Nostradamus

Nostradamus

Nostradamus, (December 14, 1503 – July 2, 1566) born Michel de Nostredame, is one of the world's most famous authors of prophecies. He is best known for his book Les Propheties, which consists of one unrhymed and 941 rhymed quatrains, grouped into nine sets of 100 and one of 42, called 'Centuries'. Interest in the work of this prominent figure of the French Renaissance is still considerable, especially in the media and in popular culture.

Life

Childhood

Born in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (see map) in the south of France in December 1503 (his claimed birthplace still exists), Michel de Nostredame was one of at least eight children of Reynière de St-Rémy and grain dealer Jaume de Nostredame, who was also a prosperous home-grown notary. The latter's family had originally been Jewish, but Jaume's father, Guy Gassonet, had converted to Catholicism circa 1455, taking the Christian name 'Pierre' and the surname 'Nostredame' (the latter apparently from the saint's-day on which his conversion was solemnized). In this, he was merely following the example of thousands of others, thanks to increasing official French persecution of Jews, many of whom were the descendants of former refugees from Spain, where they were known as the Marranos. The names of Nostredame's known forebears seem to reflect this. While practice of the ancestral religion was apparently continued in secret, nobody knows whether this applied to Nostredame's family, or whether it still applied to him two generations later. His adult religious leanings suggest, however, that his upbringing was devoutly Catholic.

His known siblings included Delphine, Jehan (c.1507-77), Pierre, Hector, Louis (b.1522), Bertrand, Jean and Antoine (b.1523).

Student years

Little is known about Nostredame's childhood, although there is a persistent tradition that he was educated by his maternal great-grandfather Jean de St-Rémy – which is vitiated by the equally persistent tradition that the latter died when the child was only one year old. It is known, however, that at the age of fifteen Nostredame entered the University of Avignon to study for his baccalaureate. After little more than a year (when he would have studied the regular Trivium of grammar, rhetoric and logic, rather than the later Quadrivium of geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy/astrology) he was forced to leave Avignon when the university closed its doors in the face of an outbreak of the plague. In 1529, after some years as an apothecary, he entered the University of Montpellier to study for a doctorate in medicine. He was promptly expelled again shortly afterwards, though, when it was discovered that he had been an apothecary, which was a 'manual' trade expressly banned by the university statutes. The hand-written expulsion document (BIU Montpellier, Register S 2 folio 87 – see facsimile on p. 25 of Lemesurier [2] under Sources) still exists in the faculty library. After his expulsion, Nostredame continued working, presumably as an apothecary (though some of his publishers and correspondents would later call him 'Doctor'), and became famous for creating a "rose pill" that was widely believed (not least by himself) to protect against the plague.

Marriage and healing work

In 1531 he was invited by Jules-César Scaliger, a leading Renaissance scholar, to come to Agen. There Nostredame married a woman whose name is still in dispute (possibly Henriette d'Encausse), but who bore him two children. In 1534, however, his wife and children died, presumably from the plague. After their death he continued to travel, passing through France and possibly Italy.

On his return in 1545, he assisted the prominent physician Louis Serre in his fight against a major plague-outbreak in Marseille, and then tackled further outbreaks of disease on his own in Salon-de-Provence and in the regional capital, Aix-en-Provence. Finally, in 1547, he settled down in Salon-de-Provence in the house which is still there today, and where he married a rich widow named Anne Ponsarde (nicknamed Gemelle, or 'Twinny') and eventually had six children – three daughters (Madeleine, Anne and Diane) and three sons (César, Charles and André). Between 1556 and 1567, Nostredame and his wife would in due course acquire a one-thirteenth share in a huge canal project organized by Adam de Craponne to irrigate largely waterless Salon and the nearby Désert de la Crau from the river Durance. Parts of the network remain today: thanks to much larger supplementary canals, there is even a hydroelectric station in Salon itself.

The seer

After a further visit to Italy, Nostredame began to move away from medicine and towards the occult. Following popular trends, he wrote an almanac for 1550, for the first time Latinizing his name to 'Nostradamus'. He was so encouraged by its success that he decided to write one or more annually. Taken together, they are known to have contained at least 6,338 prophecies (most of them, in the event, failed predictions – see Chevignard and Lemesurier [2] under Sources), as well as at least eleven annual calendars, all of them starting on January 1 (and not, as is sometimes supposed, in March). It was mainly in reaction to the almanacs that nobility and other prominent persons from far and wide soon started asking for horoscopes and advice from him, though he generally expected them to supply the birth-charts on which the horoscopes would be based.

He then began his project of writing a book of one thousand quatrains, which constitute the largely undated prophecies for which he is most famous today. Feeling vulnerable to religious fanatics, however, he devised a method of obscuring his meaning by using "Virgilianized" syntax, word games and a mixture of languages such as Provençal, Greek, Latin and Italian. For technical reasons connected with their publication in three installments, the last fifty-eight quatrains of the seventh 'Century', or book of 100 verses, have not survived into any extant edition.

The quatrains, published in a book titled Les Propheties ('The Prophecies'), received a mixed reaction when they were published. Some people thought Nostradamus was a servant of evil, a fake, or insane, while many of the elite thought his quatrains were spiritually inspired prophecies. Catherine de Médicis, the queen consort of King Henri II of France, was one of Nostradamus' greatest admirers. After reading his almanacs for 1555, which hinted at unnamed threats to the royal family, she summoned him to Paris to explain them, and to draw up horoscopes for her children. At the time, he feared that he would be beheaded, but by the time of his death in 1566, Catherine had made him Counselor and Physician-in-Ordinary to the King.

Some biographical accounts of Nostradamus' life state that he was afraid of being persecuted for heresy by the Inquisition, but neither prophecy nor astrology fell under this bracket, and he would have been in danger only if he had practiced magic to support them. In fact, his relations with the Church as a prophet and healer were always excellent. His brief imprisonment at Marignane in late 1561 came about purely because he had published his 1562 almanac without the prior permission of a bishop, contrary to a recent royal decree.

Final years and death

By 1566 Nostradamus' gout, which had plagued him painfully for many years and made movement very difficult, turned into dropsy. In late June he summoned his lawyer to draw up an extensive will bequeathing his property plus 3444 crowns (around $300,000 today) – minus a few debts – to his wife pending her remarriage, in trust for her sons pending their twenty-fifth birthdays and her daughters pending their marriages. This was followed by a much shorter codicil. On the evening of July 1 he is alleged to have told his secretary Jean de Chavigny, "You will not find me alive by sunrise." The next morning he was reportedly found dead, lying on the floor between his bed and a makeshift bench. He was buried in the local Franciscan chapel (part of it now incorporated into the restaurant La Brocherie'), but re-interred in the Collégiale St-Laurent at the French Revolution, where his tomb remains to this day.

Methods

Nostradamus claimed to base his predictions on judicial astrology – the assessment of the 'astrological quality' of expected future events – but was heavily criticized by professional astrologers of the day such as Laurens Videl for his incompetence and for assuming that 'comparative horoscopy' (comparison of future planetary configurations with the astrology of known past events) could predict the actual events themselves.

Recent research (Brind'Amour [1], Prévost, Gruber, Lemesurier [2] and [3]) has suggested that most of his prophetic work was in fact based on paraphrasing collections of ancient end-of-the-world prophecies (mainly Bible-based – the end of the world was expected at the time to occur in either 1800 or 1887, or possibly in 2242, depending on the system adopted) and supplementing their insights by projecting known historical events and identifiable anthologies of omen-reports into the future with the aid of comparative horoscopy. It is thanks to this that his work contains so many predictions involving ancient figures such as Sulla, Marius, Nero, Hannibal and so on, as well as descriptions of "battles in the clouds" and "frogs falling from the sky". Astrology itself is mentioned only twice in Nostradamus' Preface, and 41 times in the Centuries themselves, though rather more in his famously baffling dedicatory Letter to King Henri II.

His historical sources include easily identifiable passages from Livy, Suetonius, Plutarch and a range of other classical historians, as well as from the chronicles of medieval authors such as Villehardouin and Froissart. Many of his broader astrological references, by contrast, are taken almost word-for-word from the Livre de l'estat et mutations des temps of 1549/50 by Richard Roussat. Even the planetary tables, already published by professional astrologers, on which he based the birth-charts that he was unable to avoid preparing himself are easily identifiable by their detailed figures, even where (as is usually the case) he gets some of them wrong. (Refer to the seminal analysis of these charts by Brind'Amour, 1993, under Sources, and compare Gruber's comprehensive critique of Nostradamus’ horoscope for Crown Prince Rudolph Maximilian).

