As Turbulence Swirls Around Rome, So Do Reflections On Old Papal Prophecies
The recent turbulence surrounding Pope Benedict XVI brings to mind prophecies said to have come from popes themselves.
Most recently, BBC, the major network in the United Kingdom, accused the Holy Father of promoting the abuse cover-up when he was a Cardinal. There also was the University of Regensburg dispute over his remarks about Islam: just last week, al Qaeda's "number two" leader called Benedict a "charlatan," while radical Muslim clerics elsewhere have gone so far as to demand capital punishment in retribution.
Others threaten attacks on Rome (specifically St. Peter's Basilica, which another cleric vowed would one day see the green flag of Islam fly over it ("we shall break the cross and spill the wine ... God will (help) Muslims to conquer Rome ... (May) God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants the bounty of the mujahideen," said one statement on a website linked to terrorists).
Is it a time that will see various factions rise up against Catholicism? Are there the murmurings of persecution?
At Fatima, during a vision after the main apparitions, seer Jacinta Marto said she "saw the Holy Father in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands, and he was weeping. Outside the house, there were many people. Some of them were throwing stones, others were cursing him and using bad language. Poor Holy Father, we must pray very much for him."
It is claimed by some that Jacinta saw this as the same Pope as in the famous third secret -- which, if true, would indicate John Paul II. Has it thus already come to pass? Or is it still in the future?
And what did popes -- in their alleged visions -- foresee?
The claims are apocryphal at best. They are also interesting.
Pope Pius IX (1846-78): “There will come a great wonder, which will fill the world with astonishment. This wonder will be preceded by the triumph of revolution. The church will suffer exceedingly. Her servants and her chieftain will be mocked, scourged, and martyred.”
Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903): After saying Mass on October 13, 1884, the Pope suddenly collapsed. Upon waking, he recounted a vision he had seen. "Oh, what a horrible picture I was permitted to see!" he said. He described a period of about 100 years when Satan’s power was to reach its maximum, a decline of moral and spiritual values. Those hundred years would have included most of the 20th century.
Pope Pius X (1903-14): This Pope had a number of prophetic visions. In 1909, in the midst of an audience with members of the Franciscan order, he seemed to fall into a trance. Moments passed, then his eyes sprung open and he jumped to his feet. "What I have seen is terrifying!” he cried out. “Will I be the one, or will it be a successor? What is certain is that the Pope will leave Rome and, in leaving the Vatican, he will have to pass over the dead bodies of his priests!" It’s uncertain what this vision alluded to, but it is similar in many respects to the reported third prophecy of Fatima. Later, shortly before his death, another vision came to him: "I have seen one of my successors, of the same name, who was fleeing over the bodies of his brethren. He will take refuge in some hiding place; but after a brief respite, he will die a cruel death. Respect for God has disappeared from human hearts. They wish to efface even God's memory. This perversity is nothing less than the beginning of the last days of the world."
Pope Pius XII (1939-58) experienced strange visions of a bleak future. After one of these experiences he told confidants, "Mankind must prepare itself for sufferings such as it has never before experienced… the darkest since the deluge." (Source: Prophecies of Saints and Popes and Papal prophecies]
And then of course there is St. Malachy.
According to legend, this Irish saint foresaw many future popes in various symbols (including the current one as "glory of the olives," reflecting on the Benedictines' penchant for olive symbolism, and the name Benedict), and said that there would be only one more after the current one (at least for this period of history, according to this legend, much in dispute): a Pope named Peter.
“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," says Malachy’s prophecy, for your discernment.
Of more immediate concern: We look at al-Qaeda and also 1 Peter 5:8: "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
The name "Osama" means "roaring lion."
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