Now that we have a new pope (inching ever closer to the last pope?) it is time to refresh interpretations of Nostradamus’ prophecy listed in my previous article The Next Pope.
The prophecy in question is Century 5 Quatrain 49 from the 16th century seer’s work “Les Propheties.” It reads:
Nul de l’Espaigne mais de l’antique France,
Ne sera esleu pour le tremblant nacelle,
A l’ennemy sera faicte fiance,
Qui dans son regne sera peste cruelle.
Not from Spain but from ancient France,
Will be elected for the trembling ship [the bark of Peter],
He will make a promise to the enemy,
Who will cause great plague during his reign.
The Papal Conclave elected the late–and some would say “great”–John Paul II’s grand inquisitor of orthodox Catholic dogma, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, on 19 April 2005 in a fourth ballot landslide. Either the Holy Spirit or shrewd political maneuvering worked to isolate progressive cardinals from picking their aged candidate for a caretaker pope–Cardinal Martini. Instead the pope who would oversee the pause before the next course taken for the Church will be the staunch conservative Prelate of the Congregation of the Doctrine and the Faith. He is the man who for the past 23 years was unaffectionately known by dissenting priests as “Cardinal Panzer” or John Paul’s “rottweiler” enforcer of strict doctrine. The message of the Conclave vote is clear. A shaky Holy See, has a new fisherman who with unwavering hand they expect will keep the Catholic fold on a straight and narrow dogmatic course as per the late pontiff’s prayers. Metaphorically speaking, this 265th successor to St. Peter, may be a fisher of converts that throws back a majority of the errant catch if they protest too much about his tightening grip on the net. More on that later.
How does a German cardinal come “from Ancient France”?
With more prescient persuasion than one might think. It all depends on whether Nostradamus intended us to take the cryptic statement in line 1 of the prophecy above as minimally specific or broad. For decades I advanced one interpretation that line 1 targeted John Paul II, who was born in Southwest Poland, which happened to be part of the frontiers of French King Charlemagne’s sprawling and ancient Frankish empire. In my previous article I introduced a new and minimalist variant, posing that the quatrain could be about John Paul’s successor. He might be a cardinal coming from the most smallest political boundary generally accepted as the first and most ancient “French” kingdom: the region surrounding Paris. Thus Nostradamus’ habit of juxtaposing ancient places for the advent of modern people has the cardinal’s priestly “habit” be that of an Archbishop of Paris, like Cardinal Lustiger–long shot though I believed he would be.
As it turned out, Lustiger was not more than a ballot pusher in the Conclave. And, as I said over seven years earlier in my book The Last Pope, Cardinal Martini did turn out to be the best chance for the progressives to take St. Peter’s chair from another conservative candidate. Martini was the only liberal to make a real run against Cardinal Ratzinger at grabbing one of the holiest of brass rings in Christendom–St. Peter’s ring. Nevertheless it went to a Teutonic cardinal born 78 years before in Marktl Am Inn, near Traunstein, Germany.
Looking at this development in hindsight, you cannot get more “Ancient France” than that. Here’s why. As many of you have reminded me, the new pope’s birthplace is in the heart of what once was Charlemagne’s ancient Frankish Empire. The Franks are a Germanic tribe. Their homeland ran along the west bank of the Rhine River, which is just a short distance west from Ratzinger’s birthplace in eastern Bavaria. Even before Charlemagne’s stretched his empire to the frontiers of southwestern Poland, Bavaria was a Frankish kingdom ruled by Frankish kings in Paris from as early as the mid 6th century, starting with Clotaire I. Later, Ratzinger’s homeland became again a part of a unified “ancient” French Empire under the heir of Clotaire II, Dagobert I, in the year 629. For two more centuries Bavaria slipped in and out of French domination until Charlemagne in 787 incorporated Ratzinger’s homeland into his Carlolingian Empire for a longer time.
Not from Spain but from ancient France…
…comes a pope, cassocked and capped in one of Nostradamus’ ways to miter his point across time to us, with a classical reference to geography.
