What if the next pope is the one Saint John Bosco saw in his Dream of the Two Pillars?

February 12, 2013 by  
Filed under Patrick's Blog


For at least the next month, we will be bombarded with a myriad of theories, speculations, and predictions about who will be elected the next pope. One name you will hear a LOT about in the coming weeks is Cardinal Tarcisio Pietro Evasio Bertone, S.D.B., who currently holds two important and powerful positions in the Vatican, Secretary of State and Camerlengo.

Already, the speculators and conspiracy-theorists are theorizing that Cardinal Bertone will be the next pope because, at least according to the dubious “prophecy of Saint Malachi,” the next pope after Pope Benedict XVI will be known as “Peter the Roman,” in part because his middle name, Pietro, is Italian for Peter. Some of these theorists are saying, Cardinal Bertone was “born in Rome.”

False. He was born in the Northern Italian town of  Romano Canavese, in the Piedmont region, near the City of Turin.

Personally, I don’t buy into any of the hyped-up speculation about possible or probable papabili. My guess (and guessing is all anyone can do here) is that we will all be surprised by the election. For that matter, I’m not fazed by the speculation gyrations people are into right now. The Holy Spirit is in charge of this process and will write straight with the crooked lines we humans use.


So, all speculation and Saint Malachi stuff aside, I will point out something that I believe is a  genuinely interesting factoid about Cardinal Bertone : Namely,that he is a Salesian of Don Bosco, and Saint Don Bosco, as you will recall, had a prophetic dream about a future pope who will guide the Catholic Church through a fierce storm of attacks into a respite of calm and peace.

In his dream, Don Bosco saw the Church as a great three-masted ship being moored securely between two towering pillars representing the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary. I think many Catholics today would agree that, however choppy the water may be right now, the Catholic Church seems to be headed straight into a dark and dangerous storm of gale proportions. Cardinal Francis George recently said as much when he commented prophetically that he expects to die in his bed, he expects his successor to die in prison, and he expects his successor’s successor to die a martyr’s death.

In several weeks’ time, once the new pope is elected, I may look back and laugh at this blog post. Very possibly someone completely unexpected will be elected (which, I tend to think is what will happen).  And yet, for the moment at least, I am simply taking note of the fact that Cardinal Bertone is a Salesian, a disciple of Saint John Bosco. When it’s all said and done and we have our new pope, wouldn’t it be just a tad remarkable if the future pope whom Don Bosco saw in his dream turned out to be one of his own sons?


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17 Responses to “What if the next pope is the one Saint John Bosco saw in his Dream of the Two Pillars?”
  1. Dc Chuck Farrar says:

    Dear Pat,

    I am a deacon for the diocese of Little Rock. My question is what would be a good answer to an atheist/ non belier who says “who can worship a god who killed widows, mothers, sons etc. as written in the Old Testament? I’ve heard some explanations but would appreciate your opinion.

    Thanks and God Bless your ministry.
    Dc Chuck Farrar

  2. Triana says:

    Patrick, I so appreciate that you are both reasoned and measured, yet contemplative with an open heart to the Saints on these matters. Thank you for not ignoring them.

    It’s true so many are wondering about various prophesies, and I thank God for you that are addressing some of them for us. Your insights are a comfort that the Holy Spirit is guiding and protecting the Church, and also point us to the beautiful and poignant writings of our Saints. I do believe Jesus and Our Lady have given us signs of the end, not to instill fear, but in great mercy and love for us.

    Aren’t the prophesies of Saints meant to be contemplated? To me, they are part of the love story of God for us. How precious!

    I think you make a great point about St. Bosco and Bertone. I wonder if the Cardinal has a special devotion to him.. hmm.

    Please keep sharing your thoughts on the messages of the Saints. Your words are such a help and so interesting.

  3. Fenton says:

    Cardinal Burke!

  4. Anne says:

    If the next Pope was to be an Italian, I would like to see Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco elected. In April 2007, he received death threats over courageously speaking out against same sex unions. Later in November 2007, he was made Cardinal. In August 2012, he gave a homily at the Cathedral of Genoa putting forth the Martyr and Deacon Saint Lawrence as a model of heroic witness to one’s faith life for the Archdiocese. Deacon St. Lawrence was martyred in Rome in 258. If anyone is to lead the Church through turbulent times, in my own opinion Cardinal Angelo would be the ideal candidate. God bless.

  5. Judy A. says:

    Our Catholic Church and Faith shall stand strong as long as the world exists. The gates of hell shall NOT prevail against Her. We are One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic. We are the Body of Christ.

  6. Lynne says:

    Cardinal Bertone is 78 so hopefully, he is too old to be considered papabile… To be honest, I do not trust him as Secretary of State and would not want to see him as the next Pope. The fact that he is a Salesian explains a lot. At my former parish, they frequently used Salesian priests to do at least one of the Masses. The ones that said Mass were never very orthodox. Some think that Cardinal Bertone is a freemason but I won’t go that far. 🙂

  7. Annmarie Wright says:

    God’s will be done………

  8. sebastian clark says:

    i pray fervently that cardinal Bertone IS elected.
    he is a spiritual master and extraordinary communicator.
    he would be a giant of a leader.

    mind you, i’m entering the charterhouse in the summer, so i suppose i won’t see him much!

    in the Invisible One


  9. Rita Vargo says:

    Did you notice that that it is Our Lady of Lourdes in the picture of Don Bosco’s dream….the day that Pope Benedict announced his retirement!

  10. Nancy says:

    I like this story! Makes me feel much better than St. Malachy’s

  11. Brett Adams says:

    I named by blog Ship of Saint Peter based on St. Bosco’s dream. I love it, and I think the dream informs us both of a future Pope, and of every Pope.

  12. Mateus de Castro says:

    I wish Cardinal Francis Arinze could be the next pope. But he’s past the age, and can’t be a successor to Saint Peter. He’s a holy and wise man, and would be great in Peter’s Throne. Let’s hope his opinions are heard before the conclave, and that he may be still strong to advise the next pope.

    That said, I trust the Holy Spirit, and know that we will all get past this strange sensation of seeing a great pope resign. There’s no conspiracy, just the time for even a giant like Pope Benedict to retire and rest. He gave us so much, and deserves the rest. And he knows he is not a symbol as Blessed JPII was to everyone, and that the Church needs a dynamic pastor in these troubled times.

  13. Mark Hartman says:

    If you expect that someone unexpected will be elected, doesn’t that mean that you don’t expect that the person you expect will be elected?

    Or something like that…

  14. Dan Silvia says:

    Bretone is too old to be pope


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