FALSE AND TRUE SECRET
N May 2000, on the day after the beatification of the two seers, Francisco and Jacinta Marto, the Abbé de Nantes observed: «The victories of the Immaculate are as unforeseeable as they are irresistible.1» “Unforeseeable” because for the last ten years the canonization process of the two seers had been postponed in Rome for a shameful reason, namely that their elevation to the altars would signify the official rehabilitation of the confidants of the Immaculate and, by that same fact, would nullify the reasons put forward by John XXIII and his successors for refusing to publish the Third Secret. Their beatification would absolve them of the suspicions contained in the press release of February 8, 1960, in which the Vatican had announced John XXIII’s disastrous decision:
«Although the Church recognizes the Fatima apparitions, she does not pledge herself to guarantee the veracity of the words which the three little shepherds claim to have heard from Our Lady.2»
Despite this contempt of the Roman authorities for Our Lady’s revelations,
the Portuguese retained their devotion for Francisco and Jacinta. Msgr. Venancio
wrote: «Are not the private lives of the shepherd children, as revealed to us by authorised
witnesses, a living and stirring commentary on the
warnings of our Mother in Heaven?3»
THE BEATIFICATION OF FRANCISCO AND JACINTA
The diocesan inquiry for their beatification had begun after the informative process of their two causes had been opened in Leiria on December 21, 1949. Sister Lucy’s testimony to the virtues of her companions was particularly significant and, what is more, decisive, as Father Luis Kondor, the Vice Postulator, has often recalled. It was recorded over the course of the two rogatory processes that took place in Coimbra: the one for Francisco counted sixteen sessions, the other for Jacinta twenty sessions.
With the accession of John Paul II, the diocesan processes were almost terminated. As soon as he was received for the first time, in a private audience, on April 27, 1979, the Bishop of Fatima, Msgr. do Amaral, spoke to the Pope about this4. Alas, the Holy Father was not interested. In the message he sent two weeks later, on May 13, to the pilgrims at the Cova da Iria, he made no mention of the seers. Another significant fact: when, on 25 July of that same year, in Rome, John Paul II laid eyes on a large portrait of Jacinta presented to him by Father Fox, he asked whether it was Lucy5. In short, he did not know the three confidants of the Queen of Prophets.
However, the dossiers of the diocesan inquiries were forwarded to Rome, and the Holy See opened, by decree, the two processes of beatification on December 20, 1979. Besides the information gathered by the investigatory process, the Congregation for the Causes of Saints called for all the documents relating to the shepherd children and their visions, dating from the time of the apparitions.
At the conclusion of the official process, the decrees regarding the heroic virtues of Francisco and Jacinta were signed on May 13, 1989 by Cardinal Angelo Felici, Prefect of the Congregation.
This recognition of their heroic virtues was tantamount, on the part of the Holy See, to the official recognition of the visions and revelations with which they had been favoured. For their theological and moral virtues are intimately tied to the apparitions: the Immaculate Virgin’s favours and words to help prepare them for their mission are inseparable from the extraordinary graces of personal sanctification they received in the course of these heavenly manifestations. The decrees of heroic virtues did not overlook this fact6. And one need only read the marvellous biography written by Sister Françoise de la Sainte Colombe, Francisco and Jacinta, so small… and yet so great! to discover this with delight7.
On the day after their heroic virtues were recognised, Father Kondor was upbeat: «Around a thousand reports of favours received reach the Vice-Postulation every year from all over the world. Many favours would appear to be authentic miracles. Several dossiers have been passed to Rome.8»
The announcement of John Paul II’s visit to Fatima, for the tenth anniversary of the attack on his life, gave rise to a lively expectation; for the Pope was in the habit of accelerating the conclusion of processes in order that he might proclaim Blesseds during his trips. Alas, on May 12 and 13, 1991, he once again overlooked the sanctity of the seers.
The reasons advanced to contest the authenticity of miracles obtained through the intercession of the little shepherds9 were all the more suspect in that certain voices in Rome were claiming that it would be inopportune to beatify them while Sister Lucy remained alive. In Fatima, on Wednesday, February 24, 1993, Fr. Kondor’s secretary, Mrs. Mercedes Gil, confided to me: «Everything is being held up in Rome. They will not beatify the two seers while Lucy is alive. This is a decision of the Vatican.» And it had become public knowledge10.
When Father Valinho came to tell Sister Lucy, his aunt, the reason for the postponement of their process in Rome, she exclaimed: «If they’re waiting for me to die before beatifying them, let the Lord take me immediately!11» To her regular visitors who still had permission to meet her in the Carmel parlour, she recommended «much prayer» to obtain the completion of the process.
At this juncture, on April 17, 1998, Cardinal Bovone, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, died. He was succeeded by a Portuguese Claretian, Don José Saraiva Martins. The objections that had prevented the process from moving forward were now set aside. On January 28, 1999, the dicastery’s medical bureau unanimously declared that the cure of Maria Emilia Santos from a “paraplegia, probably caused by transverse myelitis, with a history of approximately twenty-two years, and with no indication of psychic pathology”, had been rapid, complete, lasting and scientifically inexplicable.
The cardinals and bishops of the Congregation acknowledged on the following June 22 that it was a miraculous cure due to divine intervention. As soon as Sister Lucy learned of this, she manifested her joy and expressed the desire to attend the beatification ceremony, even if she had to go to… Rome! Father Kondor announced this publicly on his way out from a parlour conversation with her on June 2312.
The Pope decided that the ceremony would take place in Rome, on April 9, 2000. When this news became public in Fatima, on October 13, 1999, the one hundred thousand Portuguese, who were taking part in the pilgrimage ceremonies, manifested their disappointment and even their displeasure: «Why in Rome? It is here, in Fatima, that it must take place!» As for Msgr. Antonio Marcelino, Bishop of Aveiro and Vice-President of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference, he declared in no uncertain terms on Radio renascença:
«I regret that the ceremony is being planned in Rome and not in Fatima. This troubles me because no one knows or understands the sanctity of the two little shepherds better than our people, and particularly our children. But they will not go to Rome. The Portuguese Church, acting through its representatives and bishops, should be a little more assertive in Roman circles.13»
The Portuguese were aggrieved and deeply hurt out of compassion for their Mother in Heaven. For if this ceremony were to take place in Rome, as had been decided, it would not redound to the glory of their “noble Patroness”, Nossa Senhora14, nor would it serve as a thanksgiving for so many marvels already performed through Her all-powerful mediation. «They think that the beatification should take place on the sites where the Virgin Mary appeared.15» Thus the good Portuguese people found itself in perfect communion with Sister Lucy, who wrote in 1935: «I hope that the Lord, for the glory of the Most Blessed Virgin, will grant Jacinta the aureole of the saints.16»
John Paul II finally yielded to the requests of the Portuguese episcopate, fixing the beatification ceremony for May 13, 2000, at the Cova da Iria. So, in the year of the Great Jubilee, he again found Fatima lying on his path.
On May 12, 2000, the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims, massed in the esplanade, greeted him by showing their fervent devotion towards the Immaculate, but also towards him, the Holy Father. That evening, John Paul II took to himself all the honour of the Fatima revelations, as much by his gestures as by his words. He could be seen at the Capelinha absorbed in an attitude of prayer that was silent and abnormally prolonged. He thus mimicked one of the visions with which Jacinta was favoured: that of the Holy Father suffering and praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary. But he did not recite the Rosary, retiring instead to his apartments before the prayer vigil.
The next day, the Pope proclaimed the two seers Blessed before six hundred thousand of the faithful, while their portraits, unveiled on the facade of the Basilica, were displayed in all their glory. A heavenly moment!
In his homily, John Paul II quoted in full certain words of the Virgin of Fatima, as for example Her pressing demand «not to offend the Our Lord God any more, as He is already too much offended». However, he did not make the slightest reference to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. He systematically avoided speaking of It, even going so far as to censor the words of the seers as well as those of Our Lady Herself.
This omission was particularly noticeable when the Pope declared: «The Most Blessed Virgin said that she was ready to lead them safely to God.17» The authentic words, which relate to Lucy alone, are so much more moving: «My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God.»
