February 22-24, 2002
volume 13, no. 35

The Third Secret of Fatima

Could a Prophecy feared for generations have already come to pass?

by Peter Miller

              "The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated"

    June 29th in 2001 marked the death of Cardinal Silvio Oddi, the former Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy who is remembered by Catholic traditionalists for his views on the Tridentine Mass, the Assisi prayer sessions and the Third Secret of Fatima. Although he never read the Third Secret, it was of great interest to him throughout his career. He remarked that:

    "It has nothing to do with Gorbachev. The Blessed Virgin was alerting us against the apostasy in the Church."
    What is known as the Third Secret is the final part of a message delivered by the Mother of Our Lord to three Portuguese children in 1917. The apparitions culminated in a miracle (the sun dancing across the sky) witnessed by 70,000 Catholics, reporters and skeptics. The Catholic Church has since approved the apparitions for belief and Popes Pius XII and John Paul II both had special devotions to Our Lady of Fatima. Other parts of the message contain prophecies concerning world wars and the threat of communism. The Third Secret was delivered by one of the children, Sister Lucy, to the Vatican with Mary's instructions that is was remain secret until 1960. At the Vatican's discretion, it was not revealed at that time and was kept a secret until Cardinal Ratzinger's supposed release in May 2000.

    Fatima experts have long speculated on the contents of the Third Secret based primarily on what is known about the rest of the message and the words and behavior of those who knew the secret (including Sister Lucy, the recent popes and Cardinals Ottaviani and Ratzinger). Although they have kept its contents from the public, each has given remarks and warnings that are consistent with a prophecy of grave warnings for the Catholic Church and the world.

    Cardinal Oddi was a close friend of Pope John XXIII who was the reigning pontiff in 1960. The cardinal observed that the pope would relate joyful things without hesitation but when Oddi asked him about the Third Secret, he would sigh deeply and reply, "Don't bring that subject up with me please." It was this pope who made the decision not to release the Third Secret in 1960 because, according to a Vatican communication at the time:

    "Although the Church recognizes the Fatima apparitions, She does not desire to take the responsibility of guaranteeing the veracity of the words the three shepherd children said that the Virgin Mary had addressed to them."
    Basically, they recognize that Mary appeared at Fatima but the message She came to deliver may have been misunderstood by the children and can be disregarded. Such misunderstandings were not an issue when it pertained to the prophecies about Russia, World War II and the Miracle of the Sun. When Pope John XXIII was pressed on the issue, he gave his view that "this does not pertain to my reign". So even though Mary selected the date of 1960 for the secrecy to expire, the pope felt the message could not possibly relate to anything happening at that point in time.

Pope John Paul II and the Third Secret

    1960 came and went, as did the Second Vatican Council which unleashed a flurry of novel theology and questionable (at best) pastoral approaches on the Mystical Body of Christ, but the Third Secret remained a secret. Twenty years later, Pope John Paul II who then bore the secret's responsibility responded that he, as his predecessors, preferred to postpone publication so as not to encourage the world power of communism to make certain moves. In a letter Sister Lucy wrote to the Holy Father in 1982, she mentioned that

    "The third part of the 'secret' refers to Our Lady's words: 'If not, [Russia] will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated'"
    The Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger commented in 1984 that the Third Secret concerned the "dangers which threaten the faith and the life of Christians." When asked the question, "Why is the faith in crisis?" he responded,
    "The dangers threatening the faith, the importance of the last times, and the fact that the prophecies contained in this Third Secret correspond to what Scripture announces."
Later that year, he continued,
    "The Secret of Fatima speaks neither of atomic bombs nor of nuclear warheads, nor of SS20 missiles. It's content concerns only our faith. To identify the secret with catastrophic announcements or a nuclear holocaust is to distort the meaning of the message. The loss of faith of a continent is worse than the annihilation of a nation; and it is true that the faith is continually diminishing in Europe."
    Such was the message and tone of all those aware of what the secret contained, up until recent years when the tone began to change. Rather than warning of a catastrophe of Faith, Ratzinger began to downplay the significance of the message:
    "Vatican officials throughout the past 50 years have said the third part of the recollection written by Lucia, now a Carmelite nun, contains nothing that is not already part of the revealed truth, so it is unnecessary to publish it."
    If it was always part of revealed Truth, why did it worry pontiffs and Cardinals for fifty years? And why should something already known remain a secret? And what could it possibly have to do with communist moves and the apocalyptic events previously mentioned? Obviously such a smokescreen was not going to work, so the Vatican decided to release a partially or completely inaccurate version of the Third Secret. So last year the "text" of the Third Secret was released by the Congregation of the Faith:
    After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, Penance, Penance!'. And we saw in an immense light that is God: 'something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White 'we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. 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.
    The official interpretation of the Third Secret was the vision corresponded to Mehmet Ali Agca's attempted assassination of John Paul II in 1981, at which point Our Lady intervened sparing his life and bringing to close the story of Fatima. Far from bringing anything to a close, this new spin raised more questions than answers. Even Mother Angelica, the famous neo-Catholic apologist of EWTN and by no means a traditionalist, has said she "is one of those people who happen to believe that we didn't get the whole thing". Since this apocalyptic vision was obviously not "already part of the revealed truth", Cardinal Ratzinger has already contradicted himself and gone on record as trying to conceal the Third Secret. There are a number of inconsistencies that suggest what was released was not an accurate account, of which we will discuss a few.

