Mar
8
2013

Be Not Afraid: Catholic Families and the Prophecies of St. Malachy

The announcement of the renunciation of Pope Benedict and the preparations for the conclave have once again brought to light the so-called “Prophecy of the Popes,” sometimes attributed to St. Malachy.

At every papal election, these “prophecies” are trotted out, with the attendant tortured explanations about how their trite, nebulous descriptions fit whoever the pope in question is.  During this election some have been especially alarmed that the prophecies end with the next pontificate. It is good to give this issue a brief consideration in the light of history and our contemporary situation, particularly as they relate to our vocations as families in this Year of Faith.

St. Malachy himself was an Irish bishop of the 12th century, who desperately wanted to reform the Church in his country, which was then in a woeful state. He travelled to Rome to seek the Archbishop’s pallium from the Pope, and perhaps acquire some reforming Bulls which would empower him to correct and admonish the Irish Church. On this journey he became fast friends with one of the most influential men in Europe at that time, St. Bernard.

Bernard helped Malachy to obtain increased authority over the Irish church from the Pope, but alas the Irishman died on the return journey in 1148, expiring in the famous monastery of Clairvaux in the presence of Bernard himself. The great Cistercian was so moved by Malachy’s holiness, that he himself wrote the biography of the Irish Bishop. Due to Bernard’s patronage, Malachy was eventually canonized by the end of the twelfth century.

It is useful to note two things here. First, Malachy is a real saint, and is a patron of those who earnestly desire reform and purification in the Church. We should invoke him regularly in these difficult days. Second, there is no evidence, either from St. Bernard’s life of Malachy, or from any other medieval source that Malachy authored anything like a “Prophecy of the Popes.”  History is absolutely silent for 400 years, a silence that — to the historian — speaks louder than words.

The Prophecy of the Popes was “discovered” in the Vatican Archives in the 1590s, unsurprisingly during a period of multiple consecutive conclaves. It is extraordinary that the Archives, which had been under the diligent care of text-hungry Humanists for nearly 150 years, had somehow missed this singularly important document. After its publication the original text disappeared, a fact as remarkable for its carelessness as for its convenience. The issues above are enough to discount the story even before considering the internal evidence.

That the prophecies are attributed to St. Malachy are an example of Pseudonymity. The author adopted the name of a real saint — but one who was not too well known — to publicize his texts more widely. The “Prophecies of Joe the Curial Bureaucrat” did not have quite the same ring to it. Pseudonymity was a common tactic in the pre-modern world, but was quickly falling out of favor. One needs only recall the Gnostic gospels as an example (“A gospel by Thomas the Apostle?  I’d better read that!”) Further, this was an age that was hungry for prognostications, the most famous of which were those of Nostradamus. Astrology and divination of all sorts fascinated even some of the greatest minds of the period. In that sense the “prophecies” are perfectly suited to their time.

When one begins to consider the contents though, the problems multiply. A person who picks up the “prophecies” will be astounded at how spot-on accurate they are until one arrives at 1590.  After that they turn into short, vague utterances that a local horoscope page would be embarrassed to print: “Undulating man,” “Religious Man,” “from a good religion.” These are a selection of the absurd post 1590s entries, which many have correctly called unworthy of the name “prophecy.” To take one egregious example, the phrase “Farm Animal” was supposed to apply to the brilliant light of learning, Benedict XIV. I am surprised the author did not include “Tall Dark Stranger” in his list.

The prophecies can be an innocent pastime and source of great fun, such as the story of Cardinal Spellman at the 1958 conclave. The new pope was supposed to be “Pastor et Nauta” (Pastor and Sailor — another staggering prophetic utterance). The night before the conclave Spellman was supposed to have acquired some sheep, put them in a rented rowboat, and gave them a few pulls up and down the Tiber. Entertaining stories, but the “prophecies” also have a darker side.

Our forger eventually got bored around entry 112. Safely out of range of his lifetime, he brought the work to a quick end with an obligatory apocalyptic reference to Peter II (Peter the Roman).  Unfortunately for us, we are currently on entry 112, leading to an efflorescence of worry and warnings to get ready for the end times. The only positive thing I can say about this is that finally — after our next pope has ended his reign — we will hear no more about this issue. When the new pope is announced however, many will try feverishly to shoehorn that person into the mold of “Peter the Roman.” (Is his Baptismal name Peter? Does he like “Rock” music? Is he “Roman” Catholic?)

These are indeed uncertain times, and we are worried for the place of Christianity in the world and in our homes. The most prudent thing to do in such a situation is to continue the work of the Church, to be witnesses of the Incarnation in our lives and to put away morbid speculation and outrageous prophecies which often become an excuse for us to thumb our noses and turn our backs on a world that is so much easier to criticize and condemn than to change. Christian families must fast and pray together for the good of the Church, holding strongly to the Deposit of Revelation “once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3). Pray for the Cardinals, pray for Benedict, pray for the new Pope, and live one’s life as an example to the world.

No new salvific revelation is coming, and no new “prophecy” will change the revelation of the Word of God Himself, who is Christ. We have been living in the “end times” since the Ascension of the Son of God, and we pray for His coming daily, but no man “knows the day or the hour” (Mt 24:36): most certainly not the authors of papal campaign literature from the 1590s.

