Q. Already we’re being told that Pope Francis is Peter the Roman (Petrus Romanus). Is there a consensus about this among prophecy scholars? Or is it too soon to know for sure?
A. From what I’ve seen so far, Pope Francis named himself after Francis of Assisi, who’s father’s name was Peter. And Pope Francis has a father of Italian descent, which some are saying means he’s Roman. Put them together and you have Peter the Roman. No pope has ever taken the name Peter, so we probably shouldn’t have expected anything so obvious as that, but most of the Popes have been of Italian descent so that part is not unique. Also, Italians don’t automatically regard themselves as Roman, but identify with the city or region in which their family originated. It would be interesting to know where in Italy the pope’s father’s family is from.
I know more than a few of the interpretations of St. Malachy’s cryptic descriptions have really been stretched to make them fit the pope for whom they were intended. (So far, this one is no different.) I also know there’s a lot of pressure on the people who’ve been promoting this prophecy to show that Pope Francis really is Peter the Roman. And finally, there’s a strong desire among prophecy buffs to want the prophecy to be true. Put it all together and you can see the need to be cautious, and not let our desire override our objectivity.
Above all we need to remember that as intriguing as this subject is, it’s not Biblical prophecy. Therefore it should be approached with caution and skepticism.