Grave Inconsistencies

    The first (and most obvious) set of inconsistencies concern the behavior of the Vatican when it came to this secret. What about this vision became "much clearer" in 1960? If the prophecy of the Third Secret represented the attempted assassination of the Pope, why wait another 20 years to reveal it? And why, even after 1981, was the secret referred to by the Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger and Sister Lucy as pertaining to future events? Such issues may be clarified through direct communication with Sister Lucy, but she has been forbidden by the Vatican to discuss Fatima with anyone. Why would this restriction remain in effect when everything about Fatima has been revealed and its prophecies fulfilled 20 years ago?

    Other problems arise with the inconsistencies between this "release" and what little has been said about the secret over time. The text of the Third Secret has always been referred to as "the words of Our Lady" (even by Cardinal Ratzinger!) yet the release contained no words, just a vision. The second part of the secret concluded with the words:

    "In Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved, etc."
    For obvious reasons, the "etc." was assumed to be the words of Our Lady contained in the third part of the secret. It stands to reason that after these words, Our Lady had more to say on the matter. The vision described is a departure from the prophetic words used by Our Lady at Fatima (and other approved apparitions) and it is difficult to believe the grave dangers alluded to by all who read the Third Secret were not prompted by Her words. Why would such a vision as described in the release need to be kept secret until 1960 then suppressed for another forty years?

The Real Third Secret

    Fatima experts have always maintained that the secret describes widespread apostasy within the Church. This view is not mere speculative hysteria but a logical and researched hypothesis strongly supported by the words and actions of Sister Lucy, Pope John XXIII, Cardinal Ottaviani, Pope John Paul II and Cardinal Ratzinger. In 1994, Cardinal Ratzinger told us the Third Secret concerns "the dangers threatening the Faith and life of the Christian, and therefore the life of the world." Indeed, the words "The dogma of the Faith will be preserved in Portugal" would be meaningless if the Faith was not to be preserved in other nations.

    Our Lady had asked that the secret be made public in 1960 because, as Sr. Lucia told Cardinal Ottaviani, "in 1960, the Message will appear more clear." It can hardly be considered a coincidence that the specified year corresponded with the commencement of the Second Vatican Council which was certainly a catalyst, if not a direct cause, for many of the current problems in the Church. Even the most rudimentary survey of the Catholic Church over the past thirty years reveals a widespread crisis of the Faith. Often, the simplest explanation is the most accurate. Rather than the convoluted and inconsistent explanation constructed by the Vatican, it seems more likely that the secret concerns a grave period within the Church which started with Vatican II. Such a position was maintained by the late Cardinal Oddi:

    "What happened in 1960 that might have been seen in connection with the Secret of Fatima? The most important event is without a doubt the launching of the preparatory phase of the Second Vatican Council. ... I would not be surprised if the Third Secret alluded to dark times for the Church ... If we consider the grave crisis we have lived through since the Council ..."
    Those popes responsible for the establishment and continuation of the current "springtime of Vatican II" would have good reason to suppress any message that contradicted their efforts. Individuals who aren't bothered by Church doctrine, Sacred Tradition and the writings of past popes would certainly not let something like a message delivered directly from Heaven get in the way of progress. For they have reached a pinnacle of arrogance from which any descent will take nothing less than a miracle ... another one, that is.

    EDITOR'S NOTES: We have received the gracious permission of Peter Miller, editor of the Seattle Catholic to reprint various articles he has written on the dichotomy of what Eternal Rome has always taught and what Modern Rome now pushes on the faithful.

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February 22-24, 2002
volume 13, no. 35
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