I won't tell anyone what to believe, but I will examine the December 20 communiqué, and compare some of Lucy's statements there with other things she has said on the subject of Fatima. Given human nature, it is not unusual for people to change their opinions, particularly over the passage of years. One of the notable traits of Sister Lucy, however, is how exact and unwavering she has been in relating the Fatima message. Given this prominent trait, one would expect her present statements on Fatima to mirror her previous statements. With this in mind, let us examine the communiqué of December 20.
First, it is reasonable to believe that the communiqué is correct in describing Sister Lucy as being "in good health, lucid, and vivacious." Aside from some occasional bronchial difficulties, Lucy's only significant health problems occurred in 1943, when at the age of thirty-six she contracted pleurisy.  15. The disease that killed Blessed Jacinta.
It is apparent from her letters at this time that Lucy thought she was dying. So did her bishop, who panicked because Lucy had not yet written down the Third Secret. It was this, her only serious illness, that led Bishop da Silva to order Sister Lucy to commit the Third Secret to writing.
Although nearly ninety-five, Sister Lucy has maintained good physical health. Her personality and character also appear as stable and consistent as our fallen human nature allows. Dutch Montfort Father Jongen observed:
"Lucy does a great deal of good for the children and for all who approach her. There is nothing which attracts attention to her in the convent. She has wit, she loves gaiety. If she distinguishes herself despite everything, it is perhaps for her attitude during prayer, the punctual observance of her rule and her love for the Holy Virgin . . . Here is what characterizes her: an ardent devotion for the truth. Her veracity goes together with her disdain for human respect."  16. Frère François des Marie des Anges, FATIMA: Intimate Joy, World Event, (FIJWE) Volume IV, Immaculate Heart Publications, pp. 10-11.
Lucy's love for the truth has been dearly bought. Her refusal to lie about the Blessed Virgin's appearances caused her mother to beat her, and some good citizens of Fatima to kick and taunt her. The Tinsmith threatened to boil little Lucy in oil, and Portuguese Republican Guards threatened to cut her head off, but Lucy never changed a word of her account of the apparitions. It has been decades since she has been allowed to speak publicly about Fatima, but occasional reports of private conversations with family members indicate that, concerning Fatima, Lucy remains steadfast. This is worth remembering as we return to the December 20 communiqué.
The assertion in the interview that Lucy's first remarks were a profession of "love and devotion to the Holy Father" smacks of the personality cult enveloping the present pontiff. As a rule, rather than professing love and devotion, Lucy's marked tendency throughout her decades of religious life is to be deferential and discreet with superiors. These tendencies would be even more pronounced regarding the Pope.
There is, however, a very good reason for presenting Sister Lucy as brimming with love and devotion for the person of John Paul II, and this has to do with the prominent position the latter has given himself in the vision of the Third Secret. If John Paul is really the Pope in the vision, then he has a significant role in the fulfillment of the Fatima Message. Consequently, it would be very odd if Lucy did not exhibit love and devotion to such a personage.  17. One might almost say that she must.
In fact, over the years Lucy has kept her distance from John Paul, and their relations have been cool at best. She did not wish to come to Fatima during Pope John Paul's 1991 visit, and only consented when ordered to appear by the Pope himself. They met privately and talked for some ten minutes, After speaking with Lucy at Fatima in 1991, however, John Paul II remained unable to publicly affirm that Sister Lucy believed Russia had been consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary. 
18. The date 1991 is interesting because it is claimed that in 1989 Lucy wrote one Walter Noelker a letter in which she declared that John Paul's 1984 consecration of the world satisfied the Blessed Virgin's request for the consecration of Russia. If Lucy really believed this in 1989, why in Heaven's name did she not inform the Pope, either in 1989 or when she met with him privately in Fatima in 1991? The only reasonable answer is that she did not so believe, and that her letter to Mr. Noelker was apocryphal (a forgery). Also of note is that at Fatima in 1991 John Paul did not reveal the contents of the Third Secret, even though according to the CDF's The Message of Fatima the Third Secret concerns the 1981 assassination attempt on John Paul-----an event that happened ten years prior to John Paul's 1991 trip to Fatima.
This noticeable reserve of Sister Lucy towards John Paul II appeared to vanish during the 2000 beatification ceremony of Lucy's cousins, the Blesseds
Jacinta and Francisco.
But to return to the December 20 communiqué: the assertion therein that Lucy "prays much" for John Paul II "and for the Church as a whole" is most likely true. Such a posture is consistent not just with Lucy's past statements, but with those of Blessed Francisco and Blessed Jacinta as well. Their encounters with the beautiful Lady at the Cova da Iria seemed to infuse them with a preoccupation to pray continually------it is not much of an overstatement------for the Holy Father. Later, Lucy would often plead, in letters and conversations, with others to pray for the Holy Father.  19. Contrary to what some may assume, Lucy's concern for "the Holy Father" is generic, not particular. It includes not only John Paul ll, but all of his predecessors from Pius XI onwards. In a 1945 letter to Father Aparicio, a former confessor who was residing in Brazil. Lucy wrote: "Down there do they pray for the Holy Father? We must not cease praying for His Holiness. Great days of affliction and torment await him still. (FIJWE, Vol. IV, p. 9.)" This was a reference to Pius XII. In terms of the Fatima Message, Lucy often appears to view all popes in the same light.
