OPE Paul VI read the Third Secret of Fatima almost two years after his elevation to the sovereign pontificate. «Paul VI read it with his Substitute, Msgr. Angelo Dell’Acqua, on March 27, 1965»1, Msgr. Tarcisio Bertone would state thirty-five years later, when the Secret was finally disclosed. Having decided not to publish it, the Pope returned it to the secret archives of the Holy Office.

Jean Guitton, who knew Paul VI personally, said that «he had a sort of generic aversion to seers. He considered that “the Church has no need of these things to which an exaggerated importance is attributed”.2»

In February 1967, in advance of the jubilee of the Apparitions, an anniversary which the apostles and devotees of Our Lady of Fatima were hoping would form the occasion for revealing the Secret to the world, Paul VI gave Cardinal Ottaviani the job of informing them in his name that it would not be disclosed3. From that time, right up to his death on August 6, 1978, the Pope never spoke publicly about the Secret.

Paul VI had always disdained the requests of the Virgin of Fatima4. However, he still went to the Cova da Iria for the solemn jubilee of the Apparitions, and it was in these circumstances that Sister Mary-Lucy of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart was able to speak to him. A Pope making a pilgrimage to Fatima and meeting Sister Lucy... this was an event without precedent, but it did not come about without difficulty.


For May 13th was approaching fast and it looked like the Portuguese episcopate had invited the Pope to Fatima for the jubilee ceremonies in vain. Finally, on May 3, at the general audience, Paul VI publicly announced that he would put in a «brief appearance»5. More than one religious affairs correspondent was «surprised at this procedure». One of them observed: «It is customary for the Vatican to adopt the most formal protocol in such matters. Paul VI could, for example, have published a letter to the Portuguese bishops accepting their invitation. He preferred to address public opinion directly.6»

Paul VI wanted to make «a very rapid pilgrimage… one that wore a completely private character»7. He had immediately made this clear. «We will leave in the morning by plane, heading directly for an aerodrome near Fatima. There We will celebrate Mass, We will say a few words to the faithful gathered there, We will greet everyone that We have a chance to meet and then, in the evening, We will catch the plane and return to Rome at night.» The Pope would not even be stopping at Lisbon. He was determined to give no token of support to the Catholic State of Salazar, the “colonialist dictator”, who was nevertheless, as we have already seen, the chosen one of God, the man of providence enjoying the graces and insight needed to govern his country.

Furthermore, Paul VI wanted to reduce the message of Fatima to an appeal for “prayer and penance”, in keeping with the theses of Dhanis, the censor of the Virgin. On that May 3, he had declared: «The Virgin recommended prayer and penance as the supreme remedies for the salvation of our modern world.8» As for the rest of the message, that is to say Our Lord’s absolute desire to see the Church honour, love and praise the Heart of His Most Holy Mother, as well as the divine plan to establish devotion to this Immaculate Heart throughout the world, Paul VI simply ignored it.

During the audience of May 10, the Pope exhorted faithful Catholics to follow the «true path, the only one that is safe», recommending them to adhere strictly to Marian doctrine and the spirit of Vatican Council II. This warning was aimed, according to his own words, at those who «exalt Mary in a fashion that is sometimes excessive, stepping outside of those rightly proportioned doctrinal or devotional limits thanks to which Marian piety is harmoniously integrated into the theological and liturgical framework which is proper to the Catholic Church»9.

The Pope referred explicitly to the Abbé Laurentin’s book, The Marian Question. Paul VI could not be unaware that in this minimalist plea which had exercised such an influence over the conciliar debates, Laurentin had piled up objections against the definition of the dogma of Mary Mediatrix and against the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Furthermore, on the morning of May 13, as he greeted the score of journalists who were accompanying him on the “Caravelle” that was taking him to Portugal, the Pope publicly complimented Laurentin on his works: «I have read your books and I hope to do so again.10» For the last few days Laurentin had been airing Dhanis’ perfidious criticisms against the message of Fatima in full columns in Le Figaro. It was tantamount to saying that he, the Pope, gave them his approval.

Lest we mistake his intentions, his dispositions and reactions, we should first listen to his own description of his visit to the Cova da Iria, given in a conversation with his friend Jean Guitton who recorded his words:

«Sunday, May 28, 1967. Visit to the Holy Father, who spoke to me about his trip to Fatima, which he sees as a blessing that he has received. This conflux, never before seen, of a million people come together in all their poverty, a mass that could neither be restrained nor controlled, was very different from what he had seen at Bombay… We spoke about Fatima. He was interested in what I told him about the eschatological aspect of the phenomenon. He repeated: “Yes, eschatological, in the sense that it was like a repetition or annunciation of a scene from the end of time for a humanity gathered together in its entirety; it was also, as we were later to understand after Hiroshima, an image of the sun kissing the earth, a possible definition of an atomic explosion.”

«The conversation turned to General de Gaulle’s visit. We spoke of the general’s ability to remember by heart what he has read and to turn over the pages in his imagination while making a speech. “I believe”, he said smilingly, “that in coming to Rome, General de Gaulle was making a penitential pilgrimage, just as I myself did at Fatima. This act of humility will gain us blessings!”

«I ventured to ask him for his impressions of his pilgrimage to Fatima. “It is quite different from the other three visits I made, completely of a different order. I can only summarise my impressions in a single expression: I saw humanity. Yes, real humanity, humanity in a state of simplicity, prayer and penance. It was the vision of the final gathering, perhaps the greatest gathering of true believers. I had never seen that before in this world. Admittedly, at Bombay, there were also a million people, but they were curiosity seekers, and then they were strung out over twenty kilometres. Here, the gathering occupied a single basin, giving the impression that humanity was truly one.” – “And Lucy”, I said to him, “what impression did she make on you?” – “Oh, she is a very simple girl! An uncomplicated peasant woman. The people wanted to see her, so I showed her to them.”11»

Paul VI had insisted that Sister Lucy be present at Fatima for his visit on May 13. «I know from a reliable source», wrote Canon Barthas, «I have known it for several days now and Lucy’s Mother Prioress confirmed it to me on the day itself, that Lucy had doggedly refused to obey the order that the Bishop of Coimbra had sent her to leave her cloister on the 13th and go to Fatima. Eventually, she telephoned the Lisbon Nuncio herself and he confirmed that she would be gravely disobeying the Holy Father if she did not go.12» Barthas stated: «Had this been only a desire of the Holy Father’s and not an order, she would have preferred to remain in the Carmelite monastery. The Nuncio explained to her that it was Paul VI’s formal wish.13»

Astonishingly, however, the Pope had no plans to grant her an audience14.

The meeting between Heaven’s messenger and the Sovereign Pontiff, an event pregnant with consequences for the future of the Church and the world, took place immediately after the Pope’s Mass.

Paul VI had landed on May 13, at 9:40 a.m., at the airport of Monte Real; he then took two hours to travel, in an enormous open-topped Rolls Royce, the forty-three kilometres between there and the Cova da Iria. He proceeded slowly, receiving continual ovations and acclamations from the Portuguese country folk who lined his route in crowds. Finally, at 12:30 p.m., on the platform raised before the Basilica, in the presence of a million pilgrims, perhaps more, he celebrated, on his own, a low Mass in Portuguese.

Sister Lucy would later say how overwhelmed with emotion she was on seeing the Pope. She harboured in her soul all the devotion for the Holy Father of her blessed cousin Jacinta15.

Paul VI gave her Communion and, after the Mass, she was presented to him. The journalist Robert Serrou describes the scene for us: «Paul VI held out his arms to her. The nun threw herself down before the knees of the Holy Father who put his left hand on her head… Her timidity vanished, she had so many things to say to the Pope that she dared to ask him for a private talk.16» The messenger of Heaven repeated several times: «I wish to speak with you alone.17»

Fr. Almeida, who was Paul VI’s interpreter throughout the whole of that day, described what happened: «Sister Lucy only met the Pope on the podium and by his chair, near the altar where he had just celebrated Mass. The Pope was seated and Sister Lucy was kneeling before him. Everything deliberately took place in public, everyone could hear what was said, and so nothing was secret. Sister Lucy presented to the Holy Father, not an envelope, but a sort of brown case, doubtless made of leather, a square flat box. And as the Sister was unable to open it, she took out a small penknife to try; in vain, for she was too overcome with emotion. It was I who opened the small case and presented it to the Pope who was smiling all the while. In the case there was a pall, a piece of square-shaped linen that is placed over the chalice to protect its interior during Mass; it had been embroidered by Sister Lucy. As for the parchment that she held in her hand, it was what we call a “spiritual treasure”, prettily illuminated, with a request to intensify the practice of the Rosary for the sake of peace.

«Neither on the parchment nor in the case was there anything other than what I have said, nothing that might constitute a communication of further ideas. At one moment Lucy manifested a desire to tell the Pope something for himself alone, but the Pope replied: “Now is not the time. If you wish to communicate something to me, tell your bishop; he will pass it on to me; have great trust in and be very obedient to your bishop.”18»

Pope Paul VI and Sister Lucy, at Fatima, on May 13, 1967, shortly after the Mass. The messenger of Heaven offers the Pope a pall she has made and manifests her desire for a private conversation with him. «I wish to speak to you alone», she repeats on several occasions. But Paul VI rejects her request: «Now is not the time. If you wish to communicate something to me, tell your bishop; he will pass it on to me; have great trust in and be very obedient to your bishop

The messenger of the Immaculate Heart of Mary withdrew. Paul VI stood up, turned toward Our Lady’s statue, and attempted to place a silver Rosary in her hands. As he was unsuccessful, he left it at her feet. The pilgrims wanted to see Lucy. They cried out: «Lucia, Lucia, Lucia.» Msgr. Hnilica therefore led the seer to the front of the platform. When these hundreds of thousands of the faithful saw her with the Pope, they were overjoyed. Their applause filled the esplanade while the seer, gripped with keen emotion, wept19. «The tears flowed slowly, peacefully», reports Fr. Almeida20.

«The Pope», he would state, «did not see Sister Lucy again after this meeting on the platform after Mass; he only saw her in public on the podium.21»

But why did the messenger of Heaven wish to have a private conversation with the Sovereign Pontiff?

«As Heaven’s wishes do not change», remarks the Abbé de Nantes, «Sister Lucy wanted to beg the Pope to make Our Lady’s warnings known to the world, and perhaps she had been charged with giving him this invitation in the form of a final appeal, an ultimatum.22»

Sister Lucy had not been back to Fatima since May 1946, and now, on May 13, 1967, she made a real pilgrimage there. In the afternoon, Msgr. Venancio conducted her around the sanctuary precincts.

She went and meditated at the tombs of her two cousins, Blesseds Francisco and Jacinta Marto. Before the tomb of Francisco she remained only a short while, whereas she tarried before that of Jacinta: kneeling down, she prayed and wept. The ecclesisastics23 accompanying her watched her closely. The rector of the Sanctuary, Msgr. Antunes Borges, whispered in Msgr. Hnilica’s ear: «Sister Lucy weeps because she is under the impression that she has not yet successfully completed her mission.» This was the mission that, shortly before her death forty-seven years earlier, Jacinta had recommended she carry out with zeal: «It won’t be long now before I go to Heaven», she had told her. «But you will stay here to tell people that God wishes to establish in the world devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. When that time comes, do not hide. Tell everybody that God gives us His graces through the Immaculate Heart of Mary; that it is from Her that we must ask for them. That the Heart of Jesus wishes us to venerate the Immaculate Heart of Mary alongside His own; that we should ask the Immaculate Heart of Mary for peace, for it is to Her that God has entrusted it.24»

Sister Lucy must certainly have had very mixed feelings on that May 13, 1967. If she was probably surprised and pained at being dismissed by Paul VI, she nonetheless preserved intact her devotion for the Holy Father, and she interpreted all these acts with an extreme benevolence, as we shall shortly observe.

