Monday, February 11, 2013

A Catholic Celestine Prophecy?

Pope Benedict XVI visiting St. Peter Celestine's Tomb

A little noted pilgrimage by Pope Benedict XVI may have served as a Catholic Celestine Prophecy.  In April 2009, Pope Benedict stopped in Alquila, Italy to visit the tomb of St. Peter Celestine, an obscure medieval pope.  Then fifteen months later, Pope Benedict XVI went out of his way to visit the Sulumoa Cathedral outside of Rome and pray before the relics of Celestine V. Who was St. Celestine V?

In 1294, Fr. Pietro Agelerio was a 79 year old monk  who was elected Pope somewhat against his will.  The reluctant pontiff Celestine V had just a five month reign, during which time he issued a formal decree which allowed Popes to abdicate.  Pope Celestine V exercised that right.

When Benedict XVI paid his respects at Celestine V's tomb, he laid his pallium, the symbol of his episcopal authority, on the sarcophagus of this  This is more honor than Dante gave to Celestine V who placed him in the third circle of hell for not being decisive.

In retrospect, papal watchers should have appreciated these gestures from this scholarly pope that it forshadowed Pope Benedict XVI's openness to abdication.

Pope Benedict XVI's pallium 

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