I don't believe in prophecy,1 but I am fascinated by it.

So with the recent death of John Paul II, I can't help but repeat what others have pointed out to me--that Karol Wojtyla was born on May 18, 1920, a day on which there was a solar eclipse. Today, April 8, 2005, his funeral and burial is taking place on a day witnessing a solar eclipse--his life bookended, not unlike Mark Twain and Halley's Comet.

Now, Malachy's prophecy, if interpreted the way most people seem to interpret, names John Paul II as De labore solis: "from the sun's labor." Some have read that in light of the pope's unprescedented world-travelling, while others read it as metaphorical, in line with his coming and going at the time of an eclipse--wherein the moon seems to give birth to the sun.

Now who is to follow? De gloria olivæ--whether that means he is from a Mediterranean country, or is a peacemaker, I don't know. Some have claimed the next pope will be a Jew--not necessarily impossible, as Jean-Marie (born Aaron) Lustiger, cardinal of Paris, was born a Jew but converted to Catholicism after WWII, impressed with the religion of the family that hid him from the Nazis.

Again, do I believe this? No--the work is a sixteenth-century forgery. But I do find it interesting.

1. Having said that, I don't believe everything is chaos, either--I believe in cause-and-effect, in patterns. But patterns aren't set in stone, and prophecies are often incredibly vauge, such as the above with Malachy, leaving one able to interpret any way he wants, fitting in details where it is convenient.