Donald S. Prudlo is Associate Professor of Ancient and Medieval History at Jacksonville State University in Alabama. He is also Assistant Professor of Theology and Church History at the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom College. His specialty is Saints and Sainthood in the Christian Tradition, and he is the author of The Martyred Inquisitor: The Life and Cult of Peter of Verona (+1252) (Ashgate, 2008) and has recently edited The Origin, Development, and Refinement of Medieval Religious Mendicancies (Brill, 2011).
Articles by Donald:

  • Larry

    On the flip side and not going to gnostic gospels we do have the evidence in the Jewish Scriptures of Isaiah which historical-critical examination contains at least two authors widely separated in time. And even in the NT we have 2 epistles from St. Peter that are suggested as not written by the Saint or at least not both of them. I am not suggesting that this is the case, only that valid inspired texts also have the same characteristic as these purported prophecies. In the end all we can do is pray and trust in God.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000820240057 David Rudmin

    I’m glad you make these valuable points, but I’m still not convinced the prophesy is phony. It did quite well, IMO, predicting 20th century popes. Also, sometimes NT non-Biblical prophesies are a little off, but still largely true (I Cor. 13:9), and sometimes (as even in scriptural prophesies) their authorship remains obscure/hidden, without prejudicing the accuracy of the prophesy itself.

    • http://www.facebook.com/micheal.ofearghail.3 Micheál Ó Fearghail

      It’s clear that the prophecies become much vaguer after 1590, yet I agree with David that many of them seem too close to be entirely random. We are dealing here with a dimension of Creation of which we know next to nothing. Prof Prudlo seems to be rushing to judgment here. N.B. however that the author of the Prophecies does not state in so many words that he has the complete list. The List is just a collection of two or three words per pope, but then the final one breaks off to give the short narrative quoted above by Jacques: “In the last persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit Peter the Roman” …. etc. There might be an indefinite gap between ‘Glory of the Olive’ – B16 – and the Last Pope.

      • Nick H

        Mr. Ó Fearghail,

        “N.B. however that the author of the Prophecies does not state in so many words that he has the complete list.”

        As I asked Jacques, in a previous reply, for what purpose would God send such a message? How does it help with our salvation? How does it bring the faithful closer to Christ? Or, spread the Good News of Christ Jesus? It seems to me nothing more than a puzzle to be solved, with the election of every successive pope.

        Not to mention the fact that it was unknown for almost half a millennium. Do you know of any other prophecy that was hidden for 450 years?
        God Bless!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brenda.milessparks Brenda Miles-Sparks

    Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that those of us who do put some stock into these prophesies are afraid. We are not, at least I am not. Because the Lord said in the NT, “when you see these things begin to happen look up for your salvation is nigh” … we are not afraid, we are joyful. As always our futures are in the hand of the Lord, whether or not Peter the Roman is the next pope, or one still to come in the future.

  • Nick H

    For those who are looking for “wars and rumors of wars [...] plagues and famines and earthquakes in various places [...] the abomination of desolation”, or, any of the other things that Christ predicts in Matthew 24, you should realize that you are looking in the wrong time. All of these events took place in the run-up to the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem (A.D. 63 – 70). This was the end of the Old Covenant Age.

    The proof for this interpretation is when Christ says, “Truly, I say to you, [THIS GENERATION WILL NOT PASS AWAY till all these things take place” (v. 34).

    The same goes for Saint John’s vision recorded in the book of Revelation. In fact, Matthew 24 is also known as “The Little Apocalypse”, as opposed to John’s Big Apocalypse. This is why John’s Gospel doesn’t record this prophecy of Christ. God was going to show John the terrible fate that awaited Jerusalem in a vision. We know that Christians fled to Pella, and, therefore, escaped destruction. John’s Apocalypse also begins and ends by telling us that the things it contained would soon come to pass (cf. Rev. 1:1; 22:20).

    Plus, did you know that the word “antichrist” does not appear anywhere in the whole book of Revelation?

    Christ wanted the first generation of Christians to know when He would return to bring justice upon Jerusalem (see the definition of the Greek parousia) so that they could flee in time. Christ didn’t leave any clues as to when the Final Judgement would happen. Because only the Father knows the day and hour (cf. Matthew 24:36).

    Read more at this link:

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/9-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-prophecy-of-st.-malachy/#ixzz2N4K4ROAp

    God Bless!

    • http://www.DSDOConnor.com/ Daniel O’Connor

      Have you read the Book of Revelation, Nick?

      • Nick H

        Yes, Mr. O’Connor, I have. Several times.
        Is that all that you wanted to know?

        • http://www.DSDOConnor.com/ Daniel O’Connor

          No one who has read the Book of Revelation with an ounce of integrity in his approach could possibly come to the conclusion that its prophecies were *entirely* fulfilled before the first century was up.I would encourage you ask Our Lady for guidance, go into the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, and read it again. God bless you.

          • Nick H

            Mr. O’Connor,

            Thank you for your replies.