His major prophetic source was evidently the Mirabilis liber of 1522 (Brind'Amour, Lemesurier [2] and [3]), which contained a range of prophecies by Pseudo-Methodius, the Tiburtine Sibyl, Joachim of Fiore, Savonarola and others (his Preface contains no fewer than 24 biblical quotations, all but two of them in exactly the same order as Savonarola). The book had enjoyed considerable success in the 1520s, when it went through half-a-dozen editions (see Links below for facsimiles and translations). The obvious question – why the Mirabilis liber did not sustain its influence in the way that Nostadamus’ writings did – is explained mainly by the fact that the book (like the Bible) was mostly in Latin and in Gothic script and, to make matters even more complicated for the general reader, contained many abstruse scholastic abbreviations. Nostradamus was, in effect, one of the first to present its prophecies (and others) openly in the French vernacular – as was also happening to the Bible at the time – which is no doubt why he has retained all the credit for them. The Mirabilis liber, (some of the predictions of which had already lapsed by the time Nostradamus started writing) was not translated into French until 1831 – and this mainly for scholarly and antiquarian reasons at a time when knowledge of Latin was beginning to die out. See selected Engilsh translations from it here.

Meanwhile, if Nostradamus' many competitors – and he had many – never accused him of copying from it, it was because copying and/or paraphrasing, far from being regarded (as it is today) as mere plagiarism, was regarded at the time as what all good, educated people should do anyway. The whole Renaissance was based on the idea. Copying from the classics in particular, often without acknowledgement, and preferably from memory, was all the rage. Only in the 17th century did people start to be surprised by the fact that much of his output was evidently based on earlier and often classical originals – which was no doubt why, according to the early commentator Théophile de Garencières, his Prophecies started to be used as a classroom-reader at that time. Nostradamus, it should be remembered, denied in writing on several occasions that he was a prophet on his own account. In translation:

This last is presumably why he entitled his book

(which, in French, as easily means 'The Prophecies, by M. Michel Nostradamus' – which is precisely what they were – as 'The Prophecies of M. Michel Nostradamus' – which, except in a few cases, they weren't, other than in the manner of their editing, expression and re-application to the future). Any criticism of Nostradamus for claiming to be a prophet, in other words, would have been for doing what he never claimed to be doing in the first place.

Further material (see Brind'Amour, Gruber, Lemesurier [2] and [3]) was gleaned from the De honesta disciplina of 1504 by Petrus Crinitus, which included extracts from Michael Psellus's De daemonibus and the De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum..." (Concerning the mysteries of Egypt...), a book on Chaldean and Assyrian magic by Iamblichus, a 4th-century neo-Platonist. Latin versions of both had recently been published in Lyon, and extracts from both are paraphrased (in the second case almost literally) in his first two verses. While it is true that Nostradamus claimed in 1555 to have burned all the occult works in his library, no one can say exactly what books were destroyed in this fire. The fact that they reportedly burned with an unnaturally brilliant flame suggests, however, that some of them were manuscripts on vellum, which was routinely treated with saltpeter.

Given that his methodology, clearly, was mainly literary, it is doubtful whether Nostradamus used any particular methods for entering a trance state, other than contemplation, meditation and incubation (i.e. ritually 'sleeping on it'). His sole description of this process is contained in letter 41 of his collected Latin correspondence, as republished by Jean Dupèbe and translated by Lemesurier [2]. The popular legend that he attempted the ancient methods of flame gazing, water gazing or both simultaneously is based on an uninformed reading of his first two verses (see above), which merely liken his own efforts to those of the Delphic and Branchidic oracles. In his dedication to King Henri II Nostradamus describes "emptying my soul, mind and heart of all care, worry and unease through mental calm and tranquility", but his frequent references to the "bronze tripod" of the Delphic rite are usually preceded by the words "as though".

Works

A copy of his Prophecies dated 1672, located at The P.I. Nixon Medical History Library of The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

The Prophecies - In this book he collected his major, long-term divinations. The first edition was published in 1555. The second, with 289 further prophetic verses, was printed in 1557. The third edition, with three hundred new quatrains, was reportedly printed in 1558, but nowadays only survives as part of the omnibus edition that was published after his death in 1568. Given printing practices at the time, no two editions turned out to be identical, and it is relatively rare to find even two copies that are exactly the same.

The Almanacs - By far the most popular of his works, these were published annually from 1550 until his death. Often he published two or even three in a single year, entitled either Almanachs (detailed predictions), Prognostications or Presages (more generalized predictions). See also here.

Nostradamus was not only a diviner, but a professional healer, too. We know that he wrote at least two books on medical science. One was an alleged "translation" of Galen, and in his so-called Traité des fardemens (basically a medical cookbook containing, once again, materials borrowed mainly from others) he included a description of the methods he used to treat the plague – none of which (not even the bloodletting) apparently worked. The same book also describes the preparation of cosmetics.

A manuscript normally known as the Orus Apollo also exists in the Lyon municipal library, where upwards of 2000 original documents relating to Nostradamus are stored under the aegis of Michel Chomarat. It is a purported translation of an ancient Greek work on Egyptian hieroglyphs based on later, Latin versions, all of them unfortunately ignorant of the true meanings of the ancient Egyptian script, which was not in fact deciphered until the advent of Champollion in the 19th century.

Since his death, only the Prophecies have continued to be popular, but in this case they have been quite extraordinarily so. Indeed, they have seldom, if ever, been out of print. This may be due partly to popular unease about the future, partly to people's desire to see their lives in some kind of over-all cosmic perspective and so to give meaning to them – but above all, possibly, to their vagueness and lack of dating, which enables them to be wheeled out after every major dramatic event and retrospectively claimed as 'hits'.

Hazards of interpretation

Skeptics of Nostradamus state that his reputation as a prophet is largely manufactured by modern-day supporters who shoehorn his words into events that have either already occurred or are so imminent as to be inevitable, a process known as "retroactive clairvoyance". It has been stated, probably correctly, that no Nostradamus quatrain has ever been interpreted as predicting a specific event before it occurred beyond a very general level (e.g., a fire will occur, a war will start).

A good demonstration of this flexible predicting is to take lyrics written by modern songwriters (e.g., Bob Dylan) and show that they are equally "prophetic". (For Dylan see Masters Of War , As I Went Out One Morning, Gates Of Eden, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), etc.)

Some scholars believe that Nostradamus wrote not to be a prophet, but to comment on events that were happening in his own time, writing in his elusive way – using highly metaphorical and cryptic language – in order to avoid persecution. This is similar to the Preterite interpretation of the Book of Revelation; John (the Divine) intended to write only about contemporary events, but over time his writings became seen as prophecies.

The well-known prophecy that "a great and terrifying leader would come out of the sky" in 1999 and 7 months "to resuscitate the great King from Angoumois" has been much over-stated. The phrase d'effraieur (of terror) in fact occurs nowhere in the original printing, which merely uses the word deffraieur (defraying, hosting). On the basis of Nostradamus's by-now well known technique of projecting past events into the future, Lemesurier [3] suggests that X.72 therefore refers back to the restoration to health of the captive Francis I of France (who was Duke of Angoulême) following a surprise visit to his cell by his host, the then Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1525. No fewer than five of the planets were in the same signs on both occasions.

The bulk of the quatrains deal with disasters of various sorts. The disasters include plagues, earthquakes, wars, floods, invasions, murders, droughts, battles and many other related themes. Some quatrains cover these in over-all terms; others concern a single person or small group of persons. Some cover a single town, others several towns in several countries. All of them are presented in the context of the supposedly imminent end of the world – a conviction that sparked numerous collections of end-time prophecies at the time, not least an unpublished collection by Christopher Columbus.

Misquotes and hoaxes

Nostradamus enthusiasts have credited him with predicting numerous events in world history, including the French Revolution, the atom bomb, the rise of Adolf Hitler and the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Indeed, they regularly make similar claims regarding each new world crisis as it comes along, for the most part shamelessly twisting either the words or the events to fit (see specific examples below). The tradition goes right back to Nostradamus' own day, and naturally does the seer himself no favors.

Nostradamus does not in fact mention any of the above specifically, not even Hitler: the name Hister, as he himself explains in his Presage for 1554, is merely the classical name for the Lower Danube, while Pau, Nay, Loron – often claimed to be an anagram of 'Napaulon Roy'– evidently refers simply to three neighboring towns in south-western France close to the seer's one-time home territory. This linguistic sleight of hand is particularly easy to carry out when the would-be commentator knows no French to start with, especially in its 16th-century form – to say nothing of French geography. Not surprisingly, then, detractors see such 'edited' predictions as examples of vaticinium ex eventu, retroactive clairvoyance and selective thinking, which find non-existent patterns in ambiguous statements. Because of this, it has been claimed that Nostradamus is "100% accurate at predicting events after they happen", while the seer has acquired even more disrepute than he possibly deserves.

