Petrus Romanus in 2012?
Media reports suggest that Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) will not remain pontiff in 2012. His successor, according to a c. 16th prophesy, will be Petrus Romanus – the last pope and, depending on who you believe, the Antichrist.
Amongst all the hullabaloo around the Mayan Long Count, another equally spurious / seismic prophesy for 2012 has been ignored. In 1139, Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh, was summoned to Rome by Pope Innocent II. There he supposedly experienced a vision of future popes, which he recorded as a sequence of cryptic phrases. This manuscript was then deposited in the Roman Archive, and thereafter forgotten about until its rediscovery in 1590.
This is the standard explanation, at least. The document forecasts 112 future popes, each accompanied by a short Latin motto. Apart from the total number of popes forecast before the last pontiff, the only connection between prophesy and history is this list of mottoes, the meanings of which are open to interpretation (see here for the full list, plus explanations.) Therefore its accuracy is suspect. Some also claim the document is a c. 16th forgery.
However, what excites End Time fanatics is the motto for the last pope:
“In the extreme persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there will sit
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 judge will judge his people.
In other words, the last pope – known as Peter the Roman or Petrus Romanus – will preside over the destruction of Rome (and by implication the Catholic Church in Rome), and the biblical Tribulation (the period of time after the Rapture where those remaining on Earth will endure disasters, famine, war, pain, and suffering before the second coming of Christ.)
Many Christian Fundamentalists believe that the Antichrist and / or the False Prophet will actually be a pope. If so, this adds a different slant to the words above, implying that Peter the Roman will be the cause of destruction, and the care he shows his congregation will be a deceit. It’s interesting that, based on Malachy’s prophesy, only the first and last popes will use the regnal name ‘Peter.’ It’s also worth noting that St Peter’s cross is an inverted crucifix – a common anti-Christian symbol.
The False Prophet is described in Revelation 19:20:
..The false prophet who wrought miracles in his presence, by which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshiped his image.
The suggestion that the Antichrist / False Prophet will emerge from the Catholic church is based on certain New Testament remarks:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. (Matthew 7:15)
Which implies that, whilst outwardly holy (the vestments), false prophets conceal evil intent and cannot be trusted.
Another interpretation relates to the supposed longevity of the Antichrist, which corresponds with the apostolic line of popes, from St Peter to Peter the Roman. In 1 John 4:3, the Antichrist is described as already existing:
Such is the spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already it is in the world.
John’s gospel was allegedly written in the period 90-11AD, by which time the papal succession had passed from St Peter to Clement I. In 2 Thessalonians 2:8 the Antichrist is described as still existing at the time of Christ’s second coming:
And then shall that wicked one be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth
Commentators point to the two thousand year-old line of popes as a literal embodiment of the Antichrist (because the popes preside over a false church, out of which the Antichrist will spring), thereby explaining this longevity.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, the Antichrist is described as sitting at the head of a false church in imitation of God:
That man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sitteth as God in the temple of God, showing himself to be God.
‘Pope’ translates as ‘father’. In Matthew 23:9 Jesus expressly forbids the use of that title:
And call no man your father upon earth, for One is your Father, who is in Heaven.
Why is all this interesting now? Last year the media reported that Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) may resign in April 2012. More recently, a cardinal predicted the Pope would die in 2012, possibly as the result of an assassination attempt. If either happens this year then, according to the prophesy of St Malachy, his successor will be the Petrus Romanus – the final pope. The smart money for this role is on Cardinal Angelo Scola, the archbishop of Milan – meaning the papacy would return to an Italian after the German Benedict and his Polish predecessor, thus in part fulfilling the honorific ‘Peter the Roman.’ It will be very interesting to see which regnal name the new pope chooses.