I remember when John Paul II was elected Pope, which is odd, because in that same year, Pope Paul VI died, and Pope John Paul I was elected and died. I don’t remember any of that. I just remember Pope John Paul II. I am not Catholic, but at the same time, I was saddened when John Paul II died. He had been Pope as long as I remembered. He had been the only Pope I had known. I had this feeling that the rug had been pulled out from under me in some way. A constant in my lifetime had changed. I knew he wouldn’t live forever, and I knew he was ailing and later, near death, but my reaction to his death was odd.
A couple of weeks ago, while looking for information about the papal candidates (papabili), because I knew nothing about any prominent cardinals who might replace John Paul II. In the course of my research, I came across this article. At first glance, it might seem to you that it was written after the fact, but I assure you, I read it weeks ago. It was then that I became aware of the prophecies of St. Malachy. I’m not saying I did research that verifies any of this, but there is enough information available with a simple Google search that satisfies me in regards to the last few Popes, anyway. In fact, it’s pretty creepy. So when the new Pope was elected and one of the students on a computer in the library announced it, I said something like “What name did he choose? Or do you know?”
The student said, “Benedict.”
My jaw dropped. “Are you serious?” I asked.
“Sure,” he said. “Why?”
“Nothing. Just some Catholic prophecy.”
Yeah. Some Catholic prophecy, all right.
So if St. Malachy is right, that means that Pope Benedict XVI is the Gloria olivae, the “Glory of the Olive,” then I find his first speech interesting:
Dear brothers and sisters, after the Great Pope John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in the Lord’s vineyard. I am comforted by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and act even with insufficient instruments. And above all, I entrust myself to your prayers. With the joy of the risen Lord and confidence in His constant help, we will go forward. The Lord will help us and Mary, His most holy mother, will be alongside us. Thank you.
The olive branch symbolizes peace. Because of Romans 11, many Christians also associate olives, more precisely, olive trees with Jews, thinking of themselves (Christians) as the branches grafted onto the olive tree, or made welcome as people of God, becoming part of the Chosen People. Is he the Glory of this particular Olive Tree? Is he in some way symbolic? Or will he simply be a man of peace? Or both? Or what?
I don’t know what to think, but I can’t deny I find it all intriguing.