Certainly, there is a persistent tendency to claim that 'Nostradamus predicted whatever has just happened'. As mentioned above, this applied most recently to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City. Almost as soon as the event had happened, the relevant Internet sites were deluged with enquiries into whether Nostradamus had predicted the event. In response, Nostradamus enthusiasts started searching for a Nostradamus quatrain that could be said to have done so. The nearest that they could come up with was quatrain VI.97, which in the original 1557 edition ran:

With instant evidently a version of the Latin instanter ('violently, vehemently'), a reasonable English translation would thus appear to be:

The various ways in which the enthusiasts chose to interpret the text, however, were almost universally panned by experts on the subject (compare the relevant sections of the Snopes and Lemesurier websites listed under External Links below, and see Gruber p.419 and Lemesurier [2] pp. 145-6 under Sources). 'Five and forty degrees' was said to be the latitude of New York City (this being incorrect in itself), or was interpreted as '40.5 degrees' (even though the decimal point had not yet come into use in the Europe of Nostradamus' day); the 'New City' was claimed to be New York (even though Nostradamus refers in this way to various 'New Cities' whose names, unlike 'New York', literally mean 'New City', and especially Naples – from Greek Neapolis, 'new city'); and most of the attempts to fit in the 'Normans' seemed contrived at best. After the factual nature of these claims was widely denied, some suggested instead that the first line might refer to the actual angle at which one of the hijacked airliners hit the World Trade Center (which seemed unlikely, even if the rest had fitted).

Lemesurier ([3], pp. 246-7; but compare Clébert) suggests that the verse is merely an undated projection into the future of the capture of Naples by the Normans in 1139 during a year marked by a notably violent eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius that is recorded in the contemporary Annales Cassini. In this case, the first expression may simply be a version of

– which is indeed the latitude of Naples.

Perhaps in frustration, the searchers now turned to quatrain I.87, which in the original 1555 edition (Albi copy) ran:

or, in a possible English translation:

Here, once again, the cité neufve was claimed to be New York; au tour de had to refer to the Twin Towers (even though, in French, the word tour in the masculine – as it is here – has absolutely nothing to do with towers); the Deux grands rochiers had to be the Twin Towers themselves; and Arethusa was (naturally!) an anagram of 'the USA'. Once again, however, rather more sober investigation by Brind'Amour ([2, p. 170) had already revealed (bearing in mind that, in French, faire la guerre aux rochers, or 'to make war on the rocks', simply means 'to struggle fruitlessly') that the reference was probably to Naples and its nearby volcano. Subsequent investigation by Lemesurier ([3], pp. 40-41) and his colleagues suggested that it applied particularly to the Annales Cassini's report of its lava eruption of 1036, at a time when the Lombards of Capua and the Byzantine dukes of Naples were constantly at war over the city prior to the decisive intervention of the Normans. For 968, similarly, Leo Marsicanus had reported in the same annals that ‘Mount Vesuvius exploded into flames and sent out huge quantities of sticky, sulfurous matter that formed a river rushing down to the sea’. Thus, given that Arethusa was the classical nymph of springs and rivers, with a well-known 'spring of Arethusa' still visible today in the Sicilian port of Syracuse, the case for a '9/11' interpretation was evidently unfounded.

Meanwhile the following spoof text was already being circulated on the Internet, along with many more elaborate variants (one of them signed 'Nostradamus 1654' – when he would, of course, have been just 150 years old!):

As it turns out, the first four lines were indeed written before the attacks, but by a Canadian graduate student named Neil Marshall as part of a research paper in 1997. Ironically enough, the research paper included this poem as an illustrative example of how the validity of prophecies is often exaggerated. For example, the phrases "City of God" (why is New York City the City of God?), "great thunder" (this could apply to just about any disaster), "Two brothers" (many things come in pairs), and "the great leader will succumb" are so ambiguous as to be meaningless. The fifth line was added by an anonymous Internet user, completely ignoring the fact that Nostradamus wrote his Propheties in rhymed four-line decasyllables called quatrains. Nostradamus also never referred to a "third big war".

To verify the authenticity of a purported Nostradamus quatrain, compare the identifying number (e.g.: C1, Q25 or 'I.25' means Century 1, Quatrain 25) against an authoritative version of Nostradamus' works, which will probably also contain the original old French – or click on the appropriate External Links below to see facsimiles of the originals.

Nostradamus in popular culture

Film

He is the subject of many films and videos, including:

  • Nostradamus: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow at The Internet Movie Database (1981)
  • Nostradamus at The Internet Movie Database (2000)
  • Nostradamus at The Internet Movie Database (1994) Depicts Nostradamus's rise in influence, because of success in treating plague and his predictions, culminating in his appointment as court physician to Charles IX of France.

None of them can be regarded as factual or reliable.

Television

The television series Alias prominently features the character Milo Rambaldi, a fictional Nostradamus-like prophet. In the science fiction series First Wave, the protagonists use the quatrains of Nostradamus to fight back against an alien invasion. Nostradamus has also been parodied on Comedy Central's Chappelle's Show as Negrodamus.

Music

Composer Robert Steadman has twice used Nostradamus' prophecies in pieces of music: in the 1987's quatrains by Nostradamus were juxtaposed with the Latin Requiem Mass text and poems on environmental issues. And in 1999, he set what was thought by some to be Nostradamus's prediction of the end of the world for soprano and chamber ensemble in The Final Prophecy.

In 2005, Dutch band Kayak released a rock opera called Nostradamus - Fate of Man. English singer/songwriter Al Stewart wrote a song called "Nostradamus", concerning the prophecies, for his 1973 album Past, Present, and Future.

Rapper Nas referred to himself as Nastradamus.

Maksim, the cross-over piano player, plays a song entitled Nostradamus on his third CD. It is composed by Tonci Huljic.

Comics

In an Italian Mickey Mouse story, Mickey and Goofy travel back in time and by accident a young boy followed them back to the present. The boy had to go back to his own time and his memory of the future was erased, but before that he grabbed pieces of books. The boy of course became Nostradamus and the ripped pages from books explained his visions of the future. The story was made by Massimo Marconi and Massimo De Vita.

A Phantom story from 1983 by Ulf Granberg and Jaime Vallvé featured an appearance by Nostradamus.

In the DC Comics Universe, Nostradamus was an ancestor of Zatara and Zatanna.

In Scott Adams's comic strip Dilbert, "Nostradogbert" is a pseudonym of Dogbert.

Games

In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, the prophecy of 1999 was used as the ressurection of Dracula and added that all born of the day of Dracula's demise are "Dark Candidates" meaning that that they'll be next in line to be Dark Lord.


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In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, the prophecy of 1999 was used as the ressurection of Dracula and added that all born of the day of Dracula's demise are "Dark Candidates" meaning that that they'll be next in line to be Dark Lord. On 8 January 2006 Pope Benedict continued the tradition of his predecessor John Paul II and baptised several infants in the Sistine Chapel representing his pastoral role as Bishop of Rome. In Scott Adams's comic strip Dilbert, "Nostradogbert" is a pseudonym of Dogbert. Other traditional items unused by the pope include the vestmental gloves, known as gauntlets and the papal fanon, a shoulder-length vestment reserved to Popes, worn with Mass vestments underneath the pallium. In the DC Comics Universe, Nostradamus was an ancestor of Zatara and Zatanna. Like his two immediate predecessors, Benedict chose not to be crowned with the tiara during his Inauguration Mass, nor has he worn it since that time. A Phantom story from 1983 by Ulf Granberg and Jaime Vallvé featured an appearance by Nostradamus. One item of clothing that Benedict has not worn to date is the papal tiara.

The story was made by Massimo Marconi and Massimo De Vita. On December 21, 2005, the pope began wearing the camauro for his general audiences; the traditional papal hat had not been seen since the pontificate of John XXIII (1958 - 1963). The boy of course became Nostradamus and the ripped pages from books explained his visions of the future. Pope Benedict XVI has also taken up the use of the red papal tabarro (outdoor cloak), which Pope John Paul II did not use after 1995. The boy had to go back to his own time and his memory of the future was erased, but before that he grabbed pieces of books. His house cassock (his soutane or cassock with shoulder cape) also includes the upper half-sleeves discontinued for all other clerics by the authority of Paul VI's Motu Proprio "Pontificalis Domus". In an Italian Mickey Mouse story, Mickey and Goofy travel back in time and by accident a young boy followed them back to the present. He has also worn the red satin mozzetta and its ermine-trimmed winter version that has not been seen since Pope Paul VI.

It is composed by Tonci Huljic. He has revived the use of the red papal buskins. Maksim, the cross-over piano player, plays a song entitled Nostradamus on his third CD. During his installment address, he spoke at length about the significance of one item of vestiture: the pallium, and has reverted to an ancient form of the pallium worn by first millennium pontiffs. Rapper Nas referred to himself as Nastradamus. Pope Benedict XVI has been using papal clothing which had previously fallen into disuse. English singer/songwriter Al Stewart wrote a song called "Nostradamus", concerning the prophecies, for his 1973 album Past, Present, and Future. The canonizations were part of a Mass that marked the conclusion of the Synod of Bishops and the Year of the Eucharist.[36].

