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Interesting article. It's from teaattrianon.blogspot by the lovely Elena Maria Vidal.

Thursday, March 5, 2009Prophecies of St. Malachy, Part 1
I blogged about St. Malachy two years ago but since then have researched the alleged prophecies a bit more; I thought it might be worthwhile to revisit the topic. If the list is a Renaissance forgery as some people claim (it was not published until 1595) then that makes it even more intriguing to me. I picture the scheming Borgias and Medicis, all the various wealthy families jockeying for power, as well as the great artists, popes, saints, and everyone who made up the colorful Catholicism of Renaissance Italy... and I wonder. Why would someone invent such an elaborate list? What would the purpose have been? Some people blame the Jesuits, which is amusing, considering how busy the Jesuits were in the 16th century, battling heresy all over Europe. Why would they have wasted their time? Unless it was something some novices put together to entertain the brethren at recreation.

According to the Wikipedia article:
Quote:The prophecy was first published in 1595 by Arnold de Wyon, a Benedictine historian, as part of his book Lignum Vitæ. Wyon attributed the list to Saint Malachy, the 12th‑century bishop of Armagh in Ireland. According to the traditional account, in 1139, Malachy was summoned to Rome by Pope Innocent II. While in Rome, Malachy purportedly experienced a vision of future popes, which he recorded as a sequence of cryptic phrases. This manuscript was then deposited in the Roman Archive, and thereafter forgotten about until its rediscovery in 1590. On the other hand, Bernard of Clairvaux's biography of Malachy makes no mention of the prophecy, nor is it mentioned in any record prior to its 1595 publication. This has led to many, including the most recent editions of the Catholic Encyclopedia, to suggest that the prophecy is a late 16th‑century forgery. Some have suggested they were created by Nostradamus and credited to Saint Malachy so the purported seer would not be blamed for the destruction of the papacy. Supporters, such as author John Hogue, who wrote a popular book titled "The Last Pope" about the claims, generally argue that even if the author of the prophecies may be uncertain, the predictions made are still valid.
The cryptic list of titles for the various popes from 1140 to about 1590 are mostly descriptions of their coats-of-arms, which would have been easy enough for a forger. But what is interesting is that the titles listed for popes who lived from 1600 to the present sometimes, not always, contain bits of information uniquely applicable to the life of the particular pontiff. Especially as pertains to modern popes, the list has startling coincidences, which are perhaps prophetic. Even if St. Malachy is not the author of the list, it is a remarkable artifact. If it is a true prophecy, it is not meant to frighten people, but to prepare them. It should not be seen as signaling the end of the world after Pope Benedict XVI dies, but perhaps the dawn of a new era for the Church.

[Image: menestrier1.jpg]
In the 17th century the Jesuit Fr. Menestrier claimed the Prophecies of St Malachy to be a 16th century forgery. According to Peter Bander in his book on the subject:
Quote:In the seventeenth century Father Menestrier, a famous Jesuit, put forward his hypothesis that these prophecies had originated in 1590 during the conclave which resulted in Gregory XIV becoming the elected pontiff. Fr. Menestrier goes as far as naming the forger; a member of Cardinal Simoncelli's party is supposed to have forged these prophecies in order to influence the electors in favour of his Cardinal who was the doyen of the Sacred College and, by virtue of his office and other qualities, surely a favourite for the pontificate. Cardinal Simoncelli was Bishop of Orvieto, his birthplace, and the motto given to him in the prophecies, Ex , is simply an allusion to Orvieto (). Perhaps it is fair to add that Fr. Menestrier does not furnish us with evidence to substantiate his accusation.
I gather this was the same
Fr. Claude-Francois Menestrier who is generally regarded as
the first ballet historian, who choreographed a performance at his native Lyon to entertain King Louis XIV. Fr Menestrier was an extraordinary figure, who was also an antiquarian and expert on heraldry. He wrote numerous books, including
a biography of Louis XIV.
One biographical account says:

Quote:At the age of fifteen, Claude-François Menestrier (1631-1705) became professor of rhetoric in a Jesuit college in Chambéry, being admitted to the order of Jesuits at the same time. A legendary memory and a lively intelligence brought him many distinctions throughout Europe. When Queen Christina of Sweden passed through Lyons, she sought to test him, having him (successfully) repeat 300 bizarre words back to him in the order that she spoke them all at once. As a heraldist he was unparalleled among the French, and Louis XIV, impressed with the festival which he put on for the king in Lyons, made him the director of all of France’s festivals. In 1667 he was named conservator of the library of the college of Trinity, for which he found a great many works of Grollier.



A Jesuit article about Fr. Menestrier seems to be much more interested in his skill as a choreographer and dance critic than in any connection to St Malachy's prophecies, which are not alluded to at all. The
Catholic Encyclopedia does not mention his purported uncovering of a famous forgery which one would think that as a scholar would be his chief claim to fame.


What was it about the Prophecy that made Fr. Menestrier doubt its authenticity

? According to
An Historical and Critical Account of the So-called Prophecy of St. Malachy by M. J. O'Brien, Menestrier made his assertion on the basis that there are no contemporary accounts of St. Malachy's list of the popes in the records of the time. He insisted that it was the work of several hands, that the Latin was bad and the prophecies themselves, meaningless.

It should perhaps be taken into account that Fr. Menestrier worked for
Louis XIV. Louis XIV is perhaps one of the most successful rulers who ever lived, although in the long run his policies were not good for France. Like all highly effective politicians, he stayed one step ahead of his opponents. It is well-known that he did not always see eye-to-eye with the papacy. In my opinion, it would not have been beyond Louis to try to manipulate an upcoming conclave by having his resident Jesuit scholar declare the list of St. Malachy
to be bogus
. All the Cardinals were pouring over the Prophecy as soon as a pope had a head cold, and to have it announced as a forgery would have ruffled quite a few feathers in Rome, which would have pleased Louis XIV, giving him more clout in maneuvering his own preferred candidate into place. It would be interesting to look into Louis XIV's
relations with the Vatican a bit more.


There have been many other scholars, such as the Benedictine scholar

Abbé Cucherat, who have believed the Prophecies of St Malachy to be legitimate.
The 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia
has an interesting analysis: