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Did Saint Francis Predict Pope Francis?

Discussion in 'Church Critique' started by Mac, Nov 14, 2017 at 4:08 AM.

  1. Mac

    Mac "To Jesus, through Mary"

    Written by Christopher A. Ferrara

    Traditionalists are often derided by neo-Catholic commentators for relying on supposedly apocryphal quotations from Popes or saints bearing on the current ecclesial crisis. But these critics never demonstrate that the oft-cited quotations are apocryphal; they merely assert that they must be, as they seem too probative to be true. This is often done in comment boxes or responses to online queries at neo-Catholic websites, wherein the neo-Catholic commentator professes he can find no source for a given quotation—meaning he hasn’t bothered to do any serious investigation beyond a few Google searches.

    Take this quotation of Pius XII, for example, speaking in 1931 when he was still Monsignor Pacelli, serving as Pius XI’s Secretary of State:

    I am worried by the Blessed Virgin’s messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide that would be represented by the alteration of the faith, in her liturgy, her theology and her soul….

    I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments and make her feel remorse for her historical past.

    A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them. Like Mary Magdalene, weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, “Where have they taken Him?”

    When I first cited this quotation some 17 years ago, I was contacted by a very prominent neo-Catholic luminary who demanded a source for it, because he and his friends believed it was “apocryphal.” I did not receive the courtesy of a thank-you when I pointed him to pp. 52-53 of Msgr. Roche’s biography of Pius XII, Pie XII Devant L’Histoire (Paris: Editions Robert Laffont, 1972), an out-of-print French-language work I managed to obtain after an extensive search of used book seller inventory. The French original text confirms the accuracy of the English translation I had seen before I cited the statement.

    A Modernist apostate priest, one Emile Poulet, who left the priesthood and married, attempted to cast doubt on the credibility of Msgr. Roche’s account of the words of the future Pius XII. Small wonder: Poulet, who died in 2014 at the age of 94, belonged to the “worker-priest” movement that none other than Pius XII had condemned, as I notehere. His attempt to debunk the quotation involved nit-picking about what he claimed were factual errors elsewhere in the Roche biography. But he had no evidence that the quotation as such was a fabrication. He simply wished that it was so.

    Let’s give our neo-Catholic friends another “apocryphal” quotation to dismiss out of hand. This one pertains to an astonishing prophecy by Saint Francis of Assisi about a future occupant of the Chair of Peter:

    A short time before the holy Father’s [St. Francis’] death, he called together his children and warned them of the coming troubles:

    “Act bravely, my brethren; take courage and trust in the Lord. The time is fast approaching in which there will be great trials and afflictions; perplexities and dissensions, both spiritual and temporal, will abound; the charity of many will grow cold, and the malice of the wicked will increase. The devils will have unusual power; the immaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured that there will be very few Christians who obey the true Supreme Pontiff and the Roman Church with loyal ears and perfect charity.

    “At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into error and death. Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, and many others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to error instead of opposing it.

    “There will be such diversity of opinions and schisms among the people, the religious and the clergy, that, except those days were shortened, according to the words of the Gospel, even the elect would be led into error, were they not specially guided, amid such great confusion, by the immense mercy of God….

    Those who persevere in their fervor and adhere to virtue with love and zeal for the truth, will suffer injuries and persecutions as rebels and schismatics; for their persecutors, urged on by the evil spirits, will say they are rendering a great service to God by destroying such pestilent men from the face of the earth…

    “Some preachers will keep silent about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days Our Lord Jesus Christ will send them, not a true Pastor, but a destroyer.” [paragraph breaks added]

    This quotation appears in Works of the Seraphic Father, St. Francis of Assisi, published in 1882 by the London-based Catholic publishing house R. Washbourne, 1882, pp. 248-250). It is readily available as a Google book. The same book, it must be noted, contains an appendix setting forth “Doubtful Works of Saint Francis,” of which the quotation is not part. Thus, the publisher itself carefully distinguished the authentic prophecies of Saint Francis from what might be apocryphal. Moreover, in 1882 there could hardly have been any “radical traditionalist” motive to circulate phony quotations of the saint.

