Sunday, April 03, 2005

John Paul II and Malachy

Ioannes Paulus II. Requiem in pacit

I just heard the news that the pope had passed over. I wish him peace.
Like his two immediate predecessors he rehabilitated the papacy in the eyes of many non-Catholics. In my early childhood Catholics kept themselves aloof from many of the aspects of our secular society. The reforms of Vatican 2 allowed them to integrate, and the travels of John Paul the second in the early days of his papacy humanised that office.
Thanks to him, Rome is no longer seen as some kind of medieval holdout in the modern world.

An Irish Saint

St Malachy (Archbishop Malachy O'Morgair, 1094-1148) also known as Maolmhaodhog ua Morgair; Maol Maedoc is supposed to have predicted all the remaining popes between his life and the end of time. Malachy is a figure at an interesting point in time. It's hard to track down details but there are hints that the Celtic church was going its own way and if not actually schismatic, was close to it. The new advent article on him says
"St. Malachy was appointed Archbishop of Armagh, 1132, which dignity he accepted with great reluctance. Owing to intrigues, he was unable to take possession of his see for two years; even then he had to purchase the Bachal Isu (Staff of Jesus) from Niall, the usurping lay-primate."
definitely something was going on while the Catholic Forum says
"Replaced the Celtic liturgy (the "Stowe" missal) with the Roman liturgy in an effort to bring uniformity and discipline to the clergy and those in religious life. [...] Friend of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux who helped him establish the Cistercans in Ireland, wrote a biography of him, and sat with him as he died."
More on the biography later, but doesn't the rest suggest that the Irish church was alienated from Rome? St. Malachy was canonised by Pope Clement (III), on 6 July, 1199.

The next pope?

Malachy has one further claim to fame. He may have been a prophet. Certainly a list of popes from his day to the present is frequently attributed to him. They may also well have been forgeries as Malachy's prophecies are said to have been locked away for four hundred years before they were allegedly discovered in 1590 in the Roman Archives. John Reilly reports
"They appeared in a long work, 'Lignum Vitae,' by the Benedictine historian, Arnold Wion (or Arnold de Wyon). Dom Arnold claimed to have discovered them in archival research. No one else, contemporary with either him or St. Malachy, had ever seen fit to commit mention of the prophecies to paper, or at least to any paper that has survived. Apparently, however, rumors of the prophecies were current at the time of publication, and reasonable people might surmise that the prophecies had been created to influence either the conclave of 1592 (which elected Clement VIII) or in anticipation of the next one, which occurred 1605 (and which elected Leo XI)."
The debate has raged ever since as to whether they are forgeries or genuine predictions of St. Malachy. He was certainly far more detailed about Popes that reigned between his death and the time of the discovery of the list. Skeptics especially note that his friend Saint Bernard of Clairvaux didn't mention them in his biography. So genuine, or not, the last three entries in the list are
John Paul II 1978 - 2005 The late pope Karol Josef Wojtlya
De Labore Solis (From the toil of the sun). Descriptive of a man that travelled across the world as did the Sun, high in the air (in a jet plane). Don't forget in Malachy's day people believed the earth to be flat, so the Sun appeared a tireless traveller. The also couldn't travel at much more than 5km per hour, jetting around the world wasn't an option.
The next pope gloria olivae (The glory of the olive)
(Peter the Roman) "In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge the people. The End."
And the meaning of The glory of the olive? Many see this as something to do with the Jews as the olive is taken to refer to them. From Crawford2000
"Look at Paul's Letter to the Romans, Chapter 11:17-24. Paul describes God's possessors of the Covenant, Abraham's descendants, as a cultivated olive tree. Gentile Christians are the wild olive branch from a wild olive tree, that has been grafted onto the original cultivated olive tree. Neither one, either Jew or Gentile, is considered better than the other, since Paul says neither group supports the roots."
Wishful thinkers see it as suggesting the conversion of the Jew to Catholicism. Others simply see it as suggesting that the next pope will have jewish ancestory. Of course, whoever replaces JP II, the believers in Malachy will find some connection to the olive. That's the joy of vague prophecy.

Other blogs are saying

"The Order of St. Benedict has said this Pope will come from their order. It is interesting that Jesus gave his apocalyptic prophecy about the end of time from the Mount of Olives. This Pope will reign during the beginning of the tribulation Jesus spoke of. The 111th prophesy is "Gloria Olivae" (The Glory of the Olive). The Order of Saint Benedict has claimed that this pope will come from their ranks. Saint Benedict himself prophesied that before the end of the world his Order, known also as the Olivetans, will triumphantly lead the Catholic Church in its fight against evil."
" The Malachy "prophecies" claimed originally that the pope about to be elected in Rome will be the one who sees the end of the world, and identified him as having something to do with the glory of olives. In 1820, they added one more, just for the [...] of it, bringing Peter back as a frame story." I can't find any references to this insertion, can anyone enlighten me? -- Julia
Sharon K. Gilbert
"Once a Cardinal has received the required number of votes, the Dean of the College of Cardinals asks him if he accepts election and by what name he wishes to be called as Pope. On giving assent, the Cardinal immediately becomes Pontifex Maximus, the Holy Roman Pontiff.
"The Cardinals then pledge their obedience to His Holiness in turn. The Pope vests in his Pontifical clericals (white soutane and skull cap) — the Italian family business in Rome that makes all the Papal vestments has several different sizes prepared in readiness for His Holiness, no matter what his shape or size!"
The Holowach Blog
"It is interesting to note that "Peter the Roman" won't necessarily come right after the olive guy. He may come right after, or how-ever-many after. Though, common sense would dictate that the list moved forward singularly for the rest, thus, this last one should be right after the former in chronology"
"'glory of the olive. (Some prophets believe this pope will take Leo XVI for his name and will bring peace between Israelis and Arabs). St. Malachy predicts that Pope John Paul II's successor will be an active peace-making member of the religious hierarchy. But he will die in 2008 with his work unfinished and the next pope - called Peter of Rome ('Peterus Romanus') - will rule until the Apocalypse in 2020." Dates? What's the source? -- Julia
Asteroid as a comment on samaBlog
"this prophesy is worth studying, because it has some unique properties. The most interesting is that it is verifiable. If you look at Nostradamus, for example, if a prediction doesn’t fit, you can say “well, this must not have happened yet”. You cannot do this with this prophesy, because it predicts events that are known to have happened (the succession of popes), in order. Also, the prophesy is about a very specific topic, which doesn’t happen that often. The pre- and post-1595 hit rate are also interesting reading."
This is apparently a paraphrased extract from a longer posting at the Asteroid blog.

Last word

I'll leave that to John Reilly who points out
"The Papal Prophecies of St. Malachy are worth examining in a little detail. For one thing, the prophecies have great historical interest. For another, it's a good bet that they will get another public airing during the next papal conclave."
Here's a Google news link for when they do.


Anonymous said...

The would have to be the best summary explanation of Malachy's comments that I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

I am an educated catholic who from time to time reads alittle prophecy. I find it interesting that upon selection of the new pope he took the name Benedict, and said
"I come as a worker in the vineyard of the lord"

Hows that for accuracy to glorie olivie?.Interesting to say the least.