While only seeming to find reference on it in traditional circles, I have often come across the phrase the “Last Roman Emperor” or the “Great Catholic Monarch” in terms of eschatology and I was wondering whether anyone would be able to explain the nature of this character and his relationship to another eschatological figure called the “Angelic Pope”, and whether these figures have any scriptural basis, as I believe a lot of basis for these characters comes from private revelation.
Yes, on the internet you will find many strange and outlandish - indeed disturbing - websites run by schismatists and other sedevacantists (as well as some cookie but otherwise orthodox trads) exchanging highly speculative ideas about these figures from private revelation and often linking them, dubiously at best it has to be said, to a whole range of current affairs on the news.
Firstly, let me tell you that the concept of a Great Monarch and Holy Pontiff is a venerable one. It is attested among private revelations stretching back to the Early Middle Ages. St. Bonaventure and Venerable Holzhauser, among other divines, did interpret certain biblical verses as presaging these eschatological twins, such as the prophecy of the Two Witnesses in Revelation and the Angel of the Seven Thunders. St. Bonaventure is a Doctor of the Church and he believed in this “theory”, if you like, so it is a valid idea - if a minority one nowadays for obvious reasons (i.e. it appears hopelessly romantic, implausible and squarely medieval/pre-modern to Catholics in the 21st century).
However most of the quotations floating around on the internet with regards to these prophecies are not legitimate. The only consistently verifiable ones that have somehow entered the circuit on the web are those attributed to Venerable Holzhauser. Most of the rest are bogus.
Thank you for the reply my friend. Considering this, while it isn’t openly endorsed as standard eschatology by the Church, it is nonetheless a strand of it that Catholics may hold, while realizing, as you have said, that it is “hopelessly romantic”.
Indeed! There is no harm in holding it, especially since the people who espoused this "idea"in the past were approved mystics and theologians.
Here is one of the Visions of Venerable Holzhauser, published in 1646. These were apparently read in the presence of the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand III and Duke Maximilian I, Elector of Bavaria, who were soon to participate in the negotiations of the Peace of Westphalia beginning that year. One of those visions struck me:
**"…In one of his visions, Holzhauser saw two mighty thrones, whereupon sat respectively the supreme representatives of the temporal and spiritual power, and which overshadowed the whole earth; thus realizing, on a more gigantic scale, the medieval theory of the papal umpirage and imperial advocacy…
The next two visions, have clearly reference to the future triumph which the Church, after the tribulations and anguish she has had to endure for the last three centuries, is yet destined to celebrate on earth…"**
You won’t find this one on those Trad websites but its genuine whereas many of the ones they exchange are baseless.
As for St. Bonaventure, the Seraphic Doctor.
To cut a long story short, he predicts that the Church will endure a minor tribulation followed by a era of peace prior to the Great Apostasy and Second Coming. This Era of Peace will involve the promised full evangelization of the nations. He relates this to the period of the Jews being released from Babylonian Captivity and states that just as the Temple was restored after the exile before Christ, so to must the Church Miliant undergo a great “restoration” before the end characterised by the greatest ever spread of the Gospel. He equates future periods of the Church with past events of the Old Testament, which he understood to be types foreshadowing the former.
He indicates that for this to transpire, a Great Monarch - a ruler, defender of the Church - will arise:
"…In the sixth age three things take place - excellence of victory, excellence of teaching, and excellence of the prophetic life…No one knows how long that time of great peace will last…The seventh time or age, that of quiet, begins with the shout of the angel who “swore through Him who lives forever and ever that there would be no more time; but in the days of the seventh angel the mystery of God will be completed” (Rev 10:6-7)…
In this age there ought to come a life through an order which will possess the prophetic life. This age is double. Just as in the Lord’s Passion there was first light, then darkness, and then light, so it is necessary that first there be the light of teaching and that Josiah succeed Hezekiah, after which came the tribulation of the Jews through their captivity in Babylon. For this [to occur] is necessary that One Ruler, a defender of the Church, arise…
It was said to the angel of Philadelphia, the sixth angel: “He who is holy and true, who has the key of David, who opens and no man closes, closes and no man opens, says this - ‘I know your works, and behold I have placed an open door before you’” (Rev 3:7). And he said that now for the first time the understanding of Scripture would be given and that the revelation, or key of David, would be given to a person or a large group, but I think rather to a large group.
