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St. Malachy: The Case for Authenticity
Unam Sanctam Catholicam blog ^ | 03/10/13 | Unam Sanctam Catholicam blog

Posted on 03/11/2013 11:02:56 AM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM

Sunday, March 10, 2013

St. Malachy: The Case for Authenticity

While we all wait with anticipation for the election of our next Holy Father at the Conclave next Tuesday, let's take a minute to stop and bring some sanity back to the discussion of the prophecies of St. Malachy.

As we get closer to the Conclave, more and more articles on the alleged prophecies of St. Malachy are being posted all over the web, usually from mainstream, conservative Catholics who are bent on drumming into people's heads that the prophecies are forgeries and that serious Catholics should not pay them any credence. The authors usually state that they are writing for the purpose of addressing the St. Malachy/Petrus Romanus "hysteria" that has attended the interregnum, although ironically most of the hysteria I have seen about the prophecies thus is from those bent on debunking them.

As two examples of the sorts of articles I am talking about, take this article by Dr. Donald Prudlo published  on the Truth and Charity Forum at Human Life International, which basically denigrates the prophecies as "papal campaign literature from the 1590's" and says they are "vague utterances that a local horoscope page would be embarrassed to print." Or we could take this one by Gerald Korson from Catholic Online, who feels the need to "debunk" the prophecy and says they are "about as reliable as the Mayan calendar." These are some of the most recent example, but there have been many others as well.

I certainly do not mind engaging in argumentation about the credibility or incredibility of private apparitions or prophecies about which we are permitted to disagree; I myself have done this many times on this blog regarding Medjugorje, Bayside, etc. However, I do take issue with a prophecy uttered by a canonized saint that has been believed by many scholars and even popes for at least four centuries being so summarily dismissed, and with such a cavalier attitude. This has not been the way Malachy's prophecies have traditionally been approached. In the past, the approach to Malachy's prophecies was generally one of reserved skepticism; for example, the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia mentions the arguments against the authenticity of the prophecy, but it also points out that none of these arguments are conclusive and that the jury is still out. For as long as I can remember, the prophecy has always been approached in this "jury is still out" manner. However, now that we are up to the point where the pontificate of Peter the Roman could begin as soon as a few days from now, the attitude has changed to one of outright hostility and ridicule by people who are horrified any time any Catholic starts thinking seriously about eschatological fulfillments, as if the worst possible thing a Catholic could do would be to think we could be on the verge of a divine chastisement. But like it or hate it, the Malachy prophecies have a very long pedigree in the western Church, and we should not be so quick to mock them or speak derisively about them.

Are there arguments against the prophecy of Malachy? Absolutely there are, and they are strong. But there are also arguments in favor of its authenticity, and regardless which position we take, neither is conclusive, and the strongest arguments against their authenticity are ultimately based on mere speculation, as we shall see. Therefore, since Malachy was in fact a canonized saint, and remembering St. Paul's admonition "Do not despise prophecy", (1 Thess. 5:20), let us take a more objective look at the case for St. Malachy's prophecy.

The Authenticity of the Prophecies of St. Malachy

When discussing whether the prophecies of St. Malachy are "authentic", there are two ways in which we can speak of "authenticity":

(1) Whether or not the prophecies were in fact uttered by Malachy or at least date to the 12th century
(2) Whether or not the prophecies are divinely inspired and can be expected to be fulfilled

Of course, we have no way have conclusively proving the second meaning of authenticity one way or another; no Catholic can have absolute certainty about any private revelation, so this discussion will be confined to looking at the first definition of authenticity: whether or not the prophecies are actually from the 12th century as they purport to be, or whether they are in fact 16th century forgeries.

Malachy the Prophet

Let us remember, first off, that St. Malachy (d. 1148), was a legitimate prophet. The Breviary entry for his feast day notes that he was gifted with prophecy, and St. Malachy is also remembered for a very famous prophecy that Ireland would be oppressed by England for seven centuries, at the end of which time England would suffer a chastisement and Ireland would help restore the Faith to England. Much of this prophecy has come true and has been authenticated, a manuscript of it having been found at Clairvaux dating from the time of Malachy. Thus, if Church tradition records he was a prophet, and if he made other prophecies of events centuries to come, and if these were accurate, why is it implausible that the prophecy of the popes is not similarly authentic?

The Simoncelli Hypothesis: Origins and Problems

In the writings of those bent on disproving the prophecies the Malachy, a standard objection is that the prophecies are probably spurious because the text of the prophecies do not show up until around 1595, over 450 years after their alleged authorship in 1143. In the two articles cited above, Mr. Korson and Dr. Prudlo both state that the late discovery of the text authorship is enough to throw them out as a forgery. Dr. Prudlo considers this to be the strongest argument against them and states that this fact alone is "enough to discount the story even before considering the internal evidence." So, without even considering the content of the prophecy, the fact that they do not enter the historical record until 450 years after their alleged authorship rules out their legitimacy entirely. Prudlo and Korson both use different dates; Dr. Prudlo says they are not mentioned until 1590; Korson says 1595.

These dates are based on the assumption that the prophecies were actually written by the party of one Cardinal Girolamo Simonelli, a cardinal-elector in the conclaves of 1555, 1559, 1566, the two in 1590, 1591 and 1592. The theory is that the prophecies were written to bolster the candidacy of Cardinal Simoncelli (who was a strong papabile in the conclaves of 1590-92) by depicting Simoncelli as a pope prophesied from centuries back.

Korson, Dr. Prudlo and other detractors of the prophesy take the Simoncelli thesis for granted and assume its truth. But where does the Simoncelli hypothesis come from? This theory can be traced back to Fr. Claude-Francois de Menestrier, S.J. (1631-1705) who was an antiquarian and published nine volumes on medieval heraldry and emblems. Menestrier was the first proponent of the Simoncelli hypothesis, which he formulated based on his opinion that the prophecies before 1590 are very specific while those after 1590 are disappointingly vague. He therefore cites the party of Simoncelli as the forgers and even names a specific forger, but regrettably does not furnish us with any evidence whatsoever in support of the opinion, leaving us to understand that his opinion is simply a theory. This is the ultimate origin of theory that the prophecies are a 1590 forgery.

Why 1590? According to Dr. Prudlo, the year 1590 refers to the first publication of the prophecies by Benedictine historian Arnold Wion; the 1595 date cited by Korson is the year Wion republished the prophecies in his book Lignum Vitae. Regarding Wion's book, he was assisted in his translation by the Spanish monk Alfonso Chacon, who was a renowned antiquary and scholar of medieval manuscripts. To Chacon fell the important task of authenticating the manuscript and making sure it was not a forgery, and it is noteworthy that the manuscript did pass the scrutinizing eye of Chacon and was authenticated. It was Chacon who rendered many of the prophecies into the phrases we are familiar with today.

