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Will the Next Pope Be the Antichrist? The Last Pope? Is The End Near? and other burning questions

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With the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, there has been a whirlwind of speculation about what is next for the Church in both the secular and Catholic media. Many in the secular world wonder if the Church will change Her stance on certain doctrines. (No.) In the Catholic world, there has been much whispering and worry over what this means for the Church. Is there a chance the next Pope could be the Antichrist, like many suggest? Do the prophecies of St. Malachy from the 12th century indicate that the next Pope will be the last one EVER? Or are we freaking out over nothing?

Next Pope = Antichrist?


The “Papal-Antichrist” theory is frequently thrown around, and many Protestant sects hold this belief. This theory espouses that the system of the Papacy itself is the Antichrist, and therefore, each Pope is a tool of the Antichrist. Luther, Calvin, Cranmer, and the majority of Protestants during the time period of the Reformation held this view, as their way of justifying their break from the Catholic Church. Cardinal Newman has given great insight on this belief in his dissertation, “The Protestant Idea of Antichrist”:

“The Papal-Antichrist theory was gradually developed by three historical bodies: the Albigenses, the Waldenses, and the Fraticelli, between the eleventh and the sixteenth centuries: are these the expositors from whom the Church of Christ is to receive the true interpretation of the prophecies?” – Cardinal John Henry Newman

The “Pope is the Antichrist” assertion is NOT a Catholic one, but rather, one created by those who are most vehemently anti-Catholic; it addresses the Papacy as a whole, not just the next Pope. Besides some modern visionaries (whose visions are NOT approved by the Church), no Catholic with any authority has declared that the Antichrist will sit on the throne of Peter, nor has the Church ever held the belief that the Antichrist will come in the form of a Pope.

So what do actual Catholic theologians say about the Antichrist? That he “shall not come as a righteous king nor as a legitimate king in subjection to God, but as an impious, unjust, and lawless one” (Irenaeus,  Against Heresies); “For even Antichrist, when he shall begin to come, will not enter into the Church [even though] he threatens” (Cyprian of Carthage); “he will constitute and call himself God, and will order himself to be worshipped as the Son of God” (Lactantius).

Even the term “antichrist” itself carries the connotation of one who does not profess the divinity of Christ. “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.” 2 John 1:7

The Antichrist is someone who will lead people away from the Truth. And since we know that the Catholic Church teaches the fullness of Truth, it does not seem like someone who will be the visible head of the Church of Christ on Earth. Considering the Antichrist will preach heresy and blasphemy, that would seem to fly in the face of Matthew 16:18 (the gates of hell shall not prevail), as well as the doctrine of Papal Infallibility (the Pope will not teach error on matters of faith or morals when speaking as the spiritual head of the Church.) And seeing as though this idea was proposed and promulgated by those who hold the Catholic Church in contempt, why would we want to give their theory any weight?

Next Pope = Last Pope?

St. Malachy was an Irish Archbishop from the 12th century. The “Prophecy of the Popes” are a series of prophesies attributed to him that supposedly predict the Papacy from his time to the end of the world. According to the proponents of the prophecy, Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope referred to in the 111th prophecy. The 112th prophecy states: “In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there 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.”

If the St. Malachy prophecy is true, the next Pope will be the last, and the end of the world is quickly approaching. Which means we are living in the time of the great apostasy, the coming of the Antichrist, persecution, potential wars, pestilence, famine.

It is important to note that these prophecies were supposedly originally received in a vision St. Malachy had in 1139, during a visit to Rome. However, they were not discovered until the 1590s. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a close friend of St. Malachy, penned his biography and made absolutely no mention of them (although his gift of prophecy WAS mentioned.)  Jimmy Akin has a truly excellent, in-depth analysis of the St. Malachy prophecy and why he believes it to be untrue. The veracity of these prophecies is dubious at best, and they are not Church-approved (unlike the prophecies and visions of Fatima, Lourdes, and the like.) While they are interesting to read through and to try to make connections, we should not allow them to hold much weight.

