We think of prophecy as a revealing of information that can include warnings or spiritual insights. In the Old Testament, prophets were revered and the wisdom they imparted considered of the highest authority. They acted as a conduit to divine revelation as the will of God was revealed to them through communication with the Holy Spirit.
Christianity was built upon a Messianic figure whose coming was prophesied in the Old Testament books of Daniel and Isaiah. Yet in recent times, prophecy has fallen out of favour within the Church. Respect is still given to the biblical prophets such as Isaiah and St John of Patmos, to who is attributed the Book of Revelation, but the Catholic Church has refused to condone any post-biblical prophetic utterance as being true regardless of the source.
In spite of this, seers continued to add to the great body of prophetic work throughout history. Hildegard von Bingen, Nostradamus, numerous saints and even some of the popes were compelled to share their visions of the future. The accuracy of some of their prophecies cannot be denied.
An example was Mother Shipton, a 16th century English prophetess who appeared to have a clear vision of the 20th century and the Second World War. Her writings include: “Carriages without horses shall go. Around the world thoughts shall fly, in the twinkling of an eye. Underwater men shall walk, women will dress like men and trousers wear, and cut off all their locks of hair. When pictures look alive with movements free. When ships, like fishes, swim beneath the sea. When men, outstripping birds, can soar the sky, then half the world, deep-drenched in blood, shall die.”
Shipton’s writings have an apocalyptic feel and like many prophecies, biblical or otherwise, share a common theme in describing the End Times. This is known to Christians as eschatology.
According to the historian Cucherat, Malachy received a vision during a visit to Rome wherein he had witnessed every pope from that day to the Last Judgement.
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