In section four of his homily, John Paul II spoke of one of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary who «came to visit them at home, as Jacinta recounts: “Our Lady came to see us. She told us She would come to take Francisco to Heaven very soon, and She asked me if I still wanted to convert more sinners. I said I did.”18» Why interrupt the quotation at this point? For Jacinta went on in these words: «She told me I would be going to a hospital where I would suffer a great deal; and that I am to suffer for the conversion of sinners, in reparation for the sins committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and for love of Jesus.19»
The Pope continued: «And when the time came for Francisco to leave, the little girl tells him: “Give all my love to Our Lord and Our Lady, and tell Them that I’ll suffer as much as They want for the conversion of sinners.”» But Jacinta also said: «and in reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.20»
These omissions are inexplicable: it is truly a mystery of iniquity. All the
more so in that the Pope, during the same homily, congratulated himself, to use
his own words, on «the Lord’s goodness to me when I was saved from death after
being seriously wounded on May 13, 1981. I also express my gratitude to Blessed
Jacinta for the sacrifices and prayers offered for the Holy Father whom she saw
suffering so greatly.21» Everything seems to
indicate that John Paul II was speaking of himself at that time.
MAY 13, 2000: CARDINAL SODANO’S FALSE SECRET
Over the previous days, no one had given anything away about the Pope’s intentions regarding the Third Secret.
However, in Fatima, on May 13, at the end of the ceremonies, just when all hope of its disclosure had been abandoned, Cardinal Sodano, the Secretary of State, delivered a message that immediately created a considerable stir. We shall therefore quote large extracts from it22 and analyse them almost word for word by comparing them to the authentic text of the Third Secret, which would not be published until a month and a half later.
«On the solemn occasion of his visit to Fatima, His Holiness has directed me to make an announcement to you. As you know, the purpose of his visit to Fatima has been to beatify the two little shepherds. Nevertheless, he also wishes his pilgrimage to be a renewed gesture of gratitude to Our Lady for Her protection during these years of his papacy. This protection seems also to be linked to the so-called “third part” of the secret of Fatima.»
The formula is cautious, anticipating the objections that would inevitably arise from a direct comparison of the authentic text, when published in Rome, with John Paul II’s interpretation, an interpretation that Cardinal Sodano is here and now tasked with placing upon it.
« That text», he continues, «contains a prophetic vision similar to those found in Sacred Scripture, which do not describe with photographic clarity the details of future events, but rather synthesize and condense against a unified background events spread out over time in a succession and a duration which are not specified. As a result, the key to reading the text cannot but take on a symbolic character.»
And here comes the «key» which is imposed upon us, by order of the Pope, even before the «reading» of the authentic text: «The vision of Fatima concerns above all the war waged by atheist systems against the Church and Christians.» Already the deception is manifest: for Our Lady did not speak of “atheist systems”, but of the «errors of Russia».
«It describes the immense suffering endured by the witnesses to the faith in the last century of the second millennium», continues the Cardinal. «It is an interminable Via Crucis led by the Popes of the twentieth century.» We have already noted the scant attention paid by «the Popes of the twentieth century» to Our Lady’s message, from Pius XI to John Paul II, with the sole exception of John Paul I, so there is no need for us to denounce the falsehood of this statement here. An «interminable Via Crucis» of God’s people, yes, and all the while the pastors responsible for guiding them looked on in indifference.
The Cardinal continues: «According to the interpretation of the little shepherds, which was also recently confirmed by Sister Lucy, the “Bishop clothed in White”, who prays for all the faithful, is the Pope. As he makes his way with great effort towards the Cross amid the corpses of those who were martyred (bishops, priests, men and women religious and many lay persons), he too…»
The Cardinal departs from the text of the Secret and mixes everything up. Firstly, he should have said not «he too», but «he, in the first place», at the head of the procession and leading it. The authentic text specifies that the Holy Father, before reaching the top of the mountain, «passed through a large city half in ruins and, half trembling and with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way». These latter were therefore already dead before he passed by. They should not be confused with those souls still very much alive who follow him and who, inspired by his example, are going to die as martyrs after him once they have reached the foot of the great Cross. Furthermore, if the corpses encountered by the Pope on his path were “those who were martyred”, their souls would have no need of the Pope’s prayers. No! the corpses are those who have denied Christ and who are now undergoing the divine chastisement, as we have previously seen23.
Cardinal Sodano continues: «… he too [the Holy Father] falls to the ground, apparently dead, under a burst of gunfire.» However, the Secret says something rather different, namely that the Pope «was killed». So the prophetic vision does not depict the failed assassination attempt of 1981 against John Paul II, but a genuine assassination.
The Cardinal goes on, quite unperturbed: «After the assassination attempt of May 13, 1981, it appeared evident to His Holiness that it was “a motherly hand which guided the bullet’s path”, enabling the “dying Pope” to halt “at the threshold of death” (John Paul II, “Meditation with the Italian Bishops from the Policlinico Gemelli”, Insegnamenti, 1994, p. 1061).»
«But that is ridiculous!» exclaims the Abbé de Nantes24.
In fact the Pope’s idea – one dare not say his conviction – could well be a reminiscence of the romantic mysticism of Adam Mickiewicz, whose so-called Christianity was «highly unorthodox and utterly raving».25 For later on in his “Meditation” John Paul II said: «In September, when it was given to me to see the face of the Mother of God in the sanctuary of the Dawn Gate in Vilnius, I turned towards Her with the words of the great Polish poet Adam Mickiewicz: “O Most Blessed Virgin, who shineth forth in Ostra Brama and defendeth the glorious sanctuary of Czestochowa (…). How thou hast (…) saved me from death!”» John Paul II concludes: «The gunshot in Saint Peter’s Square should have taken the life of the Pope thirteen years ago. But, on the contrary, the deadly bullet was halted and the Pope is still alive ... alive to serve!26»
Because he survived, Cardinal Sodano had to censor and truncate the text of the Secret in order to identify him with the Pope seen by the three little shepherds on July 13, 1917. His version of a Pope who «falls to the ground, apparently dead, under a burst of gunfire», has nothing in common with «the Bishop dressed in White killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him».
His “false Secret” departs from the literal contents of the text, and even more so from the symbolic reading that he had just recommended. It ends in a “cinematographic” interpretation – of the very kind that he had just rejected on principle – which reduces the Third Secret to a “prophetic vision” of John Paul II falling in his jeep “under a hail of gunfire” on May 13, 1981. It is true, the Cardinal was expressing the thinking of the Pope, and he was anxious to make this clear, with supporting references, as though to indicate that he was naturally not taking any responsibility for this himself.
But let us continue to listen to him: «On the occasion of a visit to Rome by the then Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, the Pope decided to give him the bullet which had remained in the jeep after the assassination attempt, so that it might be kept in the Shrine. At the behest of the Bishop, the bullet was later set in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.»
Our Father Superior, the Abbé de Nantes, was profoundly scandalised by this and immediately expressed his astonishment: «The bullet which should have served him as a warning has been turned by John Paul II to his glory, as though it were a miracle. He has had it inserted into the crown of the Fatima statue, as a kind of magical charm to his glory as lord and master over “Mary” Herself.27»
After having thanked the Virgin, in the name of the Pope, for the fall of the communist regimes in the countries of the East, Cardinal Sodano finally announced that the third part of the Secret would shortly be disclosed, along with an «appropriate commentary», in order that «the faithful may better receive the message of Our Lady of Fatima».
No sooner had the Cardinal’s communication ended than Vatican spokesman
Navarro-Valls was unashamedly dispensing with all fine distinctions. A few
yards away from the Chapel of the Apparitions, he was declaring to journalists: «The
Secret is the announcement of the assassination attempt of May 13, 1981.» That
same evening, the news was echoed by the media throughout the world.
JUNE 26, 2000: THE REVELATION OF THE AUTHENTIC TEXT
The Third Secret of Fatima was published in Rome on June 26, 2000 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in an opuscule entitled The Message of Fatima, which was immediately doled out to journalists at a press conference. This official dossier, through its falsifications and omissions, robbed the Secret of much of its impact.
