Monday, 29 August 2011

The Angelic Pope

Prophecies concerning the coming of an "Angelic Pope" who will heal the Church of schism and restore the faith have been widely circulated since the Middle Ages.  The first known prophecy of the pastor angelicus was quoted by the English polymath Roger Bacon in the 13th century:

...Forty years ago it was prophesied, and there have been many visions to the same effect, that there will be a pope in these times who will purify Canon Law and the Church of God from the sophistries and deceits of the jurists so that justice will reign over all without the rumbling of lawsuits. Because of the goodness, truth, and justice of this pope the Greeks will return to the obedience of the Roman Church, the greater part of the Tartars will be converted to the faith, and the Saracens will be destroyed. There will be one flock and one shepherd, as the prophet heard (John 10:16)...
(Taken from Roger Bacon's The Third Work. Trans. by B McGinn Visions of the End (New York, Columbia, 1998) p190)

This Angelic Pope has many qualities similar to that of the Two Witnesses.  Like the Two Witnesses, the Angelic Pope is prophesied to restore the faith towards the end of the world.  Working together with the Last Emperor or "Second Charlemagne", the Angelic pope is foretold to heal the East-West schism and convert the Jews to Catholicism.  If Benedict XVI is to fulfill this role, as is suggested by St Malachy's Prophecy of the Popes, it would require some major developments to occur during his pontificate.  Benedict XVI is undoubtedly a Pope devoted to Christian unity, and has repeatedly called for full communion between the East and West (see here and here for example) - asking that the Church should once again "breathe with both lungs". The foundations for full unity between East and West has already been made under the pontificate of Benedict XVI, who is viewed in a more favourable light by the leaders of the Eastern Orthodox Patriarchs. In Ravenna, Italy, in 2007 a joint Catholic-Orthodox commission declared that a basic framework for unification was already agreed, which would begin from the foundation point of both Churches recognising the Pope as titular head (see here) and some form of the authority of the pope would be recognised, and modelled after the role of the pope in the first millennium.
Another development which has brought Roman Catholicism closer to Eastern Orthodoxy is the election of Metropolitan Kirill as the patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, who is a lot more favourably disposed towards the Vatican than his predecessors.
So could the unification of the East and West happen under the pontificate of Benedict XVI? Given the advanced age of the present pope, it would seem unlikely that these developments could advance at such an incredible rate as to occur during his lifetime. But situations can suddenly change, especially in light of the miraculous, and if a major supernatural event were to occur it could help to hasten this process.


Following the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation on 11th Feb, 2013, it appears that this event could be related to the Worthy Shepherd Prophecy - which predicts that the Angelic Pope would ascend the papacy by "about twelve years shall the millennium have passed".

See also the related posts:

The Second Pentecost
The Two Witnesses
The Great Monarch
St. John Bosco's Dream of the Two Pillars
St. Malachy's Glory of the Olives
Prophecies of the Martyr-Pope

Saturday, 27 August 2011

The Conversion of England

Blessed Dominic Barberi

Amongst the various prophecies concerning the Second Pentecost, we find some recurring themes. One such recurring motif centres the spiritual revival around the conversion of England - particularly Maximin's 1846 version of the secrets of La Salette:

On September 19, 1846, we saw a beautiful Lady. We never said that this lady was the Blessed Virgin but we always said that it was a beautiful Lady. I do not know if it is the Blessed Virgin or another person. As for me, I believe today that it is the Blessed Virgin. Here is what this Lady said to me:

“If my people continue, what I will say to you will arrive earlier, if it changes a little, it will be a little later. France has corrupted the universe, one day it will be punished. The faith will die out in France: three quarters of France will not practice religion anymore, or almost no more, the other part will practice it without really practicing it. Then, after [that], nations will convert, the faith will be rekindled everywhere. A great country, now Protestant, in the north of Europe, will be converted; by the support of this country all the other nations of the world will be converted...

The above prophecy foretells that the Great Apostasy will be reversed through the conversion of England, which then spreads out into the rest of the world.
At the moment, the conversion of the United Kingdom to Catholicism seems almost an impossibility. But we can already find that the way is being prepared to allow mass conversions of dissaffected Anglicans to full union with Rome through Pope Benedict XVI's 2009 apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. There are major divisions within Anglicanism at the moment, due to capitulation to modern secular values such as the ordination of female and openly homosexual priests and bishops. Many Anglicans are attracted to the stability offered by Catholicism and Anglican ordinarites such as the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham have already been established, bringing with them hunderds, and potentially thousands of converts. Other Anglican ordinariates are in the process of being established throughout the US and Canada, and these structures may even provide an antidote for other schisms such as those of the Aglipayan Church in the Philippines. This phenomenon has even transcended denominations, and some Anglo-Lutherns in America have requested permission to join with the personal ordinariates being established there (see here). Given the global nature of the Anglican communion, it is not difficult to imagine how the conversion of England could spark a worldwide religious renewal.

