THE THREE PROPHECIES
OF ST. JOHN BOSCO1
Footnotes by Bro. Alexis Bugnolo
If you would like to read the notes as Footnotes click here
The First Prophecy
God alone is almighty, all-knowing, all-seeing. God has neither past nor future; everything is present to Him, everything at a single point of time. Nothing eludes God. No person, no place is distant from Him. In His infinite mercy and for His glory He alone can unveil the future to man.
On the vigil of the Epiphany of this year, 1870,2 all material things in my room disappeared, and I found myself contemplating supernatural matters. It was only a matter of an instant, but I saw a great deal. Although what I witnessed was sensibly present, I find it extremely difficult to communicate it to others intelligibly, as one may realize by what follows. This is the Word of God in human parlance:
"War will come from the south,3 peace from the north.4
"The laws of France no longer recognize the Creator. The Creator will reveal Himself by visiting her three times with the scourge of His wrath.5 The first time He will destroy her pride by defeat, pillage, and destruction of crops, cattle, and men.6 On His second visit the great whore of Babylon, which the faithful grievingly call Europe's brothel, shall lose her leader and fall prey to chaos.7
"Paris! Paris! Instead of fortifying yourself with the Lord's name, you surround yourself with houses of ill repute. You yourself shall destroy them; your idol, the Pantheon, will be razed to the ground,8 so that it may truthfully be said that 'iniquity has lied to itself.' [Ps. 26,12] Your enemies will plunge you into anguish, famine, terror, and the contempt for My law, says the Lord.
"On My third visit, you shall fall under the foreign yoke. From afar your enemies will see your palaces in flames, your home in ruins, soaked in the blood of your heroes who are no more.9
"But behold, a great warrior from the north appears,10 a banner in his right hand, his arm bearing this inscription: 'Irresistible is the hand of the Lord.'11 At that moment the Venerable Old Man of Rome went forward to meet him, wielding a flaming torch.12 The banner then grew larger and its blackness became white as snow;13 in its center stood out the name of the Almighty in golden letters.14
"The warrior (Don Carlos and the Pope) and his followers bowed profoundly to the Venerable Old Man and joined hands with him.15
16"Now the voice of Heaven is addressed to the Shepherd of Shepherds. (To Pius IX) You are in solemn conference with your co-workers (the Vatican Council),17 but the enemy of good never stands idle. He cunningly plots and sets all his wiles against you. He will sow discord among your helpers and will rear enemies among My sons. (The grave frustrations [suffered by Pius IX] during the Vatican Council.) The powers of the world shall vomit fire. They would love to smother My words in the throats of the guardians of My law, but they shall not succeed. (This has already been attempted and will still be attempted, especially in Prussia.)18 They shall do much harm, but only to themselves. Hurry! If knots cannot be untied, sever them. Do not halt in the face of difficulties, but go forth until the hydra of error has been beheaded (through the proclamation of the dogma of papal infallibility).19 At this blow earth and hell shall tremble, but he world will be saved20 and the faithful shall exult. Gather around you only two co-workers, yet wherever you go,21 carry on the task entrusted to you and bring it to completion (the Vatican Council).22 Days go by swiftly and your years are reaching their appointed number,23 but the great Queen shall always assist you, and, as in the past, She shall always be magnum et singulare in Ecclesia praesidium [the powerful, prodigious defense of the Church].24
"But you, O Italy, land of blessings, who has plunged you into desolation? Not your enemies, but your own friends. Do you not hear your children begging for the bread of faith, unable to find one to break it for them? What shall I do? I shall strike the shepherds and scatter the sheep so that those who sit upon the chair of Moses may seek better pastures and their flock may gently listen and be fed. (A seeming allusion to inadequate religious instruction.)25
"But My hand shall be heavy upon both flock and shepherds. Famine, plague, and war shall cause mothers to mourn the blood of their sons and husbands shed on foreign soil.26 (A seeming allusion to this year's famine. Pestilence and war shall follow.)
"What shall befall you, ungrateful, effeminate, proud Rome? You have reached a point when you seek and admire nought in your sovereign27 but luxury, forgetting that both your glory and his lies on Golgotha. Now he is old, frail, defenseless, and dispossessed. (Present condition of Pius IX.) Nevertheless, though captive, his words cause the whole world to tremble.28
"O Rome! Four times shall I come to you!29 The first time I shall smite your regions and its people. The second time I shall bring slaughter and destruction to your very gates. Should not that make you open your eyes? A third time shall I come, and I will demolish your defenses and defenders. (The present state of Rome.) At My Father's30 command, terror, dismay, and desolation will reign.