We should note, however, that the 1590 date assigned by Menestrier is misleading, which is unfortunate since this is the date that has been subsequently repeated by commentators who don't know better. The prophecies were not discovered in 1590, but in 1556 by Augustinian historian and antiquary Onofrio Panvinio, who apparently published the first edition of the prophecies in 1557. Wion's inclusion of them in the Lignum Vitae was more well known, but came thirty-three years after the publication by Panvinio. More on Panvinio later, but it is sufficient here to note that the true discovery of the text in 1556 is seriously problematic to the theory that the prophecies were created by Cardinal Simoncelli, who was only thirty-three at the time, had only been a Cardinal for three years and was not considered a papabile until almost three decades later. Fr. Menestrier did not deduce the prophecies as a forgery based on the 1590 date; rather, he started with the assumption the prophecies were false and then hypothesized the 1590 date to justify his theory about Cardinal Simoncelli.

Another edition of the prophecies was published by Girolamo Muzio in 1570. Muzio, likewise, believed in their authenticity. Muzio's 1570 edition of the prophecies was written in Italian and cumbersomely named Il Choro Pontifico Nel Qual Si Leggono Le Vite Del Beatissimo Papa Gregorio& Di XII Altri Santi Vescoui. Thus we have two editions of the prophecies in circulation prior to the 1590 date cited by Prudlo and the 1595 date preferred by Korson.

Even if we grant this, however, we merely exchange one problem for another; instead of a 450 year silence, we have a 413 year silence. Is the 413 year silence about the prophecies problematic? Yes. Is it damning? No. The question really is not whether or not the text was "missing" for 413 years, but whether or not there is a good explanation for it - and whether we accept it or not, there is a traditional explanation. The French Abbe Cucherat in an 1871 work on the prophecies repeats an older tradition that the prophecies were in fact legitimate and were delivered by Malachy to Pope Innocent II in 1143 in order to comfort the Holy Father during a time of discouragement and illness, but that the pope subsequently filed the manuscript away at the Vatican where it remained lost until its discovery in the late 16th century. This would explain the 413 year absence of the manuscript from the historical record; unfortunately, however, Cucherat also gives no evidence for his hypothesis, so it remains as theoretical as that of Menestrier.

Even if Cucherat gives no evidence to back up his assertion, the simple fact that a text allegedly went missing for four centuries is not enough to discount the story prima facie, as Dr. Prudlo would have it. There are multiple well-known examples of texts getting lost at the Vatican for centuries. It is quite common. People tend to forget how voluminous the archives of the Vatican are, where documents have been amassing since the pontificate of Pope St. Damasus I in St. Jerome's day (see the book Vatican Secret Archives by Terzo Natalini for an excellent history of papal record keeping). For example, the oldest extant copy of the Scriptures, the Codex Vaticanus, came to the Vatican sometime in the late 4th century and was lost for over a thousand years, rediscovered only in the early 15th century; if the disappearance of the obscure text of St. Malachy's prophecy for four centuries is problematic, the disappearance of the Codex Vaticanus for a thousand years is immensely more so. Let us not forget the similar stories surrounding the discoveries of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Codex Sinaiticus, both of which were lost for longer, almost two thousand years each. And, lest we doubt how easy it is to lose stuff in the Vatican, let us not forget that the tomb of St. Peter himself was lost in the Vatican until discovered during the reign of Pius XII (1953) and only positively identified as that of Peter by Paul VI in 1968. If the Church can even lose the tomb of St. Peter for two thousand years, then it is not at all unbelievable that the text of Malachy's prophecy could be lost for 413. This of course does not prove their authenticity, but at the very least, it should allow us to admit that this problem does not at all amount to an ipso facto declaration of invalidity, as Dr. Prudlo would have.

Arguments from Authority

Another argument in favor of authenticity is that two of the greatest scholars and exegetes of the Tridentine period considered the prophecies completely authentic: Cornelius Lapide (1567-1637) and Onofrio Panvinio (1529-1568). As we have seen above, it was Panvinio who first discovered the manuscript and he remained one of the firmest believers in the prophecies. Panvinio was no novice; the chief librarian and editor of the Vatican Library, he authored over 16 major works on history and archaeology and was considered the foremost authority in medieval and ancient Roman history. During his lifetime he was called pater omnis historiae ("father of all history"). Cornelius Lapide was a universally acclaimed student of scripture and prophecy whose works are still being translated today. Lapide studied the prophecies extensively, believed in them, and wrote a tract attempting to establish a chronology attempting to identify the approximate time we could hope to see Peter the Roman.

Other scholars who published, or commented, or otherwise supported the authenticity of the prophecies were Giovannini de Capugnano (d. 1604), Jean Boucher (1623), Chrisostomo Henriquez (1626), Thomas Messignham (1624), Angel Manrique (1659), Michel Gorgeu (1659), Claude Comier (1665), Giovanni Germano (1675), Louis Morerl (1673), John Toland (1718), who fully accepted the prophecies and wrote a treatise on the destruction of Rome during the pontificate of Petrus Romanus; we have already mentioned the Abbe Francois Cucherat (1871), who wrote extensively on the prophecies. It is worth mentioning that despite the assertion of Dr. Prudlo, who claims that the manuscript disappeared in the 16th century, Abbe Cucherat reports having seen the original manuscript in the Vatican in the 1860's, though this is disputed.  All of these men were men of erudition, most of them scholars, historians and antiquarians familiar with medieval heraldry and the procedures of humanist textual criticism. None of them had any doubt about the authenticity of the manuscript. Granted, arguments from authority are not the strongest, but when so many luminaries of Catholic scholarship spanning so many years wholeheartedly accepted the prophecies, we should at least do them the courtesy of not rejecting them out of hand.

Fr. Menestrier (d. 1705) was the first one to suggest the prophecies were a forgery. However, Menestrier apparently never knew of the study of Alfonso Chacon, the expert paleolographer who subjected the manuscript to rigorous scrutiny in the 1590's and proclaimed it an authentic. Chacon's entire vocation consisted in sorting out fraudulent texts from the authentic, and he proclaimed Malachy legitimate. However, as stated above, Menestrier had no knowledge of this study, which is damaging to his thesis.

Evidence of Malachy's Prophecies Before 1556

Even if we were to throw out the testimony of Lapide, Panvinio and all the others, there is also the interesting fact that bits and pieces of Malachy's prophecy of the popes seem to have been circulating around as far back as the 13th century. De Vaticina Summis Pontificibus is a collection of two manuscripts of papal prophecies later joined into one. The first part was written around 1280 and contains 15 papal prophesies beginning from the pontificate of Nicholas III (1277-1280); the second part was composed around 1330 and contains an additional 15 prophecies. Around the time of the Council of Constance (1414), the manuscripts were combined into one for a total of 30 papal prophecies. The prophecies consist of very short Latin phrases using plays on words, puns and allegories, as do the Malachy prophecies, and are strikingly similar in many respects. In the 14th and 15th centuries, these prophecies were even more well-known than the prophecies of St. Malachy would be in the 16th and 17th. It could of course be reasoned that Malachy was inspired by this earlier work, but it could just as easily be asserted that the vignettes of De Vaticina Summis Pontificibus represented hastily copied portions of Malachy that were circulating around and thus provide evidence that the prophecies of Malachy did in fact exist prior to 1556.

