New Pope, End of the World

​The end-of-the-world prophecies picked up steam around Halloween time last year, running like a locomotive into the December snow. Of course, the world never ended. I’m still here, baseball and peanuts are still here, and rock ‘n roll isn’t dead. Yup, the world is turning on the same old axis that it’s been spinning on for the past ten gazillion years, or however many years those darn scientists claim the world has endured. This world hasn’t changed a bit. With the recent resignation proclamation of the Pope (try saying that five times fast), those old bucket-kicking end-of-the-world prophecies have climbed out from the attic once again. No, these ideas weren’t inspired by some secondhand, off-brand religion; these were created by a Saint of the big, bad Catholic Church itself, which must give the theory some credibility…right? St. Malachy, a twelfth-century Archbishop from Ireland, made his now-famous prophecy around 1139. According to the prediction, there would be exactly 112 Popes before Judgment Day. Or as it has been called in some more elaborate schemes, the Warning or Tribulation. Whatever, it’s a matter of opinion. What does this have to do with Benedict XVI? Well, he just happens to be the 111thPope since the prophecy. On a calculator, that leaves only one more Pope before the beginning of the end—Benedict’s successor. After that, the Anti-Christ will take over. Supposedly. Furthermore, the prediction claims the final Pope will be a Roman named Peter, or Pietros. It just so happens that one legitimate candidate for the papacy is named Peter Turkson. However, he is from Ghana, not Rome. His name has a different meaning. “There are no Pietros among the living cardinals; two Pierres (as second name): Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir and Jean-Pierre Ricard; and one Pedro: Rubiano Sáenz,” claims Salvador Miranda, founder of the website ‘The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church.’* More ingredients were added to the stirring pot last week when the St. Peter’s Basilica was struck with lightning on the same exact day Pope Benedict announced his intent. Filippo Monteforte, who photographed the wonder, said, “ I took the picture from St. Peter’s Square while sheltered by the columns. It was icy cold and the rain was falling in sheets. When the storm started, I thought that lightning might strike the rod, so I decided it was worth seeing whether – if it DID strike – I could get the shot at exactly the right moment.”** He continued, “The first bolt was huge and lit up the sky, but unfortunately I missed it. I had better luck the second time, and was able to snap a couple of images of the dome illuminated by the bolt.” Is that a sign from God, or just a natural coincidence? “ Theologically and organizationally, the Church pays no attention to this,” Father James Weiss, a professor at Boston College recently stated.* That’s it. The Church has backed away from the proclamation. The deal is off. Those bucket-kicking end-of-the-world theories can crawl back into the attic. If it happens, it happens. But, until then, I’ll be watching baseball, eating peanuts, and listening to rock n’ roll. Oh, and watching the new Pope get elected. That’ll be pretty interesting. I hope his Papacy is long and fruitful. *Quote recorded by Huffington Post **Quote recorded by TIME magazine