Doomsday fanatics claim that a 12th century prophecy states the successor to Benedict XVI will be the last pope before the end of the world. These are believers who interpret two medieval-era prophecies to mean that the next pope elected after Benedict XVI will be the last before doomsday. Mayan 2012 prophecies had failed to materialise, now they turned their attention to Saint Malachy and the great Nostradamus.
Malachy is an Irish saint and Archbishop who lived between 1094 and 1148. His prophecies, also known as The Saint Malachy prophecies, were allegedly written by himself. These prophecies were not been published until 1595 when a Benedictine monk claimed to have found them; the Catholic Church does not consider them to be from Saint Malachy's pen.
There was a list containing 112 symbolic phrases in The Saint Malachy prophecies interpreted as representing a particular pope in order. The resigned Pope Benedict XVI is number 111
on the list, making his successor Francis the last pope in the prophecies. The list was quite accurate up to about 1590, but then get rather vague after that point, lending credence to the suggestion that they are a 16th-century forgery. Pope Adrian IV, who headed the Catholic Church from 1154-1159, is described as "from the white countryside, humbly born in the town of St. Albans," which accurately represents the pope's birthplace in England. The prophecy says that the pontificate of the last pope, identified as "Peter the Roman", will allegedly bring the destruction of the city of Rome, the Catholic Church and usher the beginning of the Apocalypse. Saint Malachy's final words
were: "Rome, the seat of the Vatican, will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people."
The believers say Leo XI, who was briefly pope in 1605, matches the entry on the list that simply says Wavy Man
. Benedict XIV (1740-1758) gets the descriptor Country Animal
. Paul VI (1963-1978) is simply Flower of Flowers
. Under these interpretations, Pope John Paul II, who died in 2005, was pope No. 110, From the Labor of the Sun
, so defined because there were solar eclipses somewhere in the world when John Paul II was born and on the day of his funeral. This kind of interpretation makes recently retired Benedict XVI, No. 111, the Glory of the Olive
. They say this descriptor fits because Benedict chose his papal name after the saint who founded the Benedictine Order, which has a branch called the Olivetans (of which Benedict was not one).
Benedict XVI's "seat number" is crucial for these people because the next one, Peter the Roman
, is the last one on the list, marking the last pope on earth, regardles of the historical order that the current Pope Francis I is actually the 226th pope.
"In the final 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 dreadful judge will judge his people. The End"
The 16th-century apothecary and supposed prophet Nostradamus predicted
that the last pope would flee Rome in December when two suns seem to appear in the sky. There are suggestions saying that the second "sun" will be Comet ISON
, which, according to scientists, will come closest to the sun on Nov. 28, 2013 to create an illusion of twin suns. This scientists statement has been seized upon as evidence that Nostradamus' words are about to come to pass.
But this Nostradamus' prophecy is undated, just like all of his other prophecies, and does not refer specifically to the final pope, or even to the final day of the world. This prophecy has been used for centuries to predict many times. Some suggestions said it was meant to predict Pope John Paul II fleeing Italy during a Muslim invasion
, some other expect World War III
. He said:
The great star for seven days shall burn. So nakedly clear like two suns appearing. The large dog all night howling. While the great Pontiff shall change his territory
says both Nostradamus and the author of the Saint Malachy propechies used vague enough wording that the phrases can be twisted to mean almost anything. And end-of-the-world predictions are woven into the fabric of human history, reaching back thousands of years. In the 1500s, astrologers predicted that the planets would align, ending the world. In 1844, Baptist preacher William Miller predicted an Oct. 22 doomsday. In 2011, preacher Harold Camping predicted the Rapture on May 21, followed by Judgment Day on Oct. 21. And in 2012, believers bought into the hype of the Mayan apocalypse. There are still plenty of predictions waiting, says Live Science, including numerological prognostications set for 2040 and 2080 and speculations from Sir Isaac Newton, whose calculations from the Bible led him to muse that the world might end in 2060.