            “No one who has read the Book of Revelation with an ounce of integrity in his approach could possibly come to the conclusion that its prophecies were *entirely* [sic] fulfilled before the first century was up.”

            I would agree with your statement, for the most part. I try not to impugn the integrity of others. (Although, I do fail more often than I should.) Besides, I’m sure that you meant no malice.

            Luckily for me, I never used the word “entirely” in any of my comments and replies. Please, read them again. I assert, quite clearly and repeatedly, that the prophecies of Christ, recorded in Matthew 24, and John’s Apocalypse, had their PRIMARY fulfillment in the mid-first century, A.D. And, that a secondary fulfillment will happen at the Last Judgement.

            As I explained to Jacques, this not my interpretation, nor, my invention. Many Catholics scholars hold to this interpretation. Are you familiar with Dr, Scott Hahn? Dr. Brant Pitre? Dr. Michael Barber? I encourage you look up their writings.

            Dr. Hahn’s 12 CD series The End goes through Saint John’s Apocalypse line by line, and is truly illuminating. His Bible study made it possible for me to stop fearing the book of Revelation, and, also made the rest of the Sacred Scriptures come alive for me. It was truly an unveiling, which is what the word apocalypse means.
            Luckily, I went through Dr. Hahn’s study after I had gone through Our Father’s Plan, which is also presented by Dr. Hahn, and Jeff Cavins.

            I don’t claim to be an expert on the book, and, I am still studying, but, I am not a novice, either. If I am not being absolutely clear, please let me know, and I will elaborate further, okay?

            Yours, in Christ
            Nick

          • http://www.DSDOConnor.com/ Daniel O’Connor

            My apologies for the word “entire” somehow creeping into my recollection of what you had written; I see that is not the case! Thank you for your patience. I hope you can understand/forgive a wee bit of righteous indignation on my part at someone who would insist that John’s Revelation was *entirely* fulfilled by 100 AD ;-).

            Anyway, I do know something of the Scott Han/ Jeff Cavins/ etc. approach to Revelation. I think it has beautiful parts, but I do think they are (/would be?) mistaken to assert that Revelation’s primary sense is liturgical or merely regarding the first century A.D. I think that is a departure from Leo XIII’s teaching in Providentissimus Deus, quoting St. Augustine, who insists that the obvious sense of Scripture be believed unless reason *necessitates* that we hold a contrary sense. In the case of the Book of Revelation, there is no need to hold a contrary sense. Further, the Sensus Fidelium clearly demonstrates this: sit down any faithful, obedient Catholic layman in a state of grace to read the Book of Revelation and he will immediately assert that it is a reference to the End Times.

          • Nick H

            Mr. O’Connor,

            No apologies necessary, nor pleas for understanding or forgiveness. I do the same thing, all the time!

            “[...] [B]ut I do think they are (/would be?) mistaken to assert that Revelation’s primary sense is liturgical or merely regarding the first century A.D.”

            I don’t think that is a proper characterization of Dr. Hahn’s premise. He never says that these are the “primary sense” of Saint John’s Apocalypse. In the audio study The End, he repeatedly states that the book of Revelation, like all Scripture, has many, many layers of the Truth, from which the faithful can grow in the knowledge of God. And, he affirms (as I do) the book’s eschatological sense. John’s visions, properly understood, have much to teach us, as they have for every generation during the past 1,900+ years.

            But, again, when it comes to the specific prophecies, which are hidden in apocalyptic language, theses had their primary fulfillment during the 40 years leading up to the destruction of the Temple. The book also reveals the realities happening during the Holy Mass, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9). And, it also reveals the realities of the Final Judgement, i.e., the “second death” (Rev. 20:14), the Resurrection, and the “new heaven, and [the] new earth” (Rev. 21:1).

            My point is (I would never presume to speak on behalf Dr. Hahn) that those who try to figure out who is/will be the antichrist, or, what the seven plagues are/will be, or, when the 1,000 years are going to begin, are not reading the book with a Catholic mind. They are on the road that ends in Jack Van Impe/Rapture-land, I’m afraid.

            Combine this with the completely unreliable “prophecy” of St. Malachy, and some will likely become the Catholic version of a Doomsday Prepper!

            I will split up my responses, to keep them from becoming too long. I know, too late! Ha-ha!

          • http://www.DSDOConnor.com/ Daniel O’Connor

            It seems to me you are only applying Leo’s “obvious sense first” command to the word “soon” instead of to the entire Book of Revelation. The word “soon” has no obvious interpretation, and I suppose that is why Our Lord chose it in giving the Book of Revelation to John. Not one (well, none are coming to my mind right now at least) of the prophesied chastisements in Revelation can be interpreted in the obvious sense to refer to something that has already happened.

          • Nick H

            Oops! I messed-up, and posted this reply, above, by mistake. Sorry.

            Mr. O’Connor,

            “It seems to me you are only applying Leo’s ‘obvious sense first’ command to the word ‘soon’ instead of to the entire Book of Revelation.”

            I don’t know how you can assert such a thing, when I wrote that it has to be interpreted in light of the rest of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. It seems to me that you might be interpreting the Apocalypse out of context from the rest of the Bible.