"My wise followers flee (many live away from Rome, many are obliged to disperse), but My law is still trod underfoot.31 Therefore, I shall come a fourth time.32 Woe to you if My law again shall go unheeded. There shall be defections among both learned and ignorant. (This has happened and is still happening.) Your blood and that of your children shall wipe out your transgressions. (A seeming allusion to some future disaster.)33
"War, plague, and famine are the scourges to smite human pride and malice. (This summarizes the above-mentioned punishments.) Where are your magnificent villas and palaces, you people of wealth? (We shall see!) They have become the litter of squares and streets!34
"And you priests, why are you not prostrate between the vestibule and the altar, weeping and praying that the scourge may cease?35 Why do you not take up the shield of faith and preach My Word from the rooftops, in the houses, streets, and squares, and even in inaccessible places? Do you not know that this is the terrible two-edged sword which smites My enemies and placates the wrath of God and man?
"These things shall inexorably come to pass, all in succession.36
"Things follow too slowly upon each other, but the great Queen of Heaven is at hand; the Lord's power is Hers. Like mist She shall scatter Her enemies.37 She shall vest the Venerable Old Man with all his former garments.38
"There shall yet come a violent hurricane.39 Iniquity is at an end, sin shall cease, and before two full moons shall have shone in the month of flowers,40 the rainbow of peace41 shall appear on the earth.
"The great Minister shall see the Bride of his King clothed in glory.42
"Throughout the world a sun so bright shall shine43 as was never seen since the flames of the Cenacle until today, nor shall it be seen again until the end of time."
The Second Prophecy
(May 24 - June 24, 1873)44
It was a dark night (error), and men could no longer find their way back to their own countries.45 Suddenly a most brilliant light (faith in God and in His power) shone in the sky, illuminating their way as at high noon.46 At that moment from the Vatican came forth, as in procession, a multitude of men and women, young children, monks, nuns, and priests, and at their head was the Pope.47 (It seems to allude to the suppression of monasteries and schools run by religious and to the Pope's exile.)
But a furious storm broke out, somewhat dimming that light, as if light and darkness were locked in battle.48 (Perhaps this means a battle between truth and error, or else a bloody war.) Meanwhile the long procession reached a small square littered with dead and wounded, many of whom cried for help.49
The ranks of the procession thinned considerably.50 After a two-hundred day march, all realized that they were no longer in Rome.51 In dismay they swarmed about the Pontiff to protect him and minister to him in his needs.52
At that moment two angels appeared, bearing a banner which they presented to the Supreme Pontiff, saying: "Take the banner of Her who battles and routs the most powerful armies on earth. Your enemies have vanished: with tears and sighs your children plead for your return."53
One side of the banner bore the inscription: Regina sine labe concepta [Queen conceived without sine],and the other side read: Auxilium Christianorum [Help of Christians].54
The Pontiff accepted the banner gladly, but he became distressed to see how few were his followers.55
But the two angels went on: "Go now, comfort your children. Write to your brothers scattered throughout the world that men must reform their lives.56 This cannot be achieved unless the bread of the Divine Word is broken among the peoples.57 Teach children their catechism58 and preach detachment from earthly things.59 The time has come," the two angles concluded, "when the poor will evangelize the world. Priests shall be sought among those who wield the hoe, the spade, and the hammer, as David prophesied: 'God lifted the poor man from the fields to place him on the throne of His people.'"60
On hearing this, the Pontiff moved on,61 and the ranks began to swell. Upon reaching the Holy City, the Pontiff wept at the sight of its desolate citizens, for many of them were no longer.62 He then entered St. Peter's and intoned the Te Deum,63 to which a chorus of angels responded, singing: Gloria in excelsis Deo et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis [Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will.] When the song was over, all darkness vanished and a blazing sun shone.64 The population had declined greatly in the cities and in the countryside; the land was mangled as if by a hurricane and hailstorm, and people sought each other, deeply moved, and saying: Est Deus in Israel [There is a God in Israel].65
From the start of the exile until the intoning of the Te Deum, the sun rose 200 times. All the events described covered a period of 400 days.66
The person reporting these things is the same who unerringly predicted what happened to France a year before it took place. These predictions were widely known and were fulfilled day by day, as if a script were being followed.