It is also interesting that, even before the appearance of the texts published by Panvinio and Wion, badges or medals with enigmatic engravings were circulated during papal conclaves, at least going back to the high Renaissance. These badges were used to influence several conclaves, and these medallions are described briefly in the work of the French author Roger Duguet in his book Around the Tiara (1997). Thus, even if the text of St. Malachy was not published until 1590, the people living at Rome at least several generations earlier were familiar with these sorts of papal "prophecies", which again could be evidence of earlier fragments of Malachy circulating around.

Vagueness of the Malachy Prophecies?

The reason Fr. Menestrier originally settled on 1590 as the date of the prophecies creation was because he opined that the prophecies before 1590 were incredibly accurate while those after 1590 were disappointingly vague. This criticism has been repeated ever since, and appears in both of the current articles of Korson and Dr. Prudlo.

However, a reading of the actual text does not bear this out entirely. Some of the pre-1590 prophecies certainly are specific; for example, Concionator Gallus ("French Preacher"), referring to Pope Innocent V (1276), who was both a Frenchman and a member of the Dominicans - Order of Preachers; likewise, many post-1590 prophecies are vague, for example, Rastrum in Porta (" The Rake of the Door") referring to Innocent XII (1691-1700), of whom no interpreter has found a satisfactory way to link up with the title in Malachy.

But this tendency is not at all universal; many of the pre-1590 prophecies are just as vague as the post-1590 collection, and in addition to this, many of the post-1590 prophecies are remarkably accurate. To give an example in the first case, Ex Ansere Custode ("From the Guardian Goose"), applying to Pope Alexander III (1159-1181), which is horrendously vague and can only be connected to Alexander III by the tortuous argument that the Pope must have been descended from the patricians who saved the Capitoline citadel from Brennus and the Gauls  in 390 BC when a flock of geese sacred to Juno warned the Roman guards of a secret attack. This convoluted interpretation was put forward by Cucherat in 1871 and is the only attempted explanation to date. So clearly not all of the pre-1590 prophecies are recorded with "relative accuracy" (Korson) or are even close to "spot-on accurate" (Prudlo).

Conversely, many of the post-1590 prophecies are strikingly appropriate. This is even noted by the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, which was not at all given to superstition or unwarranted credulity. It states:

"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 caelo (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." (source)

The case of Pius IX is particularly striking; Cross from a Cross. In losing the papal states and facing the atheist risorgimento, he suffered greater crosses than any other pope of the modern period. Furthermore, as these sufferings were brought about by the attempts of the House of Savoy to unify Italy, and as the emblem of the House of Savoy was a large white cross emblazoned on a red shield, the title "Cross from a Cross" for Pius IX is beautifully appropriate. Equally accurate is Aquila Rapax, "A Rapacious Eagle", applied to Pius VII (1800-1823), who was actually kidnapped by Napoleon Bonaparte, one of the most rapacious conquerors in all of history, whose emblem was an eagle. The title for Benedict XV (1914-1922) is also amazingly accurate: Religio Depoulata ("Religion Laid Waste"); the pontificate of Benedict XV was overshadowed by the deaths of millions of Christians in World War I, the slaughter of millions more in the Turkish genocide, the outbreak of the Communist revolution in Russia that would lead to millions more dead and the spread of atheism around the world. This prophetic title was fulfilled to the very letter.

Clearly there is not the strict pre/post-1590 division in the quality of the prophecies that Menestrier imagined - and remember, Menestrier died in 1705 and never witnessed the spectacular events of the above mentioned modern pontificates and their marvelous correlation with the titles found in Malachy.

Are the prophecies less precise than we would like? Granted; most of them are two or three words at most. But are the explanations and correlations always as torturous as critics state? Not at all, as we have seen. Let us also remember that vagueness is not necessarily an argument against the authenticity of a prophecy. Many legitimate prophecies from Sacred Scripture are extremely vague. I challenge anyone to go back and read Hosea 11:1 ("out of Egypt I called my son") in context and see how one could possibly deduce the Flight into Egypt from it before the fact; likewise, can anyone honestly say that the election of Matthias to replace Judas in Acts 1 is clearly and evidently found in Psalm 109:8 ("May his days be few, and may another his office take")? Not likely. Yet Divine Revelation tells us they are authentic prophecies nonetheless. These biblical prophecies are vague, even vaguer than the ones found in St. Malachy. Many times vagueness is a trait of genuine prophecy; in fact, extreme specificity is often times a sign that a prophecy is false.

The Inclusion of Antipopes

One problem often brought up with the Malachy prophecies is their inclusion of several anti-popes. Korson sees this as a strong indictment against the legitimacy of the prophecies. He says, "[The] list in itself is erroneous; in several instances, it leaves out legitimate popes in favor of anti-popes, those false claimants to the papacy who surfaced at various troubled moments in the history of the Church." Therefore, the prophecies must not be authentic.

Here we have a case of wanting to have our cake and eat it, too. Remember, if we are asserting that the prophecies were not written in 1143 but sometime around 1590, then we are presuming that the author had the benefit of retrospect; that is, though there frequently were anti-popes during the period of the Western Schism, by 1590 that would have all been resolved, and we could presume our forger in 1590 to have a single, accurate list of legitimate popes at his disposal. The fact that the Malachy prophecy contains anti-popes is actually a point in favor of legitimacy, not against it. Malachy scholar Peter Bander puts it this way:

"I consider those objections quite unreasonable...These antipopes are historical characters, they all held high episcopal offices before claiming the supreme title to the See of St. Peter and, they were, within limits, accepted as real popes by a large section of Catholic followers; the fact that events proved them wrong or even schismatic does not belittle the important function and position they commanded at the time. Giacconius, who in his commentary on Malachy's prophecy lists only canonically elected popes, quarrels with Panvinio for ranking popes and antipopes next to one another. This great schism in the Catholic Church, when popes and antipopes existed side by side, lasted for almost three centuries [reckoned from the time of Celestine II, within Malachy's life, to Felix V, 1449]. St. Antoninus himself comments on this and points out that much is written by different parties in defense of the one or the other ecclesiastical dignitary. All sides were well defended by excellent theologians and canon lawyers, and in the end, the argument was settled by establishing the rightful successor of St. Peter as the one who was canonically elected to the office. St. Antoninus goes further by saying that ordinary people could not possibly partake in such difficult and delicate discussions as they did not understand canon law; they followed the advice of their spiritual fathers and superiors. Personally, I consider the fact that antipopes are included in the list as a point in favor of Malachy" (The Prophecies of St. Malachy, edited by Peter Bander, Tan Books, 1973, pg. 14).