The Pope himself almost certainly feels that the conversion of England is pre-ordained. He declared that the apostolic constitution was "prophetic" in character, and signed it on Oct 20th - the feast day of St Paul of the Cross, who famously devoted himself to 50 years of prayer for the conversion of England.
Other prophecies foretelling the future conversion of England can be found in those of Ven. Bartholomew Holzhauser in his work Interpretatio Apocalypsis: “After desolation has reached its peak in England, peace will be restored and England will return to the Catholic faith with greater fervour than ever before.” St John Vianney also famously stated: "I believe that the Church in England will recover her ancient splendour" (Trochu, F. The Cure of Ars). We have previously noted Cardinal Newman's "Second Spring" sermon, which also envisaged the future conversion of the England. And St. Malachy foretold that Ireland would play an important role in this process: "Ireland... will be instrumental in bringing back the English to the unity of the faith." (See the Catholic Encylcopeadia).
England is traditionally known as the "Dowry of Mary" - in a tradition which dates back to Our Lady of Walsingham and St Edward the Confessor. It appears that this "dowry" is a token gift bestowed by the Mother of God to celebrate the coming marriage of the Lamb with his eschatological bride - the Heavenly Jerusalem which is the Church (see Rev 21).  It is through the conversion of this nation that the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary promised in the Secrets of Fatima will be effected - and after this, Russia, along with the rest of Eastern Orthodoxy will be reconciled to Rome, and religion will once again flourish before the Second Coming of Our Lord.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

St Malachy's Prophecy of the Glory of the Olives

According to the "prophecy of the popes" attributed to St. Malachy, the current pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, is the second to last pope before the end of the world. Although the prophetic list of popes is attibuted to the 12th century Irish saint Maelmhaedhoc Ó Morgair (Malachy), it is much more likely that they are a pseudonymous work dating from the late 16th century. Despite the nature of its origin however, the list of popes has still proved to have been strikingly accurate in a large number of cases since it's initial publication in 1595 - particularly throughout the course of the 20th century (see here for the list of popes).  The motto Pope John Paul II, for example is De labore solis - "From the labour of the Sun". This was particularly apt for this beloved pope, as John Paul II was both born and buried under a partial solar eclipse.  This motto also recalls the passage in Rev 12 concerning the Woman adorned with the Sun:

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.  (Rev 12:1-2)

The Latin phrase De labore solis is a common idiom for a solar eclipse, but it also echoes the above passage in the Apocalypse, where the Woman is in the pains of childbirth. Did this motto predict that the prophecy of the Woman adorned with the Sun and the "war in heaven" would take place during the pontificate of this pope?
The motto in St. Malachy's Prophecy of the Popes relating to Benedict XVI is Gloria olivae - "glory of the olives". Many feel that this prophecy was fulfilled in the pope's choice of regnal title Benedict, as St. Benedict is associated with a branch of Benedictines called the Olivetans. However the mottoes in the Prophecy of the Popes become increasingly eschatological in character towards the end of the list, and it may be that we should look for a fulfillment of this prophecy in the Apocalypse. The title Gloria olivae recalls the passage in Rev 11 associated with the Two Witnesses:

These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth.
 (Rev 11:4)

If the prophecy of the Two Witnesses in the Book of Revelation is associated with the martyr-pope or angelic pope of Catholic prophecy, then this motto found in the Prophecy of the Popes could provide a bridging connection which identifies Benedict XVI as the martyr-pope of the Third Secret who helps to establish the Second Pentecost. 


Following the announcement of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation on 11th Feb, 2013, it appears that this event could be related to the Worthy Shepherd Prophecy - which predicts that the Angelic Pope would ascend the papacy by "about twelve years shall the millennium have passed". If the Worthy Shepherd Prophecy is legitimate, then the motto associated with Benedict XVI - "glory of the olives" could perhaps point to something that would emerge during the lifetime of this particular pope. The choice of motto often points to events which occur in the relevant pontiff's reign. For example, the motto given to Benedict XV (r.1914-1922) was religio depopulata (religion depopulated). This was particularly apt, since this Pope took office at the beginning of World War I, and would see the rise of the militantly atheistic Soviet Union. 
The motto "glory of the olives" could perhaps mean that Pope Benedict XVI would live to see the "glory of the olives" or one of the Two Witnesses of Rev 11 be elected as pope, and that this would be the Worthy Shepherd/Angelic Pope prophesied by Bl. Tomasuccio de Foligno. If so, then it would seem that the next pope could be identified as the martyr-pope of Catholic prophecy.

See also the related posts:

The Two Witnesses
The Great Monarch
The Angelic Pope

Monday, 22 August 2011

St. John Bosco's Dream of the Two Pillars

There are numerous prophecies which foretell the martyrdom of a pope during a period of tribulation for the Church. The most famous is undoubtedly the Third Secret, but this theme also occurs in many other prophecies, such as the secrets of La Salette and St. John Bosco's prophetic dream of the Two Pillars.  In Unveiling the Apocalypse, I argue that the Two Pillars in Don Bosco's dream represent the Two Witnesses of Rev 11 - which if correct would be a further link connecting the Two Witnesses to the the prophecy of the martyr-pope.  The text of St. John Bosco's dream of the Two Pillars can be found below:

