Rather than purposely choosing the name Benedict to fulfill a 12th-century prophecy about the papacy, the new pope chose his moniker as a reference to sixth-century St. Benedict and his quest to protect Rome from invading German pagans, a Catholic scholar and writer says, claiming the pontiff hopes to protect the modern-day Church from destructive philosophies that originated in Germany.

Mary Jo Anderson told WorldNetDaily she is not impressed with those who point to the prophecy of St. Malachy as having been further fulfilled with the election of Pope Benedict XVI.

As WorldNetDaily reported, Malachy’s 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.

A Catholic bishop, Malachy was visiting Rome in 1139 when he went into a trance and received a vision, according to his biographer. 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 of the church.

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

Anderson described Malachy’s prophecy as “spotty in its accuracy.”

Said Anderson: “There are some [papal prophecies] that are remarkably accurate and others that fell sort of flat, or you really have to twist yourself around to make it work.

“It has purchase power among some Catholics and some evangelicals or prophecy-minded Christians who look with great comfort toward some sort of pointer toward what the future would be.”

Anderson, however, looks at the prophecy “with great caution,” saying Malachy’s purpose in writing was not to look into a “spiritual crystal ball” but rather as a way to point out that “God’s Providence provides the right man at the right moment in church history.”

Said Anderson: “Knowledgeable Catholics put far more credence in the work of the Holy Spirit than they do in anybody’s prophecy,” stressing that the Church does not require its members to believe in any prophecy.

Christian revelation was closed when the Apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation, died, Anderson asserted. “There will be no new revelation after that,” she said, including prophecies – even those the Catholic Church permits members to follow.

More exciting than a purported fulfillment of St. Malachy’s prophecy, Anderson says, is the reason she believes the new pope chose Benedict XVI as his name.

“The original St. Benedict helped defend Rome against the invading pagan Germanic tribes,” she said. “That’s the real reason. The pope is sending a message to Germany. Where did all the ‘isms’ come from? Nihilism, Marxism, Fascism, socialism.”

In his homily opening the Cardinals’ conclave on Monday, Anderson points out, then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a German, mentioned several “isms” that threaten the world and that the church must take a stand against.

“Far more exciting than Malachy’s prophecies is to look into the mind of Ratzinger, which is far more intelligent than a popular prophecy that has been reinterpreted a zillion times,” she said.

“I think this Benedict is telling us, ‘I’m going to defend Rome, i.e., the Roman Catholic Church, from the invading Germanic wrong-headed philosophical threats – all the “isms.”‘”

Catholic website SpiritDaily also mentions the connection to St. Benedict and a spiritual battle, stating, “St. Benedict was constantly assaulted by the evil one but rose above that with the monastic rule of life – just as the former Cardinal Ratzinger will almost surely face a far more open form of crushing evil at a time when there are what the late Pope John Paul II, in one of his very last writings, called ‘dark shadows’ enshrouding the planet.”

Prophecy expert Hal Lindsey, who wrote a column about St. Malachy’s prophecy on April 8, puts more credence in the saint’s pronouncement about the new pope than does Anderson.

“Whatever inspired St. Malachy’s predictions, they continue to be right on,” Lindsey told WND. “The pope’s impact will be very great in setting up the world for the coming Antichrist.”

Lindsey told Joseph Farah on his nationally syndicated radio show today: ” If St. Malachy is right, the glory of the olive will be imprinted on what he [the new pope] does, and secondly, he won’t live very long – because we’re at an advanced stage in Bible prophecy, so he couldn’t live very long. We have to go to the last pope very soon in order to stay current with this prophetic scenario that’s already in place.”

In his column, Lindsey points out that the pope who takes office after Benedict XVI will be, according to Malachy’s prophecy, the final pope before Rome is destroyed.

“I don’t believe [Benedict XVI] will live long, probably about five years,” Lindsey told a caller on Farah’s show. “But he will have an enormous impact. … He will extend the power and influence of the church before he dies.

“And then the 112th pope, who is called ‘Peter the Roman,’ he is the one who is going to play a very clear role [in the End Times scenario].”

The SpiritDaily analysis also points to St. Malachy’s prophecy:

“In the true way that prophecy operates, many expected that, to fulfill Malachy’s prophecy, the next pope would have to be a Benedictine – when in fact it turned out to be a cardinal who meditated in Benedictine monasteries and took the name Benedict!”

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