            “The word ‘soon’ has no obvious interpretation, and I suppose that is why Our Lord chose it in giving the Book of Revelation to John.”

            It sure does, when interpreted in the light of Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24, which is what I wrote. As I asked Jacques over the weekend, how do you explain Christ’s words, “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till [ALL] these things take place”? Was Christ wrong?

            “Not one (well, none are coming to my mind right now at least) of the prophesied chastisements in Revelation can be interpreted in the obvious sense to refer to something that has already happened.”

            If you go back over my previous posts, I name some of them. There were earthquakes (a big one hit Pompey in the mid-sixties), there was famine (like the one recorded in Acts 11), there were wars (the Parthians fought Rome over Armenia from A.D. 58-63), there were signs at the Temple and in the sky (have you ever read Josephus’ account of these signs, as recorded by Eusebius’ Church History, Book III, ch. 8?), etc.

            The seven trumpets recall the complete destruction of Jerich. The same is about to happen to the Temple. Some of the plagues recall the plagues that ravaged Egypt in Exodus.

            Again, Dr. Hahn goes line by line through the possible meanings of these signs. Unfortunately, it has been a while since I’ve listen to them, so, it is hard to recall all of them from memory. If I get a chance, I’ll try to listen to them again, and list more, okay?

            And, please, do your own research. You will find it fascinating. I know I did, and still am. This is a lifelong journey, after all.
            Take care.

          • Nick H

            Continued…

            “I think that is a departure from Leo XIII’s teaching in Providentissimus Deus, quoting St. Augustine, who insists that the obvious sense of Scripture be believed unless reason *necessitates* that we hold a contrary sense.”

            I don’t believe that I am departing, Mr. O’Connor. I believe that I am holding to the obvious sense of Saint John’s Apocalypse, when it begins by claiming:
            This is a revelation from Jesus Christ, which God has allowed him to make known to his servants, of things which [MUST SOON] find their due accomplishment.” – Rev. 1:1.

            And, again:
            “A blessing on him who reads this, and on all who listen to these words of prophecy, and keep true to their message; the time is close at hand.” – Rev. 1:3.

            And, at the very end, in the words of Christ:
            “And he who gives this warning says, Indeed I am coming soon.” – Rev. 22:20.

            There is no reason that the words of John should not be taken in the literal sense, when read together with the rest of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and the historical record. Especially, when read together with Matthew 24, when Christ says that the present generation would see all the things that He predicted would happen. Actually, Christ says this twice, first after giving the “Woes” to the Pharisees (cf. 23: 31-36), and, again in chapter 24, verse 34.

            There is only one event that happened “soon” in the times of the Apostles and fits with the prophecy: The destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

            By the way, just because the primary fulfillment occurred in A.D. 70, doesn’t mean that there is nothing more to learn from the Apocalypse. Just as it doesn’t mean that there is nothing more to learn from Isaiah, or, Ezekiel, or, the rest of the Old Testament for that matter, because they were fulfilled in the coming of Christ, correct?

          • Nick H

            Part 3, continued…

            “[...] [A]nd he will immediately assert that it is a reference to the End Times.”

            I guess it depends on your definition of the “End Times”, doesn’t it? These terms get used frequently without precision, I’m afraid.

            It is my understanding that there were three ages: The Old Covenant Age, the Messianic Age, and the Final Age, or, the Age to Come.

            The Old Covenant Age ended with the destruction of the Temple.
            The Messianic Age began with the Incarnation and ended either with Christ’s Ascension, or, the destruction of the Temple. (I can’t remember off the top of my head.)
            The Final Age began in the first century and we are still living in it.

            So, the “End Times” began with the institution of the Church, and, continue to our very day. They may very well continue for another 1,000 years, or, another ten thousand. Or, maybe the next ten minutes!
            God Bless!

        • http://www.DSDOConnor.com/ Daniel O’Connor

          Even the Catechism authoritatively describes the end times by referencing the Book of Revelation (see CCC 677). I say “even” because that is not to mention every Pope and Saint that comes to mind.

      • Nick H

        Mr. O’Connor,

        “It seems to me you are only applying Leo’s ‘obvious sense first’ command to the word ‘soon’ instead of to the entire Book of Revelation.”

        I don’t know how you can assert such a thing, when I wrote that it has to be interpreted in light of the rest of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. It seems to me that you might be interpreting the Apocalypse out of context from the rest of the Bible.

        “The word ‘soon’ has no obvious interpretation, and I suppose that is why Our Lord chose it in giving the Book of Revelation to John.”

        It sure does, when interpreted in the light of Christ’s prophecy in Matthew 24, which is what I wrote. As I asked Jacques over the weekend, how do you explain Christ’s words, “Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away till [ALL] these things take place”? Was Christ wrong?

        “Not one (well, none are coming to my mind right now at least) of the prophesied chastisements in Revelation can be interpreted in the obvious sense to refer to something that has already happened.”

        If you go back over my previous posts, I name some of them. There were earthquakes (a big one hit Pompey in the mid-sixties), there was famine (like the one recorded in Acts 11), there were wars (the Parthians fought Rome over Armenia from A.D. 58-63), there were signs at the Temple and in the sky (have you ever read Josephus’ account of these signs, as recorded by Eusebius’ Church History, Book III, ch. 8?), etc.