Line 2 says this pope…
…Will be elected for the trembling ship [the bark of Peter]…
Here we have the double entendre describing the previous pope’s enfeeblement from Parkinson’s disease, plus an allusion to the enfeebled Church Ratzinger inherits. The new pope must shore up a shaking Church suffering pederast sexual scandals, a decimation by old age of the priesthood and a wholesale abandonment of European and American Catholics. Some might add that the exodus is a direct result of a rigid dogma defended and policed by John Paul’s theological “rottweiler” and successor for over two decades. Ratzinger as the new Benedict XVI also inherits a priestly hierarchy that lost collegial freedom under the autocratic Polish “Papa.” Many Cardinals believe–whether they lean to the left or right of late pope’s interpretation of theology–that John Paul’s dictatorial reign was a detriment to the church and had planted seeds for a future crisis.
What then might Nostradamus hint Pope Benedict will do? Line 3 says:
…He will make a promise to the enemy…
If we regard recent developments against the record of the man who is now the new pope, the “enemy” is not outside of the Church but within. The enemy is what Raztinger, the once and perhaps future inquisitor of the faith, decried as the “dictatorship of relativism.” In layman’s–or the laity’s–terms, that means those Catholic priests or lay followers who pick and choose those parts of Catholic teaching and dogma that satisfy their temperament. The enemy of this new pope, is a progressive or liberal interpretation of Vatican II reforms. Thus the “promise” made to such an enemy could be the one Ratzinger delivered while fresh in his new white cassock and cap of Benedict XVI. He promised to be a more collegial and tolerant pope than his predecessor. If this interpretation is correct, I would expect Pope Benedict will be as much a uniter of his flock, as the American President, G. W. Bush was a uniter for his. Look for Benedict to divide his church between “blue” and “red” (progressive and conservative) Catholics, especially in North America and Europe during his relatively short reign.
The last line of the prophecy says that this pope makes a promise to an enemy…
…Who will cause great plague during his reign.
If we take this line into the light of the present new pontificacy, the great plague could be a schism in the Church. Moreover, it could stand for some promise made for ecumenism by Benedict XVI towards the Islamic world that falters when the war on terror widens. The pestilence might even include a man-made “plague” coming from weapons of mass destruction, either unleashed by the US or by her enemies in the war on terror. Indeed Nostradamus often returns to the theme of Rome’s destruction by such weapons, as do other famous Catholic seers of the past millennium.
Then again, the “plague” may be a coming pandemic in Ratiznger’s rule as pope. He is one of the oldest pontiffs to ever ascend St. Peter’s throne. Even if his pontificacy was short, there are disturbing indications that the next pandemic may be with us within a year. The CDC (The Center for Disease and Control) caution that a spread of Chinese bird flu is imminent. Could this be the “great plague during his reign”?
The syntax leans more to a plague of commission by the hands of an enemy against the Church rather than a mishandling of sick chickens. Still, the view of our world from so many centuries back might be vague enough for a seer from the 1550s to mix and misread the signs.
DE GLORIA OLIVAE
(From the Glory of the Olive)
Joseph Ratzinger bears the 111th and final Latin prophetic motto attributed to St. Malachy’s famous medieval prophecy purportedly written in 1140.
Today I will provide a brief summary of how the new Benedict XVI fits Malachy’s motto for second-to-last pope before the onset of Judgment Day. A more detailed examination will be forthcoming when the updated edition of my book The Last Pope finds a new publisher. My hope is that it will appear later in 2005. If you wish to know when it comes out, just send me an email at email@example.com. Put “LAST POPE” in the subject line. I will broadcast the message to you when the book comes out again.
Now let us return to the meaning of “Gloria Olivae” for the new pope.
The “olive” branch in Medieval prophecy stands for peace. For a long time, Malachy prophecy watchers assumed that the next pope bearing this name would be a great peacemaker. Certainly Cardinal Ratzinger took on the mantle of as much, when in his first public declaration as “Benedict XVI” he explained his new name with the motto “Peace and Consolation.”
The last pope by that name, Benedict XV, ruled during World War I. He tried but failed as a peacemaker, setting forth his Seven Points to forestall any future world wars. Neither the victorious allied leaders nor the vanquished invited Benedict XVI to attend the negotiation and ratification of the Treaty of Versailles. His public neutrality during the war had soured warring Christian European leaders on both sides. Only US President Woodrow Wilson took the pope’s peace plans seriously. He adopted some of the pope’s ideas as the basis for his Fourteen Point Plan submitted at the Versailles peace negotiations.