Since the line of succession had long been been clarified by 1590, had the prophecies been forged, there would be no incentive to include anti-popes in the list. However, if at the time of authorship these anti-popes were still to come, it makes perfect sense that their names would have appeared in the prophecy as at least putative holders of the See of Rome. To put it another way: A Englishman in 2013 reciting a list of the kings and queens of his kingdom would not include in the list usurpers such as Lady Jane Grey (d. 1554) and Edgar the Aetheling (d. 1126); they would only recite the officially established succession that had been settled by law over the the course of the centuries, omitting those who aspired, but never managed to retain, the throne. It would make sense that a list written in 2013 would omit these disputed claimants. However, suppose an Englishman living back in 1066 had a vision of all the men and women to sit on the throne of England until the end of time. In his case, it would make perfect sense that usurpers like Jane and disputants like Edgar would appear in the vision, since both claimed the royal authority and were acclaimed as monarch by large segments of the population for a time. Furthermore, if the vision was for a time off, it makes sense that the recipient might not know whether one in the vision was a true monarch or not. Similarly, the presence of anti-popes in the list of St. Malachy is an argument in favor of a 12th century composition, not against it.

But, just to be clear, many of the anti-popes in Malachy are in fact specifically called out as anti-popes, such as Corvus Schimaticus and Schisma Barchinonicum (Nicholas V and Clement VIII), so it is not as if the anti-popes are ranked exactly side by side, as the historian Giacconius opined.

Incorporation by Popes

Finally, we come to what is, in my opinion, one of the most overlooked and strongest pieces of evidence in favor of the authenticity of the prophecies of St. Malachy: the indisputable fact that for hundreds of years the popes themselves have taken the prophecy seriously and have gone out of the way to make sure they fulfilled it.

Carlo Marcora, an Italian historian who did an exhaustive six volume study on the papacy published from 1961 to 1974, noted that many of the maxims of Malachy were applied to specific pontificates with the approval of the popes. Thus Pius VI allowed himself to be referred to as the Peregrinus Apostolicus, Lumen in Caelo was applied to Leo XIII, and Pastor Angelicus to Pius XII; Pastor Angelicus was even the name of the officially sanctioned 1942 biographical documentary of the life of Pius XII and a posthumous book published in 1958. If Pius VI, Leo XIII or Pius XII thought the prophecies of Malachy were forgeries, allowing themselves to be publicly identified with them throughout their pontificates was a strange was to show it.

Many of the popes have also intentionally tried to show that a particular prophecy was fulfilled in them. Take Clement XI (1700-1721), who in Malachi's prophecy is Flores Circumdati ("Surrounded by Flowers"). When no one of the new pope's party could figure out how to connect the phrase with Clement, the pope had a coin struck which bore the motto Flores Circumdati on it. The pope and his circle were clearly trying to show the prophecy was fulfilled, which means they took it seriously. There are many anecdotal tales of popes consulting the prophesy upon their election and choosing their papal coat of arms accordingly in an attempt to fulfill the prophecy. Consider that since 1590, popes Urban VIII, Paul V, Alexander VII, Clement IX, Gregory XVI, and Leo XIII have all apparently incorporated elements of Malachy's prophecies directly into their coat of arms; many more if you include pre-1590 popes.

It can be objected that this sort of thing is self-fulfilling prophecy, but the point is irrelevant. I am not here seeking to prove that the prophecies are true, but that the successive popes have believed or acted as if they were true, which they clearly have right down to our own day. Even Joseph Ratzinger, clearly not ignorant that he was supposed to be Gloria Olivae and knowing the speculation connecting the name with the Benedictines, obliging chose the papal name 'Benedict.' The popes have clearly taken this prophecy seriously over the years and incorporated it into the emblems and symbolism of the papal office. Does this give the prophecy some sort of papal sanction? No. But it should give us pause - modern Catholic pundits blast the prophecies as fraudulent while for centuries pope after pope has given quiet credence to them by going out of their way to make sure they are fulfilled. If the Vicars of Christ on earth take St. Malachy seriously, how do we fare when we recklessly toss them aside and speak so derisively about them?


Do I believe the prophecies are authentic? The jury is still out for me, which I think is the best approach to this question. But clearly the evidence presented above should rule out any sort of automatic dismissal of the prophecies. Many, many scholars, much wiser than myself or the pundits, have spent a long time studying these prophecies and have given them credence. Many of the prophecies have been eerily fulfilled in very literal ways, and the popes themselves have given a nod to them. The prevailing hypothesis that they were forged by someone in the pay of Cardinal Simoncelli at the 1590 conclave is manifestly false, as the manuscript was discovered 34 years before the conclave of 1590 and there is good evidence to suggest that parts of the prophecy were known as early as 1280. While the scholars who fully believed in the authenticity of Malachy were legion, the dismissal of the text as a fraud can be traced to a single Jesuit scholar (Fr. Menestrier) who did not have all the facts at his disposal.

I am not saying the prophecies of St. Malachy are authentic, but the case is by no means closed on them. Fortunately, we are at a point in history where we will not need to wait too long to find out.

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TOPICS: Catholic; Current Events; General Discusssion; History
KEYWORDS: conclave; malachy; pope; stmalachy
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

Spamming is not a behavior to emulate.

21 posted on 03/11/2013 12:26:59 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp
What about the possibility of some unknown number of pontiffs between "Gloria Olivae" and "In persecutione extrema S.R.E."?
22 posted on 03/11/2013 12:27:48 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGS Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp
says they are "about as reliable as the Mayan calendar".

I still think the Mayans are right. Not about that exact date in December -- which is meaningless -- but the general time within a year or so that western Judeo-Christian civilization starts down the accelerated decline into Dark Ages II. Since the curve has been steepening the last 50 years or so, this terminal plunge may find the bottom coming very quickly.

23 posted on 03/11/2013 12:28:37 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
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To: DManA

Catholic posts are spam, but Protestant posts are not? Sorry, but your bias is showing. Anti-Catholicism is not a behavior to emulate.

24 posted on 03/11/2013 12:46:50 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

Yea I’m biased. Aren’t you?

And the ratio of Roman Cathlic posts to ALL protestant posts are at least 20 to 1.

25 posted on 03/11/2013 1:00:31 PM PDT by DManA
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To: DManA
Well, I imagine that the imminent Conclave has something to do with the volume.

Back in 2003, when the Episcopalians were taking the wrecking ball (if not the thermonuclear device) to their own denomination, there were hundreds if not thousands of posts here - reposting articles from Midwest Conservative Journal, Virtue On Line, Titus One Nine and other orthodox Anglican blogs, or just commenting on the situation.

Given that the Conclave is a major event affecting the leadership of the Church worldwide (unlike the ECUSA event which was the confirmation of a single bishop, as controversial as it was), and that there are (or were) only about 2 million Episcopalians, and north of a billion Catholics, when a major event is coming down you can expect a posting spike.

Don't worry, things will calm down, and maybe the Lutherans or Presbyterians will do something newsworthy (when the Presbyterians were debating changing the name of the Trinity, that created a little bit of a stir).

26 posted on 03/11/2013 1:23:42 PM PDT by AnAmericanMother (Ministrix of ye Chasse, TTGS Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment))
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To: DManA
Its not every century that a pope resigns forcing the convocation of a conclave. Don't worry, after the smoke clears I'm sure the ratio will shrink back to the norm. Or not ;-)
27 posted on 03/11/2013 1:37:00 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: DManA
And the ratio of Roman Cathlic posts to ALL protestant posts are at least 20 to 1.

