This strange turn of events has electrified the conspiracy-theory community and has left devout followers trembling in fear of the Prophecy of Saint Malachy.
(Reuters) - Pope Benedict said on Monday he will resign on Feb 28 because he no longer has the strength to fulfill the duties of his office, becoming the first pontiff since the Middle Ages to take such a step.
The 85-year-old pope said he had noticed that his strength had deteriorated over recent months "to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me. For this reason, and well aware of the seriousness of this act, with full freedom I declare that I renounce the ministry of Bishop of Rome, Successor of Saint Peter," he said according to a statement from the Vatican.
A Vatican spokesman said the pontiff would step down from 1900 GMT on February 28, leaving the office vacant until a successor is chosen.
This now sets the stage for a prophecy to be fulfilled, culminating in the destruction of Rome and the end of days. While some dismiss this entirely, it certainly is curious how accurate the prophecy has actually been throughout the ages.
The Prophecy of the Popes, attributed to Saint Malachy, is a list of 112 short phrases in Latin. They purport to describe each of the Roman Catholic popes (along with a few anti-popes), beginning with Pope Celestine II (elected in 1143) and concluding with the successor of current pope Benedict XVI, a pope described in the prophecy as "Peter the Roman", whose pontificate will end in the destruction of the city of Rome.
The prophecy was first published in 1595 by Arnold de Wyon, a Benedictine historian, as part of his book Lignum Vitæ. Wyon attributed the list to Saint Malachy, the 12th‑century bishop of Armagh in Ireland. According to the traditional account, in 1139, Malachy was summoned to Rome by Pope Innocent II. While in Rome, Malachy purportedly 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.
On the other hand, Bernard of Clairvaux's biography of Malachy makes no mention of the prophecy, nor is it mentioned in any record prior to its 1595 publication. Some sources, including the most recent editions of the Catholic Encyclopedia, suggest that the prophecy is a late 16th‑century forgery. Some have suggested that it was created by Nostradamus and was credited to Saint Malachy so the purported seer would not be blamed for the destruction of the papacy. Supporters, such as author John Hogue, who wrote a popular book titled The Last Pope about the claims, generally argue that, even if the author of the prophecies is uncertain, the predictions are still valid.
See the Wiki entry for the full list and attributes of the Popes.
Check out the interview with the author on Coast to Coast AM:
Author and publisher with a specialty in End Times and prophecy, Tom Horn, discussed his new research on the prophecy of the Popes, and how 2012 will be the fulfillment of St. Malachy's prediction that the Catholic Church will see one final Pope before its destruction. Almost 900 years ago, the Irish seer, St. Malachy, came to Rome and "suddenly had this frenzied vision in which he wrote down the descriptives of every Pope that would ever exist from his day to the final Pope," Horn reported. According to Malachy's prophesied list, the next Pope after the current one (Pope Benedict) will be the last one, #112. This final Pope, Petrus Romanus (or Peter the Roman) will lead the Church into the great tribulation period and the destruction of Rome. Some Catholic mystics believe he will be an infiltrator under Satanic control. Evangelical prophecy refers to this person as the "False Prophet" who helps to usher in the Antichrist, Horn continued.
If an Italian is voted in as the next Pope, that could be the fulfillment of Malachy's prophecy, Horn noted, adding that a number of church scholars going back hundreds of years have cited 2012 as the year when the False Prophet emerges. This timing coincides with other prophetic material such as from the Mayans, and Cherokee, as well as the Kabbalah's Zohar book, which named 2012 as the year when the Messiah returns, he detailed. Further, in 1951, a French Jesuit named Rene Thibaut, a codebreaker and mathematician, verified the accuracy of Malachy's predictions, and calculated that Petrus Romanus would arrive in 2012.
Horn also spoke about the late Father Malachi Martin's warning of a secret plan by the "Illuminati/Freemasons" to infiltrate the Vatican and use it to bring about a New World Order. A friend of Martin's, Father Alfred Kunz, was murdered, and Martin believed he was killed by Satanists at the Vatican. The case is still unsolved, and Horn has investigated the possible conspiracy. For more, check out this video trailer, for his new book, Petrus Romanus.
Some have said that Petrus Romanus will not actually be a Pope at all, but will lead the Church in the days when the seat is left vacant, as an agent of Satan. That interpretation is certainly up for discussion at this point, with this "last Pope" now vacating the post.
The prophecy speaks of a "Black Pope" called Peter Romanus ascending to lead the Church in the End of Days. Well folks, meet Peter Turkson.They say the odds of him becoming the next Pope are 1-in-4.
Peter Cardinal Turkson
Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson is a Ghanaian Cardinal of the Catholic Church. He is the current president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace since his appointment by Pope Benedict XVI on 24 October 2009.