A prophecy by a 12th-century Catholic saint that predicted characteristics of the last 112 popes appears to have been strengthened by the election of the new pontiff today.

The prophecy labels the new pope “the Glory of the Olive.” The Benedictine Order known as the Olivetans has as its symbol the olive branch. The new pope, though not of that order, chose as his name Benedict XVI.

St. Malachy, an Irish Catholic bishop, was known as a gifted prophet, even predicting the date of his own death in 1148. He was canonized in 1190 by Pope Clement III.

WorldNetDaily columnist Hal Lindsey wrote on April 8 about Malachy, explaining that, according to his biographer, the bishop was visiting Rome in 1139 when he went into a trance and received a vision. Malachy wrote down this extraordinary vision in which he claims to have foreseen all of the popes from the death of Innocent II until the destruction of the church and the return of Christ. He named exactly 112 popes from that time until the end.

St. Malachy wrote a few prophetically descriptive words in Latin about each one of the popes. He then gave the manuscript to Pope Innocent II and it was deposited in the Vatican Archives where it was forgotten for several centuries. Then in 1590, it was rediscovered and published.

Scholars have matched up the descriptions with each pope since that time. “Though they are a bit obscure, they have fit the general profile of each of the popes,” wrote Lindsey.

According to St. Malachy, there will be only two more popes before the destruction of Rome, including newly elected Benedict XVI.

Wrote Lindsey: “The prophecy concerning the 111th pope says of him, ‘Gloria Olivae,’ which means ‘the Glory of the Olive.’ Could it be that he will be from the Order of Saint Benedict, also known as the Olivetans? Could he be an African, a continent symbolized by the olive tree?

“The olive tree is also frequently a symbol for the Israelites in the Bible. Could this mean that this pope will be an Israelite who will be seen as the glory of his people? It bears watching as to who will be this pope.”

Joseph Ratzinger, 78, who was elected pope today by the College of Cardinals, chose as his name Benedict XVI. The name Benedict comes from the Latin word for “blessing.”

“St. Malachy predicts, ‘In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign “Petrus Romanus” (Peter the Roman), who will feed his flock amid many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people,'” wrote Lindsey.

“If any of this is true, then I suspect that the 111th pope will not live very long. We are just too close to the final events before Christ’s return for him to reign for a long period.”

The rest of Lindsey’s column analyzes how the last pope – the one after Benedict XVI, according to the prophecy, called “Peter the Roman” – would fit in with End Times biblical prophecy.

“The Order of Saint Benedict has claimed that this pope will come from their ranks,” states an analysis on BibleProbe.com. “St. Benedict himself prophesied [in the sixth century] that before the end of the world his order, known also as the Olivetans, will triumphantly lead the Catholic Church in its fight against evil.”

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