Tag Archives: Cardinal Bertone

The Last Pope: Part Three

Pope Francis I, Image from Wikipedia

Pope Francis I, Image from Wikipedia

On 12 March 2013, 117 Cardinal-Electors – the Papal Conclave – representing every corner of the globe, gathered within the confines of the Vatican’ Sistine Chapel. Their task… to elect the Roman Catholic Church’s new leader, a position vacant since the 28 February 2013 resignation of the erstwhile Pope Benedict XVI.

At 7.06pm on Wednesday 13 March 2013 – after less than 48 hours and three inconclusive ballots – white smoke billowed from the Chapel’s Chimney. A peal of bells accompanied Jorge Mario Bergoglio as he stepped onto St. Peter’s Central Balcony. No longer was he the Archbishop of Buenos Aires. He was now Pope Francis I – the 266th Pope. One also wonders whether Pope Francis was acutely aware of Saint Malachy’s ‘Prophecy of the Popes’ as he cast his shocked gaze upon the worshippers who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square to welcome him into his new position…

“The next Pope (after Benedict XVI) will be the final Pope. He will most likely be an Italian and yes, although not the actual antichrist, he will be very close to antichrist-like in stature.“

My Sister’s words from 2-3 years ago. Was she correct? Actually – in a manner of speaking – she was. As soon as the name ‘Bergoglio’ flashed across the monitor, I turned to look at my Partner. ‘Bergoglio is an Italian surname’, said I… ‘teaches me to doubt her…’, I thought, as I flashed an apologetic smile at her beautiful photo on our living room wall!

The surname ‘Bergoglio’ is an unusual surname, not one evenly distributed across Italy. ‘Bergoglio'(*1) is generally restricted to the Turin-None-Collegno area of the North-Western Italian region of Piemonte (Piedmont). This suggested that the Argentine-born Bergoglio’s family most likely hailed from the Turin location of Piemonte.

Pope Francis’ father, Mario, was, indeed, an Italian immigrant, who had been born in the Asti village of Portacomaro, located approx. 40kms SE of Turin. His Buenos Aries-born mother, Regina, was also born into a family of Piemontese-origin. Whilst Pope Francis was Argentine-born, he is resolutely Italian-blooded.

Image by SajoR, Wikipedia

Image by SajoR, Wikipedia

The 76 year old Pope Francis I is an intriguing choice. Born on 17 December 1936 in Buenos Aires, he is, technically, the first non-European Pope to have held the position of Pope for 1282 years (that position held by Syrian-born Gregory III in 731). He is the first Pope from the Americas. He is also the first Jesuit to have held the position of Pontiff in the entirety of Papal History. The choice of the name Francis (Franciscus) was, said Vatican representatives, was chosen ‘in honour’ of the 12th Century Saint, Francis of Assisi, who had eschewed a privileged life in favour of a life of impoverished, yet spiritual service to God.

Pope Francis I is known for sharing St. Francis of Assisi’s simple approach to life; upon taking the position of Archbishop of Buenos Aires 13 years ago, Bergoglio rejected the luxurious live-in accommodation and transportation offered with the job, choosing to live in accordance with his beliefs – in a small apartment, cooking his own meals, using trains to reach the Office each day.

Internet communities speculate, however, that St. Francis of Assisi may not have been the inspiration of the Papal name, with St. Francis of Xavier and St. Francis de Sales also being proffered as amenable possibilities. Francis of Assisi, Francis of Xavier and Francis de Sales share a common bond – eschewing privileged lives in favour of lives of simplistic poverty in service to God. Francis of Xavier and Francis de Sales, unlike Francis of Assisi, were educated within Jesuit-founded environments.

My knowledge of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) is woefully inadequate. I am, however, aware that the Order, founded in Montmartre in August 1534 by Ignatius of Loyola, is regarded with a healthy degree of suspicion. They are frequently referenced as ‘God’s Marines’. Indeed, Ignatius of Loyola, along with co-founder Francis of Xavier, enjoyed militaristic careers prior to their decisions to follow lives of devotion and service to God. Noted astrophysicist and researcher, Susan Rennison (*2), describes the Jesuits as ‘the Roman Catholic Church’s ‘Elite Taskforce’‘. The Guardian‘s Sam Jones addresses the question ‘Who Are The Jesuits?‘ in an eponymous article, found on their website today. I recommend this as a good starting point for any investigations into establishing the Society’s raison d’être.

