Fortunately for our general morale around here, someone named Francis Horn has produced a video called"The Last Pope." This entertainment features babbling crackpots dressed up as academics spouting off about the medieval prophecies of one St. Malachy, the archbishop of Armagh, who died in 1148.
This Malachy, perhaps to get even for being made archbishop of a place named after the sound one makes into the bushes outside the 7-11 when one has had too many shots of Jagermeister, prophesied that there would be exactly 112 more popes after the then current Pope expired, after which Rome would be destroyed and Jesus would come to judge the world. Critics of Malachy have pointed out that he made the coward's choice of predicting the final dust-up for long after he personally would be dead, sometimes called the Mayan method by Apocalypse connoisseurs, and thus escape being roasted by the final flames and also criticism if he was wrong.
"The Last Pope" seizes upon the words of Malachy to suggest that we all get ramped up for Doomsday once again, because GUESS WHAT the current Pope's number is regarding the dead Archbishop's prophecy? If you said anything other than 112 you can stop reading this now (and probably moving your lips while you are doing so) and resume playing Angry Birds.
I am sure that the producers of "The Last Pope" do a fine job of glossing over the inconsistencies in St. Malachy's visions, the most prominent being that the Archbishop predicted that the last Pope would be named "Peter of Rome" when he is actually "Francis of Argentina." Other than having the wrong name, critics of the Church agree Francis would make a fine Last Pope, although the more severe among them point out that you could have said the same thing about any Pope in the last fifteen hundred years. Francis at least seems a kindly sort, holding out the olive branch of peace to atheists and gays and proclaiming his concern for poor people, as opposed to the policies of previous Popes, which were to burn atheists, condemn gays and bleed poor people out of their last penny so they could build statues.
So if he's the last Pope at least the race of Popes is going out on a high note. As for the rest of us, I have my doubts. People experience apocalyptic events at an unfortunately high rate already. Whether it is a tanker car full of liquefied natural gas blowing up at their local train depot, an earthquake that flattens all the huts in their village, or Krakatau going off in their back yard, many people have experienced, if the majority of them only briefly, the sensation that they and everyone else around them was going to die. I am sure some of them looked around for Jesus then, and He was a no-show.
So when the big blow comes, and scientists, in their dreary way of telling us things we don't want to hear, like we're all going to be replaced by robots or that we have the same chemical composition as bathtub rings, assure us it will, the one that wipes out most of humanity, whether it's during the reign of Pope 112 or Pope 1,112, I predict there is going to be no obvious divine involvement. If there's one thing for certain about God it is that He keeps His existence on the down low. If the end comes as the explosion of the Yellowstone super volcano, Jesus is not going burst out of the top of the ash cloud; if a ten-mile wide asteroid comes gunning for us from the orbit of Jupiter, the Son of God is not going to be riding it like it was the Formula One Racecar of Doom; if it's a gamma-ray burst from a nearby supernova, those death rays are not going to assume the shape of the Cross before they fry us all into protein powder.
Because once Someone's two thousand years late, you have to at least consider the possibility that He's not coming at all.