With the election of the new Pope Francis, many Christians are talking about the Saint Malachy prophecy. This “prophecy” supposedly foretells that the 112th Pope, Pope Francis will be the last pope and that during his reign the Apocalypse will occur. Here is what the prophecy of Malachy says about the last Pope.
“Peter the Roman, who will nourish the sheep in many tribulations; when they are finished, the city of seven hills will be destroyed, and the dreadful judge will judge his people. The end.” Saint Malachy
What is the Saint Malachy Prophecy?
The Malachy Prophecy is a list of 112 mottos giving a short phrase about each of the last 112 Popes since Pope Celestine the II. It’s traditionally been said that Malachy wrote the prophecy, although many are now questioning its authorship.
Who wrote the Saint Malachy prophecy?
It is claimed that Archbishop Malachy wrote the prophecy in the 12th century. The funny thing is, we don’t have Malachy’s original writing. What we have is a supposed copy of Malachy’s prophecy written down by Benedictine Arnold de Wyon in 1595. Many suspect (me included) that Malachy had nothing to do with the prophecy attributed to him, but rather the prophecy was a creation of Arnold de Wyon. Reasons for these suspicions will we given later in this article.
The Malachy prophecy is not 100% accurate
The Malachy prophecy exhibits amazing accuracy from the time of its supposed writing in the 12th century all the way up to Arnold de Wyon’s recording of the prophecy. In other words, the mottoes concerning the first 74 Popes leading up to the time that Arnold de Wyon wrote down Malachy’s prophecy are spot on. From the 75th Pope to the present Pope Francis, the prophecies get vague and in many obvious cases, just flat out wrong. Did Malachy write this prophecy or is this a fraudulent creation of Arnold de Wyon? Either way, the prophecy is inaccurate from 1595 onward.
Is Malachy a false prophet?
Malachy’s prophecy is clearly false from 1595 onward.
Deuteronomy 18:20-22 “But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. (21) And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? (22) When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.”
God is clear. A prophet must get his prophecies correct. You certainly don’t see any God ordained false prophets in the Old Testament. Because the Malachy prophecy is inaccurate, it is a false prophecy.
What if the prophecy of Malachy was 100% accurate?
Suppose the Saint Malachy prophecy was accurate, should we then believe it’s words about the last Pope? Does the prophecy lend credibility to the Catholic Church?
Deuteronomy 13:1-5 If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, (2) And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; (3) Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul. (4) Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him. (5) And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.
Just because a prophecy comes to pass does not mean the prophecy is from God. Deuteronomy 13:1-5 makes that clear. The concern I have is that many Christians are being taken by this Roman Catholic Saint Malachy prophecy and it is lending credibility to the Catholic Church.
The Catholic faith as described by the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is not Christianity. It is a false Gospel. If you would like more information on Roman Catholicism see my podcast series on the Catholic Church at the end of this article.
Accuracy before 1595
Like I mentioned earlier, we don’t have the Malachy prophecy. The prophecy was unknown to the world until 1595 when Arnold de Wyon claimed he had found it in the Vatican archives. It’s very possible that Malachy didn’t even write the prophecy. The fact that all the prophecy is accurate from Malachy’s day up until Arnold de Wyon leads many to suspect that de Wyon simply made the prophecy up and then attributed it to Malachy. It would have been easy for de Wyon to gain access to information concerning the previous 74 Popes, which would explain the 100% accuracy.
Here are a few examples of the “amazing” accuracy of the Malachy prophecy before 1595.
Ex castro Tiberis (From a castle on the Tiber). – Celestine II (1143-1144), who was born in Citta di Castello (City of the Castle), which is on the banks of the Tiber river.
Avis Ostiensis. (Bird of Ostia). – Gregory IX (1227-1241) Before his election he was Cardinal of Ostia
Ex eremo celsus (elevated from a hermit). – Nicholas IV (1288-1292) Prior to his election he was a hermit in the monastery of Pouilles
Frigidus abbas (Cold Abbot) – Benedict XII (1334-1342), who had been the abbot of a monastery at Fontfroide (Cold Spring).
De parvo homine (“From a small man”) – Pius III (1503), whose family name was Piccolomini, which is derived from piccolo (small) and uomo (man).
More information can be found here (warning: this is a oneness Pentecostal website) http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/malachy.htm
Notice how all of the Popes before 1595 when de Wyon wrote down the prophecy, all have exact references to the Popes name, place of birth, family, previous position etc. Why do none of the Popes after de Wyon’s writing have the same feel? It was simple to see the correlation between the short descriptions of the first 74 Popes. Why must we stretch so hard to find a correlation between the descriptions and the last 37 Popes? Here are is a short list of some of the vague failed mottos from the Malachy prophecy.
