TUESDAY-THURSDAY
June 6-8, 2000
volume 11, no. 105

POPE REVEALS THIRD FATIMA SECRET

FATIMA, Portugal (CWNews.com)
    Pope John Paul II has made public the famous "third secret" of Fatima.

    The secret involves a vision of an assassination attempt on a Pope-- a vision that matches the attempted killing of Pope John Paul II himself on May 13, 1981.

    The Holy Father, who was in Fatima on May 13 for the beatification of two of the three children to whom the Virgin Mary appeared in 1917, asked Cardinal Angelo Sodano to read a message to the congregation at the end of the beatification ceremonies. That message, delivered in Portuguese, explained the third secret in general terms.

    Cardinal Sodano announced that the complete text of the third secret would soon be made available by the Vatican, together with a commentary produced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    The third secret of Fatima has been the subject of intense speculation among Catholics. The exact content of that message had been known only to the Pope, his predecessors, and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

    The secret details a vision of a "bishop dressed in white" who is caught up in a battle against an atheistic system that oppresses the Church. That bishop "falls to the ground, as if dead, after a volley of gunfire." Sister Lucia, the sole surviving Fatima seer, has confirmed that the "bishop dressed in white" is the Pope.

    Since surviving the attempt on his life-- which occurred on the feast of Our Lady of Fatima-- Pope John Paul II has repeatedly said that he believes the Virgin Mary is responsible for his survival.

    The following is the text of the statement read by Cardinal Sodano at the close of the beatification ceremonies in Fatima:

    At the conclusion of this solemn celebration, I feel bound to offer to our beloved Holy Father John Paul II, on behalf of all present, heartfelt good wishes for his approaching 80th birthday and to thank him for his significant pastoral ministry for the good of all God's holy Church.

    On the solemn occasion of his visit to Fatima, his Holiness has directed me to make an announcement to you. As you know, the purpose of his visit to Fatima has been to beatify the two "little shepherds." Nevertheless he also wishes his pilgrimage to be a renewed gesture of gratitude to Our Lady for protection during these years of his papacy. This protection seems also to be linked to the so-called "third part" of the secret of Fatima.

    That text contains a prophetic vision similar to those found in Sacred Scripture, which do not describe with photographic clarity the details of future events, but rather synthesize and condense against a unified background events spread out over time in a succession and a duration which are not specified. As a result, the text must be interpreted in a symbolic key.

    The vision of Fatima concerns above all the war waged by atheist systems against the Church and Christians, and it describes the immense suffering endured by the witnesses to the faith in the last century of the second millennium. It is an interminable Way of the Cross led by the popes of the 20th century.

    According to the interpretation of the 'little shepherds,' which was also recently confirmed by Sister Lucia, the "bishop clothed in white" who prays for all the faithful is the Pope. As he makes his way with great effort towards the Cross amid the corpses of those who were martyred (bishops, priests, men and women religious and many lay persons), he too falls to the ground, apparently dead, under a burst of gunfire.

    After the assassination attempt of May 13 1981, it appeared evident to his Holiness that it was "a motherly hand which guided the bullet's path," enabling the "dying Pope" to halt "at the threshold of death." On the occasion of a visit to Rome by the then bishop of Leiria-Fatima, the Pope decided to give him the bullet which had remained in the jeep after the assassination attempt, so that it might be kept in the Shrine. At the behest of the bishop, the bullet was later set in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima.

    The successive events of 1989 led, both in the Soviet Union and in a number of countries of Eastern Europe, to the fall of the Communist regime which promoted atheism. For this too his Holiness offers heartfelt thanks to the most holy Virgin. In other parts of the world, however, attacks against the Church and against Christians, together with the burden of suffering which they involve, tragically continue. Even if the events to which the third part of the secret of Fatima refers now seem part of the past, Our Lady's call to conversion and penance, issued at the beginning of the 20th century, remains timely and urgent today.

    The Lady of the message seems to read the signs of the times-- the signs of our time-- with special insight. The insistent invitation of Mary most holy to penance is nothing but the manifestation of her maternal concern for the fate of the human family, in need of conversion and forgiveness.

    In order that the faithful may better receive the message of Our Lady of Fatima, the Pope has charged the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith with making public the third part of the secret, after the preparation of an appropriate commentary.

    Let us thank Our Lady of Fatima for her protection. To her maternal intercession let us entrust the Church of the Third Millennium.

    Sub tuum praesidium confugimus, Sancta Dei Genetrix!. Intercede pro Ecclesia Dei! Intercede pro Sancto Patre Iohanne Paolo II! Amen'."

HOLY FATHER'S BLOOD MENTIONED IN FATIMA SECRET
John Paul II Makes Allusions During Beatification Homily

VATICAN CITY, MAY 14 (ZENIT.org).
    At the end of yesterday's beatification Mass at Fatima, John Paul II had another surprise in store. He entrusted Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, with an announcement about the famous "third secret" of Fatima.

