On The St. Francis Prophecy of an Heretical Pope

There is a prophecy attributed to St. Francis, which some commentators are applying to Pope Francis. Over at Where Peter Is, Emmett O’Regan argues that the prophecy is false. Fine, maybe it is. But after many years of study and writing on Catholic eschatology, my understanding of the Church’s future accords with that prophecy, attributed to St. Francis. He may not have written it, just as St. Malachy did not write the Prophecy of St. Malacy (his list of future Popes). But it appears to be compatible with a Catholic understanding of the future, at least in my humble interpretation.

At the heretical and schismatic publication “Remnant Newspaper”, Christopher A. Ferrara — insightful critic of Christopher West — presents the prophecy of Saint Francis, (and next he offers a quote from Saint Robert Bellarmine taken way out of context and misinterpreted). But the point of those who offer the St. Francis prophecy is to accuse Pope Francis of being that heretical wicked Pope from the prophecy.

My view is that the prophecy is correct in its predictions, even though it may not be from St. Francis. And that the Pope in question can only be a future antipope, and not Pope Francis, who is certainly the true Roman Pontiff.

Alleged Prophecy: “Act bravely, my brethren; take courage and trust in the Lord. The time is fast approaching in which there will be great trials and afflictions; perplexities and dissensions, both spiritual and temporal, will abound; the charity of many will grow cold, and the malice of the wicked will increase. The devils will have unusual power; the immaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured that there will be very few Christians who obey the true Supreme Pontiff and the Roman Church with loyal ears and perfect charity.”

The prophecy refers to the tribulation. “And because iniquity has abounded, the charity of many will grow cold.” (Mt 24:12). So this part of the prophecy must be true. And as charity grows cold, of course the malice of the wicked will increase; it stands to reason and it fits the description of the End Times in the book of Revelation. The claim that the devils will have unusual power is similar to assertions in the Secrets of La Salette. Then there is the claim that religious orders will mostly go astray. This too is found in the words of the Blessed Virgin Mary at La Salette. So far, the prophecy is true, regardless of its source.

Then, the ending of this paragraph, quoted above, says that very few Christians will obey the true Pope and true Church with “loyal ears” and with perfect charity. This prediction fits well with almost any description of the tribulation you might read in Catholic sources. It is widely expected that the faith of Christians will be tested and many will fall away in the great apostasy (2 Thess 2:3). In the very end of the End Times, this apostasy will be at its worst; but that is in the distant future. “And unless those days had been shortened, no flesh would be saved.” (Mt 24:22).

Now notice that the St. Francis prophecy implies that we must always, especially in the time described, obey the true Roman Pontiff, who is the successor of Peter, and obey the true Church — which is the one holy Catholic Apostolic Church built upon the Bishop of Rome, that is, the Roman Pontiff. So far, this is not a prophecy which could be used to attack Pope Francis or any Pope. The prophecy at least points toward the indefectibility of the Church and the never-failing faith of the Pope.

In many past times in Church history, the faithful saw one or more antipopes rise up to challenge the true Roman Pontiff. We can expect no less in the End Times. Certainly, there will be some antipopes in the Church’s future — false claimants to the papacy who oppose the true Pope. And since the End Times will be worse that past times, the antipope or antipopes of the tribulation will be worse. One way an antipope might be worse is by having a larger following.

In my eschatology, I describe a future antipope, elected by a few Cardinals and Bishops, outside of Rome and not according to the rules required for an election. He is elected “non-canonically” as the prophecy says. And the antipope elected in that invalid conclave will be one of the most popular antipopes in Church history. But he will not rule over the true Church, nor will the body of Bishops follow him. At about the same time, there will also be a true Pope who leads the true Church. The antipope will devise for himself a false Church, which opposes the true Church. But the body of Bishops will follow the true Pope of that time, who will accept the validity of his predecessors, and the validity of all the Ecumenical Councils. At the same time, many Bishops will fall away from the true Pope and be led by that antipope.

This will be confusing to the faithful, as both Popes in that future time will reign from outside of Rome. So they will wonder if both popes might be false popes. Some will choose the Pope whose teachings agree with their own minds as the one they accept, just as happens in politics. And even in the present day, many Catholics make the mistake of politicizing the faith, and of treating Popes and Bishops from the “other side of the aisle” as enemies. This error among the faithful leads to the antipope in obtaining much support from Catholics with a similar socio-political point of view.

Past schisms in the Church have seen many Bishops go astray, and choose for themselves leaders in the schism. The largest example is the Orthodox Churches, which broke away from the Catholic Church in the great schism. I believe that this schism will be healed in the not too distant future. But unfortunately, there is already a new schism underway, in which conservative Catholics rebel against Pope Francis. However, I think it will be the liberal Catholics who will devise a false Church, elect a popular antipope, and compete with the true Church bitterly.

