The last Catholic pope

In 1595, Benedictine monk Arnold Wion published the freshly discovered prophecies of Saint Malachy...

In 1595, Benedictine monk Arnold Wion published the freshly discovered prophecies of Saint Malachy, a 12th‑century Archbishop of Armagh, Ireland. Allegedly discovered in the Vatican vault, Malachy’s vision detailed a list of 112 popes.

Interestingly, Malachy’s descriptions of the popes prior to 1590 are very accurate, while the rest have been more hit and miss with quite a few stretches of the imagination needed to make them fit at all. This tends to suggest that the prophecies are a forgery and were actually written in 1590 as a way to influence that year’s conclave selection of a new pope.

However, that’s the rational me talking. If I was a less cynical person who believed the church would never stoop to lying to its flock, then I have to be concerned about the upcoming election of a new pope — the Roman Catholic church’s 112th, and the last one on Saint Malachy’s list.

According to the prophecy, the 112th pope, identified as “Peter the Roman,” will allegedly bring the destruction of the city of Rome and usher in the beginning of the Apocalypse.

Yikes! In that case, let’s hope they elect a healthy two-year-old rather than another octogenarian.

Since I’m not a big fan of the Catholic church (or any organized religion) being responsible for my fate, there is another way to look at Malachy’s vision. Instead of the Apocalypse, perhaps he saw the end of the church’s influence over mankind; an enlightenment, if you will, where spirituality and belief in a higher power doesn’t mean following an organization’s unyielding interpretation of what that means.

Man has always had the inane ability to corrupt even the greatest of ideas. If you believe in Jesus of Nazareth as a wise and thoughtful prophet, then how can you dismiss his teachings and hate anyone simply because they are different from you? If you believe Jesus was the actual son of God, then how does the church’s corruption of His message make any sense at all? Would God allow any pedophile to remain in a position of power, trust and influence? Would God allow a kingdom of gold and a silk-robed man on a throne to rule over our bodies, minds and spirits?

Spirituality will always be a part of us whether we attend church or not. It’s human nature to question our existence, ponder the universe and try to make sense of the wonders around us. It’s comforting to believe that sometimes you need a higher power to take the wheel and steer for awhile when you’re feeling low or confused or heavily burdened.

But it’s time for the church to crumble and from its ashes perhaps the true message of God will be delivered: be kind to one another. Because, really, that’s all you need to know. M

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