Pope Resurrects Third Secret
By John Vennari
board a jet bound for Fatima on May 11, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI answered a
question regarding the Third Secret that put him at odds with the ‘official’
Vatican interpretation of the Secret propounded in 2000.
At Fatima Pope Benedict XVI said, "We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic message is complete.”
year 2000 Commentary claims that the consecration of Russia is accomplished,
and the prophecy of the Third Secret is completely fulfilled by the 1981
assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II. For a multitude of reasons
noted in past issues of Catholic Family
News, this interpretation was denounced as insufficient by tens of
thousands of Catholics the world over.
In fact, the instant the new interpretation was announced at Fatima on May 13, 2000, faithful Catholics were quick to question it. “What they said all happened in the past,” Julio Estela, a 33-year-old car salesman from the northern Portuguese town of Trofa told the Associated Press at Fatima, “This isn’t a prophecy. It’s disappointing. I think there’s more.”
During Pope Benedict’s latest trip to Fatima, however, the Pope did not speak of the Fatima prophecies as already fulfilled, but linked the Third Secret with the present "pedophilia" (homosexual) scandals in the Church, and indicated the prophecy of the Secret includes future events.
Two days later, in his homily at Fatima, as reported by Vatican Information Service, Pope Benedict said, “We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic message is complete.”
He went on to look forward to the 2017 centenary of Fatima, expressing his hope that “the seven years which separate us from the centenary of the apparitions” may “hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart, to the glory of the Blessed Trinity.”
This last sentence is a clear indication that the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary is not yet fulfilled, since the “triumph of the Immaculate Heart”, the conversion of Russia and a “period of peace” granted to the world are the promised result of this consecration – an outcome that has still not occurred since Pope John Paul II’s consecration of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary on March 25, 1984.
“Nor is the future unveiled”?
understand the full impact of the Pope’s latest words, we must hearken back to
the release of the Vision of the Secret ten years ago, and how those involved
with the release claimed that as of June 26, 2000, all the Fatima predictions
were fulfilled. Likewise
The Scotsman noted, “…there have long been suggestions that part of the
Third Secret was withheld and the Pope appeared to confirm this when he said
the ‘suffering of the Church as a result of the sex abuse case’ was part of the
Secretary of State Cardinal Sodano got the ball rolling at Fatima on May 13 2000 when he announced the Vatican would release the Vision of the Secret, which consisted of a Pope being shot and falling to the ground “apparently dead”. He claimed the long-awaited Third Secret was nothing more than a prediction of the failed assassination attempt against John Paul II in 1981, and that all the Fatima prophecies are now fulfilled. Cardinal Sodano set the tone for all future commentary saying “the events to which the third part of the ‘secret’ of Fatima refers to now seems part of the past.”
At the time, Cardinal Ratzinger himself fell into line with this interpretation. In his Theological Commentary that accompanied the June 26 2000 release, Cardinal Ratzinger said of the Secret, “No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled.” This reinforced the “official” Vatican interpretation that claims all Fatima prophecies now belong to the past.
Likewise in the same document, then-Archbishop Bertone said, “The decision of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to make public the third part of the ‘secret’ of Fatima brings to an end a period of history marked by tragic human lust for power and evil…”
At the June 26 2000 Vatican news conference that accompanied the release of the Vision of the Secret, Cardinal Ratzinger was asked whether the Fatima secrets pertain only to the past. He responded, “I think so.”
Closer to the present, Cardinal Bertone in his 2007 book The Last Seer of Fatima remained adamant that the Fatima prophecies are now finished: “The media overhype is such that it doesn’t want to realize that the prophecy is not open to the future, but it’s fulfilled in the past, in the events indicated [assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II]. They do not want to face facts.”
Pope Benedict’s latest comments fly in the face of all of this, and confirm the common-sense thinking of Catholics around the world who are convinced there is more to the Secret that what was released in June, 2000. The following is the substantial section of the pertinent question from May 11 and the Pope’s response.