In 2005, Dutch band Kayak released a rock opera called Nostradamus - Fate of Man. Peter's Square when he canonized Josef Bilczewski, Alberto Hurtado SJ and three others. And in 1999, he set what was thought by some to be Nostradamus's prediction of the end of the world for soprano and chamber ensemble in The Final Prophecy. Pope Benedict XVI celebrated his first Canonizations on October 23, 2005 in St. Composer Robert Steadman has twice used Nostradamus' prophecies in pieces of music: in the 1987's quatrains by Nostradamus were juxtaposed with the Latin Requiem Mass text and poems on environmental issues. On 29 September 2005 the Congregation for the Causes of Saints issued a communiqué announcing that henceforth beatifications would be celebrated by a representative of the Pope, usually the Prefect of that Congregation. Nostradamus has also been parodied on Comedy Central's Chappelle's Show as Negrodamus. Unlike his predecessor, Benedict XVI delegated the beatification liturgical service to a Cardinal.

In the science fiction series First Wave, the protagonists use the quatrains of Nostradamus to fight back against an alien invasion. The new Blesseds were Mother Marianne Cope and Mother Ascensión Nicol Goñi. The television series Alias prominently features the character Milo Rambaldi, a fictional Nostradamus-like prophet. The first beatification under the new Pope was celebrated on May 14, 2005 by José Cardinal Saraiva Martins. None of them can be regarded as factual or reliable. [35]. He is the subject of many films and videos, including:. Normally the beatification process for a person does not begin until five years have passed since his or her death, but due to the popularity of John Paul II — devotees chanted "Santo subito!" meaning "Saint now!" during the late pontiff's funeral — Benedict XVI dispensed with the rule and styled the late pope with the title given to all those being scrutinized in the beatification process, Servant of God.

To verify the authenticity of a purported Nostradamus quatrain, compare the identifying number (e.g.: C1, Q25 or 'I.25' means Century 1, Quatrain 25) against an authoritative version of Nostradamus' works, which will probably also contain the original old French – or click on the appropriate External Links below to see facsimiles of the originals. On May 9, 2005, Benedict XVI began the beatification process for his immediate predecessor, John Paul II. Nostradamus also never referred to a "third big war". Levada relinquished his see in San Francisco on August 17, 2005 and is expected to be made a Cardinal in a future consistory. The fifth line was added by an anonymous Internet user, completely ignoring the fact that Nostradamus wrote his Propheties in rhymed four-line decasyllables called quatrains. Though elements of the press have chosen to present Levada as a staunch conservative for his involvement with the drafting of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, his private views and public policies have not been entirely clear. For example, the phrases "City of God" (why is New York City the City of God?), "great thunder" (this could apply to just about any disaster), "Two brothers" (many things come in pairs), and "the great leader will succumb" are so ambiguous as to be meaningless. On May 13, 2005, Benedict XVI appointed a non-Cardinal, William Joseph Levada, Archbishop of San Francisco in the United States of America.

Ironically enough, the research paper included this poem as an illustrative example of how the validity of prophecies is often exaggerated. Benedict's only major new appointment was that of his successor as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. As it turns out, the first four lines were indeed written before the attacks, but by a Canadian graduate student named Neil Marshall as part of a research paper in 1997. The principal political officer, the Cardinal Secretary of State (often likened to the pope's Prime Minister), remains Angelo Cardinal Sodano, an Italian. Meanwhile the following spoof text was already being circulated on the Internet, along with many more elaborate variants (one of them signed 'Nostradamus 1654' – when he would, of course, have been just 150 years old!):. This assured an easy transition into a new pontificate. Thus, given that Arethusa was the classical nymph of springs and rivers, with a well-known 'spring of Arethusa' still visible today in the Sicilian port of Syracuse, the case for a '9/11' interpretation was evidently unfounded. Since their terms had ended on the death of the previous pope, Benedict reappointed after his election all former senior officers of the Roman Curia, though most only in a provisional manner.

For 968, similarly, Leo Marsicanus had reported in the same annals that ‘Mount Vesuvius exploded into flames and sent out huge quantities of sticky, sulfurous matter that formed a river rushing down to the sea’. This has drawn a sharp criticism by Catholic gay rights advocates like journalist Andrew Sullivan, who claim that Benedict is espousing a form of fundamentalist edict and is opposed to an outside questioning of his doctrines. 40-41) and his colleagues suggested that it applied particularly to the Annales Cassini's report of its lava eruption of 1036, at a time when the Lombards of Capua and the Byzantine dukes of Naples were constantly at war over the city prior to the decisive intervention of the Normans. John Lateran basilica on June 6, 2005, Benedict remarked on the issues of same-sex marriage and abortion:. Subsequent investigation by Lemesurier ([3], pp. In an address to a conference of the Diocese of Rome held at St. 170) had already revealed (bearing in mind that, in French, faire la guerre aux rochers, or 'to make war on the rocks', simply means 'to struggle fruitlessly') that the reference was probably to Naples and its nearby volcano. In the discussion with secularism and rationalism, one of Benedict's basic ideas can be found in his address on the "Crisis of Culture" in the West, a day before Pope John Paul II died, when he referred to Christianity as the Religion of the Word (in the original Greek, Logos, reason, meaning, intelligence).

Once again, however, rather more sober investigation by Brind'Amour ([2, p. He also traced the failed revolutions and violent ideologies of the 20th century to a conversion of partial points of view into absolute guides: "Absolutizing what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism," he said during World Youth Day. Here, once again, the cité neufve was claimed to be New York; au tour de had to refer to the Twin Towers (even though, in French, the word tour in the masculine – as it is here – has absolutely nothing to do with towers); the Deux grands rochiers had to be the Twin Towers themselves; and Arethusa was (naturally!) an anagram of 'the USA'. Continuing what he said in the pre-conclave Mass about what he has often referred to as the "central problem of our faith today": [31] the world "moving towards a dictatorship of relativism", [32] on June 6, 2005 he also said:. or, in a possible English translation:. It is a message that helps to overcome what can be considered the great temptation of our time: the claim, that after the Big Bang, God withdrew from history." [30]. Perhaps in frustration, the searchers now turned to quatrain I.87, which in the original 1555 edition (Albi copy) ran:. speaking to him as to a friend, knowing well that the Lord really is the true friend of everyone, even of those who cannot do great things on their own...that God is working today, and that all we have to do is put ourselves at his disposal...is an extremely important message.

– which is indeed the latitude of Naples. [29] He also said: "Truly we are all able, we are all called to open ourselves to this friendship with God.. In this case, the first expression may simply be a version of. For example, his address to the priests of Rome, his diocese as bishop, [27], to the cardinals in the pre-conclave, a key public address to the Church's top leaders [28], and to 150,000 people among whom were children going to their First Communion. 246-7; but compare Clébert) suggests that the verse is merely an undated projection into the future of the capture of Naples by the Normans in 1139 during a year marked by a notably violent eruption of nearby Mount Vesuvius that is recorded in the contemporary Annales Cassini. "Friendship with Jesus Christ" is a theme of his preaching which is found in many of his homilies and his addresses. Lemesurier ([3], pp. After referring to John Paul II's well-known words (Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!), Benedict XVI says:.

After the factual nature of these claims was widely denied, some suggested instead that the first line might refer to the actual angle at which one of the hijacked airliners hit the World Trade Center (which seemed unlikely, even if the rest had fitted). According to commentators, during the Inaugural Mass, the core of his message, the most moving and famous part, is found in the last paragraph of his homily where he referred to both Jesus Christ and John Paul II. 'Five and forty degrees' was said to be the latitude of New York City (this being incorrect in itself), or was interpreted as '40.5 degrees' (even though the decimal point had not yet come into use in the Europe of Nostradamus' day); the 'New City' was claimed to be New York (even though Nostradamus refers in this way to various 'New Cities' whose names, unlike 'New York', literally mean 'New City', and especially Naples – from Greek Neapolis, 'new city'); and most of the attempts to fit in the 'Normans' seemed contrived at best. The emphases of his teachings are stated in more detail in Theology of Pope Benedict XVI. 145-6 under Sources). As Pope, Benedict XVI's main role is to teach about the Catholic faith and the solutions to the problems of the faith, a role that he can play well being a former head of the Church's Congregation of the Faith. The various ways in which the enthusiasts chose to interpret the text, however, were almost universally panned by experts on the subject (compare the relevant sections of the Snopes and Lemesurier websites listed under External Links below, and see Gruber p.419 and Lemesurier [2] pp. In a return to tradition, Benedict chose to resurrect the tradition of delegating the celebration of the beatification liturgies.

With instant evidently a version of the Latin instanter ('violently, vehemently'), a reasonable English translation would thus appear to be:. However, all the cardinals had already sworn their obedience upon his election. The nearest that they could come up with was quatrain VI.97, which in the original 1557 edition ran:. During his inaugural Mass, the previous custom of all the cardinals submitting was replaced by having 12 people, representing cardinals, clergy, religious, a married couple and their child, and newly confirmed people, submit to him. In response, Nostradamus enthusiasts started searching for a Nostradamus quatrain that could be said to have done so. Since it is the shield and not the background which is unique to the individual Pope, various backgrounds are possible (though rarely used) for even a single shield. Almost as soon as the event had happened, the relevant Internet sites were deluged with enquiries into whether Nostradamus had predicted the event. Benedict's coat of arms has officially omitted the papal tiara, traditionally appearing in the background to designate the Pope's position and replaced it with a simple mitre.[25] However, there have been papal documents since his inauguration that have been appearing with the papal tiara present.