After having left the Basilica, she and her Mother Prioress encountered great difficulties making their way to the Carmel in Fatima.

«We stayed in Fatima», she would write to a friend, «hoping that the pilgrims would withdraw so that we might avoid a crowd of people along our route. On the afternoon of the 13th, when we retired to the Carmel, it took us more than four hours to cover a distance of five minutes! As soon as the pilgrims realised I was there, they surrounded the car in crowds making it impossible to advance… I felt sorry for all these poor people who had made so many sacrifices to come to pray and sing at the feet of Our Lady. Clearly it was She who had given them this small consolation as their reward… I was concerned about our Mother who was fatigued, but, as for myself, I was ready to put up with whatever God wanted if it meant giving joy and satisfaction to souls, since God had arranged that that was how things would be that day.25»

As for Paul VI, on that afternoon of May 13, he took a rest, and then gave a series of audiences. He had wanted one of them to be an ecumenical meeting with “representatives from non-Catholic communities”. But he was in the Land of Holy Mary, and no one responded to his invitation, with the exception of two Presbyterians, one an American and the other Scottish. When they presented themselves, the Pope gave up the idea of reading the speech he had written in French: he simply handed it to them.

Pope Paul VI received President Salazar «like one of the ordinary faithful»26 for less than ten minutes; there were no witnesses present and no official photograph.

Salazar was deeply scandalised by the Pope’s attitude and behaviour after his arrival at the Monte Real airport early in the morning. We know this from the testimony of Maria Luiza Possolo Pellen who was in correspondence with the Abbé de Nantes. Here is what she wrote to our Father Superior on May 9, 1974:

«During the two years in which Salazar was ill [from the autumn of 1968 until his death], I often used to visit him to give him a little company and we spoke a great deal. With regard to the Pope’s coming to Fatima, he told me: “I did not like it at all. It was pure theatre. Paul VI simply wanted to be seen and applauded as if he were a cinema star”.»

Salazar also revealed to Mrs. Possolo Pellen his thoughts about the Church’s aggiornamento, desired by this Pope and decreed at the Council: «With the transformation and suppression of every law of traditional Catholicism, Paul VI is robbing it of everything sacred, he is destroying the Church. It is not under his pontificate that things will return to normal. It is even his fault that so many priests are on the road to perdition and leading many souls there for eternity!27»

But let us return to Fatima on that day of May 13, 1967. Perceptive observers noticed that Paul VI failed to visit the apparition sites: neither Cabeço, nor Valinhos, nor even the Capelinha, a few metres away from the Basilica. Having underlined the fact that Paul VI had disdained the Third Secret, Robert Serrou noted: «More surprisingly still, the programme provided that after Mass, during the farewell procession to the Virgin, the Pope should visit the chapel of the apparitions situated in the esplanade. This chapel is to Fatima what the grotto of Massabielle is to Lourdes. Why did Paul VI not go there? We do not know exactly.28»

There is only one explanation for Paul VI’s behaviour in Fatima. His attitude, his acts and his words were in keeping with the modernist thesis of Dhanis. The themes of those parts of the Secret that had already been divulged – hell; the errors of Russia causing wars and persecutions against the Church; the devotion of reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary – were all totally absent from his preaching.

Robert Serrou was very perceptive when he wrote: «Nothing of what Paul VI said or did in Fatima could have embarrassed the most fastidious partisans of postconciliar ecumenism. Nothing of what Vatican II had decided was compromised, whatever anyone might say… Paul VI went to Fatima for a very simple reason: on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin to three children from the little hamlet of Aljustrel, he was sure to find there one of the most extraordinary platforms in the world» whence he might «make his voice heard over the face of the earth»28. Not “the voice of the Virgin Mary, the Queen of peace”, but “the voice of himself, the expert in humanity”.

«Nowhere do I find any mention of the Rosary», observes the Abbé de Nantes. «Did Paul VI actually say a single Ave Maria in public in Fatima? It appears not.» The only “litanies” he intoned on that May 13 during the homily were some «incantatory litanies to men»29:

«For, yes, peace is a gift of God, which presupposes the intervention of His action, so good, so merciful and so mysterious. But it is not always a miraculous gift; it is a gift that accomplishes its prodigies in the secret of men’s hearts; a gift that needs to be freely accepted and cooperated with. And therefore our prayer, after having turned to Heaven, turns towards the men of the whole world:

«Men, it is you We address at this supreme moment: make yourselves worthy of the divine gift of Peace.

«Men, be men. Men, be good, be wise, be open to the interests of the general well-being of the world. Men be generous. Men, learn how to view your prestige and your interest, not as being in opposition to, but as being in solidarity with, the prestige and interest of others. Men, think not on projects of destruction and death, of revolution and subversion; think on projects for the common good involving sincere collaboration.

«Men, think of the gravity and importance of this hour which may be decisive for the world of today and tomorrow. And begin to come closer to one another in a desire to build a new world.

«Yes, a world of true men, which can never come about without the sun of God shining on its horizon. Men, hear in Our humble and feeble voice the resonant echo of the words of Christ: “Blessed are the meek because they will possess the earth; blessed are the peacemakers because they will be called the children of God.”30»

Paul VI went to Fatima not to appeal to the all-powerful intercession of Mary Mediatrix, the Queen of Peace, but to request the miracle of peace from men, as a marvellous grace which they were supposed to confer upon themselves. The Abbé de Nantes wrote: «Peace, in the message of Paul VI, is the work of men, and it is to them that he addresses his love, his worship, and now even his very prayers! The invocation to God has here become an empty formula, a piece of clerical prudence that paves the way for the invocation to men.31»

«The era of miracles never closed»32, Paul VI replied to a journalist on the plane that took him back to Rome. And when, on the evening of that May 13, he showed himself at the windows of his Vatican apartments, it was to announce this news, the good news of the apostle of Masdu: «In Fatima we asked the Madonna about the paths to be followed to arrive at peace, and the reply we received was that peace was a realisable objective.32» The significance of these declarations was not lost on our Father: «The subjective insights of those who hold our destinies in their hands, be they true or false, cannot be treated lightly. Paul VI has returned from Fatima convinced that further miracles, this time of a human and political nature, are coming our way if we follow the path he is tracing out for us. A personal revelation has promised him the miracle of peace by the ways of negotiation and progress. Fatima has changed its meaning and, for the heavenly wishes of Mary Immaculate, has substituted the human programme of John Baptist Montini.33»

To our knowledge, the Abbé de Nantes was the only French theologian to have published a detailed critical analysis of Paul VI’s trip to Fatima. In France as in Portugal, Our Lady’s devotees and the Fatima experts have rarely displayed this kind of perspicacity. They were determined to see the Pope’s visit to the Cova da Iria as an extraordinary official recognition of the apparitions.

Sister Lucy herself does not seem to have noticed Paul VI’s reserve towards the apparitions and the surprising, not to say scandalous, character of his homily. On the day after May 13, 1967, she was jubilant:

«We have just got back to Coimbra, our souls overflowing with inner joy! I feel very happy about this glory given to Our Lady. Now we await from Her the peace of the world. May She reward the Holy Father with this further miracle! Let us pray for this grace.34»

Then on May 18, in another letter, she revealed the full extent of her devotion for the Holy Father:

«Of what I felt on seeing the Holy Father, receiving Holy Communion from the hands of His Holiness and kneeling at his feet, I can say nothing! For me it was an emotion so huge that I scarcely knew where I was any longer! His Holiness was so paternal, so attentive, so amiable that only Jesus Christ Himself in person could be more so! These were moments of Heaven given to us by God to experience on earth. For Our Lady and for Portugal it was a great honour and glory. May She now help us to correspond to it with fidelity.35»

Nevertheless, the messenger of Heaven did not overlook the warnings contained in the vision of the Third Secret. At the beginning of June 1967, when the Six Days War broke out, she insisted on the necessity and urgency of doing penance. She was clearly thinking at the time of the Angel’s threefold appeal.

«As for the grace of peace», she wrote on June 12, «I am of your opinion. When everything seems lost, it is then that we will see the miracle. Before, it would have been attributed to the intervention of men. Such is my confidence, but this confidence demands prayer and penance. Especially that penance which pushes us to abandon our life of sin; this is what people understand the least and yet it is the most necessary in order to obtain grace. May God grant souls to understand this.36»

Several days later, when a ceasefire was concluded, Sister Lucy saw in this the happy effects of the intercession and protection of the Immaculate. The messenger of Heaven interpreted this cessation of hostilities in accordance with the vision of the Third Secret: the Virgin Mary, through the brilliant light emanating from Her right hand, extinguished the fire ignited by the flaming sword of the Angel.

«Let us give thanks to Our Lady», she wrote on June 19, «for having interceded with God that He might come to the aid of our guilty world. We must continue to pray that negotiations may now be carried out in justice, charity and peace. That peace which men have such difficulty creating! It seems that they only know how to live in war, pandemonium, agitation and death! May God place in their hearts an ounce of mutual understanding so that they might devote themselves to relief aid rather than to acts of aggression, that they might pardon rather than punish one another, and that they might love rather than hate each other. Only then will the world be able to enter into a better age of peace, tranquillity and security.

«We cannot rest until we have succeeded in wresting this grace from the Heart of God through the intermediary of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.37»

After having resumed her regular, cloistered life in the Carmel in Coimbra, Sister Lucy did not forget what she had tried to communicate to the Holy Father. On May 13, 1967 he had refused a private conversation with her, declaring: «If you wish to communicate something to me, tell your bishop; he will pass it on to me.»

Less than five months later the Bishop of Leiria went to Rome with a group of Portuguese pilgrims. During the papal audience of September 27, «besides various presents, Msgr. Venancio gave the Holy Father a letter from Sister Lucy the text of which was not made public»38. Thirty-five years later [in 2002], it has still not been made public, and it appears that no copy of this text exists in the archives of the episcopal curia of Leiria. However, we can surmise its contents. Sister Lucy probably set out in it the requests of the Virgin of Fatima, as she had done thirty years earlier, on December 2, 1940, in her letter to Pius XII. Moreover, she may perhaps have transmitted to Paul VI a message concerning himself personally.

It appears unthinkable to us that the Pope should not have read this letter, but we have no knowledge of his reaction.


In 1960 the Holy See had imposed some very strict conditions of isolation on Sister Lucy39, because «people were expecting the third part of the Secret to be revealed»40, specifies Father Martins. On April 20, 1960, she informed her benefactors of this: «As for your coming by here, it would give me great pleasure to receive Your Excellencies, but that is not possible because my ecclesiastical superiors have decided that I am only to receive visits from members of my family.41»

This sequestration of the seer continued over the course of the following years and it was probably at this time that the two founders of the Blue Army found themselves unable to meet Lucy in the Carmel parlour.

«I went to Coimbra», relates John Haffert without indicating the precise date, «to see Sister Lucy, accompanied by Msgr. Harold V. Colgan and by an American millionaire, hoping to introduce them so that they might at least say hello to her. But it was impossible to obtain authorisation, even by writing to the Bishop of Coimbra.42»

Previously John Haffert had spoken at length with the seer in 1946, 1952 and 1955.