The question to the Pope was as follows: “Holiness, what significance do the apparitions of Fatima have for us today? And when you presented the text of the Third Secret, in the Vatican Press Office, in June 2000, it was asked of you whether the Message could be extended, beyond the attack on John Paul II, also to the other sufferings of the Pope. Is it possible, according to you, to frame also in that vision the sufferings of the Church of today for the sins of the sexual abuse of minors?”
The Pope responded, “Beyond the great vision of the Pope’s suffering, which we may connect in substance to John Paul II, there are indications of the reality of the Church’s future, which gradually develop and show themselves. That is to say, beyond the moment indicated in the vision, it is spoken, it is shown there is the need for the passion of the Church, which naturally reflects itself on the person of the Pope, but the Pope is in the Church and therefore what is announced is the suffering for the Church… As for the new things we may find today in this message, it is also that the attacks on the Pope and the Church not always come from the outside, but the sufferings of the Church actually come from within the Church, from the sin that exists in the Church. This has always been known, but today we can see it in a really terrifying way: the greatest persecution of the Church does not come from outside enemies, but is from sin with the Church. And the Church now has a deep need to re-learn penance, accept purification, learn to forgive, but also a need for justice.”
The European press was quick to react to this development. The London Mail noted the Pope “added the Church was being ‘persecuted for its sins’ and he described how the sex abuse scandals were part of the so-called Third Mystery of Fatima.”
The Scotsman noted, “…there have long been suggestions that part of the
Third Secret was withheld and the Pope appeared to confirm this when he said
the ‘suffering of the Church as a result of the sex abuse case’ was part of the
first thing to note is the Pope chose to deal with this topic.
Journalists do not spring these questions on the Pope without warning, but as
John Allen notes, “The Vatican asks
reporters traveling with the pope to submit questions for the plane several
days in advance, so Benedict has plenty of time to ponder what he wants to say.
If he takes a question on the plane, it’s because he wants to talk about it,
and he’s chosen his words carefully.”
Thus the Pope wanted to make this comment on both the "pedophilia" (homosexual) scandal as a crisis coming “from sin inside the Church”(and not a trumped-up ‘media attack’), and that the Fatima Message, including the Secret, concern “future realities”.
“The Pope has now reopened the dossier of Fatima in such a
precise and obvious way,that everyone who, in the last years,
had rushed to give praise to the official Curial version is now caught in panic
by facing the Pope’s words that place the pedophilia scandal within the Third
Antonio Socci, author of The
Fourth Secret of Fatima, was quick to comment, “The assassination attempt
of 1981 is nowhere to be found in Benedict’s words. Therefore it is not pointed
out as ‘the’ fulfillment of the Third
Socci went on to observe with a certain relish that commentators in the Italian media who had defended the official Vatican interpretation were left stammering over the Pope’s latest statement.
“The Pope has now reopened the dossier of Fatima in such a precise and obvious way,” notes Socci, “that everyone who, in the last years, had rushed to give praise to the official Curial version is now caught in panic by facing the Pope’s words that place the pedophilia scandal within the Third Secret.”
Socci speaks of a television interview with Father Stefano de Fiores in which he was evidently embarrassed and stuttered “to see the truth in the Secret, we can’t find this explicitly.”
Socci also mentioned an episode of Porta a Porta, an Italian television program that had vigorously defended Cardinal Bertone’s interpretation in the past, conducted a program on this topic after the Pope’s comment. But this time nobody on the program dared to say “the ‘fourth secret’ does not exist.”
All of this cannot help but add to the evidence that there is still part of the text of the Secret that the Vatican has yet to reveal.
It should be noted this is not the first time Pope Benedict has said the opposite of what he advanced in his Year 2000 document. In his Theological Commentary, then-Cardinal Ratzinger caused considerable scandal by suggesting that the “immaculate heart” (written with lower case ‘i’ and lower case ‘h’) is essentially any heart that says yes to God, thus downplaying the one, unique Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Nearly two months after he became Pope, however, on June 5, 2005, Pope Benedict spoke more in line with the Traditional devotion saying, “The heart that resembles that of Christ more than any other is without doubt the Heart of Mary, His Immaculate Mother, and for this very reason the liturgy holds them up together for our veneration.”
