translated without break: "In the extreme [or final] persecution of the SRE [Holy Roman Church], will sit 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."
Nonsense. It should be read: "In extreme persecution, the Holy Roman Church will sit." Then the phrase about Peter the Roman. By referring the the Holy Roman Church, it could mean a period without a pope (sede vacante), but then "sit" sorta betrays that notion. It could mean that a long line of popes will extend throughout persistent persecution. Most likely, a Pope, as an embodiment of the Holy Roman Church sits through a persecution. In any event, it does not refer to the reign of Peter the Roman.
Thanks for the Clarity!
Very interesting! thanks for the information.
Prophecy of St Malachy
When I read “The Year of Three Popes” by Peter Hebblethwaite (about the events of 1978 which saw the death of Paul VI, the election and death of John Paul I, and then the election of John Paul II) he mentions the spate of editorials in the Osservatore Romano and the spate of letters to the editor in the Times of London at the time of the conclaves about what the mottoes attributed to the dead pope or the next pope by St Malachy in his prophecies might mean. Enthralled, I went to the library and looked through the microfilm of the Times to read the letters myself. And then I tried to track down a copy of the prophecies. I have them reproduced below, as well as an explanation of them from the Catholic Encyclopedia.
The prevailing view today is that they are elaborate forgeries, probably perpretrated by a school of Jesuits in the 1600s. This is based on the clear relation of the mottos to the various popes until that period, and the need to find oblique references (such as the motto of the Pope’s home diocese) to make the particular motto fit the particular pope. The inclusion of anti-popes would also appear to militate against the authenticity of the prophecies.
Nevertheless, as each new conclave comes and goes, people start to become a bit jittery about them (since the list runs out soon!).
Apparently, in 1958, before the Conclave that would elect Pope John XXIII, Cardinal Spellman of New York hired a boat, filled it with sheep and sailed up and down the Tiber River, to show that he was “pastor et nautor”, the motto attibuted to the next Pope in the prophecies!
I think they are a bit of fun, and the semantic exercise of trying to fit the motto to the Pope that goes on in letters to the editor around the world is great reading!
According to the prophecy, the current Pope may be the second last Pope Gloria Olivæ (”Glory of the Olives”).
However, it should be noted that some commentators over the centuries have pointed out that there is nothing that says there will be no popes between Gloria Olivæ and Petrus Romanus. It may be that there will be a long line of popes between them!
(From the Catholic Encyclopedia 1913 edition)
The most famous and best known prophecies about the popes are those attributed to St. Malachy. In 1139 he went to Rome to give an account of the affairs of his diocese to the pope, Innocent II, who promised him two palliums for the metropolitan Sees of Armagh and Cashel. While at Rome, he received (according to the Abbé Cucherat) the strange vision of the future wherein was unfolded before his mind the long list of illustrious pontiffs who were to rule the Church until the end of time. The same author tells us that St. Malachy gave his manuscript to Innocent II to console him in the midst of his tribulations, and that the document remained unknown in the Roman Archives until its discovery in 1590 (Cucherat, “Proph. de la succession des papes”, ch. xv). They were first published by Arnold de Wyon, and ever since there has been much discussion as to whether they are genuine predictions of St. Malachy or forgeries. The silence of 400 years on the part of so many learned authors who had written about the popes, and the silence of St. Bernard especially, who wrote the “Life of St. Malachy”, is a strong argument against their authenticity, but it is not conclusive if we adopt Cucherat’s theory that they were hidden in the Archives during those 400 years.
These short prophetical announcements, in number 112, indicate some noticeable trait of all future popes from Celestine II, who was elected in the year 1130, until the end of the world. They are enunciated under mystical titles. Those who have undertaken to interpret and explain these symbolical prophecies have succeeded in discovering some trait, allusion, point, or similitude in their application to the individual popes, either as to their country, their name, their coat of arms or insignia, their birth-place, their talent or learning, the title of their cardinalate, the dignities which they held etc. For example, the prophecy concerning Urban VIII is Lilium et Rosa (the lily and the rose); he was a native of Florence and on the arms of Florence figured a fleur-de-lis; he had three bees emblazoned on his escutcheon, and the bees gather honey from the lilies and roses. Again, the name accords often with some remarkable and rare circumstance in the pope’s career; thus Peregrinus apostolicus (pilgrim pope), which designates Pius VI, appears to be verified by his journey when pope into Germany, by his long career as pope, and by his expatriation from Rome at the end of his pontificate. Those who have lived and followed the course of events in an intelligent manner during the pontificates of Pius IX, Leo XIII, and Pius X cannot fail to be impressed with the titles given to each by the prophecies of St. Malachy and their wonderful appropriateness: Crux de Cruce (Cross from a Cross) Pius IX; Lumen in cælo (Light in the Sky) Leo XIII; Ignis ardens (Burning Fire) Pius X. There is something more than coincidence in the designations given to these three popes so many hundred years before their time. We need not have recourse either to the family names, armorial bearings or cardinalatial titles, to see the fitness of their designations as given in the prophecies. The afflictions and crosses of Pius IX were more than fell to the lot of his predecessors; and the more aggravating of these crosses were brought on by the House of Savoy whose emblem was a cross. Leo XIII was a veritable luminary of the papacy. The present pope is truly a burning fire of zeal for the restoration of all things to Christ.
