The prophecy of St. Malachy – What is it?
The prophecy of St. Malachy is actually a set of prophecies written by an Irish priest. St. Malachy, whose given name was Mael Maedoc, lived from AD 1094 to AD 1148, and he was the first Irish man to be canonized by the Roman Catholic Church. His prophecy concerns a line of Popes, beginning with Pope Celestine III and ending with the current Pope Francis I. It is a list of 113 Popes, each one bearing a prophetic title that supposedly corresponds symbolically to the actual man in office.
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Pope #109 in St. Malachy's list bears the symbolic title Flos Florum, or "Flower of Flowers" and Pope Paul VI (who is Pope #109 if we call Pope Celestine III Pope #1) has a fleur-de-lis on his coat of arms. There is supposedly a detail in the life of each Pope which corresponds to the appropriate symbol in St. Malachy's list. However, most of these symbolic links require a great deal of stretching and twisting to make them match the Pope they are supposed to represent. For example, according to St. Malachy, the last Pope will be Petrus Romanus, or "Peter the Roman." The Pope to which this title corresponds is Pope Francis I, who is not associated with Rome (except in the vague sense that he, like all Popes, is a Roman Catholic), and the closest connection to the name "Peter" he has is that the father of St. Francis of Assisi, for whom Pope Francis I was named, was named Pietro.
The prophecy of St. Malachy has gotten a lot of attention in recent years because the prophecy claims that the end times and Antichrist will be associated with the last Pope, which according to St. Malachy is the current Pope in office—Pope Francis I. Concerning the last Pope, the prophecy of St. Malachy says: "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Peter the Roman, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations, after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The End." The reference to a seven-hilled city comes from Revelation, which says that the whore of Babylon will be seated on seven mountains (Revelation 17:9). This, and the statement about tribulation and judgement, have led many to interpret Malachy's 113th Pope as the presiding Pope during the end times, which would mean that we are very close.
The prophecy of St. Malachy may be interesting, but there is no reason to believe that it is true. If it were true, every symbol would be clearly associated with the corresponding Pope, but that is not the case. God warns against following after prophets who speak as though they were speaking from God but instead lead people astray with "reckless lies" (Jeremiah 23:32). If a prophecy is untrue, it is not from God and is of no benefit to us.
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Does the Bible mention a black Pope in relation to the end times?
Is the Antichrist the current Pope, or a future Pope?
Can we trust biblical prophecy? Does biblical prophecy really predict the future?
How much of end-times prophecy has been fulfilled?
Truth about the End Times