Msgr. Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of the Congregation, wrote and signed an introductory presentation28, which briefly retraces the history of Fatima and its principal documents, beginning with an affirmation of the authenticity of the apparitions of 1917:
«Fatima is undoubtedly the most prophetic of modern apparitions. The first and second parts of the “secret” – which are published here in the documentation – refer especially to the frightening vision of hell, devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the Second World War, and finally the prediction of the immense damage that Russia would do to humanity by abandoning the Christian faith and embracing Communist totalitarianism. In 1917 no one could have imagined all this; the three pastorinhos of Fatima see, listen and remember, and Lucia, the surviving witness, commits it all to paper when ordered to do so by the Bishop of Leiria and with Our Lady’s permission.»
This she did in 1941, at least for the first two parts of the Secret. So we have passed in one bound, in one sentence! from 1917 to 1941. Msgr. Bertone will not mention the apparitions of Pontevedra and Tuy, which clarified exactly what Heaven required for the accomplishment of the Divine Will outlined in the Secret of July 13, 1917. These apparitions will be totally suppressed in this opuscule.
«For the account of the first two parts of the “secret”, which have already been published and are therefore known, we have chosen the text written by Sister Lucia in the Third Memoir of August 31, 1941; some annotations were added in the Fourth Memoir of December 8, 1941.»
Msgr. Bertone’s choice is not innocent29. He
in a footnote the sentence, «In
Portugal, the dogma of the faith will always be preserved, etc.», a sentence
that was written by Sister Lucy in her Fourth Memoir,
immediately following Our Lady’s promise, «… and a certain period of peace will be
granted to the world.» To relegate this to the level of an annotation effectively
erases it from the Secret itself, by letting it be believed that it is a mere
addition of Sister Lucy’s, a product of her invention. This sentence will neither
be commented upon nor explained in the opuscule. Senior authorities in the
Vatican have understood only too well what it implies, namely that the dogma of
the faith would be obscured in Rome30.
UNWARRANTED SUSPICIONS AGAINST SISTER LUCY
Other omissions by Msgr. Bertone prepare the way for the modernist theories that Cardinal Ratzinger will then go on to develop in his “theological commentary” on the Secret, casting doubt on the credibility of Sister Lucy’s testimony.
Msgr. Bertone passes over in complete silence the miracle of the trembling and fall of the sun on October 13, 1917, observed by seventy thousand people, a miracle implored by Lucy precisely to vanquish the incredulity of the sceptics: «I again asked the Lady to work a miracle so that the people might believe, for they were saying that I was a liar who should be hanged or burned.31» In answer, Our Lady had told her from July 13, 1917 that She would perform a miracle on October 13, and this miracle constitutes, as we have previously demonstrated32, the divine seal which attests the absolute truth of the Secret revealed to the three shepherd children.
Msgr. Bertone does not mention the episcopal judgment recognising the supernatural origin of the apparitions of 1917, published by Msgr. da Silva in his pastoral letter A divina providencia of October 13, 1930. By the same token, he ignores the conclusion of the diocesan process concerning the validity of Sister Lucy’s testimony.
Surely the canonical commission’s report deserved to be quoted: «Every one of the seer’s replies, every one of her statements, brings out in an undeniable manner the sincerity of her declarations and the truth of her deposition. She expresses herself with a serenity, a composure, a simplicity, a tone of firmness and such inner conviction, and at the same time with a humility so deep (as though she were referring to things that did not involve her), that her deposition leaves nothing to be desired and is in no manner inferior, in any point whatsoever, to that of Blessed Bernadette Soubirous, the angelic seer of Lourdes, at the canonical process conducted by order of Msgr. Laurence, Bishop of Tarbes.33»
Although Msgr. Bertone describes the historical circumstances of the transcription of the Third Secret, he does not speak of the apparition of January 2, 1944, at which Our Lady confirmed the order given to Lucy by Msgr. da Silva to put the Secret into writing, which she did the following day, in the convent chapel.
By passing this apparition over in silence, just like all the other revelations with which Sister Lucy was graced after the events of 1917, Msgr. Bertone hides under a bushel a set of remarkable supernatural facts: these divine communications prove that the seer, even in the writing down of the Third Secret, was inspired, enlightened, sustained and guided by Heaven so that she might fulfil her mission as the messenger of the Immaculate. Msgr. Bertone having overlooked all this, Cardinal Ratzinger will then proceed, from the very first sentences of his “theological commentary”34, to follow the lead set by Father Edouard Dhanis, whom he refers to as an «eminent scholar».
The Cardinal summarises in one sentence the modernist thesis of the Belgian Jesuit, according to which the Secret is merely the result of «projections of the inner world of children, brought up in a climate of profound piety but shaken at the same time by the tempests which threatened their own time». Right up to the very end of his so-called theological commentary, he will insinuate that the visions of the Secret are nothing but Lucy’s fabrications, arising from recollections of her childish devotions: «The concluding part of the Secret», he writes, «uses images which Sister Lucy may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith.»
The theories of Dhanis, one should recall, have been severely criticised on several occasions and magisterially in the first volume of The Whole Truth about Fatima. But the Prefect of the former Holy Office attaches no importance to these refutations. And yet, on November 30, 1985, Brother Michel de la Sainte Trinité had written to the Cardinal:
«I am extremely grateful to you for having agreed to receive the three volumes of Toute la vérité sur Fatima. I am also happy to be able to pass them to you through the good offices of your secretary. For several years I had the happiness of studying, with great care and in a scientific manner, the marvellous and dramatic mystery of Fatima, whilst integrating, in a new historical synthesis, the very numerous documents published in Portugal over these last years. The reliability of Sister Lucy’s testimony, particularly with regard to the Secret of July 13, 1917, became apparent to me in all its force as my knowledge of this voluminous dossier grew. That is why my whole work tends to manifest the incontestably divine authenticity and extraordinary significance of this great Secret which I show unfolding step by step in our political and ecclesial history since 1917.35»
It is surprising that Cardinal Ratzinger should also have ignored the works of one of his compatriots, Professor Anton Ziegenaus, holder of the chair in dogmatic theology at the University of Augsburg’s Catholic theology faculty, who demonstrated in 1997 – using the Documentaçao critica de Fatima36, in other words the most recent scientific presentation of the documents – that Father Dhanis’ thesis was indefensible:
«This documentation not only reveals the historical accuracy of Lucy’s Memoirs, but it also shows that a number of remarks found in the very first testimonies can only be understood in the light of the Memoirs. With Fatima there is this continuous thematic unity, one that is constantly developing and presenting transitions and new stages along the route, but never any discontinuity, rupture, or novel theme.37»
Finally, it is remarkable that, despite the orders to which she had to submit, Sister Lucy has, by and large, restated her testimony in Apelos da mensagem de Fatima, which was in fact examined in the spring of 2000 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose Prefect is Cardinal Ratzinger: «The description of the two homes [the Martos and the dos Santos] makes it clear that they [the parents of the shepherd children] were solidly Christian. They were, however, very far from being able to put any mystical ideas into the minds of the children, or any exalted spirituality such as is evident in the Fatima Apparitions. Hence, what happened could only have come entirely from God.38»
The reply given by Msgr. Languet de Gergy to those who showed themselves sceptical towards the revelations of Saint Margaret-Mary, must today be readdressed to Cardinal Ratzinger:
«You profess doubts; whereas we, for our part, present to you an investigation, an examination, of the certain proofs. When one has finally discovered the truth by such means, can doubts and conjectures still be professed? And when we ourselves have exhausted conjectures that are based on distrust, do you really believe that your own conjectures can make better progress? When, therefore, to proofs recognised after mature reflection, you oppose doubts, is this enlightenment or ignorance? Is it prudence or stubbornness? Is it a love of truth or wilful prejudice? Now, once the truth has become known, it cannot, without injustice, be fought with conjectures or suspicions; once the truth has been authoritatively demonstrated, it demands the homage of the human mind; to refuse such is stubborness.39»
CARDINAL RATZINGER’S APRIORISMS AGAINST THE PUBLIC REVELATION OF FATIMA
In his “theological commentary on the Secret”, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith not only voiced unwarranted suspicions against Lucy, he also elaborated a series of errors that tend to sever all communication between Heaven and earth.