The last of these prophecies concerns the end of the world and is as follows: “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.” It has been noticed concerning Petrus Romanus, who according to St. Malachy’s list is to be the last pope, that the prophecy does not say that no popes will intervene between him and his predecessor designated Gloria olivæ. It merely says that he is to be the last, so that we may suppose as many popes as we please before “Peter the Roman”. Cornelius a Lapide refers to this prophecy in his commentary “On the Gospel of St. John” (C. xvi) and “On the Apocalypse” (cc. xvii-xx), and he endeavours to calculate according to it the remaining years of time.
Note: The Pope numbers given are from a previous work, and do not accord with the official counting of the Vatican. Our current pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI is the 265th Pope. I am unable to explain this discrepancy.
Note: The commentaries below are only brief and selective. A commentary on every motto is given in Peter Bander’s book: The Prophecies of St Malachy.
Pope No. Name (Reign) Motto No. Motto (and explanation)
167 Celestine II (1143-1144) 1 Ex castro Tyberis
(from a castle on the Tiber)
Hist.: Celestin II was born in Citta di Castello, Toscany, on the shores of the Tiber
168 Lucius II (1144-1145) 2 Inimicus expulsus
169 Eugene III (1145-1153) 3 Ex magnitudine montis
(Of the greatness of the mount)
Hist.: Born in the castle of Grammont (latin: mons magnus), his family name was Montemagno
170 Anastasius IV (1153-1154) 4 Abbas Suburranus
171 Adrian IV (1154-1159) 5 De rure albo
(field of Albe)
Hist.: Born in the town of Saint-Alban
Antipope Victor IV (1159-1164) 6 Ex tetro carcere
Antipope Paschal III (1164-1168) 7 Via trans-Tyberina
Antipope Calistus III (1168-1178) 8 De Pannonia Tusciæ
172 Alexander III (1159-1181) 9 Ex ansere custode
173 Lucius III (1181-1185) 10 Lux in ostio
174 Urban III (1185-1187) 11 Sus in cribo
175 Gregory VIII (1187) 12 Ensis Laurentii
176 Clement III (1187-1191) 13 De schola exiet
177 Celestine III (1191-1198) 14 De rure bovensi
178 Innocent III (1198-1216) 15 Comes signatus
Hist.: descendant of the noble Signy, later called Segni family
179 Honorius III (1216-1227) 16 Canonicus de latere
180 Gregory IX (1227-1241) 17 Avis Ostiensis
(Bird of Ostia)
Hist.: before his election he was Cardinal of Ostia
181 Celestine IV (1241) 18 Leo Sabinus
182 Innocent IV (1243-1254) 19 Comes Laurentius
183 Alexander IV (1254-1261) 20 Signum Ostiense
184 Urban IV (1261-1264) 21 Hierusalem Campaniæ
(Jerusalem of Champagne)
Hist.: native of Troyes, Champagne, later patriarch of Jerusalem
185 Clement IV (1265-1268) 22 Draca depressus
186 Gregory X (1271-1276) 23 Anguinus vir
187 Innocent V (1276) 24 Concionatur Gallus
188 Adrian V (1276) 25 Bonus Comes
189 John XXI (1276-1277) 26 Piscator Tuscus
190 Nicholas III (1277-1280) 27 Rosa composita
191 Martin IV (1281-1285) 28 Ex teloneo liliacei Martini
192 Honorius IV (1285-1287) 29 Ex rosa leonina
193 Nicholas IV (1288-1292) 30 Picus inter escas
194 Nicholas IV (1288-1292) 31 Ex eremo celsus
(elevated from a hermit)
Hist.: prior to his election he was a hermit in the monastery of Pouilles
