Who Will Succeed John Paul II?
God alone knows. Even the hierarchy of the Roman
Catholic Church does not know. They do not even know if Christís Coming
will intervene and the long line of popes will forever be extinguished.
Absurd theories abound. A search of the Internet
would verify this assertion. Our popular view, held by many, occupied
the thoughts of Roman Catholics in the early part of the twenty-first
century as Pope John Paul IIís health deteriorated and the effects of
advanced Parkinsonís disease were all too evident. The Sydney Morning
Herald, January 3, 2001, recorded the impact of a prophecy, not
inspired by God, but cunningly devised by an ambitious cardinal.
The 900-year-old prophecies of an Irish saint have
suddenly become new yearís reading among Roman Catholics wondering who
might be the next Popeóand worried about Armageddon.
Bishop Malachy OíMorgair had a vision on a
pilgrimage to Rome in 1139 which prophesied that the successor to the
current pontiff, John Paul II, would be the second last to reign
before the world ends.
Although not as widely known as Nostradamus,
credited with foreseeing major events including the rise of the
Beatles and the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Bishop OíMorgair has
developed a huge following, including several Web sites.
The current Pope is the 110th nominated in the
Malachy Prophesy, in which Bishop OíMorgair named 112 popes, the last
of whom would reign as the world came to an end.
Adherents say the prophecy is moving into its final
phases, triggered by plans by John Paul to prepare for his successor.
He will appoint 25 new cardinals as early as next
month, bringing the number of "red hats" to 120óthe number required to
elect a successor to the 80-year-old Pope, who has Parkinsonís disease
and may be forced to step aside.
Each pope identified in the prophecy had a mystical
title, with the 110th described as De Labore Solisó"from the Labour of
the Sun"óand is taken by many to allude to the fact that John Paul II
is the son of a labourer, or a reference to his globe-circling
missions, or even that he was born on a total eclipse.
John Paul IIís successor was described by Malachy
as Gloria Olivae, The Glory of the Olive. Wags link this with one of
the front runners for the next election, the 73-year-old Archbishop of
Milan, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini (Martini and Olive on the Rockóof
Peter, that is).
But some who believe in the prophecy relate it to
the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and hence point to the Jew who is
Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Jean Lustiger, 74.
Others claim it indicates an olive sprig bearer, a
peacemaker, such as John Paulís global troubleshooter, Cardinal Roger
Etchegaray, another Frenchman, who is 78.
Still others see it as a reference to the Olivetan
branch of the Benedictine religious order.
The Prophecy says the 112th pope will be named
Peter II and his reign will coincide with Armageddon.
Malachy was a 12th-century monk who reformed the
church in Ireland, linking it more closely with Rome.
He presented his vision to Pope Innocent II, but
the prophecy was suppressed or forgotten and was first published in
Venice in 1595. Like those of Nostradamus, it is in code, and sceptics
claim they are fake.
John Hillís response the following day exposed the
subterfuge. The sixteenth century cardinal certainly receives high marks
for originality in promoting his suitability for clerical advancement,
but in this amateurish effort he did not succeed in his aims. His very
act of subterfuge disqualified him from an ecclesiastical office of
St Malachy had nothing to do with the prophecies
attributed to him by Desmond OíGrady (Herald, January 3). They
were first published in the 16th century, because that was when they
A certain cardinal, anxious to be elected pope, had
a series of "prophecies" written that accurately described previous
popes, gave a nice description of himself (the would-be pope), and
then had to run on for a few centuries to make the whole thing look
authentic, with fanciful predictions that have absorbed a certain kind
of mind ever since.
They were associated with Malachy because of his
high standing in Rome. He was not the sort of man to indulge in this
sort of thing; his journeys to Rome began because he was said to have
"usurped" the See of Armagh, when his real concern was the reform of
the Irish church.
There are others who, on tenuous grounds totally
devoid of Scriptural support, cite the return of temporal power to the
Vatican with the establishment of nationhood for the minuscule popedom
as a significant point from which the seven heads of the beasts of
Revelation 13 and 17 will be counted. They point to the fact that there
have been six popes since that date, February 11, 1929óPius XI, Pius
XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II.
Those proposing this view state that John Paul IIís
successor will be the seventh and last pope and "he will continue a
short space" (Revelation 17:10). If such a scenario does occur it will
owe nothing to Scripture, for proponents of this view have forgotten the
Of the eighth head Scripture
And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the
eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. (Revelation
It would require the resurrection from the dead of
one of the previous six popes in order for an "eighth" pope to rule
jointly with the seventh. None should hold their breath awaiting such an
Even when Eugenio Pacelli was crowned Pope Pius XII
in 1939, John Cornwell reported that:
According to the bogus prophecies of Malachy, this,
the 262nd Pope since St. Peter, would be known as ĎPastor Angelicusí,
the Angel Shepherd. Pacelli, it was said, had personally endorsed this
appellation; by the day of his coronation, ĎPastor Angelicusí was on
everybodyís lips. (Hitlerís Pope, Penguin Books, 1999, p. 214)
History and Godís Judgment will pass a verdict on
When Pope John Paul II in a single week in January
2001 created forty-two new cardinals and revealed the names of two
cardinals who had secretly been created in 1998, he did set in place a
group of cardinals of a conservative bent whom, no doubt, he desired
would continue the Papal succession with a pope of conservative
convictions. Such men, as we have stated in the previous chapter, are
never too far removed in sentiment from the medieval Papacy. Let this
fact not be lost in our thinking, especially as we review the prophecy
of Revelation 13. As John Omicinski, a columnist in the Melbourne
Sunday Herald-Sun wrote, February 25, 2001, these new cardinals "are
not big fans of experimenting with a 2000-year old institution."