Why is that a problem? Gives you 20X the opportunity to repent and join Jesus' True Church.

28 posted on 03/11/2013 2:15:14 PM PDT by steve86 (Acerbic by Nature, not NurtureĀ™)
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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Prophecies of St. Malachy, Part 1

I blogged about St. Malachy two years ago but since then have researched the alleged prophecies a bit more; I thought it might be worthwhile to revisit the topic. If the list is a Renaissance forgery as some people claim (it was not published until 1595) then that makes it even more intriguing to me. I picture the scheming Borgias and Medicis, all the various wealthy families jockeying for power, as well as the great artists, popes, saints, and everyone who made up the colorful Catholicism of Renaissance Italy... and I wonder. Why would someone invent such an elaborate list? What would the purpose have been? Some people blame the Jesuits, which is amusing, considering how busy the Jesuits were in the 16th century, battling heresy all over Europe. Why would they have wasted their time? Unless it was something some novices put together to entertain the brethren at recreation.

According to the Wikipedia article:
The prophecy was first published in 1595 by Arnold de Wyon, a Benedictine historian, as part of his book Lignum Vitæ. Wyon attributed the list to Saint Malachy, the 12th‑century bishop of Armagh in Ireland. According to the traditional account, in 1139, Malachy was summoned to Rome by Pope Innocent II. While in Rome, Malachy purportedly experienced a vision of future popes, which he recorded as a sequence of cryptic phrases. This manuscript was then deposited in the Roman Archive, and thereafter forgotten about until its rediscovery in 1590.

On the other hand, Bernard of Clairvaux's biography of Malachy makes no mention of the prophecy, nor is it mentioned in any record prior to its 1595 publication. This has led to many, including the most recent editions of the Catholic Encyclopedia, to suggest that the prophecy is a late 16th‑century forgery. Some have suggested they were created by Nostradamus and credited to Saint Malachy so the purported seer would not be blamed for the destruction of the papacy. Supporters, such as author John Hogue, who wrote a popular book titled "The Last Pope" about the claims, generally argue that even if the author of the prophecies may be uncertain, the predictions made are still valid.

The cryptic list of titles for the various popes from 1140 to about 1590 are mostly descriptions of their coats-of-arms, which would have been easy enough for a forger. But what is interesting is that the titles listed for popes who lived from 1600 to the present sometimes, not always, contain bits of information uniquely applicable to the life of the particular pontiff. Especially as pertains to modern popes, the list has startling coincidences, which are perhaps prophetic. Even if St. Malachy is not the author of the list, it is a remarkable artifact. If it is a true prophecy, it is not meant to frighten people, but to prepare them. It should not be seen as signaling the end of the world after Pope Benedict XVI dies, but perhaps the dawn of a new era for the Church.

In the 17th century the Jesuit Fr. Menestrier claimed the Prophecies of St Malachy to be a 16th century forgery. According to Peter Bander in his book on the subject:

In the seventeenth century Father Menestrier, a famous Jesuit, put forward his hypothesis that these prophecies had originated in 1590 during the conclave which resulted in Gregory XIV becoming the elected pontiff. Fr. Menestrier goes as far as naming the forger; a member of Cardinal Simoncelli's party is supposed to have forged these prophecies in order to influence the electors in favour of his Cardinal who was the doyen of the Sacred College and, by virtue of his office and other qualities, surely a favourite for the pontificate. Cardinal Simoncelli was Bishop of Orvieto, his birthplace, and the motto given to him in the prophecies, Ex , is simply an allusion to Orvieto (). Perhaps it is fair to add that Fr. Menestrier does not furnish us with evidence to substantiate his accusation.
I gather this was the same Fr. Claude-Francois Menestrier who is generally regarded as the first ballet historian, who choreographed a performance at his native Lyon to entertain King Louis XIV. Fr Menestrier was an extraordinary figure, who was also an antiquarian and expert on heraldry. He wrote numerous books, including a biography of Louis XIV. One biographical account says:
At the age of fifteen, Claude-François Menestrier (1631-1705) became professor of rhetoric in a Jesuit college in Chambéry, being admitted to the order of Jesuits at the same time. A legendary memory and a lively intelligence brought him many distinctions throughout Europe. When Queen Christina of Sweden passed through Lyons, she sought to test him, having him (successfully) repeat 300 bizarre words back to him in the order that she spoke them all at once. As a heraldist he was unparalleled among the French, and Louis XIV, impressed with the festival which he put on for the king in Lyons, made him the director of all of France’s festivals. In 1667 he was named conservator of the library of the college of Trinity, for which he found a great many works of Grollier.
A Jesuit article about Fr. Menestrier seems to be much more interested in his skill as a choreographer and dance critic than in any connection to St Malachy's prophecies, which are not alluded to at all. The Catholic Encyclopedia does not mention his purported uncovering of a famous forgery which one would think that as a scholar would be his chief claim to fame.

What was it about the Prophecy that made Fr. Menestrier doubt its authenticity
? According to An Historical and Critical Account of the So-called Prophecy of St. Malachy by M. J. O'Brien, Menestrier made his assertion on the basis that there are no contemporary accounts of St. Malachy's list of the popes in the records of the time. He insisted that it was the work of several hands, that the Latin was bad and the prophecies themselves, meaningless.

It should perhaps be taken into account that Fr. Menestrier worked for Louis XIV. Louis XIV is perhaps one of the most successful rulers who ever lived, although in the long run his policies were not good for France. Like all highly effective politicians, he stayed one step ahead of his opponents. It is well-known that he did not always see eye-to-eye with the papacy. In my opinion, it would not have been beyond Louis to try to manipulate an upcoming conclave by having his resident Jesuit scholar declare the list of St. Malachy to be bogus. All the Cardinals were pouring over the Prophecy as soon as a pope had a head cold, and to have it announced as a forgery would have ruffled quite a few feathers in Rome, which would have pleased Louis XIV, giving him more clout in maneuvering his own preferred candidate into place. It would be interesting to look into Louis XIV's relations with the Vatican a bit more.

There have been many other scholars, such as the Benedictine scholar
Abbé Cucherat, who have believed the Prophecies of St Malachy to be legitimate. The 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia has an interesting analysis:
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....They are enunciated under mystical titles.... 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 caelo (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....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 [St. Pius X] is truly a burning fire of zeal for the restoration of all things to Christ.
Now there is some doubt as to whether the last title, referring to "Peter the Roman" and "the coming of the Judge" was part of the original list of popes, but people tend to be frightened by it because they think it means the end of the world.