In the first part of his text, he repeats the distinction between, on the one hand, the Revelation termed public and, on the other hand, revelations termed private, among which «we must assign the message of Fatima». We must therefore return to this subject40 in order to highlight several very debatable statements made by Cardinal Ratzinger.
Let us first emphasize that this expression “private revelation” is wholly inappropriate for Fatima, seeing that Our Lady announced three months in advance that She would perform a miracle so that «all may believe», and this miracle, the most spectacular in the whole history of the world, was seen on October 13, 1917, by the seventy thousand people present at the Cova da Iria.
The Prefect of the former Holy Office wishes to impose the idea that of «all the visions and revelations which have taken place since the completion of the New Testament» not a single one can possess a character that is universal and binding on the Church’s hierarchy: a private revelation, he writes, «is a help which is offered, but which one is not obliged to use».
The Cardinal refers in the first place to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. However, its teaching is disputable to say the least. The Abbé de Nantes solemnly reminded Cardinal Ratzinger of this in his Book of Accusation for Heresy against the Author of the so-called Catechism of the Catholic Church, handed to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on May 13, 1993: «Among the attributes of the Catholic Magisterium is the power and the duty to exercise discernment regarding revelations improperly termed “private”, but, having recognised them as “authentic", in both their supernatural facts and their error-free doctrine, it is not at liberty to place them beneath its own authority and pastoral power in order to ignore them and combat them. Its office is to study their truth and reality, and not to decide whether they are opportune or of interest to the Church. Whatever is of Heaven imposes itself on us all.41»
In the second part of his “theological commentary”, Cardinal Ratzinger treats of «the anthropological structure of private revelations», finally declaring that the apparitions of the Virgin of Fatima were not situated in space: they were, it seems, merely “interior or imaginative visions”. Msgr. Hnilica very pertinently contested his reasoning in the letter he sent him on September 13, 2000:
«Your Eminence mentions the traditional distinction in spiritual theology between the three forms of perception or vision: 1. vision through the senses, therefore external corporeal perception (visio sensibilis); 2. interior perception (visio imaginativa); 3. spiritual vision (visio intellectualis). Your Eminence declares: “It is clear that in the visions of Lourdes, Fatima, etc. (further on you add: “in all the great visions of the saints”), it is not a question of normal exterior perception of the senses: the images and forms which are seen are not located spatially, as is the case for example with a tree or a house (…). Therefore we are dealing with the middle category, interior perception. For the visionary, this perception certainly has the force of a presence, equivalent for that person to an external manifestation to the senses.”
«It seems to me, after reflecting on this all summer, that there is no proof that all the apparitions and visions of the Blessed Virgin belong to what Your Eminence calls “the middle way” or “interior perception”. And if there be no proof, it is obvious that one cannot say: “It is clear that…” Your Eminence know, better than I, how the dogma of Mary’s Assumption has never been to the liking of certain liberal and rationalist theologians who are always looking for ways of watering it down. So I ask myself whether we really have to reject, without any proof and a priori, the possibility of the corporeal presence of the Most Blessed Virgin in Her apparitions. Why should the Virgin Mary, who ascended to Heaven with Her body, not be able to appear with Her body?42»
Let us add that, at the time of the apparitions of the Angel in 1916 and of the Blessed Virgin in 1917, the three little shepherds enjoyed “sensible visions”, that is to say visions situated in physical space, at a precise location, and acting from outside on their external senses43. Reread the testimonies of the three seers. It will be noted that they were favoured with objective and substantive apparitions; they perceived a living body, exterior to them. Regarding the Communion received at the hands of the Angel, Sister Lucy has always declared: «I felt the contact of the Host as in ordinary Communions.44»
From June 13, 1917 onwards, the many faithful present at the Cova da Iria were able to contemplate with astonishment the physical signs of the presence of the Virgin Mary in Her glorious body. Let us recall two significant facts.
«During the vision», one of the pilgrims notes, «the branches of the tree were bent down all around it, as though the weight of Our Lady were really resting on them.»
«I noticed an astonishing fact», another witness relates. «We were in the month of June and all the tree’s boughs were covered with little sprouts. Now at the end of the apparition, when Lucy announced that Our Lady was leaving in the direction of the east, all the branches of the tree picked up and leaned in the same direction, as if Our Lady, as She left, had dragged Her dress across the boughs.»
As for Maria Carrera, she relates: «Turning then towards the miraculous holm oak, what was not our surprise to see that the little branches at the top, which had been standing upright before, were now all slightly bending towards the east, as if they had actually been trodden on by someone.45» Proof that they really had been! We could go on like this, indefinitely extending the list of testimonies that show that Our Lady came to the Cova da Iria in Her glorious body. Has Cardinal Ratzinger never read them, then?
«The apparitions of the Virgin Mary», remarks the Abbé Richard with perspicacity, «are more than just events whose fame echoes and resonates throughout the world, they are first and foremost events in the life of Mary Herself. Thus the apparitions at Lourdes did not primarily happen to Bernadette, but, we might say, to Mary Herself. In other words, although Revelation may have closed with the death of Saint John, the last Apostle, the mystery of Jesus and Mary is nevertheless not complete. Their activity is not bound.» And he goes on to emphasize that, for two hundred years, the intervention of the Immaculate «has taken the special form of the apparition, and better still of the “coming” invested with a public character. The Virgin Mary is no longer content with granting a few visions to a holy person, or some miraculous protection, She now appears in such a manner as to compel the conviction that She has really descended, that She has come Herself, and that She has come for everyone.46»
After having depreciated private revelations and then denied the coming of the Immaculate in Her glorious body, Cardinal Ratzinger proposes «an attempted interpretation» of the Fatima Secret. In a true revelation of hearts, he confesses that devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary remains alien to him: «To reach this goal [the salvation of souls], the way indicated – surprisingly for people from the Anglo-Saxon and German cultural world – is devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.»
«Coming from a compatriot of the Blessed Mother Mary of the Divine Heart», remarks the Abbé de Nantes, «what is so surprising here is his surprise!47»
His «attempted interpretation» of the Secret is very disappointing, for his apriorisms have sealed off any comprehension on his part: «No great mystery is revealed», he writes, «nor is the future unveiled.»
The Fatima Secret, in its second and third parts, furnishes the most formal refutation of this statement: it contains several predictions about… «the future»! Some of them still await their realisation, while others – at least three of them – have already been fulfilled:
The first prediction promises that «the war is going to end», sixteen months before the armistice of November 11, 1918, which brought an end to the First World War. The second prediction announces, twenty years in advance, the beginning of the Second, «a worse one», which began with the Anschluss on March 13, 1938, «during the reign of Pius XI». The early-warning sign of «a night illumined by an unknown light», prophetically indicated in the Secret, had shone out powerfully two months earlier, on the night of January 25 to 26, 1938. Our Lady’s third prediction announces «wars and persecutions» caused by «the errors of Russia», three months before the October revolution broke out in Saint Petersburg.
Now, these prophecies in the second part of the Secret are illustrated by the
scenes in the third part, whose visions present them in allegorical forms
and biblical figures, allowing us to perceive the truly significant facts
behind current affairs. They are a parable of the events through which the world
is currently passing, notably of the punishments it is undergoing, decreed by
God, on account, as Lucy humbly stated, «of our laxity and negligence in
attending to His requests»48.
THE PARABLE OF THE EVENTS THROUGH WHICH WE ARE LIVING
Let us recapitulate the different scenes in the Secret:
«To the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire.»
The Angel with the flaming sword to the left of the Mother of God reminds Cardinal Ratzinger «of images in the Book of Revelation». But the Cardinal provides no reference, and for good reason! In Saint John’s Apocalypse, the sword is not in the hand of an angel: «it issues from the mouth» of Christ (Ap 1:16; 2:12 and 16; 19:15 and 21); and it is the eyes of Christ that are «like a flame of fire» (Ap 1:14).