“My Hand was Forced”?
Yet the question can be asked, why is Pope Benedict now
apparently contradicting the interpretation given by Cardinal Sodano, Cardinal
Bertone, and even by himself as Cardinal Ratzinger in 2000.
To answer this, we will take another look at the rumor that circulated at the time of Pope Benedict’s election. At this time, Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of Saint Pius X related that a priest acquaintance from Austria told him that Cardinal Ratzinger confided (to the Austrian priest) that he had two things weighing on his conscience. One was his mishandling of the Message of Fatima in 2000, the other was his 1988 mishandling of Archbishop Lefebvre. Cardinal Ratzinger is reported to have said that in the case of Archbishop Lefebvre, “I failed”, and in the case of Fatima, “my hand was forced.”
When we look at Cardinal Ratzinger’s commentary from 2000, it seems clear that he was deferring always to Secretary of State Cardinal Sodano’s interpretation of the Vision, and thus attempting to deflect some of the responsibility from himself. Four times in his Theological Commentary, Cardinal Ratzinger insists that he is following the interpretation given by Cardinal Sodano:
• “Before attempting an interpretation, the main lines of
which can be found in the statement read
by Cardinal Sodano 13 May of this year,”
• “For this reason the figurative language of the vision is symbolic. In this regard, Cardinal Sodano stated…”
• As is clear from the documentation presented here, the interpretation offered by Cardinal Sodano in his statement on 13 May…”
• [W]e must affirm with Cardinal Sodano that ‘the events to which the third part of the ‘secret’ of Fatima refers now seem part of the past’.”…
Also, Cardinal Ratzinger stated at the Vatican press
conference that released the Vision that Catholics are not bound to accept the
“official” interpretation: “It is not the intention of the Church to impose a
Catholics were never bound to accept the Vatican explanation of the Secret from
June 26, 2000.
If it is true that the Cardinal’s “hand was forced”, we do not know the circumstances by which it was done, and it is reasonable to assume that someone of the caliber of Archbishop Lefebvre would not have allowed himself to be coerced into cooperating with falsifying Our Lady’s Fatima Message. Time and time again, despite the suffering it caused him, Archbishop Lefebvre showed himself unwilling to engage in such compromise, and calmly stated he “would not cooperate in the destruction of the Church”.
Cardinal Ratzinger did cooperate in this destruction by his promotion of the novel aspects of Vatican II (such as ecumenism and religious liberty), and by collaborating in the June 26 release of the Secret that gave a falsified presentation of Our Lady’s message. Perhaps Pope Benedict, despite his own progressivist leanings, is seeking to distance himself from the slipshod Fatima commentary that has been a blot on the Vatican’s record for the past 10 years.
Some Obvious Flaws
To those who think this critique of
the June 26 text too strong, it is worthwhile to review some basic anomalies in
the document. Much has been written to demonstrate the numerous flaws in the
Vatican’s “Message of Fatima” of 2000 that causes many Catholics around the
world to view it as a document of strained credibility. We will limit ourselves
to four examples:
1) The “Vision” and Interpretation by the Vatican on June 26, 2000, makes no mention of the crisis of Faith spoken of by reputable Fatima scholars.
In 1981, Father Joaquin Alonso, who had many conversations with Sister Lucy, and who was the official Fatima archivist for sixteen years, said, “It is therefore completely probable that the text (of the Third Secret of Fatima) makes concrete references to the crisis of faith within the Church and to the negligence of the pastors themselves [and the] internal struggles in the very bosom of the Church and of grave pastoral negligence of the upper hierarchy.”