        The seven trumpets recall the complete destruction of Jerich. The same is about to happen to the Temple. Some of the plagues recall the plagues that ravaged Egypt in Exodus.

        Again, Dr. Hahn goes line by line through the possible meanings of these signs. Unfortunately, it has been a while since I’ve listen to them, so, it is hard to recall all of them from memory. If I get a chance, I’ll try to listen to them again, and list more, okay?
        And, please, do your own research. You will find it fascinating. I know I did, and still am. This is a lifelong journey, after all.
        Take care.

        • Nick H

          The above reply was meant to apply to another comment, below.
          Please disregard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Peter-D-Gelinas/1776685926 Peter D. Gelinas

    Next, can you shed some light on the blackness in this gray zone? : ( http://www.thewarningsecondcoming.com/the-signs-will-be-given-to-all-of-you-and-miracles-will-take-place/)
    Thanks for your good work.

  • Brother rolf

    Who are you to decide what is phony? You are not God. Jesus said in the last days there will be scoffers.

    • Nick H

      Brother Rolf,

      This so-called prophecy of St. Malachy has never been approved by the Catholic Church.
      Can you explain why? It has been over 8 centuries, after all.

  • Nick H

    Jacques,

    The city of seven hills is Jerusalem, not Rome. And, so is the harlot and Babylon. This is proven by the words of Saint John himself, in his Apocalypse:
    “[...] [A]nd their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which is allegorically called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified.” – Rev. 11:8

    Later, in the last line of chapter 17 (v. 18), John is told by the angel:

    “And the woman [the harlot] that you saw is the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth.

    The prophecies, described in coded language in John’s Apocalypse, had their primary fulfillment in the period between A.D. 63 and 70. But, since the Temple was a model of the world, its destruction certainly sheds some light on how this world will end, and, then Last Judgement and resurrection which will usher in the “new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1).

    God Bless!

    • Jacques

      Dear
      Nick H, We have drifted away from the real topic of the article, which is the
      prophecy of St. Malachy. I tried to show a connection with the Book of
      Revelation, but if you do not agree, let us look at the texts you have failed
      to respond to regarding St. Malachy. The prophecy 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 about immorality affecting even the Church (v. 1) This purification
      of the Church is not necessarily the end of the world, since this is not
      indicated in the text itself. As I remarked earlier, also in St. Malachy, there
      is no statement specifically indicating when the world will end; it just
      indicates the end of the list. And even if the world did end in the reign of
      the next Pope, that is in no way an indication of the day or the hour. Rather
      all of this seems to harmonize with the prophecy 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.” 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”). As I said before, 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 also said 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. Thus, there are many things that I have said
      that are relevant to the article to which you have not responded. Perhaps you
      agree with what I have said as far as it goes. I respect your belief that the
      Book of Revelation is centered around the fall of Jerusalem in the first
      century, however, I do have my own ideas about it and remain unconvinced on
      this point. In any event, if Cardinal Scola is elected and takes the name
      Benedict, there will be those who say “see, he did not take the name Peter and
      he is not from Rome.” This ignores the fact the previous names were symbolic
      and this one is symbolic too, fitting in with the conversion of Russia promised
      at Fatima. Turning back to the
      topic of the Book of Revelation for my last words on that matter, I repeat what
      I actually wrote to remind you of it in regard to your insistence that “all of
      these things” as referred to in St. Matthew must refer also to the coming of
      Christ and not just the destruction of Jerusalem. As I said earlier, chapter 24
      of St. Matthew’s Gospel has mingled two events. It is not just about the
      destruction of Jerusalem; it is also speaking of the coming of Christ. Thus, in
      verse 27, it speaks of the “coming of the Son of Man” and in verse 14 it says
      that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world as a
      witness to all nations, and then the end will come.” In verse 31, it says (note
      well) that “the angels …. will gather the elect … from one end of the heavens
      to the other.” Thus, it is an error to quote from this passage as if it all has
      to happen in their lifetime. Most scholarship, see, for example, the Jerome
      Biblical Commentary (which is a nice summary), sees the Book of Revelation as
      dating from the time of Domitian which begins in 81 after the fall of
      Jerusalem. Moreover, the author of the book says that he was in exile (a
      punishment) on Patmos when he wrote it. This makes sense if it was during the
      persecution of Domitian. I repeat that you said that Jesus wanted people to
      know of the destruction of Jerusalem so that they could flee in time. The
      synoptic gospels (as you showed in Matthew) are evidence that they did know
      about the destruction with no need for the Book of Revelation. My exact words
      about your statement about “soon” were these: “with the Lord one day is like a
      thousand years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his
      promise … he is patient with you …” (2 Pt 3:8-9). You protested that such a
      prophecy is about something too far in the future. There are many others, for
      example, the prophecies about Jesus being on the House of David, which became
      true after almost 1000 years. You mentioned Scott Hahn, who is indeed a
      scholar, but he is also an excellent defender of the Catholic Church, and that
      is where there is a natural motive to try and get the Book of Revelation out of
      the way, so to speak, as a simple commentary on something that already took
      place. We know how fundamentalist Protestants go mad with the book. Thus,
      saying that it was about the fall of Jerusalem conveniently pulls the rug out
      from under them. However, although it is good argument to block their wild
      speculations, it is not really good scholarship to pretend that it is really so
      evident that his deals with the fall of Jerusalem. With these words, I am
      afraid that I will have to rest my case since I am more interested in St.
      Malachy than discussing the Book of Revelation.