“Imagine yourself to be with me on the seashore, or better, on an isolated rock and not to see any patch of land other than that under your feet. On the whole of that vast sheet of water you see an innumerable fleet of ships in battle array. The prows of the ships are formed into sharp, spear-like points so that wherever they are thrust they pierce and completely destroy. These ships are armed with cannons, with lots of rifles, with incendiary materials, with other firearms of all kinds, and also with books, and advance against a ship very much bigger and higher than themselves and try to dash against it with the prows or burn it or in some way to do it every possible harm.
“As escorts to that majestic fully equipped ship, there are many smaller ships, which receive commands by signal from it and carry out movements to defend themselves from the opposing fleet. In the midst of the immense expanse of sea, two mighty columns of great height arise a little distance the one from the other. On the top of one, there is the statue of the Immaculate Virgin, from whose feet hangs a large placard with this inscription: Auxilium Christianorum—”Help of Christians”; on the other, which is much higher and bigger, stands a Host of great size proportionate to the column and beneath is another placard with the words: Salus Credentium—Salvation of the Faithful.
“The supreme commander of the big ship is the Sovereign Pontiff. He, seeing the fury of the enemies and the evils among which his faithful find themselves, determines to summon around himself the captains of the smaller ships to hold a council and decide what is to be done.
“All the captains come aboard and gather around the Pope. They hold a meeting, but meantime the wind and the waves gather in storm, so they are sent back to control their own ships. There comes a short lull; for a second time the Pope gathers the captains around him, while the flag-ship goes on its course. But the frightful storm returns. The Pope stands at the helm and all his energies are directed to steering the ship towards those two columns from whose summits hang many anchors and strong hooks linked to chains.
“All the enemy ships move to attack it, and they try in every way to stop it and to sink it: some with books and writings or inflammable materials, of which they are full; others with firearms, with rifles and with rams. The battle rages ever more relentlessly. The enemy prows thrust violently, but their efforts and impact prove useless. They make attempts in vain and waste all their labor and ammunition; the big ship goes safely and smoothly on its way. Sometimes it happens that, struck by formidable blows, it gets large, deep gaps in its sides; but no sooner is the harm done that a gentle breeze blows from the two columns and the cracks close up and the gaps are stopped immediately.
“Meanwhile, the guns of the assailants are blown up, the rifles and other arms and prows are broken; many ships are shattered and sink into the sea. Then, the frenzied enemies strive to fight hand to hand, with fists, with blows, with blasphemy and with curses.
“Suddenly the Pope falls gravely wounded. Immediately, those who are with him run to help him and they lift him up. A second time the Pope is struck, he falls again and dies. A shout of victory and joy rings out amongst the enemies; from their ships an unspeakable mockery arises.
“But hardly is the Pontiff dead than another takes his place. The pilots, having met together, have elected the Pope so promptly that the news of the death of the Pope coincides with the news of the election of the successor. The adversaries begin to lose courage.
“The new Pope, putting the enemy to rout and overcoming every obstacle, guides the ship right up to the two columns and comes to rest between them; he makes it fast with a light chain that hangs from the bow to an anchor of the column on which stands the Host; and with another light chain which hangs from the stern, he fastens it at the opposite end to another anchor hanging from the column on which stands the Immaculate Virgin.
“At this point, a great convulsion takes place. All the ships that until then had fought against the Pope’s ship are scattered; they flee away, collide and break to pieces one against another. Some sink and try to sink others. Several small ships that had fought gallantly for the Pope race to be the first to bind themselves to those two columns. Many other ships, having retreated through fear of the battle, cautiously watch from far away; the wrecks of the broken ships having been scattered in the whirlpools of the sea, they in their turn sail in good earnest to those two columns, and having reached them, they make themselves fast to the hooks hanging down from them and their they remain safe, together with the principal ship, on which is the Pope. Over the sea their reigns a great calm.”

St. John Bosco's dream is remarkable in the fact that it predicted the First and Second Vatican Councils, to such detail as that it even mentions that the First Vatican Council would be interupted (which it was).  Note also that a "breeze" comes from the pillars to restore the ship, which is a prophecy of the Second Pentecost - which is intimately related to the ministry of the Two Witnesses.
Does this suggest that the two pillars are in fact the Two Witnesses themselves?

See also the related posts:

The Second Pentecost
The Two Witnesses
The Angelic Pope
The Great Monarch
St. Malachy's Glory of the Olives
Prophecies of the Martyr-Pope

Saturday, 20 August 2011

The Two Witnesses

The Book of Revelation describes the Two Witnesses in language reminiscent of the Old Testament - they call down fire from heaven and work numerous prodigies which recall the miracles of Elijah and Moses. Yet this imagery is almost certainly symbolic.  The Two Witnesses are not literal reincarnations of these ancient prophets, or reappearances of their assumed bodies - they will come in their "the spirit and power", just as John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah (see Luke 1:17).  The Apocalypse states that the Witnesses will be martyred as a result of their testimony to Jesus due to the influences of the Antichrist. So just as another two pillars of Christendom (Ss Peter and Paul) met their deaths at the hands of the precursor to the Antichrist (the emperor Nero), these final Witnesses will suffer martyrdom at the behest of the Antichrist.  However their deaths will not be in vain, for the Two Witnesses will establish the Second Pentecost, and ensure that the Gospel is preached to all nations.
There are many parallels between the Two Witnesses and other figures who feature predominately in the prophecies of Catholic saints and visionaries.  From the Middle Ages onwards, there have been various prophecies concerning an "Angelic pope", who is prophesied to heal the schism between Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy (there are too many to mention here, but I go into further detail in the book).  Another figure associated with a restoration of Catholicism at the end-time is the "Great Monarch" or "Second Charlemagne", who is prophesied to convert many Muslims to the faith.  This figure is rather more enigmatic.  It is difficult to perceive how the Holy Roman Empire could be restored in an age devoted to democracy and it is highly unlikely that France (the country this prophecy is mostly associated with) will ever once again embrace a monarchy.  However prophecies as prestigious as those of La Salette foretell this event.  Melanie's original 1846 version of the secret foretells that this event, along with that of a great religious revival, will take place after a failed assassination attempt on a pope (which sounds remarkably like the 1981 assassination attempt on John Paul II):

The pope will be persecuted from all sides, they will shoot at him, they will want to put him to death, but no one will not be able to do it, the Vicar of God will triumph again this time.
The priests and the Sisters, and the true servants of my Son will be persecuted, and several will die for the faith of Jesus-Christ.
A famine will reign at the same time.
After all these will have arrived, many will recognize the hand of God on them, they will convert, and do penance for their sins.
A great king will go up on the throne, and will reign a few years. Religion will re-flourish and spread all over the world, and there will be a great abundance, the world, glad not to be lacking nothing, will fall again in its disorders, will give up God, and will be prone to its criminal passions.