In truth, the vision does not refer to the end but to the beginning of the Bible. «The Book of Genesis», writes Brother Bruno, «teaches us that, after having chased Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, Yahweh-God “posted to the east of the Garden of Eden the cherubim and the flame of a flashing sword to guard the way to the tree of life” (Gn 3:24). “The cherubim and the flame of a flashing sword” are therefore positioned in relation to the Garden of Eden, “to the east of the Garden”. Whereas in the vision of Fatima, the Angel carrying the sword is positioned in relation to the Blessed Virgin: to the left of Our Lady. The Blessed Virgin has taken the place of the Garden of Eden. In fact, She opens up for us “the way to the tree of life”, the way of the large Cross which we are going to see further on at the top of a high mountain.49»
But let us return to the first scene in the Secret. «The vision», writes Cardinal Ratzinger, «shows the power which stands opposed to the force of destruction: the splendour of the Mother of God and, stemming from this splendour in a certain way, the summons to penance. In this way, the importance of human freedom is underlined»…
Our Lady’s intervention is made to vanish, to be replaced by that of… man!
According to Cardinal Ratzinger, the Third Secret concerns only a past era: «Above all (!) we must (!) affirm with Cardinal Sodano: “The events to which the third part of the Secret of Fatima refers now seem part of the past.” Insofar as individual events are described, they belong to the past.»
The Abbé de Nantes replied to these high Roman prelates: «One would have to have been struck blind not to see in the heavenly vision of the Third Secret the motion picture of our terrifying world of today. Are not the flames issuing from the flaming sword of the Angel of Extermination all these wars that are spreading from one end of the world to the other, in Africa, Asia, South America, the Balkans and Palestine, threatening to set the whole globe ablaze?50»
However, the remedy is right before us:
«They were extinguished on contact with the brilliant light that Our Lady radiated against him from Her right hand.»
It is the Immaculate who radiates God’s grace, light and strength. We recall that «Lucy, when questioned after the apparitions about Our Lady’s power, declared with the greatest ingenuousness that she believed it to be superior to that of God’s»51.
In the great theophany of the Book of Habakkuk, one verse fits our Apparition to the letter: «His brightness is like the day, rays flash from his hands; that is where his power lies hidden.» (Ha 3:4)
Cardinal Ratzinger’s commentary is not biblical. He loses his way in abstractions. «The mountain and city symbolize the arena of human history…» And yet the Secret specifies «a high mountain» and «a large city». The Cardinal overlooks these adjectives and fails to discern Mount Calvary in this «mountain», and the City of God in this «city». He continues: «History as an arduous ascent to the summit…» The text of the Secret says: «Several other bishops, priests, men and women religious were climbing a steep mountain», which signifies a penitential way of the Cross; but, transformed by the Cardinal into a laborious progression «to the summit», it is understood as: to a better future, to greater well-being, liberty, justice and fraternity…
Admittedly the Cardinal speaks of «dangers» incurred and «the most extreme menaces», but he does so without making the slightest allusion to the combat that the valorous Church, in the Person of the Immaculate, must wage against Satan in order to snatch souls from his grasp. And this at the very moment when the Third Secret reveals to us that this bimillenary combat is to reach its climax in the murder of the Holy Father… and of the entire holy procession following him!
Pope John Paul II placed his entourage in a very awkward situation by wishing to identify himself with the Bishop dressed in White whose martyrdom the three shepherd children beheld on July 13, 1917. In the introduction to the official dossier, Msgr. Bertone starts referring to the assassination attempt of May 13, 1981 from only his second sentence: he presents it as the «culminating point (sic)» of the twentieth century, but then fails to relate it to the vision seen in the Secret. His entire strategy consists in attributing the official interpretation to Sister Lucy, relying on a fallacious account of his meeting with her on April 27, 2000.
As for Cardinal Ratzinger, he claims to be simply expounding the thinking of John Paul II: «When, after the attempted assassination on May 13, 1981, the Holy Father had the text of the third part of the “secret” brought to him, was it not inevitable that he should see in it his own fate? He had been very close (sic) to the gates of death, and he himself explained his survival in the following words: “It was a mother’s hand that guided the bullet’s path and in his throes the Pope halted at the threshold of death.” (Meditation of May 13, 1994)»
During the press conference in Rome, on June 26, 2000, several journalists showed themselves so disinclined to accept this interpretation that Cardinal Ratzinger was almost forced to repudiate it: «We wish to see in this vision the sufferings of the Popes of this century, and not only the attack of May 13, 1981.52»
Msgr. Corrado Balducci highlighted the «discrepancy» between the prophecy and its official interpretation: «What relation is there between the description given by Sister Lucy – the soldiers, the arrows, the pontiff who is killed – and the Pope wounded in Saint Peter’s Square?53»
One would require an exclusive attachment to truth and a total liberty of judgment to reply as the Abbé de Nantes did: «No relation at all! The fact is that there is only one correspondence possible, and it is with the only Pope in the twentieth century to have been killed. In its own way, the Roman dossier published on June 26 proves this by an astonishing omission. For in its flattering honours-list one finds the names of all the popes from Pius X to John Paul II, in short, all the Popes of the twentieth century with the exception of just one: that of John Paul I! An oversight? No, that is not possible. Snuffed out, then, as in the night of assassins?54»
Msgr. Capovilla, a former private adviser to John XXIII, was one of the few
prelates to dare to lift the veil. He corrected himself a few days afterwards,
but by then it was too late: the statement had been made. On May 15, 2000, the Corriere della
Sera published the confidential remark of Msgr. Capovilla, «one of the four
people alive to have read the document kept for forty years in the archives of the
ex-Holy Office: “In the text of the Third Secret of Fatima, John Paul I, who
died in 1978, after just a few weeks in the papacy, had read a certain prophecy
that apparently involved him.”»
SISTER LUCY AND THE BISHOP DRESSED IN WHITE
It is remarkable that Our Lady’s messenger, after having transcribed the third part of the Secret on January 3, 1944, always preserved the most absolute silence about its contents right up to June 26, 2000, except with the Holy Father’s envoys. The official expert, Father Alonso55, as well as Lucy’s superiors56 and regular visitors57 have testified to this: she spoke to no one about it58.
Her silence about so coveted a Secret, as a matter of obedience firstly to her Mother in Heaven, up to 1944, and then to her superiors, is comparable to Saint Bernadette’s silence about her apparitions among the novices of Saint Gildard’s Convent in Nevers, a silence that Msgr. Forcade would describe as «truly heroic»59. It also reminds us of that of Saint Catherine Labouré who, after having communicated her revelations to Father Aladel, her confessor, kept them secret for forty-six years.
Sister Lucy was so discreet about the Secret, for eighty-three years, that we know not precisely what divine insights she received regarding the identity of “the Bishop dressed in White, martyred at the foot of the great Cross”.
On July 15, 1946, the writer William Thomas Walsh questioned her about Blessed Jacinta’s visions: «Some persons believe that Jacinta’s vision of a persecuted Pope referred to some particular Pontiff. Some believe the present Holy Father [Pius XII] was the one she saw.» Lucy informed him: «Jacinta said it was a Pope. There was nothing to indicate any particular Pope.60»
If we are to believe the official account of her conversation on April 27, 2000 with Msgr. Bertone, Sister Lucy gave a similar reply that day regarding the Bishop dressed in White: «Our Lady did not tell us the name of the Pope; we did not know whether it was Benedict XV or Pius XII or Paul VI or John Paul II; but it was the Pope who was suffering and that made us suffer too.61» And John Paul I? The seer cannot have forgotten the beloved Pope John Paul I.
It is generally accepted that her meeting with him, on July 11, 1977, one year before his elevation to the sovereign pontificate, was providential. As we have previously related, during this conversation she made him a mysterious prophecy that revealed to him his vocation as supreme Pastor and victim for his people.
On the day after his election to the See of Peter, the Carmelites of Coimbra, who were of one mind with Sister Lucy on this point, wanted to offer the Pope a present. They entrusted it to Mrs. Olga do Cadaval. Alas, this friend of Lucy’s and of John Paul I first made a visit to Venice. It was there she learned, on the morning of her departure for Rome, of the Holy Father’s death.
Subsequently Sister Lucy became aware of the circumstances, strange to say the least, of his demise. Father José Valinho revealed this in a guarded manner a year before the publication of the Third Secret. For on June 19, 1999, when I met him in Porto, he confided to me: «Sister Lucy told me that the death of Pope John Paul I was mysterious.» And to enlighten me further about his aunt’s thinking, he added: «The fact is, they refused to carry out an autopsy.»