Unexpected Announcement

    "The vision of Fatima concerns above all the war waged by atheist systems against the Church and Christians, and it describes the immense suffering endured by the witnesses to the faith in the last century of the second millennium. It is an interminable Way of the Cross led by the Popes of the twentieth century," the Italian Cardinal explained.

    "According to the interpretation of the 'little shepherds,' which was also recently confirmed by Sister Lucia," continued Cardinal Sodano, "the 'Bishop clothed in white' who prays for all the faithful is the Pope. As he makes his way with great effort towards the Cross amid the corpses of those who were martyred (Bishops, priests, men and women religious and many laymen), he, too, falls to the ground, apparently dead, under a burst of gunfire."

    The Pope did not want to make the announcement, in part because it is a private revelation and in part (and perhaps above all) out of modesty, because it affects him personally. However, during the beatification ceremony homily he implicitly acknowledged with evident signs of emotion, that these revelations have decisively marked his understanding of his pontificate and his vision of the world over the last two decades.

Secret and Attempt on Pope's Life

    While reading the announcement, Cardinal Sodano added, "After the assassination attempt of 13 May 1981, it appeared evident to His Holiness that it was 'a motherly hand that guided the bullet's path,' enabling the 'dying Pope' to halt 'at the threshold of death.' " Because of this, on the occasion of a visit to Rome by the then Bishop of Leiria-Fatima, the Pope decided to give him the bullet that had remained in the jeep after the assassination attempt, so that it might be kept in the Shrine. At the behest of the Bishop, the bullet was later set in the crown of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima."

Pope's References

    However, the third secret was only partially revealed. To know its full content, the world will have to wait until it is published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, presided by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who are preparing a commentary to facilitate its understanding. This text is expected within a few days.

    Nevertheless, during the beatification homily, John Paul II made highly interesting references, which are likely related to it. Above all, he made it clear that the Fatima message is a "call to conversion."

    Moreover, the Pontiff confirmed some particular aspects of the three secrets: Jacinta's and Francisco's premature deaths, the 20th century's terrible wars and persecutions, the need to pray to "shorten" the evils against man, and the attack that he himself suffered in 1981 in the Vatican. He also quoted the Apocalypse, when it speaks of the "dragon," which symbolizes evil, and he affirmed that when man "puts God to one side he cannot find happiness but, on the contrary, ends in self-destruction."

    The confirmation of the "second secret" of Fatima, which refers to the world wars, was alluded to indirectly by the Pope, when he said: "How many victims there have been in this last century of the second millennium! I am thinking of the horrors of the two great wars and other conflicts in other parts of the world. I am also thinking of the concentration camps and the extermination, the gulags, the ethnic cleansing, the persecutions, terrorism, kidnappings, drugs, attacks on the life of the unborn and against the family."

    In so far as the first secret is concerned, the premature death of the children, the Holy Father recalled Jacinta's words who said, referring to Francisco, that "the Virgin has come to see us and has said that very soon she will come to take him."

    The Bishop of Rome's reference to the third secret, which is now partially revealed, was expressed in these words: Fatima "prophesized the tribulations of these times and the Virgin asked for prayers to shorten these evils."

    He added that because of this "I want to thank God for having saved me from death on May 13, 1981. I also express my appreciation to Blessed Jacinta for the sacrifices and prayers for the Pope whom she saw suffer." ZE00051409


PRELATE EXPLAINS DISCLOSURE OF THIRD FATIMA SECRET

VATICAN (CWNews.com)
    Pope John Paul II waited until the Jubilee year to disclose the "third secret" of Fatima because the message concerned "the popes of the 20th century," the Vatican's Secretary of State has disclosed.

    In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Cardinal Angelo Sodano said that with the 20th century now concluded, the Holy Father saw no reason to delay public announcement of the message of Our Lady of Fatima. Also, he said, in light of historical developments, "the symbolic visions contain nothing mysterious."

    Pope John Paul II read the third secret shortly after his election, the cardinal continued. But perhaps because the message takes the form of a symbolic vision, he did not show any special interest in that message until after the assassination attempt of May 13, 1981. At that point, however, the Pontiff immediately recognized the relevance of the vision, and gave credit to the Virgin Mary for preserving his life.

    Joaquin Navarro-Valls, the spokesman for the Holy See, said that Pope John Paul had chosen not to release the secret himself, but to allow Cardinal Sodano to make the dramatic announcement. The reasons for that decision, he said, were twofold. First, the Pope felt a measure of personal reserve about publicizing the message, since he himself is clearly a protagonist in the prophetic vision. Second, he wished to indicate the official character of the announcement while still clearly preserving the distinction between this vision, which is a private revelation, and the body of Revelation transmitted through Scripture and Church tradition.

    When journalists asked whether the announcement could be taken as a signal that the Pope is now considering stepping down, the papal spokesman quickly dismissed such speculation. A smiling Navarro-Valls remarked: "In the 17 years that I have worked for the Pope, I have never heard him make the slightest allusion to that subject."

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