Even Canon Galamba43 no longer had the possibility of conversing with Sister Lucy. He pointed this out during an interview given to the journal Mensagem de Fatima:

«Is special permission needed to speak to Sister Lucy?» – «Yes, I believe the Bishop of Coimbra does not give it without the Holy See’s special authorisation. I have already happened to go to the Carmel, sent by Msgr. Don José [the Bishop of Leiria-Fatima], to accompany an Australian bishop and to ask to see the Sister. The Mother told me: “Sister is here, but I don’t know whether you have heard that it is forbidden to speak to her unless you have special permission from the Holy See. If you want, you may see her [but without speaking to her].” I replied: “I am very grateful to you, but I have no special reason to speak to Sister Lucy; and as for only seeing her, I don’t think I have the right to disturb her. Listen! ask her to pray for me, that is what matters to me.” And I left without seeing her.44»

In 1967, in his study Historia da literatura sobre Fatima, Father Alonso presented an exhaustive list of the conversations with Lucy that had been published. After having mentioned that with Father Fuentes, he noted: «Lucy has had no further meetings that have been reported in publications.45» After the “official notification” from the Curia of Coimbra on July 2, 195946, Sister Lucy’s voice was totally stifled. «I can receive no visits apart from those of members of my family», she wrote in 1973 to her Salesian nephew, Father José dos Santos Valinho, «and I can no longer answer questions without the explicit permission of the Holy See.47»

In 1976 an interview was arranged with the editor-in-chief of the German weekly Neue Bildpost. When Sister Lucy learned that she was to have a parlour conversation with this journalist, she wrote to Paul VI to ask his instructions. The Pope is thought to have replied that she should follow her bishop’s orders. But the bishop was simply monitoring the measures taken against the seer by the Holy Office. Father Luis Kondor stated in his bulletin that «the authorisation given to this journalist by the Holy See forbade any question touching on the apparitions of the Most Blessed Virgin»48.

On January 10, 1976, during the conversation which took place in the presence of the Bishop of Coimbra and the Mother Prioress of the Carmel, Sister Lucy spoke just once of the message of Fatima, saying: «Let us pray more ardently, especially by means of the Rosary because it is the prayer requested by Our Lady of Fatima. Let us say it with ever more confidence in the protection of the Virgin Mary, not only for Portugal but also for the whole world.49»

In these years of the 70’s, the directresses of the secular institute founded in Argentina to propagate the reparatory devotion, Maria del Pilar Banares and Mercedes Rivara, several times obtained the necessary permission from the Holy See and the Bishop of Coimbra to visit Sister Lucy in her Carmel parlour. «One of the conditions imposed on us before we had permission to see her», writes Mercedes Rivara, «was that of not speaking about the Apparitions. Any infringement would lead to the audience being suspended forthwith.» Moreover, «if we steered the conversation towards the consecration of Russia, Sister Lucy would make a hand sign to indicate that the discussion would be terminated»50.

So Our Lady’s messenger found herself forced to keep to a rigorous silence about Heaven’s demands, which were addressed to the hierarchy but which were disdained by them. Sister Lucy only retained the liberty to speak and write about the devotion of the Holy Rosary, and even that on certain conditions, as we shall see further on.

Among the few privileged people to meet Lucy during Paul VI’s papacy were certain Cardinals, for these prelates have permission to enter inside the cloister of Carmels. In 1971 Msgr. Venancio escorted to Coimbra Cardinal Renard, who that year was presiding over the pilgrimage of May 13. The seer appeared to him «joyous and humble among her twenty-two contemplative sisters. As she handed us a rosary», the Cardinal reported, «she murmured: “Say it and get others to say it.”51»

In 1973, in his homily for May 13, Cardinal Eugenio de Araujo Sales, Bishop of Rio de Janeiro, confided to the Fatima pilgrims that, when meeting Lucy the previous Saturday, he had perceived in her «the authentic power of the supernatural». And he went on to praise «her simplicity, the liveliness of her intelligence, her piety. She does not seek to attract attention, but she does not refuse to converse.52»

Sister Lucy humbly pursued her life as a Carmelite, devoting herself to the tasks entrusted to her by her superior. Thus for a long while she held the job of bursar, which led Msgr. Venancio to say «that, consequently, she was a person who very much had her feet on the ground»53.

At the end of the 60’s, she was busily involved with the foundation of the Carmel in Braga. A family from Porto on friendly terms with the seer, the Pestana de Vasconcelos, donated one of their villas, the Quinta da Fonte Pedrinha, for this foundation. Sister Lucy studied and decided on the necessary building alterations to transform it into a convent: she annotated the plans for this house in her own hand. On several occasions her prioress sent her on a site visit, to the Bom Jesus, to check how the building works were proceeding54.

The holy Carmelite, albeit reduced to silence, had nevertheless not been dispensed from her mission as a witness to the apparitions and Our Lady’s message. If she remained at peace in her Carmel, it is because she had accomplished her duty, her full duty, to inform the hierarchy of the desires and demands of Heaven. In keeping with the orders given her by the Holy Father on May 13, 1967, had she not passed her bishop the message that she had wanted to communicate to him directly? And had not Msgr. Venancio handed this himself to Paul VI on September 27, 196755?

Observing the indifference, not to say hostility, of the senior Roman authorities regarding Fatima, well might Sister Lucy have exclaimed “Patience!” as she so often did in her correspondence with her spiritual directors, beginning in the 30’s, when she lamented the procrastination of the bishops and the Holy Father who were neglecting Our Lady’s requests. This word well reveals the supernatural wisdom that continued to inspire her conduct under the papacy of Paul VI. She was putting into practice one of the recommendations of Ben Sira, the inspired author of Ecclesiasticus: «Whatever happens to you, accept it, and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient.» (Si 2:4) Certainly, one can only admire her patience when one recalls that «this virtue», as Saint Cyprian writes, «is something that we share with God. It is from Him that it comes and that it draws its radiance and glory. The origin and the greatness of patience derive from God.56»

Sister Lucy could not however forget the distress that was afflicting the Immaculate Heart of her Most Holy Mother. Some while back she had spoken to Father Fuentes about this: «The Virgin Mary is very sad, for no one attaches any importance to Her message.» Reduced to silence by superiors who disdained Her requests, it was a real martyrdom for her to see, behind her own poor person, the Immaculate Virgin ignored, despised and outraged.


During the 60’s and 70’s the seer remained in correspondence with several Dorothean sisters as well as with clerics like Father Umberto Pasquale57, whose acquaintance she had made at Tuy. One of her concerns was to provide him with rosaries: «Make sure», she recommended him on April 13, 1963, «you don’t leave Italy without rosaries or the materials to make them. We don’t want it to be our fault that the good people stop praying.58»

Mother Maria José Martins was edified by everything she learned about her old companion at the Dorothean noviciate in Tuy. On April 13, 1964 she wrote to Father Martins dos Reis: «Our dear Sister Lucy is becoming ever more holy. Her words are always most supernatural. One feels that her soul is already living more in Heaven than upon earth.59»

As evidence of this, here is one of her last letters to Mother Martins, who died a holy death on April 21, 1972:

«I see that your health is not good. May God allow it to get better. Sickness is like the echo of God’s voice calling us to the true life. For the life we lead, instead of naming life, we should rather call death, for it is a death at every moment to the world and an entrance into the Life Eternal. It is by entering into this Life that our true encounter with God will be brought to completion. It is then that we will penetrate to the very source of Life, whereas now we experience but a breath of that life.

«Our faith is wonderful, since it reveals to us here and now the treasures of Eternal Life which is the Life of God Himself. God created us in the image of Himself, immortal, so that we might live by His Life. The Life of God will be within us to enlighten us, to transform and immortalise us. How great is the destiny for which God has created us! When we think on Him, what matters it to us the things of the earth! The one thing necessary is that souls should be saved so that they might give glory to God.»

These elevated thoughts in no way distracted her from her very concrete apostolic concerns. She propagated the devotion of the Holy Rosary, admittedly in a very confined circle, but with what zeal! She told Mother Martins that she was sending her six thousand “little leaflets” on the Rosary to be distributed for free: «Don’t worry about payment. For, although we accept anything people want to give us to help the defence [of the Rosary], our objective is not to sell things, but simply to accomplish the mission that God has entrusted us with.60» This “little leaflet”, this modest tract distributed by the Carmel of Coimbra, presented the requests of Our Lady of Fatima concerning the recitation of the Rosary, with a short commentary by Sister Lucy. However, its text, which we have already quoted, was published in an anonymous manner: nothing indicated that it was written by the seer herself.

Very occasionally Sister Lucy received news of her former Jesuit directors, as for example Father Bernardo Gonçalves who had departed for the missions in Mozambique. Some time ago she had strongly recommended him to trust in the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: «Count rather on a help that is extremely powerful, faithful and devoted. You have consecrated yourself to the Immaculate Heart of Mary! To the Heart of our good Mother in Heaven! Count on this maternal Heart which, in Heaven, beats with love for Its children who love It on earth. At the moments of greatest necessity, tribulation and abandonment, this Heart of Mary watches over your Reverence. It will accompany you and assist you.61»

Father Bernardo Gonçalves (1894-1967).

Like Father Aparicio, he was the Jesuit Superior in Tuy, and therefore Sister Lucy’s confessor and spiritual director. She remained in correspondence with him after his departure, in 1941, for Mozambique.

On December 29, 1955 she wrote to him: «Numerous letters reach us from all over the world reporting nothing but the laments and woes that fill mankind. That is why I am convinced that it is only I and the little group who, like myself, have had the happiness of consecrating themselves to the Lord, who can be happy on earth.

«It is not that anyone lives without the Cross, because that is the lot of the chosen people. But, when borne with love, it is transformed into a treasure of priceless value which none of those who follow Christ closely would wish to lose.

«I don’t know whether you have seen a Carmelite cell before. There is in every cell a large bare wooden cross. This is because, following the example of Jesus, the Carmelite must herself be crucified in order to follow Him step by step to Calvary, where she must undergo her final agony and die with Him, out of love for and on behalf of the souls that He wishes to save through her. When one looks upon the Cross in this way, it becomes lighter and gentler; one loves it because in it one finds the bond that unites us to our God crucified for our sake, and we desire only to love and to suffer through love. That is why I am asking Our Lord to transform your labours, in this mission, into torrents of graces and blessings for the souls who have been entrusted to you.»

We know the last letter she sent to him. It was in August 1967.

«Our Reverend Mother has received two letters informing us that you were ill, at the Overseas Hospital in Lisbon. I was very saddened to learn of your failing health and I pray to Our Lady to cure you through the intercession of Her servant Francisco Marto. May God be pleased to grant us this miracle for His glory and for the good of so many souls whom you could continue to save by means of your apostolic labours over many years.

«You will certainly feel a deep inner joy for having consumed your life and health in the service of God and souls for the sake of your ideal: the eternal life which is God for ever! “I am the way, the truth and the life.” It is a life that does not change, that does not end, that does not fade away. How happy we are already to possess within ourselves, through grace, this life in our souls, through the real presence that transforms us into living temples of the Eternal Being which is God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And that is merely the beginning of the eternal happiness which awaits us in eternity. How wonderful is the gift of faith that fills us with such great felicity!

«Until God should bring us to our true homeland, we remain in exile, trying our best to fly on the wings of eternal love; we remain here below, in labour, sacrifice, suffering and in the complete abandonment of ourselves to the arms of our Heavenly Father who we know loves us. And if He purifies us, it is in order to identify us more fully and more perfectly with His Christ, in order to transform us, as Saint Paul says, into other Christs on earth so that we may be one with Him in Heaven. There, everything will be transformed, everything will be light, love, God! What matters it then all that has taken place on earth?!