Cardinal Ratzinger in 1984 spoke of the Secret containing “dangers threatening the Faith”. Cardinal Oddi said to Italian journalist Lucio Brunelli on March 17, 1990, “It [the Third Secret] has nothing to do with Gorbachev. The Blessed Virgin was alerting us against apostasy in the Church.” Likewise Cardinal Mario Luigi Ciappi, who had been personal theologian to Pope John Paul II, said in a personal communication to a Professor Baumgartner in Salzburg, “In the Secret we read among other things that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”
The Vision released by the Vatican on June 26 makes no mention of a crisis of Faith, nor does it contain any words of Our Lady, but a Vision – a kind of silent movie – with no soundtrack explaining it.
2) Even the secular press called out Cardinal Sodano on the fact that his interpretation does not match the Vision of the Secret.
Of these discrepancies, the July 1 Washington Post noted, “On May 13, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, a top Vatican official, announced the imminent release of the carefully guarded text. He said the Third Secret of Fatima foretold not the end of the world, as some had speculated, but the May 13, 1981, shooting of Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square. Sodano said the manuscript ... tells of a ‘bishop clothed in white’ who, while making his way amid corpses of martyrs, ‘falls to the ground, apparently dead, under a burst of gunfire.’ But the text released Monday (June 26) leaves no doubt about the bishop’s fate, saying that he ‘was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him.’ Everyone with the pontiff also dies—bishops, priests, monks, nuns and lay people. John Paul survived his shooting at the hands of a single gunman, Mehmet Ali Agca, and no one in the crowd was harmed in the attack.”
3) In Vatican’s “Message of Fatima” document, the only theological expert cited was the Jesuit Father Edouard Dhanis, a priest who during the 1940s and 50s, made a veritable career of trying to debunk Fatima.
In the 1940s, Dhanis claimed that Lucy had invented the Secret, he cast doubt on any revelation Sister Lucy received from Our Lady after 1917. Other
If I may inject a personal note, this is especially troubling since a former acquaintance of Father Dhanis told me that Dhanis himself did not believe in Fatima. The late Father Laszlo Juhasz SJ, who taught philosophy for over 30 years at Canisius College in Buffalo, and whose daily Tridentine Mass I was privileged to attend for two years (until his death in spring 2009), told me that he knew well his fellow Jesuit Father Dhanis. While in Rome, Father Juhasz had many a long walk and conversation with him. Father Juhasz said of Dhanis, “I could not get him to believe in Fatima.” Father Dhanis is not a credible source to quote favorably in a Vatican document about Fatima itself.
4) The Vatican’s “Message of Fatima” document cites a fake letter of Sister Lucy as supposed “testimony” that the Consecration has been accomplished.
The June 26 Vatican document says “Sister Lucy personally confirmed that this solemn and universal act of consecration [consecration of the world by Pope John Paul II on March 24, 1984] corresponds to what Our Lady wished. “Yes it has been done just as Our Lady asked on 25 March, 1984 (Letter of 8 November 1989). Hence any further discussion or request is without basis.”
Not only did this testimony contradict the consistent testimony of Sister Lucy for more than 60 years, that the Consecration of “world” does not suffice for the Consecration of Russia, but it is striking that the
In the November 8 letter, the author (allegedly Lucy) refers to a consecration made by Pope Paul VI during his 1967 visit to Fatima. The problem, however, is that there was no such consecration, and Lucy would know, she was there.
In the same letter, the author (allegedly Lucy), declares that the consecration of Russia could not be done during the course of a Council. This is a flat contradiction to earlier statements made by Lucy, and other Fatima experts, who have said that a gathering of the world’s bishops is an ideal setting for the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart. Several attempts were made during Vatican II to have Paul VI perform this consecration, but he always refused.
This dubious November 8 letter, which has all the appearance of being a clumsy forgery, is the only “proof” the Vatican document offers that Russia is successfully consecrated. This shoddy research would not be accepted in a 4th grade history report, let alone a supposedly definitive text published by the Vatican itself. It is enough to discredit virtually everything else in the June 26 document.