Ratzinger as the next Benedict hints a message here. He intends to succeed where the previous Benedict failed. This new Benedict was elected during a new world war of international terrorism. He may try to be the peacemaker that prevents its escalation into a clash of Christian and Islamic cultures. If he is unsuccessful then Nostradamus’ prediction elsewhere in his prophecies of a 27-year war may come to fruition and his Third Antichrist, code named “MABUS,” will trigger that third world war.
Deeper still in the layers of meaning in the name “Benedict” is the signal identifying the new pope with the first and earliest founder of a Christian monastic order, St. Benedict (c.480-550). This great reformer’s codes of law had a significant impact on the Western World. St. Benedict was known as the great peacemaker and reconciler, saving Western culture and Western Christianity from falling into the chaos of the Dark Ages. Perhaps Pope Benedict XVI sees himself, like his predecessor, on the brink of a new darkness, requiring a reaffirmation of dogma and codes of Catholic behavior.
Pope Benedict’s name has evokes interesting possibilities out of St. Malachy’s motto: De Gloria “Olivae.” The Olivetans are a reform branch of the white monks of the Benedictine Order, established in the 14th century. The olive branch is their symbol–the Sermon on the Mount of Olives from the New Testament, their creed. The Olivetans believe they are set to prepare the world for the apocalypse foretold in Christ’s Mount of Olives sermon.
Is that what Benedict XVI also intends to prepare us for?
St. Benedict was made the patron saint of Europe by Paul VI–Cardinal Ratzinger’s mentor. This implies that Ratzinger/Benedict XVI will either attempt to bring European Catholics back in the fold, or he will make good on a reverie recorded in his voluminous writings that a smaller church population adhering to ALL the dogma is better for the Church’s survival in dark times than including a larger Catholic fold that only picks and chooses bits of the dogma to satisfy its modernist attitudes. It must be remembered that the previous Pope Benedict was a staunch anti-liberal and anti-modernist. Is the new Benedict the same?
In my last bulletin, logged a week before the Conclave convened to pick a new pope, I predicted that if the cardinals intended to choose a caretaker pope it would be Cardinal Ratzinger.
Destiny has set forth upon that prophetic time line today urged forward by echoes of the past. The Vatican, like the USA, seems to be stuck in a 40 year loop of repeating history–a phenomenon I have defined previously as a Karmic Echo. It consists of history lessons unlearned by nations or religions, returning every 20 to 40 years for a new encounter. America today is facing lessons unlearned as a nation with the return of a second military quagmire launched by a Texan president. Last time it was the liberal Texan, Johnson, 40 years ago in Vietnam. This time around it is a conservative Texan, Bush, today in Iraq.
The Vatican is a small but influential nation of priests and nuns guiding the faith of one sixth of the earth’s population. It may also see the return of a short lived, caretaker pope launching a revolution to rival what took place roughly 40 years earlier. The brief pontificacy of liberal John XXIII launched Vatican II– a progressive revolution that tried to bring the Catholic Church into the 20th century. If we are indeed seeing a Karmic Echo, I believe the conservative Benedict XVI will also be short lived. He will launch his own reform of the Church in a conservative revolution that could keep the Catholic religion from entering the 21st century.
Research for the new edition of “The Last Pope” will reveal that Pope Benedict XVI really prepared and wanted to be Vicar of Christ, despite his public protestations of humility and unworthiness. Becoming Pope has energized him and he is looking more youthful than before the Conclave. Still, I do not think he will be a long lived pope. I give him as little as three years and as much as seven, maximum. Back in 1997 when I wrote the first edition of “Last Pope,” I stated that John Paul II would die in 2000 and his successor would die in 2008 ushering in Petrus Romanus, the code name for St. Malachy’s final pope before the end of days, as he foresaw them.. Clearly I was wrong about John Paul II. Even he was surprised. John Paul also believed he would die at the end of 2000 rather than linger five more years. You can see him admit as much in the text of his Last Will and Testament.
Perhaps my prophecy from 1997 will be partially fulfilled if Benedict passes away in 2008.
The last time we had a caretaker pope (John XXIII) he initiated a progressive and liberal revolution in the Church in his short reign–Vatican II. With Benedict XVI the pendulum swings all the way to the right. He will be responsible for a conservative revolution. Will he soon gather the bishops of the church for a Vatican “III”? We await events and further signs of how the new pope will assert his destiny.
(31 May 2005)
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