The patristic scholar Fr. Herman Kramer analyzed the Book of the Apocalypse in his 1955 work entitled The Book of Destiny. He studied what the Fathers and Doctors of the Church have written about the last book of the Bible and based his analysis on their writings. Fr Kramer, in discussing the "destruction of Rome," as prophetically described in the Apocalypse, believed that it does not necessarily indicate the end of the world but the end of an age. Judgment can come in many forms before the Second Coming and Final Judgment. War is a form of judgment. Fr. Kramer speculated, based upon the writings of the Fathers, that at some future date Rome would be destroyed in a war of some kind and when peace was restored, the new Pope would settle in Jerusalem, which would once more be the Holy City.

If the list of Popes is a true prophecy, it is no reason to be afraid but to prepare, especially by prayer. Most of all, prophecies of this kind are never to be put on the level of revealed doctrine, but are to be regarded with discernment, for what help they can give.

(Continued on Part 2, and discussion of Fr. Thibaut's book, HERE.

29 posted on 03/11/2013 2:21:33 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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Friday, March 6, 2009

Prophecies of St. Malachy, Part 2

The 1980's were an interesting decade for Catholics. People were reading TAN Books and Fr. Gobbi, starting cenacles and dashing off to Medjugorje. There were also Latin Masses cropping up here and there. EWTN began to be seen more and more on cable television. It was a time when many people were talking about the coming chastisement, and hoarding blessed candles in preparation for the "three days of darkness." No one knew what was going to happen, but everyone knew it was imminent, whatever it was. All of this carried over into the 90's.

One night in 1991, a nice but mentally unsound lady called me up and offered me $2000 to go to Medjugorje, telling me the Blessed Mother had told her that I was supposed to go. I was teaching at the time and to go away would have caused serious inconvenience to the nuns who were my employers. I told the nice lady that I could not go and returned the check which she insisted on sending to me.

As time passed, I got tired of hysterical women telling me of their visions and I became wary of anything to do with Medjugorje. I wearied of people using religion and apparitions as an excuse for irresponsible behavior; of people running after visions and supernatural phenomena and then, as was occasionally the case, adopting immoral lifestyles. (Needless to say, I do know of some people who have had positive experiences and made enduring conversions at Medjugorje. Good for them.)

As I grew in Carmel, I identified more and more with the Dark Night of St John of the Cross and agreed with the Little Flower who said: "To ecstasies at Lourdes I prefer the monotony of sacrifice." Not that I have anything against Lourdes, having been there three times, but at some point we must all get down to the difficult job of living a life of virtue, day-by-day, in spite of aridities and trials.

I had gone through a phase of reading prophetic literature in the 80's and 90's but have since become very cautious about it and so there are only a few titles now that I would recommend. One such book is Trial, Tribulation and Triumph by Desmond Birch, a scholarly work based upon the writings of the Church fathers and various saints, mentioning only approved apparitions. Birch does not base any of his writings upon the Prophecy of St Malachy concerning the popes, believing that the famous list has been subjected to interpolation. The list of popes may be based upon an original writing of St Malachy, but probably was tampered with at some point, perhaps in an attempt to influence a papal conclave, as previously mentioned. Fr. Menestrier seems to have thought it to be the "work of many hands." (Birch does believe St Malachy's prophecy concerning Ireland to be authentic.)

I do wonder if the present form of the list of Popes is indeed taken from something that St. Malachy actually wrote or said. One reason I have for such speculation is that the basic structure of the list reminds me of a litany. The Irish had long loved to pray in litanies or "loricas", a carry over from pagan times. St Malachy lived in a tumultuous era when Celtic Christianity in Ireland was being replaced by Roman custom and tradition. St Malachy, nevertheless, would have been well-grounded in the Celtic ways of praying and of recording information.

Critics of St. Malachy's list claim that most of the titles are so vague that they could be applied to anyone. That may be true. The motto "A light in the sky" could have applied to Pius X as well as to Leo XIII, but it was Leo XIII who bore a star on his coat of arms. There was an eclipse of the sun when Pope John Paul II was born, and his title happens to be "Of the Solar Eclipse." People say that eclipses of the sun happen all the time. Was there an eclipse when Pope Paul VI was born? I don't think so.

"Flower of flowers," the title for Pope Paul VI, representing purity, love and Our Lady, could accurately have applied to Pope John Paul I or Pope John Paul II. But Pope Paul had the fleur-de-lys on his coat-of-arms, and he was the Pope who published Humanae Vitae, exalting chaste love during the a time when chastity was becoming a rare commodity.

Pope Benedict XVI is "The Glory of the Olive," symbolizing peace. How beautifully he has spoken of peace, how hard he works for peace and unity at a time when violence escalates all over the world. I remember reading way back in the 80's that the "Glory of the Olive" would have a connection with St. Benedict and that he would restore the sacred liturgy. Perhaps it is all a coincidence. I do not base my faith on it. But it certainly is interesting.

Whether it is a pure forgery or an interpolation of a lost prophecy of an Irish mystic, the Prophecy of the Popes has captured the imagination and interest of many throughout the world. It has become part of our history and will not go away; it is all over the internet. Instead of scathing dismissal and ridicule, intelligent reflection and discussion may be of better use to our young people in such matters. Trust in God and doing His will is the best way to prepare for anything the future may hold.

30 posted on 03/11/2013 2:22:26 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

St. Malachy and Fr. René Thibaut

"But of this one thing be not ignorant, my beloved, that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." 2 Peter 3:8

"But of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone." Matthew 24:26

After I shared some reflections about the famous “Prophecy of St Malachy” a month or so ago (see The Prophecies of St. Malachy, Part 1 and Part 2) a reader sent me a book entitled La Mystérieuse prophétie des papes by Fr. René Thibaut, S.J. (Namur: Bibliothèque de la Faculté de philosophie et lettres,1951, Imprimatur: June 28, 1945, Et. Jos. Carton de Wiart) Fr. Thibaut (1883-1952) was a Belgian Jesuit and scholar who made a study of the list of popes attributed to St. Malachy. Fr. Thibaut’s research reveals that there is a great deal more to the Prophecy than I had ever imagined. It is a penetrating treatise which, because of the author’s vast knowledge of Church history and Sacred Scripture, both informs and inspires. The middle of the book is devoted to charts tracing the date of Easter over the years, and the leap years, as well as various ciphers, anagrams and acrostics with which, as Fr. Thibaut demonstrates, the list of Popes is imbued. Fr. Thibaut’s analysis becomes complex at that point although he explains his conclusions with clarity.

