Troyes Cathedral (Cathédrale Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul de Troyes) in Champagne, France - the location of the relics of St. Malachy and St. Bernard of Clairvaux.
Another striking coincidence surrounding the coming papal conclave and the significance of the Worthy Shepherd Prophecy can be found in some unique research which calculated the significance of St. Malachy's "Glory of the Olive" as pertaining to the year 2012. As most readers will already know, I discussed in the previous posts here and here, how the prophecy of Bl. Tomasuccio de Foligno (1319-1377) pointed to this exact time period for the election of the Angelic Pope of Catholic prophecy, who is foretold to heal the Great Schism between the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. This would thus be the fulfilment of the promise of Our Lady of Fatima, that "In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world":
"One from beyond the mountains shall become the Vicar Of God. Religious and clerics shall take part in this change. Outside the true path, there will be only disreputable men; I shrug my shoulders when the Bark of Peter is in danger and there is no one to lend it help... The schismatic shall fall into the scorn of the Italian faithful... By about twelve years shall the millennium have passed when the resplendent mantle of legitimate power shall emerge from the shadows where it was being kept by the schism. And beyond harm from the one who is blocking the door of salvation, for his deceitful schism shall have come to an end. And the mass of the faithful shall attach itself to the worthy Shepherd, who shall extricate each one from error and restore to the Church its beauty. He shall renew it."
But another interesting fact is that in a book dating back to 1951 called La Mystérieuse prophétie des papes (Namur: Bibliothèque de la Faculté de philosophie et lettres, 1951, Imprimatur: June 28, 1945, Et. Jos. Carton de Wiart), Belgian Jesuit scholar Fr. René Thibaut attempted to demonstrate how the significance of St. Malachy's list of popes actually pointed to a specific year for the significance of the motto "Glory of the Olive" - the year 2012.
Unfortunately, Fr. Thibaut's work remains unpublished in English. However, writing in 2009, Elena Maria Vidal summarises Fr. Thibaut's work at some considerable length in her blog Tea at St. Trinian's.
Fr. Thibaut’s research reveals that there is a great deal more to the Prophecy than I had ever imagined. It is a penetrating treatise which, because of the author’s vast knowledge of Church history and Sacred Scripture, both informs and inspires. The middle of the book is devoted to charts tracing the date of Easter over the years, and the leap years, as well as various ciphers, anagrams and acrostics with which, as Fr. Thibaut demonstrates, the list of Popes is imbued. Fr. Thibaut’s analysis becomes complex at that point although he explains his conclusions with clarity.
Fr. Thibaut maintains that the Prophecy of the Popes is a genuine prophecy. However, the identity of the actual prophet remains unclear. The author of the Prophecy is probably not St Malachy but someone who wrote under the name of the great Irish saint in order to honor him. (p.7) Fr. Thibaut insists that the Prophecy is not meant to worry or disturb but to reassure the faithful about the Providence of God during even the most difficult of times. It is a sort of litany which celebrates the glory and triumph of the universal Church throughout the ages under the leadership of the Roman pontiffs. (p.24) It was a mistake for people of the past (and present) to use the list of popes in order to predict who the next pope would be, for that was never the intention of the original author. (p.20) Neither is it meant to herald the imminent end of the world, because "of that day and hour no one knoweth, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone." (Matthew 24:36)
According to Fr. Thibaut, the papal legate Nicholas Sanders (1530-1581) may have brought a primitive document containing the Prophecy to Rome during the reign of St. Pius V. Sanders spent a great deal of time in Ireland, which continued to be Catholic in spite of Elizabeth I. Sanders wrote De visibili Monarchia Ecclesiae in which he states that the reigns of the popes are the best “measure of time.” (pp. 23-24) Fr. Thibaut believes that the Prophecy, eventually made public by Wion in 1595, has qualities which indicate an older document of Celtic origin, namely due to the word play and the use of numbers in the various anagrams and acrostics. (p.92) Reading Fr. Thibaut’s explanation of the complex patterns of words and numbers embedded in the list reminds me of the intricacy of the Celtic knot work designs in the Book of Kells and other Irish illuminated manuscripts, albeit the intricacy is in numbers and letters rather than designs.