Furthermore, Mrs. Maria das Dores Pestana, who used to accompany her mother during her parlour conversations with the holy Carmelite of Coimbra, declared to me on February 19, 2003: «Sister Lucy is convinced that John Paul I was assassinated.»
This omission of John Paul I from the list of Popes mentioned by Sister Lucy, as reported by Msgr. Bertone, shows that no reliable information can be extracted from the official accounts of this prelate’s conversations with her on April 27, 2000 and November 17, 2001.
On the other hand, the account of Sister Lucy’s meeting with Cardinal Meisner on May 12, 2002, published by Father Kondor, appears credible and authentic. None of the seer’s answers indicate that she adheres to the official interpretation of the Secret. As already seen in her letter of May 12, 1982, she in no way connects it to the assassination attempt of May 13, 1981. Cardinal Meisner had come to bring her one of John Paul II’s soutanes. But it is best read Father Kondor’s own account of this:
«On May 12, 2002, we visited the Coimbra Carmel. We showed Sister Lucy the precious soutane, asking her whether, while in the company of Francisco and Jacinta, she had seen “a bishop dressed in white” and if she had thought it was the Holy Father. Sister Lucy answered immediately and without hesitation: “Yes, that’s exactly how it was!” We also wanted to know whether she remembered this vision, and she replied: “Yes, I remember it perfectly!”
«We then placed the Holy Father’s soutane in her hands, recommending her to continue to pray for him. This attention filled Lucy’s heart with joy and she said: “I will pray for the Pope as long as I’m on earth, and I will pray even more when I’m in Heaven.”62»
Sister Lucy unfailingly testifies to what she saw. On the other hand, she has not been made responsible by Our Lady for passing on an interpretation of the Secret. That is why she remains circumspect: according to her regular visitors, whom we questioned in February 2003, «she does not like to talk about the Third Secret»63.
Proof that she has fathomed its terrifying significance.
THE WASTING AWAY OF THE HIERARCHICAL CHURCH
Regarding the final scenes of the Secret, Cardinal Ratzinger writes: «We see the Church of the martyrs of the century which has just passed, represented in a scene described in a language which is symbolic and not easy to decipher.» And yet it is a language very akin to Sacred Scripture, which teaches us about the drama of the persecutions of our age.
«And in the same way there died one after another bishops, priests, men and women religious, and various lay people, men and women of different ranks and positions»…
«This last expression», remarks Brother Bruno, «presents an evident parallel with the Apocalypse: “and the kings of the earth and the great men and the generals and the rich and the strong, and every one, slave and free” (Ap 6:15); “both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave” (13:16).64»
At the time of the Third Secret’s disclosure, the connection with current events was no less remarkable. And in the same way signifies that they died like the Holy Father from bullets and arrows. «The La Croix newspaper for June 21, 2000», noted Brother Bruno, «reports that in the Moluccas, on Monday, June 19, “a group of four thousand Moslem extremists attacked the Christian inhabitants of the village of Duma” with “bombs, home-made guns, bows and arrows”.65»
Admittedly, bows and arrows will soon be “relegated to the souvenir shelf” (La Croix, August 1, 2000). But «they have played their part: that of ensuring the fulfilment, both literal and symbolic, of the prophecy, symbolising the attack of the armies of Gog and Magog in league to destroy the Holy City (Ap 20:7-8; cf. Ez 39:3 and 9). How can one not see that this is the reality today? The progressive elimination of the Christian presence in Indonesia is being pursued with sophisticated firearms, even in the Island of Sulawesi where the Christians are still in power in their communities and are highly determined. In the province of Central Sulawesi, all the Catholics have disappeared one after another. All missionary activities are currently suspended and any property belonging to the Church or Christians has been destroyed. Waai, a Christian bastion, has fallen: “Only the trees are still alive. When we crossed the village, there was not a single inhabitant left. Everything has been destroyed, burned. Not a single house still has a roof. Even the graves have been profaned.” These are the remarks of the Assistant to the Governor of the Moluccas, who on Tuesday visited this small Christian village which had been attacked, since Sunday daybreak, by Moslems aided by the forces of the jihad (La Croix, August 3).
«In the Lebanon, the extermination of Christians began in 1975, during what is generally called the “civil war”, in reality a jihad, a holy war.66» And we should not forget the persecution of Catholics in the Sudan, Algeria, the Indies, Pakistan, China…
Although «the good are martyred», the mystery of circumincessant charity is not for all that interrupted. This is the essential revelation of the Secret’s final scene:
«Beneath the two arms of the Cross, there were two Angels, each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.»
Brother Bruno compares this vision to the visions of Saint John: «In the Apocalypse, among the seven Angels tasked with pouring upon the earth “the seven bowls of God’s anger”, two of them go off to empty their bowls over the waters. One empties it over the sea: “And it turned to blood – suggestive of murder! – and every living creature in the sea died.” The other empties his bowl into the rivers and springs: “And they turned into blood. And I heard the Angel of the waters saying: Just art Thou, who art and wast, the Holy One, in these Thy judgments, for they have shed the blood of the saints and the prophets, and therefore Thou hast given them blood to drink. It is no more than their due!” (Ap 16:1-6)
«With Fatima, this liturgy of justice is transformed into a liturgy of mercy. The blood of the martyrs no longer cries out for vengeance as in Saint John’s vision; it becomes rather a source of grace and mercy... for those very same people who shed it.67»
The seer of Fatima, profoundly marked by the visions of the Third Secret, burns with a desire to suffer martyrdom herself. In 1936, at the time when Pontevedra and Tuy had just been delivered from the Communist terror, she remarked to Father Aparicio: «In truth, I was not worried for a moment, partly because of the trust I had in the Holy Hearts of Jesus and Mary, and the joy I felt at going to be united with Them in Heaven […]. Nothing would be more pleasing to me than to give my life for God, so as to repay Him in some way for giving His life for me.68»
As the years have since passed, the vision of the Third Secret has only reawakened in the seer’s soul this holy desire for martyrdom. In the Calls from the Message of Fatima, recalling Saint John the Baptist’s rebuke to Herod, she writes: «Zeal for God’s law brought him the palm of martyrdom […]. How happy I should be if God were to give me, too, the grace of giving my life in defence of His Law and if, by so giving it, men, in imitation of David, acknowledged their sins, asked God’s pardon, amended their lives and did penance, so that thus they might be saved and gain eternal life.69»
Here Sister Lucy goes beyond that immemorial truth according to which the blood of the martyrs is the seed of Christians. Her “secret” dictates to her a teaching that responds to the new drama upon which the world has now entered, namely the drama of the great apostasy. For the Secret concludes in a scene from the last times, in which the blood of the martyrs appears to be the sole source of grace after the death of «the Bishop dressed in White».
«Here indeed», remarks the Abbé de Nantes, «is the last word of the Fatima Message, buried in the Secret of Mary. Once the Bishop dressed in White has been assassinated, there is no mention of a successor. It is as though bishops, priests, men and women religious, and various lay people were dying off and not being replaced by him alone who had the power. The last scene in the Secret leaves us with this terrifying vision of the hierarchical Church being consumed.70»
Today, this is no longer a “secret” nor even a prophecy: it is the recognition of an evident state of affairs. Every day the clergy is dwindling. «They have long been pretending to have gained in quality what they have lost in numbers. They then concealed the losses, the falling attendance and the desertions by reorganising, rationalising, restructuring and promoting the laity. These lies diverted the attention of the princes of the Church from the relentless expansion of the desert and the total death of formerly luxuriant regions. Now, inexorably, we are facing an impossible situation. Monasteries are closing, priests are dying, parishes are being reorganized, and the people are abandoned. There is worse still: without sufficient nourishment and assistance, souls are now being starved of their spiritual sustenance.71»
«According to the vision seen in the Secret, the blood of the martyrs gives rise to an aspersion over the souls making their way to God, like the ancient sprinkling of the blood of bulls and goats shed in sacrificial expiation for sin in the Old Testament, and more recently like the Precious Blood of Jesus in the New Testament, shed on the Cross and in the Chalice of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. But it is precisely this Holy Sacrifice and its Divine Victim that are absent from the vision of July 13, 1917, as if the Mass had been abolished due to the fact that all the bishops and the priests have died, one after the other, following the death of the Bishop dressed in White. There are no more priests to consecrate the bread and the wine. How can that be?