      • Nick H

        Jacques,

        It was not my intent to hijack this thread. But, I believe that I have made my views well known, concerning this so-called “prophecy” of S. Malachy. I asked you several questions about the purpose this list serves & how it brings the faithful closer to God, in one of my responses to you. Did you miss it?

        Even if it isn’t about the “End Times,” how does it help spread the Good News of Christ Jesus? God the Holy Spirit speaks through prophets for a reason, wouldn’t you agree? The three secrets of Fatima certainly had a purpose, didn’t they? And, they were fulfilled in the lifetime of the seer, Sr. Lucia.

        Regarding 2 Thess. 2:1-12, this is another example of the same prophecy that had first century fulfillment, but, also points to the Final Judgement. Saint Paul writes to the Thessalonians because some false prophets are claiming that Christ’s return is imminent. This epistle was written c. A.D. 50. Paul is telling them to remember that all the signs that he told them about had to happen before Christ’s Parousia. (Have you researched the meaning of that word, yet?)

        The events that lead to the destruction of the Temple, and Jerusalem, culminate in a great apostasy of the high-priest, the Sanhedrin, and the Herodians. When Christ comes again at the Final Judgement, there will be a similar turning away from God, or, great apostasy. One could argue that this has been the case for the past two centuries, beginning with the so-called enlightenment. Yet, we are still enduring it, aren’t we?

        “Thus, there are many things that I have said that are relevant to the article to which you have not responded.”

        Again, you must not have read all of my responses. I have.

        “Thus, it is an error to quote from this passage as if it all has to happen in their lifetime.”

        No,it is not. Twice now, you have not addressed Christ’s words in Mt. 24:34, “Truly, I say to you, [THIS GENERATION WILL NOT PASS AWAY] till all these things take place.”

        In fact, I forgot to mention that Christ said this twice that day, first when He chastised the Pharisees (the “Woes”), cf. Mt. 23: 31-36. How can these words of Christ have anything but a first century fulfillment?

        “Most scholarship, see, for example, the Jerome Biblical Commentary (which is a nice summary), sees the Book of Revelation as dating from the time of Domitian which begins in 81 after the fall of
        Jerusalem.”

        This is very true. Even the Navarre Bible commentary holds to this view. But, the plain words of the text suggest was written while the Temple was still standing. John is asked by the angel to measure the Temple (Rev. 11:1). Again, I ask you, how could John measure the Temple if it was destroyed?

        “You protested that such a prophecy is about something too far in the future.”

        I specifically exempted the promise of the Messiah recorded throughout the Old Testament. You need to read more carefully before you object to things that I never wrote.

        Finally, yes, Dr. Hahn is a defender of the Catholic Church. As am I. Aren’t you, Jacques, a Defender of the Faith and of the Church that Christ founded?

        God Bless!

      • Nick H

        Jacques,

        You also never answer my inquiries about from which authors you have received these interpretations, and, your source for the assertion that the seven churches in Asia Minor (mentioned in John’s Apocalypse) deteriorated only after the Temple was destroyed in A.D. 70.

        I would appreciate any answer you may provide.
        Take care.

  • Jacques

    Dear Nick,
    There is a fundamental (big) error in your theory that Jerusalem in New
    Testament Apocalyptic terms is the geographical city (ancient Jewish capital).
    Over and over again the Church in her liturgy reflects the New Testament and
    Apostolic Tradition by using the terms “Jerusalem, Zion, House of Jacob,
    Israel, etc.” in reference to herself in the Mass and the Divine Office. Anyone
    who fails to realize this does not understand the liturgical and symbolic use
    of these terms and is not praying according to the mind of the Church. Thus, Isaiah
    writes: “All Nations shall stream towards it … let us climb the Lord’s mountain
    …. For from Zion shall go forth instruction and the word of the Lord from
    Jerusalem … they shall beat their swords into ploughshares … One nation shall
    not raise the sword against another ….” (Is 2:2-4). The Church’s traditional
    understanding is that Jerusalem and Zion refer to the Church, not a
    geographical place. Your reference to chapter 11 of the Book of Revelation
    sadly raises yet another dimension of the apostasy that is promoted by the
    secular media and their cheering section (Babylon) within the Church. That is
    the sadly appropriate mention in chapter 11 of Sodom as describing a section
    within the Church itself which has crucified the Lord. As we know, the
    so-called pedophilia scandal is almost always a same sex scandal (homo=same).
    Usually the victims had already passed puberty. The media pretends not to
    notice this aspect in its promoting and legitimatizing homosexuality. In any event,
    I thank you for your comments which gave me a good reason for further
    reflection and commentary. As I have indicated, you have not understood at all
    how to read the Bible in the light of Tradition, which is essential for a
    correct understanding. I might add that I owe what little I know to other
    writers, and I am just summarizing what I have learned.

