Viva Il Papa

2:28 pm PHT

This entry is a tribute to a holy man who has led my Church for all my life. I have never known any other pope and I’m glad he was my pope since he is one of the most respected and most charismatic popes of the 20th century.

His passing marks a reign where he extended the hand of the Roman Catholic Church to all people. He has taken the steps to bring understanding between Catholics and the Jews, Muslims, Anglicans, Eastern Orthodox, and Protestants. His tireless effort against Communism brought down the Iron Curtain and the democratization of the former Soviet Union. John Paul II also defended the Church’s views on morality, especially on abortion, euthanasia, the division of the rich and poor, and human sexuality.

I’m glad he passed the way he did. Very fitting that it was on a First Saturday, in Easter. First Saturdays are dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary to whom John Paul II had a great devotion.

It was a long battle with Parkinson’s disease and a very trying final two months for the pope. I’m happy that he died peacefully and serene in his apartments in the Vatican. Catholics were spared from a political situation in which a pope becomes incapacitated but alive, unable to abdicate or to lead a Church of one billion whose head governs until death.

It’s interesting that Dan Brown became popular the way he did last year. His breakthrough novel, The Da Vinci Code, paved the way for a lot of people to read Angels & Demons. People at least now have an idea on what goes on when the College of Cardinals elect a Pope during a Conclave.

Of course it will all be political. The Italian clergy will be striving to put one of theirs back on Peter’s throne after the first non-Italian pope in 450 years reigned for 26 years. The Latin American faction, people say, will now have a chance for the first time to have their own pope. Then again, the possible compromise is to select another non-Italian but European cardinal. Read all about it on Wikipedia.

However, the most interesting thing I’ve discovered is the Prophecy of St. Malachy, which purports to predict all the popes starting from Celestine II (in the 12th century!) down to the last pope. Each pope was given a latin phrase which gives a clue to the identity of the pope. Many of the titles were eeriely too coincidental, depending on how you look at it. For instance the last three popes (Paul VI, John Paul I, and John Paul II) were given the phrases: Flos florum (flower of flowers), De medietate Lunae (of the half of the moon), and De labore Solis (of the labor of the sun/of the eclipse of the sun). Paul VI has three fleur-de-lis or lilies on his coat of arms, John Paul I reigned for just over a month (from one first quarter of the moon to the next), and John Paul II was born on a day with a solar eclipse.

What could be disturbing is that according to the prophecy, John Paul II, the 110th pope in the list, is the 3rd or 2nd to the last pope before the end. The original published prophecy lists 111 popes (the last given the title Gloria olivae [Glory of the Olive]) and a subsequent edition of the propechy adds a Petrus Romanus (Peter the Roman) at the end.

UPDATE: I was reading some blog posts on John Paul II and I came upon this one. This is the most moving tribute I have ever read.

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