As mentioned above, this applied most recently to the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City. It is notable that he has used an open popemobile, saying that he wants to be closer to the people. Certainly, there is a persistent tendency to claim that 'Nostradamus predicted whatever has just happened'. Pope Benedict has confounded the expectations of many in the early days of his papacy by his gentle public persona and his promise to listen. Because of this, it has been claimed that Nostradamus is "100% accurate at predicting events after they happen", while the seer has acquired even more disrepute than he possibly deserves. Peter's Square, on April 27, 2005, to explain to the world why he chose the name:. Not surprisingly, then, detractors see such 'edited' predictions as examples of vaticinium ex eventu, retroactive clairvoyance and selective thinking, which find non-existent patterns in ambiguous statements. Benedict XVI used his first General Audience in St.

This linguistic sleight of hand is particularly easy to carry out when the would-be commentator knows no French to start with, especially in its 16th-century form – to say nothing of French geography. The choice of the regnal name Benedict (Latin "the blessed") is significant. Nostradamus does not in fact mention any of the above specifically, not even Hitler: the name Hister, as he himself explains in his Presage for 1554, is merely the classical name for the Lower Danube, while Pau, Nay, Loron – often claimed to be an anagram of 'Napaulon Roy'– evidently refers simply to three neighboring towns in south-western France close to the seer's one-time home territory. John Lateran. The tradition goes right back to Nostradamus' own day, and naturally does the seer himself no favors. (Some sources, such as the Catholic Encyclopedia and a number of church historians, additionally count Pope Stephen II, who died before being consecrated.) Then, on May 7, he was enthroned in a mass at the Basilica of St. Indeed, they regularly make similar claims regarding each new world crisis as it comes along, for the most part shamelessly twisting either the words or the events to fit (see specific examples below). Peters, formally becoming the 265th pope by the official Vatican reckoning.

Nostradamus enthusiasts have credited him with predicting numerous events in world history, including the French Revolution, the atom bomb, the rise of Adolf Hitler and the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. On April 24, he was inaugurated in St. All of them are presented in the context of the supposedly imminent end of the world – a conviction that sparked numerous collections of end-time prophecies at the time, not least an unpublished collection by Christopher Columbus. He then gave the blessing to the people. Some cover a single town, others several towns in several countries. At the balcony, Benedict's first words to the crowd, given in Italian before he gave the traditional Urbi et Orbi blessing in Latin, were:. Some quatrains cover these in over-all terms; others concern a single person or small group of persons. Cardinal Medina Estévez first addressed the massive crowd as "dear(est) brothers and sisters" in Italian, Spanish, French, German and English — each language receiving cheers from the international crowd — before continuing with the traditional Habemus Papam announcement in Latin.

The disasters include plagues, earthquakes, wars, floods, invasions, murders, droughts, battles and many other related themes. Before his first appearance at the balcony of Saint Peter's Basilica after becoming pope, he was announced by the Jorge Cardinal Medina Estévez, protodeacon of the College of Cardinals. The bulk of the quatrains deal with disasters of various sorts. Cardinal Ratzinger had hoped to retire peacefully and said that "At a certain point, I prayed to God 'please don't do this to me'...Evidently, this time He didn't listen to me." [23]. No fewer than five of the planets were in the same signs on both occasions. Leo IX, the most important German pope of the Middle Ages, known for instituting major reforms during his pontificate. On the basis of Nostradamus's by-now well known technique of projecting past events into the future, Lemesurier [3] suggests that X.72 therefore refers back to the restoration to health of the captive Francis I of France (who was Duke of Angoulême) following a surprise visit to his cell by his host, the then Holy Roman Emperor Charles V in 1525. Coincidentally, April 19 is the feast of St.

The phrase d'effraieur (of terror) in fact occurs nowhere in the original printing, which merely uses the word deffraieur (defraying, hosting). On April 19, 2005, Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as the successor to Pope John Paul II on the second day of the papal conclave after four ballots. The well-known prophecy that "a great and terrifying leader would come out of the sky" in 1999 and 7 months "to resuscitate the great King from Angoumois" has been much over-stated. Despite being the favourite (or perhaps because he was the favourite), it was a surprise to many that he was actually elected. This is similar to the Preterite interpretation of the Book of Revelation; John (the Divine) intended to write only about contemporary events, but over time his writings became seen as prophecies. The elections of both John Paul II and his predecessor, John Paul I had been rather unexpected. Some scholars believe that Nostradamus wrote not to be a prophet, but to comment on events that were happening in his own time, writing in his elusive way – using highly metaphorical and cryptic language – in order to avoid persecution. Though Ratzinger was increasingly considered the front runner by much of the international media, others maintained that his election was far from certain since very few papal predictions in modern history had come true.

(For Dylan see Masters Of War , As I Went Out One Morning, Gates Of Eden, A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding), etc.). Piers Paul Read wrote in The Spectator on March 5, 2005:. A good demonstration of this flexible predicting is to take lyrics written by modern songwriters (e.g., Bob Dylan) and show that they are equally "prophetic". Ratzinger himself had repeatedly stated he would like to retire to a Bavarian village and dedicate himself to writing books, but more recently, he told friends he was ready to "accept any charge God placed on him.". It has been stated, probably correctly, that no Nostradamus quatrain has ever been interpreted as predicting a specific event before it occurred beyond a very general level (e.g., a fire will occur, a war will start). In April 2005, before his election as pope, he was identified as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. Skeptics of Nostradamus state that his reputation as a prophet is largely manufactured by modern-day supporters who shoehorn his words into events that have either already occurred or are so imminent as to be inevitable, a process known as "retroactive clairvoyance". On the death of John Paul II, the Financial Times gave the odds of Ratzinger becoming pope as 7–1, the lead position, but close to his rivals on the liberal wing of the church.

This may be due partly to popular unease about the future, partly to people's desire to see their lives in some kind of over-all cosmic perspective and so to give meaning to them – but above all, possibly, to their vagueness and lack of dating, which enables them to be wheeled out after every major dramatic event and retrospectively claimed as 'hits'. On January 2, 2005, Time magazine quoted unnamed Vatican sources as saying that Ratzinger was a frontrunner to succeed John Paul II should the pope die or become too ill to continue as pope. Indeed, they have seldom, if ever, been out of print. A careful reading of the text will probably prove disappointing.". Since his death, only the Prophecies have continued to be popular, but in this case they have been quite extraordinarily so. He was quoted in the media as stating, "No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled. It is a purported translation of an ancient Greek work on Egyptian hieroglyphs based on later, Latin versions, all of them unfortunately ignorant of the true meanings of the ancient Egyptian script, which was not in fact deciphered until the advent of Champollion in the 19th century. On June 26, 2000, following the release of the text of the prophecy, Ratzinger issued a joint statement with Cardinal Bertone that the third and final chapter of Mary's prophecy had been fulfilled in 1981 in a failed attempt on the Pope's life.

A manuscript normally known as the Orus Apollo also exists in the Lyon municipal library, where upwards of 2000 original documents relating to Nostradamus are stored under the aegis of Michel Chomarat. In 1997, Ratzinger and Capovilla publicly stated that the Third Message was not being withheld for fears it would condemn the changes of the Vatican II council. The same book also describes the preparation of cosmetics. In October 1987 he stated that "the things contained in [the] Third Secret correspond to what has been announced in Scripture and has been said again and again in many other Marian apparitions; first of all, that of Fatima in what is already known of what its message contains, conversion and penitence are the essential conditions for salvation". One was an alleged "translation" of Galen, and in his so-called Traité des fardemens (basically a medical cookbook containing, once again, materials borrowed mainly from others) he included a description of the methods he used to treat the plague – none of which (not even the bloodletting) apparently worked. A year later, the interview was re-published in The Ratzinger Report, although several statements were omitted. We know that he wrote at least two books on medical science. In 1984, an interview with Ratzinger was published in the Pauline Sisters newsletter and states that the message deals with "dangers threatening the faith and the life of the Christian and therefore of the world", while stating that it marks the beginning of the end-times.

Nostradamus was not only a diviner, but a professional healer, too. He was one of seven people known to have read the actual Third Message put into writing in 1944, and the author of the Theological Commentary on the Third Message, published with the message itself in 2000. See also here. Until her death, Lúcia dos Santos, the last surviving of the three Fatima visionaries, was forbidden to discuss the Fatima revelations publicly unless given leave by Cardinal Ratzinger. Often he published two or even three in a single year, entitled either Almanachs (detailed predictions), Prognostications or Presages (more generalized predictions). In defending Dominus Iesus, Ratzinger himself has stated that his belief is that inter-faith dialogue should take place on the basis of equal human dignity, but that equality of human dignity should not imply that each side is equally correct. The Almanacs - By far the most popular of his works, these were published annually from 1550 until his death. They point out that Ratzinger has been very active in promoting inter-faith dialogue.