«The Communion given to the children by the Angel of the Eucharist, in the
autumn of 1916, had already foreshadowed this disappearance of the priestly
ministry. And yet in the hands of this Angel there was a chalice and a consecrated
Host from which the Precious Blood dripped into the chalice. Whereas the Third
Secret announces a dreadful time when there will be neither priest, nor Chalice,
nor consecrated Host, and therefore no longer any Holy Sacrifice of the Mass72.
That is why the large Cross planted at the top of the mountain is made of
rough-hewn trunks, and is bare. There is no Christ affixed to this Cross, unlike
that which Lucy beheld at Tuy on June 13, 1929. There is no priest, but instead
there are two Angels bearing in their hands, not a golden chalice, but a crystal
aspersorium, in which they were gathering up the blood of the martyrs.73»
«IN THE END MY IMMACULATE HEART WILL TRIUMPH.»
In his “theological commentary” on the Secret, Cardinal Ratzinger mentioned this marvellous promise, but only in a diluted form. For he omitted the beginning of the sentence: «In the end»… Shorn of its historical context, this prophecy becomes an a-temporal promise, lacking any connection with the great drama announced and described in the Secret.
Furthermore, throughout the Roman dossier of June 26, 2000, we find not the slightest allusion to the two prophetic visions of the Holy Father with which Jacinta was favoured. And yet, as the Abbé François Knittel remarks, «these visions of Jacinta’s very much belong to the themes presented by the Third Secret»74. They would even appear to complete and extend them insofar as they announce events that will precede and mark the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. While the visions in the Third Secret refer, as Sister Lucy indicated in her letter to John Paul II of May 12, 1982, to the chastisements brought about by the errors of Russia, the other two visions of the Holy Father correspond to the dénouement of the Fatima drama.
It is worth rereading the account of the vision of the Holy Father insulted and persecuted. Jacinta saw him «in a very big house, kneeling by a table, with his head buried in his hands and weeping»75. Following Father Alonso, we think «that this vision refers to the future»76, more specifically to the circumstances in which the Holy Father will make the decision – one that is «victorious and triumphal», but also «difficult and heroic»77 – to accomplish the consecration of Russia.
The second vision took place at the «blessed cave» of Cabeço. «When we got there», Lucy relates, «we prostrated ourselves on the ground to say the prayers of the Angel. After some time, Jacinta stood up and called to me: “Can’t you see all those highways and roads and fields full of people who are crying with hunger and have nothing to eat78? And the Holy Father in a church praying before the Immaculate Heart of Mary? And so many people praying with him?” Some days later, Jacinta asked me: “Can I say that I saw the Holy Father and all those people?” – “No! Don’t you see that that’s part of the Secret? If you do, they’ll find out right away!” – “All right! Then I’ll say nothing at all.”79»
We have already witnessed, at least in part, the fulfilment of the first part of this vision: wars, stirred up throughout the world by the errors of Russia, have caused numerous deportations, floods of refugees, catastrophic famines, and bloody massacres. On the other hand, the second part of the vision seems to announce how things will turn out «in the end», that is to say after the realisation of the scenes in the Third Secret, when the Holy Father will perform the collegial consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
In 1940, when Sister Lucy recommended her spiritual director to renew the request for the consecration of Russia at the Holy See, she notably said to him: «If this act through which peace will be granted to us does not intervene, the war will only end when the blood spilled by the martyrs is sufficient to appease the Divine Justice.80»
The seer was aware that the delay attaching to the execution of Our Lady’s great request was due to «our state of culpability»81. And the Third Secret had taught her that the blood of the martyrs is the beneficent dew that purifies us from this.
Even before the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in the heart of the Holy Father and the marvellous events that will establish Her universal reign, all souls who listen with childlike docility to the voice of their Most Blessed Mother in Heaven can experience Her infinite goodness. On June 13, 1917, Our Lady had replied to Lucy who was asking Her to take all three of them to Heaven: «Yes, I will take Jacinta and Francisco soon. But you, Lucy, are to stay here some time longer. Jesus wishes to make use of you to make Me known and loved. He wants to establish in the world devotion to My Immaculate Heart. To whoever embraces this devotion I promise salvation; these souls shall be dear to God, as flowers placed by Me to adorn His throne.»
Brother Bruno goes on to explain: «The two angels in the last scene of the Secret are therefore the Blessed Virgin’s gardeners: they sprinkle Her “flowers” with the blood of the martyrs. And in the very first place, that of the Bishop clothed in White, a victim of expiation, like Joseph sold by his brothers and sent ahead of them to preserve their lives (Gn 45:5).82»
It is true, this Bishop is dressed in White because he is the Pope. «However, White is not merely the colour of his soutane. In the immense light which is God, the Holy Father appears transfigured, like Jesus on the mountain: “His clothes became dazzlingly white” (Lk 9:29), “white like the light” (Mt 17:2). Moreover, in this vision of July 13, 1917, he passes in front of the mirror like a glorious body, like One Living, like a Saint. And it is thus that we in our turn saw him “pass” sixty years later, during the thirty-three days of his pontificate, in those luminous months of August and September 1978.83»
Certainly, the Third Secret does not contain an explicit condemnation of the Conciliar Reform, nor of the Popes who decided and imposed it upon the whole Church, namely John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II. That is because «our Mother of Mercy», Brother Bruno observes, «has received from Her Father and our Father, who conceived Her eternally, the ministry of compassion, not that of justice and vengeance. That is why She wishes not to know of the crime of apostasy committed by these Popes and this Council. She wished only to show us the image of the true Priest, the holy Pontiff, the holy Bishop, Albino Luciani, the incomparable Patriarch of Venice become Pope John Paul I.84»
«At the word of the Blessed Virgin», writes the Abbé de Nantes, «the Church will turn to him, in an outpouring of love for this beloved child of Her Immaculate Heart, and it is through him that she will be reborn, when Our Lady’s requests have at last been honoured as the clauses of a new covenant, rich in marvellous promises.85»
There is no doubt that one day these requests will be heeded and satisfied. Sister Lucy has given firm testimony to this. «In 1946», Barthas recounts, «I was still totally unaware of the vision of June 1929. Sister Lucy told me that Russia would be converted when the Holy Father, joined by the bishops of the entire world, had consecrated this country to the Immaculate Heart. I told her that such a gathering seemed to me to have little prospect of being realised. She replied: “Yes, yes it will! I see it.”86»
In that same year of 1946, Sister Lucy declared to John Haffert: «Perhaps there will still be many sufferings and more nations will be afflicted, but the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will arrive when a sufficient number of people have fulfilled the message.87»
Such is our unconquerable hope, like a unique and incomparable star in the thickening night. This is what the Abbé de Nantes constantly preaches: «By the fervour of a minority, the Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary will allow Themselves to be touched.» Our Lord simply awaits «a few acts of devotion from His children, confession and Communion on the first Saturdays of the month, along with fifteen minutes of meditation on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary in a spirit of reparation. And, at this derisory price, the world will change. Just like Naaman the Syrian, who was to be cleansed of his leprosy simply by bathing in the Jordan. Surprised by such an ordinary request, he nevertheless complied with it and was healed.88.
«Which of us would not agree to do the little asked of us by the Virgin of Fatima, in accordance with the wishes of Her Divine Son? He wants us to honour Her, to grieve over and make reparation for the distress suffered by Her Immaculate Heart on account of mankind’s crimes. Let us do it! If that is the price of our peace, it is not dearly bought. It is the price that a friend might ask; it is a gift of mercy.89»
This mystery of mercy has been fully revealed to us by the visions in the Third Secret. We can only be ravished, dazzled and filled with enthusiasm at the sight of the powerful brilliant light streaming from the right hand of the Immaculate. It is a revelation of the solicitude of Her maternal Heart which wishes to save souls from hell and to calm the wars that are ravaging the world. Undoubtedly She, and She alone, is our universal Mediatrix!
