December 8, 1965 - The Second Vatican Council closes.
1966 - In the aftermath of Vatican II, the Bishop of Fatima, Mgr. Joao Venancio, comes to understand the necessity and urgency of defending the authentic message of Our Lady against the perfidious attacks of the progressivists - all disciples of the modernist Jesuit, Father Dhanis. To defend the Message of Fatima against revisionists, in 1966 the Bishop commissions a learned Claretian priest, Father Joaquin Alonso, to establish a complete critical history of the revelations of Fatima. Ten years later, Father Alonso will complete his work, entitled Fatima Texts and Critical Studies. The massive work presents 5,396 documents, ranging from the beginnings of the Fatima apparitions until 12 November 1974. His manuscripts were "very well prepared," according to the Abbé René Laurentin, who consults them himself.
November 15, 1966 - New revisions in the Code of Canon Law permit anyone in the Church to publish on Marian apparitions, including those at Fatima, without need of an imprimatur. Out of the one billion Catholics in the world, only Sister Lucy - the very person who received the Message of Fatima - is still forbidden to reveal the Fatima secret, even though Our Lady had expressed Her will that the Secret be revealed to the Church and the world no later than 1960. Sister Lucy remains under an order of silence to this day, unable to speak freely about Fatima without special permission from the Vatican.
1967 - Sister Lucy’s Memoirs are published, in which she reveals Our Lady’s 1929 request for the Consecration of Russia. A huge public campaign begins with the collection of thousands of signatures asking the Pope to consecrate Russia.
February 11, 1967 - At a press conference, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, who has read the Third Secret, reveals that the Secret is written on a single sheet of paper.
May 13, 1967 - Sister Lucy meets Pope Paul VI in the open public square of Fatima during his visit there. In the presence of 1,000,000 pilgrims, she pleads to speak with the Pope. She weeps when the Pope rebuffs her and tells her "speak to your bishop." According to at least one Fatima expert, Sister Lucy pleaded with Pope Paul VI to release the Third Secret, but he refused.
1975 - After 10 years of studying the Fatima archives, Father Alonso declares, in public, that Father Fuentes’ published 1957 interview of Sister Lucy was a true and accurate report of her statements concerning the content of the Message of Fatima.
1975 - Father Alonso’s 24 volumes of 800 pages each are ready for publication. This monumental work on the Message of Fatima includes at least 5,396 documents. The presses are literally stopped by the new Bishop of Fatima, Monsignor do Amaral, preventing Father Alonso’s ten years of research from reaching the public. Two of the twenty-four volumes will eventually be published (in 1992 and 1999, respectively), but only in a heavily edited form.
October 16, 1978 - Pope John Paul II is elected. He reads the Third Secret within days of his election, according to a statement to Associated Press (in May 2000) by his spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls. The statement by Navarro-Valls will be contradicted by Msgr. Bertone of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who will claim that the Pope never read the Third Secret until July 18, 1981. The two conflicting statements suggest the existence of two distinct texts comprising the Third Secret in toto. The Pope appears to have read the same text of the Secret which was placed in the safe in the papal apartments in 1957.
1980 - In only three years, in an expanded campaign sponsored by Cardinal Josyf Slipyj, public petitions for the Consecration of Russia garner over 3 million signatures, which are received at the Vatican.
May 13, 1981 - Pope John Paul II is shot on the very anniversary of the first apparition of Our Lady of Fatima. The shots are fired at the same instant the Pope turns to look at a picture of Our Lady of Fatima pinned to a little girl’s sweater. The bullets miss their mark. The Pope recognizes that Our Lady of Fatima intervened to save his life.
June 7, 1981 - The Pope consecrates the world, but not Russia, while still recovering from his wounds.
July 18, 1981 - According to Msgr. Bertone (who, as just noted, is contradicted by the Pope’s spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, on this point), Pope John Paul II reads the Third Secret for the first time.
December 12, 1981 - Father Alonso dies. But before his death, he was able to publish a number of articles and short books on Fatima. Here are some of the most important conclusions of his research on the Third Secret:
"In the period preceding the great triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, terrible things are to happen. These form the content of the third part of the Secret. What are they? If 'in Portugal the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved,'... it can be clearly deduced from this that in other parts of the Church these dogmas are going to become obscure or even lost altogether"
Significantly, Sister Lucy never corrects these conclusions of Father Alonso, even though she had never hesitated to correct other statements by clerics and various authors concerning Fatima when they were in error. Father Alonso has access to the documents and to Sister Lucy herself. Thus, his testimony is of capital importance.
"Thus it is quite possible that in this intermediate period which is in question (after 1960 and before the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary), the text (of the Third Secret) makes concrete references to the crisis of the Faith of the Church and to the negligence of the pastors themselves." Father Alonso speaks further of "internal struggles in the very bosom of the Church and of grave pastoral negligence by the upper hierarchy," of "deficiencies of the upper hierarchy of the Church"
"Does the unpublished text speak of concrete circumstances? It is very possible that it speaks not only of a real crisis of the faith in the Church during this in-between period, but like the secret of La Salette, for example, there are more concrete references to the internal struggles of Catholics or to the fall of priests and religious. Perhaps it even refers to the failures of the upper hierarchy of the Church". "For that matter, none of this is foreign to other communications Sister Lucy has had on this subject."
March 21, 1982 - Sister Lucy meets with the Papal Nuncio, another bishop and Dr. Lacerda and informs them of the requirements for a valid Consecration of Russia according to the request of Our Lady of Fatima. Sister Lucy’s full message is not transmitted to the Pope by the Nuncio, who is told by the bishop who accompanied him not to mention the requirement that the world’s bishops participate in the Consecration.