    [​IMG]"St. Francis in Ecstacy", Caravaggio, 1595

    Saint Francis’ prophecy is clearly not a prediction of the Great Western Schism (1378-1417), which did not involve a “destroyer” on the Chair of Peter who leads the faithful into error, widespread apostasy, and the persecution of faithful Catholics as “schismatics.” But it does contain elements very familiar to us today. And what inference might one draw from the coincidence that Saint Francis’ prophecy of a future “destroyer” in the papal office seems to correspond rather well with the pontificate of the only Pope who has taken Francis’ name as his own?

    Something else to consider: Saint Francis, one of the greatest saints in Church history, one of the few who is known and revered by the whole world, freely revealed his vision of an ecclesial destroyer who usurps the papal office. That is, Saint Francis did not suffer from the currently reigning papolatry, which holds that the indefectibility of the Church depends upon defending every word and deed of a given Pope as somehow consistent with Tradition and declares absolutely inadmissible the idea that the holder of the Petrine office could be a threat to the integrity of the Faith. Rather, Saint Francis, illuminated by heaven itself, recognized the coming reality of what Saint Robert Bellarmine, a Doctor of the Church, hypothesized as possible in principle, to cite another “apocryphal” quotation:

    Just as it is licit to resist the Pontiff that aggresses the body, it is also licit to resist the one who aggresses souls or who disturbs civil order, or, above all, who attempts to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist by not doing what he orders and by preventing his will from being executed…

    De Controversiis on the Roman Pontiff, trans. Ryan Grant (Mediatrix Press: 2015), Book II, Chapter 29, p. 303.

    Did Saint Francis predict the coming of Pope Francis? That is not for us to judge, although the Church may well issue a judgment of Francis like that of the posthumous anathema of Honorius I. Would Saint Francis have been horrified by the words and deeds of the Pope who has presumed to take his name? That question answers itself.

    SgCatholic and gracia like this.
  2. Dean

    Dean Archangels

    No. His election was valid
  3. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Excellent, very helpful to know, thanks. That places this prophecy in an entirely new light. I had dismissed it in the past as likely apocryphal but this makes it much harder to ignore.
    gracia likes this.
  4. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Interesting how it also mentions the sanctity of life and the context of what has happened to the JPII institute and JPII’s body of magisterial teachings in general, as well as the reemergence of the so called seamless garment theory.
    gracia likes this.
  5. padraig

    padraig New Member

    St Francis did on 12 October 1226. The book quoted a source to the alleged prophecy was 1882 some 656 years later. So it is very far from being a contemporary source and I note no contemporary source is given. I do not find then in this article any credible historic evidence to prove that this alleged prophecy is authentic.

    It reminds me of a saying my mother used to say, 'If you believe all you hear, you'll eat all you see!'

    But if someone does have any real evidence that Pope Francis did in fact say this I am all eyes and ears. But a book written may centuries after his death does not count as such a source.

    I am a little surprised at Christopher Ferrara citing this, he has a fine mind. But I suppose it is a case of wishful thinking.

  6. Mac

    Mac "To Jesus, through Mary"

    I think Chris has put forward a pretty good case that the prophecy cannot be written off so easily.
    It is in a book written 140yrs ago with no agenda, and the same book also deals with ...'' The same book, it must be noted, contains an appendix setting forth “Doubtful Works of Saint Francis,” of which the quotation is not part.''

    Also I think Desmond Birch has traced the prophecy back a few hundred years. But not to its credit.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2017 at 7:57 AM
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  7. davidtlig

    davidtlig Powers

    Yes. And even if the prophecy is authentic, as Mark Mallett points out in a three year old article, it does not refer to Pope Francis. Here is a quote from his article:

    While some already felt this prophecy was fulfilled in the great schism, which desolated the Church after the election of Urban VI, [3] it is understandably tempting not to apply it in some way to our times. In just the relatively brief period of the past 40-50 years, scandals have multiplied, religious orders have been obliterated, and there is such a diversity of opinion on basic moral law, Blessed John Paul II rightly lamented that “Vast sectors of society are confused about what is right and what is wrong.” [4]

    It is during this time of moral chaos that St. Francis sees very few Christians ‘who will obey the true Sovereign Pontiff.’ He says ‘true,’ which implies that there would be an “untrue” pope, which is precisely what he goes on to prophesy:

    At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into error and death.

