As I posted quite some time ago, there is this medieval prophecy by a prophet called Malachy, that the Pope after Benedict is to be the last. There is no reason whatever that we should take such a prophecy particularly seriously, but the timing is portentous and it's hard not to wonder if maybe he got it right as pagan prophets sometimes may.
The prophecy identifies the last Pope as Petrus Romanus or Peter the Roman, and although in Catholic thinking he will be a hero of hard times, in Biblical thinking he would have to be the final Antichrist, the one who will put himself in the temple declaring himself to be God ushering in the very last of the last days.
2/13 UPDATE:I've been without the internet for the last two days because of a local problem with AT&T, so I'm late catching up on this and other stories.
As usual Chris Pinto is my most informative source on anything having to do with the papacy. His programs on both the 11th and 12th
are about the Pope's resignation and the connection with the Malachy prophecy. He refers to a Jesuit who wrote that the whole Malachy prophecy was a Jesuit invention in the first place, designed to influence the election of a particular Pope. The prophecy is officially denied by the Vatican but nevertheless it appears that the identities of many of the previous Popes have been manipulated to fit in with the prophecy concerning them, and the prophecies are taken pretty seriously by many Catholics. The big question of the moment is whether the Pope that follows Benedict will take the name Petrus Romanus or not. Obviously since they choose their identity it's always possible to choose one that accords with the prophecy if that's the intention.
Pinto is quite right to say that God would not honor a false prophet so that he doesn't expect any of it to be true, but he does think it possible that since there has been a great deal of Vatican manipulation of world events such as various wars in the past, that there could be a similar manipulation of events concerning this upcoming Pope having to do with the engineering of another world war and a fake Armageddon that gives us a fake Millennium with a fake Christ on the throme. It's not something he's presenting with any sense of certainty, just a scenario he thinks possible.
Pinto is very good at tracking such Vatican and Jesuit manipulations of events and rewritings of history so I'm willing to wait and wonder along with him what may be the next plot on the agenda, but I do have to say that it's hard for me to think this way. I'm used to thinking in terms of satanic supernatural manipulations of events but not in terms of human manipulations. This whole conspiracy area is new to me, and while I find it convincing as Pinto presents it, it's something I can only watch from the sidelines, I can't really think it through myself. I can for instance think in terms of a satanic deception having to do with this prophecy as given to "Malachy" by a demonic entity, with the aim of giving a supernatural validation to the papacy, and in the current situation whitewashing the Pope and papal doctrine to distract from the genuine end time events prophesied in the Bible, but I get lost in the intricacies of human invention.
One way or the other, this Pope's resignation is a momentous occurrence and what happens next is to be watched and pondered.