Just when the world had recovered from all those 2012 prophecies of doom, the Pope resigns, and the Mayans’ stone calendar is swapped for St Malachy’s mediaeval parchment.

Facebook, as always, has become a measure of the chatter.

So far, this is the only prophecy I've seen fulfilled.

So far, this is the only prophecy I’ve seen fulfilled.

Father Longenecker has rolled up his sleeves and entered the fray, challenging the authenticity of the St Malachy legend, and comparing apocalyptic theories with “a kind of mental sickness.” His content is spot on, but I’m not so enamoured by his tone.

I’m credulous by nature, and sceptical only by training. Maybe I’ve read too many saints’ stories wherein hard-hearted churchmen and churchwomen caused authentic mystics to suffer. For whatever reason, I never outright dismiss anyone who presents me the latest private revelation to prayerfully discern.

I’ve received several books and links to websites in the last few days, featuring mystics and seers and prophets who claim to have prophesied Pope Benedict’s departure. Some of these revelations insist that Benedict’s successor is an anti-pope even before he is elected. That sort of claim is a giant red flag. Dangerous territory indeed!

Still, I will read them and pray about them because I said I would, and it’s just common courtesy to keep one’s word. But I’ll be careful too, to spend at least as much time reading sacred scripture, and praying on that. To anyone who reads similar prophetic literature, I recommend you do the same.

And if, in contrast, you are not only sceptical but highly dubious of private revelation, remember charity. Don’t be sarcastic, or patronising. If you really are concerned about someone who’s over-attached to one prophecy or another, don’t speak to them about it if you will only become argumentative. Better to speak to the Lord. Pray for them and atone for them. It will be more effective!

Meanwhile, in Russia . . .

I don’t attach any significance to this event. But it is a cool video!