Of the 111 titles describing all the popes and anti-popes from 1143 to the present, Fr. Thibaut says that while the first 71 titles have been subjected to the tampering of a forger, the last 40, which cover the years 1572 to 2012, are untouched. The year of 2012 is repeatedly emphasized as coinciding with the last Pope on the list, called the “Glory of the Olive.” Fr. Thibaut demonstrates the calculation of the year 2012 on a series of charts. The last 40 popes of the genuine part of the prophecy span four centuries with an average of eleven years per reign, and so he calculates 440 years from 1572. 1572 +440 =2012. (pp. 22-23) Fr. Thibaut shows how the year 2012 keeps appearing in other calculations as well. He also insists that it will only be in the year 2012 that it will become clear whether his interpretation of The Prophecy is correct or not. (p.101)
Fr. Thibaut says that 2012 signifies the end of an era in the history of the Church, recalling how other eras have come and gone. The destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 marked the close of an era, as did the fall of Rome in the fifth century. The fifteenth century saw the end of medieval Christianity with the Reformation. (p.22) The Revolutions of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as well as the World Wars of the twentieth century were events which manifested the judgment of God as well as signaling changes for the Church and the world. (pp. 88, 92, 96)Throughout such stages, the Church has been guided by the successors of St. Peter. (p. 22)
Speaking of St. Peter, the list concludes with the following phrase: "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people.” Fr. Thibaut explains how “Peter the Roman” does not signify a future pope calling himself “Pope Peter II” but rather Petrus Romanus symbolizes all the Roman pontiffs since St. Peter, for the Church has continually undergone persecution of some kind. (p.25) The destruction of Rome will not necessarily follow immediately after the end of the era in 2012, but may come at a later date. (p.21) Nevertheless, Fr. Thibaut surmises that it is not unthinkable that at some point in the future the Popes may change their residence and govern the Church from somewhere other than the city of Rome. (p.22)
The final pope on the list is given the title Gloriae olivae, “The Glory of the Olive.” Fr. Thibaut says that the olive represents the people of God whom His judgment will glorify. (p.97) Once again, Fr. Thibaut insists that the Prophecy is genuine since so often in the last 400 years the titles have accurately described a pope and his reign, too many times for it to be pure chance. This is discussed in great detail and perhaps will be the topic of a future blog post. (To do full justice to such an exhaustive work is beyond the scope of one or two blog articles.) Fr. Thibaut ends by saying: L'année 2012 dira si, oui ou non, le prophête a vu clair. (p.101) That remains to be seen.
(See the full article here, which is continued in some more detail here)
(For those whose French is a bit rusty, "L'année 2012 dira si, oui ou non, le prophête a vu clair" translates as "The year 2012 will tell whether or not the Prophet saw clear")
Also a commentator on the last post, Sr. Lorraine, flagged up a good point which I thought would be worth posting on the main part of the blog:
Emmett, thanks for your fascinating commentary. I'm very interested in this. One question is about the time frame. If the next pope is indeed the last pope, and has a short reign (?), it would seem there would not be enough time for all the other things in Catholic prophecy to happen. I read Desmond Birch's book and he has an interesting timeline. This would include the Great Monarch, etc...
Hi Sr. Lorraine,
You're right. I keep meaning to mention this. If the next pope is another elderly pontiff, I think this would rule him out from being the last pope, since a lot still has to happen. The era of peace/Second Pentecost promised by Our Lady of Fatima still has to happen. Once the Faith is rekindled in Europe, then a lot of prophecies (including the Church approved portion of La Salette) suggest that the Angelic Pope will anoint a new Holy Roman Emperor - the Great Monarch. Most of these prophecies point to the monarchy being restored in France, which isn't altogether implausible if the Eldest Daughter of the Church once again embraced the Faith.
Then according to the Church approved version of La Salette again (which was only published in 2002, and thus not available to Birch), there would be another falling away afterwards at the coming of the Antichrist. Maximin Giraud stated that the following events would begin to happen around the year 2000:
"France has corrupted the universe, one day it will be punished. The faith will die out in France: three quarters of France will not practice religion anymore, or almost no more, the other part will practice it without really practicing it. Then, after [that], nations will convert, the faith will be rekindled everywhere. A great country, now Protestant, in the north of Europe, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted.
Before all that arrives, great disorders will arrive, in the Church, and everywhere. Then, after [that], our Holy Father the Pope will be persecuted. His successor will be a pontiff that nobody expects.
Then, after [that], a great peace will come, but it will not last a long time. A monster will come to disturb it."
According to Bl. Elizabeth Canori-Mora, Benedict XVI could be the pope who is "persecuted" - the one surrounded by wolves seeking to drag him from his throne. The next pope then could be the one no one expects. Maximin states that the peace will not last a long time however before the coming of the Antichrist.
Melanie's secret says much the same thing:
"After all these calamities have arrived, many will recognize the hand of God on them. They will convert, and do penance for their sins.
A great king will go up on the throne, and will reign many years. Religion will re-flourish and spread all over the world, and there will be a great abundance. The world, glad to be lacking nothing, will fall again into disorder, will give up God, and will return to its criminal passions.
[Among] God's ministers, and the Spouses of Jesus-Christ, there will be some who will go astray, and that will be the most terrible."
So if we have a young pope (say his late fifties to early sixties), I'd say all this could take place over a 20-30 year period, and he could thus possibly be the last pope. But if we have an elderly pope, all this is a lot less likely to happen in (for talk's sake) another 8 year pontificate. So there would likely be another (indefinite) amount of popes after this, and St. Malachy's list of popes can be ruled out definitively.
It can all be very difficult to get to grips with, but we'll know better in a few weeks when the new pope takes the helm.
Also Birch's work contains many spurious prophecies of untraceable origin, which might mix things up a bit. He bases most of his research on Yves Dupont and Fr. Gerard Cullerton's books, which also don't cite original sources. Many of the Great Monarch prophecies he cites are also contradictory, for example. So it's best to work with private revelations of the highest level of approval, and discard any spurious prophecies that don't add up.
(See the full text of the Church-approved 1851 text of the messages of La Salette here).