«I wish that there were nothing but love within me, so that in Heaven this love might be more intense and capable of communicating with souls with greater intensity.

«Farewell, Father Gonçalves. I hope to hear better news of your health. United in prayer.62»

The elderly missionary, who had formerly transmitted to Pius XI, and afterwards to Pius XII, the request for the consecration of Russia, did not have the comfort of reading this letter before he died. The Virgin Mary had come to fetch him on August 22, 1967, on the feast of Her Immaculate Heart: a happy sign of predestination!

At the beginning of the 70’s, the messenger of Our Lady was scandalised by the campaigns waged by the progressivists against devotion to the Holy Rosary. She saw in this an unmistakable sign of «diabolical disorientation»63. She would have liked Paul VI to personally involve himself in the crusade to defend the Rosary, which was then being organised in Portugal. «I think», she wrote on May 29, 1970 to her friend Maria Teresa, «that it should not be difficult to get the Holy Father to say the Rosary on television with the world. It goes without saying, of course, that everything would have to be carefully organised in advance. And what if this were to take place in Fatima?! Let us set to work, and here in my convent I will set myself to prayer!64»

Pope Paul VI, alas, was absorbed by quite different ideas and projects65.

However, Msgr. Joao Venancio was deeply affronted by these scandalous attacks against the Holy Rosary. «We cannot tolerate», he had warned in his pastoral letter of July 25, «that anyone in the diocese of Our Lady of the Rosary of Fatima should, in one way or another, take it upon themselves to diminish or deride the value of this practice of Christian piety.» He also pressed people in all the parishes of his diocese to be faithful to the reparatory devotion of the Five First Saturdays of the month. On May 13, 1971, the Bishop of Fatima granted the imprimatur to the “little leaflet” on the Rosary written by Sister Lucy66.

Let us here quote the recommendations that the seer addressed, around this same time, to Father José dos Santos Valinho, her Salesian nephew. We will notice that she advises him, on two occasions, to «draw close to God»… She thus employs the same words used in the Third Secret: aproximar-se de Deus, without however mentioning its contents or alluding to the fruitfulness of the sacrifice of the martyrs. Here is her letter:

«I see from your letter how concerned you are by the disorientation of our times. It is indeed distressing that so many people let themselves be carried away by the diabolical wave dominating the world, and that their blindness is such that they fail to see their error! Their principal fault is that they have abandoned prayer; they have thereby distanced themselves from God and, without God, everything falls apart for them: “Without Me you can do nothing.”

«What I recommend to you, more than anything else, is to keep close to the Tabernacle, and to pray. There you will find the light and strength you need for yourself and for others. Then you will be able to give with humility, gentleness and at the same time firmness; for it is the duty of superiors to defend the truth with serenity, justice and charity.

«For this reason they have more and more need to pray, to draw close to God, to discuss all their affairs with God before discussing them with creatures.

«Follow this path and you will see that in front of the Tabernacle you will find more learning, more light, more strength, more grace and virtue, than you will ever find in books, studies or through any other created means. Do not consider as wasted the time you spend in prayer. You will see that, during prayer, God will communicate to you the light, strength and grace you need to do everything He wants of you.

«The only important thing for us is to do the Will of God, to be where He wants us to be, and to do what He expects of us, in a spirit of constant humility, conscious of the fact that, of ourselves, we are nothing, and that it is God who works in us and uses us to achieve everything He wishes. To this end we must all greatly intensify our life of union with God, and this can only be achieved through prayer. Let us lack time for anything, but never for prayer, and you will see that you will do more in less time!

«If we do not pray or if we habitually sacrifice prayer for material things, then we all – and especially if one be a superior – become like those whipping sticks that are only good for beating egg-whites and building castles of froth which, without the addition of sugar to sustain them, soon dissolve, disintegrate and turn into a filthy liquid.

«For this reason Jesus Christ said: “You are the salt of the earth, but, if the salt loses its savour, it is good for nothing but to be cast out.” From God alone can we receive our strength. We must draw close to Him so that He may communicate it to us. We can only realise this nearness through prayer, because it is in prayer that the soul enters into direct contact with God.

«I would love you to circulate these recommendations amongst your brothers in religion; let them try them out, and then you can tell me if I am wrong. I am convinced that this is the principal cause of evil in the world today and of the fall of consecrated souls. People distance themselves from God and, without God, we drift and we fall.

«The devil is cunning and looks for our weak points in order that he might attack us. If we are not diligent and attentive in obtaining strength from God, we will fall, for our times are very evil and we are weak. Only the strength of God can sustain us.

«Look to accept everything that happens with serenity and great trust in God. He will accomplish for us what we cannot do ourselves. He will make up for our insufficiencies.

«Ever united in prayer and sacrifice before Our Lord.67»

Among the Carmelites who knew Sister Lucy intimately, her niece, Sister Maria Ines da Eucaristia, was very edified by her devotion and virtues. Entering the Carmel in October 1948, that is to say seven months after her aunt68, she remained there for twenty-five years before leaving for the Carmel of Braga in 1973, where notably she became the novice mistress. Several of our Sisters from Maison Sainte-Marie managed to question her in a parlour talk69. Here is an extract from their conversation.

«What is Sister Lucy’s dominant virtue?

– The virtue that best characterises Sister Lucy is sincerity and uprightness (rectidao). When she says something, she sticks by it.

– Do you remember any words or sayings that Sister Lucy likes to meditate on and often repeat?

– Sister Lucy likes to repeat the words that Our Lady said to her: “My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the path that leads you to God.”

– Have you previously heard her speak about Our Lady’s apparitions?

– When, during recreation, the Carmelites ask her about the apparitions or the message of Fatima, she does not reply to questions that seek to satisfy curiosity. On the other hand, she willingly replies to questions that allow her to speak about devotion to the Most Blessed Virgin. Every day she recites in private, not only a chaplet, but the whole Rosary. She is very pleased when she meets someone who understands the reparatory devotion of the First Saturdays of the Month. Very few people truly understand it.»

Indeed, the exercises of the reparatory devotion are often practised by the faithful with the aim of obtaining the grace of final perseverance. Those who truly understand this devotion accomplish it with the primary intention of making reparation for the offences committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary by ingrates and blasphemers who reject Her maternal mediation and ridicule Her divine prerogatives.

Sister Maria Ines kept engraved in her memory a scene that touched and delighted her:

«The Bishop of Fatima», she recounts, «had given the Carmel the doves that had accompanied the Pilgrim Virgin. Now, I was put in charge of looking after them. As I didn’t manage to do this very well, Sister Lucy helped me out. One day I found her kneeling, her arms in the form of a cross, before the statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which is in the Carmel garden. Because she had some seeds in her apron and on her hands, she was surrounded by a host of doves. Some of them had alighted on her knees, on her arms and on her hands. Maravilhoso! Wonderful! Marvellous! What a pity I cannot draw. I would have made a picture of it.»

While Heaven’s great demands, which she had communicated to the hierarchy, remained unsatisfied, Sister Lucy united her sorrows with those of the Sorrowful Heart of her Most Holy Mother.

«I know», she wrote on February 27, 1973, «how much it costs to suffer, and sometimes it costs more to see others suffer and not be able to offer them any relief. This must have been the great martyrdom of the Immaculate Heart of Mary: to see Her Son suffering so much when He was on the road to Calvary and nailed to the Cross. When something like this happens to us, the best thing we can do at the time is to unite our martyrdom to Hers, and to offer it to God on behalf of His Church and for the salvation of souls.70»

It is difficult to know, during these years, from 194571 to be precise, whether Sister Lucy was favoured with new apparitions, revelations or divine locutions. To date, no writing by the seer attesting to such events has been published72.

Father Alonso, the expert who had consulted and studied most of the documents, and this at the beginning of the 70’s, was convinced that the revelation of Fatima was «closed»73. He observed that the apparitions that followed those of 1917, and which had been announced by them, had all taken place: these were notably the apparitions of Pontevedra and afterwards the theophany of Tuy.

Moreover, after her conversation with Father Fuentes in 1957 and the disavowal by the episcopal curia of Coimbra, we do not know whether Sister Lucy expressed herself openly to any of her superiors, spiritual directors or privileged correspondents about what she had managed to learn and understand about the deficiencies and aberrations of the Church’s senior hierarchy.

The thousands of letters written by the seer, collected and classified by Father Antonio Maria Martins, have almost all remained unpublished up to this year 2003 in which we write. Admittedly, in Documentos de Fatima74, Father Martins published a letter from Lucy dated December 27, 1969 and addressed to Doctor Alcino, her dentist, in which the Holy Father figures largely. Sister Lucy reminds Doctor Alcino that Paul VI is the legitimate pope and she urges him to submit to his teachings and directives, «because, at that period», Father Martins specifies, «people were speaking of a false pope, arising from I know not where»75. This was therefore a warning against schism.

Thus the seer sometimes recommended her correspondents «to be united to Christ’s representative on earth», and to «follow his doctrine, his teachings, his instructions». But one should not draw overhasty conclusions from this. The messenger of Heaven, for her part, has always preserved in her soul the truths of the Catholic faith: her mind has never been won over to or troubled by the ecumenical doctrines of Vatican II and Pope Paul VI. The two hundred and eighty pages of her book Apelos da mensagem de Fatima76, which she completed in 197477, proves this beyond a shadow of doubt.

Let us give a concrete and significant example of the radical difference between the ideas and chimeras of Paul VI on the one hand and the faith and holy thoughts of the messenger of the Immaculate Heart on the other. In those years, there was much talk of the extraordinary progress achieved in the field of space travel. The exploits and sometimes the failures of the astronauts were closely followed and reported in the press. However, when Paul VI and the seer came to reflect and speak on these matters, their reactions were wholly at variance, revealing the particular religion that was theirs.

On the occasion of the voyage by two American astronauts from the earth to the moon, Paul VI intoned, on Sunday, February 7, 1971, a hymn to the glory of man:

«Man, this atom in the universe, of what is he not capable!
«Honour to man;
«Honour to his thought; honour to his scientific knowledge;
«Honour to his technical skill; honour to his work;
«Honour to human daring;
«Honour to that combination of scientific activity and organisation whereby man, unlike the other animals, can invest his spirit and manual dexterity with the instruments of conquest;
«Honour to man, king of the earth and today prince of the heavens;
«Honour to the living being that we are, wherein is reflected the image of God and which, in its dominion over things, obeys the biblical command: increase and rule.77»

The Abbé de Nantes denounced this discourse as a blasphemous parody of the Hymn to Christ, the King of the Ages, which the Church, before the postconciliar reform, used to sing every morning at the liturgical office of Prime.

Let us now return to Sister Lucy in her Carmel. For we know the thoughts and prayers inspired in her by an interplanetary voyage that was not, alas, a success, but a failure. In her book Calls from the Message of Fatima, the seer writes:

«In our day, when science has made such progress, when daring men have walked on the moon, and the world rejoices in so many advances, let none of the wise men of today forget the name and greatness of the Artificer who created all these worlds which they so much long to explore.

«Let me tell you about something that happened to me a few years ago. We had heard the news about two astronauts on their way to the moon who had not managed to reach their destination. I went out into our garden with the intention of going as far as the statue of the Immaculate Heart of Mary which we venerate there. As I went out through the door, I paused for a few moments to watch the bees from a hive in front of it. They were furiously busy! Then I noticed an ant crawling up one of the filaments of a spider’s web, in an attempt to get from there to the hive. But a bee returning to the hive loaded with pollen knocked against the filament and broke it, and the ant fell to the ground, its aim frustrated.