We can only rejoice when we see Pope Benedict appear to distance himself from this text.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Pope Benedict’s trip to Portugal comprised more than a
resurrection of the Third Secret; some of his actions were praiseworthy, others
leave us disappointed.
According to the Diário de Notícias, the country’s most prestigious daily, Pope Benedict said, “The change towards the Republic [in power since the October 5, 1910 Masonic revolution], which took place in Portugal 100 years ago, made a distinction between Church and State and opened a new space of freedom for the Church”. But as a friend from Coimbra noted, “The Pope was of course misinformed about this; the Church was persecuted in many ways until the 1926 national revolution and Salazar’s ascension to power.” Further, the Pope appeared to make no mention of the true Catholic restoration that occurred under Salazar (who dissolved Freemasonry in Portugal in 1935), but only praised the Masonic doctrine of separation of Church and State that effectively bars the influence of Jesus Christ from States and social institutions.
To be specific, the Act of Separation of Church and State of April 20, 1911, which Republican leader and Grand Master of Freemasonry Magalhães Lima called “the basic law of the Republic”, was a very flexible law which was used to transfer Church property to the State; to forbid priests, friars and nuns from wearing clerical dress in public; to abolish processions outside the churches; to deport all Jesuits; to detain priests at will, without a warrant, on suspicion of being “enemies of the Republic”; and to do this:
• On November 24, 1911, D. Manuel Vieira de Matos, Bishop of Guarda (and later Archbishop of Braga) was detained by the Criminal Police and forbidden to enter his diocese for two years;
• On December 28, 1911, D. António Mendes Belo, Patriarch of Lisbon, was exiled for two years, as was the Dean Manuel Coelho da Silva, Governor of the diocese of Oporto and later Bishop of Coimbra;
• On January 6, 1912, the same happened to D. António Barbosa Leão, Bishop of the Algarve;
• On January 14, 1912, the same happened to D. António Alves Ferreira, Bishop of Viseu;
• On February 12, 1912, the same happened to D. Francisco Vieira e Brito, Bishop of Lamego;
• On March 16, 1912, the same happened to D. José Alves de Mariz, Bishop of Bragança;
• On April 3, 1912, the same happened to D. Augusto Eduardo Nunes, Archbishop of Évora, and D. António Moutinho, Bishop of Portalegre;
• On November 29, 1917, D. Manuel Vieira de Matos, Archbishop of Braga, was sentenced to deportation (which did not take place because of political changes); etc.
Things actually began before the Act. On February 7, 1911, D. António Barroso, Bishop of Oporto, was taken to Lisbon under arrest, nearly lynched by a mob when he arrived. and exiled; and on March 7, 1911 D. Sebastião de Vasconcelos, Bishop of Beja, who had taken refuge in
The actual facts of Portugal’s 1911 “separation of Church and State” policy hardly amounted to “a new space of freedom for the Church.”
Then there is the case of severe abuse of the Eucharist. During the Mass at Lisbon, Pope Benedict consecrated in Latin and gave Communion to a selected number of people on their knees, not in the hand. Unfortunately, the Pope’s example was an isolated case. Various priests distributed Communion to the thousands of people present, and, according to the May 12 Publico, “Some of the priests made things easier; they gave the hosts to people who passed them on, from hand to hand, to those standing further in the back.”
While at Fatima, Pope Benedict made some strong statements against abortion and so-called same-sex marriage, calling them “insidious and dangerous” threats that face the world today.
Unfortunately, his words carried little weight. On May 17, not even a week after the Pope’s visit, Portugal’s “Catholic” President Anibal Cavaco Silva announced he would ratify same-sex marriage law. There appears to be no hint from the Portuguese hierarchy or from Benedict’s Vatican that the President will suffer any canonical penalty for his cooperation in the destruction of marriage and the perversion of society.
Thus, despite the bleak “business as usual” in the post-Conciliar Church, there is a ray a hope. Pope Benedict has opened a new phase in the Fatima controversy. He himself noted that the Secret does not merely refer to the failed assassination attempt of Pope John Paul II in 1981, an interpretation that even many in the secular press found ludicrous.
