MANILA, Philippines—It’s not the end of the world, yet.
A Catholic Church official downplayed on Tuesday, the prophecy of a 12th-century Irish saint who supposedly predicted that the next Pope would be the last and the end of the world would follow.
Fr. Francis Lucas, executive secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines-Episcopal Commission on Social Communications and Mass Media, said the prophecies of St. Malachy about the popes of the Catholic Church were sometimes inaccurate.
“It’s not always exact (and) the end of the world has always been prophesied and lately, almost every two years or every year we hear about a prophecy about the end of the world,” Lucas said in a Church-organized forum in Intramuros, Manila.
“What I’d like to say is when you talk about prophecies, it’s not always about the future. That is often times the wrong way of looking at prophecy. A prophet is somebody who speaks in behalf of somebody else,” he added.
St. Malachy supposedly predicted that the Church would suffer persecution under the next Pope and, afterwards, Rome would be destroyed and the Last Judgment would commence.
The prophecies have again been discussed in social media sites after Pope Benedict XVI’s surprise decision to resign. The last time a Pope resigned was 600 years ago.
But Lucas said the faithful should not give a literal interpretation of the St. Malachy prophecy.
“What he is saying is there could be a cleansing, a purging of the Church. When that will happen or the end of the world, nobody knows because his explanations are sometimes mythical and mystical,” Lucas said.
He said believers should concentrate on the “ultimate message of God” in these prophecies and not focus on the “material events.”
“Look for the message and we need to really reflect. We need to convert ourselves. We need to be real witnesses to our faith. We have to stand by our faith,” Lucas said.