Does it matter? Why are we so concerned?

As humans, we have an often insatiable curiosity. We want to know the future, and our prediction for the future often determines our course of action. Will we buy black plastic to put over our windows for the three days of darkness? Will we increase our food storage to protect ourselves against the potential natural disasters that will come at the end of the world?

The world may very well end in 2 years, 3 years, 5 years. We may indeed go through intense persecution and suffer martyrdom. We may perish in a natural disaster sent by God as a precursor to The End. Or the world could end in 50 years, 100 years, or 2 millennia from now.

So what if it is in God’s plan for the world to end in 2015? Is it wrong to be concerned, to prepare? What if the next Pope is in fact the last Pope (regardless of the veracity of the St. Malachy prophecies)?

Here’s the thing. It is in our nature to be concerned about the end because we want to be prepared – hopefully, prepared to die well so that we can enter Heaven. But what if we don’t make it to the end of the world? What if you die in your sleep tonight? Are you prepared to meet God face to face, and to face His Just Judgment? The end of THE world may not be the end of YOUR world. Are you ready?

While it is a little thrilling to read prophesies and wonder about when the Earth is going to be consumed by fire (2 Peter 3:12), it’s important to remember that we will all die. It doesn’t matter whether we die at the end of the world or we die in our sleep. What matters is that we are READY for death. Go to confession regularly. Attend Mass. Pray. Pray the Rosary. Wear the scapular. We should pray for the grace of a holy death every day, since the most important thing we will ever do is die, and our disposition when we die determines where we will spend eternity. If we are doing these things, we have nothing to fear. We will always be ready for death, whether it comes “like a thief in the night” or if it comes at the end of the world. And while it’s fine to speculate about the end and to peruse predictions, we should not allow it to consume our thoughts, to worry us, or to distract us from our vocations. Stop stressing over it! – no one gets out of here alive, anyway.

And let us pray for the Cardinals as the conclave commences, that they may allow their hearts to be guided by the voice of the Holy Spirit and elect a holy and worthy successor to the See of Peter.

About Colleen

Colleen is wife to her wonderful husband and Mommy to three little boys and a baby girl. She spends her days sweeping Cheerios, reading stories, and building with Legos. She enjoys sharing her Catholic Faith with others, and trying her best to live out her vocation generously, graciously, fully. She loves the Traditional Mass. She also appreciates anything crafty or chocolatey, and is blessed to reside in the great state of Kansas, which actually is not all black-and-white – she has the red shoes to prove it.

February 28, 2013 - 7:21 am

Alicia - I think the Lord really moves you when you write, because that was totally great! Thank you for touching on this subject, a group of my friends and I have been discussing this and being the only Catholic, it’s nice to have another Catholics point of view. Especially on a matter I don’t have a lot of knowledge about. Thanks you and Bless you!

February 28, 2013 - 2:09 pm

Jenna@CallHerHappy - This was one of the best explanations I’ve ever read. Very comforting too. Thank you!

March 1, 2013 - 9:20 pm

Pre-Conclave Updates | Big Pulpit - [...] – Ann Carey Card. Wuerl Describes Spiritual Experience of Conclave – Estefania Aguirre Will Next Pope Be the Antichrist? The Last Pope? Is End Near? – Catholic Sistas Excommunicated Cardinals and Conclaves – Dr. Edw. Peters, Canon Law [...]

