Perhaps one of the best measurements of the progression of prophecies for our times is the succession of popes. Three different prophets are said to have given clear and measurable information about the predicted line of popes: Malachy, the Monk of Padua, and Nostradamus. With the announced retirement of Pope Benedict XVI, it is a great time to review these predictions.

In 1138, an Irish bishop named Malachy visited the Vatican where he fell into a deep trance during which he saw the reigning pontiff and the line of succession of 112 popes, followed by the final fall of the Church of Rome as we have known it. When he awoke, he wrote a complete manuscript on the vision, giving each pope a Latin motto. The manuscript was sent to the Vatican after Malachy's passing, where it was stored in secret archives until 1590, long after Nostradamus's death (1503-1566). Later, around 1730-40, a monk called “The Monk of Padua” wrote a manuscript listing a sequence of popes and the ultimate end of the papacy, which closely followed and used Malachy's mottos for the popes.

Of the 20th-century popes, Malachy called Pope Pius XII (1939-58) Pastor Angelicus, referring to his angelic shepherding of the church, which many inside and outside the church acknowledged. He was followed by Pope John XXIII (1958-63), whom Malachy called Pastor et Nauta, shepherd and navigator, perhaps referring to his position as Archbishop of Venice or his reconvening of the Ecumenical Council which used the symbols of a cross and a ship. After him came Flos Florum, Flower of Flowers, Pope Paul VI (1963-78) whose coat of arms contained a floral design.

After him came De Mediatate Lunae, the middle or half of the moon, Pope John Paul I (August 26 to September 28, 1978) who openly supported women’s rights and agreed to discuss artificial birth control. This is one of the shortest and most suspicious papal reigns in history as he was only 66 years old and in good health when he suddenly died. His body was cremated, against strict Catholic custom at that time.

Pope John Paul II, De Labore Solis, the labor of the sun, (1978-2005), was from Poland. J.H. Brennan, author of some of the best books on Nostradamus, points out that the part of Poland from which John Paul II came was originally a portion of ancient France, and therefore the following quatrain may refer to him:

Not from Spain, but from ancient France
He will be elected from the trembling ship
To the enemy he will make assurance
Who in his reign will be a cruel blight.

Brennan considers the trembling ship to be the church itself. The great enemy of Polish John Paul II would have been none other than the Soviet Union, and he made assurances to the Soviets concerning the workers strikes in Poland.

Malachy and the Priest of Padua predict only two more popes: Gloria Olivae (glory of the olive) and Petrus Romanus (Peter of Rome). Malachy’s descriptive phrase given to the 111th Pope, Gloria Olivae, the glory of the olive, does fit the current Pope Benedict XVI (2005-2013) who took the name Benedict from The Order of Saint Benedict, which is also known as the Olivetans from Jesus’ time on the Mount of Olives.

The final petrus romanus, Peter the Roman, could be the return of St. Peter as the first and the last to rule the church (according to Roman theology—others and the Cayce readings say that James was the first leader). Bishop Malachy’s vision concludes with the end of the church:

"In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign 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. The End."

This Malachy prediction that the Vatican will be destroyed correlates with The Priest of Padua’s prediction that the holy center will be burned when the last pope sits on the throne. And then we have this from Nostradamus:

The great star for seven days will burn
A cloud will make two suns appear
The big mastiff will howl all night
When a great Pope changes his territory.

We shall see how all of this plays out on the stage of life. Some visionaries have seen the church continuing in a more enlightened form and even including women. The prophetic Mayan date of December 21, 2012, is now in the past. We are approaching the year 2038, which ends the timeline prophecy inside the Great Pyramid in Egypt. These years may be the culmination of a long cycle which results in much change in the world and the beginning of a long-sought new era.’s Nightly News website has reported that the same day Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation, lightning struck St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, the Catholic Church's center in Rome.