According to this same person, France, Spain, Austria and a German power would be the instruments of Divine Providence in preventing the collapse of civil society and restoring peace to the Church which for so long and in so many way has been fought against. These event would start in the spring of 1874 and would be completed within a year and a few months, unless new iniquities should be perpetrated against God's will.67
The Third Prophecy
Thus says the Lord to the emperor of Austria: "Be of good cheer and look after My faithful servants and yourself. My wrath is now spilling over all the nations because they want to make people forget My laws, glorifying those who defile them and oppressing My faithful adherents. Will you be the rod of My power? Will out carry out My inscrutable design and become a benefactor of the world? Rely on the Northern Powers, but not on Prussia. Enter into relations with Russia, but form no alliance. Join forces with Catholic France; after France, you shall have Spain. All together, become one in will and action.68
"Observe absolute secrecy with the enemies of My holy name. Prudence and vigor will make you and your allies invincible. Do not believe the lies of whoever tells you otherwise. Abhor the enemies of the Cross. Put your hope and trust in Me. I make armies victorious. I am the Savior of nations and sovereign. Amen. Amen."
Note: This letter was sent to the emperor of Austria in July 1873 through a trusted person who delivered it to him in person. He read it attentively and sent his hearty thanks to the sender, saying that he would avail himself of it.69
For Historical and Military Dates:
The Encyclopedia of Military History: From 3500 B.C. to the Present, R. Ernest Dupuy and Trevor N. Dupuy, Harper & Row, New York, 1970.
The Atlas of Military Strategy, David G. Chandler, The Free Press, New York, 1980.
Dynastic and Genealogical Information:
Heraldry of the Royal Families of Europe, Michael Maclagan & Jirí Louda, Carkson N. Potter Publishers Inc., New York, 1981.
The Kingdoms of Europe: An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ruling Monarchs from Ancient Times to the Present, Gene Gurney, Crown Publishers, Inc., New York, 1982.
Other General Historical Information:
Funk & Wagnalls New Encyclopedia, Norma H. Dickey, editor, Fink & Wagnalls, Inc., 1986.
The Columbia Encyclopedia, William Bridgwater & Seymour Kurtz, editors, Columbia University Press, New York, 1963.
The Catholic Almanac, Felician A. Foy, O.F.M., editor, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Huntingdon, Indiana, 1985.
1 Transcribed from The Biographical Memoirs of Saint John Bosco by Rev. Angelo Amadei, S. D. B., ed. Rev. Diego Borgatello, S. D. B., Volume X (1871-1874), Salesiana Publishers, New Rochelle, New York, 1977, pp. 49-59. Items in square  brackets have been added by the Editor. Items in round ( ) brackets are the marginal notes added by St. John Bosco. The two introductory paragraphs were written by the Saint.
2 i.e. January 5, 1870 A.D.. A copy of this prophecy was sent to Rome on February 12, 1870, as testified to by the Civiltá Cattolica, Vol. VI, Series 8, 1872, pp. 299 and 303. Father Joachim Berto copied this prophecy at Don Bosco request a few weeks after Epiphany. His own comments on its meaning however do not date to this period (cf. fn. regarding "Pantheon."
3 According to Father Joachim Berto, the priest to whom a copy of these prophecies was entrusted, "from the south" refers to "From France, which declared war on Prussia." This is reference to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. France declared war on Prussia on July 15, 1870 after Marshall Juan Prim (1814-1870), the anti-clerical Prime Minister of Spain made a tentative offer of the vacant throne of his nation to the German prince, Leopold of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. Leopold, from an obscure branch of the House of Hohenzollern, was the brother of Stephenie the wife of Peter V, King of Portugal (1855- 1861), as well as the husband of his brother Antonia (1845-1913). The prospect of Spain allied with Bismarck's Prussia led Napoleon III to initiative the conflict which would have disastrous consequences for France. Since the immediate occasion of the war derived from Spain's interregnum, Fr. Berto would have been more justified in saying "From Spain, where the war began." However many historians consider the war to have begun by the clever diplomatic maneuvers of Otto von Bismarck, which enticed Napoleon III into war. Leopold himself, knowing of Napoleon III's opposition to his candidature for the throne of Spain voluntarily withdrew himself before hostilities broke out. Hence it does not seem clear that this phrase refers at all to the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, despite Father Berto's interpretation. Regarding the clarifications made by Fr. Berto (which will be noted in the course of the text), Father Giovanni Battista Lemoyne, S.D.B, who wrote vols. I-IX of the Biographical Memoirs, says of them "evidently written or previously dictated and then revised by Don Bosco. The marginal notes and clarification shed light on and pinpointed the predicted events which, to a large extent, as we shall see, took place shortly afterward, though a few, at the time of writings , have still to occur. Seemingly, according the Don Bosco, these were to take place about the year 1874, 'unless,' as he wrote in his own hand, 'new iniquities further provoke God.' We must add that, when questioned later about the fulfillment of these events, Don Bosco said frankly that they might not take place, for in His mercy the Lord sometimes points out to men the path they should follow in one circumstance or another in order to get out of some difficulty, and nothing more. If the direction given are not followed, it is obvious that what has been foretold [and is contingent upon them] will not occur either." (Vol. IX, p. 377)
4 On this phrase, Fr. Berto writes "From the north of Spain where the present war began. Furthermore, Don Carlos resided in Vienna, which is north of Italy." The Don Carlos referred to here was the great nephew of Don Carlos Maria Isidoro of Borbón (1848-1909), Duke of Madrid, the second son of King Charles IV, who contested the succession of his niece Isabella II in 1833. Don Carlos like his great uncle were devout Roman Catholics who much opposed the liberalism of their day. The Duke of Madrid, who took up the claim to the throne after the deposition of Isabella in 1868, undertook two failed insurrections in 1869 and 1872. Later he fought a bloody campaign (1873-1876) which was defeated by the forces of King Alfonso XII, Isabella's son. Since the Franco-Prussian War was concluded by an armistice signed at Frankfurt on May 10, 1871 (there had been a previous armistice at Paris on January 26, 1871), and not from Spain where hostilities continued until 1876, peace did come from the north. Once again the comments provided by Fr. Berto are inaccurate.
