From the glory of the olive

The pope is sick again. Sooner or later (sooner, I suspect) he will be succeeded, no doubt with intrigue, ceremony and media frenzy. When the white smoke comes out of the chimney, it will be interesting to see how much attention is paid to one of my favorite wacky distractions, the Prophecies of St. Malachy.

According to the story, the man who would be called St. Malachy visited Rome in 1139, where he saw a vision regarding all of the future popes. He supposedly wrote down this vision and gave it to Innocent II, who stashed it in the archives until it was discovered in the early 1590’s by a monk named Arnold Wion. It was published soon afterwards, with many suspecting at the time (and even more so now) that it had actually been written in the 1590’s and really had nothing to do with Malachy at all.

I’ve never looked to such things for much predictive power. What I find interesting about this prophesy is that, unlike most others, it offers predictions on events that are guaranteed to happen. If you read a prediction from Nostradamus that doesn’t seem to match any event, you can say “well, it must not have happened yet”. You can’t do that with this prophesy, because the succession of popes since 1139 (or 1590) is a known quantity. This allows more interesting analysis, as you can score how well (or badly) each pope was “predicted”.

In 2000, John Hogue wrote The Last Pope, which provides such scoring. I’m not sure what the rest of his books are like, but he seems to approach this prophesy with a “this is probably bull, but maybe it isn’t” approach which is distinctly lacking in most prophesy “analysis”. It’s also pretty clear that Hogue has little love for the papacy or the Catholic Church in general.

The prophesy gives each pope a motto in Latin. Naturally, some of these are so generic as to be basically useless, but others fare a bit better. Hogue compares each motto to a number of categories in the actual pope’s life (things like church titles, heraldry, name, birthplace, family, nationality, geography, deeds, etc.). For each pope, he gives each category a hit or a miss. He finds that “clearly the skeptics are right” in that scores from the popes before 1590 are significantly higher than scores from after. On the other hand, he rates some of the post-1590 mottos as “remarkably accurate predictions that go beyond chance”.

When looking at this kind of thing, the main criticism is to say “oh, that motto could be applied to anyone else just as well”. So, do it. For each motto, can you fit it to, say, another pope, or some other religious leader, or even yourself better than it fits to the pope it is supposedly predicting. Sometimes this is not difficult. Other times, it is harder. For example, take John Paul II’s motto: de labore solis (“from the sun’s labor”). This motto hits in three of Hogue’s categories, primarily because in medieval Latin poetry, a “laboring sun” was one darkened by an eclipse and John Paul II was born during a total solar eclipse. Some others suggest that it may be a reference to the fact that this pope travelled far more than any other pope in history, often to tropical countries. Maybe its a reference John Paul II’s link to Poland’s Solidarity labor movement. I dunno. Does it fit you better?

The other thing about this prophesy that fascinates me is that it is almost over. There are only two more mottos on the list. The next pope is de gloria olivæ (“from the glory of the olive”). You can view the odds on who this might be. Symbolically, the olive could be a reference to any (or none) of the following:

  • the Jewish race (for which the olive branch is an ancient symbol)
  • Jesus’ prophecy on the Mount of Olives
  • Peace-making
  • Dark skin
  • Italy, Greece and/or Spain

My money is on Jaime Lucas Ortega y Alamino, but not because of the prophesy. I think the Vatican will aim for a Hispanic pope, as that’s where Catholic growth is coming from at the moment. It will be interesting to see, whoever is chosen, if this prophesy makes headlines. I often wonder about how knowing a prophesy affects its fulfillment.

The last motto, by the way, is Petrus Romanus (Peter of Rome), and it is followed by an inscription:

In persecutione extrema Sacræ Romanæ Ecclesiæ sedebit Petrus Romanus qui pascet oves in multis tribultionibus; quibus transactis, civitas septicollis dirvetur; et Judex tremendus judicabit populum.

