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Garabandal. Personalities. Gonzalez, Conchita Category: Apparitions. Garabandal Garabandal. Personalities. Gonzalez, Conchita

She Went in Haste to the Mountain
Eusebio García de Pesquera

Bk.III. Ch.7d: Only Three Popes Remain!

(All excerpts from Conchita's Diary are shown in bold.)

In the early days of June, not only what is called the Catholic world, but the entire world was closely following what was happening in the pope's chamber at the Vatican.

There struggling in his last agony, was the one who had captured more swiftly and amply than anyone before, the admiration of almost everyone, and the love of a great many.

The final curtain was inexorably descending on Angelo Giusseppe Roncalli, the man called Pope John XXIII.

And the world was watching breathlessly for many days as he painfully died.

On June 3rd came the sudden notice that at last the flame had gone out. The Pope was dead.

As in so many other belfries throughout the world, the crude rustic bells in the church tower in Garabandal tolled for his death.

But beneath the clanging bells at Garabandal, a comment was made, very different from those made in other parts of the world.

*   *   *

The sound from the belltower came to the little kitchen where the widow Aniceta Gonzalez and her daughter Conchita were on that afternoon.

Listen; they are ringing the bells! — the daughter exclamed immediately.

— It's for the Pope — said the mother.
Certainly,… Now only three remain.

Surprised, Aniceta raised her head:

— What are you saying?

What I heard. That only three popes remain.

— And where did you pick that up?

— I didn 't pick it up; the Virgin told it to me.

It would be helpful if Conchita would have explained to us when and how she heard this. But even lacking her explanation, we have sufficient reason to think that this occurred during the locutions, and presumably during the month of May, the month of Mary:

In a locution, since the apparitions had ceased since January, as described, and in their place were the locutions.

During the month of May, since these locutions were occurring at intervals approximately once per month, and during the locution in May she had talked about the Pope with his terminal illness.

Aniceta, amazed by what she had heard, reacted logically:

— Then, you mean that the end of the world is coming?

The Virgin didn't tell me "the end of the world," but "the end of the times."

— Aren't they the same?

I don't know.[24]

News of this amazing prediction soon spread out; it was not shouted aloud, but spoken quietly from person to person.

During those days Paquina de la Roza Velarde (Dr. Ortiz' wife) was in the village. One morning a funeral mass for the dead pope was to be said in the parish church, and the bells began to ring early in the morning. Paquina, Maximina, another woman and Conchita, after having prayed the rosary in the Calleja (How delightful were those rosaries in the silence and freshness of the morning!) made their way to the church. On their way they were speaking of the current news:

— Perhaps with the pope's death, the Council[25] will end too, since ...

Conchita: Another pope will come and the Council will continue.

— Well, I agree that another pope will come; but as for the Council . . . Perhaps the new pope won't think like John XXIII.

Another pope will come and the Council will continue.

— You seem to be very certain of that; but I don't see it so certain. It could well happen otherwise.

I'm telling you, and I repeat: another pope will come and the Council will continue. And I also tell you that only three popes remain . . .

Dr. Ortiz' wife quickly recovered from her surprise and responded to Conchita:

— Oh, you are saying that from the prophecy of St. Malachy ...

St. Malachy? That's the first time I heard of that. The Virgin told me that after this Pope (John XXIII) there remain only three; and afterwards, the end of the times.

— Do you mean the end of the world is coming?

The Virgin told me, "the end of the times."

— That isn't the same?

I don't know.

This episode is historically accurate[26] and Conchita's statement cannot be taken for a simple, offhand remark, since she subsequently repeated it very seriously in the same words.

One time she told it to the eminent professor Father Lucio Rodrigo[27] at the Pontifical University in Comillas. This Father, on the occasion of a visit by Conchita and her mother,[28] asked the young girl if she had really said what had been attributed to her.

Conchita told him, «Yes Father. It's true. The Virgin told me that after John XXIII only three popes remain, and this one, (Paul VI) is the first of those three.»

In October of 1966, Conchita became a boarder in the college of the teaching sisters of the Immaculate Conception at Burgos. On November 1st, the Feast of All Saints, she talked confidentially with the director of the center, Mother Nieves Garcia. Among other things, she said this, which the religious sister wrote down very carefully:

«One day I said to the Virgin, 'Will the end of the world be during the time of these events?'

And she told me, 'No, the end of the times.'

After Paul VI, there will be only two more popes; and then the end of the times will come.»

If it cannot be accepted that Conchita invented such a definite and compromising prediction, neither could it be held that the prophecy of St. Malachy suggested it to her. First, because she was completely unaware of it; and secondly, because this prophecy and her prediction do not agree.

This prophecy concerning the popes, that is so talked about today, came out in 1595. A Benedictine monk from Belgium, Arnold de Wion, published at the time a voluminous work under the title of Lignum Vitae. It was a type of general biography of the great personages in his order. In this work were listed a series of 111 divisions or titles in Latin, which he reported as coming from an Irish saint of the twelfth century: St. Malachy, Archbishop of Armagh. These divisions tended to correspond, one after the other, to the popes that came after Innocent II, who died in 1143.

