While I like a good conspiracy as much as the next guy, I’m afraid this pope-doomsday-thing doesn’t stack up.
Still, author Tom Horn who’s mostly responsible for the mania, is trying to make the pope shoe fit. Horn co-authored a book with Cris Putman titled “Petrus Romanus: The Final Pope is Here.” And, boy, did they start a bunch of holy crap with that one.
Horn’s book examines St. Malachy’s “Prophecy of the Popes,” said to be based on a prophetic vision of the 112 popes following Pope Celestine II, who died in 1144.
Never mind most scholars have debunked the prophecies as another of those elaborate Middle Age forgeries but Horn swears Jorge Mario Bergoglio who was elected Pope Francis yesterday, is the “final pope,” “Petrus Romanus,” or “Peter the Roman,” whose reign ends with the destruction of Rome and the judgment of Christ.
Frankly the only cardinal who would have remotely fit into the scheme of that prediction was Cardinal Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone, the Cardinal secretary of state who was born in Romano, Italy, thus making him Pietro Romano, if you wanted to make a stretch.
Nevertheless, Horn continues to say a pope of Italian descent would fulfill the prophecy, noting Bergoglio, an Argentinian, is the son of Italian parents and that he’s a Jesuit.
Where Horn got way lucky is the fact that he also wrote that Pope Benedict XVI would be the first pontiff in nearly 600 years to resign.
“Being a Jesuit is a very important aspect of our prediction in our book,” Horn had told the media. And here I thought Jesuits were all exorcists, but evidently Horn knows something the rest of us don’t.
I believe it was also Horn who swore to the literal name that would be adopted by this new pope, but now he’s saying Petrus Romanus “implies this pope will reaffirm the authority of the Roman Pontiff over the Church and will emphasize the supremacy of the Roman Catholic Faith and the Roman Catholic Church above all other religions and denominations, and its authority over all Christians and all peoples of the world.”
That’s quite a come down from the conspiracy documentaries posted all over YouTube in recent weeks.
As to add heft to a very thin argument, Horn also notes that more than 60 years ago a Belgian Jesuit theologian and academic named Rene Thibault came up with the date 2012 as the culmination of Malachy’s prophecies. Ooops, Thibault must have been looking at the Mayan calendar.
Horn and Putnam translated the Belgian priest’s rare 1951 book, “The Mysterious Prophecy of the Popes,” into English.
“Adopting the methodology of a mystic as well as a scholar,” Horn and Putnam write in the first chapter of their book, Thibaut “makes a compelling case that ‘The Prophecy of the Popes’ is a real supernatural prophecy.”
Diehard Hornians have been all over the Internet claiming the doomsday scenario is going according to plan with Pope Francis. If you had told me the new pope’s family were ex-Nazis who fled to Buenos Aires, that I might have believed. Instead we have fruitcakes swearing that Malachy’s prophecy has been fulfilled. Here’s what they’re arguing:
– The name Francis has strong ties to Italy and Rome and Francis was the name of a beloved Italian saint, Francis of Assisi whose father was apparently named Peter.
– That there’s a link because Berg, taken from the surname of Pope Francis, means mountain and the name Peter means stone.
– The parents of Pope Francis are actually immigrants from Italy.
– Francis of Assisi’s given name was Giovanni Francesco di Pietro (or Peter) Bernardone.
Yup, that’s the best they can do. By the way, I have in my possession Hitler’s brain. I was going to sell it at the next Rose Bowl flea market in April, but if you want to make me an offer…