Given printing practices at the time, no two editions turned out to be identical, and it is relatively rare to find even two copies that are exactly the same. Others also maintain that single quotes from Dominus Iesus are not indicative of intolerance or an unwillingness to engage in dialogue with other faiths, and this is clear from a reading of the entire document. The third edition, with three hundred new quatrains, was reportedly printed in 1558, but nowadays only survives as part of the omnibus edition that was published after his death in 1568. His defenders argue that it is to be expected that a leader within the Catholic Church would forcefully and explicitly argue in favor of the superiority of Catholicism over other religions. The second, with 289 further prophetic verses, was printed in 1557. He said Turkey had always been "in permanent contrast to Europe" and that linking it to Europe would be a mistake.[22]. The first edition was published in 1555. In an interview in 2004 for Le Figaro magazine, Ratzinger said that Turkey, a country Muslim by heritage and staunchly secularist by its state constitution, should seek its future in an association of Islamic nations rather than the European Union, which has Christian roots.

The Prophecies - In this book he collected his major, long-term divinations. [21]. In his dedication to King Henri II Nostradamus describes "emptying my soul, mind and heart of all care, worry and unease through mental calm and tranquility", but his frequent references to the "bronze tripod" of the Delphic rite are usually preceded by the words "as though". The Dalai Lama congratulated Pope Benedict XVI upon his election. The popular legend that he attempted the ancient methods of flame gazing, water gazing or both simultaneously is based on an uninformed reading of his first two verses (see above), which merely liken his own efforts to those of the Delphic and Branchidic oracles. The World Jewish Congress "welcomed" his election to the pontificate, noted "his great sensitivity to the Jewish history and the Holocaust," and quoted the Pope in its press release:. His sole description of this process is contained in letter 41 of his collected Latin correspondence, as republished by Jean Dupèbe and translated by Lemesurier [2]. The deliberate omission of the "filioque" clause ("and the Son") in the first paragraph [18] is seen as an outreach to the Greek Orthodox Church which has been in conflict with the Latin Catholic Church over its addition to the Nicene Creed for about one thousand years.[19].

ritually 'sleeping on it'). Addressing the question that one religion is as a good as another (syncretism or indifferentism), it states, "...followers of other religions can receive divine grace, it is also certain that objectively speaking they are in a gravely deficient situation in comparison with those who, in the Church, have the fullness of the means of salvation." (par.22). Given that his methodology, clearly, was mainly literary, it is doubtful whether Nostradamus used any particular methods for entering a trance state, other than contemplation, meditation and incubation (i.e. 4). The fact that they reportedly burned with an unnaturally brilliant flame suggests, however, that some of them were manuscripts on vellum, which was routinely treated with saltpeter. (par. While it is true that Nostradamus claimed in 1555 to have burned all the occult works in his library, no one can say exactly what books were destroyed in this fire. This document pointed out the danger to the Church of relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism by denying that God has revealed truth to humanity.

Latin versions of both had recently been published in Lyon, and extracts from both are paraphrased (in the second case almost literally) in his first two verses. [17]. Further material (see Brind'Amour, Gruber, Lemesurier [2] and [3]) was gleaned from the De honesta disciplina of 1504 by Petrus Crinitus, which included extracts from Michael Psellus's De daemonibus and the De Mysteriis Aegyptiorum..." (Concerning the mysteries of Egypt...), a book on Chaldean and Assyrian magic by Iamblichus, a 4th-century neo-Platonist. This was misunderstood by some who mistakenly believed that the Church had previously repudiated its unique role in the world. Any criticism of Nostradamus for claiming to be a prophet, in other words, would have been for doing what he never claimed to be doing in the first place. In 2000, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published a document entitled Dominus Iesus, which reaffirmed the historic doctrine and mission of the Church to proclaim the Gospel. Michel Nostradamus' – which, except in a few cases, they weren't, other than in the manner of their editing, expression and re-application to the future). [16].

Michel Nostradamus' – which is precisely what they were – as 'The Prophecies of M. Shortly after his election, he told Francis Cardinal George, the Archbishop of Chicago, that he would attend to the matter. (which, in French, as easily means 'The Prophecies, by M. [15] His Good Friday reflections in 2005 were interpreted as strongly condemning and regretting the abuse scandals, which largely put to rest the speculation of indifference. This last is presumably why he entitled his book. [14] A report by the Catholic Church itself estimated that some 4,450 of the Roman Catholic clergy who served between 1950 and 2002 have faced credible accusations of abuse. In translation:. In 2002, Ratzinger told the Catholic News Service that "less than one percent of priests are guilty of acts of this type." [13] Opponents saw this as ignoring the crimes of those who committed the abuse; others saw it as merely pointing out that this should not taint other priests who live respectable lives.

Nostradamus, it should be remembered, denied in writing on several occasions that he was a prophet on his own account. [12]. Only in the 17th century did people start to be surprised by the fact that much of his output was evidently based on earlier and often classical originals – which was no doubt why, according to the early commentator Théophile de Garencières, his Prophecies started to be used as a classroom-reader at that time. In past eras, some serious crimes by priests against sexual morality, including pedophilia, were handled by that congregation or its predecessor, the Holy Office, but this has not been true in recent years." [9] The promulgation of the norms by Pope John Paul II and the subsequent letter by the then Prefect of the CDF were published in 2001 in Acta Apostolicae Sedis [10] which, in accordance with the Code of Canon Law [11], is the Holy See's official journal, disseminated monthly to thousands of libraries and offices around the world. Copying from the classics in particular, often without acknowledgement, and preferably from memory, was all the rage. "The letter said the new norms reflected the CDF's traditional “exclusive competence” regarding delicta graviora—Latin for “graver offenses.” According to canon law experts in Rome, reserving cases of clerical sexual abuse of minors to the CDF is something new. The whole Renaissance was based on the idea. [8] However, the letter did not discourage victims from reporting the abuse itself to the police; the secrecy related to the internal investigation.

Meanwhile, if Nostradamus' many competitors – and he had many – never accused him of copying from it, it was because copying and/or paraphrasing, far from being regarded (as it is today) as mere plagiarism, was regarded at the time as what all good, educated people should do anyway. However, when the crime is sexual abuse of a minor, the "prescription begins to run from the day on that which the minor completes the eighteenth year of age." [7] Lawyers acting for two alleged victims of abuse in Texas claim that by sending the letter the cardinal conspired to obstruct justice. See selected Engilsh translations from it here. The letter extended the prescription (statute of limitations) for these crimes to ten years. The Mirabilis liber, (some of the predictions of which had already lapsed by the time Nostradamus started writing) was not translated into French until 1831 – and this mainly for scholarly and antiquarian reasons at a time when knowledge of Latin was beginning to die out. As part of the implementation of the norms enacted and promulgated [5] on April 30, 2001 by Pope John Paul II, on May 18, 2001 Ratzinger sent a letter [6] to every bishop in the Catholic Church reminding them of the strict penalties facing those who revealed confidential details concerning enquiries into allegations against priests of certain grave ecclesiastical crimes, including sexual abuse, reserved to the jurisdiction of the CDF. Nostradamus was, in effect, one of the first to present its prophecies (and others) openly in the French vernacular – as was also happening to the Bible at the time – which is no doubt why he has retained all the credit for them. [4].

The obvious question – why the Mirabilis liber did not sustain its influence in the way that Nostadamus’ writings did – is explained mainly by the fact that the book (like the Bible) was mostly in Latin and in Gothic script and, to make matters even more complicated for the general reader, contained many abstruse scholastic abbreviations. As Cardinal Ratzinger was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the sexual abuse of minors by priests was his responsibility to investigate from 2001, when that charge was given to the CDF by Pope John Paul II. The book had enjoyed considerable success in the 1520s, when it went through half-a-dozen editions (see Links below for facsimiles and translations). Because of these health problems, and in order to have time free to write, he had hoped to retire, but had continued at his post in obedience to the wishes of Pope John Paul II.[3]. His major prophetic source was evidently the Mirabilis liber of 1522 (Brind'Amour, Lemesurier [2] and [3]), which contained a range of prophecies by Pseudo-Methodius, the Tiburtine Sibyl, Joachim of Fiore, Savonarola and others (his Preface contains no fewer than 24 biblical quotations, all but two of them in exactly the same order as Savonarola). France's Philippe Cardinal Barbarin further revealed that since the first stroke, Ratzinger has suffered from a heart condition. (Refer to the seminal analysis of these charts by Brind'Amour, 1993, under Sources, and compare Gruber's comprehensive critique of Nostradamus’ horoscope for Crown Prince Rudolph Maximilian). In May 2005, the Vatican revealed that he had subsequently suffered another mild stroke - it did not reveal when, other than that it occurred between 2003 and 2005.