Which means:

During the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, there shall sit Peter of Rome, who shall feed the sheep amidst many tribulations, and when these have passed, the City of the Seven Hills shall be utterly destroyed, and the awful Judge will judge the people.

There are hordes of people who will happily inform you that this means the end of the world, and that they can’t wait. What it means to me is that people my age will likely be able to see yet another doomsday prediction fail to come true. We just have to outlive two more popes.

28 thoughts to “From the glory of the olive”

  1. AH, but Malachy didnt say that the last two were consecutive, in fact the get out clause is that he didnt say at all if the were none or many between the last two, he might have just got bored of listing them all out.

    SO t he intersting bit, the real test, is if the one after the Glory of the Olive is an Italian called Peter, THEn you KNWO Armageddon is on its way. The Third Secret of Fatima aso predicts the destruction of the catholic church.

  2. 7 years tribulation, first 3 1/2 years is peace, then the next 3 1/2 years is trouble. could this next pope be the start of the anti-christ? i may be wrong but it sounds like it may possably be.

  3. Pope
    Cardinal Schon born, or born chosen.
    Glory of the olive, or at the time of Easter in which represents his election, and a time for peace.
    Experience with Isreal, and orthodox/christian teachings.

    Perhaps he will only hold control for 3.5 years before hidding after Rome gets distroyed by bin laden?

    The anti-pope will try to excommunicate his way in the back door assuming a false name, Peter of Rome?

    Christ will intrervine in the end?

  4. WE shall see in a few days now. I think we are living in the last days. If you know the bible it looks like everything is coming together. But, Who known for sure? You have the EU the Anti-Christ rules,Russia,Iran and other Middle East Countries working on Nukes. China coming up to be a World Power. Bird Flu and Aids. No one know for sure. But, It may happen. Like a Thief in the night.

  5. The End Close?
    I wonder who this next pope will be… I think if this next one fits the description closely we should pay more attention to this man’s past predictions…He may be right, though we should all hope he is wrong.
    We could always hope christ will intervine, but what happens if the catholic church completely falls apart? Is it poosible God and or Christ will turn His back on us? I guess that is based on your faith…

  6. Born and buried on a solar eclipse…sounds close enough to me…
    Thanks Jim for the eclipse info

  7. The third secret of fatima was already revealed – it was the assassination attempt upon PJII.

    Just a randon guess as to Glory of the Olive, but lets not rule out a pope from the USA – the great US seal and the Presidential seal show an eagle holding an olive branch with 13 olives and 13 leaves.(The eagle also hold arrows in its other talon).

  8. could this next pope be the start of the anti-christ?
    Glory of the Olive
    all the Popes throughout history have numbered their names, as most Monarchs do.

    If we add all the numbers of all the Popes’ names in the time period specified in Revelation 17, do you know what number Pope John Paul II equals? We are told to, “count the number of the beast” (Revelation 13: 18), and counting up to and including Pope John Paul II, we arrive at the number 665! This means that the next Pope, having a name not previously used, will have, “the number of his name” equaling 666.
    Aaron Sen.

  9. SIRS,

  10. A few things… It is altogether possible that the Vatican did NOT really reveal the third secret of Fatima and had it burried with Sr. Lucia. The description “De Labore Solis” certainly Does describe Pope John Paul II for reasons already mentioned, but also because he came from Poland, ie. from the East and traveled everywhere. We must also remember that Malachi did Not specify if there would be Popes between “Gloria olivae” and “Petrus Romanus”.

  11. I predict the next Pope is so named because he will work diligently to seek forgiveness for the Catholic Church’s past transgressions. A new religion based upon a revealed truth will arise (or already has) that people will embrace, instead. After the next Pope dies, his last successor will be the administrator of a shrinking Catholic religion. Eventually he will close the doors on the church. I predict that Islam and Judaism will meet the same fates. There is a worldwide movement building at the grass roots that will lead the world into global peace, despite major geophysical calamities.

  12. Maybe Razinger took Benedict to “self-fulfill” the prophecy. There goes the 666 theory about this pope being the anti-christ. What do you guys think about the new mini-series “Revelations”?

