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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Talk of War.

All of this childish indignation surrounding the Pope's quotation of a 14th century Byzantine emporer has me thinking back to St. Malachy's prophesy. The blog Balkinization (this reference being no endorsement of the blog's political views) has some intersting comments regarding the prophesy, which were written shortly after the Pope chose his name:

It turns out that we are very near the end of Malachy's list. The motto for the 109th pope, John Paul I, is de medietate lune, "[He] of the half moon." This prophecy is said to have been fulfilled because John Paul I became pope during a half moon and died 33 days later during another half moon. The motto for the 110th pope, John Paul II, is de laboris solis, "[He] of the labor of the sun." This prophecy is said to fit because the sun labors by traveling around the world (Malachy wrote before Copernicus!) and Pope John Paul II was famous for his travels.

The motto for the next pope, Ratzinger, now Benedict XVI, is de gloriae olivae, "[He] of the glory of the olive," about which more in a moment. The last pope in the list (number 112, but no number is given in the text) is Petrus Romanus, or "Peter the Roman." Peter, of course, was the first Bishop of Rome as well as the first pope. This is the only pope for whom Malachy adds a comment: "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." Apparently Petrus Romanus is the last pope before Judgment Day. Some people have argued that because no number is assigned to Petrus Romanus, he is actually the same pope as Gloriae Olivae, and so Gloriae Olivae is in fact the last pope; others argue, to the contrary, that because no number is assigned to Petrus Romanus in Saint Malachy's list, that any number of popes could intervene between Gloriae Olivae and Petrus Romanus, so that the church (and the world) as we know it is not about to end.

Before I get flamed for furthering a conspiracy theory: no I do not think that the world is coming to an end--I have not raced the Iditarod yet.