Upper half of Page 311, detailing the final part of the "Prophetia S. Malachiae Archiepiscopi, de Summis Pontificibus"

Upper half of Page 311, detailing the final part of the “Prophetia S. Malachiae Archiepiscopi, de Summis Pontificibus”

I include myself amongst those who suspected that either incumbent Camerlengo, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone or current Archbishop of Ghana, Peter Turkson, were the likeliest candidates for the Papal Seat. Common interpretations of St. Malachy’s description of the final Pope included the following:

  1. He was to be an Italian;
  2. He was to be an Italian born in Rome;
  3. He was to be a Cardinal with the actual name of Peter (e.g. Cardinal Peter Turkson).

The final description states ‘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‘.

There is something we need to remember about the name ‘Petrus Romanus’. According to Roman Catholic teachings, Saint Peter, one of the original Disciples of Jesus Christ, was the Bishop of Rome, Chief Pastor of the Roman Catholic Church. Whilst Saint Peter was never actually an elected Pope, the Roman Catholic Church widely recognises him as their First Pontiff. Every single Pope since Saint Peter, therefore, could be regarded as ‘Petrus Romanus’.

As Wikipedia states, the name Peter is a derivative of the Latin word ‘petrus’, which loosely translates to ‘rock’. The literal translation of ‘Petrus Romanus’, therefore, is ‘The Roman Rock’ or ‘The Rock of Rome’. Again, a title which can easily apply to every Pope from Saint Peter to Pope Francis.

Perhaps we have been taking the translation too literally. Perhaps we should really be concentrating on the substance of the Prophecy as opposed to the identity of the Pope concerned? My Sister’s message concentrated more on the management style and public perception of the Last Pontiff. What does translate clearly is that the Roman Catholic Church is facing a potential battle for survival – and 117 Cardinal-Electors have potentially placed a Crown of Thorns upon the head of its first Jesuit Pope…

Further Interest
(*1) Meaning of the surname Bergoglio: http://www.cognomiitaliani.org/cognomi/cognomi0002er.htm
(*2) Susan Joy Rennison – News of the Imbalance: http://www.susanrennison.com/News_oftheimbalance.php#Latest_News1

The Last Pope – Part Two

Upper half of Page 311, detailing the final part of the "Prophetia S. Malachiae Archiepiscopi, de Summis Pontificibus"

Upper half of Page 311 of Arnold Wyon’s 1595 ‘Lignum Vitae’, detailing the final part of the “Prophetia S. Malachiae Archiepiscopi, de Summis Pontificibus

The following has been taken from Chapter 25 of my original complete (unpublished) book of ‘A Journey Into The Mysteries of Life’. It was written circa July/August 2012. The messages from my Sister occurred during December 2010, January-March and November 2011. At the time of writing, Vatican sources insisted that the Pope would remain in his position. Yesterday’s events, however, changed everything.’

As I write this book, I had noted rumours detailed in certain sections of the Italian media that were speculating the possibility of Benedict XVI considering retirement from his position in April 2012. 78 years of age upon his election to the Papacy in 2005, the Pope is now fast approaching 85 years of age. However, such rumours have been vehemently denied by the Vatican, who announced that Benedict XVI was expected to be undertaking tours of Mexico and Cuba before Easter 2012 (which did, indeed, take place). Proposed tours of the Lebanon and the Ukraine are also close to organisational finalisation (note: a three day tour of the Lebanon occurred in September 2012). In their 19th December 2011 article, ‘The Irish Times‘(*1) explained that, although the Pope’s travelling commitments have been ‘scaled back’ for next year (note: 2012), those commitments already confirmed are/were strenuous for a man of his advanced years.

Whilst one feels slightly uneasy about speculating the identity of the future Petrus Romanus (uneasy because the current Pope is alive), one cannot help but feel curious about the topic. Bearing fully in mind that curiosity can occasionally fell a feline, I have decided to follow the scant leads provided by my Sister and undertake some detective work.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (Image from Wikipedia)

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (Image from Wikipedia)

An afternoon’s research has drawn me to two particular names, one of whom is very much considered papabile (suitable for service as Pope).  The first notable name to leap out of the screen is that of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone (*2).   Born in Romano Caravese, Piedmont, Italy in December 1934, the Cardinal’s full birth name is Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone.  He is a Prelate, Diplomat and Cardinal Secretary of State and Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church. He is also the current Cardinal-Bishop of Frascati. He has strong links to the current and previous Popes and is considered conservative in theological outlook, reflecting the views of the Incumbent Pope.   Cardinal Bertone certainly seems an intriguing candidate to me.  One of his middle names – Pietro – is Italian for Peter.   Cardinal Bertone holds the next highest position in the Vatican after the Pope.  Intriguingly, one of the roles of the Camerlengo (Chamberlain) of the Holy Roman Church is to oversee the affairs of the Church in the absence of either an elected or incapacitated Pope.  As mentioned earlier in the chapter, it has been strongly rumoured that Malachy’s prediction may imply that the final Pope may not be elected but merely act as caretaker.   The Camerlengo could justifiably fulfil the prophecy.  Add my Sister’s assertion that the next Pope was likely to be an Italian – and we potentially have a perfect candidate. However, I feel there must be another candidate who may potentially fill the potentially tarnished seat in St. Peter’s… and there is another likely candidate for the position of the Last Pope – Petrus Romanus….