5 It is sobering to note that God the Creator reveals Himself to disbelievers through punishments in history. This accords with what St. Alphonsus says of the Divine Providence, which metes out even temporal punishments in accord with the sins of the age.
6 Following the temporal sequence, this first visitation would be the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1, in which eastern France was overrun by the Prussian army and Paris besieged.
7 This second visitation refers to the Communist Revolt in the spring of 1871, in which the "communards" burnt much of the city and executed the Archbishop of Paris.
8 Here Father Berto writes in the Clarifications subjoined to this prophecy: "Contemporary newspapers reported that it was damaged by several bombs. But what concerns France has not yet fully take place." This statement can only be understood has having been written at least after January 5, 1871, when the Prussian forces under General Moltke began the bombardment of Paris. However the Pantheon most likely suffered damage during the Communist revolt which broke out in the city on March 17-18 of that year and whose resistance to the French Government resulted in a second bombardment of the city on April 2. A bloody week of city fighting (May 21-28) culminated in the slaughter of 20,000 communists. During their rebellion may public buildings were burned, there were two attempts to blow up the Cathedral of Chartres and the Pantheon, and many hostages including the Archbishop of Paris were executed (an event revealed earlier to St. Margaret Mary Alaqoque, by Our Lady.)
9 The only time Paris was taken by a hostile power was on June 14, 1940, when the armies of Hitler's Third Reich took the city without a shot being fired (it had been declared an open city just the day before.) On the other hand, this third visit may refer to the German occupation during the armistice period of the Franco-Prussian war. During the revolt of the communists in the spring of 1871, in which much of the city was burnt and thousands slaughtered, the German troops of occupation stood by as spectators to the struggle. The German occupation lasted until Sept. 16, 1873, when France had repaid its war indemnity.
10 Here Fr. Berto writes, "Don Carlos from northern Spain." And Fr. Amadeus, the author of the Biographical Memoirs, added at this point, "Later on, Father Berto (so it seems) added a question mark and these words: "No. Emperor William of Prussia." This latter comment contradicts Don Bosco's marginal note which follows (Don Carlos and the Pope). Indeed it is inconsistent with Emperor William's liberal Protestantism do bear such an arm-band, or such a banner. Don Carlos, on the other hand, began his final campaign for the throne of Spain in 1873. This would correspond to the sequence of events in the prophecy, which just referred to the German occupation that ended in the previous year.
11 Although all Fr. Berto's comments in the Clarifications follow the sequence of the text, the final comment returns to this passage: "Newspapers say that Don Carlos apparently began his exploits without weapons, money or victuals, and only with fourteen men. Yet today, April 1, 1874, he has an army over 100,000 strong. There is no report as yet that he has lost a single battle." Don Carlos campaign for the throne of Spain ended in defeat in February of 1876; at which time he fled to France.
12 Here Fr. Berto writes, "Faith in God which guides and upholds the great warrior in his undertakings." The metaphor the light of faith is traditional in Catholicism. In 2 Peter 1:19 the prophetic word of God revelation is called "a light shining in a dark place." Hence perhaps the reason for Fr. Berto's usage. As a devout Catholic who was attempting to restore a Catholic government to Spain, Don Carlos' encounter with the Pope would be true symbolically, even if it did not actually take place.