May 12, 1982 - On the eve of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Fatima, L’Osservatore Romano - the Pope’s own newspaper - publishes an article by Father Umberto Maria Pasquale, S.D.B. about one of his conversations with Sister Lucy and her subsequent letter to him on the subject of the Consecration of Russia. In this interview, Father Pasquale reveals to the world that Sister Lucy clearly and emphatically told him that Our Lady of Fatima never asked for the consecration of the world but only the consecration of Russia. Father Pasquale also publishes a photographically-reproduced copy of a handwritten note by Sister Lucy attesting to their conversation on this point.
Father Pasquale, a well-known Salesian priest, has known Sister Lucy since 1939. Up to 1982 he has received 157 letters from her. Here is his own testimony, as published in L’Osservatore Romano:
"I wanted to clarify the question of the Consecration of Russia, in having recourse to the source. On August 5, 1978, in the Carmel of Coimbra, I had a lengthy interview with the seer of Fatima, Sister Lucy. At a certain moment I said to her: ‘Sister, I should like to ask you a question. If you cannot answer me, let it be! But if you can answer it, I would be most grateful to you, for you to clear up a point for me which does not appear clear to many people ... Has Our Lady ever spoken to you about the consecration of the world to Her Immaculate Heart?’ - ‘No, Father Umberto! Never! At the Cova da Iria in 1917, Our Lady had promised: I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia ... to prevent the spreading of her errors throughout the world, wars among several nations, persecutions against the Church ... In 1929, at Tuy, as She had promised, Our Lady came back to tell me that the moment had come to ask the Holy Father for the consecration of that country (Russia)’..."
After this conversation, Father Pasquale, wishing to have a written declaration from Sister Lucy, had addressed this request to her: "Has Our Lady ever spoken to you about the consecration of the world to Her Immaculate Heart?" Father Pasquale then received a written response from Sister Lucy, dated April 13, 1980.
Here is the translation of Sister Lucy’s handwritten note:
"Reverend Father Umberto,
"In replying to your question, I will clarify:
Our Lady of Fatima, in Her request, referred only to the Consecration of Russia" ...
"Coimbra 13 IV-1980"
(signed) Sister Lucia
May 12, 1982 - Sister Lucy writes a letter, allegedly "to the Holy Father". The Vatican document of June 26, 2000 will present a photographic reproduction of this handwritten letter and will claim that it was addressed to Pope John Paul II. However, a close comparison of the handwritten Portuguese text with versions provided by the Vatican (English, Italian, and Portuguese) reveals that a crucial phrase, which proves that this letter could not have been written to the Pope, has been omitted from all 3 versions.
The third part of the secret is a symbolic revelation, referring to this part of the Message, conditioned by whether we accept or not what the Message itself asks of us: 'If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, etc.'.
In the following statement taken from Sister Lucy’s letter, just referred to, the bolded text has been deliberately omitted from the Vatican’s printed versions: "A terceira parte do segredo, que tanto ansiais por conhecer, e uma revelacao simbolica ..." which translates to "The third part of the secret that you are so anxious to know, is a symbolic revelation ..."
This omitted phrase states that the recipient is "so anxious to know [the Secret]" even though Pope John Paul II had already read the Secret - either in 1978, within days of becoming Pope (according to Joaquin Navarro-Valls) or on July 18, 1981 (according to Msgr. Bertone). Since the Pope had already read the Third Secret by 1981, why would he be "so anxious to know" what it contained in 1982? Furthermore, how could Sister Lucy possibly state that the Pope was so anxious to know the Secret, when he could have obtained the text from the Vatican archives (or the safe in the papal apartment) any time he wished?
The same letter states: "And if we have not yet seen the complete fulfillment of the final part of this prophecy, we are going towards it little by little with great strides." Why would Sister Lucy tell Pope John Paul II in 1982 that the prophecy of the Third Secret was not yet fulfilled if the prophecy had already been fulfilled with the failed attempt on the Pope’s life on May 13, 1981 (as Cardinal Ratzinger and Msgr. Bertone will later claim on June 26, 2000)?
May 13, 1982 - Pope John Paul II consecrates the world, but not Russia, at Fatima. The bishops of the world do not participate.
May 19, 1982 - In L’Osservatore Romano, the Holy Father explains why he did not specifically consecrate Russia, declaring that he had "tried to do everything possible in the concrete circumstances."
July/August 1982 - The Blue Army’s Soul Magazine publishes an alleged interview with Sister Lucy in which she supposedly claims that the Consecration of Russia has been accomplished by the ceremony of May 13, 1982.
1982-83 - In private comments to friends and relatives, Sister Lucy repeatedly denies that the Consecration has been done. When asked to say so publicly in early 1983, Sister Lucy tells Father Joseph de Sainte Marie that she must have "official permission from the Vatican" before she can make such a statement.
March 19, 1983 - At the Holy Father’s request, Sister Lucy meets again with the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Portalupi; Dr. Lacerda; and this time also with Father Messias Coelho. During this meeting Sister Lucy confirms that the Consecration of Russia was not done because Russia did not appear clearly as the object of consecration and the world’s bishops did not participate. She explains that she could not say so publicly before because she did not have the permission of the Vatican.
May-October 1983 - Father Caillon and Father Nicholas Gruner publish several articles exposing the July/August 1982 Soul Magazine interview as false.
Next week: Part Three
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 monthly newspaper dedicated to defending the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church. This article appeared as a supplement in the April issue of this year by Father Paul Kramer from Canada who has a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy and in Sacred Theology, and a Masters in Divinity, and is a Doctor of Sacred Theology.