Also, contrary to the June 26 Vatican commentary, that stated “any further request or discussion [of the Consecration of Russia] is without basis”, Pope Benedict said on May 13 at Fatima, “We would be mistaken to think that Fatima’s prophetic message is complete,” indicating that Fatima is not finished, but its prophecies still point to the future.
Pope Benedict further prayed at Fatima that we may “hasten the fulfillment of the prophecy of the triumph of the Immaculate Heart,” indicating that the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary has yet to occur, and that the collegial consecration of Russia by the Pope in union with the world’s bishops, which will bring about this Triumph, has yet to be accomplished.
These admissions may be the basis for Pope Benedict or his successor to finally release the full Third Secret, and to consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Only by doing so will we avoid the “annihilation of nations” and the other chastisement threatened at Fatima. Only by doing so will we see the conversion of Russia to the Catholic Faith and a period of peace granted to the world.
 “Pope Beatifies Shepherd Boy and Girl in Portugal, Reveals Third Secret”, Associated Press, May 13, 2000
 “The Message of Fatima”, Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of The Faith, June 26, 2000, “Theological Commentary section by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, 1st paragraph.
 Ibid., “Introduction”, Archbishop Tarcisio Bertone, SDB
 “Catholic Church Unveils ‘Third Secret of Fatima’; The Vatican’s Top Theologian Gently Debunks a Nun’s Account of her 1917 Vision that Fueled Decades of Speculation”, Los Angeles Times, June 27, 2000.
 Quoted from: “Why the Pope is contradicting Bertone (and Messori),” Antonio Socci, May 13, 2010. Originally published in Italian on Socci’s webpage: www.antoniosocci.com
 Translated from Italian: “Le parole del papa: «Nonostante la famosa nuvola siamo qui…»” Corriere della Sera, May 11, 2010.
 “Child Sex Abuse Scandal is ‘Greatest Threat to the Catholic Church” says Pope,” London Mail, May 12, 2010.
 “Sex Abuse is ‘sin within Church’, says Pope”, The Scotsman, May 12, 2010.
 “On the crisis, Benedict XVI changes the tone,” John Allen, National Catholic Reporter, May 11, 2010
 “Why the Pope is contradicting Bertone (and Messori),” Antonio Socci, May 13, 2010.
 “[T]he ‘immacualte heart’ is a heart which, with God’s grace, has come to perfect interior unity and therefore ‘sees God’. To be ‘devoted’ to the Immaculate Heart of Mary means to therefore to embrace this attitude of heart which makes the fiat – ‘your will be done’ – the defining center of one’s whole life.” Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Theological Commentary, “The Message of Fatima,” June 26, 2000.
 Angelus Message, Pope Benedict XVI, Sunday, June 5, 2005.
 “The Message of Fatima,” Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, p. 32.
 Ibid., p. 38.
 Ibid., p. 39.
 Ibid., p. 43. (Emphasis added on all four quotes)
 “Vatican Issues Text of Third Secret”, New York Times, June 27, 2000.
 See The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol. III, Frère Michel, [Buffalo: Immaculate Heart Publications, 1990] pp. 704-706.
 Ibid., pp. 822-823. See also Jesus magazine, November 11, 1984.
 The Cardinal’s statement appeared in the Italian journal Il Sabato. Quoted from The Devil’s Final Battle, [Buffalo: Missionary Association, 2002], p. 33.
 See Father Gerard Mura, “The Third Secret of Fatima: Has it Been Completely Revealed”, Catholic, March 2002. Also quoted in The Devil’s Final Battle, p. 33.
 “Third Secret Spurs More Questions: Fatima Interpretation Departs from Vision”, Washington Post, July 1, 2000. (Emphasis added).
 Fatima in Twilight, Mark Fellows [Niagara Falls: Marmion, 2003], p. 300.
 Special thanks to Coimbra’s Dr. J. Andrade for providing these historical materials.
May 19, 2010
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