Spiritual Saturday featuring guest writer Wayne C. Ritchie
“In extreme persecution the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman…” “Who will pasture his sheep in many tribulations and when these things are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the terrible or fearsome judge will judge his people. The End.”
Prophecy of the Popes – St. Malachy circa 1139 A.D.
On Monday Feb. 11th something occurred in the Catholic Church that has not occurred in over 600 years. The pope resigned. When I heard the announcement the Holy Spirit pricked my spirit with a deep sense of the tremendous importance of that event and He stirred research about Malachy.
Malachy was a Catholic priest from Ireland who traveled to Rome to see the pope. As he was leaving Rome he had a vision. In the vision the Holy Spirit said – because of the impiety of the popes, Rome will burn. The Holy Spirit also shows him a list of popes leading up to the last one before the return of the Lord.
The vision is called “The Prophecy of the Popes.” It is a list of the next 112 popes starting with Pope Celestine II, who became pope in 1143. In writing out the vision Malachy list one of four things about each pope. He list the “nature, name, destiny or coat of arms” of each pope. In naming the 112th pope, who he said, will be the last one, he gives a name. He did not give his nature, his destiny or his coat of arms but his name. He said the last pope will be named Petrus Romanus (Peter the Roman).
Now this is where it really get interesting. Pope Benedict XVI is the 111th pope since Pope Celestine II. This means the new pope, who will be elected next month, will be 112th pope.
Now let me add this fact – no pope has ever taken the name Peter out of respect for Peter the Apostle. So where does that leave the prophecy? It needs to be a man whose name is Peter, unless the new pope does break with tradition and take the name of Peter, which I don’t believe will happen.
So is there a possibility for a man whose name is Peter to become pope? The answer is yes.
There is a Cardinal whose name has been milled about for years as Africa’s brightest hopes to be the next pope. His name is Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson (he is Ghanian).
On the day the pope announced his resignation Peter was in Rome. In an interview, the next day, with the Italian press he was asked about his chances of becoming pope. He said, “It is natural for Africans to want one of their own to be elected as the next pope.” He went on to say “… before we start going continental, we need first, to go church, and think about what the Catholic Church in Africa can do or should do with such an event. What that is the case, then what we [are] heading for is the Catholic Church in Africa in communion with the Catholic Church around the world choosing a chief pastor, somebody to exercise leadership over the whole church.” He ended with these words, “We ask the rest of Africa to pray with us that God will bestow on us a leader that can provide the type of leadership that will continue to make the Catholic Church responsive to the needs of the various citizens on the continent.” (If elected he will be the first non-European to head the church in 1,800 years.)
On the same day that Peter was interviewed Father Francis Lucas, the executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops, came out with an official statement about Malachy’s prophecy. He said it is “sometimes inaccurate (a nice way of saying false).” He went on to say, “the faithful should not give a literal interpretation of the St. Malachy prophecy. What he [Malachy] is saying is there could be a cleansing, a purging of the Church.” He ended by saying “believers should concentrate on the ultimate message of God in these prophecies and not focus on the material events.”
I believe this opens the door for the election of Peter Turkson. Interesting and exciting isn’t it?