Slideshow: Pope Benedict XVI's departure
The pope delivers his final audience in St. Peter's Square as he prepares to stand down.
By Carol Grisanti, Producer, NBC NewsROME—
Church bells are sounding the alarm for doomsayers and conspiracy
theorists here as cardinals convene to elect a new leader for the
world’s 1.2 billion Catholics.
According to an ancient prediction, this next pope will be the last.
That theory dates back more than 900 years to when Malachy O’Morgair, the 12th century Archbishop of Ireland, had a vision.
has it that St. Malachy, as he is now known, had a strange dream while
on a visit to Rome. He “saw” all the names of the future popes –
complete with identifying characteristics – who would rule the church
until the end of time.
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Malachy’s “Prophecy of the Popes,” as his vision is called, named
Benedict XVI as the 111th – and penultimate – pope. The vision ended
with the 112th pope.
Clairvoyant or crazy?
In his book, “Life of St. Malachy,”
St. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote that Malachy was respected as a
clairvoyant who predicted the exact day and hour of his own death. At
least one 20th century pope, Pius X, was convinced Malachy’s vision was
divine, according to Rafael Merry del Val, his biographer.
theologians and clerics argue there was never an authentic written
manuscript. Malachy’s list was curiously discovered in 1590 in the
Vatican archives, hundreds of years later.
“There is no historical
foundation at all to St. Malachy’s list,” said Roberto Rusconi,
professor of the History of Christianity at Rome’s University.
“Malachy’s gift was to make other people believe in his predictions.”
Others have taken hold of Malachy’s list and compared it with history.
first pope, according to the list, would be “from a castle on the
Tiber” – for believers, that was clearly Pope Celestine II who was born
on the shores of the Tiber River.
Pope Benedict was apparently
described as “glory of the olives” and doomsayers point to his choice of
the name Benedict, since the founder of the Benedictine Order was also
known as Olivetans.
And in Malachy’s vision, the last pope – who
will soon be elected – is described this way: “in extreme persecution,
the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman…”
While none of the Italian Cardinals are called Peter, one favorite to become Pope is Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.
Alessandro Di Meo / EPA file
strikes the basilica of St.Peter's dome in Vatican City during a storm
on Feb.11, 2013, the same day Pope Benedict XVI announced his
Nostradamus: a comet and a lightning bolt
that was not enough to send shivers down a few spines, Nostradamus, the
16th century French astrologer and seer, predicted much the same as
Nostradamus, a mild-mannered healer, was content to mix
potions until the Italian-born French queen, Catherine de Medici, raised
his profile from physician to prophet.
Nostradamus warned that the next-to-last pope would “flee Rome in December when the great comet is seen in the daytime.”
into account the calendar months were different hundreds of years ago,
Nostradamus wasn’t so far off. The Comet ISON, with its 40,000 mile-long
tail, has been visible the past couple months as Benedict prepared to
abdicate and leave Rome for his temporary home in Castel Gandolfo.
for those well-versed in the language of brimstone and fire, the signs
could not have been more transparent when just hours after Benedict
announced he would abdicate, a bolt of lightning struck St. Peter’s
Basilica, the very heart of Christianity. A few days later a shower of
meteorites fell and devastated a village in Russia.
Cynics shrugged all this off as natural phenomena, while the doomsayers suffered from one more dose of existential angst.
St. Paul Outside the Walls, another major cathedral in Rome, medallions
line the walls with the names of every pope and the dates of his
papacy. Legend says that when all the medallions are full, the world
will finally end. On the walls of St. Paul’s, there are still some
Perhaps the end isn’t so near.
Thanks to: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com