195 Boniface VIII (1294-1303) 32 Ex undarum benedictione
196 Benedict XI (1303-1304) 33 Concionator patereus
197 Clement V (1305-1314) 34 De fessis Aquitanicis
(ribbon of Aquitaine)
Hist.: was archbishop of Bordeaux in Aquitaine
198 John XXII (1316-1334) 35 De sutore osseo
(of the cobbler of Osseo)
Hist.: Family name Ossa, son of a shoe-maker
Antipope Nicholas V (1328-1330) 36 Corvus schismaticus
(the schismatic crow)
Note the reference to the schism, the only antipope at this period
199 Benedict XII (1334-1342) 37 Frigidus Abbas
Hist.: he was a priest in the monastery of Frontfroid (coldfront)
200 Clement VI (1342-1352) 38 De rosa Attrebatensi
201 Innocent VI (1352-1362) 39 De montibus Pammachii
202 Urban V (1362-1370) 40 Gallus Vice-comes
203 Gregory XI (1370-1378) 41 Novus de Virgine forti
(novel of the virgin fort)
Hist.: count of Beaufort, later Cardinal of Ste-Marie La Neuve
Antipope Clement VII (1378-1394) 42 De cruce Apostilica
Antipope Benedict XIII (1394-1423) 43 Luna Cosmedina
Antipope Clement VIII (1423-1429) 44 Schisma Barcinonicum
204 Urban VI (1378-1389) 45 De Inferno pregnani(From the hell of Pregnani)
Hist.: He was a town called Inferno in the region of Pregnani.
205 Boniface IX (1389-1404) 46 Cubus de mixtione
206 Innocent VII (1404-1406) 47 De meliore sydere
207 Gregory XII (1406-1415) 48 Nauta de ponte nigro
Antipope Alexander V (1409-1410) 49 Flagellum Solis
Antipope John XXIII (1410-1415) 50 Cervus Sirenæ
208 Martin V (1417-1431) 51 Corona veli aurei
209 Eugene IV (1431-1447) 52 Lupa cælestina
Antipope Felix V (1439-1449) 53 Amator crucis
210 Nicholas V (1447-1455) 54 De modicitate lunæ
211 Callistus III (1455-1458) 55 Bos pascens
Hist.: Alphonse Borgia’s arms sported a golden grazing ox
212 Pius II (1458-1464) 56 De capra et Albergo
213 Paul II (1464-1471) 57 De cervo et Leone
214 Sixtus IV (1471-1484) 58 Piscator Minorita
215 Innocent VIII (1484-1492) 59 Præcursor Siciliæ
216 Alexander VI (1492-1503) 60 Bos Albanus in portu
217 Pius III (1503) 61 De parvo homine
218 Julius II (1503-1513) 62 Fructus jovis juvabit
219 Leo X (1513-1521) 63 De craticula Politiana
220 Adrian VI (1522-1523) 64 Leo Florentius
221 Clement VII (1523-1534) 65 Flos pilæi ægri
222 Paul III (1534-1549) 66 Hiacynthus medicorum
223 Julius III (1550-1555) 67 De corona Montana
224 Marcellus II (1555) 68 Frumentum floccidum
225 Paul IV (1555-1559) 69 De fide Petri
226 Pius IV (1559-1565) 70 Æsculapii pharmacum
227 St. Pius V (1566-1572) 71 Angelus nemorosus
228 Gregory XIII (1572-1585) 72 Medium corpus pilarum
229 Sixtus V (1585-1590) 73 Axis in medietate signi
230 Urban VII (1590) 74 De rore cæli
231 Gregory XIV (1590-1591) 75 De antiquitate Urbis
232 Innocent IX (1591) 76 Pia civitas in bello
233 Clement VIII (1592-1605) 77 Crux Romulea
234 Leo XI (1605) 78 Undosus Vir
235 Paul V (1605-1621) 79 Gens perversa
236 Gregory XV (1621-1623) 80 In tribulatione pacis
237 Urban VIII (1623-1644) 81 Lilium et rosa
238 Innocent X (1644-1655) 82 Jucunditas crucis
239 Alexander VII (1655-1667) 83 Montium custos
240 Clement IX (1667-1669) 84 Sydus Olorum
(constellation of swans)
Hist.: upon his election, he was apparently the occupant of the Chamber of Swans in the Vatican.