Even the planetary tables, already published by professional astrologers, on which he based the birth-charts that he was unable to avoid preparing himself are easily identifiable by their detailed figures, even where (as is usually the case) he gets some of them wrong. The existence of the stroke was known to the Conclave that elected him pope. Many of his broader astrological references, by contrast, are taken almost word-for-word from the Livre de l'estat et mutations des temps of 1549/50 by Richard Roussat. In the early 1990s Ratzinger suffered a stroke, which slightly impaired his eyesight temporarily. His historical sources include easily identifiable passages from Livy, Suetonius, Plutarch and a range of other classical historians, as well as from the chronicles of medieval authors such as Villehardouin and Froissart. (See also Theology of Pope Benedict XVI.). Astrology itself is mentioned only twice in Nostradamus' Preface, and 41 times in the Centuries themselves, though rather more in his famously baffling dedicatory Letter to King Henri II. During his period in office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith took disciplinary measures against some outspoken liberation theologians in Latin America in the 1980s.

It is thanks to this that his work contains so many predictions involving ancient figures such as Sulla, Marius, Nero, Hannibal and so on, as well as descriptions of "battles in the clouds" and "frogs falling from the sky". In office, Ratzinger fulfilled his institutional role, defending and reaffirming official Catholic doctrine, including teaching on topics such as birth control, homosexuality, and inter-religious dialogue. Recent research (Brind'Amour [1], Prévost, Gruber, Lemesurier [2] and [3]) has suggested that most of his prophetic work was in fact based on paraphrasing collections of ancient end-of-the-world prophecies (mainly Bible-based – the end of the world was expected at the time to occur in either 1800 or 1887, or possibly in 2242, depending on the system adopted) and supplementing their insights by projecting known historical events and identifiable anthologies of omen-reports into the future with the aid of comparative horoscopy. He was promoted with the College of Cardinals to become to Cardinal Bishop of Velletri-Segni in 1993, was made the College's vice-dean in 1998 and dean in 2002. Nostradamus claimed to base his predictions on judicial astrology – the assessment of the 'astrological quality' of expected future events – but was heavily criticized by professional astrologers of the day such as Laurens Videl for his incompetence and for assuming that 'comparative horoscopy' (comparison of future planetary configurations with the astrology of known past events) could predict the actual events themselves. Consequently, he resigned his post at Munich in early 1982. He was buried in the local Franciscan chapel (part of it now incorporated into the restaurant La Brocherie'), but re-interred in the Collégiale St-Laurent at the French Revolution, where his tomb remains to this day. On November 25, 1981, Pope John Paul II named Ratzinger Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, formerly known as the Holy Office, the historical Inquisition.

On the evening of July 1 he is alleged to have told his secretary Jean de Chavigny, "You will not find me alive by sunrise." The next morning he was reportedly found dead, lying on the floor between his bed and a makeshift bench. Of these only he and Cardinal William Baum took part in the Conclave. This was followed by a much shorter codicil. By the time of the 2005 Conclave, he was one of only 14 remaining cardinals appointed by Paul VI, and one of only three of those under the age of 80. In late June he summoned his lawyer to draw up an extensive will bequeathing his property plus 3444 crowns (around $300,000 today) – minus a few debts – to his wife pending her remarriage, in trust for her sons pending their twenty-fifth birthdays and her daughters pending their marriages. In the consistory of June 1977, he was named a cardinal by Pope Paul VI. By 1566 Nostradamus' gout, which had plagued him painfully for many years and made movement very difficult, turned into dropsy. He took as his episcopal motto Cooperatores Veritatis, co-workers of the Truth, from 3 John: 8, a choice he comments upon in his autobiographical work, Milestones.

His brief imprisonment at Marignane in late 1561 came about purely because he had published his 1562 almanac without the prior permission of a bishop, contrary to a recent royal decree. In March 1977, Ratzinger was appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising. In fact, his relations with the Church as a prophet and healer were always excellent. Until his election as Pope, he remained one of the journal's most prolific contributors. Some biographical accounts of Nostradamus' life state that he was afraid of being persecuted for heresy by the Inquisition, but neither prophecy nor astrology fell under this bracket, and he would have been in danger only if he had practiced magic to support them. Communio, now published in seventeen editions (German, English, Spanish and many others), has become a prominent journal of Catholic thought. At the time, he feared that he would be beheaded, but by the time of his death in 1566, Catherine had made him Counselor and Physician-in-Ordinary to the King. In 1972, he founded the theological journal Communio with Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Walter Kasper and others.

After reading his almanacs for 1555, which hinted at unnamed threats to the royal family, she summoned him to Paris to explain them, and to draw up horoscopes for her children. Increasingly, his views, despite his reformist bent, contrasted with those liberal ideas gaining currency theological circles.[2] In 1969, he returned to Bavaria, to the University of Regensburg. Catherine de Médicis, the queen consort of King Henri II of France, was one of Nostradamus' greatest admirers. Ratzinger came increasingly to see these and associated developments (such as decreasing respect for authority among his students, the rise of the German gay rights movement) as related to a departure from traditional Catholic teachings. Some people thought Nostradamus was a servant of evil, a fake, or insane, while many of the elite thought his quatrains were spiritually inspired prophecies. During this time, he distanced himself from the atmosphere of Tübingen and the Marxist leanings of the student movement of the 1960s, that in Germany quickly radicalised in the years 1967 and 1968, culminating in a series of disturbances and riots in April and May 1968. The quatrains, published in a book titled Les Propheties ('The Prophecies'), received a mixed reaction when they were published. These sentences, however, did not appear in later editions of the book.

For technical reasons connected with their publication in three installments, the last fifty-eight quatrains of the seventh 'Century', or book of 100 verses, have not survived into any extant edition. He also wrote that the Church of the time was too centralized, rule-bound and overly controlled from Rome. Feeling vulnerable to religious fanatics, however, he devised a method of obscuring his meaning by using "Virgilianized" syntax, word games and a mixture of languages such as Provençal, Greek, Latin and Italian. In his 1968 book Introduction to Christianity, he wrote that the pope has a duty to hear differing voices within the Church before making a decision, and downplayed the centrality of the papacy. He then began his project of writing a book of one thousand quatrains, which constitute the largely undated prophecies for which he is most famous today. In 1966, he was appointed to a chair in dogmatic theology at the University of Tübingen, where he was a colleague of Hans Küng. It was mainly in reaction to the almanacs that nobility and other prominent persons from far and wide soon started asking for horoscopes and advice from him, though he generally expected them to supply the birth-charts on which the horoscopes would be based. (Later, as the Prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Ratzinger most clearly spelled out the Catholic Church's position on other religions in the document Dominus Iesus (2000) which also talks about the proper way to engage in ecumenical dialogue.).

Taken together, they are known to have contained at least 6,338 prophecies (most of them, in the event, failed predictions – see Chevignard and Lemesurier [2] under Sources), as well as at least eleven annual calendars, all of them starting on January 1 (and not, as is sometimes supposed, in March). He was viewed during the time of the Council as a reformer. He was so encouraged by its success that he decided to write one or more annually. At the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), Ratzinger served as a peritus or theological consultant to Josef Cardinal Frings of Cologne, Germany, and has continued to defend the council, including Nostra Aetate, the document on respect of other religions and the declaration of the right to religious freedom. Following popular trends, he wrote an almanac for 1550, for the first time Latinizing his name to 'Nostradamus'. Ratzinger became a professor at the University of Bonn in 1959; his inaugural lecture was on "The God of Faith and the God of Philosophy." In 1963, he moved to the University of Münster, where his inaugural lecture was given in a packed lecture hall, as he was already well known as a theologian. After a further visit to Italy, Nostredame began to move away from medicine and towards the occult. It was completed in 1957 and he became a professor of Freising College in 1958.

Parts of the network remain today: thanks to much larger supplementary canals, there is even a hydroelectric station in Salon itself. His Habilitationsschrift (which qualified him for a professorship) was on Bonaventure. Between 1556 and 1567, Nostredame and his wife would in due course acquire a one-thirteenth share in a huge canal project organized by Adam de Craponne to irrigate largely waterless Salon and the nearby Désert de la Crau from the river Durance. Joseph Ratzinger's dissertation (1953) was on Augustine, entitled "The People and the House of God in Augustine's Doctrine of the Church". Finally, in 1547, he settled down in Salon-de-Provence in the house which is still there today, and where he married a rich widow named Anne Ponsarde (nicknamed Gemelle, or 'Twinny') and eventually had six children – three daughters (Madeleine, Anne and Diane) and three sons (César, Charles and André). They were both ordained on June 29, 1951 by Michael Cardinal von Faulhaber of Munich. On his return in 1545, he assisted the prominent physician Louis Serre in his fight against a major plague-outbreak in Marseille, and then tackled further outbreaks of disease on his own in Salon-de-Provence and in the regional capital, Aix-en-Provence. Following repatriation in 1945, the two brothers entered Saint Michael Seminary in Traunstein, and then studied at the Ducal Georgianum (Herzogliches Georgianum) of the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich.