March 1, 2013 - 10:14 pm

Jacques - The text of St. Malachy under discussion for the next Pope is the following: “In the last persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman, who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations, and when these things have happened, the seven-hilled city will be destroyed, and the terrible judge will judge his people. The End.” This can be interpreted in a favorable and not frightening way. First of all, the word “end” should be understood as the end of the list, not the end of the world or the papacy. The key to understanding the context is the seven hilled city which should be understood in the context of Rev. 17:9 where the Harlot of Babylon sits. In the Bible, the faithful Church is the Bride and (in Jewish tradition) the unfaithful are the Harlot (as for example in Hosea and many other places). This passage therefore predicts as part of a very important and long part of the Book of Revelation (chapters 17, 18, 19) the defeat of that section of the Church which has become worldly and is basically proposing a Church along the lines of what the media seem to want. This is not an isolated passage; it is confirmed for example by 2 Thess. 2:1-12. There we see Christ as the judge who purifies the Church by the Holy Spirit (breath of his mouth v. 8). The passage clearly describes the atheistic spirit of our times (claiming that he is a god v. 4) and it is in harmony with passages like 2 Peter 2:1-22. This purification of the Church is clearly not the end of the world because in Revelation 21:26 and 22:2 there is clear reference to the missionary work of the Church (“the nations” or pagans). In short, this prophecy of St. Malachy is simply repeating the message of Fatima about the end of the persecution of the Church and the Pope from another angle: “Russia will be converted and a time of peace shall be granted to the world.” Much more could be written making use of the Bible and various private revelations, but this is the answer in outline. The objections to this list attributed to St. Malachy do not seem to outweigh the Bible’s description of a situation remarkably like our own times which points to the triumph of the Church. St. Malalchy, then, is just another confirmation from private revelations. There is one more connection I would like to make between 2 Thessalonians, Fatima, and the prophecy of St. Malachy. In 2 Thessalonians, 2: 1-12, it is specifically mentioned that there is someone who is restraining the apostasy (translated as “rebellion” in some versions but written as apostasia in the original Greek). That someone is no doubt the pope (Peter “the rock”). In our own days, we see the fanatical efforts, both within and outside the Church, to belittle, cripple and block his ministry. In this way he is “removed” by losing his ability to effectively influence events as universal Pastor. The persecution of the Pope is a specific aspect of the Fatima prophecies and is also referred to in the prophecies of St. Malachy. I might add that the “apostasy” of our times and even within the Catholic Church is described quite well in chapter 3 and the beginning of chapter 4 in 2 Timothy. In any event, the title “Peter the Roman” of St. Malachy would give good grounds to understand our Lady’s words at Fatima on the conversion of Russia as indicating the restoration of the original unity of the Church around Peter the Roman.

March 2, 2013 - 8:37 am

Ivana - The problem with our Catholic Church is that they fail to recognize the signs. The book of Revelation is full of prophecies and end time details. This is the only book in the Bible that gives us a blessing for reading it. They should also acknowledge the past Saints living in different centuries and different parts of the world unkonwn to each other have predicted the same identical messages concerning the end times. Could these Saints revelations from above be all lies? How can the church produce saints that are made to be liars? The approved and unapproved apparitions of La Salette, Fatima, Akita etc… all state the same thing. God always thoughout history have sent prophets to warn the people of judgement.
Why wouldn’t He sent prophets at our own lifetime? Is the state of the world better than any other time in history? I can recite from A to Z an infinite litany of modern day sins that in no other time in history have been recorded. Yes, God is a God of love but, He is also a God of justice. A good father sometimes after many warnings has to use punishment to correct his wayward children. Fear of the Lord is one of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit and also the beginning of Wisdom.

March 2, 2013 - 9:37 am

Jeff - This really smart…so glad Spirit Daily linked to this.

God bless you. You must have the Holy Spirit’s hand on your shoulder as you write. As a Catholic and college English teacher, I know fine writing when I see it, as not one idear or sentence in this is unjustified.

Jeff in Minnesota

March 2, 2013 - 11:41 am

Julia - Thank you for your very sensible article.

I would like to just point out that the next Pope could also be described as the last in this ERA.

Peter the Roman should hopefully lead us through the tribulations we are already experiencing, Apostasy being one of them. Hopefully to a more safe environment for our wellbeing and redemption.

Remember a new ERA started two thousand years ago with the birth, life and death of Jesus. The world did not end did it?

I think we are in for a rough ride, we will all have to pull our socks up, but the outcome will be a better world for us all under the guidance of Holy Mother Church.