13 Here Fr. Berto writes, "The massacre ceased. Blackness—a symbol of death or persecution, such as the Kulturkampf." The Kulturkampf (= 'The Conflict of Cultures') was a series of anti-Catholic measures undertaken by Otto von Bismarck to curb the rise of Catholic opposition to the liberal policies of the Prussian government in Germany. Begun in July of 1871, its measures gradually fell into abeyance after the Catholic Center party significantly increased its representation in the parliamentary elections of 1878. The Kulturkampf is another reason by Emperor William of Prussia could not possibly be the 'great warrior' of this prophecy. This statement, presumably by Fr. Berto, must therefore have been written on or after July of 1871.
14 Here Fr. Berto writes, "According to press reports, Don Carlos' banner bears on one side a picture of the Heart of Jesus and on the reverse that of the Immaculate Conception."
15 Perhaps a reference to Don Carlos' intention not to recognize the seizure of the Papal States. Isabella II, the former ruler of Spain, had acceded to the demands of the libertarians and recognized the Italian Republic, and its implicit seizure of the Papal States—an action which her court chaplain, St. Anthony Marie Claret y Claret, had warned would bring down God's wrath upon her regime and nation. Within a year she had to flee for her life to France during a revolution engineered by the same liberal factions.
16 This section, which ends with "magnum et singulare in Ecclesia praesidium" is the excerpt—not originally included in the copies—which Don Bosco himself read to Pope Pius IX during a private audience on February 20, 1870.
17 That is, the First Vatican Council, which was held from December 8th, 1869 to September 1st, 1870.
18 Don Bosco's marginal note refers undoubtedly to the Kulturkampf of Bismarck.
19 By terming the spirit which opposed the Dogma of Papal Infallibility "the hydra of error" a clear indication of the wickedness of schism and the dissent of Protestantism is indicated.
20 That is, from the loss of true doctrine.
21 Here Father Berto comments, " Seemingly an allusion to the Pope's exile. See the second Prophecy." The Second Prophecy refers to the 200 day March, which Fr. Berto interprets as an actual exile, in accord with the history of the events of 1848 when Ven. Pope Pius IX was forced to flee to the nearby city-port of Gaeta, in the Kingdom of Naples. That first exile came immediately after the Pontiff had written to all the Bishops of the Church to solicit their comments regarding the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception. During his exile the Pope had visited the ancient shrine of La Madonna di Civiltá, which is nearby Gaeta. Its Image was itself rescued from the storms of Iconoclasm in Constantinople in the 8th Century, by monks fleeing to Sicily. Hence the shrine was a poetic refuge for the Pope who would soon enshrine the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception among the teachings of the Church. On this same phrase "wherever you go", Fr. Amadeus, the author of volume X of the Biographical Memoirs of St. John Bosco, writes,
"The first prophecy has these words for the Pope: "Wherever you go . . ." It was, indeed taken for granted that the Pope would leave Rome. He did not, however, and this was due precisely to this message from Don Bosco: "Let the sentry, the angel of Israel, remain at his post and guard God's stronghold and His holy ark." The solemn tone of these words clearly reveals their source.
Nor did the Pope ever forget them! While even Catholics continued to believe that his departure from Rome was imminent, Don Bosco, to the astonishment of all, hastened to defend the rights of the Church and of the Supreme Pontiff so effectively that the latter was able to appoint bishops for more than a hundred vacant Italian diocese without governmental interference....
And so the sentry of Israel remained at his post, guarding God's rock. On his part, until the end of his days, Don Bosco kept hoping and working zealously for a reconciliation of Italy and the Church. "We are both of the same age," he wrote to a fellow priest. "When we were born Europe was settling down to peace after long years of war. May we dare hope to see peace in the world and the Church's triumph before the end of our lives? We could then sing our Nunc dimittis. However, may God's will be done in all things. The triumph of the Church is certain; if we do not see it here below, we shall witness it, I hope from heaven."
He did see it from heaven [in 1929] when the Lateran Treaty was signed. [As Pius XI declared] it gave "God back to Italy, and Italy back to God." The signing took place just a month before Pius XI's proclamation of the acceptance of the miracles which had been submitted for Don Bosco's beatification.
In pointing out the "charming, admirable and striking coincidence," the Pope characterized Don Bosco as a "great, faithful and truly clear-sighted servant of the Church and of the Holy See . . ." Such indeed he always was! Pius XI then went on to state that he had learned "from Don Bosco himself" how much "a solution of this deplorable dissension was truly uppermost in his thoughts and desires . . . a solution that would, above all, guarantee the honor of God and of the Church, and the welfare of souls." (cf. L'Osservatore Romano, March 20-21, 1929.)
