Yesterday’s sudden resignation of Pope Benedict XVI surprised a great many, not least in the Orthodox world, where bishops, let alone popes, do not voluntarily resign, except in exceptional circumstances. For Roman Catholics, it was perhaps even more shocking, for ‘infallible’ popes are supposed to continue their duties until the very end, as did John-Paul II.
Those of an apocalyptic frame of mind point out that the so-called ‘Prophecy of Malachi’ states that the next Pope of Rome will be the last one. According to this Prophecy, probably made up just over 400 years ago, this last Pope will be called ‘Peter’. Some point out that the frontrunner in the race to become the next Pope is the Ghanaian, Cardinal Peter Turkson.
Ironically, only a few hours after Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, according to Catholic traditionalists a freemason, had compared the resignation to a bolt of lightning in a clear sky, the dome of the Vatican’s Basilica of St Peter was struck by lightning. Photographs of this can be seen on the Internet.
Nevertheless, there is a feeling that the resignation must have been prompted by some extreme force. Speculation has begun that Pope Benedict XVI was forced into resigning by the pro-secularist and liberal protestantising party in the Vatican. Whether indeed the Vatican is finally to be swallowed by its own Western offspring, only time will show. If this is the case, it will at least force political ecumenists in certain Local Orthodox Churches to reflect on their real beliefs. In that way at least, this resignation may be salutary.