Then, through the veils of God’s glory, we contemplate the Good Shepherd whom She has as though resurrected in our midst. So manifestly does John Paul I appear to be the chosen one of Her Heart: a man of sorrows, detested by Satan’s minions, but loved by those who are to be saved, a new Jesus Christ for the twenty-first century, just as Saint Francis of Assisi was for the Middle Ages.
And so this third part of the Secret blinds us with its light «because it
superimposes the mystery of the Virgin Coredemptrix on that of this Bishop,
dressed in White, put to death like a white host for his brothers. It is for
each of us to take up his part in that marvellous denouement of the Fatima drama,
under the direction of the Holy Spirit and with an all-consuming zeal and profound love for
(1) CRC no. 368, June-July 2000, p. 1.
(2) Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 3, p. 387. John XXIII buried the Third Secret without even revealing that it was made up of visions and not “words” of the Virgin’s.
(3) Les voyants de Fatima, 1963, no. 1, p. 1.
(4) Voz da Fatima, June 13, 1980, p. 1.
(5) Immaculate Heart Messenger, April-June 1996, p. 7-8.
(6) “Jacinta et Francisco sur les autels”, CRC no. 363, January 2000, p. 12.
(7) Sister Françoise de la Sainte Colombe, Francisco et Jacinta, si petits… et si grands! 2nd ed. Contre-Réforme catholique, 2001, 414 pages.
(8) Les voyants de Fatima, 1989, no. 5-6, p. 2.
(9) CRC no. 363, p. 13.
(11) “Entretien avec le Père Valinho”, Stella maris, March 1997, p. 10.
(12) Diario de Coimbra, June 24, 1999.
(13) Voz da verdade, October 24, 1999.
(14) Our Lady.
(15) Correio da manha, October 14, 1999.
(16) Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 2. p. 416.
(17) L’Osservatore Romano, French edition, May 16, 2000, p. 3.
(19) Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 2. p. 79.
(20) Ibid., p. 83.
(21) Osservatore Romano, May 16, 2000, p. 3.
(22) Cardinal Sodano’s communication was published in the Roman dossier of June 26, 2000, entitled The Message of Fatima. French edition, D. C., 2000, p. 677.
(23) Supra, chapter 3.
(24) CRC no. 372, p. 26.
(25) Georges de Nantes, “Notes sur Mickiewicz”, CRC no. 145, September 1979, p. 11.
(26) Osservatore Romano, Italian edition, May 21, 1994.
(27) CRC no. 307, November 1994, p. 28.
(28) The Message of Fatima. French edition, D. C., 2000, p. 671-674.
(29) One of Sister Lucy’s “annotations” omitted by Msgr. Bertone concerns her terror during the vision of hell. In her Fourth Memoir, she indicates as an aside: «It must have been this sight that caused me to let out the great shriek of pain heard by the people around me.» (p. 172)
(30) Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 3. p. 471.
(31) Official interrogation of Lucy regarding the apparition of September 13, 1917. Documentaçao critica de Fatima, vol. 2, Santuario de Fatima, 1999, p. 209.
(32) Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 1. p. 317-347.
(33) Documentaçao critica de Fatima, vol. 2, p. 207.
(34) The theological commentary on the Secret by Cardinal Ratzinger was published in the opuscule of June 26, 2000, D. C., 2000, p. 678-683.
(35) Archives of the Little Brothers of the Sacred Heart, Fatima collection.
(36) “Le professeur Ziegenaus contre Dhanis”, CRC no. 355, April 1999, p. 9-11.
(38) Calls from the Message of Fatima, p. 52.
(39) Jean-Joseph Languet de Gergy, La vie de la vénérable Marguerite-Marie, 1st ed. 1729; republished in 1890, Poussielgue, p. 25-26.
(40) On the status and authority of revelations improperly termed private, cf. supra, Introduction and Chapter 10, Appendix 2.
(41) Livre d’accusation, CRC no. 291, April 1993, p. 5.
(42) Revue de l’Institut du Christ-Roi Souverain Prêtre, no. 23, May 2001, p. 25.
(43) Cf. Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 1, p. 168 sq.; p. 196 sq.
(44) Ibid., p. 161 and 170.
(45) Ibid., p. 210-211.
(46) André Richard, La Reine aux mains jointes, La Colombe, 1958, p. 58-59.
(47) CRC no. 369, August 2000, p. 3.
(48) Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 2, p. 460.
(49) CRC no. 372, November-December 2000, p. 28.
(50) “Dix mensonges contre Fatima”, Résurrection, no. 8, August 2001, p. 11.
(51) Report of the canonical commission, Documentaçao critica de Fatima, vol. 2, p. 167.
(52) Quoted by A. Miguel, Le secret de Jean-Paul II, Mame-Plon, 2000, p. 236.
(53) La Stampa, June 27, 2000.
(54) CRC no. 372, p. 28.
(55) Ephemerides mariologicae, 1972, p. 439.
(56) Conversation with the Prioress of the Coimbra Carmel, O Jornal, May 10, 1991.
(57) Conversation with Father Valinho, Sol de Fatima, September 1996.
(58) The alleged confidential remarks on the Third Secret attributed to her by one of her female relatives (Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 3, p. 515; 533) were probably not the seer’s authentic words.
(59) Quoted in La confidente de I’Immaculée, bienheureuse Bernadette Soubirous, by a nun from Maison-Mère, Nevers, Saint-Gildard, 1925, p. 117.
(60) William Thomas Walsh, Our Lady of Fatima, Macmillan, 1949. p. 281. Notre-Dame de Fatima, Amiot, 1954, p. 234.
(61) D. C., 2000, p. 676.
(62) Bienheureux Francisco et Jacinta, July-September 2002, p. 3.
(63) Maria das Dores Pestana, February 19, 2003, and Father Valinho, February 20, 2003.
(64) CRC no. 368, June-July 2000, p. 26.
(66) CRC no. 369, August 2000, p. 14.
(67) CRC no. 368, p. 27.
(68) Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 2, p. 407.
(69) Calls from the Message of Fatima, p. 251.
(70) CRC no. 369, p. 14.
(71) CRC no. 310, February-March 1995, p. 34.
(72) One should not infer the invalidity of the new ordo missae, promulgated by Pope Paul VI in 1969. The prayer taught the three little shepherds by the Angel, in 1916, preserves us from such an error: «Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I adore Thee profoundly and offer Thee the Most Precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference by which He Himself is offended»… The new rite of Paul VI is certainly valid. Otherwise, the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ would not be “horribly outraged in all the tabernacles of the world”, as it would not actually be present. Cf. Résurrection no. 4, April 2001, p. 20.
(73) Résurrection no. 7, July 2001, p. 11.
(74) Nouvelles de Chrétienté, no. 78, November 2002, p. 10.
(75) Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 2, p. 75.
(76) Mémoires de Lucie, p. 113.
(77) Father Schweigl, Fatima e la conversione della Russia, Pontifico Collegio Russo, 1956, p. 15.
(78) «So many highways and roads and fields full of dead people, losing their blood», indicates Lucy in a page addressed to Father Gonçalves (A. M. Martins, Fatima e o Coraçao de Maria, Loyola, 1984, p. 77).
(79) Mémoires de Lucie, p. 114.
(80) Letter of January 21, 1940, to Father Gonçalves, Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 2, p. 458.
(81) Quoted by Father Alonso, “Fu consacrata la Russia?” Madre di Dio, May 1978, p. 17.
(82) CRC no. 368, p. 27.
(83) CRC no. 372, p. 30.
(84) Homily for the funeral of Brother Hugues du Christ-Roi, Il est ressuscité no. 2, September 2002, p. 2-3.
(85) CRC no. 372, p. 32.
(86) Barthas, Le message de Fatima, étude analytique, Fatima Publications, 1971, p. 129. In relating this answer of Lucy’s, Canon Barthas gave this additional information: «As I was thinking of other questions I wanted to ask her, it never occurred to me to ask her: “Do you mean that this is your opinion, or did you see it in a vision?”»
(87) Haffert, Russia will be converted, Washington, 1956.
(88) 2 K 5:14.
(89) CRC no. 160, December 1980, p 17.
(90) Georges de Nantes, “Fatima, la nouvelle alliance en Marie”, CRC no. 372, November-December 2000, p. 32.