After their death he continued to travel, passing through France and possibly Italy. The family was reunited when his brother, Georg, returned after being repatriated from a prisoner-of-war camp in Italy. In 1534, however, his wife and children died, presumably from the plague. Ratzinger was briefly interned in an Allied prisoner-of-war camp near Ulm and was repatriated on June 19, 1945. There Nostredame married a woman whose name is still in dispute (possibly Henriette d'Encausse), but who bore him two children. His unit served at various posts around the city and was never sent to the front. In 1531 he was invited by Jules-César Scaliger, a leading Renaissance scholar, to come to Agen. He was eventually drafted into the German army at Munich to receive basic infantry training in the nearby town of Traunstein.

After his expulsion, Nostredame continued working, presumably as an apothecary (though some of his publishers and correspondents would later call him 'Doctor'), and became famous for creating a "rose pill" that was widely believed (not least by himself) to protect against the plague. After his class was released from the Corps in September 1944, Ratzinger was put to work setting up anti-tank defences in the Hungarian border area of Austria in preparation for the expected Red Army offensive. 25 of Lemesurier [2] under Sources) still exists in the faculty library. In 1943, when he was 16, Ratzinger was drafted with many of his classmates into the Luftwaffenhelfer programme. The hand-written expulsion document (BIU Montpellier, Register S 2 folio 87 – see facsimile on p. According to one of Ratzinger's biographers, the National Catholic Reporter correspondent John Allen, he was an unenthusiastic member who refused to attend meetings. He was promptly expelled again shortly afterwards, though, when it was discovered that he had been an apothecary, which was a 'manual' trade expressly banned by the university statutes. Following his 14th birthday in 1941, Ratzinger joined the Hitler Youth, membership of which was legally required from December 1936[1].

In 1529, after some years as an apothecary, he entered the University of Montpellier to study for a doctorate in medicine. Struck by the Cardinal's distinctive costume, later that day he announced he wanted to be a cardinal. After little more than a year (when he would have studied the regular Trivium of grammar, rhetoric and logic, rather than the later Quadrivium of geometry, arithmetic, music and astronomy/astrology) he was forced to leave Avignon when the university closed its doors in the face of an outbreak of the plague. At the age of five, Ratzinger was in a group of children who welcomed the visiting Cardinal Archbishop of Munich with flowers. It is known, however, that at the age of fifteen Nostredame entered the University of Avignon to study for his baccalaureate. The pope's relatives agree that his priestly vocation was apparent from boyhood. Little is known about Nostredame's childhood, although there is a persistent tradition that he was educated by his maternal great-grandfather Jean de St-Rémy – which is vitiated by the equally persistent tradition that the latter died when the child was only one year old. His sister, Maria Ratzinger, who never married, managed Cardinal Ratzinger's household until her death in 1991.

His known siblings included Delphine, Jehan (c.1507-77), Pierre, Hector, Louis (b.1522), Bertrand, Jean and Antoine (b.1523). Pope Benedict's brother, Georg, a priest and former director of the Regensburger Domspatzen choir, is still alive. His adult religious leanings suggest, however, that his upbringing was devoutly Catholic. He was the third and youngest child of Joseph Ratzinger, Sr., a police officer, and Maria Ratzinger (née Peintner). While practice of the ancestral religion was apparently continued in secret, nobody knows whether this applied to Nostredame's family, or whether it still applied to him two generations later. He was baptized the same day. The names of Nostredame's known forebears seem to reflect this. Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born on 16th April, Holy Saturday, 1927 at Schulstrasse 11, his parents' home in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria.

In this, he was merely following the example of thousands of others, thanks to increasing official French persecution of Jews, many of whom were the descendants of former refugees from Spain, where they were known as the Marranos. He plays the piano and has a preference for Mozart and Beethoven. The latter's family had originally been Jewish, but Jaume's father, Guy Gassonet, had converted to Catholicism circa 1455, taking the Christian name 'Pierre' and the surname 'Nostredame' (the latter apparently from the saint's-day on which his conversion was solemnized). He is a member of a large number of academies, such as the French Académie des sciences morales et politiques. Born in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence (see map) in the south of France in December 1503 (his claimed birthplace still exists), Michel de Nostredame was one of at least eight children of Reynière de St-Rémy and grain dealer Jaume de Nostredame, who was also a prosperous home-grown notary. He can read ancient Greek and biblical Hebrew. . Benedict speaks fluently his native German, and also Italian, French, English, Spanish and Latin.

Interest in the work of this prominent figure of the French Renaissance is still considerable, especially in the media and in popular culture. Benedict XVI's views appear to be similar to those of his predecessor in maintaining the traditional Catholic doctrines on artificial birth control, abortion, and homosexuality while promoting Catholic social teaching. He is best known for his book Les Propheties, which consists of one unrhymed and 941 rhymed quatrains, grouped into nine sets of 100 and one of 42, called 'Centuries'. He was the public face of the church in much of the sede vacante period, although technically he ranked below the camerlengo in administrative authority during that time. Nostradamus, (December 14, 1503 – July 2, 1566) born Michel de Nostredame, is one of the world's most famous authors of prophecies. As Dean of the College of Cardinals he presided over the funeral of John Paul II and also over the Mass immediately preceding the 2005 conclave in which he was elected, in which he called on the assembled cardinals to hold fast to the doctrine of the faith. Nostradamus at The Internet Movie Database (1994) Depicts Nostradamus's rise in influence, because of success in treating plague and his predictions, culminating in his appointment as court physician to Charles IX of France. Before becoming pope, Cardinal Ratzinger was already one of the most influential men in the Roman Curia, and was a close associate of the late John Paul II.

Nostradamus at The Internet Movie Database (2000). He was the first Dean of the College elected pope since Paul IV in 1555 and the first cardinal bishop elected pope since Pius VIII in 1829. Nostradamus: The Man Who Saw Tomorrow at The Internet Movie Database (1981). In 1998, he became sub-dean of the College of Cardinals and on November 30, 2002, dean, adding also as is custom the title of Cardinal bishop of the suburbicarian diocese of Ostia. He was appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith by Pope John Paul II in 1981 and was also assigned the honorific title of the cardinal bishop of the suburbicarian diocese of Velletri-Segni on April 5, 1993. Born in Bavaria, Germany, Benedict had a distinguished career as a university theologian before being appointed Archbishop of Munich and Freising by Pope Paul VI, and very shortly afterwards made a cardinal in the consistory of June 27, 1977.

The last pope named Benedict was Benedict XV, an Italian who reigned from 1914 to 1922, during World War I. He is the ninth German pope, the last being the Dutch-German Adrian VI (1522–1523). He served longer as a cardinal before being elected pope than did any pope since Benedict XIII (elected 1724). He is the oldest person to have been elected pope since Clement XII in 1730.

Pope Benedict XVI was elected pope at the age of 78. . During his papacy, Benedict XVI has particularly emphasized what he sees as a need for Europe to return to fundamental Christian values, in response to increasing de-Christianization and secularization in many developed countries, where secular humanism is influential. At the time of his election as Pope, he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Dean of the College of Cardinals.

He served as a professor at various German universities, and was a theological expert at the Second Vatican Council before becoming Archbishop of Munich and Freising and Cardinal. One of the best-known theologians since the 1960s and a prolific author, he is viewed as a close conservative ally of his predecessor, Pope John Paul II. John Lateran, on May 7, 2005. He was elected on April 19, 2005 in a papal conclave, celebrated his Papal Inauguration Mass on April 24, 2005, and took possession of his cathedral, the Basilica of St.

XVI), born Joseph Alois Ratzinger on April 16, 1927 in Marktl am Inn, Bavaria, Germany, is the 265th and reigning pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, and sovereign of Vatican City State. Pope Benedict XVI (Latin: Benedictus PP. On August 21, he led a mass at Marienfeld with about one million youths present. He also spoke with representatives of the Muslim and Protestant communities of Cologne.

Benedict and his immediate predecessor John Paul II are the only two popes since St Peter known to have visited a synagogue. The Pope visited the synagogue of the Jewish community in Cologne, which is the oldest Jewish community in the world north of the Alps. There he met with President Horst Köhler, Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Leader of the Opposition Angela Merkel and others, and visited the famous Cologne Cathedral. Germany (August 18 to August 21, 2005): The Pope arrived in Germany on August 18 in order to participate in the 20th World Youth Day in Cologne.

It was his first pilgrimage outside Rome since being elected the 265th leader of the Roman Catholic Church on April 19. The Pope referred to Bari as a "land of meeting and dialog" with the Orthodox Church in his homily at a Mass that closed a national religious conference. Nicholas of Myra, a 4th-century saint who is one of the most popular in both the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches. Bari, on Italy’s Adriatic coast, is considered a “bridge” between East and West and is home to the relics of St.

Benedict made the pledge in a city closely tied to the Orthodox Church. Italy (May 29, 2005): Pope Benedict visited the Italian port of Bari and pledged to make the reconciliation with the Eastern Orthodox Church a "fundamental" commitment of his papacy.

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