In the seventh age [of the Old Covenant] we know that these things took place - the rebuilding of the Temple, the restoration of the city, and the granting of peace. Likewise in the coming seventh age there will be a restoration of Divine worship and a rebuilding of the city. Then the prophecy of Ezekiel will be fulfilled when the city comes down from heaven (Ezek 40); not indeed that city which is above, but that city which is below, the Church Militant which will then be conformed to the Church Triumphant as far as possible in this life…"
- Saint Bonaventure (ca. 1217 - 1274), Minister General of the Franciscan Order, Seraphic Doctor (Collation 16:17-19. Translated by McGinn, B. Visions of the End, pp199-200)
In the Baylonian Exile period of the ancient Israelites, God raised up two figures: Zerubbabel, a political leader for the Jews descended from King David, and the High Priest Joshua.
As such, they represent the secular arm (Zerubbabel, heir to King David) and the religious arm (High Priest Joshua). This of course corresponds to Holzhauser’s prediction of a civil ruler and religious leader in the church’s future. He too relates this future epoch to the Babylonian Exile and building of the Second Temple, like St. Bonaventure.
It seems that St.Bonaventure bases his need for a great civil leader at the end of this future “Babylonian exile” of the Church on Zerubbabel or Cyrus the Great. Others have done the sane with Joshua the High Priest as a foreshadowing of the Holy Pope of these private revelations.
Thank you for the in-depth analysis my friend! Just for the sake of knowing my friend, have you come into contact with the revelations of Marie Julie Jahenny, a Breton stigmatic whose revelations I believe deal with a great variety of eschatological themes, notably the Great Catholic Monarch?
Archbishop Nichols’ Farewell Address to Pope Benedict XVI
19/09/2010 5:30 pm
One of the gifts we wish to present to you is also intensely personal. It concerns the life of seventeenth century Bartholomew Holzhauser. As you know, Holy Father, Fr Holzhauser began his Institute for Secular Clergy in your home- town of Tittmoning, in a building which later became your family home. You speak of this in your own memoires. In the 19th century, interest in Holzhauser revived. He was declared Venerable by your predecessor Leo XIII. This college, St Mary’s Oscott, became imbued with the spirit of Holzhauser when the rector, Henry Parkinson (1896-1924) formed this house in that spirit. He played a major role in founding the Apostolic Union of Secular Clergy, for the mutual support of priests. He also led the students in a translation of the life of Bartholomew Holzhauser. We have prepared a special edition of that text and we hope that it**
Aye, you are correct, I do not believe her writings are approved by the Church. It is an interesting concept and though implausible, does not mean impossible. Would you subscribe to this concept yourself or do you hold it with scepticism?
I subscribe, certainly, to the idea of the Era of Peace predicted by Our Lady of Fatima, numerous saints and recent popes. Most recently St. John Paul II prophesied that the second millennium would witness the inauguration of a “civilization of love”.
St. Bonaventure was one of the first to hypothesize a future “Second Pentecost” in which the Church Militant on earth would be confirmed as closely as possible to the Church Triumphant in heaven, in other words fulfilling Christ’s words in the Lord’s Prayer that “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven”.
I find St. Bonaventure and Ven. Holzhauser’s idea that the Church will go through a Babylonian Exile like the Jews before “divine worship” is restored, compelling. After all, we are taught that “The New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old is unveiled in the New” (St. Augustine) so it makes sense to me that the stages of development in the life of ancient Israel might foreshadow similar events yet to come for Holy Mother Church.
If you subscribe to this understanding then a Great Monarch and Holy Pontiff - fulfilling the roles of Prince Zerubbabel and Joshua the High Priest in leading the Jews out of the original captivity in Babylon - are plausible.
I wouldn’t say I subscribe to it but I am definitely “open” to it and refuse to brush it aside as medieval romanticism like many do.
That said, if the Great Monarch were hypothetically real - I would not be expecting an actual emperor but a Catholic political leader, as in an elected politician working in conjunction with a Pope to bring about the peace of Christ in our societies.
I differentiate the concept of the Great Monarch from the illusions of Trads on bizarre websites which I would encourage anyone to avoid like the bubonic plague.
The lack of charity by some commentators aside, it would appear to be a legitimate prophesy to which I have subscribed to since I heard about it roughly a year ago. I have no real expectation that it would be anything other than what is told on the tin; a Monarch (supposedly out of France, citation needed there) that will restore Empire. The connection between Holy Church and the former is not inconsiderable, and when one considers the fragility and short time-span in which a democratic era has occurred, I don’t really see why there should be an expectation otherwise among those who believe in the idea.
Aye, well said my friend. As our companion has said above about the monarch being a Catholic politician working in collusion with the Pope to restructure the Church as well as a morally bankrupt society, I find it hard to believe that a single Catholic politician could enforce such restoration without a sense that he would have an imperial grasp over Europe.