In increasing the number of cardinals to 185, the
largest in history, John Paul has also increased the number under age of
eighty eligible to vote in Papal conclave, to 135, exceeding Paul VIIís
limit of 120.
In 1939 when Pius XII was elected, the percentage of
cardinals from the various regions of the world differed greatly from
that in February 2001. The percentages of cardinal-electors were:
Percentage of Cardinal-electors in Two Papal
|United States & Canada
|Pacific Ocean Including Australia
and New Zealand
(Melbourne Sunday Herald-Sun, February 25, 2001)
John Paul demonstrated just how important he regarded
communication by elevating Roberto Tucci, a common priest, who headed
the Vatican Radio, to the cardinalate. He demonstrated the importance of
Latin America, for no less than one-quarter of the forty-four new
cardinals, came from that region. They included the charismatic
Archbishop of Lima, Peru, Julio Terrazas Sandoval.
When those forty-four cardinals, dressed in their
scarlet cassock gown with scarlet sash, their mozzetta, the scarlet
elbow-length cape which is worn over the rochet, a white surplice-like
garment with three scarlet lines and scarlet crosses upon it covering
the upper portion of the cassock, received their golden rings, their
zucchettos (scarlet skull caps) and their scarlet birettas, they
received in addition the possibility that one of them could succeed the
man who bestowed this honor upon them. We wonder if any one of them gave
a thought for another scarlet entity, the scarlet beast of Revelation 17
and the woman dressed in scarlet, seated upon the beast.
Serious Christians would be far better employed in
searching the Scriptures in order to make their "calling and election
sure" (2 Peter 1:10) than in speculating concerning the Papal
succession. The Bible is plain in its mandate to "Come out of her
[Babylon], my people." (Revelation 18:4) We are instructed to "Worship
the Lord in the beauty of holiness," (Psalm 29:2) not in extravagant
form and ritual.
Scripture reminds us that at the close of earthís
history just prior to Christís return, our characters will be fixed for
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he
which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous,
let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy
still. (Revelation 22:11)
Only the justified and holy will be accorded a place
in Christís eternal kingdom.
It is our desire that those who study this book will
direct their minds to Scripture, where alone the path to salvation is
set forth. Christ explained to Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin,
that Godís salvation is bestowed upon condition of belief (John 3:16).
Salvation is not unconditional. God in His own handwriting, engraved in
stone, wrote in the second commandment,
And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love
me, and keep my commandments. (Exodus 20:6)
This commandment has been expunged from Roman
Catholic catechisms. Godís mercy, His grace, is freely given to all; we
ourselves contribute nothing to the grounds of our salvation. We are
utterly impotent to secure our own salvation or provide the least merit
of our own, for we are all sinners and have blighted Godís glory (Romans
3:23) and the wages of sin is eternal destruction (Romans 6:23). The
inspired counsel and instruction of Paul to the believers in
Thessalonica in Macedonia, is pertinent to us today.
And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the
Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in
flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey
not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with
everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the
glory of his power. (2 Thessalonians 1:7ó9)
This book was designed to encourage true belief. As
Paul and Silas, setting forth the condition of salvation, admonished the
Philippian jailer who questioned the path to salvation,
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
saved, (Acts 16:31)
so do we speak to the reader and to our own hearts.
Once more we would emphasize that
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man
should boast. (Ephesians 2:8, 9)
But many embracing this passage fail to read on to
verse 10 which states:
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus
unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in
them. (Ephesians 2:10)
What is the quality of this belief which is the
condition upon which Christ chooses to bestow His grace? We pose this
question for Satan has counterfeited every divine virtue. There is a
counterfeit belief, one which in nowise meets the condition for
salvation. This is evident foró
The devils also believe, and tremble. (James 2:19)
Fortunately John in his first epistle plainly sets
forth the nature of genuine belief.
Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is
born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also
that is begotten of him. By this we know that we love the children of
God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love
of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not
grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this
is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he
that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son
of God? (1 John 5:1ó5)
We notice no less than seven qualities inherent in
1. The new birth
2. Love for God
3. Love for those "begotten of God"ó[our neighbors]
4. Keep the commandments
5. Overcome the world
6. Have victory [over sin]
7. Have faith [in God]
What a challenge! Only in the power of God can we
measure up to such belief.
The whole may be summed up as deep love for Godó
If ye love me, keep my commandments. (John 14:15)
In view of this we should not be startled that Christ
described his last day saints in terms of obedience.
Here is the patience of the saints: here are they
that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. (Revelation
If such a standard appears beyond your reach, pray
for faith to accept, believing Christís assurance,
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling,
and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with
exceeding joy. (Jude 24)
He is able to take weaklings such as we and keep us
from falling into sin. We must claim that promise every day, remembering
that if, and God forbid, we do fall into sin,
We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ
the righteous. (1 John 2:1)
He will lift us up once more and restore our
The great purpose of this book is not to denigrate
Roman Catholics or Protestants whose doctrines are contrary to
Scripture, followers of non-Christian faiths or atheists. Rather, it is,
through the mighty infallible prophecies, to seek to open the eyes of
all to Godís call for us to seek the pure faith of the Bible in these
last days of earthís history.
If this book, under Godís blessing, leads one reader
to follow Christ in His pure faith, it will indeed ensure that all our
efforts and hours of research will have been time profitably spent. We
will enjoy, through Godís grace, spending eternity with that brother or