Flos florum (flower of flowers) – Paul VI (1963-1978) Some say this refers to how his arms displayed three lilies. What??? That’s a huge stretch! His arms displayed many things. Why focus on the flowers. One could find something that vague about just about any person who has ever lived. For example, I planted flowers in my front and back yard. I believe they help bring beneficial insects into my yard. Could this prophecy actually be about me?
De labore Solis (the labor of the sun) – John Paul II (1978-2005) Some say this is referring to the fact that John Paul the II was born during a solar eclipse and died “near” a solar eclipse but the phrase was labor of the sun, not eclipse of the sun. It is strange that he had born and died during solar eclipses, but this is a stretch.
Gloria olivae (
Catholic website http://jimmyakin.com/2013/02/how-reliable-is-the-st-malachy-prophecy.html mentions a few more examples.
“Pia civitas in bello (“Pious city in war”). This is connected with Innocent IV (1591), but there is no good way to link him with this motto. Some have pointed to the fact that he was patriarch of Jerusalem before his election to the papacy, and Jerusalem could be thought of as a “pious city,” but so could Rome and many others. Almost any Christian city would count, and Jerusalem was not a Christian city at this time. Furthermore, Jerusalem was not at war when he was patriarch.”
“Aquila rapax (“Rapacious eagle”). This is connected with Pius VII (1800-1823), but there is no good way to link him with this motto. Some have proposed that his reign overlapped with that of Napoleon and that Napoleon could be described as a rapacious eagle (that is, a hungry commander of armies), but this is very tenuous and makes the motto not a description of the pope but of someone else who was on the world stage during his reign.”
“Religio depopulata (“Religion destroyed”). This is connected with Benedict XV (1914-1922), but there is no good way to link him in particular with this motto. There is no obvious connection to his name, family, place of origin, or coat of arms. He did not destroy religion or religious life. Neither were either destroyed during his reign. He did reign during World War I, but that did not destroy either. He also reigned when Communism came to power in Russia. That didn’t destroy religion in his day or in Italy. And again, we’d be connecting the motto with something other than the pope. If that were allowed then it would be possible to connect every motto with something that happened somewhere in the world during a pope’s day, and the prophecies would have no particular value as they would all be applicable to any pope.”
Did Arnold de Wyon write the Malachy prophecy?
As you can see, from 1595 onward the prophecy falls flat on its face. Why is this? Probably because Arnold de Wyon made it up. He nailed all the first 74 Popes because he knew his papal history. He failed on the future Popes because he is not a prophet.
It’s interesting to note that the 75th Pope in the prophecy De antiquitate Urbis (of the antiquity of the city) dousn’t match the 75th Pope at all. Oddly enough, it does match a Cardinal Simoncelli. Cardinal Simoncelli was born in Orvieto which means “the old town”. Arnold de Wyon also just happened to be a close friend of Cardinal Simoncelli. Anyone smell a rat? Why are Christians getting caught up in this nonsense?
In 1689, Jesuit Menestrier declared Arnold de Wyon’s Malachy prophecy a fake in his work entitled Refutation de la prophetie des papes. Menestrier then accused Arnold de Wyon of attempting to get his friend Cardinal Simoncelli elected as the next Pope.
Jesuit Menestrier based his conclusion on several lines of evidence.
- No one had heard of the Malachy prophecy until Arnold de Wyon had made it popular in 1595.
- The mottos perfectly match the popes up until the time Arnold de Wyon produced the prophecy.
- The 75th Papal prophecy matched de Wyon’s friend, Cardinal Simoncelli perfectly.
- All the prophecies following the 75th pope were vague and could be applied to any Pope.
- The list de Wyon attributed to Malachy was filled with errors of dates and a mix of Popes and anti-Popes.
- Saint Malachy’s friend, Saint Bernard never mentioned the prophecy.
Did Arnold de Wyon write the Malachy prophecy? It’s hard to say for sure, but it sure seems so. Whether the Malachy prophecy is a total fraud or the real deal, it’s still not 100% accurate. In other words, it did not come from God and we should not take it seriously.
Having said that, Pope Francis still could be the last Pope. World events seem to lining up for the return of Christ.
The following is the entire mp3 podcast series on the Catholic Church ready for download.