Her concern for "the Church as a whole" is equally well documented.
Lucy Versus the Third Secret
The communiqué continues:
"To whoever imagines that some part of the secret has been hidden, she replied: 'Everything has been published; no secret remains.' To those who speak and write of new revelations she said: 'There is no truth in this. If I had received new revelations I would have told no one, but I would have communicated them directly to the Holy Father'."
To dispose of the last sentence first, "those who speak and write of new revelations" is likely a reference to the false rumor of the Blessed Virgin appearing at Carmel and telling the Carmelites of the "imminent bloodbath." Lucy has said "There is no truth in this." Her next sentence, however, seems out of character. When Lucy received the revelations at Tuy and Pontevedra, she shared them with her confessors, and followed their instruction. She has never communicated any revelation directly to any Pope without first going through proper channels. To have done so would have been presumptuous, and this is a fault no one has ever accused Lucy of.
Consequently, it is difficult to accept that this last statement was really said by Lucy. Its presence in the communiqué, however, serves two purposes. First, it emphasizes again the significant role of the present pontiff in the Vatican's version of Fatima. Second, it once again presents Lucy and the Pope as allies, or at least as enjoying a special relationship with each other, That such a depiction challenges reality is not as important as its purpose, which is [I think] to again implicitly oppose Lucy and the Pope against the ne'er do wells [that is, traditional Catholics, and anyone else
who understands the Message of Fatima as it has been traditionally interpreted by priests, theologians, and scholars].
If this is the strategy of the December communiqué, it represents a development on the CDF's Message of Fatima. The purpose of the latter, according to the Pope's spokesman, was to "provide no papal support for the anti-ecumenical traditionalism which has improperly seized hold of certain aspects of the Message of Fatima" and to "not allow Fatima to become hostage to a partisan position." 
20. As if the neo-modernist gobbledy-gook in the CDF's The Message of Fatima is not a partisan position. For the quote, see August 2000 CRC, on line edition.
It, seems plain enough. The Vatican wanted control of the Fatima Message, to massage it into compatibility with the "New Evangelization." In this they have succeeded to a certain degree. But if the 2000 release of the Third Secret sought to seize the Fatima Message and subordinate it to the persona of Pope John Paul II, the December communiqué seeks to seize Sister Lucy and subordinate her in similar fashion. It is a chilling strategy, and will probably also succeed to a certain degree.
Even more audaciously, the communiqué seeks to pit Sister Lucy against the Third Secret, at least as it has traditionally been understood by Fatima scholars. The statement "Everything has been published; no secret remains" simply cannot be believed as coming from Sister Lucy. It is as characteristic of Sister Lucy's real thinking as her supposed comment in the 1992 interview, "God condemns no one to Hell"------which is to say that it is utterly uncharacteristic. Neither assertion can seriously be attributed to Sister Lucy.
What Sister Lucy has said about the Third Secret is worth repeating. There are consistent references to Churchmen "being fooled by false doctrine;" to a "diabolical disorientation" afflicting "so many persons who occupy places of responsibility" in the Church; to "priests and consecrated souls" who "are so deceived and misled" because "the devil has succeeded in infiltrating evil under cover of good . . . leading into error and deceiving souls having a heavy responsibility through the place which they occupy . . . They are blind men guiding other blind men," and so on.  21. These quotations are condensed from numerous letters Sister Lucy wrote in the early 1970's to two of her nephews who were priests, and to other religious she knew. See The Whole Truth About Fatima, Vol. 111, pp. 754-758.
When we combine Lucy's real statements with the conclusions careful scholars like Father Alonso came to about the Third Secret involving apostasy in the Church,  22. Father Alonso was appointed the official Church historian on Fatima. He had access to all Fatima documents, from which he crafted a multi-volume work which remains in large part unpublished, due to his conclusions about the Third Secret. Much of his early work involved consultation with Sister Lucy. We may reasonably conclude that she would have corrected his conclusions about the Third Secret involving the apostasy of the upper hierarchy if this was a false conclusion.
with inadvertent admissions by Churchmen like Bishop do Amaral, the former Bishop of Fatima,  23. In a question and answer session at the University of Vienna in 1984, Bishop do Amaral gave this answer concerning the Third Secret: "Its content concerns only our faith . . . The loss of the faith on a continent is worse than the annihilation of a nation; and it is true that the faith is continually diminishing in Europe." See FIJWE, Volume IV, pp. 243-244.
and with what we can see with our own eyes and hear with our own ears about the appalling state of the Church and the world------having considered all this, if we are to maintain any grasp of reality, the only conclusion is Res ipsa loquitur: the thing speaks for itself.