«Then I thought about the two astronauts who were lost in space and was sorry for them; and I thought: this ant falls to the ground and the bee enters triumphantly into the hive with the fruit of its labours! The two are an image of human power and knowledge set alongside the power and knowledge of God.

«How much study, how many calculations, how much energy and sacrifices have men put into the effort of setting foot on a star which God created with a single act of His will, His wisdom and His power. Being almighty, He placed it there and keeps it there, always in the same position, always following the same path which God has marked out for it for as long as God wills. And not only the moon. The same is true of all the other stars, too, known and unknown, which travel round in space where men can never dream of going. Here we have, side by side, the greatness of God and the powerlessness of men.

«With these thoughts in mind, I took out my Rosary and went down to the image of Our Lady to pray, asking Her, since God had not granted to these men the grace of treading on the moon, at least to grant them the grace of returning safe and sound to their country and the bosom of their families.78»

It is delightful that Sister Lucy has thus partially opened the closed garden of her soul to us. It is moving to follow the course of her meditation, which reveals her keen faith, so contrary to modern deviations and perversions. It is edifying to see her imploring graces through the intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In this way she interiorly preserved her wonderful devotion, at the very moment when the highest authorities in the Church, whose legitimacy she never questioned, were rubbishing it.


Under the pontificate of Paul VI, Father Edward Dhanis, the implacable adversary of Fatima79, was treated in Rome to an uninterrupted string of promotions. For «the Pope had great confidence in him»80. In 1963, shortly after his election, Paul VI appointed him Rector of the Gregorian University. In 1966 he asked him to organise the Congress on the theology of Vatican II; in 1967 he chose him to be the “special secretary” of the first synod of bishops. It is significant that, «in the synodal assembly of 1977 devoted to catechesis, Fr. Dhanis was one of the very few religious present who were not bishops, having been specially appointed by Paul VI». A consultor of the Holy Office from 1962, and then of the Congregation for the Clergy from 1971, the adversary of Fatima was several times called upon by Paul VI to undertake «important missions»80: to dialogue with those responsible for the Dutch Catechism, to conduct the initial investigations, along with three other Roman theologians, into the Abbé de Nantes’ case at the Holy Office, to meet Msgr. Lefebvre, etc.

When, in a few rare speeches, Paul VI alluded to Fatima, he took up Father Dhanis’ modernist thesis as if it were his own81.

Now Msgr. Venancio and Canon Galamba had not resigned themselves to seeing Sister Lucy’s testimony impugned by the Belgian theologian and his emulators. The essence of the Fatima message, namely the revelation and requests of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, was being fallaciously disputed, contested and rejected. And so, in his pastoral letter of July 25, 1966, the Bishop of Leiria announced that he was putting the archives of his episcopal curia at the disposal of historians and investigators:

«We have decided», he stated, «after first having reflected and taken advice, to promote critical studies and scientific research into the marvellous events offered us by Heaven, as well as a theological exploration of the Message. We have already taken a series of measures to achieve what we desire in the shortest possible timescale.»

Several weeks earlier, the Bishop of Leiria had negotiated a contract with Father Joaquin Maria Alonso who appeared to be the man of providence, combining the devotion, conviction, learning and experience needed to carry out this historical and theological task.

Born in 1913, in Spain, in the province of Salamanca, and entering the Claretian novitiate when he was sixteen, he was severely tried by the communist persecutions: after having on several occasions, and somewhat miraculously, evaded the bullets of the Reds, he underwent two years of forced confinement in the Chilean consulate in Madrid, until the city was liberated by the Francoist crusade82. Ordained to the priesthood on March 29, 1941, and obtaining a doctorate in theology from Rome’s Gregorian University, he went on to distinguish himself by his writings on the theology of the Heart of Mary: he published a Spanish translation of Saint John Eudes’ work, The Admirable Heart of the Most Sacred Mother of God, preceded by a substantial introduction.

During Vatican Council II, Father Alonso took part in the work of the assembly as the Spanish episcopate’s consultor and expert. Father Domiciano Fernandez, who did not share all his ideas, writes: «He collaborated with Cardinal Larraona and a group of theologians along lines that were excessively traditionalist. I remember that one day in Rome he told me that he could be one of the leading figures in the international press were he to adopt the position of the so-called progressivist group on the question of religious liberty. But that in conscience he could not do this, because it seemed to him to be an error. His opposition to several ideas which finally triumphed at the Council left a profound mark on his soul.83»

In 1966, while he was preparing a history on devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, he came to Leiria to carry out research at the episcopal archives in order to gather information about the Fatima revelations. It was then that Msgr. Venancio proposed that he undertake a complete critical study of the history and message of Fatima. Having almost immediately accepted, Father Alonso commenced this work «with the application, stubborn determination and enthusiasm with which he carried out all his work»84.

He discovered and collected a great number of documents. «It is impossible», he would recount, «to appreciate the sheer abundance of the archives and documents on Fatima, and to describe all the difficulties I encountered in order to consult them directly, so widely scattered were they in different countries, like Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Brazil and, naturally, Portugal. The “dossier” on Fatima is so voluminous and so significant that the case of these apparitions cannot be compared to any other charismatic manifestation in the history of Catholic devotion.85»

In his pastoral letter of May 13, 1968, Msgr. Venancio announced the first results of the work of Father Alonso, who, basing himself on the texts, had already succeeded in decisively refuting Fr. Dhanis’ modernist thesis. The official expert was rehabilitating Sister Lucy by demonstrating the full and entire truth of her testimony.

«Everything that Fatima has made known to the enthusiastic faithful over the last fifty years», wrote the bishop, «had already been communicated during the mysterious colloquies of Our Lady, our Queen and Sovereign, with the little shepherds of the Serra. That which was later revealed was simply the formal expression or fulfilment of what the Most Blessed Virgin had already said or promised to say. Fatima must not be divided into two parts, as in the judgement of Solomon. Such a dissection would be murderous. Fatima possesses an historical unity, just as it contains a perfect intrinsic unity.

«Among the current specialists, I cannot refrain from mentioning with profound gratitude the reverend Doctor Joaquin Maria Alonso, of the Congregation of the Missionaries of the Sons of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Professor of Theology and Mariology at the Claretian Institute in Rome, a renowned historian, who has been working for the last two years on a critical history of Fatima, a work which has almost been completed and will be published in five volumes, as soon as circumstances permit, in Portuguese, in Spanish and in other languages.»

Wishing to enhance and supplement his work, Father Alonso would pursue his research over the course of the following years, and his monumental work, Fatima, Texts and Critical Studies, would finally comprise twenty volumes of eight hundred pages each. Presented within them were 5,396 documents, of which 218 covered the period from the twelfth century to May 12, 1917, and 5,178 from May 13, 1917 to November 12, 197486. The manuscripts of this work were «very well prepared», to quote the Abbé Laurentin who consulted them87.

Alas, Msgr. Venancio was forced to retire in 1972, and in 1975 his successor, Msgr. Alberto Cosme do Amaral, deferred the publication of Father Alonso’s work88, securing approval for his decision from a commission of Portuguese university professors. The motivations of the new bishop of Fatima, in his conflict with Father Alonso, remain obscure. Was he following orders from Rome? It is possible89. The fact is that he ignored the conclusions of Father Alonso who, through his critical history, had proved the authenticity of the revelations of Pontevedra and Tuy. Msgr. do Amaral would claim that he had reservations about these. I observed this one day, with some consternation, as I was talking to him.

«It is important», he told me, «to make a distinction between the apparitions that took place here, at Fatima, in 1917, and what has since taken place. In 1917 the apparitions were public; there were witnesses. At Pontevedra and at Tuy, Sister Lucy was alone. I asked the Holy See for permission to question her about these revelations, but they refused to give it to me. When Lucy recounted in her writings what happened at Pontevedra and Tuy, she herself expressed certain… reservations.

– Do you mean she expressed doubts?

– Exactly so.»

Msgr. do Amaral was exploiting statements made by Lucy – statements which simply reveal her modesty and her prudence – to justify his claim that she herself had doubts about the reality of the apparitions at Pontevedra and Tuy. Having located the precise phrases of Lucy’s to which he had alluded90, I quoted them to him. «That’s it exactly», he answered me. «We must distinguish between 1917 and subsequent events. I can neither write nor speak with any confidence about what happened at Pontevedra and Tuy.91»

So Msgr. do Amaral was parroting Dhanis!

Father Joaquin Maria Alonso (1913-1981).

«The history of redemption», he observed, «continues and takes on at Fatima the particular character of charismatic grace accorded to the last times of the Church. At Fatima, as at Pontevedra, new sacred sites are created where it is as though the covenant were being renewed between God’s persecuted and the Lord. God is offering a new pact of reconciliation and mercy, founded on the most solid of guarantees: His love for the Virgin Mary, so enormously privileged after Her most beloved Son, whom He makes the depositary of His treasures. And the great promise of Mary’s Heart is nothing else than the continuation and almost the realisation of all the previous promises that God bestowed on His people in the Old and New Testament: “These souls will be cherished by God like flowers arranged by Me to adorn His throne” (June 13, 1917). “I promise to assist them at the hour of death with all the graces needed for their salvation.” (December 10, 1925)»

As for Father Alonso, he never ceased to work for Fatima right up until his death. He devoted himself to the service of the Blue Army and he published numerous articles and pamphlets to make known the essence of his historical works. One can only admire the clarity of his conclusions:

«The message of Fatima contains a significant and complex series of different elements; but far from harming its unity, they enrich it when one considers their perfect unity in the historical facts and in their theological signification. In the historical documents, not only are they arranged as a preparation, a promise and a fulfilment, but they possess an internal and theological cohesion, by means of that which is the heart and soul of the whole message: the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

«At Fatima, it is not simply a question of a general invitation to prayer, but specifically of a prayer of intercession which necessarily passes through the Heart of Mary. Nor is it a question of reparation in general, but specifically and at all times of that special reparation that was demanded for the offences committed against the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, in other words against the love of Her who is both Mother and Coredemptrix.

«Pontevedra and Fatima form an indissoluble unity. First of all, in the facts: the Virgin who appears at Pontevedra does not seek to be known or invoked under any title other than that of Fatima. She appears with exactly the same intentions and clothed in the same symbolic characters as at Fatima. That is why it is completely correct to say: “the apparition of the Virgin of Fatima at Pontevedra.” In the second place, the message announced at Fatima in 1917 is fulfilled several years later at Pontevedra. The unity of Pontevedra and Fatima is perfect.92»

Across, the chapel of the Convent of the Dorotheans in Tuy, in 1944 or 1945. Here one sees the seer of Fatima kneeling in prayer.

It was in this chapel that she was favoured, on June 13, 1929, during a holy hour from 11 o’clock to midnight, with a magnificent apparition of the Holy Trinity and Our Lady, who told her: «The moment has come when God asks the Holy Father to make, in union with all the bishops of the world, the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, promising to save it by this means.»

Across, Mother Maria José Martins (1902-1972), Sister Lucy’s companion during her novitiate with the Dorotheans in Tuy. Here one sees her in Lucy’s old cell, in the Convent of the Dorotheans in Pontevedra.

It was in this little cell that, on December 10, 1925, the Child Jesus and His Holy Mother appeared to Lucy to ask her for the practice of the Communion of Reparation of the Five First Saturdays. After the convent was restored, around 1975, the cell was transformed into a chapel.

Father Alonso also deserves credit for saving the Convent of the Dorothean Sisters of Pontevedra from ruin. In 1971 he proposed and organised its purchase by the Spanish section of the Blue Army, and then supervised its restoration. Sister Lucy’s old cell was transformed into a chapel: it was so narrow that it was necessary to knock down a partition and make use of an adjoining room. One can now go there on pilgrimage.