One possibility is that the honour of Holy Roman Emperor will be bestowed on a prominent figure amongst the Protestant monarchies of Europe who converts to Catholicism, bringing with them masses of converts. Another less likely possibility is that it refers to an influential politician.  Nonetheless, there are many similarities between these individuals and the Two Witnesses of Scripture.
The concept of the Angelic Pope is associated with that of that of a martyr-pope, such as the pontiff described in the Third Secret (who unlike the pope in Melanie's secret, is actually killed).  As I show in my book, the text of the Third Secret released in June 2000 has some remarkable parallels with the prophecy of the Two Witnesses in the Book of Revelation.  The pope in the vision of the Third Secret is killed whilst upon a Via Dolorosa-like journey ascending the hill of a city whose focal point is a large cross:


The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fatima, on 13 July 1917.

I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine.

After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewnaspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God."

As I argue in greater detail in the book, this city with a large cross which is half in ruins represents Jerusalem.  More specifically, it represents the Heavenly Jerusalem which is the Church.  The reason the city is half in ruins is because of the apostasy of its members - those who have departed from the faith due to the influences of modern secular society.  At the end of this journey the pope is martyred in this "Heavenly Jerusalem" with imagery which recalls the place "where their Lord was crucified" in Rev 11:

I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands that stand before the Lord of the earth. And if anyone would harm them, fire pours from their mouth and consumes their foes. If anyone would harm them, this is how he is doomed to be killed. They have the power to shut the sky, that no rain may fall during the days of their prophesying, and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood and to strike the earth with every kind of plague, as often as they desire. And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them, and their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city that symbolically is called Sodom and Egypt, where their Lord was crucified. (Rev 11:4-8)

In a further echo with Rev 11, the Third Secret closes with imagery reminiscent of that of the Ark of the Covenant.  In the Third Secret, two angels gather up the blood of the martyrs, and sprinkle the blood on the souls of those making their way to heaven, in imagery which explicitly evokes the sprinkling of blood on the Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant in the Book of Leviticus:

And he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat on the east side, and in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.  Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it over the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.  Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel and because of their transgressions, all their sins.  (Lev 16:14-16)

The Mercy Seat of the Ark of the Covenant depicted two angels, and it was here that the blood of sacrifice was offered.

Just as the Third Secret closes with imagery suggestive of the Ark of the Covenant, so to does the section of the Apocalypse pertaining to the Two Witnesses:

Then God's temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail...
(Rev 11:19)

Could this martyr-pope of the Third Secret be associated with the Two Witnesses of Rev 11? 

See also the related posts:

The Second Pentecost
The Angelic Pope
St. John Bosco's Dream of the Two Pillars
St. Malachy's Glory of the Olives
Prophecies of the Martyr-Pope

Friday, 19 August 2011

The Second Pentecost

The promise of a global spiritual renewal after a period of general apostasy is a universal theme in Catholic prophecy.  As St. Paul states in his Second Letter to the Thessalonians: "Let no one deceive you in any way.  For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction …".  Jesus himself foretold that there would be a falling away from the faith in the approach to the end-time:

And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. (Matt. 24:10-14)

The Great Apostasy spoken of in Scripture undoubtedly refers to our times.  Christianity is in a state of such steep decline in the Western world that Pope John Paul II called for a "New Evangelisation" to bring back the countless lost sheep led astray by the temptations of deism, agnosticism and atheism, and their bedfellows moral relativism, egoism and hedonism.
Yet the beyond the plight of the Great Apostasy there is the promise of hope.  The Book of Malachi foretells that towards the end of the world, God would send his servant Elijah to "turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction". (Mal 4:6).  Just as the ancient prophet Elijah restored the faith of the Israelites after a period of mass apostasy during the 9th century BC, so too would this future "Elijah" restore the faith from a state of apostasy at the time of the end.  The Book of Revelation tells us that this future Elijah would not act alone his task of restoring the faith - he would be accompanied by a fellow prophet, just as Elijah was accompanied by Elisha.  This additional restorer figure is styled symbolically after Enoch and Moses, and together, the Apocalypse tells us that these Two Witnesses will inaugurate the Second Pentecost.  As Jesus foretold, after this Great Apostasy, where the "love of many would grow cold", the Gospel would be preached to all nations:

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt 24:12-14)

It is the Two Witnesses that will bring the Gospel as a testimony to all nations - the "Second Spring" foreseen by Blessed John Henry Newman:

We have familiar experience of the order, the constancy, the perpetual renovation of the material world which surrounds us. Frail and transitory as is every part of it, restless and migratory as are its elements, never-ceasing as are its changes, still it abides. It is bound together by a law of permanence, it is set up in unity; and, though it is ever dying, it is ever coming to life again. Dissolution does but give birth to fresh modes of organization, and one death is the parent of a thousand lives. Each hour, as it comes, is but a testimony, how fleeting, yet how secure, how certain, is the great whole. It is like an image on the waters, which is ever the same, though the waters ever flow. Change upon change—yet one change cries out to another, like the alternate Seraphim, in praise and in glory of their Maker. The sun sinks to rise again; the day is swallowed up in the gloom of the night, to be born out of it, as fresh as if it had never been quenched. Spring passes into summer, and through summer and autumn into winter, only the more surely, by its own ultimate return, to triumph over that grave, towards which it resolutely hastened from its first hour. We mourn over the blossoms of May, because they are to wither; but we know, withal, that May is one day to have its revenge upon November, by the revolution of that solemn circle which never stops—which teaches us in our height of hope, ever to be sober, and in our depth of desolation, never to despair.... (John Henry Newman, The Second Spring, 1852 - for the full sermon go here).