March 2, 2013 - 11:47 am

Julia - Sorry, I missed inclusion of the Ressurection of Jesus in my previous post, when describing the Impact of Jesus life in the course of history.

I think the new ERA could be the era of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus did say, one day we would worship in Spirit and in Truth.

Just a thought.

March 2, 2013 - 11:49 am

Julia - Correction needs to be posted.

Sorry, I missed inclusion of the Ressurection of Jesus in my previous post, when describing the Impact of Jesus life in the course of history.

I think the new ERA could be the era of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus did say, one day we would worship in Spirit and in Truth.

Just a thought.

March 2, 2013 - 12:24 pm

JEAN - JACQUES, your comment was splendid and the perfect explanation I needed. I have always accepted the prophecies of St Malachi for the simple reason that despite claims they are a forgery done hundreds of years ago, no one can explain why they have still be so accurate.

March 2, 2013 - 1:30 pm

George Kadlec - A quote starting at Matthew 24, verse 36. “But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of Heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. For as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. In (those) days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day tha Noah entered the ark. They did not know until the flood came and carried them all away. So will it be (also) at the coming of the Son of Man. … Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. …
So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”

For those who want to know what Jesus Christ said about the end of the world, I would recommend a book by David Currie called, I believe, “What Jesus Christ really said about the end of the world.”

There will always be those who think they know about Christ’s imminent return – These things are really a waste of time.

I do believe that we live in dangerous times and future times will probably get worse. I personally believe the police state is on the way.

We have a president who is a type of anti-christ. He has been referred to Cardinal Burke as an agent of death for which the Cardinal later apologized. He also referred to the democrate party as the party of death. I believe he was correct on both accounts.

A Catholic’s greatest concern is that he or she should be in a state of grace. Everything else should not be of too much concern.

March 2, 2013 - 1:52 pm

JB - Indeed none of us may be here by sunrise…. that poor guy fell
into a sink hole from ‘the safety and security’ of his bed and bedroom,RIP. Whoever is chosen as Pope will have been chosen by Heaven…. and that is a reality which outsiders cannot grasp. The secular ‘demands’ for a Pope who is open to promoting homosexual marriage,married priests,female’priests’( what other church on earth has heroines such as BVM, St. Therese, St.Bernadette,Saint Faustina, Mother Teresa, etc.etc.etc…?),promoting ongoing sexual license by advocating use of condoms….. what planet are these people on? So yes,… relax as sista cute Colleen says… the church is in good hands and will always be so, despite the roaring waves and circling sharks.

March 2, 2013 - 3:21 pm

Henry Dee - Let’s all pray to the Holy Spirit that the next Pope is good,holy
and follows the traditions of the church as all other popes have.
Nuff said.

March 2, 2013 - 8:46 pm

John Paul - Blessed Catherine Emmerick was made blessed by John Paul 11 and she stated there would be an anti pope and at that time we would also have a bad pope.This would be at the time of the chastisement.Then we would have Peter the romanus and the monarch. Only God the father knows the time of the end.It may take place as he predicted or it may end when he wills it to end.No one controls will of the father

March 2, 2013 - 8:49 pm

Anita - All the ridiculous speculations by so many people are getting out of hand. It is so obvious that Pope Benedict served as long as God had planned for him and now God has another person planned for the continuation of the Pope;s mission. How weak in faith most people are that they are looking at this situation in a human way, when it belongs to God and His Holy Spirit.

March 2, 2013 - 9:26 pm

John Paul - Blessed Catherine Emmerick was made blessed by John Paul 11 and shestated thier would be an anti pope and at that time we would also have a bad pope.This would be at the time of the chastisement.Only God the father knows the time of the end.It may take place as he predicted or it may end when he wills it to end. do not control will of the father

March 2, 2013 - 10:30 pm

neil - Colleen:
From a very basic student of Gaelic:
Take “Malachy O’Morgair”. And talk about his supposed/purported prophecies.
“Morgair”
“Mor”= big or great
“Gair” = verb, to laugh
or
“a drawling, melancholy din of many voices”

Well, In either sense, someone wanting to have some fun with the Church could not have picked a better pen name.