Father Alonso would also have liked the Blue Army gradually to purchase the neighbouring houses so that a great basilica might be built on the site commemorating the apparitions of the Child Jesus and His Most Holy Mother. Alas, he died on December 12, 1981, before his plans had been approved by all the movement’s directors.

Since the request of Tuy had become better known, thanks to the publications of the official expert, the Blue Army organised a campaign, in the mid 70’s, for the Pope to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

«Msgr. Venancio, during an international meeting», recounts John Haffert, «instructed all of us to send petitions to the bishops of every country. As an international lay delegate, I was designated to find a cardinal in Rome who would receive these petitions and present them to the Pope.» Cardinal Slipyj accepted. «In the space of a few years, he presented to Paul VI almost two million signed petitions, and one day when Msgr. Venancio and I went to visit the Ukrainian prelate to express our gratitude to him, he told us that he had recently spent an hour with the Holy Father and had told him in precise terms (in fact, in very meaningful “Russian” terms) that he was making a big mistake in not ordering all the world’s bishops to join him immediately in pronouncing this consecration.» But soon «the Holy See informed us that it would be more appropriate to send these petitions to the bishops individually»93 and not to Paul VI.

«Rome», John Haffert confesses, «was so non-committal, due to the Vatican Ospolitik and Soviet pressure, that we wondered sometimes whether it really did support the Blue Army. We knew that the Vatican was engaged in very delicate negotiations with the Soviets for the liberty of the Church beyond the iron curtain. This was the reason why the Vatican could not openly lend its support to protests against the persecutions and also why it could not openly endorse the Fatima apostolate as we would have hoped. The Blue Army had to function almost without the Vatican’s agreement.94»

Cardinal Joseph Slipyj, on pilgrimage to Fatima, May 6, 1970.

On his left, Msgr. Joao Venancio; on his right, a little way behind, Canon Galamba; in the middle ground, one can see the chapel of the apparitions.

Metropolitan Slipyj, Archbishop of Lviv, arrested by the Soviets in 1945 along with all the other Ukrainian Catholic bishops, was condemned to eight years of hard labour. «In 1952», recounts Father Floridi, «they painted him an enticing picture of the freedom, dignity and honour he might enjoy if he simply renounced his fidelity to Rome and accepted the post of Orthodox Metropolitan of West Ukraine, with the prospect of later becoming Patriarch of Moscow! He turned this offer down with scorn, and this earned him a new condemnation to hard labour. On the twentieth anniversary of his episcopal consecration, he wrote a pastoral letter to his faithful: “Doubt not. Revive in your hearts the unshakeable certitude that our Ukrainian Church will rise again.” This earned him a third condemnation.» (Floridi, op. cit., p. 287)

Exiled to Rome in 1963, he continually asked to be awarded the title of Patriarch, which would have allowed him to govern his eastern Church without depending on the Secretariat of State for his episcopal appointments, his priestly ordinations, and the running of his seminaries… Right up to his death in 1984, Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, under the pressure of Moscow, had turned down his request.


Paul VI scorned the Virgin Mary’s wishes concerning Russia and discounted the vision of the Third Secret because he was keen to promote a «friendly and fraternal dialogue» with the men of all religions, even with atheists and communists.

His revolutionary outlook departed radically from the witness of the confessors of the faith. The Abbé de Nantes highlighted this in his critical analysis of the encyclical Ecclesiam suam, the charter of the new pontificate: «The old forms of the apostolate demanded devotion, self-denial and heroism, but they did convert the peoples and carry the Gospel to every part of the world, sprinkling them with the blood of the martyrs: Sanguis martyrum semen christianorum. “The Church in conversation” and dialogue run no risk of incurring persecution or disagreement, but then neither will they reap for the Church devotion or conversions.95»

The reality was that progressivist Christians were not maltreated by the agents of Satan, whereas Catholics who remained completely faithful to the Credo were persecuted savagely. For Satan and his legions of demons were not disarming. That is why the Abbé de Nantes denounced these offers of dialogue with the various systems of belief and unbelief as a betrayal of the confessors of the faith who were shedding their blood for Christ in the martyrized regions of Christendom: «While others may dialogue with bonzes, brahmans and witch doctors, I shall go and pray to Saint Francis Xavier for Goa in its oppression, for the vanished Church of Tonkin and for the persecuted missions of Ceylon-the-Red. I shall go and throw a humble flower over the bodies of Diem and his followers, tortured to the applause of the progressivist rabble, and over the pierced chest of the little Catholic child who was stabbed by the communising Buddhists of Saigon. The hour of dialogue has fled. It is now the hour of the dagger.96»

One could also quote the gloomy observations of the “Aid to the Church in Need”: «A Church that conducts dialogue or even conversation with all can respect and honour the martyrs of yesteryear, but those of today are simply viewed as the result of an obsolete misunderstanding.97»

Parallel to this novel pastoral outlook in favour of universal reconciliation and peace, Paul VI resolutely pursued a policy of rapprochement with Bolshevik Russia.

On July 1, 1963, the day after his coronation, he received in private audience, along with various Protestants, the two Russians, Vladimir Kotliarov and Vitali Borovoi98, who had been invited to the Council as observers (and communist spies!). Then, on September 15, 1963, he received at the Vatican, for half an hour, Metropolitan Nikodim of the Moscow Patriarchate99. When he visited the United Nations on October 4, 1965, he gave an audience to Andrei Gromyko, Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs, and afterwards he received him at the Vatican in April 1966, in November 1970, in February 1974, and in June 1975. He discussed with him the international situation, the war in Vietnam, disarmament… But Gromyko professed himself powerless when the Pope recalled «the worrying situation of Catholics living in the USSR».

Paul VI assumed that the Catholic Church’s situation in the countries of the East would improve thanks to the negotiations conducted by Msgr. Casaroli with the communist governments. This prelate, nicknamed at the Vatican “John XXIII’s secret agent”, had begun his career – and it was not by chance – in the very year that Cardinal Tardini had died, when he was appointed Under Secretary of the Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs in March 1961. On September 15, 1964, Msgr. Casaroli signed an accord with the Hungarian government, which stipulated that bishops appointed by the Holy See would take an oath «to the people and the constitution». The Abbé de Nantes observed that they would be slaves in a totalitarian regime, «having decided to become the instruments of “patriotic” propaganda… in the sworn service of the party»100.

Over the course of the following years, other accords or modi vivendi were concluded with the leaders of Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany. Their results were no less disastrous for the Catholics of those lands.

«It is common knowledge», wrote Father Ulisse Floridi, «that all the Czechoslovakian bishops consecrated by Msgr. Casaroli are collaborators with the regime, just as is the case with the Orthodox bishops who come under the Moscow Patriarchate. One of them, Josef Vrana of Olomouc, was president of the movement Pacem in terris, formerly the movement of Priests for Peace, sponsored by the government. This bishop takes his orders from party officials, and not from Rome; his “duty” is to watch over the “loyalties” of his priests, and not to encourage them in their apostolic activity. Soon after the consecration of the new bishops, the situation of the Catholic institutions deteriorated. Permission to exercise their powers was withdrawn from numerous priests with the tacit consent of the bishops. One of them, Cardinal Stefan Trochta, from Litomerice, refused to connive with the persecutors. He paid for this disobedience to the communist authorities with his life.101»

In Hungary, Cardinal Mindszenty was under no illusion about the consequences of the Holy See’s policy. He was convinced that «Vatican diplomacy had let itself be dragged into negotiations which offered no benefits except to the communists and serious drawbacks for Hungarian Catholicism»102. Paul VI therefore ordered him to leave Budapest. In order to be obedient to the Pope, the Primate of Hungary resigned himself to this. On September 28, 1971 he left the American embassy, where he had taken refuge since November 1956, and went into exile103. The Cardinal did not suspect at that time what was being plotted against him. Later he would confide that he would never have left Hungary if he had known the agenda to which Paul VI had subscribed: «I did not sign the protocol in which my silence was agreed. They got me to leave for the West by telling me that my Memoirs could only be published on this condition. They laid a trap for me. All the same, in the West, I cannot be as silent as I was in the headquarters of the secret police, in prison, or inside the United States embassy.104»

He went to Fatima to preside over the pilgrimage ceremonies of October 12 and 13, 1972. In his homily he robustly denounced the lying propaganda used by communist governments and recalled the virtues of the persecuted «who advance step by step, bowed under the burden of the Cross». However, this part of the homily was «censored by the Lisbon Nunciature before it got into print», and that «behind my back»105, he would specify.

In 1973, when Paul VI invited him to resign his archiepiscopal duties, the Cardinal Primate refused. And when, on February 5, 1974, the Vatican and Budapest simultaneously announced that Pope Paul VI had declared the archiepiscopal see of Esztergom vacant, Cardinal Mindszenty vigorously protested:

«Certain press agencies have conveyed the Vatican’s decision in such a way as to suggest that Cardinal Mindszenty has retired voluntarily. The press agencies have also stated that an intensive exchange of letters between the Vatican and the Cardinal supposedly preceded this decision. Some have thereby concluded that a perfect agreement was reached between the Vatican and the Hungarian bishop. In the interests of truth, Cardinal Mindszenty has authorised his secretariat to make the following declaration:

«Cardinal Mindszenty has renounced neither his archiepiscopal office nor his dignity as Primate of Hungary. The decision was taken unilaterally by the Holy See.

«After long and considered reflection, the Cardinal justified his position in the following manner: 1. Hungary and the Hungarian Catholic Church are not free. 2. The management of the dioceses is in the hands of an ecclesiastical administration installed and controlled by the communist regime. 3. No archbishop, bishop or apostolic administrator is empowered to change any aspect of the composition or operation of the aforesaid ecclesiastical administration. 4. The regime decides who should hold ecclesiastical posts and how long the incumbents should stay in their post. Furthermore, the regime decides who has the right to be ordained by the bishops. 5. The freedom of conscience and religion guaranteed by the constitution is in practice suppressed. The optional course in religion has been banned from schools, cities and large towns. At the current moment, the struggle for the optional course in religion in the schools of small communes still continues. Against the wishes of the parents, young people are being educated in a manner that is exclusively atheistic. Believers undergo discrimination in their everyday lives. Teachers who are believers have recently been summoned to choose between their profession and their faith. 6. The appointment of bishops or apostolic administrators without the elimination of the aforementioned aggravations will not resolve the problems of the Hungarian Church. The installation of “priests for peace” in key ecclesiastical positions has shaken the confidence of faithful priests and believers in the supreme ecclesiastical government.

«Given the gravity of this situation, Cardinal Mindszenty felt unable to resign from his office.106»

Father Floridi, who relates these unhappy events, writes: «Great was the astonishment of Catholics when they heard Cardinal Mindszenty’s successor, Cardinal Laszlo Lekai, promising to intensify “dialogue” between Catholics and Marxists, and the Secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Hungarian Bishops, J. Czerhat, speaking of a “desire” by Catholics to collaborate with the authorities.» The Hungarian priests and the faithful lost confidence in their episcopate. «As Cardinal Lekai was forced to admit, in the bulletin of the Kipa agency for April 19, 1977, “several communities, often in good conscience, have turned their backs on the bishops.”107»


Right up until the 80’s, the communist persecutions against Catholics intensified, for example in Lithuania. Let us cite some significant events that took place in this country which was, before the Soviet invasion, literally covered in calvaries.