But who are these Two Witnesses?  Can we find any reference to them in the private revelations of Catholic saints and visionaries?  In my book I argue that we can indeed find allusions to the Two Witnesses in two figures who stand out in Catholic prophecy - one possibility is the "martyr-pope" or "angelic pope" foretold in numerous prophecies, and the other may possibly be found in the person of the "great monarch". 

See also the related posts:

The Two Witnesses
The Great Monarch
The Angelic Pope
St. John Bosco's Dream of the Two Pillars
St. Malachy's Glory of the Olives
Prophecies of the Martyr-Pope

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Our Lady of Assiut

If the apparitions of Our Lady in Egypt are linked to the prophecy of the Woman adorned with the Sun in Rev 12, then the timing of her appearances at Assiut are extremely well placed to correspond with the previous conclusions I have drawn up concerning the significance of the turn of the millennium and its relation to the "War in Heaven".  After they first began to occur inside the Church on 29th March, 2000, the apparitions at Assiut resumed (this time outside the Church) on 17th August - a year to the day after the earthquake in Izmit and during the Great Jubilee - the year which Fr Gobbi prophesied for the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Message 532):

I confirm to you that, in time for the great Jubilee of the year two thousand, the triumph of my Immaculate Heart, which I foretold to you at Fatima, will come about and it will be brought about with the return with the return of Jesus in glory to establish His Kingdom in the world.

The above prophecy made by Fr Gobbi has been held up by scoffers as a spectacular failure.  But it can be rescued if we accept the interpretation I have discussed in previous posts regarding the triumph of Mary - the point when she crushes the Serpent's head and Satan is cast to earth, as was foreseen by Jesus - "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven" (Luke 10:18).
The mention of the return of Jesus in glory by Fr Gobbi remains problematic, but can probably be reconciled by the inclusion of the crucial "and".  It is possible to interpret this statement as prophesying that the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary would take place in time for the Great Jubilee Year 2000 and that it would also be brought about at the Second Coming.  If this is the case, this would make the triumph take place between two points in time - it would take place in the year 2000, and would be brought to completion during the Second Coming.  Anyway, I digress...

The apparitions at Assiut were notable in that some of the witnesses present described her as appearing with a sparkling box in her hand:

"I will never forget the night of the 28 September when my family and I stood on a rooftop on the eastern side of the church at 3:30am.  It was just before dawn.  At 4am a gleam of light appeared on the dome and moved on to the church spire.  After about 25 minutes, the light began to take on the form of the Virgin Mary holding a square-shaped sparkling object in her right hand.  She then appeared in the eastern and western church windows." (You can find the full article here).

As I argue in the book, the sealing of the saints in heaven described in Rev 7 takes place as part of the sequence of events which occur at the opening of the sixth seal.  The sealing of the saints in heaven takes place to counter the implementation of the prophecy of the mark of the Beast, and these two events occur during the same time period.  The sealing of the saints described in Rev 7 is also based on the Jewish practice of wearing phylacteries or tefillin - the name of God is placed on the foreheads of the saints in heaven to act as an antidote to the occurence of the mark of Beast on earth, who are marked with the "number" of the Antichrist.  The sealing of the saints also reflects an earlier passage in Revelation, where we are told that the "overcomers" or "one who conquers" would be given a white stone inscribed with a name:

"To the one who conquers I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, with a new name written on the stone that no one knows except the one who receives it." (Rev 2:17)

Was the sparkling box held by Our Lady at Assiut a heavenly tefillin? And did this event signify the sealing of the saints in heaven after Satan was cast to earth?

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

The Woman Adorned with the Sun

St. Louis de Montfort (1673-1716) was perhaps the first mystic to recognise the importance of Our Lady in the approach of the Second Coming of Jesus.  In his Treatise on True Devotion, St. Louis prophesied that Mary would play a prominent role in a battle against Satan during the "latter times":

