The Blessed Virgin Mary, being the mother of the Church and nurturer of holiness
in her children, would have as her primary concern the spiritual health and welfare
of the Church. In a Church-approved apparition in Ecuador, Our Lady of "Buen Suceso" - "Good Success," prophesied that in the nineteenth and most of the twentieth century errors would spread through the church corrupting morals and faith. Then she tells of a prelate who would oppose the errors and save the priesthood by forming good priests. ¹[1. Our Lady of Good Success - Prophecy for Our Times, Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D., pages 56-57]
In recent times we have seen the unfolding of attacks against holiness throughout the post-conciliar Church. Before 1960, before Vatican II, the Church was one but with Vatican II it became divided. What many people do not know is that during Vatican II and after, one bishop stood up against modernist forces and he, together with other bishops, priests, men and women religious, and lay people, encountered persecution by modernists who had power in the Church - even to the point of being cut off from the Church. This bishop, fighting a hard, uphill battle to protect the authentic dogma of the Catholic Faith towards which he himself walked, was fighting the battle of Pope Saint Pius X against modernism. He kept his robe unstained by modernism and all it's fruits including aspects of Vatican II and the restructuring of the Mass. Standing virtually alone his fame spread all over the world. As we shall see, this unfolding of historical events bears an uncanny resemblance to the vision described in the Third Secret of Fatima.
The Third Secret of Fatima
"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."
"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'"
This statement may reveal how the vision is to be viewed. To understand it, we look at another statement Lucia made in her 4th Memoir ² [2. Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, edited by Father Louis Kondor SVD, page 161], "Our Lady opened her hands for the first time, communicating to us a light so intense that, as it streamed from her hands, it's rays penetrated our hearts and the inner-most depth of our souls, making us see ourselves in God, Who was the light, more clearly than we see ourselves in the best of mirrors."
"For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood." 1 Corinthians 13:12 And the Douay-Rheims version: "We see now through a glass in an obscure manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known."
In both instances above we find the reference to a 'mirror' or 'glass' as reflecting understanding. In the light that is God, the understanding is clear whereas in Corinthians, the understanding is dim. This may indicate that the vision is to be understood not with the dim view of earthly understanding, but with the penetrating light of God in which we see as God sees. Thus, for example, a "Bishop in white" would not refer to a bishop dressed in an earthly garment of white, but rather to the way the Bishop appears before the eyes of God.
"a Bishop dressed in White"
This could mean a bishop whose "garment" is unstained by modernism and all it's fruits.
Scripture also makes references to those clothed in white:
"But thou hast a few names in Sardis, which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, because they are worthy." Apocalypse 3:4
"we had the impression that it was the Holy Father"
To children, a bishop who was leading the flock of Christ worldwide and protecting their faith would strongly give the impression that he was the Holy Father. The Bishop may also have born a certain likeness in the vision to St. Pope Pius X - foe of modernism.
"Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain,"
These could have been the other bishops, priests, men and women religious also fighting the up-hill battle against modernist forces trying to destroy the faith.
"at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark;"
Where do cork-trees grow? Predominately in Portugal.
What does a wooden cross signify? Faith.
What happens to wood still surrounded by bark? It's protected, preserved.
Lucia said: "In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved; etc...." 3 [3. Fatima in Lucia's Own Words, edited by Father Louis Kondor SVD, page 167 ]
This Bishop and the other bishops, priests, men and women religious were walking in the direction of the undefiled dogma of the Faith, which evidently will be lost in some places.
"before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins"
The "city" could refer to the Church, which prior to Vatican II, was whole and healthy but afterwards divided with one half in ruins.
In scripture the word "city" is also used in referring to the Church:
"And I, John, saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." Apocalypse 21:2
"and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way;"
The Bishop struggles interiorly, trembling at having to take steps in opposition to the Pope, yet compelled by particular graces he proceeds, but with halting step. Afflicted by the crisis in the Church, he prays for the spiritually dead he encounters along the 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."
Soldiers are those with power. These would be those in powerful positions in the Church who attacked the Bishop and finally excommunicated him and in the same way excommunicated other bishops, priests, men and women religious and lay people officially associated with them. Again we think about the way this event appears before God's eyes. To be cut off from the Mystical Body of Christ is spiritual death - to cut off wrongfully is spiritual murder.