From later version of MacAlpine’s Pronouncing Gaelic Dictionary (1833).

March 2, 2013 - 11:55 pm

Sue - As well as Catherine Emmerick there is John of the Cleft Rock, Sr Elena Aiello, the Ecstatic of Tours, Pius !X, Pius X, St Anna Marie Taigi,St Elizabeth Mora, and St Hildegard as well as hundreds of recent visionaries who are being told by Jesus and Mary that the Pope was forced to go and will be accused of something which he is innocent of and then killed. The Medjugorje visionaries asked for urgent prayers days before, stigmatist Christina Gallagher was told in Jan 2013 that his life was in danger and Pedro Regis and especially Maria from ‘the warning second coming’website have been receiving similar messages for years.The next pope Jesus says will be charming and articulate and loved by the media, but will not be from God. Jesus calls him the false prophet.

March 3, 2013 - 12:05 am

Jaime - Wonderful post. I really enjoyed reading it. You really wrote everything that I wish I had in one of my own posts here recently. We all have to be ready for our own end.

March 3, 2013 - 1:01 am

Mel - Shared from spiritdaily.com

For our discernment:

DEPARTURE OF POPE CAUSES THE EYE TO GLANCE BACK AT ALLEGED PROPHECIES FROM SAINTS, MYSTICS, AND EVEN POPES

While the abrupt departure of Benedict XVI and the implications of his abdication are unsettling to many, even disturbing, and while there is little question that the Church remains in crisis over homosexuality (persecuted by it from within and without, necessitating perhaps a “reform council”), one must take the Pope Emeritus at his word: that he simply had no more strength to carry forth his pontificate.

Yet, it brings out the prophetic.

Did he “flee,” as so many alleged prophecies — from classical mystics and saints and even popes — have had a pontiff fleeing from Rome?

One cannot describe his retirement as that, not at this point, not with information at hand, although there are the haunting words that Benedict himself spoke at the very beginning of his Petrine Ministry: “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”

More recently — on Ash Wednesday, just days after announcing his abdication — he spoke of “individualism and rivalry” and divisions which he said “disfigured” the face of the Church.

Thus there remains that unsettled air and still the reverberation of thunder; many are those whose eyes revert to prophecy, being rich in history when it comes to matters of the Church.

Noted one Marian film-maker from England, John Bird: “On learning of the most distressing and disturbing news of Pope Benedict’s resignation, I experienced a very deeply felt sense of foreboding for the immediate future of the Church. When the Arm and the Justice of God strikes the leader of His people, then the whole Church in effect will become subject to the final ordeal which must precede the forthcoming Eucharistic Reign of Jesus: ‘Awake sword, against my Shepherd, against the one who is close to me, strike the Shepherd, scatter the sheep (Zechariah 13:7).

Others might focus on the positive possibilities of a new, dynamic, Marian Pontiff in this world of — indeed — apocalyptic-like turmoil. It is exciting to contemplate the conclave (and to pray for the decision).

Did the Pope hear from God, from the Blessed Mother? He alluded to listening to such a Voice. And it certainly has occurred with previous pontiffs. Pius XII is said to have had a vision of Jesus beside his bed at a critical time in his pontificate, when he was feared dying (he went on for several more years). Some claim the Blessed Mother sent a seer to advise Paul VI to remain on the throne.

What about prophecies that had only three popes after John XXIII? Are these to be discarded? Do we await the “Great Pope” of other predictions (or have we already seen one)?

One must never despise prophecy, although always treat it carefully.

Let us move beyond Malachy:

In 1340, an alleged seer named John of the Cleft Rock (1340) said, “Toward the end of the world the Pope with the cardinals will have to flee Rome under trying circumstances to a place where he will be unknown. He will die a cruel death in this exile. The sufferings of the Church will be much greater than at any previous time in history.”