    It is this man whom St. Francis is referring to when he says, ‘…in those days, Our Lord Jesus Christ will send them not a true Pastor, but a destroyer.’ Yes, in the Old Testament, God often sent the Israelites an immoral or oppressive leader in order to chastise His people when they went astray.

    Could this be Pope Francis in the saint’s prophecy? Simply, no. The reason is that he was canonically elected. He is not an anti-pope. This was acknowledged by no less than the former head of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith who is one of the greatest theologians in modern times, his predecessor, Benedict XVI. And not a single Cardinal, particularly those more renowned faithful and holy sons of the Church, has stepped forward to say that something incongruous took place in the Conclave or in Benedict’s resignation.

    There is absolutely no doubt regarding the validity of my resignation from the Petrine ministry. The only condition for the validity of my resignation is the complete freedom of my decision. Speculations regarding its validity are simply absurd… [My] last and final job [is] to support [Pope Francis’] pontificate with prayer. —POPE EMERITUS BENEDICT XVI, Vatican City, Feb. 26th, 2014​


  8. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I think another difficulty with St Francis is, as far as I know he never actually wrote anything himself. So already what we get from him is written by another in a secretarial capacity.

    I know this quote of Pope Francis is all over Traditional Catholic sites as though it was the voice of God. But I read this alleged , 'Prophesy' many years ago. The first question being , 'did the saint actually say this and who wrote it down? What is the source?

    N one to my knowledge has ever traced this back to any contemporary source whatsoever. So I never have found it the least bit believable ; more especially in that it is being related to such a serious, serious matter.

    If anyone can place it to a serious believable source of the period I would love to hear from them. But giving that it is currently unsourced I don't think we can lend it any credibility whatsoever. The best we can say is it is a kind of running legend or story we can trace back a couple of hundred years.

    But no more than this.

    Its not historical with no source.
  9. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I am perfectly open to believe the author had no agenda. But without giving a PRIMARY source, this is not history but the stuff of legends, like King Arthur and the Round Table. Or the supposed prophesies of St Malachy. The difficulty is when we start using stuff like this to make a case we at once lay ourselves open to ridicule.

  10. BrianK

    BrianK Resident Kook, Crank, Curmudgeon - & Mod Staff Member

    Interesting comments from the essay at the link:

    • [​IMG]
      Emmett O'Regan
      9 hours ago
      So, are we to dispense with the dogma of the indefectibility of the Church in favour of a bogus prophecy concocted by the heretical Franciscan Spirituals? I have already exposed this prophecy as a fraud in my 2014 CTS booklet "The End of the World: What Catholics Believe". It can only be traced back as far as Luke Wadding's compilation, which he appears to have got from Mark of Lisbon. There is evidence to suggest that it is actually a fragment of Peter Olivi's now lost commentary on the Apocalypse - all copies of which were ordered to be burned because of their heretical content. One of Olivi's disciples falsely attributed this prophecy to St. Francis of Assisi to lend an air of greater authority. Olivi is one of the chief culprits of the "papal antichrist" theory which fomented the Protestant Revolt. Do you really want to be peddling his heresies in order to deny a dogma of the faith?

      • [​IMG]
        Chris Ferrara
        Emmett O'Regan20 minutes ago
        So, according to you, Luke Wadding "appears" to have gotten the prophecy from the compilation Mark of Lisbon. But Mark of Lisbon is a recognized Franciscan historian, not some crazy heretic.

        So, you attempt to discredit Mark of Lisbon by suggesting he might have gotten the prophecy from the Peter John Olivi,whom you dismiss as a heretic, although he died in the good graces of the Church.

        According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, only certain sentences of his commentary on the Apocalypse were excised, there being no reference to any excision of the prophecy you claim originated with him. Yet you surmise that Lisbon got the prophecy from Olivi, whom you surmise set it forth in his Commentary on the Apocalypse, which you claim is lost because all the copies were burned. That's funny, because you can buy it here: https://www.franciscanpubli.... It seems fourteen manuscripts survived.

