Forums strive to connect new Pope to Antichrist prophecy
OPINION (WITH UPDATE): Internet forums descended into chaos as the new Pope was finally named at the Vatican.
Not because they were celebrating the naming of the new pontiff but because many wanted to know if there was any connection between Pope Francis and a prophecy by little-known Irish saint Malachy, who correctly predicted the previous 111 popes, including Pope Benedict, who resigned last month.
Only 112 popes were named in the prophecy, leading many to believe this Pope would be the last.
According to some interpretations of the prophecy, the last pope would be the Antichrist.
Still others believe his prophecy is about the end of times and the final judgement of the people.
And others believe it is nothing more than an elaborate hoax.
The final prophecy relating to this new pope states: in the final persecution of the holy Roman Church there will reign Petrus Romanus, 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.
Roughly that means the new Pope should have been named Peter and should have hailed from Rome.
But so far there is little to indicate that this pope is the last, Satan or otherwise.
Pope Francis, or Jorge Mario Bergoglio, is from Argentina and obviously chose not to have the name Peter, which was the name used by the first Pope and out of respect has not been used since.
But the name Francis does have strong ties to Italy and Rome as Francis was the name of a beloved Italian saint, Francis of Assisi.
So the internet forums were on Thursday striving to make the connection between Peter the Roman and Pope Francis.
The best I've heard so far is a vague connection between St Francis of Assisi, whose father was apparently named Peter, and the Pope's selection of his new name.
If I hear any more about how this obscure prophecy may indeed be true I will update this story - or if you do, please feel free to post your comments below.
UPDATE: As more information is emerging about the man elected to be the new Pope, forum fanatics are suggesting it could point to the fulfilment of Malachy's prophecy.
Much of it is tenuous, with some forum contributors suggesting that there is a link because Berg, taken from the surname of Pope Francis, means mountain and the name Peter means stone.
Several have also pointed out that the parents of Pope Francis are actually immigrants from Italy.
Others have pointed to his selection of the name Francis, after the saint Francis of Assisi.
Francis of Assisi's given name was Giovanni Francesco di Pietro (or Peter) Bernardone.
Yet another contributor has used the words of the prophecy to suggest the Pope may in fact be the Antichrist.
St Peter, the first Pope, was not Roman by birth but travelled to Rome as a missionary of Christ, the contributor writes.
St Peter was martyred there by the Romans, who were still a pagan people.
He suggests that the name Peter the Roman may be Malachy's way of naming the 112th Pope as the Antichrist because of the negative connotations Rome had with the first Pope.