  13. Olive = Peace. Will the new Pope work to foster peace between the Arabs and Israel?

  14. The title “Petrus Romanus” applies to every pope. I think that the last sentence describes the papacy in general. So, the last in the list is this one, the Glory of the Olive. The last in the list is not necessarily the last pope. Jesus says that only God knows the day and the hour of the end. For most of us, our own death suffices.

  15. The complete 3rd Secret of Fatima was not released by the Vatican. The secret that was released was one vision of Sister Lucy from her notebook. The 3rd Secret that most people are familiar with was actually written on a small sheet of paper and had about 30 words. The vision released by the Vatican had many more than 30 words and was written on several sheets of paper. The Vatican doesn’t want people to know the real 3rd secret because it begins, “In Portugal the dogma of the faith will always be preserved….” Implying that in some places of the world the dogma of the faith will NOT be preserved. For more information about the real 3rd secret of Fatima go to This website is a great source of information on Fatima. Everyone should read it. It affects everyone on earth whether religious or not. The Mother of God predicted that many nations would be completely destroyed if her request for Russia to be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart was not done. So far, the Popes have ignored this request of the Mother of God. The last Pope bearing the name Benedict was the reigning Pontiff when the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God visited Fatima, Portugal in 1917. So far, every prediction made by the Mother of God at Fatima has come true with 100% accuracy.

  16. Malachy’s writings also stated that “glory of the olive” is brief. And then, well, you know, Peter the Roman. Or dare I say, The False Prophet.

  17. We can all get carried away with what we perceive is going to happen. In the end it does not matter. The scriptures tell us to be close to God so if we don’t know Him we are lost. I think satan is having a picnic diverting our thoughts to these things.

  18. You’re right Pat…but it certainly is interesting. And one thing you’re forgetting, what if the writings are correct? I guess time will tell.

  19. I disagree that ‘De Labore Solis’ refers to an eclipse of the sun. I really wish that people that make assertions back them up with cited evidence instead of blindly making things up. Thus, I see it as toil or work under the sun or toil, work of the sun. If you state that it means any different prove it. Otherwise the standard latin translation is the true definition instead of some medieval figurative language from texts we dont even know the titles to.

    Also, on May 18, 1920 there was an eclipse. But it was not “total” it was “partial”. And it wasnt anywhere near Poland, it occured over Australia and the site of optimum eclipse viewing was in Antarctica. Solar phenomena occur every year. The eclipse which occured during his death was in the Pacific. A simple google search clarified that one.

    I have been unable to find anything about John Paul II (Karol Wojtyla) that even remotely could have any meaning or association with the latin phrase ‘de labore solis’. The internet is becoming more and more un-reliable for accurate and documented (accurately cited) information. Therefore, if people are going to speaking latin, there is no better reply to all of the St. Malachy chat than: “Caveat Emptor”.

    Tip of the Day: Choose the websites that you read for information very carefully. But you must choose wisely.

  20. Reply to Conrad:- What if the writings are correct? Easy answer. Be like the five virgins and be prepared. If we want to please God we have to be prepared to centre our lives on HIM and not waste time on other things. Sure, all these Prophesies may be true, but while spending time on them only removes us from our real purpose in life God has ordained for us. Whatever happens these events will neither save or condemn us. Only if we are prepared for the unexpected at all times will we see the face of God.