22 A seeming reference that the work begun by the First Vatican Council should have been completed (at a future council?). This has still to come about, since Vatican II took an entirely different approach from the infallible, irreformable, declaratory nature of its precursor.
23 Ven. Pope Pius IX died in February 7, 1878.
24 The Latin phrase is more exactly translated as, "the Great and Singular Defense in the Church."
25 The armies of the Italian Republic took Rome on Sept. 20, 1870, after the French garrison, which had been protecting the city, was recalled to France to defend her. In the following year Pope Pius IX refused the settlement offered by Victor Emmanuel II, the King of Italy, and in retaliation the government seized ecclesiastical property throughout the peninsula forcing many religious to flee overseas.
26 Here Father Berto comments, "This has still to come." And Father Amadeus adds, "Here too there is a penciled addition: 'Dogali.' At Dogali, a small locality about thirteen miles from Massaua, Eritrea, five hundred Italian soldiers were ambushed and massacred in 1887." This is a reference to the victory of John IV, Emperor of Abyssinia over the Italian colonial forces on January 26, 1887. In 1896 another Italian force under General Oreste Baratieri was defeated by Emperor Menelek's forces at the battle of Aduwa: 6,500 Italians were killed in action. Prior to these actions, no armed forced of the new Republic of Italy had fought on foreign soil. This penciled in comment, thus, must have been written after January 26, 1887.
27 That is, the Roman Pontiff, who was the temporal ruler of the city, at the time of this prophecies composition in January of 1870.
28 A reference to the captivity which Pope Pius IX imposed upon himself after the fall of Rome in Sept. 1870. At the very moment that the Pope lost the Papal States, God compensated him with the dogmatic definition of Papal Infallibility, to which the end of the sentence refers symbolically.
29 To be consistent with the text, these visitations must occur at least after 1870, and more precisely after the spring of 1871, when the Italian government began to persecute the Church in Italy. Thus the comment by Don Bosco "This refers to the present state of Rome" is seemingly a note added in 1874, when the Saint had Father Berto make a copy of the original manuscript. On Sept. 20, 1870, 60,000 troops of the Republic under the command of General Raffaele Cadorna invested Rome and breached the city walls. The history of the following period 1871-1874 does not correspond with the text, since in June, 1871, Rome became the capital of the Republic and enjoyed a period of peace, until it was captured by the Allies in World War II on Sept. 4, 1944, without a shot being fired. However during late July of 1943 the environs of the city were bombarded by 500 allied bombers. These four visitations thus remain obscure.
30 This statement clarifies the speaker of the prophecy as Jesus Christ.
31 Perhaps a reference to the great exodus of Catholic clergy and religious to North and South America during this period.
32 Here Fr. Berto writes, "This visit to Rome has still to take place." Perhaps a reference to the sufferings endured by the city during the Second World War.
33 This comment by Don Bosco indicates that he himself did not understand precisely the significance of the prophecy. But according to St. John of the Cross, this is normally the case in such circumstances, (cf. Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book II, nn. 9-10.) Since the citizens of Rome in both 1870 and 1944 did not suffer the loss of their lives from a direct military attack on the city, this prophecy seems unfulfilled. Not so, however, if it refers in a general manner to the men from Rome who served in the wars which followed 1870 (e.g. Eritrea, Ethiopia, World War I and II).
34 Since the environs of Rome were heavily damaged during 1943-44, this may be a reference to these events. Rome did experience a period of the greatest penury in the years 1944-6.
35 A sober reminder that the fulfillment of priestly duties by the bulk of the clergy is the one means of remedying God's wrath towards humanity.
36 Ostensibly a definitive indication that this prophecy is given in chronological sequence, and is to be thus interpreted.
37 That is, with the passing of time which makes things forgotten, as objects gradually obscured from view.
38 Perhaps a reference to the signing of the Lateran Treaty of 1929, which settled the Roman Question (the dispute between Italy and the Vatican concerning the Papal States and the rights of the Church in Italy) and ended the imprisonment of the Pope in the Vatican. This interpretation would be most harmonious with the chronological sequence of this prophecy. But if so "former garments" is used in a very symbolic manner.
39 Here Fr. Berto writes, "See the next prophecy where the hurricane is fully described." This event must, therefore, follow the Lateran Treaty of 1929, which is the resolution of the political events of 1870-74.
40 Here Fr. Berto writes, "This year, 1874, the month of May has two full moons, one on the 1st and the other on the 31st." Fr. Berto interprets "month of flowers" as a reference to May. However the when the wild flowers bloom in Turin (the home of Don Bosco) is March. Astronomical tables confirm Fr. Berto's assertion regarding two full moon in May, 1874. However no extraordinary event secular or supernatural occurred in that month. Indeed following the sequence of the text, this event should follow the "hurricane" of "iniquity" and "sin" which itself would follow the Lateran Treaty of 1929. In March of 1988 and 1999 there are two full moons. In the former there was no noticeable cessation to sin in the world. The latter has yet to come.
