The abdication and the prophecy-A A +A
Saturday, March 2, 2013
On February 28, 2013, His Holiness the Pope officially stepped down from his office and abdicated. There hasn't been an abdication like this since the abdication of Pope Benedict XII in 1415. The news comes as a shock to Catholics worldwide, since no pope has abdicated for the past six centuries.
Without a pope, the day-to-day duties of the papal office fall upon the shoulders of the camerlengo. However, the camerlengo does not act as the head of government of the Catholic Church.
Any task that requires the approval of the pope is submitted to the judgment of the College of Cardinals, which means that all new bishops, saints that are to be approved, and cardinal appointments are to be delegated to the College of Cardinals and subject to their approval, to avoid anarchy in the church.
Many people feel that Benedict's resignation is justified. They say that he is not built for the stress of the papal office, and that his abdication is for the good of the church. Others say that the pope simply cannot fill in the shoes left by his successor, the great Pope John Paul II. And still others say that he can no longer handle the stress of all the church scandals.
If the allegations of church corruption and immoral priests weren't enough, it seems that an obscure papal prophecy is also shedding an ominous light on the church.
The prophecy is attributed to one St. Malachy, a 12th century Irish bishop. Published in 1595, the so-called prophecy is a list of short phrases in Latin, each describing something about a particular pope.
For example, Pope John Paul II's line reads as "de labore solis", which means "from the labor of the sun." Since the Pope was born on a solar eclipse and died on the day of a solar eclipse, this seems relevant.
Venerable Pius XII's line, for example, reads as "pastor angelicus" or "angelic shepherd", and since he was a pope who was known for 'shepherding' many Jews during the holocaust, this too, seems relevant.
But it is the last phrase of the prophecy that makes it so eerie. Right after "gloria olivae", the line supposedly reserved for Pope Benedict XVI (the olive branch is a symbol for peace and reconciliation) the next line reads:
Petrus romanus, qui pascet oues in multis tribulationibus: quibus transactis ciuitas septicollis diruetur, et ludex tremedus iudicabit populum tuum. Finis. Which translates as, "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 dreadful judge will judge his people. The End."
The city of the seven hills has always been Rome, and the prophecy has been taken to mean that Peter the Roman will abolish Rome as the center of the Catholic Church, or less likely, Rome will be literally destroyed during his reign as pope. Also, the favorite candidate for pope seems to be one Peter Turkson, a cardinal from Ghana.
However, scholars tend to view the prophecy as "absurd trifling." Even though the prophecy has been correct about several popes after its publication date, there are still some popes whose characteristics hardly match the lines prescribed to them. To find out if the prophecy is true or not, we shall have to wait and see.
Benedict XVI, or Joseph Ratzinger, plans to live out the rest of his days in a Vatican Monastery, living a contemplative life in the service of God.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on March 02, 2013.