There was Pope Pius IX (died 1878), who said, “The Church will suffer exceedingly. Her servants and her chieftain will be mocked, scourged, and martyred.” (Did that pertain to the Communist oppression?)

There was another Pius (X, who died in 1915): “I saw one of my successors by name fleeing over the corpses of his brethren. He will flee to a place for a short respite where he is unknown, but he himself will die a cruel death.”

There was Jacinta of Fatima (died 1920), who “saw the Holy Father in a very big house. He was kneeling before a table holding his face in his hands and he was weeping. Outside there were many people; some were throwing stones, others were cursing at him and saying many ugly words to him.”

There was Sister Marie Chambon (died 1907): “The triumph of the Church will be hastened by devotion to the five wounds and the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ.”

There was Venerable Mary of Agreda (1665): “In the last times the Lord will especially spread the renown of His mother: Mary began salvation, and by her intercession it will be concluded. Before the Second Coming of Christ, Mary must, more than ever, shine in mercy, might, and grace in order to bring unbelievers into the Catholic faith. The powers of Mary in the last times over the demons will be very conspicuous.”

There was Werdin d’Otrante (13th century) who said that a great pontiff would precede the anti-christ. Or, getting back to John of the Cleft Rock: “God will raise up a holy Pope over whom the angels will rejoice. Enlightened by God, this man will reconstruct almost the entire world through his holiness and lead all to the true faith.”

There was Saint Bridget of Sweden (1873): “When the feast of Saint Mark shall fall on Easter, the feast of Saint Anthony on Pentecost, and that of Saint John on Corpus Christi, the whole world shall cry, ‘Woe.’”

There was Elizabeth Canori-Mora (1825): “God will employ the powers of hell for the extermination of these impious and heretical persons who desire to overthrow the Church and destroy its very foundation. These presumptuous men in their mad impiety believe that they can overthrow God from His Throne; but the Lord will despise these artifices, and through an effect on His Mighty Hand He will punish these impious blasphemers by giving permission to the infernal spirits to come out of hell. Innumerable legions of demons shall overrun the earth, and shall execute the order of Divine Justice by causing terrible calamities. After this frightful punishment I saw the Heavens opening and Saint Peter coming down again upon the earth; he was vested in pontifical robes, and surrounded by a great number of angels, who were chanting hymns in his honor, and they proclaimed him as sovereign of the earth.” For our discernment. (These one can find in a little book called Prophecy For Today, currently out of print; soon to be reprinted).

And so it goes.

There have certainly been greater crises. There have been popes who were arrested, even jailed, popes who indeed did have to flee, there have been popes who were immersed in sexual scandal, a time when orgies reportedly occurred in the Lateran Palace, when Church funds were spent in bordellos, when pontiffs waged war or named emperors. At one point during the Middle Ages there was a seventy-year absence of the pontificate from Rome, followed by the disaster of the forty-year Great Schism, when two and eventually three popes fought for control. There were times when one could pay money to become a cardinal and when rectories were the place of concubinage. There were the problems under Basel and Constance — leading to reform councils, as such might well now aid the Church, if under strict papal control.

Tumultuous times. Disturbing ones. But also energizing ones.

A call to arms. A call to sanctity, to prayer; a call to us during Lent, the exact right time for it.

[resources: Lenten books; Medjugorje pilgrimage, Michael Brown: purification, future, self-illumination]

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For our discernment:

DEPARTURE OF POPE CAUSES THE EYE TO GLANCE BACK AT ALLEGED PROPHECIES FROM SAINTS, MYSTICS, AND EVEN POPES

While the abrupt departure of Benedict XVI and the implications of his abdication are unsettling to many, even disturbing, and while there is little question that the Church remains in crisis over homosexuality (persecuted by it from within and without, necessitating perhaps a “reform council”), one must take the Pope Emeritus at his word: that he simply had no more strength to carry forth his pontificate.