The authenticity of this enormous prophecy has been discussed endlessly; authenticity in a double sense: in whether it can be truly attributed to the saint, and in whether it really was inspired from above. I doubt if the question will ever be resolved. But there is something that strikes the reader: the amazing accuracy with which many of the titles describe the popes to which they correspond.

According to the prophecy of St. Malachy, after John XXIII there still remain five more popes. There are five more titles after his, ending with the name of the last successor of St. Peter. Conchita, on the other hand, speaks of only three. The discrepancy could be only an apparent one if, as some think, a new schism arises in the church, with the elevation of anti-popes. To these could correspond some of these last titles that seem to be in series,[29] attributing some to the legitimate popes and others to the false, or anti-popes.

The title of the last pope is given in these words, which if they are true, are shocking in their poignant sobriety:

In persecutione extrema Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae, sedebit Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribula-tionibus; quibus transactis, civitas septicollis diruetur, et Judex tremendus judicabit populum suum. Finis.

"In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church, Peter the Roman will reign, who will pasture his sheep among multiple tribulations. When these have passed, the city of the seven hills will be destroyed, and the terrible judge will judge his people. Finis."


*   *   *

We have seen how Conchita repeated that she had heard that, after the last pope, there would not come the end of the world, but rather the end of the times. What is the difference?

This is a difficult question, which would require many pages for clarification. We will only make some brief considerations here, so that the matter will not be completely obscure.

If by end of the world is understood the annihilation of the cosmic world that we are acquainted with, we could well say that the end of the world will never come, since the world will not be destroyed, but substantially changed. To speak therefore of the end of the world is to refer to that final point in history when the existence of man as he is at present will be changed into another form, very different and much better.

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth were gone... And death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. And He that sat on the throne said: Behold I make all things new. (Ap. 21; 1-5)

Such a substantial change would certainly comprise a tremendous display of upheaval and destruction; since for man, the worker of iniquity (Matt. 13:41), the change from the temporary state to the permanent will not be smooth.

But the present heavens and earth, by the same word are kept in store, reserved for fire on the day of the judgment and perdition of ungodly men... But the day of the Lord shall come as a thief, in which the heavens shall pass away with great violence, and the elements shall be melted with heat and the earth and the works that are in it shall be burned up. (II Peter 3:7-10)

To all this we refer when we speak of the end of the world. If the expression, end of the times does not mean the same, then it would have to refer to something prior to it and of exceptional importance. What would this be? That is the question.

TIME certainly will not end until the finish of the present form of existence; an existence that is transitory, subject to succession and change; because of this, the end of time will coincide with the end of the world.

But "the times" may well not be the same thing as "time"...

Jesus, in His eschatological discourse,[32] according to the version of St. Luke (21:24) said about the coming ruin of the Jewish city: And they Shall fall by the edge of the sword; and shall be led awav captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the gentiles;[33] until the times of the nations be fulfilled.

Thus the first chosen people, Israel, will remain dispersed and their capital, the Holy City, abandoned by God as in the grand captivity of Babylon. The gentiles who embrace the faith will then replace the unfaithful Jewish nation as the nation of God. Such a situation will last for a long time: the times of the nations. These times will be fulfilled when the time comes for Israel once again thru a massive conversion to Christianity. The effects of such a conversion would have enormous significance, according to St. Paul:

Have the Jews fallen forever, or have they just stumbled? Obviously they have not fallen forever. But by their fall, salvation has com to the gentiles... For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their reception be, but resurection from the dead! (Romans 11:11-15)

History then will take a spectacular turn, unforeseeable and bewildering. Truly there will be new times. Is this being heralded by Garabandal for the near future? Can the end of the times, which is predicted to follow John XXlII's third successor, be the consummation of the times of the nations, that will pave the way for Israel's great new epoch in the service of God and mankind?

I would be inclined to say yes,[34] if it were not for a serious difficulty: the prediction that the third successor of John XXIII would be the last pope. It is hard to understand how the Church could exist without a head or a ruler. If there were no head, would not Our Lord have to appear to us, to achieve by His second coming the work which began with His first? That would be the Parousia.[35]

Or would He proceed to the great consummation supposed by the Last Universal Judgment, in which case, the end of the times would be practically the same thing as the end of the world.

Or would He only change the present state of things in such a way as to prepare the final path for the great consummation. Perhaps St. Paul refers to this when he says:

For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. And when all things shall be subdued under Him, then the Son Himself must be subject also to Him that pnt all things under Him, that God may be all in all. (I Cor. 15: 25-28)

There is also another possibility: in speaking of the three last popes, this could refer to their reigning in Rome like their predecessors. Only in this would they be the last, since perhaps there could later be some extra-Roman pontiffs. Can this possibility be excluded?

The more I think about it, the more I favor the last hypothesis.

The Catholic Church originated in Jerusalem where Saint Peter had his seat. Following the falling away of Israel after the Jews put the Messiah to death and violently rejected his works, Saint Peter went to find a place among the nations, the gentile people, and his seat was established in Rome which was then the undeniable head of the gentile world.