41 Here Fr. Berto writes, "A hope which seemingly is rising in Spain today, March 1, 1874." A reference to the advances of the Carlist, Don Carlos, Duke of Madrid (cf. notes above). This interpretation militates against the statement of Don Bosco's prophecy just read, "These things shall inexorably come to pass, all in succession." since if Fr. Berto's assertion were correct, this event would have occurred after others which he himself admits have not yet happened. The following text however refers to a spiritual event (a sun seen by the whole world, that is comparable to the light of the Cenacle) of the greatest significance to the Church. The Miracle at Fatima is a candidate, since it is a light that has shown throughout the world. But 1917 would be outside the sequence, if the former interpretation of the Lateran Treaty is correct. However if the phrase "former garments" refers to an end of hostilities between the government of Victor Emmanuel II which prevailed in the years 1871-4, then the miracle at Fatima would seem appropriate, seeing as it was an admirable fulfillment of St. John's prophecy, "A great sign appeared in heaven, a woman clothed with the sun." (Rev. 12:1)
42 This phrase strikingly bears the imagery of Revelation 12:1 which was fulfilled in a particular manner by the miracle of the sun at Fatima on October 13, 1917. It is said that Pope Pius XII himself was given a vision of this event; that would be the literal fulfillment of this prophecy.
43 Here Fr. Berto writes, "Triumph and growth of Christianity."
44 The title appear in the original transcription. Father Berto first came to know of this prophecy on July 14, 1873. Shortly thereafter Don Bosco asked him to copy it and send it along with another document to Franz Joseph I of Austria, King of Hungary and Bohemia (cf. Biographical Memoirs, Vol. X, p. 49).
45 An implicit description that the men in question have convened together in a foreign land during a period characterized by the prevalence of error.
46 The marginal notes (in italics) added by Don Bosco evince his opinion that this prophecy referred to a Pope's exile. No exile took place, which perhaps lead Don Bosco to admit in 1871 that the prophecy perhaps would never be fulfilled (Biographical Memoirs, Vol X p. 377). Accordingly the only other interpretation must take the imagery as symbolic of a spiritual exile. If the imagery is consistent with the previous prophecy, then this great light must have a Marian character. Therefore the circumstances of this prophecy appear to coincide with those of the Second Vatican Council at which Bishops, in their capacity as delegates to a non-infallible disciplinary synod, met together. At the close of the Council (on November 21, 1965 the last documents where published) Pope Paul VI proclaimed Mary "Mother of the Church." This perhaps is the light referred to in the text above.
47 The phrase "as in procession" is exact, since unlike a religious procession, which proceeds from one sacred place to another, and which is headed by a crucifer, thurifer and candlebearers, this column of persons is headed by the Pope (as at it will be seen, out of the City into the countryside). The Latin word profanus, from which the English word "profane" is derived, literally refers to the non-consecrated area outside the domain of a sacred space. It is interesting to note that the other participants in the group are in reverse order (adults: children; male religious: female religious). The clergy alone are where they should be, indicating that they alone understand it as a religious procession.
48 A clear reference to the revival of Modernism which characterized the post-Conciliar period and distinguished itself by attacking Marian devotions.
49 The "end" of the procession (actually the mid-point) is a public square (a profane place). Those found there perhaps symbolize the spiritual catastrophe which overtook the Catholic world during the "implementation" period. Certainly the last phrase poignantly describes the efforts of the laity who remained faithful.
50 Another apt description of the reaction of the laity to Conciliar reforms in the period following the Council, especially as the direction of the reforms became clearer.
51 Taking the march in a spiritual and symbolic sense, "Rome" must refer to "Roman Catholicism". This statement therefore explicitly affirms that the post-Conciliar reforms have lead to something other that Catholic truth and life.
52 Another poignant description of the reaction of the laity during the post-Conciliar period. The phrase "to protect him" may refer to the assassination attempt on the Pope on May 13, 1981, or a defense of the Magisterium by personal initiatives.
53 It seems therefore that the "children" whether still in Rome or with the Pope are one in calling for his return to the City. The advent of the two angels is a solemn indication of the intervention of Heaven to change the course of "renewal" and may in fact refer to some personal experience of the Roman Pontiff.