Fr. Thibaut maintains that the Prophecy of the Popes is a genuine prophecy. However, the identity of the actual prophet remains unclear. The author of the Prophecy is probably not St Malachy but someone who wrote under the name of the great Irish saint in order to honor him. (p.7) Fr. Thibaut insists that the Prophecy is not meant to worry or disturb but to reassure the faithful about the Providence of God during even the most difficult of times. It is a sort of litany which celebrates the glory and triumph of the universal Church throughout the ages under the leadership of the Roman pontiffs. (p.24) It was a mistake for people of the past (and present) to use the list of popes in order to predict who the next pope would be, for that was never the intention of the original author. (p.20) Neither is it meant to herald the imminent end of the world, because "of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone." (Matthew 24:36)

According to Fr. Thibaut, the papal legate Nicholas Sanders (1530-1581) may have brought a primitive document containing the Prophecy to Rome during the reign of St. Pius V. Sanders spent a great deal of time in Ireland, which continued to be Catholic in spite of Elizabeth I. Sanders wrote De visibili Monarchia Ecclesiae in which he states that the reigns of the popes are the best “measure of time.” (pp. 23-24) Fr. Thibaut believes that the Prophecy, eventually made public by Wion in 1595, has qualities which indicate an older document of Celtic origin, namely due to the word play and the use of numbers in the various anagrams and acrostics. (p.92) Reading Fr. Thibaut’s explanation of the complex patterns of words and numbers embedded in the list reminds me of the intricacy of the Celtic knot work designs in the Book of Kells and other Irish illuminated manuscripts, albeit the intricacy is in numbers and letters rather than designs.

Of the 111 titles describing all the popes and anti-popes from 1143 to the present, Fr. Thibaut says that while the first 71 titles have been subjected to the tampering of a forger, the last 40, which cover the years 1572 to 2012, are untouched. The year of 2012 is repeatedly emphasized as coinciding with the last Pope on the list, called the “Glory of the Olive.” Fr. Thibaut demonstrates the calculation of the year 2012 on a series of charts. The last 40 popes of the genuine part of the prophecy span four centuries with an average of eleven years per reign, and so he calculates 440 years from 1572. 1572 +440 =2012. (pp. 22-23) Fr. Thibaut shows how the year 2012 keeps appearing in other calculations as well. He also insists that it will only be in the year 2012 that it will become clear whether his interpretation of The Prophecy is correct or not. (p.101)

Fr. Thibaut says that 2012 signifies the end of an era in the history of the Church, recalling how other eras have come and gone. The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 marked the close of an era, as did the fall of Rome in the fifth century. The fifteenth century saw the end of medieval Christianity with the Reformation. (p.22) The Revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as well as the World Wars of the twentieth century were events which manifested the judgment of God as well as signaling changes for the Church and the world. (pp. 88, 92, 96)Throughout such stages, the Church has been guided by the successors of St. Peter. (p. 22)

Speaking of St. Peter, the list concludes with the following phrase: "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.” Fr. Thibaut explains how “Peter the Roman” does not signify a future pope calling himself “Pope Peter II” but rather Petrus Romanus symbolizes all the Roman pontiffs since St. Peter, for the Church has continually undergone persecution of some kind. (p.25) The destruction of Rome will not necessarily follow immediately after the end of the era in 2012, but may come at a later date. (p.21) Nevertheless, Fr. Thibaut surmises that it is not unthinkable that at some point in the future the Popes may change their residence and govern the Church from somewhere other than the city of Rome. (p.22)

The final pope on the list is given the title Gloriae olivae, “The Glory of the Olive.” Fr. Thibaut says that the olive represents the people of God whom His judgment will glorify. (p.97) Once again, Fr. Thibaut insists that the Prophecy is genuine since so often in the last 400 years the titles have accurately described a pope and his reign, too many times for it to be pure chance. This is discussed in great detail and perhaps will be the topic of a future blog post. (To do full justice to such an exhaustive work is beyond the scope of one or two blog articles.) Fr. Thibaut ends by saying: L'année 2012 dira si, oui ou non, le prophête a vu clair. (p.101) That remains to be seen.

31 posted on 03/11/2013 2:23:03 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

La Mystérieuse prophétie

*Note: This post is a continuation of a previous discussion about Fr. Thibaut and St. Malachy, HERE.

I promised to share more about the fascinating book by Fr. René Thibaut, S.J., La Mystérieuse prophétie des papes (Namur: Bibliothèque de la Faculté de philosophie et lettres,1951, Imprimatur: June 28, 1945, Et. Jos. Carton de Wiart). Fr. Thibaut was a Belgian Jesuit who taught at the University of Namur. Fr. Thibaut's analysis of the titles given to the various popes is worth reflecting upon since so much of the history of the Church is captured therein. The last forty titles of the prophecy attributed to St. Malachy, which escaped the tampering of Renaissance forgers, are carefully scrutinized. Fr. Thibaut discerns that among the complex patterns woven into the Prophecy are thirteen couplets or binaries, as seen on p. 85:
77. Crux Romulea, Aquila rapax 97. Clement VIII, Pie VII.
78.Undosus vir, Peregrinus apostolicus 96. Leon XI, Pie VI.
79. Gens perversa, Ursus velox 95. Paul V, Clement XIV.
80. In tribulatione pacis, Rosa Umbriae 94. Gregoire XV, Clement XIII.
81. Lilium et rosa, Canis et coluber 98. Urbain VIII, Leon XII.
82. Jucunditas crucis, Lumen in caelo 102. Innocent X, Leon XIII.
83. Montium custos, Crux de cruce 101. Alexandre VII, Pie IX.
84. Sidus olorum, De balneis Etruriae 100. Clement IX, Gregoire XVI.
85. De flumine magno, Vir religiosus 99. Clement X, Pie VIII.
86.Bellua insatiabilis, Animal rurale 93. Innocent XI, Benoit XIV.
87· Paenitentia gloriosa, Columna excelsa 92. Alexandre VIII, Clement XII.
88. Rastrum in porta, Miles in bello 91. Innocent X II, Benoit XIII.
89. Flores circumdati, De bona religione 90. Clement XI, Innocent XIII.
I will share Fr. Thibaut's explanations of some of the binaries and how they connect with historical events. Crux Romulea (Clement VIII, 1592-1605) and Aquila rapax (Pius VII, 1800-1823) signify the confrontation between two Romes, of Christian Rome symbolized by the Cross with pagan Rome symbolized by the Eagle. Under Clement VIII the Protestant advance was halted while under Pius VII Napoleon, "the rapacious eagle," tried to make Europe and the Church his own in a new Roman Empire. (p.86)

The titles Lilium et rosa (Urban VIII, 1623-1644)) embraces the latter period of the counter Reformation of seventeenth century. (p.86) The "Lily and the Rose" symbolize the virtues of purity and chastity preached and lived by such extraordinary saints as St. Francis de Sales, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Jeanne de Chantal, and St. Louise de Marillac, as well as the religious orders founded at the time, such as the Visitation, the Daughters of Charity, the Lazarists, the Eudists, the Oratorians, and the Sulpicians. (p.87) Canis et coluber (Leo XII, 1823-1829)) or the "Dog and the Serpent" signifies the age of Revolution, of the liberalism which encouraged unrestrained license (p.87) and the class hatred and envy that would eventually give rise to socialism.

Bellua insatiabilis (Innocent XI, 1676-1689) or "Insatiable Beast" represents Louis XIV whom Innocent excommunicated. In his insistence on controlling the Church in France, Louis emulated Philip le Bel, as well as becoming a precursor of Napoleon, the "Rapacious Eagle." Gallicanism opened the way for the overt paganism of the reign of Louis XV, manifested in art, in literature and in lifestyles. Animal rurale (Benedict XIV, 1740-1758) symbolizes the preoccupation with naturalism that characterized the era, being that in prophetic language the words "animal" and "rural" symbolize paganism. (p.88) Such elements opened the way to the Revolution.