The succession of Saint Peter was then perpetuated in the Bishop of Rome who was the Pope of the Church and the Head of the Episcopal College. From that time the same person was both Bishop of Rome and Head of the Church.

But if Rome would perish or disappear, there would be no more bishops belonging to it. And if Jerusalem would become a converted Israel, a Christian one, a Holy City as had so often been predicted by the biblical prophecies, it would become the city of the great King. Here the word of the Lord would save all peoples and the successor of Saint Peter, the Vicar of Christ, would situate himself. The center of the Church would thus return to its origin.

Rome is called Babylon in passages of the New Testament (I Peter 5:13) and there are many things in the 17th and 19th chapters of the Apocalypse about its destiny . . .

Concise and explicit is the final paragraph of the famous prophecy of Saint Malachy on the popes: In the last persecution of the Holy Roman Church the throne will be held by Peter the Roman, who will tend his sheep in the midst of tribulations. When these have passed, the City of the Seven Hills will be destroyed, and the terrible judge will judge his people.

Mysteries! Mysteries! Mysteries!

But we should not ignore that Garabandal, from the days of 1963, has proclaimed that we are entering into decisive times, perhaps the last that will be marked by the arms of the great clock of history.

[24] Maximina, Conchita's aunt and godmother, was present on the scene, judging from her letter which I saw in the Pifarré collection, dated June 5:

«On the day that the Holy Father died, when it was mentioned here that he died, I was with Conchita and she said: Oh, now only three more remain!

Slightly irritated, her mother spoke to her like this: What do you know?

And she answered with great conviction, Well, I know, since the Virgin told me this.

Her mother didn't like her to say things like this since, although it could be seen that she believed, you know she always had the fear that this wasn't true ...»

[25] Vatican II, convoked and inaugurated by John XXIII, had only finished one session (October — December, 1962) during which it had taken a direction that certainly was not what its planners had intended. The Council had just begun, and it was expected to continue, but all this depended on what the new Pope would decide.

[26] Conchita spoke again about the three Popes that remained and the end of the times. It happened in Maximina's house during the First Communion dinner of her son, Pepe Luis, to which Mrs. Ortiz was invited. Conchita repeated the same thing, without being able to give the explanations that the listeners' curiosity desired.

[27] + March 30th, 1973. On his deathbed he declared that he had received an unequivocal sign from heaven about the truth of Garabandal.

[28] For some time Aniceta and Conchita traveled regularly to the seminary at Comillas — taking advantage of the cars of friends and acquaintances — to have their confessions heard by this priest. Father Rodrigo wrote to Father Ramon on November 13th, 1965: «A fortnight ago on Tuesday, the pastor of Barro brought Aniceta and Conchita to me . . . While I was alone with Conchita, she confirmed that the Virgin had told her on the death of John XXIII that there remain only 3 Popes (counting the present) until the end of the times.» In this letter there is another interesting thing: «She (Conchita) also told me: As the people were talking about trips to space, I asked the Virgin if there were persons living out there, and she told me: "Yes", but she didn 't add anything more.»

[29] The four divisions that follow John XXIII are:
1. Flos florum = Flower of flowers.
2. De medietate lunae = Half of the moon.
3. De labore solis = From the work of the sun.
4. De gloria olivae = From the glory of the olive branch.

[32] It is called this since it speaks of the last events, referring to the final consummation of man's history. The theological study that deals with the last things of the world has received the name of Eschatology (from the Greek word 'eschatos' meaning last).]

[33] For the Jews, the gentiles comprise all other peoples and nations that are not descendants of Abraham, the chosen one of God. The Israelites, sons and heirs of the promise, constitute a nation completely separate; the other nations are the common masses. Because of this, the word gentile, rather than having a religious signification, indicates the condition of being part of the masses.

[34] Perhaps the fact of presenting herself at Garabandal as Our Lady of Mount Carmel, apart from its theological and mystical meaning (see the Ascent of Mount Carmel by St. John of the Cross), has also a mysterious reference to the nearness of eschatological times.

Mount Carmel has been closely associated with devotion to the Virgin from the remotest times; but it is also closely associated with the history of Israel (in the decisive hours of the Alliance) and with the activities of the great prophet of the old testament, Elias.

By appearing under her ancient title of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in these modern times of the world, does the Virgin want to indicate that she will take decisive action so that the mass conversion of the Jews — that has been waiting for almost two millennia now — will be accomplished, fulfilling that way the times of the nations?

Does she want to point out the imminence of the final times when, according to the Apocalypse (II: 3-6) the man of Mount Carmel, Elias, will make his last acts as preacher and witness of the Lord?

There are times in which I think I find a certain mimetic likeness between the sound of the word Garabandal and the sound of the Hebrew or Arab word for Carmel. It is almost as if there were two Carmels: one from the east, and one from the west, both chosen as locations for salvation by the presence of the Virgin.

[35] Parousia is a biblical and theological term to designate the solemn manifestation of Christ at the end of time.

Eusebio García de Pesquera O.F.M.
She Went in Haste to the Mountain
Bk.III, Ch.7d: Only Three Popes Remain!

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