"If is certain, the knowledge and the kingdom of Jesus Christ must come into the world, it can only be as a necessary consequence of the knowledge and reign of Mary. She who first gave him to the world will establish his kingdom in the world...
The salvation of the world began through Mary and through her it must be accomplished. Mary scarcely appeared in the first coming of Jesus Christ so that men, as yet insufficiently instructed and enlightened concerning the person of her Son, might not wander from the truth by becoming too strongly attached to her...
But in the second coming of Jesus Christ, Mary must be known and openly revealed by the Holy Spirit so that Jesus may be known, loved and served through her. The reasons which moved the Holy Spirit to hide his spouse during her life and to reveal but very little of her since the first preaching of the gospel exist no longer...
In these latter times Mary must shine forth more than ever in mercy, power and grace; in mercy, to bring back and welcome lovingly the poor sinners and wanderers who are to be converted and return to the Catholic Church; in power, to combat the enemies of God who will rise up menacingly to seduce and crush by promises and threats all those who oppose them; finally, she must shine forth in grace to inspire and support the valiant soldiers and loyal servants of Jesus Christ who are fighting for his cause.
It is chiefly in reference to these last wicked persecutions of the devil, daily increasing until the advent of the reign of anti-Christ, that we should understand that first and well-known prophecy and curse of God uttered against the serpent in the garden of paradise. It is opportune to explain it here for the glory of the Blessed Virgin, the salvation of her children and the confusion of the devil. "I will place enmities between you and the woman, between your race and her race; she will crush your head and you will lie in wait for her heel" (Gen. 3:15)...
...the humble Mary will always triumph over Satan, the proud one, and so great will be her victory that she will crush his head, the very seat of his pride. She will unmask his serpent's cunning and expose his wicked plots. She will scatter to the winds his devilish plans and to the end of time will keep her faithful servants safe from his cruel claws. But Mary's power over the evil spirits will especially shine forth in the latter times, when Satan will lie in wait for her heel, that is, for her humble servants and her poor children whom she will rouse to fight against him.
(See the full chapter on Mary's role in the "latter times" here).

It is striking that St. Louis made this prophecy well before the era of modern Marian apparitions beginning with Rue de Bac in 1830, through to La Salette and Fatima and continuing to the present.  The modern apparitions of Our Lady have helped to strengthen and nurture the faith of millions of Catholics worldwide, and as St. Louis foretells, it is through devotion to Our Lady that the head of the Serpent is finally crushed.
As I argue in Unveiling the Apocalypse, the defeat of Satan occurs at his expulsion from the heavenly realm, when the ancient Serpent is cast to earth by the archangel Michael - an event which is heralded by a rare sequence of astronomical omens.
Although Satan's power is broken and the Serpent's head is crushed through the intervention of Mary, the Apocalypse tells us that after the expulsion of Satan from heaven, the Beast rises from the watery chaos of the abyss and Satan transfers his authority to him - so the fatal blow struck to the head of the Serpent appears to be healed:

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear's, and its mouth was like a lion's mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast.  (Rev 13:1-3)

It is at this moment that the False Prophet/beast from the land causes the peoples of the earth to be sealed with the mark of the Beast.  The Dragon continues to pursue the Woman's seed after he is cast to earth through his servant the Beast from the sea (we should read chapters 12 and 13 side-by-side as a theological diptych rather than as a different chronological sequence of events).  I underscore the importance of disregarding the temporal order of Revelation in the introduction to my book - we should instead be aware of the Apocalypse's use of recapitulation and compare sections with thematic unity to give a fuller picture of the events being described).  But the Woman (who in this instance represents the Church, since Mary often represents the Church in Catholic theology) is helped by God and is given the "two wings of the great eagle" to escape to a place of refuge:

But the woman was given the two wings of the great eagle so that she might fly from the serpent into the wilderness, to the place where she is to be nourished for a time, and times, and half a time. The serpent poured water like a river out of his mouth after the woman, to sweep her away with a flood. But the earth came to the help of the woman, and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed the river that the dragon had poured from his mouth. Then the dragon became furious with the woman and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus. (Rev 12:13-17)

I argue in the book that the Woman's escape into the wilderness, and the earth coming to her help, refers to the Second Pentecost which is promised to take place before the end of the world.  The "two wings" the Woman adorned with the Sun is given to help her during this escape represent the Two Witnesses who will "turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction." (Mal 4:6) 
Before the world is destroyed by fire, God in his infinite mercy grants the world a religious renewal in the Second Pentecost, when the Great Apostasy is overturned and the Gospel is preached to all nations:

“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the Lord of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. (Mal 4:1-2)

The Woman adorned with the Sun will be given the wings needed for the "healing of the nations" (Rev 22:2) - the "two olive trees" that stand before the "Lord of the earth" (Rev 11:4).  Humanity will be given the chance to repent of its sins before the coming of the Antichrist and the final day of reckoning, so that the Church can dress itself in virginal linen and become the Heavenly Jerusalem before it meets its Bridegroom.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Our Lady of Egypt

The visions of Our Lady in Egypt that took place between the years 1968-2009 are the undoubtedly the most widely witnessed Marian apparitions in history.  The numbers of those who have witnessed these events are estimated to be in the millions, and unlike the other great Marian apparitions, these visions belong to a category known in Catholic theology as visio sensibilis - i.e. they are an actual physical manifestation.  This is distinguished from the common class of visions known as visio imaginativa - where the apparitions are visible only to the seers themselves (like Fatima, Lourdes, etc.). Cardinal Bertone, the former secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and current Vatican secretary of state, lists the apparitions at Zeitoun as one of the very few modern apparitions officially recognized as authentic by the Catholic Church (See Bertone, T. The Last Secret of Fatima pp10-11).

Unlike Fatima and La Salette however, the apparitions in Egypt were not accompanied by a message, and their purpose has been somewhat of an enigma. In Unveiling the Apocalypse, I show how these apparitions appear to be connected with the prophecy of the Woman adorned with the Sun in Rev 12, and how the timing and location of the apparitions appear to be the message in itself.  There are many paralells between the Marian apparitions in Egypt and the account of the Woman adorned with the Sun in Rev 12. 