    • Nick H

      Jacques,

      Thank you for your replies. I will attempt to answer them individually.

      This is not my theory (I’m no scholar, just a 45 year-old student). Many Catholic theologians and biblical scholars have come to this interpretation. I first heard of it, several years ago, from Dr. Scott Hahn of Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. Have you heard of him? He knows the early Church Fathers, and Tradition, quite well.
      Also, who are these writers to whom you referred, on which you base your interpretations?

      Just because the terms Jerusalem, Zion, etc., are used in the metaphorical sense does not preclude their use to describe historic realities to the people to whom they were preached. Which is their primary purpose. Except for the promise of the Messiah, first told in Genesis 3:15 and continually promised throughout the Old Testament Scriptures, I am unaware of any prophecy that took thousands of years to be fulfilled. Do you know of any? Remember, the word prophet does not mean teller of the future. It means one who speaks for God.

      Isaiah begins his book comparing Jerusalem (i.e., the Temple, its rulers, and the people of Israel) to Sodom (1:10) and a harlot (1:21). He is not the only prophet to do so. Jeremiah does, several times, cf. 2:20; 3:13; 5:7-9. As does Ezekiel: Cf. 16:14-15, 35-39; ch. 23.

      Hope that helps.

  • Jacques

    Dear Nick H,
    You refer to the destruction of Jerusalem as predicted in chapter 24 of St.
    Matthew’s Gospel, however, the chapter has mingled two events. It is not just
    about the destruction of Jerusalem; it is also speaking of the end of the
    world. Thus, in verse 27, it speaks of the “coming of the Son of Man” and in
    verse 14 it says that “this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout
    the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.” In verse
    31, it says that “the angels …. will gather the elect … from one end of the
    heavens to the other.” Thus, it is an error to quote from this passage as if it
    all applied to the fall of Jerusalem. As I mentioned in my other post, the Book
    of Revelation is dealing with some other matters, including the crisis that we
    are now experiencing which is radically different from the past because it is so
    widely spread within the Church. It is therefore not dealing specifically with
    the fall of Jerusalem in the first century nor is it dealing specifically with end
    of the world in the places I have indicated. Likewise the prophecy of St.
    Malachy does not mention the end of the world as some presume (with no real
    evidence). You say that Jesus wanted people to know of the destruction of
    Jerusalem so that they could flee in time. The synoptic gospels (as you showed
    in Matthew) are evidence that they did know about the destruction with no need
    for the Book of Revelation. Moreover, the scholarly world, with good reason,
    does not see the Book of Revelation as being written before the destruction of
    Jerusalem. For example, the letters to the seven churches indicate well
    established churches which in some cases had since lost their first fervor or
    deviated. This is a situation that developed some time later after the fall of Jerusalem.
    You stress the idea that in the Book of Revelation there are expressions like
    Jesus saying, “I am coming soon” (Rev 22:20). In an apocalyptic context this is
    explained in 2 Peter, and it is quite relevant to our context. In chapter 2 he
    states “there will be false teachers among you, who will introduce destructive
    heresies … many will follow their licentious ways and because of them the way
    of truth will be reviled” (2 Pt 2:1-2) He adds in reference to your point: “…
    in the last days scoffers will come to scoff … saying “Where is the promise of
    his coming? … everything has remained as it was …” (2 Pt 3:3-4). Then he
    answers your statement about “soon”: “with the Lord one day is like a thousand
    years and a thousand years like one day. The Lord does not delay his promise …
    he is patient with you …” (2 Pt 3:8-9). In conclusion, it is quite wrong to
    think that the Book of Revelation was written about the fall of Jerusalem as a
    warning for the people of those times. Rather it deals in the second part with
    a crisis (which we are now in) that would threaten the future Church just as
    the seven churches were tried by crises in those days.

    • Nick H

      Jacques,

      “It is not just about the destruction of Jerusalem; it is also speaking of the end of the world.

      I agree. But, Christ’s prophecy in the Little Apocalypse was primarily fulfilled by A.D. 70. The specific events foretold, i.e., “wars and rumors of wars”, etc., began happening almost as soon as Christ’s Ascension. Rome began being attacked across the Empire. There were earthquakes, beginning with the one that hit Jerusalem when Christ gave up His Spirit. I could list many other examples.

      The Son of Man returned in A.D. 70, to bring His Justice on “the great city”. Do you know the etymology of the Greek word parousia? I encourage you to make some inquiries, it is fascinating. Josephus records that men in chariots were seen in the clouds around all the cities in Judea, as the Roman legions came to stop the rebellion.
      The Gospel was preached to the corners of the known world in the 40 years between Christ’s ministry and the destruction of the Temple. It was preached in India, Spain, Cyrene, Asia, and possibly as far as Britain.
      The “elect” were gathered, in Pella, as I previously stated in my original comment.

      I notice that you skipped over Christ’s promise that “this generation will not pass away till all these things take place” (v.34). He says quite clearly ALL the events that he just described would “take place” within the next 40 years. In verse 9, He tells the disciples, who asked what would be the signs, that they would delivered up to tribulations and be put to death. Which is precisely what happened. What is your explanation for these promises of Christ’s?

