Apr 13, 2013

Petrus Romanus

Tony GarlandBy Dr. Tony Garland

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Q. I was wondering what your view of Malachy's prophecy of the popes is in relation to eschatology?

My local assembly seems to have caught the "Petrus Romanus" bug with the election of pope Francis. I also see a lot of Christian websites making reference to the same thing. Some even quote the prophecy as though it were inspired prophecy. Although it appears the so-called prophecy appears to be somewhat accurate (based on the interpretations I've read online), I am a little leery about taking the prophecy seriously as it seems more like newspaper exegesis. I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

Petrus Romanus

St. Malachy Malarkey

A. Imagine a large sunny field of luscious green grass. Every day the sun shines down upon it and the grass grows taller. Each night, a fresh dew waters the grass. The field is divinely blessed. God’s sheep are to graze in the field in bliss and safety.

Surrounding the field, there are tall dark woods. Foreboding, unknown, and endless in their extent. Wild beasts cry out from the deep woods, especially at night. The woods are dangerous—a place clearly to be avoided by the sheep which are to graze in the center of the field.

Yet there are sheep from among the flock who stray and wander to the edge of the field—near the dark woods. Each morning, when the light of day dawns, some of the sheep have gone missing. When last seen, they were near the edge of the field—listening and looking with interest at the dark woods.

Some of the sheep wander near the woods simply because they are untaught sheep—they don’t know any better. Other sheep should know better, but seem to think that there is other food to be found in the woods—food which is superior to the luscious green grass which is divinely blessed and provided for their health near the center of the sunny field. They are never satisfied with the food that God has amply provided and are ever curious to feed somewhere else. Such are the sheep who give heed to hype like Malachy’s prophecy—the latest in a seemingly endless series of sensational distractions to gain a hearing among those who should know better.

The canon of Scripture was closed well before St. Malachy and knows nothing of this "malarkey."

Stay in the safe, sunny, divinely blessed field of God’s Word where the sheep are nourished, ears don’t need to be tickled, and where the wild beasts cannot enter.