I am a young Christian and at times I fall into traps that I read one thing that isn't written in the Bible then I believe it.

I read the Prophecy of St. Malachy and now I am convincing myself that its 100% real and that after the next pope that is the end. I understand that Jesus said that 'No one will know the time or the season' but I still wonder.

Should I understand this prophecy this way? Does the Bible contradict my understanding of it?

  • One thing can be certainly said that first sentence of third para and worrying about this prophesy would not guarantee you any salvation when the end times comes :). – Seek forgiveness Feb 14 '13 at 11:10
  • What do you mean? Are you saying I am right to be afraid and worried – TheMonkeyMan Feb 14 '13 at 11:13
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    This seems like a pastoral advice question, which really doesn't belong here. I suggest rewording to be directed at the prophecy itself. – Narnian Feb 14 '13 at 13:10
  • @TheMonkeyMan Faith that is what necessay..Ries has said it in his answer here – Seek forgiveness Feb 14 '13 at 14:17
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    While we can give you general factual answers about this, if you are feeling sick or losing sleep, go and see a pastor or someone similar. Don't look for pastoral advice on the internet. – DJClayworth Feb 14 '13 at 14:32

I also found the prophechies of Saint Malachy to be very interesting.

While it is always quite easy to to make a prophecy sound like the person, the prophecies associated with:

  • John Paul I - "From the midst of the moon" who only lived just one lunar cycle after his election

  • John Paul II - "Laboring under the Sun," - and indeed, one weighed down by the job

  • Benedict XVI - "the Greening of the Olive" - and indeed, the Benedictines are associated with the Olive

These things were interesting to me. Furthermore, the idea of "Petrus Romanus" - Peter the Roman, sounded like an antichirst to me too.

That said, two things should be considered:

  1. Confirmation Bias suggests that humans look for patterns in anything. Most of the "accuracies" of Malachy are ex post facto justifications.

  2. Malachy himself never said that every Pope would be listed. Just as many Christians see Daniel's "final week" as separated from the 69 previous, so to there is nothing to demand that the successor is clearly Petrus Romanus.

Beyond this, there is an incongruency that is hard to overlook:

In the extreme 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 terrible judge will judge his people. The End.

Now, even as an Evangelical whose own confirmation bias sees persecution, the truth is that it would be a stretch to call the persecution of the Church in the West "extreme." (Indonesia, Nigeria, Iraq, Egypt, China, and countless other places in the emerging world, yes, but not in Rome.) As such, one should carefully consider this incongruency before leaping to conclusions.

As others have said, eschatology can be problemmatic, especially when pinning down a date so definately. If Jesus didn't know, there is nothing to suggest that Malachy did either.

That said, the one thing to remember about "the last days" is this, from Romans 13:11:

Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed.

Many, many of Jesus' parables (The Wheat and the Tares, The Foolish Virgins, The Wedding Feast, the Parable of the Vineyard, the Cursing of the Fig Tree, etcera, etcera, etcera) all make the same point: Be Ready! As such, it is just as good to continue with Paul:

12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Live like that, and it doesn't matter who sits on the Papal Throne.


Just so you know, you aren't alone in being afraid anti-Christ is right around the corner. In Paul's day, the believers in Thessalonica had the same concerns. Paul gently wrote in 2 Thessaloanians 2 that they shouldn't worry:

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,1 2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that fthe day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and ithe man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,3 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time

In other words, when the time does come, you'll know.


When was Jesus asked when will the world end, he replied (Mt 24,36):

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

If even Jesus didn't know, it's highly unlikely that God the Father would tell any prophet when the world will end. Worrying about the end is not our job, our job is to live every single day, hour, minute or even second as God's children.

Trying to distinguish true prophecies from false ones is a nice hobby, but it gives us little spiritual profit. Prayer, reading of Bible (not just its last book) and meditating on it gives us much more profit than worrying about prophecies.

  • "that day or hour": some say it does not exclude us from knowing the 'season', ie maybe within a few years? – Ries Feb 14 '13 at 13:46
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    @Ries: "some" is important here. I represent official Catholic position, but AFAIK most Christians prefer this interpretation as well. – Pavel Feb 14 '13 at 14:06

I don't know anything about the prophecy you mentioned, but a very strong theme in the Bible is to never succumb to fear. It can be said that fear is the opposite of faith, and through faith in Jesus Christ we are saved.

There are many applicable verses, but look at this as some examples:

Psalm 27:1 The LORD is my light and my salvation; Whom shall I fear? 
The LORD is the strength of my life; Of whom shall I be afraid?  

Rom 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, 
but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, 'Abba, Father.'

Rom 8:15 does perhaps show us the proper way to respond to fear: Just cry out to God and put your trust 100% in him.

Fear is crippling, faith is enabling.

See: http://www.openbible.info/topics/do_not_fear

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