Image from Wikipedia

Cardinal Peter Turkson (Image from Wikipedia)

A well-known search engine led me to a fascinating article on the website of ‘The Independent‘. Dated August 2010, the article, ‘The Young Tearaway Who’s in the Running to be next Pope?‘(*3) tells the reader about the Incumbent Cardinal of Ghana, Peter Turkson. Cardinal Turkson, born in the former British Colony of the Gold Coast in October 1948, could easily be considered the young tearaway of the Vatican – 63 years of age (note, now 64 years of age) in comparison to his septuagenarian colleagues sitting around the table of the Roman Curia (the administrative core and central governing body of the Church). In fact, the tearaway reference relates to the young Turkson’s exasperating adolescent behaviour prior to his calling to his vocation within the Roman Catholic Church.

The article states that the Cardinal was not particularly ambitious in nature. However, he has achieved a rapid ascent into the higher echelons of the Vatican’s organisation. Cardinal Turkson does not only hold the position of the Cardinal of Ghana; Benedict XVI appointed him as the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in 2009. The main responsibility Cardinal Turkson has been tasked with is – as I see it – to mould Catholic social teachings into an attractive, more palatable offering for the modern-day Global Community. His secretary, or second-in-command at the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, is Bishop Mario Tosa, who was handpicked for the position by the aforementioned Camerlengo, Cardinal Bertone.

The rapid ascent into the Vatican’s inner sanctum that is the Roman Curia is not the main factor leading me to believe that Cardinal Turkson may have already been potentially lined up as Peter the Roman: the already-intended successor to Benedict XVI. The main clue (for me at least) was Turkson’s involvement in a report entitled ‘Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority‘ (*4). The 41-page report, co-authored with Bishop Tosa, was released by the Department for Justice and Peace in October 2011 – calling for the ‘establishment of a Global Public Authority‘ and the ‘formation of a Central World Bank‘. Whilst the work has been considered a novel approach, my Sister has assured me that the Vatican has never abandoned its expansionist ambitions – and that centralisation of such functions was, indeed, desirable to them. “Of course,” says my Sister, “guess what the centralised religion would be?

Image by Tilen Hrovatic,  Public Domain Pictures

Image by Tilen Hrovatic, Public Domain Pictures

I really cannot state with absolute certainty that Cardinal Turkson is destined to become Peter the Roman. It is mere conjecture on my part and one felt the need to offer an alternative suggestion. However, with St. Malachy’s ominous prophecy echoing from centuries past – and bearing in mind the recent self-inflicted travails of the Church – it would appear that the next Pope will have many challenges on his hands. The ultimate crowning glory of ecumenical success would seem to converge neatly with many End Times prophecies – Peter the Roman may be forced to drink from his own poisoned chalice. I am also leaning towards the belief that the Last Pope’s own influence may be restricted by the backroom staff – a mere figurehead, so to speak. Perhaps Peter the Roman’s only role will be that of the proverbial sacrificial lamb… only realising at the last moment that he, too, has been deceived by the true powers behind his throne. The Roman Catholic Church’s public Jesus to the Curia’s Judas Iscariot…

… or it may be that Peter the Roman could be considered the Church’s saviour – charming, erudite, superficially holy in approach – but could then horrify the faithful flock with far-reaching changes either controversial or draconian in measure. Perhaps he will either be ultra-conservative in his approach – or liberal to the point of total lassitude. Or worse…”

(*1) ‘Pope Unlikely to Visit Ireland for Eurcharistic Congress in June’, Paddy Agrew, The Irish Times (Monday December 19, 2011);
(*2) Tarcisio Bertone, Wikipedia;
(*3) ‘The Young Tearaway Who’s In the Running to be Next Pope‘, Hugh O’Shaughnessy, The Independent (Sunday 29 August 2010);
(*4) ‘Vatican Council Proposes A Global Financial Authority‘, David Kerr, Vatican City, Catholic News Agency (October 24, 2011).