241 Clement X (1670-1676) 85 De flumine magno
242 Innocent XI (1676-1689) 86 Bellua insatiabilis
243 Alexander VIII (1689-1691) 87 Pnitentia gloriosa
244 Innocent XII (1691-1700) 88 Rastrum in porta
245 Clement XI (1700-1721) 89 Flores circumdati
246 Innocent XIII (1721-1724) 90 De bona Religione
247 Benedict XIII (1724-1730) 91 Miles in bello
248 Clement XII (1730-1740) 92 Columna excelsa
249 Benedict XIV (1740-1758) 93 Animal rurale
250 Clement XIII (1758-1769) 94 Rosa Umbriæ
251 Clement XIV (1769-1774) 95 Ursus velox
252 Pius VI (1775-1799) 96 Peregrinus Apostolicus
253 Pius VII (1800-1823) 97 Aquila rapax
254 Leo XII (1823-1829) 98 Canis et coluber
255 Pius VIII (1829-1830) 99 Vir religiosus
256 Gregory XVI (1831-1846) 100 De balneis hetruriæ
(bath of Etruria)
Hist.: prior to his election he was member of an order founded by Saint Romuald, at Balneo, in Etruria, present day Toscany.
257 Pius IX (1846-1878) 101 Crux de cruce
(Cross of Crosses)
Hist.:Pius XI was the last Pope to reign over the Papal States (the middle third of what is today Italy). He ended up being a prisoner of the Vatican, never venturing outside Vatican City. A much heavier burden than his predecessors.
258 Leo XIII (1878-1903) 102 Lumen in cælo(Light in the Heavens)
Hist.: Leo XIII wrote encyclicals on Catholic social teaching that were still being digested 100 years later. He added considerably to theology.
259 St. Pius X (1903-1914) 103 Ignis ardens
Hist.: The Pope had great personal piety and achieved a number of important reforms in the devotional and liturgical life of priests and laypeople.
260 Benedict XV (1914-1922) 104 Religio depopulata
(Religion laid waste)
Hist.: This Pope reigned during the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia which store the establishment of Communism.
261 Pius XI (1922-1939) 105 Fides intrepida
Hist.: This Pope stood up to Fascist and Communist forces lining up against him in the lead up to World War II.
262 Pius XII (1939-1958) 106 Pastor angelicus
Hist.: This Pope was very mystical, and is believed to have received visions. People would kneel when they received telephone calls from him. His encyclicals add enormously to the understanding of Catholic beliefs (even if they are now overlooked because of focus on the Second Vatican Council, which occurred so soon after his reign).
263 John XXIII (1958-1963) 107 Pastor et Nauta
(pastor and marine)
Hist.: prior to his election he was patriarch of Venice, a marine city, home of the gondolas
264 Paul VI (1963-1978) 108 Flos florum
(flower of flowers)
Hist.: his arms displayed three lilies.
265 John Paul I (1978) 109 De medietate Lunæ
(of the half of the moon)
Hist.: Albino Luciani, born in Canale d’Agardo, diocese of Belluno, (beautiful moon) Elected pope on August 26, his reign lasted about a month, from half a moon to the next half...
266 John Paul II (1978-2005) 110 De labore Solis
(of the eclipse of the sun, or from the labour of the sun)
Hist.: Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920 during a solar eclipse. He also comes from behind the former Iron Curtain (the East, where the Sun rises). He might also be seen to be the fruit of the intercession of the Woman Clothed with the Sun labouring in Revelation 12 (because of his devotion to the Virgin Mary). His Funeral occurred on 8 April, 2005 when there was a solar eclipse visible in the Americas.
267 Benedict XVI (2005-) 111 Gloria olivæ
The Benedictine order traditionally said this Pope would come from their order, since a branch of the Benedictine order is called the Olivetans. St Benedict is said to have prophesied that before the end of the world, a member of his order would be Pope and would triumphantly lead the Church in its fight against evil. While the Holy Father chose the name “Benedict”, this does not seem enough to fulfil the prophecy. Nor is it clear how Benedict XVI (a Bavarian) is “Glory of the Olives”. Since he is said to have remarked in the Conclave after saying he would take the name Benedict that it was partly to honour Benedict XV, a pope of peace and reconciliation, perhaps Benedict XVI will be a peacemaker in the Church or in the World, and thus carry the olive branch.
In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, & Judex tremêdus judicabit populum suum. Finis.
(In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people. The End.)
Either way, the list is getting short...
Thanks for posting.
To me, it’s sort of like Nostradus. Looking back you can find something to fit.
