The "Glory of the Olive" (Gloria Olivae). That's what St. Malachy's famous prophecy has to say about our latest Pope. Everyone thought that was a sign that the new Pope would come from the Benedictine order, which is symbolised by the olive. He isn't. However, he did take on the name of Benedict XVI, which makes one wonder if he is intentionally encouraging belief in the Malachy Prophecies. This is the second time recently that the catholic church's chosen decisions have seemed designed to agree with the Malachy Prophecy, the first being when they decided to hold John Paul II's funeral on the day of an eclipse, when his Malachy Prophecy had described him as the Pope "of the eclipsed sun".
But John Paul II deserved that title for more than just that one reason. He was also born on an eclipse, and elected to the Papacy on another eclipse. And since John Paul II's phrase also means "of the toils of the Sun", and since the sun's ‘work' is to fly around the world every day from horizon to horizon, so too did John Paul II, becoming the most world-traveled Pope in history.
From this and other data, I am inclined to conclude that the Malachy Prophecies are accurate, but also that the RCC is trying to use these famous prophecies to manipulate the masses into a certain mindframe. Nonetheless, I would also expect that the prophetic phrase for this new Pope, "The Glory of the Olive", will prove to be even more relevant to this new Pope and his reign than it now seems to be.
What exactly does this clue mean? We are reminded today that the olive signifies Israel; Israel included the olive tree on its national symbol, and the Bible associates the olive as a symbol of Israel as well. We must pray that this symbolism is not what the Malachy Prophecies are referring to, for there is no question what "the glory of Israel" would be. The "glory of the olive" means "the victory/success/dominance of the Jews", which would occur if they rebuild their Temple. Ever since the nation of Israel was reborn in the desert, the Jewish people around the world have viewed that development as but the first of two shoes predicted to drop in "the Last Days". First the Jews were supposed to return to their native land, the ancient prophecies insisted, and then they would rebuild their sacred Temple, which would finally clear the way for the arrival of their long-awaited Messiah.
Is Malachy suggesting that the Jews will rebuild their Temple during the reign of this new Pope? It would fit the general design of both sets of prophecies (the Malachy prophecies and the Biblical prophecies). Just as Malachy said that this current Pope would be the second-to-last Pope before the arrival of the Last Day events, so too does the Bible insist that the Temple would be rebuilt before the arrival of either/both (A) the Jews' long-awaited Messiah, and/or (B) the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Not all of Malachy's prophetic phrases refer directly to the Pope himself; some refer instead to that Pope's papacy; i.e., the history that occurs in the world during his reign. For example, Pope Benedict XV was referred to by Malachy as Religio Depopulata, or 'Religion Depopulated,' and at first nobody could understand the relevance of this clue. But as his reign unfolded, the world witnessed World War I and the Russian Revolution conspire to severely depopulate the Christian world, just as the prophesy predicted.
And our new Pope chose that same name, making himself Pope Benedict XVI.
The college of cardinals worked hard to elect the successor to Pope John Paul II over the last few days, wrestling with all sorts of political, organisational, theological and moral criteria. And while they were at it, they might have also wanted to make sure that, in order to avoid any further doomsaying stemming from the Malachy prophecies, whoever they chose would have absolutely nothing to do with the words 'The glory of the olive.'
Indeed, perhaps they did try to make sure of that, for prior to being elected, Ratzinger had no logical, personal, or professional connection to any sort of ‘olive' at all.
But the man the Cardinals chose then turned right around and did the very thing they had tried not to do, the only possible thing he could do to create such an apparent connection — choosing a name that was associated with the olive. Benedictines are otherwise known as the Olivetans, and by choosing that name, Ratzinger creates a connection to the Malachy Prophecy where before there had been none.