EWTN Catholic Q&A
Prophecy of St. Malachy Revisited
Question from Benedict on 04-22-2005:

I find the answer you gave to the question on this topic below unsatisfying. Despite being found well after the death of St. Malachy, the prophecy has been surprisingly accurate, e.g., when calling Pope John Paul II "de labore solis", which well before his election was assumed to refer to a solar eclipse. John Paul II was born on the day of a solar eclipse. Pope Benedict XVI is, according to the prophecy, "gloria olivae", the glory of the olive, which was always held to be a reference to Benedict or the Benedictines. Joseph Ratzinger's choice of name makes me wonder if he was thinking of the prophecy when he chose his name. Hard to imagine he would not know about that prophecy.

And you did not comment on the fact that the prophecy only lists one more name after "Gloria olivae", the pope described as "Petrus Romanus." Some say there is no explicit mention that there will be no additional popes between "Gloria olivae" and "Petrus Romanus." What reason do they give for assuming that there will be more popes than those on the list? That assumption is not obvious, and in need of justification.

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 04-25-2005:

It seems to have been more accurate for the last few popes than the ones between 1590 and 1958. That may only be because we are alive during these times and able to find more convincing connections owing to our greater familiarity with these popes over previous ones.

I seriously doubt that Joseph Ratzinger intended any allusion whatsover to the Malachy list by the choice of his papal name. The explanation that he gave to the Cardinals is simple and sufficient, without resorting to alleged prophecy. Nor did Pope John Paul II take it into account, apparently, when he spoke of a Civilization of Love and the new evangelization of the Third Millennium. Nor, did Our Lady of Fatima seem to consider it when speaking of an era of peace following the trial of the world caused by Russian communism, or John Bosco or other approved mystics who likewise refer or allude to a coming era of history under various names. (see my FAQ on the Endtimes.)

So, ought a Catholic to give credence to a questionable prophecy which the Church has never sanctioned over popes, and saints, and blesseds, and apparitions that she has approved? Probably not a good idea. But if one MUST attempt a reconciliation, it may simply be that "the era of peace" is the silence in the list between Glory of the Olive and the Pope of the time of the antichrist (Peter the Roman), a silence which some have suggested can also be found in Scripture (Rev. 8:1), before the unleashing of the events of the End. Since we cannot know how long that period lasts, we can be comforted by the words of the present pontiff, who once gave his opinion that we are NOT at the end of the world.

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