And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth. And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and on his heads seven diadems. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and cast them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she bore her child he might devour it. She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne, and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, in which she is to be nourished for 1,260 days. (Rev 12:1-6)

Chapter 12 of the Apocalypse is undoubtedly an apocalyptic retelling of the story of the nativity. The account of the Woman adorned with the Sun tells how she is with child and pursued by the Dragon intent on destroying her offspring, but the Woman escapes into the desert where she finds refuge for 1,260 days or three and a half years.  This scene is obvioiusly based on the events of the nativity, where the Holy Family is forced to flee into Egypt in order to escape from King Herod, who seeking to destroy his potential usurper orders the slaugther of the Holy Innocents.  The "three and a half years" may then give a date for Jesus' birth in 7BC (which would be in line with the triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn hypothesis for the Star of Bethlehem, since this event occurred in that year), and this time period would have ended in 4BC at the death of King Herod.

The modern apparitions of Our Lady in Egypt (which are those of Zeitoun from 1968-1971; Shobura from 1986-1991, Assiut from 2000-2001 and Warraq in 2009) have all occurred at places which are traditionally associated with the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt.  The apparitions took place over Coptic Churches whose names also seem to be of some significance.  Those of  Zeitoun occurred over a Church dedicated to St Mary herself, whilst those of Assiut took place over St Mark's - and it has been noted that the original apparitions which began in April 1968 coincided with the return of the relics of St Mark (who is the patron saint of Egypt) by Pope Paul VI to Alexandria (see here).  Those at Shoubra appeared over a church dedicated to St. Demiana - who in another "slaugther of the innocents" was massacared along with 40 other martyr-virgins during the persecution under Diocletian (see here).  Perhaps most tellingly, is the most recent appearances of Our Lady over the church dedicated to the Virgin Mary and Archangel Michael at Warraq in 2009.  The only place in Scripture that links the Virgin with the Archangel Michael is in Rev 12.

Above: Footage of the apparition at Warraq captured in 2009

If the apparitions in Egypt are connected with the prophecy of the Woman adorned with the Sun in Rev 12, then it would seem that their timing communicates the most important message in this regard.  By combining Rev 12 with the story of the nativity, we know that the Woman adorned with the Sun is forced to flee into the desert because the Dragon, intent on destroying her Child, instigates the slaughter of the Holy Innocents.  The event of the slaughter of the innocents was the primary reason for the flight of the Holy Family into Egypt.  It appears that a modern "slaughter of the innocents" may also have been the primary cause for this heavenly re-enactment of the flight into Egypt.  The apparitions in Zeitoun first began in April 1968 - the exact month when the Abortion Act came into effect in the UK (see here), which paved the way for the legalisation of abortion throughout the world.  Did the appearances of Our Lady at Zeitoun herald the arrival of a new "slaughter of the innocents" in the legalisation of abortion?

See also the related posts:
The Woman Adorned with the Sun
Our Lady of Assiut
Our Lady appears in Egypt again
The Fall of Satan
The Year of the Dragon
Signs in the Sky

Signs in the Sky

 "the sun became black as sackcloth..."

If we look at the imagery of Rev 12 more closely, we can see that it recapitulates the eschatological astronomical phenomena described earlier in the book - at the opening of the sixth seal. We are told that a great sign appeared in heaven (or according to some translations "the sky") of a Woman adorned with the Sun being pursued by a Great Red Dragon who sweeps a third of the stars from the sky. If we look at the text concerning the opening of the sixth seal we find rather similar language:

"When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood, and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.” (Rev 6:12-13)

I argue in Unveiling the Apocalypse that the great signs described as appearing in the sky in Rev 12:1-4 is a dramatisation of the astronomical events depicted at the opening of the sixth seal. Many ancients thought of a solar eclipses as a dragon attempting to devour the sun (see here for example). In Rev 12, the Woman represents the Sun itself, the Red Dragon attempting to devour the Woman's child is the moon, and the Dragon sweeping a third of the stars from the sky obviously relates to the stars falling to earth. So the "Divine Drama" of Rev 12 appears to be a celestial display reflecting events occurring in the heavenly sphere, and signify on earth the occurrence of the "war in heaven" described in Rev 12, which ultimately results in Satan's expulsion from heaven and confinement to the earthly realm.

Therefore, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to you, O earth and sea, for the devil has come down to you in great wrath, because he knows that his time is short!” And when the dragon saw that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child. (Rev 12:12-13).

In the book, I show how the signs that occur at the opening of the sixth seal describe a combination of events including an earthquake, a solar eclipse (the Sun becoming like "black as sackcloth", a lunar eclipse (when the moon appears with a blood-red hue), and a meteor shower.

"the full moon became like blood..."

My argument is that the moment of Satan's expulsion from heaven and confinement to the earthly realm would therefore be heralded by a combination of portents on earth - an earthquake, a total solar eclipse, a total lunar eclipse, and a major meteor shower.

"the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale..."

Also we can add to this "the sign of the Son of Man" which Jesus appends to these events in the Gospels:

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man" (Matt 24:29-30)

This "sign of the Son of Man" appears to be related to the original "sign of the Son of Man" - which was the Star of Bethlehem. Most scholars concur that the Star of Bethlehem was a combination of unusual planetary occurrences, and was most likely associated with a triple conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.