The faithful need only remain obedient and faithful to the true Pope and the true Magisterium — always with love above all the other virtues. How do we know which Pope and which Church are the true ones? Pope Francis is accepted by the body of Bishops as the true Pope, and the Church is indefectible. Therefore, the body of Bishops can never go astray and follow a false Pope (or antipope). The true Pope is the one accepted by the body of Bishops. Pope Francis is the true Roman Pontiff.

And since every successor of Peter, according to the definition of the First Vatican Council, has the charism of truth and of never-failing faith, every true Pope remains a true Pope. He cannot teach grave error under the Magisterium, not even non-infallibly. He cannot fail gravely in faith, neither by apostasy, nor heresy, nor idolatry. And so he can never lose the validity of his papacy, which continues until his resignation or death.

Notice that the papal accusers, who accuse Pope Francis, also accuse other past Popes and past Ecumenical Councils. That is how you can recognize that they are unfaithful, and that their version of Catholicism is false. They do not only accuse Pope Francis. The prophecy we are considering here proposes that one pope only is a false Pope; it does not propose that many Popes have gone astray a long with one or more Ecumenical Councils, as the Francis accusers say. The present-day papal accusers are making accusations against all the Vatican II Popes, many past Popes, and even against multiple Ecumenical Councils. They are attacking the whole Church. Therefore, their claims about Pope Francis are false. He is a true Pope, and they are the ones guilty of heresy and schism.

Alleged Prophecy: “At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into error and death. Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, and many others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to error instead of opposing it.”

In my eschatology, I speculate that Pope Francis will eventually resign. Then the next true Pope will be conservative. But he will not support the papal accusers. He will not accuse Pope Francis of heresy or apostasy or idolatry. He will not make the same accusations the Francis-haters made. He will not reject Vatican II. But he will be conservative and perhaps he will be too harsh with liberals who disagree with his decisions on discipline and with his true teachings. Under this next conservative Pope, many liberals will fall away from the true Church. This occurs during the first part of the tribulation and during World War 3.

This conservative Pope is captured in war and dies in prison. The enemy in this war, the Muslim extremists, will capture Rome. The next Pope will not be able to be elected according to the norms of Universi Dominici Gregis, which require the conclave to be in Vatican City, and to take place within a certain number of days, etc. And it may well be the case that this non-canonical conclave will permit some Bishops to vote, as the conservative schism under Pope Francis, and then the liberal schism under the conservative Pope, and the War, will limit how many Cardinals can participate in this conclave. Certainly, the next conclave for the successor of the conservative Pope will be a valid and licit conclave, but it will not be canonical. The Pope elected will be the true Pope, accepted by the body of Bishops. But under the conservative Pope (the one after Francis), many liberal Bishops and priests and religious will have fallen away.

The Order of Saint Francis is liberal. In fact, many religious orders have fallen into liberal errors. So while the new Pope will be accepted by the body of Bishops, more than a few Bishops will have rejected the previous Pope, and only some will return under this Pope.

Now, the liberals who departed from the Church under the conservative Pope will see that they have Cardinals and Bishops who support them. They will see that the true Pope was elected non-canonically outside of Rome, with both Cardinals and Bishops voting. They will then realize that they can hold their own conclave! This becomes possible because of the capture of Rome in the War. The other conclave was outside of Rome and non-canonical, with Bishops voting, and yet was said to be a valid conclave. So the schismatics will also claim to have a valid conclave. They might make a pretense of invalidating the other conclave, or of removing the other Pope. They will elect an antipope.

This conclave elects an antipope because the Cardinals and Bishops who vote are manifest schismatics and heretics, who rejected the teachings of the previous conservative Pope. This antipope will be very popular, as he will teach liberal errors as if dogma. These errors will be wildly popular with the media, possibly approving of an alleged sacrament of same-sex marriage; possibly approving of women priests; possibly approving of sex outside of marriage, and of divorce and remarriage. This antipope will amass a very large following from the laity, and from liberal religious and liberal priests.

But the body of Bishops will remain faithful to the true Pope, who was elected by the conclave held by the Cardinals and Bishops who were faithful to both Francis and his conservative successor. But the other conclave, held by the schismatics, will elect the false pope. This antipope is the “man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into error and death. Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, and many others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to error instead of opposing it.” Many are drawn into error and death, the figurative death of the soul, because this antipope teaches approval for grave sins. He will therefore be very popular with the media and with those Catholics lost in liberal errors.