Towards the end of the list, Fr. Thibaut explores the individual meaning of the titles in chronological order, often in strophes of three. I will mention those I found especially compelling. Rosa Umbriae is Clement XIII, reigning from 1758 to 1769. In 1765 Pope Clement authorized the feast of the Sacred Heart; the "Rose" symbolizes the feast of love. (p. 90)

There follows a triptych of popes, numbers 95, 96 and 97 which are Ursus velox (Clement XIV, 1769-1774), Peregrinus apostolicus (Pius VI, 1775-1799) and Aquila rapax (Pius VII, 1800-1823). Clement XIV's reign saw the prelude to the Revolution, ideas and forces which swept Europe like a "charging bear" during the years which also saw the suppression of the Jesuit order. The Jesuits were among the few who had the ability to debate and confound the new ideas put forward by the philosophes; the order was disbanded at the moment it was most needed.

As an anagram "PeregrInUS aPostolIcUS" or "Apostolic pilgrim" signifies both Pius VI and VII who were forced into exile. Fr. Thibaut says that the repetition of the name "Pius" is a refrain. "Pius! Pius!" is similar to the sailors' cry of "Land! Land!" upon catching sight of a distant shore. (p.91) The difference between the two popes is that Pius VI had to contend with the Revolution, and Pius VII with the Aquila rapax, Napoleon Bonaparte, as has been said before.

Another triptych of popes includes Crux de cruce (Blessed Pius IX, 1846-1878), Lumen in caelo (Leo XIII, 1878-1903), and Ignis Ardens (St. Pius X, 1903-1914) There is an exhaustive analysis of the mysterious connections between the three popes and the historical circumstances which they each faced which would take five blog posts to explain. For one thing, they each received at baptism a name of one of the three saints closest to the Blessed Mother: John, Joachim, and Joseph. (p.95) The "Cross from the Cross" refers to the persecution of the papacy at the hands of the House of Savoy, whose coat-of-arms bore a cross. On a deeper level, it signifies Christ Crucified, with Mary the Coredemptrix at the foot of the cross. "Cross from the Cross" is an echo of "flesh of my flesh" of Genesis 2:23, when Eve was brought forth. The new Eve, Mary Immaculate, received the privilege of her Immaculate Conception, defined by Blessed Pius IX in 1854, because of the future merits of her Son. (p.94) "The Light in the Sky" of Leo XIII is an allusion the the Eternal Father who dwells in light inaccessible. (1 Tim. 6:16). It also alludes to Apocalypse 12: 1: "And a great sign appeared in the sky." (p.94) The encyclicals of Leo XIII challenged the modern world as it grew closer to the cataclysms of the twentieth century. "The Ardent Fire" of St. Pius X signifies the persecution of the Church (p. 93), about to be intensified in many places, and already in full force in France, where many religious communities were expelled.

Next Fr. Thibaut analyzes the three popes who faced the upheavals of the early twentieth century, Religio Depopulata (Benedict XV, 1914-1922), Fides Intrepida (Pius XI, 1922-1939), and Pastor Angelicus (Pius XII, 1939-1958). "Religion Depopulated" refers to the World War I which Fr. Thibaut says was the natural effect of the great apostasy of the European nations. The apostasy, however, was not universal, and the "Intrepid Faith" of Pius XI symbolizes the martyrs in Spain and Mexico at the time. (p.96) The fall of Russia into Communism and the resultant persecution of believers needs also to be remembered. "The Angelic Shepherd" was Pius XII, who would lead the sheep through many catastrophes, namely World War II and the spread of Communism.

Pius XII was still reigning when Fr. Thibaut published his book, so his historical insights end with that pope, although he guesses at what the future would hold. He surmises that Pastor et nauta, the "Pastor and Mariner" whom we know as John XXIII (1958-1963), signifies that the Church's mission to the world would come into into stormy seas. (p.97) Fr. Thibaut predicted that the persecution of the Church by the world would be redoubled during that reign. He saw Flos florum, "The Flower of Flowers" of Paul VI as a consoling symbol (p.97) Others have connected the lilies of purity with Humane Vitae.

De medietate lunae "Of the half moon" is (John Paul I, August 26-September 28, 1978) and De labore solis "The Eclipse of the Sun" is (John Paul II, 1978-2005). Fr. Thibaut says that in prophetic language the sun and moon herald the coming of the judgment of God as well as calamitous times of great schism in the Church. Changes in the moon signify civil anarchy and changes in the sun suggest religious anarchy. (p.97) It also comes to mind, remembering how Pope John Paul II canonized more saints than any pope in history, the verse from Matthew: "Then shall the saints shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father." (Matthew 13:43)

It is then, as Fr. Thibaut interprets, that the kingdom of God will be manifested in an extraordinary manner. Benedict XVI is De gloria olivae. "The Glory of the Olive" means that the people of God, represented by the olive tree, will be glorified in an unprecedented way. Fr. Thibaut claims that many factors point to 2012 as being the pivotal year for the culmination of events but, as he makes clear, exactly what the future holds remains to be seen. (p.97) He makes it clear, however, that this does not indicate the end of the world but the end of an era. As for myself, I have found Fr. Thibaut's book to be inspiring, in that he reflects upon all that has already transpired, upon the many calamities through which the Church has journeyed. It is cause for hope rather than trepidation, hope which inspires reverence, prayer and vigilance.

"But of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone." Matthew 24:26

32 posted on 03/11/2013 2:24:02 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: mlizzy

See the last 4 posts for more in depth research on this subject.

33 posted on 03/11/2013 2:25:26 PM PDT by Brian Kopp DPM
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To: steve86

I’d rather listen to the Holy Spirit rather than strangers on a chat site.

But thanks anyway. I know you mean well.

34 posted on 03/11/2013 2:45:51 PM PDT by DManA
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp

Anyone see Megan Kelly’s coverage this AM on the Conclave?

If memory serves she is a Catholic but I thought her coverage was really first rate.

I was delightfully surprised how little I was offended, iow!

35 posted on 03/11/2013 3:45:48 PM PDT by ChinaGotTheGoodsOnClinton (Go Egypt on 0bama)
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To: Dr. Brian Kopp
St. Malachy: The Case for Authenticity
Are Cardinals Electing The Last Pope? If You Believe Nostradamus...
9 things you need to know about the prophecy of St. Malachy
St. Malachy's prophecy, misread?
Saint Malachy, Prophecies about 112 popes until the end of the world, the last five Popes
Malachy's Prophecies - The Last 10 Popes
Prophecy of St Malachy (with list of Popes)
36 posted on 03/11/2013 7:10:49 PM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Perdogg

When the Vatican Archives are digitized and available, it’s possible (though not likely) that the 12th c original will emerge.

37 posted on 03/11/2013 7:56:26 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Romney would have been worse, if you're a dumb ass.)
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