54 These two titles of Our Lady refers unmistakably to the Immaculate Conception and Mary, who as Mediatrix and Mother of the Church, watches over Catholics to protect them. The acceptance of the banners perhaps alludes to the consecrations of the world (not Russia) to the Immaculate Heart on May 13, 1982 and March 25, 1984. The imagery of accepting a banner signifies the entrance into the service of a monarch. In this case that of Mary. And if taken in conjunction with that of the former prophecy's allusion to a vision of Our Lady in glory, then this text would build on the prophecies related to Fatima.
55 A reference, no doubt, to the few who share the Pontiff's devotion to the Mother of God.
56 Seemingly an Encyclical on Penance. Pope John Paul II issued such an Encyclical (Reconciliatio et Paenitentia) on December 2, 1984.
57 "Divine Word" is a phrase signifying the Deposit of the Faith, Sacred Revelation. The image of it being broken is a standard idiom for preaching.
58 The Universal Catechism was promulgated by Pope John Paul II on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception (a coincidence?), December 8, 1992.
59 Pope John Paul II has repeatedly encouraged the youth to consider a religious vocation.
60 An allusion to the vocation crisis in the First World.
61 The direction of the "procession" reverses; and thus the faithful begin to rejoin the Pope.
62 A clear indication of the tremendous damage done the Church Universal. The lack of citizens indicative of eternal damnation, in as much as the City is symbolic of "The True Faith."
63 The return to St. Peter's also must be symbolic of a restoration of (return to) Romanism, which is the Church founded by St. Peter. The intoning of the Te Deum crowns the imagery, since this is customary in the Traditional Roman Rite. The Angels response indicates that the restoration, far from being unwelcome, is in fact in accord with the Divine pleasure.
64 This blazing sun may be the same as that of the previous prophecy. If so then its Marian character is also necessary. Perhaps it refers to a coming dogmatic definition of the Corredemption. This would be consistent, since over 400 of the Bishops who attended Vatican II requested this; and as can be seen from the pontificate of John Paul II, he has striven closely to complete the good intentions of Pope John XXIII and Paul VI.
65 The spiritual climax and triumph is welcomed by the laity, who have weathered the storm.
66 According to Fr. Frank Klauder, S.D.B., in his article "The 200 Day March: Don Bosco and the Millennium," Soul Magazine, Jan./Feb. 1998, p. 6., the chronology of this prophecy is also symbolic. One day equates to one month. Four-hundred days represents 33 years 4 months, which is the time from November, 1965 (the close of Vatican II) to March 1999, another month in which there will be, in accord with the first prophecy, two full moons. The first two-hundred day period marks the 16 years 8 months ending August 1982, which approximates the time during the Pontificate of John Paul II when he began publicly to speak of Our Lady as Corredemptrix (cf. Dr. Mark Miravalle's book, The Final Dogma) and when he decided to consecrate the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The "rainbow of peace" of the first prophecy would then refer to the era of peace promised by Our Lady at Fatima, when the world would follow the way of Her Immaculate Heart. Although the sun rises 200 times, there are 400 days, indicating that the time period here is not measured literally but symbolically.
67 These events began in the spring of 1874, inasmuch as the conflict between the modern state and the Church which began with the seizure of the Papal States (as a symbolic retaliation for the definition of the Dogma of Papal Infallibility) will be concluded by the "triumph of the Church" which Don Bosco himself desired so much. This "triumph," in order to counter-poise the events of the prophecies, would necessarily include the recognition of the Papacy's Authority in world affairs and the establishment of a new arrangement between Church and State, to succeed that destroyed by the revolutions of the 19th century. These prophecies undoubtedly are associated with Don Bosco's more famous prophecy of the Two Columns, which concludes with a Pope chaining the Bark of Peter to Our Lady Help of Christians and the Most Blessed Sacrament (Biographical Memoirs, Vol. VII, pp. 107-109.
68 At this point Fr. Berto added a note ex post facto, "This prophecy fitted the political situation in Europe that year. Later, things changed, both in regard to France and to Prussia." This prophecy is a Divine invitation for the Catholic nations to unite to withstand the Masonic-Protestant alliances of nations in Europe. However, headless of this request, Austria-Hungary eschewed political alliances with France and Spain for the next 25 years, thus laying the groundwork politically for the system of agreements that precipitated the First World War. Ironically, and treacherously at that, only Catholic Austria-Hungary was partitioned into oblivion by the treaty of Versailles; even though she alone had been the most forceful voice for peace throughout the entire war.
69 Here Fr. Amadeus writes, "Here he [Don Bosco] added the name of the trusted person—Countess Lutzow, and admirer of his. On June 14 of that year she had sent him a 2,000 lire donation in thanks for her husband's recovery through the intercession of Mary, Help of Christians."