Monday, 29 August 2011
The Angelic Pope
Prophecies concerning the coming of an "Angelic Pope" who will heal the Church of schism and restore the faith have been widely circulated since the Middle Ages. The first known prophecy of the pastor angelicus was quoted by the English polymath Roger Bacon in the 13th century:
...Forty years ago it was prophesied, and there have been many visions to the same effect, that there will be a pope in these times who will purify Canon Law and the Church of God from the sophistries and deceits of the jurists so that justice will reign over all without the rumbling of lawsuits. Because of the goodness, truth, and justice of this pope the Greeks will return to the obedience of the Roman Church, the greater part of the Tartars will be converted to the faith, and the Saracens will be destroyed. There will be one flock and one shepherd, as the prophet heard (John 10:16)...
(Taken from Roger Bacon's The Third Work. Trans. by B McGinn Visions of the End (New York, Columbia, 1998) p190)
This Angelic Pope has many qualities similar to that of the Two Witnesses. Like the Two Witnesses, the Angelic Pope is prophesied to restore the faith towards the end of the world. Working together with the Last Emperor or "Second Charlemagne", the Angelic pope is foretold to heal the East-West schism and convert the Jews to Catholicism. If Benedict XVI is to fulfill this role, as is suggested by St Malachy's Prophecy of the Popes, it would require some major developments to occur during his pontificate. Benedict XVI is undoubtedly a Pope devoted to Christian unity, and has repeatedly called for full communion between the East and West (see here and here for example) - asking that the Church should once again "breathe with both lungs". The foundations for full unity between East and West has already been made under the pontificate of Benedict XVI, who is viewed in a more favourable light by the leaders of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs. In Ravenna, Italy, in 2007 a joint Catholic-Orthodox commission declared that a basic framework for unification was already agreed, which would begin from the foundation point of both Churches recognising the Pope as titular head (see here) and some form of the authority of the pope would be recognised, and modelled after the role of the pope in the first millennium.
Another development which has brought Roman Catholicism closer to Eastern Orthodoxy is the election of Metropolitan Kirill as the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, who is a lot more favourably disposed towards the Vatican than his predecessors.
So could the unification of the East and West happen under the pontificate of Benedict XVI? Given the advanced age of the present pope, it would seem unlikely that these developments could advance at such an incredible rate as to occur during his lifetime. But situations can suddenly change, especially in light of the miraculous, and if a major supernatural event were to occur it could help to hasten this process.
Following the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation on 11th Feb, 2013, it appears that this event could be related to the Worthy Shepherd Prophecy - which predicts that the Angelic Pope would ascend the papacy by "about twelve years shall the millennium have passed".
See also the related posts:
The Second Pentecost
The Two Witnesses
The Great Monarch
St. John Bosco's Dream of the Two Pillars
St. Malachy's Glory of the Olives
Prophecies of the Martyr-Pope