On the eve of the Conclave to elect a successor to the late Pope John II, it appears that the battle line are already being drawn between the conservatives, or integristi, backing Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger and the progressives, or riformisti, who oppose Ratzinger. Initially in the pre-Conclave meetings, the riformisti were disorganized and lacked a single candidate around whom they could rally. But indications are emerging that the pro-Ratzinger momentum may have peaked too soon, with the opposition to his candidacy now beginning to coalesce around Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini, the retired Archbishop of Milan. In fact, the Italian press is now reporting that the first few rounds of balloting may pit Ratzinger against Martini and result in a deadlock along integristi-riformisi lines, with neither faction being able to muster the required two-thirds vote (77 outs of 115 Cardinal-Electors).
At this point, many observers view the Martini candidacy as simply a symbolic one, a vehicle enabling the progressives to block a quick Ratzinger victory in the early balloting. The popular wisdom is that Martini is too old and too liberal to be elected Pope, and that a coalition of moderates will emerge in subsequent rounds behind Dionigi Cardinal Tettamanzi, the current Archbishop of Milan.
These developments are all the more intriguing when viewed in light of the prophetic interpretations in the book Apokalypso – Prophecies of the End of Time (AuthorHouse 2004). The book presents the scenario that an Italian Cardinal, who Nostradamus refers to as “Milan”, will actually receive enough votes to prevail, but will have his election “nullified”. In Century VI, Quatrain 87, we read:
The election arranged by the strong Frank
Will nullify that of Milan to whom he objects …
As he so often does, Nostradamus uses a pun to add another layer of meaning to this prophecy. In French, the “strong Frank” is Frankfort, which is also the name of a German city. Since Ratzinger is a German Cardinal, we might infer that he is the “strong Frank” whose objections will nullify the election of “Milan”. “Milan”, of course, could refer to eitherCardinal Martini, the former Archbishop of Milan, or Dionigi Tettamanzi, the current Milanese Patriarch. Martini does fit the prophetic profile better, however, because he is a Jesuit. In Century VI, Quatrain 25, Nostradamus refers to the nullified election of a “black” Cardinal — that is, one who wears the black clerical habit which is the hallmark of the Jesuit order.
The junior black one will rise to the highest office,
Those who betray him will act on a drizzly day.
As I explain in my book, the “drizzly day” probably refers to the visibility of the white puffs of smoke above the Sistine Chapel which signal the election of a new Pontiff. What we can expect is that, at some point in the coming Conclave, “Milan” (i.e., Martini or Tettamanzi) will receive enough votes to be elected Pope, and his election will actually be signaled by white smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney. But then “Milan” will be coerced into refusing the Tiara, and the Conclave will proceed to elect another candidate — an Antipope.
Such a “nullification” of a papal election is not without precedent, even in recent Vatican history. During the 16th Century when Nostradamus lived, it became an “unwritten rule” of Conclaves that potent factions could “veto” the election of a candidate whom they found objectionable. A powerful Cardinal — sometimes acting at the behest of a secular ruler — could act not only as a “pope-maker”, but also as a “pope-breaker”. The last acknowledged invocation of this “unwritten rule” occurred in 1903, when Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph forbad the election of Mariano Cardinal Rampolla, who he perceived to be too “pro-French”. But there is also some evidence that this secret “veto power” was used to block the election of Giuseppe Cardinal Siri in 1958 and 1963. During the 1958 Conclave, white puffs of smoke signaled the election of a Pope, but no Pope emerged, because Siri was reportedly threatened with death if he accepted the Tiara.
In terms of St. Malachy’s prophecy, the Italian Pope whose election will be nullified is “Peter the Roman”, while the Antipope to be elected in his stead is “The Glory of the Olive Tree”. Although Tettamanzi appears the more likely choice to fill the former role, it’s conceivable that Martini’s courageous rallying of the riformisti opposition to Ratzinger will inspire the Conclave to defy the pundits and elect him, as they did with Albino Cardinal Luciani in 1978. If so, we may find the “Martini” fittingly matched with the “Olive” in a papal cocktail which will ignite the final Schism of the Roman Catholic Church.