  21. Read the Bible that eveything is there. Try to change your life now before it’s too late. If you ask for pardon when you die, you still go to purgatory. Apparently, purgatory is a worst place to pay for your sins. There ,you will not be able to pray for your own release to Heaven ,only the people on earth can do that. There is a book about your life. Everything will be shown to you and you will know where you are going after that. Purgatory is very close to Hell, except that once in it you have the hope to one day go to Heaven. Meanwhile, noone comes out once you have gone to Hell. Watch for everything you do, you say, and you think in these life because it will come to define your state in the After life. The Holy Spirit will always guide the Catholic Church until the end of times. We only need to realize when is the end of times. Now? In a few years? Read the Bible it says it there. Plus, some of the Virgin apparitions have given us some hints regarding the end of times. The one in Medjugorje is still in question. It has not produced good fruit in the contrary it has given division, confusion and rebellion with the Church. Could this be the Spiritual Chastisement? Who would be with the True Church and who would go with Medjugorje and against the Church? Pope Benedict will suffer, maybe he will have to get out of Rome. Then, the antipope will settled in Rome and in conjunction with the anti-christ who will be the leader of the new world will persecute every Christian for about three years (3 days of darkness)During this time the chosen people that have the sign of the Cross will be spared and the ones who have the sign of the beast will perish in the greatest fire of all. At this time maybe Peter the Roman will be Jesus who comes in all His Glory to separate the good vines from the bad vines. Jesus will reign for ever and ever. This is His second coming.

  22. Jesus said man may not know the day or the time but never said anything about the year. He also said to not worry about it or to spend time researching the Scriptures to try and figure it out and obviously that has not stopped anyone… remember a key lesson Jesus taught was obedience.

    But if you really want to get specific about a year and this would be mid tribulation year. The Book of Enoch (taken out by Catholic church but full of incredible proof) when God locks away the fallen Angels that mated with mankind he says they are to be locked away for 70,000 generations and then released to plague the world except those with the seal of God. Remember Gos is not the God of confusion and he hides things from the “wise and intelligent” but a babe will understand..this means forget what you think you know and society’s percieved ideas and predictions, lose your “Religion” to find God. BUT if we must have a year of approxamation… then according to Enoch and based on the approx time of the flood 6023 BC (This denotes years from Creation/Adam to year of the flood) then you take total number of years since Creation/Adam up to present time and you get an approx 13,017 years since Creation/Adam roughly present time being 2005 (by the way there is a timeline in the bible based on lineage and briths and deaths and igves accurate years of and between but God also says to not pay attention to genealogy within the Bible but yet we disobey and do it anyway) so you subtract 13,017 with 7000 years and you get 6017 which is another theory as to the year of the flood… now remember Chritian calendars differ by 6 yrs w/ Jewish calendars so 6017 would be accurate based on the jewish calendar and there is a 6 yr difference between 6023 and 6017 using 2005 as the 7000 years since the angel were locked away. Also now rememeber they would be released to plague mankind except those with seal of God on their heads..this doesn’t mean the end is upon us, this is part of the tribulations. but interestingly is you know what order to interpret revelations you can figure out some things… it goes back and forth w/ 1 seal then 1 trumpet etc then back to 2nd seal then 2nd trumpet not 1 seal, 2 seal, 3 seal etc you have to go back and forth within the scripture to correcly understand it, also you will see Babalyon has already fallen, too many people refer to Arab countries as fulfillment of the the Bibles predictions and fail to realize that UK and US are the 10 lost tribes if Israel… there is a difference when God refers to the Nation of, the Tribe of and the peopel of Israel, it’s not the country being refered to. Remember simplicity when reading the Bible, don’t add your own take, read it simply… Babalyon falling was in reference to the Twin Towers in NY… don’t think so? Re-read it and apply it to the Twin Towers and see if the “mystery of the bible is revealed”… further note, ther eis no mystery of the bible once you do your research and stop following other religions blindly liek follow the leader… remember Jesus says any who cause another to stumble in finding him will suffer the plagues upon them.. that means if you knowingly misdirect someone from God by telling them God hate you or your a sinner (thou shall not judge lest ye be judged) by your own judgements will God judge you.. so simple yet soooooo many peopel fail to recognize and purposely ignore this… cause they lack obendience, one of the ten commandments says to not make graven images of heaven…hello all these pictures of “Jesus” crucifixes heaven, God the Devil etc etc are ALL brekaing the commandment..not to mention Jesus did not have long hair or look girly, thats the DEvil in those pictures impersonating him… remember simplicity of the Bible… Jesus was a carpenter and worked in the fields he would have been in great shape and bulked up… also Bible says there was nothing special about him appearance wise, he blended in with others, he did not stand out… all those pics of Jesus that guy would stand out in a crowd… the soone rpeopel wake up and realize they been taken for a ride by the Religious heiarchy no matter what the denomination, the sooner you will see the truth and be better for it… but I don’t require you to beleive me, verify it yourself… God helps those wh help themselves… Love works no ill according to Jesus…