Yet, it brings out the prophetic.

Did he “flee,” as so many alleged prophecies — from classical mystics and saints and even popes — have had a pontiff fleeing from Rome?

One cannot describe his retirement as that, not at this point, not with information at hand, although there are the haunting words that Benedict himself spoke at the very beginning of his Petrine Ministry: “Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves.”

More recently — on Ash Wednesday, just days after announcing his abdication — he spoke of “individualism and rivalry” and divisions which he said “disfigured” the face of the Church.

Thus there remains that unsettled air and still the reverberation of thunder; many are those whose eyes revert to prophecy, being rich in history when it comes to matters of the Church.

Noted one Marian film-maker from England, John Bird: “On learning of the most distressing and disturbing news of Pope Benedict’s resignation, I experienced a very deeply felt sense of foreboding for the immediate future of the Church. When the Arm and the Justice of God strikes the leader of His people, then the whole Church in effect will become subject to the final ordeal which must precede the forthcoming Eucharistic Reign of Jesus: ‘Awake sword, against my Shepherd, against the one who is close to me, strike the Shepherd, scatter the sheep (Zechariah 13:7).

Others might focus on the positive possibilities of a new, dynamic, Marian Pontiff in this world of — indeed — apocalyptic-like turmoil. It is exciting to contemplate the conclave (and to pray for the decision).

Did the Pope hear from God, from the Blessed Mother? He alluded to listening to such a Voice. And it certainly has occurred with previous pontiffs. Pius XII is said to have had a vision of Jesus beside his bed at a critical time in his pontificate, when he was feared dying (he went on for several more years). Some claim the Blessed Mother sent a seer to advise Paul VI to remain on the throne.

What about prophecies that had only three popes after John XXIII? Are these to be discarded? Do we await the “Great Pope” of other predictions (or have we already seen one)?

One must never despise prophecy, although always treat it carefully.

Let us move beyond Malachy:

In 1340, an alleged seer named John of the Cleft Rock (1340) said, “Toward the end of the world the Pope with the cardinals will have to flee Rome under trying circumstances to a place where he will be unknown. He will die a cruel death in this exile. The sufferings of the Church will be much greater than at any previous time in history.”

There was Pope Pius IX (died 1878), who said, “The Church will suffer exceedingly. Her servants and her chieftain will be mocked, scourged, and martyred.” (Did that pertain to the Communist oppression?)

There was another Pius (X, who died in 1915): “I saw one of my successors by name fleeing over the corpses of his brethren. He will flee to a place for a short respite where he is unknown, but he himself will die a cruel death.”

There was Jacinta of Fatima (died 1920), who “saw the Holy Father in a very big house. He was kneeling before a table holding his face in his hands and he was weeping. Outside there were many people; some were throwing stones, others were cursing at him and saying many ugly words to him.”

There was Sister Marie Chambon (died 1907): “The triumph of the Church will be hastened by devotion to the five wounds and the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ.”

There was Venerable Mary of Agreda (1665): “In the last times the Lord will especially spread the renown of His mother: Mary began salvation, and by her intercession it will be concluded. Before the Second Coming of Christ, Mary must, more than ever, shine in mercy, might, and grace in order to bring unbelievers into the Catholic faith. The powers of Mary in the last times over the demons will be very conspicuous.”

There was Werdin d’Otrante (13th century) who said that a great pontiff would precede the anti-christ. Or, getting back to John of the Cleft Rock: “God will raise up a holy Pope over whom the angels will rejoice. Enlightened by God, this man will reconstruct almost the entire world through his holiness and lead all to the true faith.”

There was Saint Bridget of Sweden (1873): “When the feast of Saint Mark shall fall on Easter, the feast of Saint Anthony on Pentecost, and that of Saint John on Corpus Christi, the whole world shall cry, ‘Woe.’”