Now, how do we know which is the true Pope? The true Pope is the one who continues to teach the teachings of all the Ecumenical Councils, not only Vatican II, but Vatican I, and Trent, and Florence, and all the other Councils and teachings. Some accuse Francis of departing from past teachings. But that is an error in their judgment. In the case of the two Popes, the antipope and the true Pope, it will be clear. In any case, at any time, the true Pope is the one accepted by the body of Bishops, just as Francis is.

Alleged Prophecy: “There will be such diversity of opinions and schisms among the people, the religious and the clergy, that, except those days were shortened, according to the words of the Gospel, even the elect would be led into error, were they not specially guided, amid such great confusion, by the immense mercy of God….”

This part about the times being shortened is from the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 24. The situation, whereby the antipope is very popular and is promoted by the media makes for great controversy among the people. As a society, we are greatly influenced by culture and media. And the past disputes over Pope Francis and over his successor will have eroded people’s faith in Popes and in the Magisterium. The Francis accusers have harmed the Church in a way that continues beyond the papacy of Francis. They have convinced many faithful of the heresy which says that the Church is defectible, the heresy which says that Popes can teach or commit heresy or idolatry, and the heresy that says Ecumenical Councils can err gravely on faith or morals.

Alleged Prophecy: “Those who persevere in their fervor and adhere to virtue with love and zeal for the truth, will suffer injuries and persecutions as rebels and schismatics; for their persecutors, urged on by the evil spirits, will say they are rendering a great service to God by destroying such pestilent men from the face of the earth…

These schismatics who follow the liberal antipope will have much power. Since they will have the support of the media and the culture, politicians will tend to support them. The true Pope will be claimed to be a false Pope. His supporters will be said to be schismatics. Universities and Colleges, the ones who even today falsely claim to be Catholic, will expel the faithful and teach grave error.

[John 16]
{16:1} “These things I have spoken to you, so that you would not stumble.
{16:2} They will put you out of the synagogues. But the hour is coming when everyone who puts you to death will consider that he is offering an excellent service to God.
{16:3} And they will do these things to you because they have not known the Father, nor me.

The part of the prophecy about rendering a great service to God is taken from John 16:2. So it is a true prophecy. I do not know how much power these liberal schismatics will have to harm the true faithful. But we shall soon see.

Alleged Prophecy: “Some preachers will keep silent about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days Our Lord Jesus Christ will send them, not a true Pastor, but a destroyer.”

The part about some preachers keeping silent about truth is simply what one would reasonably expect from fallen sinners. The truth being trampled underfoot is like the verse in Daniel 8:12. And it is obvious that, in such a time, the sanctity of life will be rejected by the unfaithful. So this liberal schism will of course find ways to approve of abortion, even while these claimed Catholics profess outwardly to be prolife.

Now, does Jesus Christ send us the antipope, who is so popular as to lead very many laypersons away from the true Pope and the true Church? Yes, in a sense. God is giving the unfaithful what they deserve, a leader after their own heart, so that they can see what the Church would be like if it were to teach what the liberals have long claimed the Church should teach. Here is the Church that you wanted. Here is the false shepherd that you wanted. See how this false Church falls apart, and how its members are scattered, each one believing whatever he wishes. It is the permissive will of God, certainly. It is also the positive will of God in a limited sense, in the sense that, after the fact of our sinfulness, God wills that we receive what we claimed would be the perfect Church, with a Pope who teaches grave errors. But again, the false Pope and the false Church are clearly distinguished from the true Pope and the true Church.


So this prophecy of St. Francis may not be from that particular Saint, but it seems to me to be a true prophecy. On the other hand, it is certainly not about Pope Francis. It is dogma that the Church is indefectible. This implies that Popes, the body of Bishops, and Ecumenical Councils are also indefectible. And any Pope accepted by the body of Bishops is the true Pope. The false pope in this prophecy will be very popular, so be careful not to confuse the body of Bishops with the body of a group of non-Bishops and some smaller fraction of the Bishops which is very loud.

Now I will say something about this future time. It is in the near future, and I hope to still be alive when it happens. (But in the days of Covid, you never know.) If God is willing and if God permits, I will offer to the faithful who are willing assistance in recognizing the true Pope from the false one, faithful Bishops and priests from unfaithful one, valid conclave from invalid conclave, and the rest of what is needed to recognize the true Church, the true Magisterium, the true teachings of Christ and in general the light for your path through this difficult time which is very near, at the very threshold.

Sign up for my substack blog to remain informed. That blog will focus on helping you remain faithful to each true Pope and to the one true Church in the difficult times ahead.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

Please say a brief prayer for me. May God preserve you all from misfortune and harm.

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1 Response to On The St. Francis Prophecy of an Heretical Pope

  1. Thank you, Ron. I continue to keep you in my prayers. God bless you.

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