Never been a fan of it.
The stuff of tabloids but still a fun read, and it gives us food for thought.
I pray more.
It’s been a while since I took Latin, but if I recall, there is no punctuation. If there is, it is a modern addition.
are the earlier translators going to say . . .
“Wellll dang us!”
St. Malachy's prophecy, misread?
Saint Malachy, Prophecies about 112 popes until the end of the world, the last five Popes
A POPE DESCRIBED AS 'FROM THE SUN' WAS BORN DURING ECLIPSE AND LEAVES WITH ONE
RATZINGER APPEARS TO FULFILL MALACHY PROPHECY [De Gloria Olivae]
Malachy's Prophecies - The Last 10 Popes
Prophecy of St Malachy (with list of Popes)
Sorry, dangus, that's wrong. "Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae" is genitive case. It's not the subject of (any) clause, but a possessive belonging to something else.
You could read it "In [the] extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, will sit Peter the Roman ..." or perhaps "In extreme persecution, will sit Peter the Roman of the Holy Roman Church ...".
For "Holy Roman Church" to be the subject of the clause, it would have to be "Sancta Romana Ecclesia".
Actually, the original text reads simply, “SRE.”
Good point. In that case, it’s ambiguous.
I’m all for the “pure BS” school on this one. With the intriguing exception, likely a coincidence, of John Paul II, correlating the pope with the phrase is absolutely ridiculous. “Look, he has to be ‘flowers of flowers,’ he put flowers on his crest!”... like a whopping portion of other popes.
“Shepherd and Mariner! Dude the guy was a bishop and they called him a shepherd... how uncanny is that!!!”
As if every other pope in history since Peter wasn’t a shepherd!
“Yeah, but they also said he’d be a Mariner!”
Pope Ken Grifffey, Jr.? Come on, he was a Cardinal and a Padre, but not a Mariner.
“Dude, he was like from Venice. That’s a maritime city?”
...in a country where you can’t go more than 100 miles from the shore...
Fr. Wion’s pg. 311 of “LIGNUM VITAE” reads (in part):
De labore solis.
ma S.R.E. sedebit.
Petrus Romanus, qui
puplum suum. Finis.
I agree that each paragraph constitutes a separate pope prophecy. “Sedebit” more properly translates as “He will sit.” So number 112 should read in English: “He will sit in the final persecution. of the Holy Roman Church.”
The “Petrus Romanus” paragraph is number 113 and refers to the Pontiff that will follow Pope Francis. This paragraph includes the word “Finis.”
In his “FLORILEGIUM INSULAE SANCTORUM” (1624) Thomas Messingham altered Fr. Wion’s text by combining paragraphs 112 and 113 into one. Every authority since has followed Messingham’s lead. Here’s what he printed:
In perfecutione extre-
ma S.R.E. fedebit Petrus
Romanus qui pafcet oves
... & iu-
dex tremed’ iudicabit po-
pulum fuum. FINIS.
This “editing” has led to the present confused speculation that Pope Francis is “Peter the Roman.”
It took me a few passes to get what you were saying, so I’ll make it easier for others like me.
Each of these represents a separate pope:
“De Labore Solis” (Labor of the Sun)
“Gloria olivae” (Glory of the olives)
“In persecutione extrema SRE sedebit” (In extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, he sits)
“Petrus Romanus, qui...” (Peter Romanus, who..)
Given the indentations of Armond Wion, I’d have to say you’re exactly correct. What’s more, I never could foresee the worst persecution (”extrema persecutione”) being imminent, but “extrema,” in Latin, is better translated as “final,” rather than “extreme.” Given the worldwide nature of the sudden persecution of the Church, it is actually plausible that a prophecy might refer to this as “S.R.E. persecutione extrema”
side note: Medieval “s” looks a lot like an “f”
Note the out of place period following the word “psecutione” and the visions of Pius X: a pope bearing the same name (Giuseppe/Joseph) will walk out of the Vatican stepping over the bodies of dead priests and die a cruel death shortly thereafter. The pope of the same name is Joseph Ratzinger. The out of place period indicates an interruption. Put these together and you get some kind of catastrophic event happening in Benedict XVI’s lifetime which interrupts the papal succession.
“Petrus Romanus” refers to a historical person who will assume the papacy after this interval of vacancy.
Very interesting and very different from the way St. Malachy’s predictions have been interpreted.
Regardless of what the prophecies say or don’t say the current pontiff is demonstrably a bad pope.