The "thing" is apostasy, the apostasy of the upper hierarchy many believe is mentioned in the text of the Third Secret the Vatican has yet to reveal. Only this "thing," this apostasy, can explain the December communiqué which, like The Message of Fatima, is an intentional interweaving of truth and falsehood. Both documents are carefully calculated to deceive.
Good God in Heaven! What manner of wretched men are these who, not content with despoiling the Church, seek to rob even the few remaining faithful of whatever integral faith they still possess?
Lucy and the Pirates
They are pirates, the pirates of our faith. Their crimes have aroused the Angel who stands poised in the heavens, "a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire." He seeks to avenge Our Lady, but the burning justice of his sword "died out in contact with the splendor that Our Lady radiated towards him from Her right hand."
This is the vision of the Third Secret, the outstretched arm of the Blessed Virgin averting judgment on sinful mankind. Despite our infidelities, She withholds" the penalties of our sins. Then, "pointing to the Earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: 'Penance, penance, penance'." Immediately following this cry the children were shown a Pope, "afflicted with pain and sorrow." He and his followers were murdered in cold blood. The Pope in this vision cannot be John Paul Il [in my view], but he may well be the Pope who by his bloody Martyrdom does "Penance, penance, penance"------purging the papacy of the sins and infidelities of his predecessors, including John Paul------particularly in regards to Fatima and the systematic dishonoring of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
That, after all, is the real Fatima Message: devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, which includes the Five First Saturday Communions of Reparation, will save souls from going to Hell. Consecration to Her Immaculate Heart will convert Russia and grant the world a period of peace. Despite all appearances to the contrary, the Vatican appears to believe the triumph of the Immaculate Heart has already occurred, that Fatima belongs to the past.  24. The CDF's The Message of Fatima, p.36.
But what the sad, beautiful Lady told Lucy and her cousins so many summers ago was that the triumph of the Immaculate Heart would happen "In the end."  25. Father Louis Kondor, Editor, Fatima In Lucia's Own Words, Sister Lucia's Memoirs, 9th Edition, The Ravengate Press, 1995, p. 162.
Long before the September 11 attacks, Father Alonso said, "The final triumph of Mary's Heart is certain and it will be definitive. But it will take place in the end, that is to say after a terrible purification of sinful humanity, in a baptism of fire, blood and tears."  26. CRC, August 2000, p. 30.
The purification was ratcheted up a turn or two last fall. In response, the present pontiff again called for the world's religious liberals to come to Assisi to pray------to something------for peace.
In Coimbra, Sister Lucy gives no outward indication that the present orientation of the Vatican towards Fatima is deviant. In fact, her exuberance at Fatima in 2000 was almost disquieting. Surely the cause of her radiance, and her new graciousness towards John Paul, was her happiness over the beatification of her two cousins. Yet she remained exuberant even in the face of Cardinal Sodano's version of the Third Secret, going so far as to make large, awkward gestures to the crowd. It is difficult to interpret, and things will only get more confusing when Lucy goes to her reward, for surely after her death the number of false statements and bogus interviews will multiply like demonic loaves and fishes; And make no mistake, her tomb at the Fatima Basilica has been ready and waiting for some time now. "But I am not dead yet!" Lucy was said to have protested when informed of the efforts of her gravediggers.
No, Lucy is not dead yet, and sometimes even pirates can be patient, if the prize is worthy enough. When the beautiful Lady told little Lucia dos Santos that, "You are to stay here some time longer," she was sad. The Lady explained that Jesus wished to make use of Lucy "to make Me known and loved." Rather than be reserved with the child for her failure to recognize the remarkable dignity of her mission, the Blessed Virgin------one can almost see Her leaning towards the teary girl to comfort her------the Blessed Virgin said: "Do you suffer a great deal? Do not be discouraged. I will never forsake you. My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God."
Then She opened Her hands, and Lucy was flooded with the light and grace that compose that. dearest of all human things------the Holy and Sacred Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Mother of God. The "final remedy" offered by God is the Immaculata, the Queen of Heaven and Refuge of Sinners, whose heart has sustained and sanctified St. John, St. Luke, St. John Eudes, St. Catherine Laboure, the Ratisbonne Brothers, Blessed Pius IX, St. Maximilian Kolbe------how many thousands of others has She led to Her Son? How many more does She yearn to present to Him Whose Sacred Heart was pierced by a lance?
Her own heart was pierced with a sword of sorrow as She regarded Her crucified Son. At Calvary Mary's heart was afflicted as She stood before the tree of the Cross, but at Fatima Mary stood atop the holm-oak tree------a modest, discreet promise of Her eventual triumph.
May God in His mercy quicken this Triumph. Let us pray that just as Mary will never forsake Lucy or any of Her other children, may not one of Her children ever forsake Her.
EDITOR'S NOTES: We have received the gracious permission of John Vennari, editor of the Catholic Family News to reprint various articles published in his excellent traditional Catholic monthly newspaper dedicated to upholding the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church.