By Kyle B. Stiff
Did you guys know that there’s a chance that the next pope to sit on the massive golden throne may be the last?
Here’s the deal. Around 1590 a monk wrote a list of all the popes and included a description of each. The names and descriptions were like riddles, and usually involved where the pope came from, or his family’s coat of arms, or something noteworthy he’d done. Where things get strange is that the monk continued his list and wrote descriptions of the popes who would come much, much later – up to and including the very last pope, an enigmatic figure he called Petrus Romanus, or Peter the Roman.
So the list was prophetic. If you think that prophecy is total bullshit (and who could blame you?), then I suggest you stop reading here. I would also suggest leaving this strange reality and moving to a dimension where inanimate matter doesn’t spontaneously create itself and then arrange itself into sentient self-replicating organisms that exist within the confines of something as slippery as time which seems to change its properties depending on how fast you move or how close you stand to a black hole – in other words, a dimension where things “make sense” and unfathomable mysteries don’t abound at every turn.
So here’s a few examples of the Prophecy of the Popes. Just to show you what the riddling system looks like, here’s a few popes that were a matter of historical record before the prophecy was published:
Celestine II was given the descriptor From a castle of the Tiber.
Literal interpretation: He was born in Citti di Castello (formerly called Tiberinum), which was on the banks of the Tiber river.
Urban III was called Pig in a sieve.
Literal interpretation: His family name Crivelli means sieve, and his family’s coat of arms showed two pigs and a sieve.
As for popes who came long after the prophecy was written, here are a couple of examples:
Pope Urban VIII was called Lily and rose.
Literal interpretation: This pope that came to power in 1623 was a native of Florence, which had a red lily on its coat of arms.
Clement XIV was called Swift bear.
Literal interpretation: This pope, who came to power in 1769, had a family crest with a running bear.
Strange, isn’t it? Of course, not all the popes neatly match their prophetic descriptions. This could be due to the fact that 1) seeing into the future is impossible, or 2) understanding the future is just as difficult as understanding the past or present.
What about the past two popes, Pope John Paul II and the kindly ex-Nazi known as Pope Benedict XVI?
John Paul II was called From the labor of the sun.
Literal interpretation: Dude was born and buried on the day of a solar eclipse. Also comes from Krakow, the birthplace of Copernicus, a heretic who believed that the earth revolved around the sun.
Benedict XVI AKA Josef Ratzinger was called Glory of the olive.
Literal interpretation: This one’s pretty weak. Ratzinger chose the name Benedict after Saint Benedict of Nursia, founder of the Benedictine Order, and whose rule had something to do with the Olivetan Order.
And now there’s only one more on the list, a final pope that we have yet to see. He’s called Petrus Romanus, and unlike the other popes, he has a long and strange description. Here’s a translation of it:
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 [Rome]
Will be destroyed,
And the terrible judge will judge his people.
There’s a lot of interesting things about this prophecy. It was written from the perspective of someone living in the late 1500s, so he most likely thought that the Catholic Church was at the forefront in the battle to make the world a civil and decent place. These days we associate the Catholic Church with child molestation scandals complete with under-the-table coverups, sermons about tithing given from a dude sitting on a golden throne, and an awkwardly hostile “Hold the line!” stance against birth control even though there are currently seven billion humans buzz-sawing their way through resources like the undead freaks you see in those annoyingly repetitive zombie movies. Seen from that perspective, the prospect that the Catholic Church might soon face its final battle and then trouble us no more naturally leads to curiosity rather than fear.
Then again, who really wants to see atheists become even more overly self-assured in the wake of the destruction of the Catholic Church? Which group is more annoying, the one that’s pushing the idea that humans are born evil and need to feel guilty, or the group that’s pushing the idea that inanimate and organic matter are all based on an increasingly complex series of accidents?
And then there’s the figure of Petrus Romanus himself. For one thing, it’s a cool name. The Catholics claim Saint Peter as their founder. He was Christ’s right-hand man who showed just a tiny bit of complete and total abject cowardice when the shit hit the fan – not that we can blame him when you consider that the Romans soon became famous for throwing Christians into wood-chippers surrounded by a blood-hungry audience. Peter was called “The Rock” because he was the rock on which the Catholic Church was built; he was considered the first pope. And now the last pope is called Peter the Roman, which is a fusion of rebel and tyrant, outsider and establishment, Jedi and Sith.
Just what is this character going to be like? Will he be one more bureaucrat shuffling child molesting wolves from one parish to another? Will he be a John Connor “leader of the human resistance” type of dude leading his flock in an endless war against condom-wearing Terminators? Or more like Darth Vader using the divine Force to hunt down modern-day gnostic Jedi? Or perhaps a boring combination of all three?!
I realize this is all rampant speculation, but it’s a wonder to me. We become used to going to work, then the grocery, then a little Netflix before bedtime – and then the cycle repeats and we start to believe that that’s reality, eternal and insistent and dependable. But from a higher perspective, it’s easy to see that nations are born and then collapse, beliefs change and build on top of new ideas, savagery and gluttony lurk just behind the mask of civility, and all of that may be happening in other worlds and other dimensions with strange inhabitants all doing their best to manipulate things like matter, fores like electricity and gravity, or even time itself. None of those things are solid. Maybe the ornate rituals of Catholic pageantry are echoes of visions of crystal cities seen through the lens of DMT, where ideas and souls are bartered in an economy beyond our understanding; maybe our lives are echoes or shadows of those higher dimensions. From that perspective, it’s no logical leap to wonder if the life of the next pope will resonate with the idea of Petrus Romanus, whose battle is only just beginning.
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