«Bishop Stepanovicius was exiled for having refused to ordain three seminarians: they were communist agents. However, Rome consented to consecrate “loyal” bishops, that is bishops who took their orders from Moscow.

«Several priests, notably Fathers Antonas Seskevicius, Josuas Zdebaikis and Properas Bubnys, were condemned. Their crime? To have taught the catechism to children.

«In 1973, seventeen thousand Lithuanians addressed a petition to Brezhnev demanding justice. They sent a copy to the Secretary of the United Nations and to Rome. The reply came back from their own bishops, the administrators of the Lithuanian dioceses, who, in a pastoral letter, instructed them to keep quiet and not compromise relations with the authorities; all this in the name of the conciliar constitution Gaudium et spes.108»

Andrei Gromyko’s visit to Paul VI in February 1974 inspired the following reflections in these confessors of the faith: «The Soviet authorities want a dialogue with the Church solely in order that the Vatican may keep quiet about the persecution of Catholics in the USSR, whilst people delude themselves with the hope of a possible imminent improvement in the situation of the faithful. And the dialogue also serves to convince world opinion that freedom of religion is respected in the USSR.109»

Cardinal Slipyi, freed from the Soviet jails in 1963 only to be banished and reduced to silence in Rome, nevertheless uttered this moving appeal before the world episcopate at the Synod of October 1971:

«Ukrainian Catholics – who have seen mountains of corpses piling up and rivers of blood flowing on account of their Catholic faith and their fidelity to the Holy See – are still today undergoing a terrible persecution. But the worst thing is that there is no one to defend them. Throughout history I know of no people who have suffered as much as the Ukrainian people. They used to number fifty-five million people, but since the beginning of the First World War they have lost ten million souls due to warfare, crime, famine and religious persecutions. The Soviet regime has long put an end to our activity and has suppressed all the eparchies. Our Catholic faithful have seen themselves forbidden to celebrate our rites and to administer the sacraments. They are forced to go down into the catacombs. Thousands upon thousands of the faithful, priests and bishops have been thrown into prison or deported to the polar regions of Siberia, but the Vatican ignores this tragedy. Vatican diplomacy prefers not to speak about it because it embarrasses its negotiations. Ukrainian Catholics, who have suffered so many ordeals as martyrs and confessors, are brushed aside, like the embarrassing witnesses to past evils. Could it be that we are a millstone around the Church’s neck?110»

The Abbé de Nantes gave this commentary in his Liber accusationis addressed to Paul VI: «It seemed for one moment as though the Church of silence were going to disturb the silence of the Church. But no! For all this Synod’s appearances of parliamentarism, the bishops were under no illusion about their own authority should this come into conflict with the absolute power of your pro-Communist Secretariat of State. Since then, your departments have made things as difficult as possible for Cardinal Slipyi, and the tombstone has fallen back again upon those irksome witnesses whose throats are being cut for Christ…»

Under the pontificate of Paul VI the persecutions expanded and ravaged flourishing regions of Christendom, notably in Indochina after the complete victory of the communists there in 1975.

It is noteworthy that Cardinal Albino Luciani was deeply disturbed by this and denounced the mendacious character of the official speeches: «The Vietcong, to listen to them, were liberators, they brought concord, peace, etc. But how did all this finish up? Today, in South Vietnam, Msgr. Seitz, the Bishop of Kontum, has stated, we are as free as fishes in a net: two hundred foreign priests, one hundred nuns, and fifty lay missionaries have all been expelled without trial and without any justification. All the Catholics schools are closed, the Catholic press is banned, and all the youth movements have been disbanded111».

Rare indeed, in the West, were the prelates like Cardinal Luciani who gave echo to the poignant appeals of the confessors of the faith. Fr. Werenfried van Straaten gloomily observed:

«The history of the Church has probably never known a period when its confessors and martyrs have been so persistently and systematically neglected or passed over in silence as those in our own time.

«This attitude in no way corresponds to the spirit of the Church. How gripping is the Gospel account of the beheading of Saint John the Baptist! How carefully Saint Paul’s letters describe his manifold trials, and the Acts the terrible treatment undergone by the Apostles and the martyrdom of Saint Stephen! How carefully the martyrology relates and makes known the torments of persecuted Christians!»

Indeed, the publication of the acts of the martyrs has always been an efficacious means of calling attention to their witness and of furthering, in well disposed souls, the work of divine grace. In this way Tertullian’s words have been verified: «Semen est sanguis christianorum, the blood of Christians is a seed.112» Words that he justified in his address to the cruel proconsul Scapula: «Whoever beholds our constancy is perplexed by it, inquires into it, searches out its cause, and, when he has come to know the truth, follows it.113»

«The first Christians», Father van Straaten goes on to remark, «were filled with respect for their brothers who suffered persecution for Christ. The martyrs were the very first to be venerated as saints. The Holy Eucharist was celebrated on their tombs to express the spiritual communion uniting Christians and martyrs.

«In our days one can scarcely find any trace of this communion. Although the Church for the last sixty years has been stricken with a persecution that is vaster, more refined, more horrible, more dangerous and more intense than any other persecution in the past, the act of denouncing it is considered by many to be a sign of intolerance. In our era, characterised by a unidirectional pacifism, the decadent West prefers to make peace with pagans and assassins rather than peace with God. That is why, even in the great family of the Catholic Church, we are living through the scandal of seeing the best and most proven of God’s children disowned and forgotten, or considered as “imbeciles” by their own brothers and sisters, as Hansjacob Stehle describes in his book on Vatican Ostpolitik.114»

The historian André Martin made the same observation, quoting two Lithuanian priests, who wrote, on September 25, 1974, in the Chronicle of their Church: «One day Christ reprimanded the head of the Apostles, even calling him Satan because “his thoughts were not those of God, but those of men” (Mt 16:23). The “Rock” can become a stumbling block if it flees Calvary and refuses to carries its cross (Mt 16:24). God may be betrayed in the very heart of the Church when we opt for the “broad path”, spacious and easy (Mt 7:13). It is not the diplomats dialoguing with the executioners who are saving the Church of Lithuania, but the martyrs!115»

Indeed, the martyrs are “the best of God’s children”, since, according to the vision of the Third Secret, they obtain and procure by their sacrifice the graces of salvation for their brothers:

«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.»

This tableau illustrates, spells out and completes what the venerable Ukrainian metropolitan André Sheptytsky said: «The martyr’s tomb is a great treasure. It is the source of a miraculous power.116» Clearly, the answer to the anguished appeals of his successor, Cardinal Slipyi, and of those confessors of the faith alarmed at the sheer indifference shown towards the persecuted, was found in the vision of the Secret: «the blood of the martyrs» saves «the souls making their way to God».