"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 sacrifice of this Bishop and other martyrs is being applied to the souls who are striving to grow in holiness by living the true faith.
The Real "Bishop in White"?
Who might be the "Bishop in White"? Looking back from today to 1960, we find one bishop that clearly stands out as a possibility. This was the bishop that rejected the errors of modernism, liberalism and false ecumenism - Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
He was considered to have incurred excommunication because he went against the will of the Pope in ordaining four bishops in an attempt to protect the faith by insuring the church would always have priests who rejected the influences of modernism. With the excommunication, with Vatican II and the restructuring of the Mass, Catholics all over the world were confused. The Church has suffered terrible internal turmoil, persecution and fragmentation. Catholics lost their unity and the Church became "a city divided in two." Is the Third Secret of Fatima to reunite Catholics by ending the confusion and healing the wounds thus ushering in a truly new springtime for the Church?
Many Catholics will no doubt find it difficult to recognize Archbishop Lefebvre as the "Bishop in White." But since today we can readily see the rotten fruits of modernism throughout the Church, few would find it difficult to appreciate his prescience. Further, it wouldn't be the first time in history that a saint was excommunicated only to have the excommunication later revoked.
Is the Secret Authentic?
In these turbulent times when trust has been wounded, some are concerned about the authenticity of the revealed secret. Our hearts are strengthened knowing that the Blessed Virgin Mary gave the secret for the world to know and the world will surely know it at some point despite all efforts to have it concealed - for no matter what storms may blow, the Lord is the head of His Church and will surely see it through. With this in mind, we look for encouraging evidence that God has in fact revealed to us the true secret through His Church.
First we notice that this secret dispels the mystery of why it was kept hidden for so long. Some in the Vatican must have known that many of the faithful would eventually recognize Archbishop Lefebvre as the "Bishop dressed in White." Of course the Blessed Virgin Mary would have known this also. In giving us this secret was she trying to protect her children from a disorientation that was sweeping through the Church? What event or circumstance since 1960 could her secret refer to if not the crisis in the Church - was God to remain completely silent as his Bride is afflicted? By year 2000 the Vatican may have been comfortable releasing the secret since most of the older generation of Catholics who would have understood Archbishop Lefebvre's position have passed away, most others are convinced he is in schism, and the Church is deeply rooted in its new ways. If, on the other hand, the secret was fabricated, then the modernists have just done themselves in.
This secret would have spared the Church innumerable pains. But with Heaven's voice not heeded, we were left to suffer under the natural consequences of an agenda leading many astray. At various times in history, God has found it necessary to punish and purify those He has chosen in order to build them up and lead them more perfectly along the narrow paths of holiness. Thus, for forty years the Israelites wandered in the desert and for forty years His people suffered in exile under the Babylonians. God seems to use 'forty' in a special way - even our Lord fasted and prayed in the desert for forty days. Is it coincidence that the secret was hidden from us for forty years while the modernist and falsely ecumenical influences of Vatican II spread throughout the Church? If not, why would God allow the secret to be suppressed during this time allowing us all to fall under the punishment? Because although we have all suffered, we have not all suffered in the same way. For as punishment falls upon the wicked, martyrdom falls upon the faithful. Will the darkness be lifted now that this secret is revealed? If so, this would be strong evidence that God is at work here.
Rome's relation with the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) is also interesting. If this secret is true, then we can clearly understand why, as CWNews reported, "Pope John Paul II, it is generally understood, is very anxious to bring the division caused by that illicit ordination to an end as soon as possible." Shortly after the release of the secret, Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, approached Bishop Bernard Fellay, the superior of the SSPX, with an offer. SSPX was amazed at what Rome was willing to offer them - they could continue their work as they are currently doing with a worldwide diocese with no strings attached and nothing to sign. SSPX could not even begin entertaining the offer though, since it would have meant compromising true doctrinal accord. Like St. Paul said regarding Peter's error in Galatians 2: 11, "But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was blameable." So also Archbishop Lefebvre, in trying to preserve the Faith, respectfully - but firmly - withstood Pope John Paul II and SSPX will continue to withstand modernist Rome until it turns away from its errors.