There was Elizabeth Canori-Mora (1825): “God will employ the powers of hell for the extermination of these impious and heretical persons who desire to overthrow the Church and destroy its very foundation. These presumptuous men in their mad impiety believe that they can overthrow God from His Throne; but the Lord will despise these artifices, and through an effect on His Mighty Hand He will punish these impious blasphemers by giving permission to the infernal spirits to come out of hell. Innumerable legions of demons shall overrun the earth, and shall execute the order of Divine Justice by causing terrible calamities. After this frightful punishment I saw the Heavens opening and Saint Peter coming down again upon the earth; he was vested in pontifical robes, and surrounded by a great number of angels, who were chanting hymns in his honor, and they proclaimed him as sovereign of the earth.” For our discernment. (These one can find in a little book called Prophecy For Today, currently out of print; soon to be reprinted).

And so it goes.

There have certainly been greater crises. There have been popes who were arrested, even jailed, popes who indeed did have to flee, there have been popes who were immersed in sexual scandal, a time when orgies reportedly occurred in the Lateran Palace, when Church funds were spent in bordellos, when pontiffs waged war or named emperors. At one point during the Middle Ages there was a seventy-year absence of the pontificate from Rome, followed by the disaster of the forty-year Great Schism, when two and eventually three popes fought for control. There were times when one could pay money to become a cardinal and when rectories were the place of concubinage. There were the problems under Basel and Constance — leading to reform councils, as such might well now aid the Church, if under strict papal control.

Tumultuous times. Disturbing ones. But also energizing ones.

A call to arms. A call to sanctity, to prayer; a call to us during Lent, the exact right time for it.

March 4, 2013 - 1:10 pm

Paul - I would like to recommend to everyone a book called ‘The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life’ by Fr. Charles Arminjon. The book was first published in 1881 and was taken from a series of nine lectures he gave to his parishioners at Chambéry Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-François-de-Sales de Chambéry). I believe everyone will find his analysis of end times eschatology to be exceedingly prophetic for our day and time.

The following is from the book description at amazon.com. It can also be purchased diretly from Susan Conroy’s website, susanconroy.com. Her help was invaluable in getting this book translated into English from the original French.

===

Reading this book was one of the
greatest graces of my life!”
St. Thérèse of Lisieux

In the late nineteenth century, Father Charles Arminjon, a priest from the mountains of southeastern France, assembled his flock in the town cathedral to preach a series of conferences to help them turn their thoughts away from this life’s mean material affairs—and toward the next life’s glorious spiritual reward. His wise and uncompromising words deepened in them the spirit of recollection that all Christians must have: the abiding conviction that heavenly aims, not temporal enthusiasms, must guide everything we think, say, and do.

When Father Arminjon’s conferences were later published in a book, many others were able to reap the same benefit—including fourteen-year-old Thérèse Martin, then on the cusp of entering the Carmelite convent in Lisieux. Reading it, she says, “plunged my soul into a happiness not of this earth.” Young Thérèse, filled with a sense of “what God reserves for those who love him, and seeing that the eternal rewards had no proportion to the light sacrifices of life,” copied out numerous passages and memorized them, “repeating unceasingly the words of love burning in my heart.”

Now the very book that so inspired the Little Flower is available for the first time in English.

Let the pages of The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life fill you with the same burning words of love, with the same ardent desire to know God above all created things, that St. Thérèse gained from them. Let them also enrich your understanding of certain teachings of the Faith that can often seem so mysterious, even frightening:

The signs that will precede the world’s end
* The coming of the Antichrist, and how to recognize him
* The Judgment and where it may send us: heaven, hell, and purgatory
* Biblical end-times prophecy: how to read it and not be deceived

Jesus commands us to be ever-watchful for his return, and ever-mindful that we have no lasting city on earth. The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life is an invaluable aid to inculcating in your spirit that heavenly orientation, without which true human happiness cannot be found—in this world or the next.

March 4, 2013 - 11:11 pm

toni - It’s not the end of the world but a new birth which will under go great purification.

As for signs? Lightning strikes the Vatican twice when pope resigned, black smoke rose twice before white when pope was elected.

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