(1) D. C., 2000, p. 672.
(2) 30 Days, French edition, March 1990, p. 18.
(3) D. C., 1967, col. 541-546. Cf. the critical study of Cardinal Ottaviani’s talk, Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 3, p. 483 sq.
(4) Neither his speech of November 21, 1964 (supra, chap. 3) nor his apostolic letter Signum magnum of May 13, 1967 responded to Our Lady’s requests.
(5) Paul VI, audience of May 3, D. C. 1967, col. 885-888.
(6) Pierre Debray’s Courrier Hebdomadaire, no. 43, May 12, 1967.
(7) Paul VI, audience of May 3, D. C. 1967, col. 885-888.
(8) Ibid.
(9) General audience of May 10, D. C. 1967, col. 973.
(10) Le Figaro, May 15, 1967, p. 5.
(11) Jean Guitton, Journal de ma vie, Desclée de Brouwer, vol. 2, 1976, p. 226-228.
(12) Letter from Canon Barthas to the Abbé de Nantes, dated September 12, 1972. At Fatima, on the afternoon of May 13, 1967, Canon Barthas was able to have a few moments of conversation with Sister Lucy as well as with her prioress who accompanied her.
(13) Barthas, “O suposto silencio de Paul VI em Fatima”, in Fatima 50, no. 12, April 1968, p. 15.
(14) Let us remark that on the evening of May 12, in Monte Real, Salazar was shocked to learn that Paul VI, who had categorically refused to visit Lisbon and thus to be the Portuguese government’s guest, had ordered Sister Lucy to go to Fatima. «Salazar considered that to publicly exhibit someone who had witnessed extraordinary events constituted a demagogic and reprehensible act.» (Franco Nogueira, Salazar, vol. 6, Livraria Civilizaçao Editora, 2000, p. 280).
(15) Supra, p. 26; infra, p. 236-237.
(16) Paris-Match, no. 946 of May 27, 1967, p. 53.
(17) Cf. La Croix, May 15, 1967, p. 8; Informations catholiques internationales, June 1, 1967, p. 7. The journalists present at Fatima, for example our friend Guy d’Avezac de Castéra who during Mass was in the gallery reserved for them, immediately learned of this request of Lucy’s and the Pope’s reply.
(18) These declarations by Fr. Almeida, probably made on the request of Paul VI himself, were collected by Fr. Lucas S.J., and broadcast on Vatican Radio on May 15, 1967; cf. D. C., 1967, col. 1242-1243.
(19) Cf. Pierre Gallay’s article, La Croix, May 15-16, 1967, p. 9.
(20) D. C., 1967, col. 1242. «Under the television lens and a hundred cameras snapping, before the eyes of all, she wept. She did not weep for herself, but for us», writes the Abbé de Nantes, «and, let us be quite certain of this, Heaven wept alongside the Virgin Mary’s confidante as she was ushered away.» Lettre à mes amis no. 246, May 1967, p. 3.
(21) D. C., 1967, col. 1242.
(22) Lettre à mes amis no. 247 of June 5, 1967, p. 6.
(23) On November 10, 1982, Msgr. Hnilica told our private correspondent in Rome how, during Paul VI’s visit to Fatima on May 13, 1967, he had sometimes accompanied and guided Sister Lucy himself. His testimony has provided us with precious information about certain events of that day.
(24) Mémoires de soeur Lucie, p. 117.
(25) Quoted by Martins doe Reis, Sintese critica de Fatima, Salesianas publications, Porto, 1968, p. 95.
(26) R. Serrou, Paris-Match, no. 946, May 27, 1967, p. 52-53.
(27) «These are Salazar’s actual words», Mrs. Possolo Pellen stated. Archives of the Little Brother of the Sacred Heart, Georges de Nantes collection.
(28) Paris-Match, no. 946, May 27, 1967, p. 52-53.
(29) Lettre à mes amis no. 246, May 1967, p. 3.
(30) Homily of the Mass at the Cova da Iria, D. C., 1967, col. 980.
(31) Lettre à mes amis no. 246, p. 8.
(32) Quoted by Laurentin, Le Figaro, May 15, 1967, p. 5.
(33) Lettre à mes amis no. 246, p. 4.
(34) Letter quoted by A. M. Martins, Fatima caminho da paz, Braga, 1983, p. 92.
(35) Quoted by Martins dos Reis, op. cit., p. 95.
(36) Letter of June 12, 1967, A. M. Martins, op. cit., p. 92.
(37) Ibid., p. 93.
(38) “De Fatima a Roma”, in Fatima 50, no. 6, October 1967, p. 33.
(39) Supra, p. 65 sq.
(40) A. M. Martins, O padre Aparicio, Apostolado da oraçao; 1986, p. 163.
(41) Ibid.
(42) Dear Bishop, A.M.I., 1982, p. 146.
(43) Canon José Galamba (1903-1984), professor at the Seminary in Leiria, founder of a very great number of diocesan charities, was the personal friend and the right arm of Msgr. José da Silva. It was following his intervention and insistence with his bishop that the latter gave orders for Sister Lucy to write the Third and Fourth Memoirs, and later, the third part of the Secret. Through his works Canon Galamba made known to Portugal the life of the seers and the message of Fatima. In 1967 he founded the journal Fatima 50, published by the Sanctuary of Fatima. Furthermore, he held the office of International President of the Blue Army.
(44) Mensagem de Fatima, no. 115, September-October 1976.
(45) P. 60.
(46) Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 3, p. 368.
(47) Letter of May 9, 1973. Quoted by Don Pasquale in “Restero nel museo del mondo a ricordare la misericordia di Dio”, L’Osservatore Romano, Italian edition, May 12, 1982.
(48. Les voyants de Fatima, 1976, no. 2, p. 4.
(49) Neue Bildpost, January 25, 1976.
(50) Letter of August 2, 1990 to Sister Marie-Angélique de la Croix of our Maison Sainte-Marie.
(51) D. C., 1971, p. 793.
(52) Les voyants de Fatima, 1973, no. 4.
(53) Quoted by Apio Garcia, Bordas de Ouro de Fatima, Lisboa, 1967, p. 76.
(54) After having lived for around ten years in this villa, at the Bom Jesus, the Carmelites left to take up residence in the convent specially built for them down the hill from this house.
(55) Supra, p. 238.
(56) Quoted in the Office for Matins on the 4th Sunday after Easter.
(57) Cf. supra, p. 50.
(58) Quoted by Fr. Umberto Pasquale, Osservatore Romano, Italian edition of May 12, 1982.
(59) Martins dos Reis, Uma vida ao serviço de Fatima, Porto, 1973, p. 233.
(60) Letter of December 1971. Martins dos Reis, op. cit., p. 390.
(61) Letter of July 2, 1941. A. M. Martins, Novos documentos de Fatima, Loyola, 1984, p. 263.
(62) Quoted by A. M. Martins, Documentos de Fatima, Porto, 1976, p. 451.
(63) The passages from Lucy’s letters relating to “diabolical disorientation” have already been quoted, Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 3, p. 506 sq.
(64) Martins dos Reis, op. cit., p. 377.
(65) Cf. Georges de Nantes, Liber accusationis in Paulum Sextum, CRC, 1973.
(66) Supra, chapter 4, appendix 1.
(67) Letter of April 13, 1971. Private archives of Father José Valinho.
(68) Sister Maria Ines received great graces through her aunt’s mediation. Shortly after she entered the Carmel, Sister Lucy had a dream: in her dream she saw Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus presenting her with a Carmelite habit for her niece. Sister Maria Ines therefore left the Congregation of the Dorotheans, just as Sister Lucy had done, to respond herself to her primary vocation: to be a Carmelite.
(69) March 4, 1995.
(70) Quoted, with no indication of the addressee, by A. M. Martins, Fatima et le Coeur de Marie, Téqui, 1986, p. 76.
(71) The apparition of January 2, 1944 gave Sister Lucy the strength to put the Third Secret into writing; cf. Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 3, p. 39. Furthermore, in 1945, Sister Lucy received divine insights concerning President Salazar, infra, chapter 5.
(72) The Italian work Il pellegrinaggio delle meraviglie (Rome, 1960) indicates, albeit without providing the evidence, that the Virgin Mary appeared to Sister Lucy in 1952 and in 1953; cf. Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 3, p. 216-217.
(73) «Closed» as regards the phase of revelation, and not as regards that of the publication of the heavenly messages; cf. Alonso, Doctrina y espiritualidad del mensaje de Fatima, 1990, Arias Montano, p. 41, 288.
(74) P. 450.
(75) Letter from Fr. Martins to the Abbé Caillon dated October 3, 1987. Archives of the Litter Brother of the Sacred Heart, Fatima collection.
(76) Calls from the Message of Fatima, Secretariado dos Pastorinhos, 2000, 304 pages.
(77) When Brother Francis completed the present volume in 2003, he gave 1997 as the year of publication, since this is the year indicated by Fr. Jesus Castellano Cervera, of the Discalced Carmelite Order, a Consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in his preface to Sister Lucy’s book. He said the manuscript was «dated March 25, 1997». However, on February 18, 2004, on a pilgrimage to Fatima, Brother François observed that Sister Lucy’s book had been completed in 1974, four years before Paul VI’s death! Brother François was able to obtain this testimony from Fr. Kondor: «In Rome, they changed the date of the manuscript. Sister Lucy wrote this book a long time ago. It was during Paul VI’s pontificate, and she wrote it at Paul VI’s request. Sister Lucy was receiving too many demands and questions, and as she could not reply to every one of them, the Pope ordered her to write a book.»
(78) Quoted by G. de Nantes, Liber accusationis in Paulum Sextum, CRC, 1973, p. 20.
(79) Calls from the Message of Fatima, p. 61-62.
(80) Since 1944 Father Dhanis had been the spokesman for the anti-fatimist clique in Rome, or rather the official cover for all the opponents of Fatima, and right up until his death, in December 1978, he never retracted his violent and perfidious attacks against Our Lady’s message; cf. Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 1, p. 11-102.
(81) “Le Père Édouard Dhanis”, obituary in the Osservatore Romano, French edition, February 20, 1979, p. 9.
(82) Cf. Msgr. Guerra, “Fatima e o romano pontifice”, in Apelo e resposta, p. 58-59; 71.
(83) Let us remark that in Barbastro, in Catalonia, between August 2 and 18, 1936, the Republican militiamen executed fifty-one Claretian novices and monks. On August 13, «Faustino Perez, the last and most unworthy of them», according to his own words, wrote in his testament: «We die asking God that the blood flowing from our wounds might not become an avenging blood.» So their thinking accorded with the vision of the Third Secret. The blood of the martyrs did not call down God’s vengeance, but became a source of grace, which purified and sanctified the land of Spain.
(84) D. Fernandez, “Joaquin Maria Alonso”, obituary published in Ephemerides Mariologicae 1982, p. 279.
(85) Ibid., p. 280.
(86) Fatima 50, no. 9, January 13, 1968, p. 17.
(87) Father Luciano Cristino, As Fontes de Fatima, in Actas do congresso sobre Fatima e a paz, 1993, Santuario de Fatima, p. 58.
(88) “Le secret de Fatima”, Historia, May 1982, p. 47.
(89) Nevertheless the appearance of the first volume was still publicly announced in 1976; cf. Les voyants de Fatima, 1976, no. 6. After the death of Fr. Alonso in December 1981, the twenty unpublished volumes of his work Fatima, Texts and Critical Studies, were kept for twenty years by the Claretians of the Province of Seville, and then, on July 8, 2001, handed over and entrusted to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Fatima.
(90) Father Alonso’s conclusions on the authenticity of the revelations of Pontevedra and Tuy, as well as his thesis on the Third Secret which, he said, announced «grave pastoral negligence and shortcomings in the Church’s senior hierarchy», were certainly ill-received in Rome.
(91) Toute la vérité sur Fatima, vol. 2, p. 166, 332, 399.
(92) Conversation with Msgr. do Amaral in the presence of a phalangist friend, March 3, 1994.
(93) Joaquin M. Alonso, Doctrina y espiritualidad del mensaje de Fatima, Arias montano, 1990, p. 57-58, 206.
(94) Haffert, Fatima, apostolat mondial, Téqui, Nov. 1984, p. 198-199.
(95) Ibid., p. 137-140.
(96) Lettre à mes amis no. 180 of August 20, 1964.
(97) Lettre à mes amis no. 181 of August 28, 1964.
(98) Rance, op. cit., p. 11.
(99) Cf. D. C. 1963, col. 929.
(100) The treason of Msgr. Nikodim in these years was denounced by Father Ulisse Floridi S.J., who published «the bitter condemnation of the leaders of the Russian Church pronounced by Talantov», a Christian from Kirov who died in the Soviet jails in 1971. «Externally the actions of the patriarchate», wrote Talantov, «constitute a conscious betrayal of the Orthodox Church, an apostasy from the Christian faith. On the world stage the patriarchate would seem to be a secret agency charged with combating worldwide Christianity. Metropolitan Nikodim betrays the Church, not through fear, but through conviction. To unmask his actions, the actions of the patriarchate, would put an end to his secret initiatives. The moment has come to expose to the outside world the treason of the Moscow Patriarchate.» (Quoted by Ulisse Floridi, Moscou et le Vatican, France-Empire, 1979, p. 210) The circumstances of the conversion and sudden death of Msgr. Nikodim, on September 5, 1978, are all the more surprising for this, not to say miraculous; infra, Appendix 2 in Chapter 9.
(101) Lettre à mes amis no. 193, January 1965.
(102) Floridi, op. cit., p. 85-86; 368.
(103) Cardinal Mindszenty, Mémoires, La Table ronde, 1974, p. 388.
(104) The journalist Ernest Milcent reports that, as soon as he arrived in Rome, the Cardinal noticed «that scarcely anyone listened to him. He even had the impression that he had been manipulated when he learned that Cardinal Villot, who had come to welcome him at the airport, had signed, two days later, a letter to Msgr. Ijjas, President of the Hungarian episcopate, in which the Vatican nullified all the measures taken in July 1957 against the priests of the Movement for Peace. Henceforth it is the Hungarian bishops themselves who will decide on the stance to be taken towards such priests. Thus, far from insisting on the dissolution of the pro-government movement, the Holy See has been lifting the excommunications pronounced against its principal leaders.» (À l’Est du Vatican, Cerf, 1980, p. 61)
(105) Conversation in September 1974 with the journalist J. Poszgay, quoted in 30 Days, French edition, July 1991, p. 74.
(106) Cardinal Mindszenty, op. cit., p. 407.
(107) Ibid., p. 412-413. Let us point out that Cardinal Mindszenty vigorously denounced Vatican policy in September 1974, in an interview with the Hungarian journalist Jozsef Poszgay: «The only thing Ostpolitik means for the Hungarian people and faithful is suffering and the Cross.» However, this conversation would not be published until seventeen years later; cf. Tommaso Ricci, “Le retour de Mindszenty”, 30 Days, French edition, July 1991, p. 74-75.
(108) Floridi, op. cit., p. 369. In his book Vatican Kremlin, Les secrets d’un face à face, Sergio Trasatti, former editor-in-chief of the Osservatore Romano, writes: «One of the new bishops was called Laszlo Lekai. He had been Mindszenty’s direct collaborator, and Mindszenty thought highly of him.» (p. 288) And not a word on the orientations and engagements of the new primate! Such is the manner in which Trasatti proceeds to make himself the apologist for Ostpolitik.
(109) R. Lacoste, “L’Ostpolitik du Vatican”, Le spectacle du monde, no. 178, January 1977.
(110) Quoted by Floridi, op. cit., p. 226.
(111) Floridi, op. cit., p. 321; G. de Nantes, Liber accusationis in Paulum Sextum, 1973, p. 83-84.
(112) Homily for the Feast of Saint Lucy, December 13, 1975, Opera omnia, vol. 7, Messaggero Padova, 1989, p. 210.
(113) Apologia, no. 50.
(114) A. D’Alès, Dictionnaire apologétique de la foi catholique, vol. 3, p. 336-337, Beauchesne, 1916.
(115) Foreword by Father Werenfried van Straaten, in Jozsef Kozi Horvath’s book, Cardinal Mindszenty. Confessor and Martyr of Our Time, Aid to the Church in Need, 1977.
(116) André Martin, Lituanie. Terre de foi, terre de croix, Albatros, 1976, p. 90-91.
(117) Quoted by Augustyn Babiak, Les nouveaux martyrs ukrainiens du vingtième siècle, A. Babiak, 2001. p. 99.