  23. If you read the Apocalypse, you will find out that it is a blessing for the person to have
    read it and an even greater blessing to the person ,who with simplicity ,understands it and amends his/her
    life according to what he/she understood of the reading. I also believe that if God did not want us to
    know about future events then He would not had let ,at least 90%, of the Bible been written. Not only,
    but the Old Testament/Torah falls into that category. Remember the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ was
    the biggest and most important prophesies ever written! Jesus’s death and resurrection were prophecies
    as well. The entire world has lived with prophesies ever since it was made. Not only that but the Bible
    begins with a prophesy and ends with the Apocalypse that is a prophesy. When God expelled Adam and Eve
    from the Garden of Eden and told them they would work for food, the woman will have pain when having children.
    Then He told the woman and the serpent that He would put enimity between their seeds and that the serpent’s
    would bite her heel while the woman’s will crush the serpent’s head. The serpent been the devil and the woman
    been the Virgin Mary. And of course Mary’s seed is Jesus. A bite is painful,bothersome,but no deadly. The
    crushing of the head is deadly. You see, at the end Jesus will triumph and the devil will be crushed.
    Between the day God said that and the end of the times we have other propesies that, as Jesus said,
    some could be false, but be wise in knowing the real ones. We will know them by their fruits.
    Jesus founded the Church. He left us with the Holy Spirit that will Guide the Church until the end
    of times. Why should I judge the Church that is been guided by the Holy Spirit? Do you know that
    to talk against the Holy Spirit is the greatest sin of all? I would be in grave sin if I attack Jesus’s
    Church. The One that HE founded. The One that the Holy Spirit is guiding. So, shouldn’t I be
    obedient? Obedient to my Church? To the Holy Spirit? Yes. People are not perfect. The Church
    will not be perfect until Jesus comes again. But, the Church will always go to Jesus no matter
    who or what sins around it. Popes, priests, Bishops, nuns, lay people, rich, poor , queens , kings,
    presidents, hierarchies, nor you or me will stop the Holy Spirit from guiding the Church. It will
    take a lot of cleaning to get rid of the bad fruits but at the end it will triumph. Pope Benedict VI
    will suffer a lot, the Church guided by the Holy Spirit will leave Rome, there will be an Antipope
    in Rome, not the real pope. The Holy Spirit will choose the new Pope and He will be hiding from
    the antipope. He will be Peter the Roman. He will be called “the Roman” because he will not be in Rome.
    Anyone who is not in his country is called by his city or county’s name ei Roman, American, cuban, New Yorkian,
    Californian, Mexican, etc. Do you know that Pope John Paul II elected a Cardinal and noone knows it?
    This Cardinal is in hiding and can not reveal that he is a Cardinal. Could he be the Pope in Hiding?
    Could he become Peter the Roman? If the Vatican is destroyed and most Cardinals assesinated and
    religious people have to go into hiding as in the first years of the Christians then I believe
    that this is the Cardinal that will guide the Church through the terrible times that are to come
    in the near future.
    Pray for discernement, and may God help us always.

    Mire Reinoso

  24. I thought Pope Benedict was the last pope?? Or is it the next one that is the last?

  25. This article was begun February 2, 2005 A.D. As of 10/7/2009 A.D. a google search of “Peter the Roman” brings close to 3 million entries. The prophecy which was once given to console one, Innocent II, then multiplied when the printing press was invented by Wyon, has now surfaced to the internet with amazing popularity. To God be the glory!

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