There have been hundreds of prophecies about popes throughout the centuries, some coming true and some not. But the most interesting series of prophecies outside of Nostradamus was probably the prognostication of St. Malachy O’Morgair, former Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland. The story of Malachy is intertwined with prophecy of eerie accuracy, and according to his own writings they outline what many say will be the end of the world.
St. Malachy was visiting Pope Innocent II in 1139 when suddenly he entered a strange trance in which he suddenly declared that he had deep personal knowledge of each pope that would come to pass leading up all the way to the end times of the papacy and possibly even the end of the world. As with most prophecies, he spoke in almost riddling terms of the popes by name, calling Pope Paul VI ‘Flos Florum’ or the flower of flowers. Paul VI’s coat of arms bore three lilies. Of course this in itself could have been changed after the prophecy was made, so the strange accuracy of the next name, Pope John Paul I who ascended to the papacy in 1978 was dubbed ‘De medietate Lunae.’ Of course when he ascended no one knew why St. Malachy had dubbed him “Pope of the half moon.” When John Paul died one month later, many were shocked to discover the moon phase had shifted from one half of the moon to another. It was the shortest reign in history. Next came ‘De labore Solis’ meaning “Out of the Labor of the Sun.” This was significant too, since he had been born during a solar eclipse.
So if the list of shocking similarities isn’t enough, the story gets far more dire. There are only two popes left on the list. The first is the current pope, ‘Gloria olivae,’ the meaning of which is not yet clear. The second that will follow the current pope is called simply Peter. But what he lack in a dramatic name, he makes up for in import in the prophecy. Peter, according to Malachy, will be the final pope. During Peter’s reign, a place known as the “City of seven hills” will be destroyed and a final Judge is said to Judge his people. It’s certainly interesting to think this final prophecy could be finally coming to an end after almost a thousand years of preparation. Of course there is no telling what these final words really mean. Perhaps the nature of the papacy will change. It’s possible that there could be another split in the Catholic church. Or maybe what’s being predicted with the words “final judge” suggests that an apocalyptic scenario of either religious or technological origin will take place. And we are only one pope away from this.
Of course the evidence is not overwhelming of the previous three predictions. They maintain that level of distance required for a truly good prophecy to make you take a second look at what might happen, and if you may witness something spectacular or terrible in your own lifetime.