I'm reading Morris West's novel, The Clowns of God. It was published in 1981 and tells the story of a pope, Gregory XVII who has a private revelation that the world is about to end. Rather than allow him to publicize the warning for fear of the consequences, the Roman curia force him to abdicate and retire to a monastery.
What's almost creepy about the book is that it could have been written today with all the societal problems we are experiencing mirroring the portrait of a world in imminent collapse from wars, economic disasters, and general immorality.
Doing a little research on West, I found he wrote four books in what is considered his "Vatican sequence." The first was The Devil's Advocate, the second, The Shoes of the Fisherman. I read both of those years ago, but don't remember much about the stories. The Shoes of the Fisherman, told the story of the first slavic pope. The book was published in 1963 long before Pope John Paul II ascended the papal throne. The book I'm reading now, as I wrote above, tells of a successor who abdicates. Hmm...remind you of anyone?
Did West have a prophetic streak?
And speaking of the apocalypse...if it came tomorrow would you be prepared?