I am sure it will be seen as a sign of something by many. Perhaps it is a sign; but I’m too spiritually dense to get it.
The prophecies of St. Malachy are being rolled out again. There seem to be three camps on these prophecies, those who think they are fake, those who believe them and think the next pope will be the one to take the Church through the end of the end times and those who think they are true and that the next pope will be The Antichrist. So, you can see there are a lot of…erm…views, on this out there.
I am not going to say I disbelieve in these prophecies – I don’t know them well enough to decide. I know that such things tend to feed the kool-aiders but they should be a reminder to the rest of us too.
These are the end times after all. They’ve been so since the Church was born on Pentecost 2000+ years ago. We must keep the light burning and our lamps trimmed. When Jesus arrived the first time around so many people had given up on the idea of a Messiah that they were not ready when He came and many rejected Him.
We should be a bit more cautious. We don’t know when the end of the end is coming so we shouldn’t be so sure it isn’t coming yet.
Let’s just pray and be ready and fight the battles that need fighting.
The final prophecy of St Malachy is reported to say
In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur, & Judex tremêdus judicabit populum suum. Finis.
(In extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman, who will feed the sheep through many tribulations, at the term of which the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the formidable Judge will judge his people. The End.)
Around the world the Church is under some terrible persecution. In Islamic lands Christians are being crucified, literally. Photos of these un-named martyrs for Christ are doing the internet rounds.
In the West we are losing rights at a rapid rate. If we are to make a stand for virtue and true marriage, we are going to face serious problems. People have already been threatened with jail time and fined heavily for having a moral conscience. We would be a bit daft to think it won’t get any worse.
St. John Bosco isn’t the only saint to see the future of the Church as one through severe battles of both propaganda from her enemies and physical attack.
The next Holy Father has a massive task ahead of him, whether he guides the ship home or just further along in her journey.
(complete side note; both Rome and Jerusalem were cities on seven hills (Vatican Hill was the eighth hill and across the Tiber from Rome) and of course there’s Sheffield. … )
I love Cardinal Arinze. His views here are worth the few minutes of listening. I think he would be a wonderful pope, but apparently he is already 80.