        At any rate, Olivi was a deluded visionary of future liberalization in the Church, and thus it hardly seems likely he would invent a prophecy condemning a future heterodox usurper of the papal throne. So what is your precise proof that Olivi is the source of the "fake" prophecy?

        Oh wait. You say that it was one of Olivi's disciples who falsely attributed the prophecy to Francis. But which disciple, in which text, and where can we find the text of the false attribution? And what is your proof that the attribution is false?

        By the way, the prophecy has nothing to do with the indefectibility of the Church, which you would know if you understood what the dogma means. But then, you are the same fellow who argued, in defense of Amoris Laetitia, that the Pope teaches infallibly on faith and morals even when he teaches non-infallibly.
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  11. padraig

    padraig New Member

    mmm this a lot closer to the right time



    Friar Minor and chronicler. The fact that there were two Friars Minor named Bartholomew living in Pisa at the same time has caused considerable confusion, and most recent writers, following Marianus of Florence, Mark of Lisbon, and Wadding, have fallen into the error of attributing to Bartholomew Albisi the famous "Book of Conformities", which was really written by Bartholomew Rinonico. The latter, with whom we are here concerned, was a Pisan of noble family. In 1352 he was a student at Bologna and later filled the office of Lector there as well as at Padua, Pisa, Sienna, and Florence. He also preached for many years with great succession different Italian cities. He died about 1401, renowned no less for sanctity than for learning, and is commemorated in the Franciscan Martyrology in 4 November.

    Bartholomew's chief title to fame rests upon his remarkable book, "De Conformitate Vitae B. P. Francisco ad Vitam Domini Nostri Jesu Christi", begun in 1385 and formally approved by the general chapter held at Assisi in 1399. Enthusiastically received on its appearance and long held in high esteem, this work became the object of bitter and stupid attacks on the part of Lutherans and Jansenists. Against it Erasmus Alber wrote the "Alcoranus Franciscanus" (Der Barfusser Monche Eulenspiegel und Alcoran mit ciner Vorrede D. M. Luthers, 1531) in reply to which Henry Sedulius, O.F.M., published his "Apologeticus adversus Alcoranum Franciscanorum pro libro Conformitatum" (Antwerp, 1607). Subsequent writers on Franciscan history treated the Pisan's work with most unmerited ostracism; more recently it has come to be lauded in certain circles in terms which savour of exaggeration. Between these extreme views, the patient and discerning student will find the "Conformities" a book of very uneven value. The parallels between the lives of Our Lord and St. Francis which form its basis are sometimes forced, but nowhere does it make St. Francis the equal of Christ. Side by side with fantastic legends, ridiculous visions, and other absurdities, it contains much really credible and precious historical information, revealing besides a deep knowledge of Scripture and theology and a critical temper not usual at the time it was written. It is rightly considered a source of great importance for students of Franciscan history. It was first printed at Milan in 1510 and in 1513. The new edition published at Bologna in 1590 is mutilated and corrupted, especially in the historical parts, at almost every page. A sorely needed critical edition of the text has lately been published in tom. IV of the "Analecta Franciscana" (Quaracchi, 1906).

    In addition to the "Conformities", Bartholomew left some thirty other works, including an exposition of the Rule of the Friars Minor found in the "Speculum" Morin (Rouen, 1509) and a book "De Vita B. Mariae Virginis", published at Venice in 1596; his Lenten sermons were printed at Milan in 1498, Venice, 1503, and Lyons, 1519. Sbaralea and others have erroneously attributed to him the "Summa Casuum Conscientiae", which is really the work of Bartholomew a S. Concordio of Pisa, O. P., and the "Vita B. Gerardi", which was written by Bartholomew Albisi mentioned above.
  12. Mac

    Mac "To Jesus, through Mary"

    Emmett takes a bit of a beating from Chris.
  13. Praetorian

    Praetorian Powers

    Never argue with a lawyer ;)
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  14. Mac

    Mac "To Jesus, through Mary"

    I'm sure Ferrara welcomes comments.But if you enter the Remnant discussion thread you might at least want to get your facts straight.
    Emmett was caught out with a couple of whoppers.
  15. padraig

    padraig New Member

    It will do him no harm
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