So with this unique combination of astronomical prodigies, it seems that we can attempt to pin an exact time for the moment of the expulsion of Satan from heaven - which I argue coincides with the implementation of the prophecy of the mark of the Beast. The mark of the Beast is a parody of the sealing of the 144,000 in heaven that occurs after the opening of the sixth seal (see Rev 7:1-8). Since the sealing of the 144,000 occurs as part of the sequence of events associated with the sixth seal, we can safely assume that these events are cotemporious with the mark of the Beast. Therefore the eschatological astronomical phenomena described at the opening of the sixth seal not only heralds Satan being cast to earth, but also the moment the prophecy of the mark of the Beast is implemented.

Each of the events described at the opening of the sixth seal occur on a regular enough basis - but it would be highly unusual for them all to occur within a short period of time, and all centring on a single location.

If we are to look for various astronomical signs that took place around the time period that the fall of Satan was prophesied to take place (as mentioned in the previous post), we find that every omen described in Rev 6:12-13 and Matt 24:29-30 all occurred within a one year period between the years 1999-2000, and that each of these signs appear to have centred around Western Turkey - which is the location of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor to whom the Book of Revelation was originally addressed. On 11th August 1999 the path of the total solar eclipse passed between the location of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor, and the Turkish city of Izmit (see the chart
here). Six days later, on the 17th August 1999, a huge earthquake struck Izmit killing over 17,000 people (see here). Later that year, in November 1999 (the date of the release of the first WAP phone), there was a Leonid meteor storm (which is the most prolific type of meteor shower known to astronomy - see here) which occurs every 33 years, and in January 2000 there was a total lunar eclipse, turning the moon blood red (see here). After this, on 5th May 2000 there was a rare alignment of the seven visible planets that were known to the ancients (see here), which was followed shortly thereafter on 30th May by a Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn (which as we noted above, is associated with the Star of Bethlehem see here). Did these various signs announce the expulsion of Satan from heaven, and the implementation of the prophecy of the mark of the Beast?

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The Year of the Dragon

The turn of the millennium was accorded a great deal of importance by a number of various seers and visionaries.  A considerable amount of prophecies foretold that this date was of special significance.  The original 1846 version of the Secrets of La Salette (which was recently found and published for the first time in 2002) for example, predicted that "a monster will come to disturb the peace" and that this would happen by "the year two thousand at the latest" (see here).   And we have already noted Fr Gobbi's prediction that this time period would see the implementation of the prophecy of the "mark" of the Beast, and that the door would be opened for the appearance of the Antichrist. 

There is also "the elephant in the room" which is Nostradamus' 1999 prophecy.  While the manner in which Nostradamus received his visions was extremely heterodox, and I would normally discourage Catholics from paying any attention to them, it would be ludicrous to gloss over this prophecy given the level of its fame.  Pope Benedict XIV summed up the Church's position on prophecy in his work  Heroic Virtue: On the Beatification and Canonization of the Servants of God:

The recipients of prophecy may be angels, devils, men, women, children, heathens, or gentiles; nor is it necessary that a man should be gifted with any particular disposition in order to receive the light of prophecy provided his intellect and senses be adapted for making manifest the things which God reveals to him.  Though moral goodness is most profitable to a prophet, yet it is not necessary in order to obtain the gift of prophecy

Therefore the gift of prophecy is not confined to Catholic saints and mystics, but outside these sources we are open to trickery and deceit, since we cannot tell if the prophecies are from authentic spiritual vision or if they are given through unclean spirits.  The prophecies of Nostradamus should not be consulted by Catholics, since its source is most likely of the latter category, and therefore leaves the believer open to deceit.  This being said, given that this particular prophecy made by Nostradamus is so well-known, and it fits so well with the other prophecies concerning the turn of the millennium, it would be remiss not to include some mention of it as long as we make this sharp distinction:
The year 1999 seven months
From the sky will come a great King of Terror:
To bring back to life the great King of the Angolmois,
Before and after Mars to reign by good luck.

Another famous prophecy concerning the turn of the millennium is attributed to "St John of the Cleft Rock" who is supposedly a 14th century monk.  I have tried to find the original source of this prophecy, but can't go back any further than Yves Dupont's book Catholic Prophecy, which contains many spurious prophecies.  And the "St. John of the Cleft Rock" this prophecy is attributed to is unknown to history (the only fourteenth century monk called John who predicted the coming of the Antichrist was Jean de Roquetaillade, and this was predicted to occur by the year 1360!).  So we should keep in mind that this is a pseudonymous prophecy of unknown time or origin:

“It is said about twenty centuries after the Incarnation of the Word, the Beast in its turn shall become man.  About the year 2000AD, Antichrist will reveal himself to the world.”

And then there is the prophecy of Pope Leo XIII, concerning the hundred years of Satan's power, which many believe finished at the end of the 20th century (see the post The Prophecy of Pope Leo XIII).
The central theme of each of these prophecies focus on either the fall of Satan or the appearance of the Antichrist (which both may be interrelated - what happens when Satan is cast to earth? Is this the moment he takes human form in the shape of the Antichrist?).
As I will be discussing in future posts, the fall of Satan described in chapter 12 of the Apocalypse is closely associated with the unique series of astronomical phenomena described at the opening of the sixth seal in chapter 6, which is in turn connected with the implementation of the prophecy of the mark of the Beast.  So each of these events - the fall of Satan, the rise of the Antichrist, and the prophecy of the mark of the Beast all appear to be coterminous, and all are heralded on earth through a series of astronomical omens.  As we shall see, these "signs in the sky", can all be connected with a series of unusual astronomical events that occurred between the years 1999-2000.  Did these signs announce the eschatological fall of Satan, and subsequent implementation of the prophecy of the mark of the Beast?