      “For example, the letters to the seven churches indicate well established churches which in some cases had since lost their first fervor or deviated. This is a situation that developed some time later after the fall of Jerusalem.”

      Do you have a source for this assertion? And, again, there are many scholars, both Catholic and Protestant, who make the case that John’s Apocalypse was written before the destruction of the Temple, sometime in the early-to-mid-sixties, A.D. Chapter 11, of the Apocalypse, begins with John being asked to measure God’s Temple. How could he do this if the Temple had already been destroyed?

      “He adds in reference to your point [...]“.

      I don’t see my point as being one of a “scoffer”. I have not denied that Christ will come again. He will, at the Final Judgement.

      Again, I reiterate from my original post: My only points were that Matthew 24 and the Apocalypse had their PRIMARY FULFILLMENT in the first century, A.D.; that the destruction of the Temple (a model of the world) foretold the destruction of the world at the end of the New Covenant Age; that it is pointless to try to figure out who the “antichrist” is, or will be, because every era has its antichrists; and, finally, trying to fit these prophecies into contemporary events is folly.

      This is why the so-called prophecy of Saint Malachy doesn’t make much sense. For what purpose would God have given such a prophecy? How does it bring the faithful closer to Christ? Or, spread the Good News of Christ Jesus? It seems to me nothing more than a puzzle to be solved, with the election of every successive pope. How does this bring about salvation to a disciple of God?

      I hope I covered everything.
      Yours, in Christ
      Nick

  • Phillip

    Dr. Prudlo did not do very much research. The 1590 date is wrong; there were two editions of Malachy out before that, one of Panvinio in 1557 and another by Muzio in 1570. http://unamsanctamcatholicam.blogspot.com/2013/03/st-malachy-case-for-authenticity.html

  • bzelbub

    Saint Malachy was from Armagh, Ireland. A lush green island, one of its claims to fame is that it is located on seven hills, as are over sixty other cities world wide. That always leads me to wonder if we have wait for just Rome or Jerusalem, to be destroyed or all of the seven hilled cities to fall.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2WAWT6FEXYWG6RN7VBWO2NQ4OE Dan

    Catholicism is a belief system built on it’s own self righteousness. The fear one should have is death and thinking Good works and being a good catholic do anything but cause one to go to hell. Heaven is not obtained by being catholic or being good .Jesus God Himself made the way.His sacrifice on the cross was the atonement for all sins.First John if one confess their sin to Jesus He will forgive All Sins and Cleanse one completely . st francis of assisi of by the way Real name was Pietro di Bernardone; (Peter) and Was from Roman .The prophecy has to be someone hidden even while the prophecy is known.Otherwise the catholic church would just say Ok don’t name yourself Peter the roman .

    • Nick H

      Dan,

      From whom did you learn all of these many errors about the Catholic Church?
      Oh, never mind. I see that it was from the anti-Catholic bigot, Jack Chick.
      God Bless!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2WAWT6FEXYWG6RN7VBWO2NQ4OE Dan
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  • Daniele

    In an article for the National Catholic Register, A.
    Gagliarducci noted that as of March 20, Pope Francis always referred to himself
    as the bishop of Rome (rather than simply Pope) except on one occasion; this
    was evident even in the first statements he made – is he not then, in his own
    words, Peter the Roman?

  • Daniele

    The Voice of America reported that at Wednesday’s meeting on March 20, Francis called Patriarch Bartholomew ”my brother Andrew,” a reference to the apostle Peter who was the brother of St. Andrew. (I would note that this idea of comparing himself to Peter has been frequent also in his earlier statements.)

  • Daniele

    In an article of April 4, 2004, the Osservatore Romano reported this incident as
    recounted by Angelo Comastri, Cardinal-Archpriest of St Peter’s Basilica: Climbing
    back up the stairs and having reached the Clementine Chapel, Pope
    Francis became absorbed in prayer and repeated with a loud voice the three
    professions of Peter: “Lord, You are the Christ, Son of the Living God”; “Lord,
    to whom do we go? You have the words of eternal life”; “Lord, You know all
    things! You know that I love you!”. At that moment, we had the distinct
    impression that the life of Peter rose out of centuries past and became
    present and living in the current Successor of the Apostle Peter. With me were:
    Bishop Vittorio Lanzani, delegate of the Fabric of St Peter’s, Mons. Alfred
    Xuereb and those responsible for the necropolis, Pietro Zander and Mario Bosco.
    When we took our leave of the Holy Father we thought that he returned to
    his residence comforted by the echo of Jesus’ words: “You are Peter, the
    rock on whom I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail
    against it”. Is he not indicating by this unusual gesture that he is Peter the Roman?

  • http://www.DSDOConnor.com/ Daniel O’Connor

    A good friend of mine has put a lot of effort to respond to this article in academic fashion. It is too long to post as a reply, but I hope it is okay if I post a link to it here. God bless.

    http://dsdoconnor.com/on-the-scholarly-over-confidence-of-the-dismissal-of-prophecy/