Are cardinals electing the last pope? If you believe Nostradamus - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Are cardinals electing the last pope? If you believe Nostradamus...

Posted: Updated:
Lighting strikes the basilica of St.Peter's dome in Vatican City during a storm on Feb.11, 2013, the same day Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation. Alessandro Di Meo / EPA file Lighting strikes the basilica of St.Peter's dome in Vatican City during a storm on Feb.11, 2013, the same day Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation. Alessandro Di Meo / EPA file

ROME (NBC NEWS) — Church bells are sounding the alarm for doomsayers and conspiracy theorists here as cardinals convene to elect a new leader for the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.

According to an ancient prediction, this next pope will be the last.

That theory dates back more than 900 years to when Malachy O'Morgair, the 12th century Archbishop of Ireland, had a vision.

Legend has it that St. Malachy, as he is now known, had a strange dream while on a visit to Rome. He "saw" all the names of the future popes – complete with identifying characteristics – who would rule the church until the end of time. 

Malachy's "Prophecy of the Popes," as his vision is called, named Benedict XVI as the 111th – and penultimate – pope. The vision ended with the 112th pope.

Clairvoyant or crazy?

In his book, "Life of St. Malachy," St. Bernard of Clairvaux wrote that Malachy was respected as a clairvoyant who predicted the exact day and hour of his own death.  At least one 20th century pope, Pius X, was convinced Malachy's vision was divine, according to Rafael Merry del Val, his biographer.

But theologians and clerics argue there was never an authentic written manuscript. Malachy's list was curiously discovered in 1590 in the Vatican archives, hundreds of years later.

"There is no historical foundation at all to St. Malachy's list," said Roberto Rusconi, professor of the History of Christianity at Rome's University. "Malachy's gift was to make other people believe in his predictions."

Others have taken hold of Malachy's list and compared it with history.

The first pope, according to the list, would be "from a castle on the Tiber" – for believers, that was clearly Pope Celestine II who was born on the shores of the Tiber River.

Pope Benedict was apparently described as "glory of the olives" and doomsayers point to his choice of the name Benedict, since the founder of the Benedictine Order was also known as Olivetans.

And in Malachy's vision, the last pope – who will soon be elected – is described this way: "in extreme persecution, the seat of the Holy Roman Church will be occupied by Peter the Roman…"

While none of the Italian Cardinals are called Peter, one favorite to become Pope is Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana.

Nostradamus: a comet and a lightning bolt


If that was not enough to send shivers down a few spines, Nostradamus, the 16th century French astrologer and seer, predicted much the same as Malachy.

Nostradamus, a mild-mannered healer, was content to mix potions until the Italian-born French queen, Catherine de Medici, raised his profile from physician to prophet. 

Nostradamus warned that the next-to-last pope would "flee Rome in December when the great comet is seen in the daytime." 

Taking into account the calendar months were different hundreds of years ago, Nostradamus wasn't so far off. The Comet ISON, with its 40,000 mile-long tail, has been visible the past couple months as Benedict prepared to abdicate and leave Rome for his temporary home in Castel Gandolfo.

And for those well-versed in the language of brimstone and fire, the signs could not have been more transparent when just hours after Benedict announced he would abdicate, a bolt of lightning struck St. Peter's Basilica, the very heart of Christianity. A few days later a shower of meteorites fell and devastated a village in Russia.

Cynics shrugged all this off as natural phenomena, while the doomsayers suffered from one more dose of existential angst. 

In St. Paul Outside the Walls, another major cathedral in Rome, medallions line the walls with the names of every pope and the dates of his papacy.  Legend says that when all the medallions are full, the world will finally end.  On the walls of St. Paul's, there are still some empty spaces.

Perhaps the end isn't so near.

  • Local NewsLOCAL NEWSMore>>

  • 2 agencies partner for Backpack Buddies

    2 agencies partner for Backpack Buddies

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:41 PM EDT2014-04-19 02:41:34 GMT
    MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are working with HTC for a second season to bring Backpack Buddies Monday to TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. The program invites fans toMore >>
    The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are working with HTC for a second season to bring Backpack Buddies Monday to TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. The program invites fans to bring certain essentials to the ballpark for donation on Monday home games. Those donating will receive half-price admission on their Monday game ticket.More >>
  • GCSO to collect unwanted prescription drugs

    GCSO to collect unwanted prescription drugs

    Friday, April 18 2014 10:10 PM EDT2014-04-19 02:10:08 GMT
    GEORGETOWN, SC (WMBF) - On Saturday, April 26 the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its eighth opportunity in three years to preventMore >>
    On Saturday, April 26 the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public its eighth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.More >>
  • SCFC shares fire prevention tips

    SCFC shares fire prevention tips

    Friday, April 18 2014 9:26 PM EDT2014-04-19 01:26:42 GMT
    MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The spring season brought along warmer temperatures with its arrival. To celebrate the season and a tradition for some, people are preparing to spring clean. The South CarolinaMore >>
    The spring season brought along warmer temperatures with its arrival. To celebrate the season and a tradition for some, people are preparing to spring clean. The South Carolina Forestry Commission reminds folks, spring cleaning includes the outside of the home as well.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

918 Frontage Road East
Myrtle Beach, SC 29577
(843) 839-9623
news@wmbfnews.com

FCC Public File
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WMBF. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.